Updated (March, 2013): Compare the Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Winner
Canon EOS 5D Mark II

80

vs

Canon EOS 7D

67

Canon EOS 7D

Runner-up
     

Reasons to buy the Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Low noise at high ISO
Low light performance
1,815 ISO
Great image quality
Overall image quality
79.0
Great color depth
Color depth
23.7 bits
Large viewfinder
Viewfinder size
0.71x
 

Reasons to buy the Canon EOS 7D

Continuous shooting
Rapid fire
8 fps
Shutter lag
Barely any delay taking photos
131 ms shutter lag
Viewfinder coverage
Great viewfinder coverage
100%
Built-in flash
Built-in flash
External flash not needed
 

differences

Advantages of the Canon 5D Mark II

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Low light performance
Lower noise at high ISO
1,815 ISO vs 854 ISO
Help
The 5D Mark II has excellent image quality 1.1 f-stops higher ISO than the 7D
Overall image quality
Significantly better image quality
79.0 vs 66.0
Help
Around 20% better image quality
Color depth
Better color depth
23.7 bits vs 22 bits
Help
Distinguishes 1.7 more bits of color
Sensor size
Much larger sensor
Full frame 36.0x24.0mm vs APS-C 22.3x14.9mm
Help
More than 2.5x larger sensor
Viewfinder size
Significantly larger viewfinder
0.71x vs 0.62x
Help
More than 30% larger viewfinder
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
11.9 EV vs 11.7 EV
Help
0.2 f-stops more dynamic range
True resolution
Higher true resolution
21 MP vs 17.9 MP
Help
Capture around 20% more detail in your photos
Light sensitivity (boost)
Better boost ISO
25,600 ISO vs 12,800 ISO
Help
The 5D Mark II's boost ISO is 1 f-stop better
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Learn more about
the Canon 5D Mark II

Advantages of the Canon 7D

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Continuous shooting
Shoots much faster
8 fps vs 3.9 fps
Help
More than 2x faster continuous shooting
Cross type focus points
Significantly more cross-type focus points
19 vs 1
Help
Grab focus in difficult situations
Lens availability
More lenses available
197 lenses vs 156 lenses
Help
Around 30% more lenses available
Shutter lag
Less shutter lag
131 ms vs 206 ms
Help
Around 40% less delay when taking photos
Focus points
More focus points
19 vs 9
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Viewfinder coverage
Better viewfinder coverage
100% vs 98%
Help
Almost the same
Built-in flash
Built-in flash
Yes vs No
Help
A built-in flash is useful for taking indoor shots where there is little light
Lowest price
Cheaper
$999.00 vs $2,494.73
Help
The best price we've seen is $1,496 cheaper (2.5x less)
Size
Slightly smaller
148x111x74 mm vs 152x114x75 mm
Help
Around 10% smaller
Thickness
Slightly thinner
2.9" vs 3"
Help
Almost the same
Canon EOS 7D Learn more about
the Canon 7D
vs

recommendations

Which camera do we recommend? Relative to the best recent pro DSLRs, and ignoring price

Snapsort Recommends
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark II 80
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      Color
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        67 Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS 7D
        Retailer
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              similarities

              Compared to recent DSLRs

              Common Strengths
              Weather sealed Weather sealed Help
              Shoot in extreme weather
              Startup delay Minimal startup delay Help
              400 ms startup delay
              Viewfinder Both have pentaprism viewfinders Help
              Pentaprism
              Fastest shutter speed Fast max shutter speeds Help
              1/8000 of a second
              Common Weaknesses
              Weight Heavy Help
              5D Mark II:850 g
              7D:860 g
              HDR Neither has in-camera HDR Help
              You could do HDR manually
              Storage slots Fewer storage slots Help
              1
              Autofocus No video autofocus Help
              Manual focus only
              Built-in focus motor No focus motor Help
              Won't autofocus with all lenses
              Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
              6,400 ISO
              Screen flips out No flip-out screens Help
              Less flexible
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur
              Dynamic range Poor dynamic range Help
              5D Mark II:11.9 EV
              7D:11.7 EV

              Compared to recent pro DSLRs

              Common Strengths
              Thickness Thin Help
              5D Mark II:3"
              7D:2.9"
              Common Weaknesses
              Light sensitivity (boost) Poor boost ISO Help
              5D Mark II:25,600 ISO
              7D:12,800 ISO
              GPS No built-in GPS Help
              Missing geo-tagging
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              5D Mark II:9
              7D:19
              Screen size Very small screens Help
              3.0"
              Screen resolution Low resolution screens Help
              920k dots
              Overall image quality Low image quality Help
              5D Mark II:79.0
              7D:66.0
              Low light performance Above average noise at high ISO Help
              5D Mark II:1,815 ISO
              7D:854 ISO

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon EOS 70D

              Canon EOS 70D

              Pro DSLR

              $999 body only

              $1,129 - $1,149 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Thickness Is thicker
              Startup delay Has slightly more startup delay
              Canon EOS 6D

              Canon EOS 6D

              Pro DSLR

              $1,519 - $1,899 body only

              $2,399 - $2,499 with 24-105mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Shutter lag Has much more shutter lag
              Canon EOS 5D Mark III

              Canon EOS 5D Mark III

              Pro DSLR

              $3,099 - $3,399 body only

              $3,699 - $3,999 with 24-105mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Screen size Has a significantly larger screen
              Lowest price Is significantly more expensive
              Weight Is slightly heavier
              Canon EOS 60D

              Canon EOS 60D

              Pro DSLR

              $699 - $899 body only

              $959 - $1,182 with 18-135mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              Screen flips out Has a screen which flips out
              Thickness Is thicker
              Viewfinder coverage Slightly less viewfinder coverage
              Nikon D7100

              Nikon D7100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $896 - $897 body only

              $1,197 with 18-140mm lens

              Dynamic range Has slightly wider dynamic range
              Screen size Has a significantly larger screen
              Shutter lag Has significantly more shutter lag
              Nikon D7000

              Nikon D7000

              Entry-level DSLR

              $679 with 18-55mm lens

              Dynamic range Has significantly wider dynamic range
              Movie continuous focus Can focus continuously while recording movies
              Thickness Is thicker
              Shutter lag Has significantly more shutter lag
              Canon EOS 7D Mark II

              Canon EOS 7D Mark II

              Pro DSLR

              $1,799 body only

              $2,149 with 18-135mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              Light sensitivity Slightly higher maximum light sensitivity
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Thickness Is thicker

              Canon EOS 5D Mark II Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D700

              Nikon D700

              Pro DSLR

              $4,337 body only

              Low light performance Lower noise at high ISO
              Focus points Many more focus points
              Movie format Does not take movies
              True resolution Significantly lower true resolution

              Canon EOS 7D Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              No significant competitors found that are specific to the Canon EOS 7D.

              appearance

              Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 7D
              Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 7D
              Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 7D

              discussion

              Canon EOS 5D Mark II
              EOS 5D Mark II
              Canon

              Report a correction
              Canon EOS 7D
              EOS 7D
              Canon

              Report a correction

              Showing 25 comments

              Guest (1:03 AM, March 24, 2013)
              I know where you are coming from and in one way you are right. Things in nowadays a "little" different though ... You can do movie with iPhone as one Japanese filmmaker did and celebrate success ...
              5D MK II and III are used widely for making future movie with no problem. It is always about script / skills and artistry which paramount the final cut.
               
              Apd198 (1:41 AM, July 03, 2012)
               You need to go up to a 1DX level camera for true weather sealing.
               
              Ash Hamdi Films (3:12 PM, May 26, 2012)
              first of all he asked for which camera to use and not an analysis if it "POSSIBLE OR NOT" , second i don't know in which industry you are working, but to make it easier , read about the movie "LIKE CRAZY" , it won best film in Sundance and it was shot with 2 7D's with a budget of $250,000 and sometimes the crew was a max of 10 people. There are countless films to be mentioned that doesn't support your whole analysis
               
              Avatar for Dartanian Dartanian (5:49 AM, April 22, 2012)
              It's incredible that you would say that.  Perhaps your 40 years of experience has caused you to stay in the 1970's.  The 'Singularity' (Google it) is what's happening here, and you are fast becoming obsolete if you cling to your opinions based on previous experience.
               
              Avatar for Mike the Realtor Mike the Realtor (0:56 AM, April 05, 2012)
              I think you should burn your degree...LOL. Have you been living under a rock?! More and more people are doing incredible things with DSLR cameras (final episode of "House"). And they do it with little or no budget. Go on youtube or vimeo; dont be a dream killer. Do you know what I could do with three 5D's and a $250k budget?!!
               
              Avatar for Sol_Invictus Sol_Invictus (8:53 PM, March 30, 2012)
              I hope you realize that the movies "Hell and Back" and "Act of Valor" were both shot with the 5D Mark II.  They didn't have anywhere near the assets you're referring to. Google Danfung Dennis and you'll see the gear he used to make his movie.  Which incidentally was nominated for an Oscar.  

               
              Avatar for Leonard Washington Leonard Washington (3:49 AM, March 25, 2012)
              I owned both of those cameras. I definitely preferred the 7D for its quickness. I could care less for stills. 7D will focus much much much faster than 5d mk2 in the lower light and sports or whenever you need a fast candid. 5D mk2 has a harder time focusing and only useful with a center AF point really. Though 5D mk2 low light performance if you get it to focus right is OUTSTANDING, and image quality is AMAZING. I usually manual focused on my 5D mk2 and AF in Cont. high on 7D. 

              I sold both now and buying a 1D series camera ;) 
               
              Bcdane (9:05 PM, March 22, 2012)
              Salt water splash from a Hawaiian wave.... immediate towel dry, was prepared incase with a silica cube and stuck camera in a bag in case.... Canon... sorry,... complete write-off!. Weather sealed? tickles of rain, dust ok. The NIkkon shooter at front of boat and camera got complete heavy wave soak.... A OK. Nice 'false' sense of security. Readers.... don't get it wet, especially salt water.... didn't even get a chance to corode... done.
               
              Filmbird (8:25 AM, March 17, 2012)
              And 'For Lovers Only'. With a cast and crew of about 5-10 people, on a $0 budget. They've made a profit of over $200,000. Sorry Delijaxd, but you're wrong...
               
              ADPTraining (7:34 AM, March 07, 2012)
              Delijaxd is an idiot. Redtails and Act of Valor were shot with 5Ds and 7Ds. DSLRs are the future.
               
              Wdeptuch (2:57 AM, March 07, 2012)
              You have no clue what you are talking about, the canon 5d mark ii and the 7d have been used on feature films and television shows over the past several years.
              You dont have to worry about the sound on these if you are shooting for a feature because you should be shooting that seperately (like with an h4n zoom) like they do with the reds and film cameras.
               
              Delijaxd (6:14 AM, February 25, 2012)
              Having both a college degree in film making and 40 years of experience in the industry, I can assure you that it is virtually IMPOSSIBLE for ANYONE to make a "full length feature film" with any digital SLR type camera - a complete waste of time. In theory, yes "impossible" may be over-stating it, but unless you have a crew of 100 or so, plus a viable script and a huge budget - while technically possible, it would also require at least 3 or more cameras, a complete sound system (you can't expect to get even sound from 2 or more cameras) and there's just so much more I could go on for 10 full pages and only address a small fraction of the obstacles you would face.  Take a look at the Nikon website and they have a 4 or 5 minute "movies" made with the new D800 camera. Take a look at the credits at the end - there are well over 100 people that were credited with their contributions to a movie that ran for less than 5 minutes - a typical 'full length feature" would require everything they had (my guess is at least a half dozen cameras, countless lenses, and a separate sound recording system - which is expensive but an absolute requirement) - and my guess (based on the cost of shooting 30 second TV commercials) or a $250,000 budget - a full length feature film is on average over 100 minutes long, so multiply that budget by 20. (Only $5million - which seems WAY too low - but maybe possible if you don't have to pay anyone - just pay for the equipment, the sets, permits, etc.) - Of course if the unions get wind of what you are doing, expect the cost to be much higher.
               
              Avatar for Feral Thibedeaux Feral Thibedeaux (5:40 PM, February 14, 2012)
              Easy... 5d... the 550d (t2i)  side by side comparisons have shown that
              in almost all respects, performs like the 7d... If you are upgrading... spend the dosh, get the 5d... the bigger sensor, lower contrast ratio (due to the larger sensor) and video capabilities are amazing
               
              Steve (5:25 PM, January 06, 2012)
              7D : Magnesium body with shutter durability up to 150,000 cycles and exclusive dust and weather resistance. (http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/professional/products/professional_cameras/digital_slr_cameras/eos_7d#Features)
              5D:High performance with 3.9 fps continuous shooting, new shutter with a durability of 150,000 cycles and improved weather-resistant body.
              (http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/professional/products/professional_cameras/digital_slr_cameras/eos_5d_mark_ii#Features)
              Seems They are *both* weather resistant but the 5D isn't dust resistant.
               
              Doctorz (2:37 PM, December 26, 2011)
              I looked at these two cameras before choosing the 5d MkII. IMO these two cameras are just about equal except that the 5D has the full frame 35mm CMOS  sensors while the 7D has the smaller  APS-C CMOS sensor. Thus  the 5D behaves as a true 35mm camera while the 7D behaves as "smaller" frame camera. By the nature of physics, the APS-C sensor has a 1.6x focal length multiplier -which becomes important when one is shooting wide field of views: e.g. a 24mm lens shoots as a 24mm lens on the 5D while the 7D with the same lens shoots as a 38mm lens (24 x 1.6).  Thus it's tougher to shoot "wide" with the 7D. Conversely, because of the 1.6 focal length multiplier, a longer lens (e.g. 200 mm) on the 7D will have more "reach" than that on the 5D. It will behave as a 320mm lens. (200 x 1.6). To those still undecided, may I suggest reading Canon's CMOS White Paper found here: http://media.the-digital-picture.com/Information/Canon-Full-Frame-CMOS-White-Paper.pdf

              As for lenses: keep in mind that if you already have an investment in EF-S lenses, you cannot use them on the full frame 5d as these lenses are designed only for APS-C sensor cameras.
               
              Teknodogg (3:45 PM, December 13, 2011)
              if you do a lot of sports than go with a 7D
               
              Rizengrom (7:29 PM, December 12, 2011)
              It's weather Resistant, not weathersealed
               
              xeres (6:03 PM, December 07, 2011)
              Being an amateur photographer I've understood, through the years, that lenses are at least as much important than cameras. After an uppgrade from a 500D to a 7d (I really love that machine !) I got the feeling that my best lens did a better work with a 500D than my worse lens did with my new 7D.
              Anyway, I.m quite sure the 5D is a better rending camera concerning details, colors and sharpened pictures. But the 7D has got newer technology (autofocus, 2x digic-4 processor for real fast pictures series and so on...). I would advise people with my ambition (wanting to take real good pictures and make nice HD movies to buy a 7D and put the money that is over in a better zoom lens. The 7D is more than enough camera for the creative amateur!  
                 
               
              Bobraposo1970 (9:17 PM, November 17, 2011)
              I am looking to upgrade my Rebel XTi and considering Canon 7D or 5D.  Issue is that I have a lense 18-200 that is not compatible with the 5D, but I love the power of this camera.  Any recos?
               
              Boskovicluka (9:37 AM, September 21, 2011)
              I prefere the 5D too, but this review is the worst ever. Expecially the "weather seal" kix hahahah
               
              SHAMWOW (3:04 PM, September 13, 2011)
              I am looking to upgrade my Canon T1i. I currently only use the 50 f 1.4 and the 85 f 1.8. I shoot a lot of basektball and landscape things. I am really starting to get into portrait photography as well. I am a college student so obviously I am on some what of a budget but I could probably get enough for the 5d if need be. Any comments or suggestions would be great on which camera is better and why. Thank you
               
              Dadvianphotography (10:36 AM, September 13, 2011)
              can't afford a 5d mark II =( and L lenses...wish i could ..but 1,000 extra for the body...and twice the price of any lens...help please..can't decide betwin a 5d mk II  with a 50 mm lens  or a 7d with a 18-135 mm  ,a 10-20 sigma wide angle  a rokinon 8 mm fish eye..and a nikon sb 28 vintage flash for off camera flash =(....something inside of me tell's me go for te 5d...but other part tells me that its a 3 year old body and an up grade can come real soon...reasons to buy 5d..low noise at high iso  and full frame format...reasons to buy 7d..focus system and the option of 60 frames ps ..i love slow mo  =( please help
               
              Stefanots (9:23 AM, August 23, 2011)
              http://canonfieldreviews.com/7d-1-weather-sealing/
              Isn't 7D weathersealed?
              The weathersealing isn't as good as 1D series, but it's quite complete
               
              Ted Ciesielski (3:37 AM, August 20, 2011)
              Absolutly 5D!  All Zeiss P2 pro lesnses and Shift lenses are for full frame cameras only like 5D

              Ted Ciesielski,  DP
              "man w the movie camera"
               
              BobGuch (8:07 PM, August 08, 2011)
              ahh which one to buy when you already own a canon 550D :P