Canon 7D vs T1i
The Canon EOS 7D and the Canon EOS Rebel T1i (labelled Canon 500D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2009 and March 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The 7D has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the T1i provides 15.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon 7D||Canon T1i|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor||15.1 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||1080/20p Video|
|ISO 100-6400 (100-12800)||ISO 100-6400 (100-12800)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 920k dots||3.0" LCD, 920k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|8 shutter flaps per second||3.4 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|800 shots per battery charge||400 shots per battery charge|
|148 x 111 x 74 mm, 860 g||129 x 98 x 62 mm, 520 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 7D and the Canon EOS Rebel T1i? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
Body comparison: Canon 7D vs T1i
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 7D and the Canon T1i is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon T1i is notably smaller (23 percent) than the Canon 7D. Moreover, the T1i is substantially lighter (40 percent) than the 7D. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 7D is splash and dust resistant, while the T1i does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Canon 7D»||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||30.3 oz||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699||-||Canon 7D|
|Canon T1i«||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.3 oz||400||n||Mar 2009||799||-||Canon T1i|
|Canon 7D II« »||5.9 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||32.1 oz||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799||Canon 7D II|
|Canon T5« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||16.9 oz||500||n||Feb 2014||449||-||Canon T5|
|Canon 70D« »||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199||-||Canon 70D|
|Canon T4i« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.3 oz||440||n||Jun 2012||849||-||Canon T4i|
|Canon T3i« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.1 oz||440||n||Feb 2011||599||-||Canon T3i|
|Canon 60D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon T2i« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.7 oz||440||n||Feb 2010||699||-||Canon T2i|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||6.0 in||4.5 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 50D« »||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299||-||Canon 50D|
|Canon XSi« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.5 oz||500||n||Jan 2008||799||-||Canon XSi|
|Canon 30D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.9 in||27.7 oz||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399||-||Canon 30D|
|Canon 20D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499||-||Canon 20D|
|Nikon D7000« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||27.5 oz||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499||-||Nikon D7000|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The T1i was launched at a markedly lower price (by 53 percent) than the 7D, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison: Canon 7D vs T1i
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the 7D offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixels, compared with 15.1 MP of the T1i. This megapixels advantage translates into a 9 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the 7D has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 4.69μm for the T1i). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the 7D is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the T1i, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 7D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 7D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inch or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inch or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inch or 43.9 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon T1i are 23.8 x 15.8 inch or 60.4 x 40.2 cm for good quality, 19 x 12.7 inch or 48.3 x 32.2 cm for very good quality, and 15.8 x 10.6 inch or 40.2 x 26.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 7D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The Canon EOS Rebel T1i offers exactly the same ISO settings.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Canon 7D»||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.0||11.7||854||66||Canon 7D|
|Canon T1i«||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||1080/20p||21.7||11.5||663||63||Canon T1i|
|Canon 7D II« »||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70||Canon 7D II|
|Canon T5« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.9||11.3||724||63||Canon T5|
|Canon 70D« »||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||22.5||11.6||926||68||Canon 70D|
|Canon T4i« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||722||62||Canon T4i|
|Canon T3i« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||793||65||Canon T3i|
|Canon 60D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.5||813||66||Canon 60D|
|Canon T2i« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||784||66||Canon T2i|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 50D« »||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||-||21.8||11.4||696||63||Canon 50D|
|Canon XSi« »||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||-||21.9||10.8||692||61||Canon XSi|
|Canon 30D« »||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||-||21.5||10.8||736||59||Canon 30D|
|Canon 20D« »||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||-||21.9||11.0||721||62||Canon 20D|
|Nikon D7000« »||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||10800/24p||23.5||13.9||1167||80||Nikon D7000|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the 7D provides a higher frame rate than the T1i. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the T1i is limited to 1080/20p.
Feature comparison: Canon 7D vs T1i
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 7D and the T1i are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the 7D offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the T1i (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the 7D has a higher magnification (0.63x vs 0.54x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 7D, the Canon T1i, and comparable cameras.
|Canon 7D»||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n||Canon 7D|
|Canon T1i«||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4||Y||n||Canon T1i|
|Canon 7D II« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||Y||n||Canon 7D II|
|Canon T5« »||optical||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon T5|
|Canon 70D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n||Canon 70D|
|Canon T4i« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon T4i|
|Canon T3i« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n||Canon T3i|
|Canon 60D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n||Canon 60D|
|Canon T2i« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n||Canon T2i|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 50D« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3||Y||n||Canon 50D|
|Canon XSi« »||optical||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n||Canon XSi|
|Canon 30D« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 30D|
|Canon 20D« »||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 20D|
|Nikon D7000« »||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D7000|
One feature that is present on the 7D, but is missing on the T1i is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The 7D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the T1i uses SDHC cards.
Connectivity comparison: Canon 7D vs T1i
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 7D and Canon EOS Rebel T1i and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 7D»||Y||mono||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 7D|
|Canon T1i«||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T1i|
|Canon 7D II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 7D II|
|Canon T5« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T5|
|Canon 70D« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon 70D|
|Canon T4i« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T4i|
|Canon T3i« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T3i|
|Canon 60D« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon T2i« »||Y||stereo||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T2i|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 50D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 50D|
|Canon XSi« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon XSi|
|Canon 30D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 30D|
|Canon 20D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 20D|
|Nikon D7000« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D7000|
It is notable that the 7D has a microphone port, which is missing on the T1i. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 7D (unlike the T1i) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 7D and the T1i have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T1i was replaced by the Canon T2i, while the 7D was followed by the Canon 7D Mark II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
Review summary: Canon 7D vs T1i
So how do things add up? Is the Canon 7D better than the Canon T1i or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 7D:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 15.1MP) with a 9% higher linear resolution.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/30p versus 1080/20p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.63x vs 0.54x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 3.4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (800 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 5 months after the T1i).
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel T1i:
- More compact: Is smaller (129x98mm vs 148x111mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 340g or 40 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (53 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2009).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 7D is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 4 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 7D and the Canon T1i place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 7D or the T1i perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
Expert reviews: Canon 7D vs T1i
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|Canon 7D»||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699||-||Canon 7D|
|Canon T1i«||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799||-||Canon T1i|
|Canon 7D II« »||+||84/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799||Canon 7D II|
|Canon T5« »||+||-||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449||-||Canon T5|
|Canon 70D« »||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199||-||Canon 70D|
|Canon T4i« »||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849||-||Canon T4i|
|Canon T3i« »||o||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599||-||Canon T3i|
|Canon 60D« »||+||79/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon T2i« »||+ +||77/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699||-||Canon T2i|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||91/100||79/100||4/5||5/5||-||Sep 2008||3,499||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 50D« »||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299||-||Canon 50D|
|Canon XSi« »||+ +||+ +||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799||-||Canon XSi|
|Canon 30D« »||+ +||+ +||o||o||-||Feb 2006||1,399||-||Canon 30D|
|Canon 20D« »||-||+ +||-||o||-||Aug 2004||1,499||-||Canon 20D|
|Nikon D7000« »||-||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,499||-||Nikon D7000|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon 7D vs Canon T1i
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 7D||Canon T1i|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2009||March 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 1699||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 7D||Canon T1i|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||22.3 x 14.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||17.9 Megapixels||15.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3456 pixels||4752 x 3168 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.31 μm||4.69 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.39 MP/cm2||4.53 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/20p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-6400 ISO||100-6400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-12800 ISO||100-12800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4 (Dual)||DIGIC 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||66||63|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.0||21.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||11.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||854||663|
|Screen Specs||Canon 7D||Canon T1i|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 7D||Canon T1i|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||8 shutter flaps/s||3.4 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||150 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 7D||Canon T1i|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 7D||Canon T1i|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Type||LP-E6 power pack||LP-E5 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||800 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
148 x 111 x 74 mm
(5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in)
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||860 g (30.3 oz)||520 g (18.3 oz)|
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