Shooting data: Canon EOS 7D, Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L USM, 1/80 f/11, iso 100, tripod. Val Nure, Italy.
After a long winter, the spring has come back, and I'm back in the fields for one of my favorite photography genres: macro! This year I had one more reason to wait for the macro season: I was really curious to try my Canon 7D for macro photography. The first improvement I noticed is that I have 1kg less of equipment - the 7D is much lighter than the 1DsIII I used in the past, and with the new camera I don't carry with me the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters during macro excursions, so I save some other weight and bulk. With the 1DsIII sometimes the focal length of the 180mm was not enough, so I used the 1.4x or the 2x TC to get a 250mm or 360mm, while with the 7D there is already a "in camera 1.6x multiplier", so the need of teleconverters is greatly reduced. Another advantage of working without TCs is better image quality: even though the 180mm Macro is very good even with 2x TC, without TC you get the very best from this lens.
The image quality of the 7D is a controversial topic, but in my opinion it is quite simple: the 7D has the highest pixel density of every APS-C camera currently in production (April 2010), so you need good techniques and good lenses. So-so lenses, small focus errors, inadequate shutter speeds, too wide or too narrow apertures, photographer or subject movements, teleconverters, etc. can reduce the image quality on the 7D much more easily than other cameras, so you have to pay a bit more attention. Talking about macro, there are some things you need to know when you use the 7D. First, I highly recommend a good tripod - I used a Manfrotto 055 XWNB with Manfrotto 410 gear head. A good news regarding the 7D is that you no longer need mirror lock up: if you activate Silent shooting Mode 1 or Mode 2, you can shoot directly from live view (of course using remote release or self timer) and you won't have mirror slap problems. This thing was not possible with the 1DsIII, due to its different live view - this topic is covered in-depth in the "live view and MLU" article: www.juzaphoto.com/eng/articles/live_view_mirror_lock_up.htm"
Avoid teleconverters, if possible; shoot at the lowest ISO sensitivity you can use without the risk of a blurred image (I always try to shoot at ISO 100, but if it is necessary I'd raise the sensitivity up to a maximum of ISO 1600) and...pay attention to the aperture! With the 7D, the effect of diffraction are more visible than with other cameras; while with the 1DsIII my usual "macro apertures" were f/11 and f/16, with the 7D I try to shoot at f/8 or f/11, to avoid loss of fine detail due to diffraction. APS-C has about 1 stop more depth of field than a fullframe camera, so the results are about on par: with the 7D at f/11 you have about the same sharpness and depth of field of the 1DsIII at f/16.
Finally, here you are some 100% crops from the previous photo and from other macro photos taken with 7D and Canon 180 Macro!