Canon EOS 7D Review
The Canon EOS 7D is Canon’s “state of the art” crop sensor DSLR. It’s not an EOS 50D upgrade, but rather a whole new level of DSLR positioned between the EOS 50D and the EOS 5D Mk II. In some ways you can think of it as a crop sensor version of the full frame EOS 5D Mk II at a price that’s $1000 less, although it has some features that even the 5D Mk II doesn’t have.
I was impressed by the EOS 7D. Clearly Canon has put some thought into this camera and made a number of changes that make the EOS 7D the closest thing to a “professional grade” APS-C body that I’ve seen to date. With the advanced autofocus and metering, very high speed continuous shooting rate, large image buffer, wireless flash control, extensive set of custom functions and broadcast quality HD video, the EOS 7D would be ideal for sports shooters and photojournalists, as well as advanced amateur photographers who want a “state of the art” crop sensor camera. The HD video features alone might make it a camera of choice for budding film makers too. The only downside of the camera might be that it’s so flexible and has so many customizable options that novices might be confused by all the choices it provides! There’s a good reason why the instruction manual runs to 275 pages.
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Features of the Canon EOS 7D
- An 18MP CMOS sensor with a “gapless microlens” design for high efficiency
- A 920,000 pixel, 3" high resolution LCD
- An all new 19 zone AF system with dedicated AF processor
- HD movies at 1080p and 720p
- Continuous shooting at up to 8 frames/sec
- Shutter rated for 150,000 cycles
- Integrated wireless speedlite control
- Improved weather sealing
- Microfocus adjustment on a fixed or lens by lens basis
- 4 levels of high ISO noise reduction
- 4 levels of auto lighting optimization
- 5 stops of exposure compensation (only 3 stops shown in viewfinder)
- A 100% view optical viewfinder
- A dual axis electronic level
- An ISO range from 100-6400 plus 12800(H)
- Contrast detection AF in Live View mode
- Face detection in Live View mode
- In camera illumination (vignetting) correction for JPEGs
- A “creative auto” mode
- HDMI output
- Dual Digic IV processors
- UDMA Mode 6 CF card support
- LP-E6 battery (same as EOS 5D Mk II)
Like other EOS DSLRs, the EOS 7D appears to turn on instantly, taking less than 100ms to be ready to shoot. All other operations are fast too, no doubt helped by the new dual Digic IV processors. When reviewing images, the time for the display to update with a new image is under 1/2 second.
In high speed continuous mode, the EOS 7D meets Canon’s specifications of 3 fps in slow mode and 8 fps in fast mode. I actually measured 7.99 fps, but that’s close enough to 8. One strange quirk is that even if the shutter is manually set to 1/1000 sec and the lens is in manual focus mode (which should give the fastest possible frame rate), with the lens cap on the maximum continuous frame rate was only 4.25 fps. The manual warns that the frame rate may drop is the light is low (even with a fast shutter speed) – and indeed it does!
With a mode 6 UDMA, 600x Sandisk card (pretty much the fastest card available right now), I got 20 RAW frames at 8 fps before the buffer filled (1/1000s, ISO 400) Then there was a pause of about 0.4 seconds followed by 2 rapid (8fps) frame, then another 0.4 second pause, then 2 more rapid frames and so on for about 5 seconds before the space between bursts increased to about 0.55 seconds. I didn’t measure the buffer capacity for JPEGs. since I gave up after 60 seconds of continuous shooting and 480 frames. Canon only claims 126 frames with a UDMA card, so the ultra speed mode 6 card may be showing it’s stuff here.
The use of high ISO noise reduction results in a significant reduction in the number of images which can be stored in the buffer, presumably due to the fact that the image processing power required for noise reduction slows down writing from the buffer to the memory card and so the buffer memory fills up faster.
The control layout of the EOS 7D is fairly similar to that of other EOS bodies such as the 50D and 5D Mk II, though there are a few new buttons and switches. The main control dial has a setting “CA” which stands for a “creative auto” mode. This is somewhat like a full auto mode, but allows you to save some custom settings. You can save flash mode, picture style, image brightness, single shot or continuous mode, image recoding quality and bias exposure toward smaller or larger apertures. Once saved, these settings will be remembered every time you select the “CA” mode. If you don’t change the settings from default, they will be exactly the same as the normal “full auto” exposure mode. There are also three custom modes which allow you to save almost any camera setting from metering mode to ISO setting, shooting mode (M, Av, Tv etc.) to AF mode.
The shooting modes available are C1 (custom), C2 (custom), C3 (custom), Program AE, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, and CA (creative Auto). There are no “scene” modes such as are found on the 40D/50D and Rebel series. In this respect the 7D is more similar to the full frame 5D Mk II and 1D series bodies than any of the crop sensor bodies. The 7D has no “A-DEP” mode.
As with all EOS DSLRs other than the Digital Rebel series, the EOS 7D has a rear thumb-wheel (“Quick Control Dial”), which defaults to adjustment of exposure compensation, but which is also used to scroll through menus and select items. On earlier crop sensor DSLRs, the lock for the QCD (which you can use to prevent accidental change of settings) was integrated into a 3 position switch which also served as the main power switch. On the 7D the main “on/off” power switch has now moved to the top left of the camera, next to the mode dial. The QCD has its own dedicated switch. The main exposure control dial (used to set shutter speed, aperture etc. depending on the shooting mode), is on the top right of the camera, just in front of the shutter release.
Like earlier xxD models, parameters such as shooting mode, white balance mode, ISO setting, shutter speed, aperture etc. can be displayed either on the top LCD or via use of the rear “Info” button on both the top and rear LCDs. The 7D also has a dedicated “Q” button which brings up current operating parameters on the rear LCD and allows each one to be changed using the 4-way control button and control dials. Though the top LCD can be illuminated, in dark conditions the operating parameters are much more easily read from the rear LCD.
The EOS 7D now has a dedicated switch for video/still shooting located to the immediate right of the viewfinder. Integrated with that button is a start/stop button for video shooting.
Also new on the 7D is a “RAW/JPEG” button, which is located to the immediate left of the viewfinder. If you are shooting in JPEG only mode, pressing the “RAW/JPEG” button allows the next shot to be recorded as both JPEG and RAW files. Similarly if you are shooting in RAW only, pressing the button allows the next frame to be recorded as both a RAW and JPEG file. If you are shooting in “RAW + JPEG” mode, the button has no effect.
As you would expect, the 18MP sensor of the EOS 7D is capable of yielding higher resolution than the sensor in previous APS-C DSLRs such as the 10MP EOS 40D and 15 MP EOS 50D. This can be demonstrated using high contrast, high resolution test charts. The jump from the 10 MP EOS 40D to the 18MP EOS 7D should give about a 33% increase in linear resolution, while the jump from the 15MP EOS 50D to the 18MP EOS 7D should yield a further 9.5% in linear resolution.
I didn’t have an EOS 50D available for comparison testing, so I used an EOS 40D where the differences should be more obvious. Indeed, on resolution test charts the higher resolution of the 7D was evident. What was a little surprising was that in the case of real world images, the difference was much less obvious, even when using good lenses at optimum aperture and the the camera mounted on a sturdy tripod. In fact in a number of cases it was hard to tell the difference between the 7D and 40D images in terms of resolved detail.
The lack of a startling difference in image detail may be related to several factors. First, most images don’t contain high contrast linear patterns with close line spacing (but resolution test charts do). Resolution will be lower for features with less than 100% contrast. Second, though lenses are good and many will technically “outresolve” sensors, the MTF (contrast) of fine detail drops off quickly as you go to higher spatial frequencies. It’s also been shown that it’s not the highest spatial frequencies that make images look “sharp”, but the contrast at lower spatial frequencies. If you add these factors up, along with the optical limitations of many lenses, you get to a point of rapidly diminishing returns for ever higher pixel count images. We’ve pretty much hit that limit I think. Higher pixel counts do no harm as long as the smaller pixels don’t result in more image noise, but really there does seem to be little value in going to even higher pixel counts in an APS-C sensor at this point.
All else being equal, the more pixels you put on a sensor the smaller they are, and the smaller they are the noisier they are. However, all is rarely equal. The 7D uses a new “gapless” lens system over the pixels which increases their light collection efficiency and so reduces noise. Upgraded electronics (including the dual Digic IV processors in the 7D) can also reduce noise. So the question is whether the increased pixel count of the 7D makes it noisier than its predecessors (40D/50D). I think I can say that no, it doesn’t.
Measuring noise is a little tricky because different cameras use different image processing and noise reduction parameters. Probably the best way to look at the intrinsic noise it to shoot RAW images, then apply known amounts of Luminance and Chrominance noise reduction to them.
As an example I took shots of a test target using both the EOS 40D and EOS 7D set to ISO 3200 and recorded the RAW images. Using Canon’s DPP RAW conversion software Luminance noise reduction can be set from 0 to 20 “units” and Chrominance noise reduction can be independently set over the same 0 to 20 range. The 40D defaults to 2/0 noise reduction (Luminance/Chrominance), while the 7D defaults to 5/12. I did three conversions on each image. One with both parameters set to 0 (0/0). one with the 40D default parameters (2/0) and one with the 7D default parameters (5/12). Of course the images are different sizes since the 40D has a 10MP sensor and the 7D has an 18MP sensor, so to equalize the size (when displayed on a monitor at 100%), I upsized the 40D images by 133%.
Looking at the images it’s evident that the 7D doesn’t show more noise than the 40D. In fact it seems to show a little less. Tests at each ISO setting from 100 to 12800(H) using the “standard” noise reduction setting show that noise is well controlled up to ISO 800. At ISO 1600 and 3200 noise is still quite low but at 6400 it starts to become objectionable and ISO 12800 (H) is probably best left for emergency use due to increased noise and clear degradation of image detail due to the noise reduction algorithm.
Overall, I’d say that the 7D has the best noise performance of any Canon APS-C sensor camera to date. The fact that it has the smallest pixels shows that Canon have indeed been able to improve resolution without incurring a noise penalty. This is particularly noticeable at higher ISO settings. However, the 7D still isn’t as good at high ISO as the 5D MkII.
Dynamic range is the range of brightness over which a camera can record detail. It’s normally higher at low ISO setting than high ISO settings. It’s basically a measure of how bright the highlights can be and how dark the shadows can be (in the same image) while still retaining some detail in both. High dynamic range prevents the highlights from “blowing out” and the shadows from “blocking up”. To maximize dynamic range you normally need to shoot in RAW mode and do some post exposure processing.
My tests indicated that the 7D had a very similar dynamic range to that of the EOS 40D and EOS 50D. At low ISO settings the total usable range for JPEGs is a little over 8 stops. Using highlight tone priority (see below), this can be expanded by about a stop on the highlight side (at the expense of a little more shadow noise) and by shooting RAW and processing in DPP about another stop of highlights can be recovered.
The AF system of the EOS 7D is entirely new. It’s not just a tweak of an existing system. There are 19 AF zones, which can be grouped together in five different configurations (left side, right side, center, top and bottom) for auto AF zone selection, or which can be selected individually. There’s also a fully auto setting in which the camera selects from all 19 AF zones. All 19 zones feature cross type sensors effective at f/5.6 and faster and the center point has additional high precision elements, which operate with lenses which have a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or faster.
Not only does the system have more AF zones than any earlier EOS APS-C body, but it also features a dedicated AF controller to speed up servo AF operation. In fact the EOS 7D is the first non EOS-1 series body to have a dedicated AF controller.
In addition to more sensors and faster operation, the 7D AF system can compensate for AF errors due to chromatic aberration by combining data from the color metering sensors with that from the AF sensors
With the EOS 7D you can select different AF configurations depending on whether the camera is in landscape mode, portrait mode with the grip up and portrait mode with the grip down. The 7D also features new tracking algorithms which allow focus to be held on a subject even if an object briefly passes between the camera and the desired subject (as may often happen when shooting team sports).
The 7D also has a new Intelligent Macro Tracking function which helps reduce blur during macro shooting by recognizing when a macro lens is attached and automatically adjusting the AI Servo sampling frequency. This AI Servo adjustment accounts for camera movement forward and back, a typical occurrence when moving in close for a macro shot as photographers rock back and forth, or a flower blows in the wind.
It’s very difficult to quantify AF performance, but my subjective opinion is that the EOS 7D has the best autofocus of any Canon APS-C DSLR. Since I did not have a 1D series body or EOS 5D MkII for a side by side comparison it’s hard for me to qualitatively or quantitatively compare them, but I suspect that the EOS 7D will hold its own against any current Canon DSLR. How it will compare with the new EOS 1D MkIV is unknown right now.
There are the usual 4 focus modes: manual focus, one shot AF, AI and AI servo.
As with the EOS 50D and EOS 5D Mk II, the EOS 7D has the capability of AF micro-adjustment, which allows fine tuning of the AF system to eliminate front and back focusing with specific lenses. This was first introduced in the EOS 1Ds Mk III. So, for example, if you find that your
The EOS 7D has a new 64 zone dual layer metering sensor.One layer is sensitive to red/green light and the other to green/blue light. By using both color and luminance information more accurate metering may be possible under some circumstances.
The EOS 7D also combines focus information with luminance and color information in a metering algorithm which attempts to identify which metering zones correspond to the main subject (i.e. which correspond to the AF zones which are indicating focus or near focus) and adjusting exposure accordingly. Information is received from all AF zones, not just the one(s) selected by the user or camera.
Exposure compensation is possible over a range of ±5 stops, though only ±3 stops are shown in the viewfinder and on the top LCD. The full range can be displayed on the rear LCD. This may aid those doing multiple exposure HDR work. Auto exposure bracketing is possible over a range of ±3 stops. By combining exposure compensation with exposure bracketing, exposures can be made over a ±8 stop range. For example if -5 stops of exposure compensation are dialed in and ±3 stops of exposure bracketing is selected, three images will be exposed, one at -8 stops, one at -5 stops and one at -2 stops.
Overall, in shooting many of the same scenes with the EOS 40D and EOS 7D, the 7D did have a slight tendency to give a little more exposure at times and in some cases this may have resulted on some loss of highlight detail when shooting JPEGs.
The EOS 7D is the first EOS APS-C camera to offer a 100% viewfinder. Magnification is 1x, which makes the viewfinder slightly larger than that of the EOS 50D, but slightly smaller than that of the 5D Mk II.
Data displayed in the viewfinder shows extensive shooting information (see illustration), including a constant readout of the ISO setting in use, the number of frames remaining in the buffer, shutter speed and aperture, battery status, exposure compensation, a highlight tone priority indicator, a focus confirmation light and various parameters relating to flash usage. A grid can be electronically displayed in the viewfinder to aid in alignment.
The EOS 7D has a small built-in flash, just like all the other Canon crop sensor DSLRs. However, there’s one very important difference. The built-in flash of the EOS 7D can act as a wireless controller for external Speedlites that have wireless slave capability. While this is a function which has been offered for a long time by other manufacturers (Nikon, Sony), it’s the first time that a wireless flash controller has been built into any EOS DSLR. The EOS 7D can control 3 groups of external speedlites with up to 4 speedlites in each group and can set flash ratios for each group. Wireless control is via optical pulses from the built-in flash, so the external speed lights need to be able to “see” the camera.
The EOS 7D has the same white balance settings as the EOS 50D, namely Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, White Fluorescent Light, Flash, Custom WB Setting (2000K-10000K) and User-Set Color Temperature (2,500K-10,000K).
Most of the white balance modes do a good job, but as expected images shot under domestic tungsten lighting are noticeably warm, even when using the tungsten setting. This is a common trait of all Canon EOS DLSRs and it’s because Canon uses a color temperature of 3200K for the tungsten setting. This is about right for professional photographic tungsten lighting, but too “hot” for domestic lighting. It’s also the color temperature for which “tungsten” balanced film is designed. A typical 100W domestic tungsten light bulb has a color temperature closer to 2900K and a 40W bulb is usually around 2500K. I’ve found the tungsten WB setting on the 7D to be about right for 500W tungsten halogen lights, but they’re typically not what you would use to light your living room. If you want neutral colors under domestic tungsten lighting you need to either do a custom white balance, or set a color temperature appropriate to the lighting.
The EOS 7D includes the now standard high resolution LCD monitor, for high quality playback and easier menu navigation. The 3-inch high-res screen makes it easy to zoom in, for examining focus and fine details. The dot count is 920,000—now equal to the LCD used by Nikon on the
The EOS 7D has a built-in two-axis electronic level, which can be displayed on the rear LCD. Vertical and horizontal tilt are displayed in 1° increments. The accuracy is ±1° when near level and decreases as the tilt angle increases.
The EOS 7D has phase detection AF, contrast detection AF and face detection AF which operate much as they do in the 5D MkII. Phase detection AF uses the standard AF sensors and requires that the mirror be lowered (which blanks out the LCD display). Contrast detection AF uses the actual image being recorded by the sensor to set the focus point and so the mirror does not need to be lowered and the LCD image does not black out. Phase detection AF is faster and more accurate, but contrast detection AF is more convenient if somewhat sluggish. Focus can take 2-3 seconds in contrast detection mode. The 7D also has a “face detection” AF mode, which is basically the same as contrast detection AF, but the image is analyzed for faces and focus and exposure is optimized for them.
In contrast detection AF mode, the focus zone can be manually moved around the screen. In face detection mode, if more than one face is detected, the one that is most important can be selected by using the Quick Control Dial.
The image can be zoomed to 5x or 10x magnification in order to get a closer look at the image for checking focus and for fine focusing in manual focus mode.
The EOS 7D allows the digital electronic level indicator to be superimposed on the Live View display. There is also a dedicated stop/start button on the 7D, which can be switched between Video and Live View control.
The EOS 7D has a full set of video modes. It can shoot full HD 1080p video (1920 × 1080 pixels) at frame rates of 24 fps (23.976), 25 fps, or 30 fps (29.97); 720p HD recording at 50fps or 60 fps (59.94) and SD video (640 × 480 pixels) at frame rates of 50 fps or 60 fps (59.94).
Unlike earlier EOS models, the EOS 7D now has a dedicated switch/button for video situated just to the right of the viewfinder. The switch selects between Live View and Movie mode and the button starts and stops the operation
There is a built-in mono microphone and a jack for attaching an external stereo microphone. The 7D has a small built in speaker (just to the left of the viewfinder) for playback of recorded audio. Note that the built in microphone will pick up camera noise and that may be particularly objectionable with some IS lenses which make a constant “whirring” noise while IS is operating.
Video quality is excellent, very similar to that of the 5D MkII. The 7D actually has more control over video shooting parameters than the original EOS 5D MkII had, though the 5D MkII firmware has been updated. The 7D still has a greater choice of frame rates than the 5D. There is still no tracking autofocus with either camera, so that’s something to bear in mind. You can manually shift focus and zoom, but that’s not easy with a moving subject. Image stabilization still operates as long as you are using an IS lens.
1080p HD video from DSLRs such as the EOS 7D and EOS 5D MkII is high quality (“broadcast quality”) and is something which attracts amateur film makers. Hobbyists shooting home video might find a consumer camcorder easier to live with since they typically allow more control over video shooting, have a larger range zoom and offer tracking AF while shooting.
One word about playing back the HD .mov files on your computer. You may have problems with “jerky” motion if you have a Windows PC and use Quicktime to view the movies. I’m told the PC implementation of Quicktime leaves something to be desired and that it works better on a Mac. Since I don’t have a Mac, I can’t test that theory, but I can tell you that despite a dual core processor and no other programs running I got jerky playback on a Windows XP PC under Quicktime, even after tweaking the Quicktime parameters. 1920×1080 at 30 fps is a lot of data to handle.
Using the free “VLC media player” program I did get smooth HD video and audio playback, but you may have to do the following to set it up for HD video playback on a slower system:
- Open Tools, go to Preferences
- Click Show settings = “All”
- Go to "Input/Codecs
- Go to “Other codecs/ FFmpeg” subcategory
- Set “Skip the loop filter for H.264 decoding” to “ALL”
- Restart the program
The bottleneck with Quicktime may lay in the video card speed as a number of Windows PC users with fast video cards (and quad core CPUs) report smooth playback with Quicktime.
Peripheral Illumination Correction
While Canon has offered peripheral illumination correction (also known as vignetting correction) in DPP when doing conversions from RAW image files for quite a while, as with the 50D, the 7D can apply the same corrections to in-camera JPEGs when certain Canon lenses are used. The camera has a database of 20+ Canon lenses. The Canon EOS Utility software can be used to check which lenses are in the database and to add others for which the data is available. If the images are shot as RAW files, the amount of peripheral illumination correction applies can be adjusted using Canon’s DPP software.
Self Cleaning Sensor
The sensor cleaning system of the 7D includes an antistatic coating on the low pass filter to provide “better dust resistance”. The sensor uses the same ultrasonic shaking mechanism as the 50D to shake any dust particles off the low pass filter when the camera is turned on and off. The position and size of any dust stuck on the sensor can also be saved as reference “dust delete data” and this data can be used for removal of dust spots using post processing with Canon’s DPP software.
The EOS 7D renders colors in a manner, which is fairly consistent across the whole line of Canon EOS DSLRs.
Color rendition can be modified using any of the supplied “Picture Styles,” which are:
- Standard for crisp, vivid images that don’t require post-processing
- Portrait optimizes color tone and saturation and weakens sharpening to achieve attractive skin tones
- Landscape for punchier greens and blues with stronger sharpening to give a crisp edge to mountain, tree and building outlines
- Neutral ideal for post-processing
- Faithful adjusts color to match the subject color when shot under a color temperature of 5200K
- Monochrome for black and white shooting with a range of filter effects (yellow, orange, red and green) and toning effects (sepia, blue, purple and green)
Canon also supplies a Picture Style editor, which allows the user to create and upload new picture styles to the camera. Picture Styles can also be applied to RAW captures using Canon’s DPP software.
Highlight Tone Priority
The EOS 7D has a highlight tone priority (HTP) setting, which reduces the clipping of bright highlights. The exact mechanism behind it isn’t detailed by Canon but the effect is similar to that which could be obtained by using a nonlinear amplifier gain setting to the sensor data, which effectively could be considered to be the equivalent of shooting the highlights at an ISO setting about one stop slower than the shadows. The slowest ISO setting allowed when using HTP is 200. HTP is quite effective at increasing highlight detail, at the possible cost of slightly noisier shadows.
Auto Lighting Optimizer
The Auto lighting optimizer function analyzes the image and can optimize the brightness and contrast to improve the image (e.g. it can correct for dark subjects in back light situations). There are 4 options (off, low, standard and strong). This function can also be applied to RAW images during post-exposure processing using Canon’s DPP software.
The effect of the auto lighting optimizer is subtle. On some images it makes no difference at all, while with others there is a difference—though even on the “strong” setting, the effect is small. There are much better correction tools in DPP, so auto lighting optimizer seems to be something mostly for those who like to print JPEGs straight from the camera rather than doing any post exposure optimization.
The Canon EOS 7D uses CompactFlash (CF) memory, as do all Canon EOS DSLRs other than the Digital Rebel series (which now use SD memory). The EOS 7D can take advantage of the extra speed of UDMA (Ultra Direct Memory Access) enabled cards and supports such cards up to mode 6 (which supports data transfer at speeds up to 100MB/s). The ability to use fast UDMA as well as the speed of the dual DIGIC IV processors means that the EOS 7D can take advantage of the fastest CF cards, such as the 90MB/s UDMA (6) SanDisk Extreme Pro cards.
Note that any CF memory camera can utilize both UDMA and non-UDMA cards. If you use a non-UDMA card in the 7D it’s just fine, but data transfer to the card will be a little slower. If you use a UDMA card in a camera like the EOS 40D that does not have UDMA support, it will be fine too, but it won’t be able to take advantage of the UDMA transfer protocol.
Given the size of the files generated by the EOS 7D, I’d recommend at least a 4GB or 8GB card.
The EOS 7D has departed from the BP-511/512 batteries used in the EOS 40D/50D and uses the same 1800mAh LP-E6 battery as used in the EOS 5D Mk II. This battery gives increased shooting capacity. Canon estimates 1000 shots at 23°C without flash use and 800 shots with 50% flash use. At 0°C these numbers fall to 900 and 750 respectively. With the optional BG-E7 grip and two batteries installed, these numbers are doubled.
The LCD battery indicator now has 6 levels which show the state of charge of the battery.
Choosing a Lens
The EOS 7D can use any Canon lens, both EF (full frame) and EF-S (crop sensor). The obvious choice for a wideangle lens would be the
If you wanted one high-quality lens to do as much as possible, the new
For a telephoto zoom, my pick would be the
Compared to Nikon D300s
The most obvious competitor for Canon’s EOS 7D flagship APS-C format DSLR is the
|Canon EOS 7D||Nikon D300s|
|Image size (pixels)||5184 × 3456||4288 × 2848|
|Sensor||18MP CMOS (Canon)||12.3MP CMOS (Sony)|
|ISO||100-6400 plus 12800||200-3200 plus 6400|
|Video||HD 1920 × 1080, HD 1280 × 720, SD 640 × 480||HD 1280 × 720, SD 640 × 480, SD 320 × 240, 24 fps|
|Continuous drive||8 fps||7 fps. 8 fps with optional grip and battery pack|
|Viewfinder||100%, 1x||100%, 0.94x|
|AF Zones||19 zones||51 zones|
|Metering||63 zone (color)||3D Matrix (color)|
|Memory Card||CF||CF plus SD|
|Wireless Flash Control||Yes, 3 groups||Yes, 2 groups|
|Level Indicators||2 axis electronic level||Virtual horizon in Live View|
Since I didn’t have a D300s available for side to side comparison I couldn’t compare noise levels, dynamic range or AF performance. That will have to be left to other reviewers.
Compared to EOS 50D
- HD and SD video with sound
- A new 19 zone AF system with dedicated processor
- A higher pixel count (18MP vs 15MP)
- A higher frame rate (8fps vs 6.3fps)
- A new 63 zone dual color metering system
- Wireless speedlite control via built in flash
- A larger image buffer
- A larger (100%, 1x) viewfinder
- Faster operation via dual DIGIC IV processors
- ISO range of 100- 6400 plus H (12800)
- Better environmental sealing
- Higher capacity battery
- Built-in Electronic Level
- UDMA mode 6 support
Not all photographers will need all these added features, but many will find them very useful.
Key EOS 7D Features
|Image Sensor||22.3mm x 14.9mm, 18MP CMOS, (5184 × 3456)|
|Autofocus||TTL-CT-SIR AF-dedicated CMOS sensor, 19 AF points (Cross-type)|
|ISO Speeds||ISO 100-6400 + H(12800)|
|Metering Modes||35-zone Evaluative, 9% Partial, 3.8% Spot, Center Weighted|
|Viewfinder||Pentaprism, 100% coverage, 1x|
|Shutter Speeds||1/8000 to 30 sec. + B, X-sync at 1/250 sec.|
|Type||Retractable, auto pop-up flash, GN 12/39 (ISO 100 m/ft), coverage for 15mm lens
|Memory||CompactFlash (CF) with UDMA mode 6 support|
|LCD||TFT color, 3.0 in, 920,000 pixel, 160° viewing angle|
|Power||LP-E6, optional Battery Grip BG-E7|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||148 × 111 × 74 mm (5.8 × 4.4 × 2.9 in)|
|Weight||860 g (30.3 oz) including battery|
If you expect a huge difference in overall image quality between the EOS 40D, EOS 50D and EOS 7D, you’d probably be somewhat disappointed, but that’s not what the EOS 7D is really about. In terms of ergonomics and features, the 7D is clearly ahead of the other EOS crop sensor cameras. Not only does it add 1080p HD video (with dedicated controls), it adds a totally new AF system with 19 AF zones, a new metering system, a bigger viewfinder, faster frame rates, a larger buffer, a more rugged shutter assembly, wireless flash control, an electronic level and a higher capacity battery to name just a few of the new features. As a bonus you do get slightly higher resolution and slightly lower noise levels, so image quality certainly hasn’t suffered.
For some, the addition of HD video alone would have been enough reason to upgrade, but when you add in all the other new features, the EOS 7D becomes and extremely attractive camera. Yes, it’s around $700 more than an EOS 50D (doesn’t have video) and $1000 more than an
Where to Buy
Photo.net’s partners stock the Canon EOS 7D. Their prices are fair and you help to support photo.net.
- Photo.net Canon EOS discussion forum
- Canon DSLR System Overview
- Canon USA web site
- Building a Digital SLR System
Example EOS 7D Photographs
||Canon EF 500/4.5L, 1/250s @f8, ISO 400. I used the 2.3% spot meter function of the EOS 7D to meter this image (Av mode). Since the area of the spot meter fit inside the image of the moon, an accurate exposure was obtained.|
||Canon EF 500/4.5L, 1/250s @f8, ISO 400. Cropped version of image shown above.|
Original text and photos ©2009 Bob Atkins.