Canon EOS 7D Review
Ever since the Canon EOS 7D was announced, we've been eagerly awaiting its release. With such high expectations, we were setup for disappointment, but the Canon 7D is everything it's marketed to be: a speedy camera with many advanced features and excellent image quality.
Not only is the EOS 7D great for taking pictures, but it can record amazing videos. After using it for a week, we all agree the 7D is a must for professionals, aspiring professionals, and photography enthusiasts with high standards who want the best midrange camera in its class.
First off, let's talk about the design. The 7D looks like the 50D, and its design is eerily similar to that of the EOS 5D Mark II. It actually has the same dimensions, but weighs slightly more. Holding it in our hands, it feels durable and has a good, solid build. The grip is also comfortable, with a convenient indentation for your middle finger.
Like most professional Canon DSLRs, the 7D has no scene modes. However, you can create your own custom modes using the C1, C2, and C3 positions in the mode dial. So if you commonly use a series of settings, just group them together into one of these 3 modes.
Towards the back, we have the LCD screen. The LCD screen is 3.0" inches and displays all colors accurately and brightly. There's also a new Quick menu button in the back, which enables you to quickly adjust various controls. In addition, there is a new multifunction button, labelled as M-Fn on the camera. It gives choices of five different autofocus modes: Manual AF, AF point expression, Automatic AF point selection, Spot AF, and Zone AF. Spot AF allows for precise pictures, like in macrophotography, by letting the user choose a specific AF point and reducing the size of that point.
The AF sensor uses 19 cross-type AF points. This is a large increase in AF points, since both the 50D and the Mark II offered only 9 AF points. There's a few selection modes you can choose from such as single point (where you can choose just 1 point among the 19), spot point (you select 1 point, but that points look at a smaller part of the area), AF point expansion (choose a group of points), Zone AF (select any of 5 AF zones), and auto-selection. The options can take some time to figure out, but switching between is relatively easy - just use the M.Fn button and the command dial.
The viewfinder is big and bright, and is one of the huge improvements made over past models. It offers 100% coverage, something that's not available in all cameras of this class. And it offers 1.0X magnification.
The image quality for the EOS 7D is superb. At first, we were a little worried because higher resolution sensors usually translate to very small pixels, but we were very pleased. Noise profile is terrific. When using ISO of 400-800, our images looked very sharp, crisp with almost no noise. At ISO 800, there is a little softness, but still sharp details. At ISO 1600, photos still look okay, although you will start to see more softness creep in. ISO 3200 is okay, and we don't recommend going above that, as softness and noise will become very obtrusive. You can still experiment with higher ISOs, but you most likely will need to apply some sharpness filters afterwards.
White balance, and color accuracy were good. Colors aren't over-saturated as much as they were in the 50D. Red, Orange and blue are over-saturated, but just a little, and the rest of the colors are in align with the true saturation levels. Hue accuracy is excellent, with cyan tending to shift towards blue, and red towards orange. You can adjust the saturation settings if you prefer oversaturated, and more intense colors.
Perhaps the most noticable thing about the 7D is its speed - you won't find a faster camera in this class. Power on to first shot is an incredible .19 seconds. Autofocus in bright lighting takes just .3 seconds, and .5 seconds in dim lighting, both head of the class. Shot to shot takes .3 seconds for JPEG, .4 seconds for RAW and .5 seconds with flash enabled, very impressive. The 7D is able to continuously shoot at a rate of 8 frames per second. If that's too fast for you, Canon has even implemented another continuous mode, in which the 7D will shoot at 3.5 fps. With such a fast shooting rate, the 7D is perfect for moving subjects, wildlife, and sports photography. If you just want the fastest DSLR in this price range, there's no question: the 7D is it.
The ability to shoot HD videos is another great feature of the Canon EOS 7D. What I love about it is the ability to shoot in different frame rates from 24, 25, and 30 frames per second. You can even shoot as fast as 50 or 60 frames per second in 720p. The video quality is sharp, and crisp, though it's not as sharp as a midrange camcorder of course. Like with most DSLR cameras with video recording, recording videos will take up large chunks of your memory card. Canon suggests users get a UDMA Compact Flash Card that can write at least 8MB/sec to record videos in HD.
- Canon mid-range 18.0-megapixel DSLR with HD Video
- HD video can record 1080p at 24fps or 720p at 50fps
- Sensitivity range ISO 100-12800
- Continuous shooting rate up to 8 fps
- 3.0" LCD Screen
- 100% Viewfinder
- 19 point cross-type AF system
- Five AF modes
- Durable body, good grip
- Can provide Image Stabilization
- 18.0 megapixel DSLR with HD video
- HD Video records up to 1080p at 24fps
- Amazing photo quality
- Very fast shooting speed
- Viewfinder easy to read
- High ISO image quality
- Video takes up a lot of space
- Kit lens not impressive
- Small, hard to feel buttons
- Slightly more expensive than some competition
The 7D is great all around, but may be in competition with the Nikon D300S, a DSLR with almost the same features and specs in every way. However, the D300S does not have a video feaure but is hundreds of dollars cheaper. Choosing between similar cameras with some distingushing features is not easy, though. There is a small price gap between the 7D and the 5D Mark II and a large one for the D300S. Photographers will have to consider their needs and what kind of camera will fit best before choosing between different Canon (or Nikon for that matter).
However, the 7D is a great choice for professional and semi-professional photographers who want the best quality, the best speed, and a camera that can be used with great ease for a long time. You can't go wrong with buying it, that's for sure.
Rating: 4.7 out of 5
Where to Buy It:
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Prices last updated on: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 17:55:47 PDT