7 Things to Love About the Canon 7D

Canon 7D

The Canon 7D has received a lot of attention since (and even before) its announcement on September 1, 2009.  While the camera has been packed full of hype, it seems that it may be well-deserved hype – the 7D packs some serious ammunition.  Here’s 7 things that make it stand out from the DSLR crowd.

1. Speed

The Canon 7D can capture images at up to 8 frames per second in machine gun mode, which puts it in the category with other pro-level sports cameras. It’s just a bit shy of Canon’s flagship sports shooter, the Canon 1D Mark III, which captures 10 frames per second.

2. New Autofocus System

The 7D’s new AF system may make it more attractive than the 1D Mark III, which has been plagued with autofocus issues nearly since the camera was released. Canon has obviously invested some serious R&D time on the Canon 7D’s new 19-point, all cross-type AF system. The system also includes dual diagonal cross-type sensors in the center at f/2.8 and f/5.6. Additionally, the 7D offers a number of different ways you can select and make use of these 19 AF points: Single AF point, Spot AF, Area AF, Zone AF, and Auto.

3. Super Sensitive for Low Light

The Canon 7D offers a sensitivity range of ISO 100-12800. Initial reports suggest that the Canon 7D is a stellar performer at higher ISOs; however, I believe most/all of these are based on a pre-production model evaluation.  We can’t wait to see what a production model does. Sports and wedding shooters have to love this ability to shoot available light at higher shutter speeds.

4. 18 Whopping Megapixels

You generally get a lot of groans when a camera company packs so many pixels on a sensor. This hasn’t been as prevalent in the first impressions of the Canon 7D – perhaps due to its promising low light, high ISO performance. It seems Canon may have found a nice balance between image resolution and acceptable noise levels with the 7D.

5. 1.6x Crop = Longer Zooms

Another big bonus for sports and bird shooters is the use of the APS-C format sensor. The result of a 1.6x crop gives shooters that need longer focal lengths a bit of an in-camera stretch to their lenses. While there are those who say they would rather crop from a full frame image, plenty of photographers will like that their 300mm lenses feel like 480mm lenses on the Canon 7D.

6. Tons of Video Options

Canon really stepped up the game with the video capabilities of the 7D.  It shoots in a variety of frame rates: 1920 x 1080 (Full HD): 30p (29.97) / 24p (23.976) / 25p, 1280 x 720 (HD): 60p (59.94) / 50p, 640 x 480 (SD): 60p (59.94) / 50p.  Budding videographers also get solid manual controls for exposure. It’s basically everything we wanted the 5D Mark II to be.

7. Bang for Your Buck

At $1699, the Canon 7D bests the Nikon D300s by $100 while appearing to best it in many other respects as well.  Aside from the smaller sensor, the 7D bests or comes close to the 5D Mark II in many of its marquee features – at a price that is $1000 less.  For those who don’t need the full frame sensor format, the 7D becomes an obvious choice in terms of its price and features.

Love It / Hate It?

What are your love/hate features in the Canon 7D?  Is it on your wish list?  Fire away in the comments below.

Read more about the 7D at Photography Bay’s Canon 7D Reviews and Resources.

 

Comments

  1. says

    I’m planning on switching to Canon, so naturally I really want this baby, especially since I’ll be buying some EF-S lenses…but I think I’ll go with the T1i with its more appealing price tag.

  2. Jeremy D. says

    this is a sweet looking camera. I’ve been looking for an excuse to upgrade from my XTi.

    @David: is the sensor too small or too large?

  3. says

    Love the 7D. I started out with a Canon 40D and then moved into a 5D when my wife upgraded to the 5D MarkII. Love the 5D for landscapes but miss the 1.6x of the 40D so was looking at picking up another body (40D or 50D)…as soon as I heard of the 7D, I knew my prayers had been answered. Better AF system, more MP, rugged build and the 1.6x factor will make my life much better when shooting wildlife.

    Can’t wait to get my hands on this beauty!

  4. Melomind says

    @ Jeremy. The sensor is a CROP meaning it’s too small compared to 5DMKII and even smaller compared to Nikon D300s. This is the bad.

    I absolutely hate the fact Canon made a feature-packed camera exceeds 5DMARK II in many aspects but sensor type/size.
    I have made a decision for 5DMARKII before the 7D was released and now I feel I’ll be buying the “yesterday” yet with a full-frame sensor bringing the benefits.

    At the end – maybe we don’t need all the bunch of features and it’s fully enough with 5DMKII for still images to make perfect pictures?

  5. WadeM says

    I’m not put off by the smaller sensor. It blows my mind that anyone would miss having one though. I don’t believe its better than a larger sensor for wildlife though. Its false that it makes your lenses longer. The focal length of your lenses does not change. You simply get an image that doesn’t have as much coverage so it has to be blown-up further to cover the same print or monitor. In the early days of digital compacts, this was called “digital zoom” and the experts said to ignore it as a feature! As far as you guys who wish these features were in the 5DMKII, I say wait a little bit. I bet they will come out with a 5DMKiin with the upgrades. You know some of this stuff has to move up to the 5D and 1D models. They’re just waiting to see wait Rob Galbraith says about the new auto-focus mechanism! Personally I’m gonna get one of these. I’ve been wanting to incorporate some video with my shooting at family events.

    Wade

  6. Sheldon says

    I don’t like what Canon has done here. This camera sounds fantastic, why buy the 5D MKII, just for the full frame? What are those benefits. There’s a Photography Bay article….Why Buy the 5D MKII. Is full frame better than all the advances of the 7D? This has made upgrading from the 40D difficult.

  7. w. mackey says

    Sheldon, yes this camera makes the large sensor with even better lowlight capablity the only reason to buy a 5DMKII. But, that is not an insignificant reason. For a photographer that really needs the high resolution and low-light sensitivity of Canon’s 21 megapixel sensor, and many do, the 5D is a good way to get it. Canon will incorporate these new features in the 5D. The only question is when and that will be dictated by sales figures. If people immediately stop buying the 5DMKII, Canon will expedite the update. Personally, I expect to see the advances move to the 1D cameras first. I also agree with someone in the DPreview forums, I can see Canon seriously reducing the price of the 5DMkII and keeping it in the lineup and then introducing a 3D and/or 3Ds with more advanced feature set in-between 5D and 1D cameras. I believe Sony is doing something similar. They’re introducing the A850 with apparently the same sensor and similar features as the A900 for much less dinero. Why would they do this? Aren’t they risking cannibalizing sales of the A900? Not if they plan on taking a soon to be released A900 revison up-market. In fact, contrary to what Sony has said, I’ll bet that they intend to try to pull some of Nikon and Canon’s Professional clients there way with a pro-level dSLR. Maybe it will have a new sensor with some of the Exmoor goodness!
    Wade

  8. Yingjun Huang says

    The continuous frame buffer drops from 16 (50D) to 15. More limitation on the RAW+JPEG buffer but doesn’t matter to me (I shoot RAW only). mRAW with 10MPix is a plus but I wonder why this doesn’t increase the buffer size. The 19 points and selection mechanism is excellent so I can’t wait to see the serial copy performs. Also very keep to see how the noise performance will be compared to the 50D. This is a ton-of-camera for me as bird-action-shooter.

  9. says

    Wade, thanks for your insight. I like the idea of full frame for wide landscape shots and the megapixel count doesn’t hurt in that department either for very large prints that will be viewed from a close distance. That sensor would have helped me in some dull conditions in Scotland recently, along with being able to get a wider shot. I agree Canon will have to do something to keep up with Nikon and Sony seems to be ramping up to be a contender across the range. I guess it’s more frustration on my part, nobody except Canon employees in the know are aware of upcoming products etc etc. Puts the buyer in a crappy spot. Hopefully there is news sometime before late winter. Places like BHPhoto haven’t had the 5D MKII in stock for sometime now, maybe people will start to consider the 5D at $1000 less.

  10. Gerhard says

    I had a 40D (sold it today) and pre-ordered my 7D. I also own a 1D3.
    I believe the 7D will be a killer 1.6x body.

    It remains to be seen how good the AF will be but the mere fact that there are more sensors in the same area will solve the only issue I had with the 40D. Try tracking birds in flight against a background like trees etc. The moment your focus point goes off the bird the camera locks onto the background. This ought to be less of an issue with the 7D.
    For what it is worth, there are no focussing issues with a 1D3 – only stupid users or broken cameras.

    I am also interested to see what one can achieve in low light with this sensor. I read that although high MP sensors may have similar ISO performance compered to the lower rez ones they replace (hence the reason many shout – no more pixels, give us more iso!) you still get better IQ when you sample the 18 MP photo (treated for noise etc) back to say 12 MP compared to what you can get out of a new generation 12MP sensor that has say one stop better high iso performance. This is only fractionally more work when you shoot in RAW anyway. If true, it means you have 18MP when the light is goot AND better high ISO at say 12 or 10 MP when the light is not good. Remains to be seen.

  11. Gerhard says

    @ 1.6 crop haters.
    Guys, why the fuss? The 7D does not replace the 5Dii. They are different cameras for different uses.
    Example: Many pro’s use xxD’s for birds. Because of the digital zoom effect. Because even a $10000 800mm lens is still not long enough so even a 40D gives you more frames per second at similar resolution than a 5DII or 1Ds3 for the size of the bird you are trying to photograph (ie after you have cropped the photo). So the 7D is perfect for them. Also great for a light sports camera.
    If you want better depth of field etc – get the 5dII or 1DS3. If you need even more shallow depth of field – go to medium format.
    Sensor size means nothing. There is no good or bad. It depends on what you want to use it for.

  12. Travis says

    @Gerhard

    You don’t seem to understand what a crop sensor means. If you stick a 300m on a 5D and on a 7D you will essentially get the same photo, just the 7D doesn’t show as much on the sides. Therefor you can take a picture with a 5D drop it 1.6 around the edges and you’d have the 7D result.

    Personally the only thing the 7D has going for it is shutter speed. Crop sensors are also dramatically worse in low light scenarios and the ISO rendering is much worse.

    I’m personally holding out for a new 1D. 24p doesn’t nearly interest me as much as a 120fps slow mo feature and maybe a headphone jack for audio monitoring. All things the 1Ds body could have room for.

  13. Craig says

    @Gerhard

    You’ve got a point about the the lenses still being the same, but there’s something else you might want to consider. While it’s true that a 300mm lens (for example) on a 7D won’t magnify any more than on the 5D MkII, you also have to consider that the 7D is compacting 18 megapixels into the 40% of the full-frame camera’s sensor. The 5D MKII will have to spread the 21 megapixels across an area that is 60% more than the 7D’s cropped sensor covers. /as for issues like pixel pitch and low light performance, and AF features, well that remains to be seen.

    Example:
    On a 7D the image would be 5184 x 3456 and can be printed (at 300 ppi) 17.28″ x 11.52″
    On a 5D MkII, the cropped image would only be a 12.6 megapixel image because the 21 megapixels are evenly spread out across the sensor – it’s essentially the same image that an original 5D would produce, which you could still make a fairly big print from.

    The math says it, 12 megapixels vs 18 megapixels. Somebody earlier said that the cropped sensor when compared to a full-frame sensor was similar to digital zoom feature in point-and-shoot and camcorders. But that’s not the case either, we’re talking about optics here, and the 300mm lens will display the image at full resolution for the sensor to capture. In fact, cropping from a full-frame sensor to get the same image as a 7D would get with the same lens is exactly what digital zooming is, you’re just doing it after the fact and not in-camera.

  14. leo says

    It’s an absolute great camera. It’s a bargain, an little EOS 1. I like most everything about it, the 100% viewfinder en the most things already mentioned. I own a 40D, an EOS 1 mark II for the speed and a 5D. I bought the 40D as a second small body, but never use it. I do not like the crop factor. So The crop factor puts the 7D in a category I would never consider. What I do not like is the possibility of making movies, I buy a camera to make photographs. But I am afraid there is no getting around there. Liveview should have a screen that you can turn around to be really effective, but that’s a minor point. Melomind said; “now I feel I’ll be buying the “yesterday” ” and yes, digital camera’s are like computers, walk out the store and it is already on old thing. I still like my even older than yesterday’s 5D and would not think about turning it in for the today’s 7D :)

  15. Uvee says

    Leo:
    I really can’t make sense of what you are talking about?
    You seem to be a person who is not open to new things.

  16. John says

    I love this camera, but I just don’t know if I’m going to upgrade from my 40D. I know it has some great new functions, but my 40d performs well anyway. I like the speedlite transmitter, but I have an STE-2, and a 580ex11 that also acts as transmitter. One part of me would love to have this camera, but the other is telling me what I have is doing the job very well now. If I’m looking for an improvement maybe better glass is the way to go.

    I would like to make a comment about the crop sensor vs full size sensor debate. I’ve had a lot of trouble getting my head around the difference. It’s true of course that the focal length of your lenses doesn’t change at all. A 300mm lens is a 300mm lens on either sensor. But the photos will be different. Thinking about printing helps to illustrate. Say for example you print both photos at 4 x 6, the photo from the crop sensor camera will appear to have been taken with a longer focal length lens than the photo from the full frame camera, because the edges are missing and the rest of the photo is therefore larger to fill the same 4 x 6 area. To get the same photo off the full size sensor you would have to shoot with a lens that is 300mm x the crop factor, in Canon’s case 1.6. So although there is no real additional zoom, 300mm is still 300mm, the result is different.

  17. Trevor says

    The camera looks great, but Canon’s pricing policy outside of the USA stinks.
    In the UK the 7D price of £1699 suggests a parity of $1 = £1. Currently £1 buys you $1.65 in any other transaction.

    I will not be buying at this pricing…

  18. Joe says

    I’m very interested in the faster bursts, introduction of a weather sealant to the body and seeing how the 7D performs in low-light conditions at the higher/highest ISOs. Also interested in the claims of how the dual Digic IV sensor will improve image quality in general … and in images containing contrasting light conditions in particular … and if the ratcheting of the AF system will make the use of AI Servo any easier and/or result in shooters being able to nail more “keepers” (shots in focus) when shooting sports and the like.

    The 18 MPs and video are not important to me, but I will pay attention to how those things perform in the various tests that Popular Photography, Shutterbug and dpreview.com will put the camera through.

  19. says

    I was just thinking of getting the 50D but of course now I won’t and get the 7D instead. Thanks God I waited to buy a new camera.

  20. alamond says

    and the price in EU is 1699 EUR!!! Can you imagine that. Anyway, I am still thinking about buying it.

  21. says

    Interesting note on pricing, Canon should base prices in US and convert to the appropriate currency and add in extra costs for doing business in Europe and UK…but start in US and convert.

  22. Gerhard says

    @Travis: See Criags comments
    Travis, you do not seem to understand what a crop sensor does. You fit 18 MP into a smaller sensor and you do have more resolution than 21 MP in FF when cropped back to 1.6. The point is you get more resolution – not magnification.

    Came accross a site looking at the AF performance in a beta 7D. The guy recons it matches his 1D3! http://www.naturfokus.info/EN/

    If this is true, and the early IQ reports are also true – then this is really good news. Only thing I have not paid attention to – does it have a print button???????

  23. Gerhard says

    About pricing:

    Guys – I think it has very little to do with doing business in any particular country. Here is South Africa, we are also being ripped off. The dealers claim it is due to import taxes etc.

    I say it is a simple decision by either Canon or the local dealers – have no evidence to suggest which but I can tell you:
    1) I have never bought a Canon or any lenses in South Africa.
    2) I buy all my stuff from retail dealers in the USA.
    3) I registered as an importer
    4) I pay the required duties, taxes, shipping fees etc
    5) My gear works out about 65% of the price on average compared to local

    So there…

  24. Sheldon says

    Just so I understand the resolution part between say the crop and full frame sensors. If I take the same picture with a 1.6 and full frame and crop the full frame with a factor of 1.6, will the images be the same quality? If I understand correctly from above, the answer is no, the 1.6 sensor camera will have the better quality. Correct?

  25. Gerhard says

    @ Sheldon

    A qualified yes:
    But a lot depends on the difference in pixel density.

    So if we look at the 7D vs 5DII;
    7d > 5184 x 3456 pixels in 22.3 x 14.9 mm sensor

    5dii > 5616 x 3744 in 35 x 24 mm sensor

    So if you crop the 5dii image back to 22.3 x 14.9 mm size you get:
    3578 x 2324 pixels = 8.3 MP worht of pixels you now have to work with.

    Despite the marketing hype, you will not see a differenc between say 8 MP and 10 MP. You only see a difference between say 10MP and 20MP.

    So a 30D sort of matches the 5DII in sensor resolving power, and a 40D, 50D and 7D beats it.

    But this is just part of the equation. The overall ability of the sensor to capture colour accurately and deal with noise etc also come into play.
    When the rezolution difference is not huge, like with a 1.6 crop 40D vs 1.3 crop 1DIII – both 10MP, it has been demonstrated that under certain conditions, the 1DIII for instance out-resolves the 40D even though it has a lower resolution sensor (for the same cropped area).

    So in the case of the 5DII, it will probably out-resolve the 30D (and maybe even the 40D) due to factors like these. But you will get more detail in your crop with the 50D and 7D compared to the 5DII.

  26. Jasli says

    Everything is pefect but too bad….the sensor is too small. It is what they say: once a full frame guy, always a full frame guy. Gonna wait for 5DM3 and/or 1DM4.

  27. Sheldon says

    @Gerhard

    Thanks for the explanation. It’s clear now. For me, I like the 7D for airshow, wildlife photography, but like the 5D MKII for landscape/wide shots. I guess I need to win the lottery to buy both or perhaps wait for a 5D MKIII…maybe it’ll pack more pixels.

    I was taking some celebrity pics at the film festival here with my 40D and 70-200 f2.8, kinda disappointed in some shots. I had the camera in AV and auto ISO with my Speedlite, it used 800, but there appears to be substantial noise of the reddish variety, the lighting wasn’t the greatest, but not bad. I’ve sent a RAW file to Canon to look at, hoping to hear back tomorrow. Doesn’t look normal to me, I’ve never really done low light photography, other than long exposure night shots.

  28. cody says

    Two things that look appealing: framerate and number/layout/sensitivity of the AF poins. Other than that… sorry, no dice.

    At the time the 50D came out I was utterly disappointed by the pixel density. I even promised myself that if the next crop camera that comes out from Canon sees a decrease in resolution (say..down to 12MP) I’d upgrade my 40D. Didn’t happen.

    As an electronics engineer and a photographer I can guarantee that this much density will disappoint a lot of users. Remember that a very dense sensor requires increased accuracy in the design of the low-pass filter in front of it… Remember that the 50D images shot even with the amazing 200mm F/2 look soft. Remember that the diffraction limited aperture with this sensor is 6.8! One will need lenses which reach their maximum definition at 6.3 or 5.6. There are few of these around… and expensive.

    As I write this I haven’t been able to look at any images shot with the 7D (nor compare them to anything for that matter), but, if I may, it is my guess that we will see a decrease in dynamic range, and a lot more use of the unsharp mask in photographer’s workflow.

    The 5D mk2 is more expensive for a reason. If these reasons aren’t clear enough for a particular user, then he or she should go for the cheaper, cropped version, mount an off-the-shelf kit lens on it and feel good re-reading the system specs every once in a while.

  29. Gerhard says

    @ cody

    You so vely cleva! Us at Canon no think about difflaction limitashiaan! Oh thank you. We subtract 7D flom maket immediatlee befor honor becomes dishonor!

    Really dude – A 7D only good enough for a kit lens? Very creative in bringing up a bunch of beaten dead pixelphobia arguments. Only problem is you havent a clue. As an electronic engineer and a photographer I can only wonder….

  30. Gary says

    @ Gerhard
    Lol. I agree with your observations and comments in several posts. The article is about what to love about a new camera body (actually a new system). For people to rant without actually testing, holding, owning, or even seeing any images is, well, conjecture at best. If someone “loves” their full-frame sensor camera – great. If someone else “loves” their camera with a smaller sensor, equally great. I have XSi with a large collection of EF and EF-S lenses. I have been delighted with the camera, its performance, etc. but realize it could be improved upon. Pondered whether or not to abandon the investment in lenses made for APS-C Canon camera. Decided that the prudent upgrade path for me was the 7D which I have ordered but not received. That said, I couldn’t be happier with my decision (wink, wink) despite not actually seeing what it can do and will tell anyone who asks how great the 7D “actually” is. Looking forward to using it so my decision to buy it is validated.

  31. Jim says

    I still do not understand why, when the Canon engineers find ways to improve the sensor technology and performance they feel compelled to increase pixel density and reduce pitch, thereby reducing what the advances in sensor technology equate to in final output performance. If Canon would have been smart enough and/or bold enough to make the 7D (with such advances in sensor technology) a 10mp or 12mp camera there would be absolutely no doubt that the 7D would be a significantly better performer than the D300s for low-light captures and extended dynamic range. ISO 6400 would have probably been rock solid and very usable for most purposes. Furthermore, on the rare occassions that someone feels the need to blow up an image beyond 16″ x 20″, there is software available to accomplish that very handily, especially with the clean noise free files provided by large photosite sensors. And as most serious professional photographers are aware, the most sensible way to shoot high quality, large size (greater than 20″ x 24″), images on a full-time regular basis is through the use of medium format digital cameras, eg. the new Leica S2 or PhaseOne/Leaf. If more photographers would come to realize how truly pathetic DSLR image quality is compared to DMF (by checking it out for themselves), then there could be more focus and attention on what the DSLR does really well (fast fps, fast AF, potentially high ISO, etc.) and stop racing for pixel density. Canon, and others, are taking advantage of the ignorance of well-heeled prosumers when they produce a really promising camera like the 7D with too damn many megapixels, just so they can put a bigger number on their packaging for marketing purposes. There are so many good things about the 7D that it really sucks that Canon would ruin it by making the decision for 18mp when 15mp on the 50D was already too many, and in most cases not needed!

  32. says

    It’s the best thing since sliced bread. At the end of the day, does it look good enough to be on a movie theater? Is its low light performance acceptable? The guys at Lucas Films think so and they are way better qualified than any of us here. Take a look at this video for a second and see its low light performance in play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBmW7Az1Mpw

  33. David Barton says

    Really pleased with my 7D which I bought before Christmas with just a prime 50 mm lens which gives nice sharp images, would also recommend Tamrons 70 -300 lens which I purchased in the New Year sales. Great camera so well done Canon.

  34. says

    It seems with 7D Canon has turned out a wonderful video camera (trying to guess what Canon camcorders do!!!).

    How is it as a still camera? We’ll have to wait and see as mixed reports are gradually emerging.

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