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EOS 7D Review
18 Megapixels
APS-C CMOS 1.6x

Disclaimer:
The following review is not suppose to be some kind of a professional review. If you are looking for such reviews you will not find it in my homepage. I just plan to write a simple review with my thoughts to assist my friends with the camera they want to buy since most of the time the guy at the electronics department doesn't know much about the camera apart from the price of it by scanning the barcode. If you found my website from the internet then good for you! The reviews are just my thoughts and I am happy to share with anyone. It is possible I will make the occasional mistakes and if I do please let me know about it!



Introduction

Canon's 10-50D series, for the past decade, was the choice for semi-professionals who wanted a balance between professional image quality and price. It is a common alternative to the 1D. Recently, there are many competitive cameras from Sony and Nikon forcing Canon to come up with a model that will out beat its competition. Many of us had been waiting for the next 60D but out of nowhere is the birth of the Canon EOS 7D. It looks very similar to the 40D and 50D but with a 1D underneath its hood! It is not just a 50D with a new sensor. It’s more like a 50D with a new sensor, twin DIGIC IV processor, plus night vision AF system!

Like the Canon EOS 1D the 7D has frame bursts like a beast. It captures images at 8fps at 18 megapixels. I am a sports photographer and high-speed photography is a must. 18 megapixels will give me so much detail its like a dream come true! What I usually hate about APS-C Canon cameras is that the viewfinder is small and its hard to spot the football player on the field. This 7D features an amazing 1.0x magnification and 100% coverage viewfinder which satisfies my concern. APS-C on the 7D compared to the APS-H of the 1D will give me even further reach thanks to the crop advantage and you could never get enough zoom with zoom lenses for sports photography on a budget. The new 7D comes with base ISO up to 6400. In the past I had to take photos in RAW for 3200 and push the sensitivity up to 6400 in ARC. The 7D already comes with 6400 with H1 up to ISO 12800. My last concern for the APS-C series was the poor AF selection. The new 7D comes with (finally!!!) 19-point AF. The 6.5fps of the 40D was fast enough in terms of shutter speed for me and it seems like I didn't need the 8fps of the 7D but what didn't feel right about the 40D at such a high fps was the 100,000 shutter actuation durability. The 7D comes with shutter durability up to 150,000 cycles! What more to ask? For speedlite fans, it comes with a built-in speedlite remote trigger. Yeah! Possible retirement for my ST-E1 =)

Sounds promising right? Well, im not done talking yet. i occasionally take my 1D along to snowboarding. ef-s and EF lenses both work on the 7D so its a lot more versatile than the 1D. Sometimes I prefer to carry the smaller and lighter ef-s lenses. I love taking landscape photos up on snow mountains and weather resistance is a must! The 7D comes is dust and water resistant. The last time I got lazy and took the lighter weight 50D + BG-E2N grip along and the focus screen was full of dirt I couldn't get out. (ended up selling that camera for dirt cheap!) It only costs USD $15 to get a focus screen replacement in China but it was my excuse to wait for a DSLR with video capability. Its nice to take some video clips when I am on a trip or need one for short interviews without the need for an extra video camera.


Specifications

 
Canon EOS 7D
List Price (body Only) HKD $13,980 (USD $1,699)
Body material Magnesium Alloy
Sensor Size • 23.6 x 15.8 mm CMOS sensor
• APS-C size
• 18 million effective pixels
A/D Conversion

14 bit

Digital Multiplier x1.6
Processor Dual Digic IV
Autofocus • TTL-CT-SIR CMOS sensor
• 19 cross-type AF points
• Center point cross type for f/2.8 or faster lens
AF Mode • One shot AF
• AI Servo AF
• AI Focus AF
• Manual focus
AF Type

Contrast detect

AF Assist Strobe AF Assist
Drive mode • Single
• High-speed continuous 8FPS
• Low-speed continuous
File Formats RAW and JPG
Speaker Yes
Image Size • 5184 x 3456
• 3456 x 2304
• 2592 x 1728
Movie Size

1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps)
1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps)
640 x 480 (59.94, 50 fps)
MOV (Video: H.264, Sound: Linear PCM)

Sensitivity range ISO 100
ISO 120
ISO 200
ISO 250
ISO 320
ISO 400
ISO 500
ISO 640
ISO 800
ISO 1000
ISO 1250
ISO 1600
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
ISO 12800 (H)
Flash/Hot shoe • E-TTL II auto flash with EX-series Speedlites
• Wireless multi-flash support
• PC Sync
Built-in flash modes • Auto pop-up E-TTL II auto flash
• FOV coverage up to15 mm (27 mm equiv.)
• Guide number approx 12 m (ISO 100)
• Cycle time approx. 3 sec
• Flash compensation +/-3.0 EV in 0.3 or 0.5 EV increments
• X-Sync: 1/250 sec
Light metering

iFCL Metering with 63-zone dual-layer metering system

Exposure bracketing

3 frames, 2.0 EV 1/3 EV Steps

Exposure compensation • +/- 5.0 EV (1/3 EV steps)
Exposure modes • Program automatic
• Aperture priority
• Shutter priority
• Manual
Color Space Adobe RGB, sRGB
Shutter speed Bulb - 1/8000 sec
Continuous shooting/ Buffer 8 fps, 126 JPEG or 15 RAW with UDMA CF card
Self-timer 2 sec, 10 sec
Viewfinder • Eye-level pentaprism
• 100% frame coverage
• Approx. 1.0x maginification
• Eyepoint: 22 mm
• Fixed (Transmissive LCD screen)
• Dioptric adjustment: -3.0 to +1.0 diopter
Menu Language

• Simplified Chinese
• Traditional Chinese
• English
• German
• French
• Dutch
• Danish
• Portuguese
• Finnish
• Italian
• Norwegian
• Swedish
• Spanish
• Greek
• Russian
• Polish
• Czech
• Hungarian
• Romanian
• Ukrainian
• Turkish
• Arabic
• Thai
• Korean
• Japanese

White balance Auto, 6 presets, Kelvin, Manual
Rotation sensor Yes
LCD monitor 3" TFT LCD 920,000 pixels
Dimensions

148 x 111 x 74 mm (5.8 x 4.3 x 2.8 in)

Weight 820g (w/o battery)
Battery Lithium-ion LP-E6 battery
Storage CF/UDMA CF card
Body finishes Black
Bundled software Digital Photo Professional v3.7
Manual Canon EOS 7D manual (English)

Features

 

The 7d is amost everything you can think of. I heard a lot of people switching to another brand of camera just because for the shutter sound. I get pretty upset whenever I hear this as the cause (don't be suprised I hear this all the time). The EOS 7D will not upset you. Its sounds like a tornado, its lightning fast, you get HD recording, you get the pop up flash, you have support for both EF-s and EF lenses, you get Custom settings, you get the top LCD display, you get high ISO, you get wireless flash capabiity...the list goes on. One true canon flagship model made for the masses.

 

The Eos 7D supports all EF and EF-S mount lens. It comes with Canon's new 18megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor. Thanks to Dual Digic IV it's shutter can reach speeds of up to 8FPS recording images at 14bit 18megapixels making it the fastest speed camera in the market (cameras at this resolution usually take photos at half the rate).

This 7D features an amazing 1.0x magnification and 100% coverage viewfinder. There are no longer options for the focus screen since now its all electronic display.One thing to note though...when power is off the iewfinder looks dim and blury...its normal and its not defective! For bright subjects all af points are shown in black and for bright subjects all af points are shown in red. Its lightning quick to use and you should really see it for yourself if you have the chance =)

I forgot to mention this above but it comes with an electronic leveler (that looks like a flight stimulator) so that you know when your images are off axis or not. This feature is avaliable in both the viewfinder and LCD. overkill isn't it?
Whats new on the 7D is this RAW/JPEG button. When you press on this button the RAW and JPEG indicatior will blink. This means the next photo you capture will be recorded in both RAW and JPEG and its very useful for important photos you want to save a RAW backup in. If this is not enough, there is a Q button to the left. You can Quick customize four top buttons as well as the DOF button to a function of your choice.

New the 7D over the 50D is the video capability. There is dedicated view record button on the top right of the back of the camera body. The 7D supports the following video recording modes:

1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps)
1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps)
640 x 480 (59.94, 50 fps)
MOV (Video: H.264, Sound: Linear PCM)

The 7D is made to last with a chasis made of magnesium alloy. It's also water and dust resistant build to the standards of the EOS 1N film SLR. I was waiting for the feature forever...thx Canon. It't not fully weather sealed but it is good enough for me. My old film EOS 1V HS has similar type of sealing and the condition is still pretty good.
The Canon EOS 7D has built-in pop up flash with a guide number of 12m and goes as wide as 15mm focal length to accomodate the two new kit lenses EF-s 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM and EF-s 15-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS. I was worried they were going to take the flash off this pro-comsumer body like the 5D Mark II. You get a lens shading with this lens when you use most zoom lenses but sometimes it is nice to have a flash you can use as fill in flash. This EOS 7D also comes with built in wireless trigger capability for speedlites so no more ST-E2 or pocketwizard wireless trigger!
I was told my Canon today that the 7D is in no way a replacement for the 50D since the 50D will still be in production. The 7D is in line with the Canon EOS Professional bodies and this is shown through the mode dial. Just like the 5D mk II, there are no automatic scene mode selections you would typically see on teh rebel series.

The Canon EOS 7D features a 3 inch 920,000 pixels LCD Monitor on the back, the simple, intuitive navigation system controlled by only a few buttons ensures rapid access to the entire range of camera functions. A focus dial is on the top right if you need to use MF. The LCD of the 7D comes with a new reflective layer and as you can see the LCD is clearly visible under harsh sunlight (not even on brightest setting) which is perfect for the outdoor photographer like myself!

Handling

The Canon 7D is 148mm in height and 111mm in width. It weighs slightly more than the Canon EOS 50D and equates to almost 900g with the battery. If you want to include the vertical grip and use some L lenses with it I promise you its going to be weight lifting on the move. Camera bodies weighing sub 800g are good for EF-s lenses in terms or weight balance. If you plan to upgrade to L lens or have some kind of an external flash (highly recommended by me) this camea just weighs enought to give you a good weight balance. For those who want lightweight my experience was I had a 450D with a Tamron AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC LD Aspherical(IF) and it just felt wierd. The camera wants to fall forward, the camera dips forward when I have it on my neck, and it was so hard to grip the camera when the lens is almost 3x the size of the camera body itself. Extremely poor handling (kind of solved this issue with the BG-E5 battery grip).

 

ISO Sensitivity and Noise levels

Some people wonder why their compact camera produces chunky looking photos and think if they need a new camera to have better picture quality. The chunky looking texture in the photos is due to noise. If you put your camera on auto ISO it will try to use a higher ISO setting so that a faster shutter speed can be used to prevent camera shake as well as prevent underexposed photos. auto gives you a decent photo but not necessary with the best image quality. If I do leave the camera on auto I usually select the ISO by myself. ISO Sensitivity on a digital camera is the ability of the camera to increase light sensitivity of the image sensor. As ISO is increased, the sensor's digital input signal is amplied but at a cost. Noise increases as ISO is increased and its side effects are usually seen in a form of a grainy texture. Low noise at high ISO does not necessary mean the sensor is good since many modern cameras employ noise reducation at higher ISO settings, which may be degrading to image detail. I think the 7D noise control is outstanding! The place I got to test the camera in was kind of dim lit so the photos below may not be the best representation of the ISO performance but I suggest you check out the quality of the sample photo I took at ISO 6400. The grain was so fine I couldn't believe my tiny eyes! Pictures speak louder than my words so heres some photos for you to compare and judge!

ISO 100

ISO 125


ISO 160

ISO 200

ISO 250

ISO 320

ISO 400

ISO 500

ISO 640

ISO 800

ISO 1000

ISO 1250

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 4000

ISO 5000
ISO 6400
ISO 12800 (H)

Built-in flash test

The photo on the left is taken with natural lighting and the photo on the right is a photo taken with the built-in flash. I did this test under heavy backlight situation. The flash works perfectly as a fill flash.

Verdict

Pros Cons
  • JPEG output shows impressive detail at base ISO
  • Highest resolution APS-C camera in the market with 18 megapixels
  • Good balance between noise reduction and IQ at high ISO
  • Very useable high ISO up to 6400
  • World's smallest highspeed DSLR at 8fps
  • built-in wireless trigger
  • Built-in flash
  • Solid build quality and handling
  • Improved weather sealing over the 50D
  • Dual Digic IV means = no lag
  • 100% coverage viewfinder.
  • Accurate Rangefinder
  • Electronic leveler
  • Much improved 19pt AF.
  • Automatic sensor cleaning
  • UDMA support
  • Live View
  • High Res 3" 920,000 pixel LCD
  • RAW/JPEG quick button
  • 5 custom buttons

  • Pop up flash is not high enough and will cause lens shading for wide angle lenses (comon for all Rebel and 10D-50D series).
  • no dual card reader for backup mode
  • Some wanted to see swivel screen and the 7D doesn't have it.
  • Price

The Canon 7D is a camera in its own class in the EOS series. Its fast in focus speed as well as accuracy like the 1D, you get 100% viewfinder coverage like most full frame cameras, you have the wireless trigger so that you can have your own mini studio, you get the build quality so that you don't have to worry about dust getting into the camera, pretty much everything. There is not much point in talking about the pros so let me talk about what I think about the cons. The pop-up flash is low but its the case for all DSLR's unless you want your DSLR's looking like a conehead! There is no dual card slot for backup mode but most people do not use it. I use very reliable sandisk cards and never lost a photo so far (luckily). I use dual card slot for backup redundancy all the time and I do miss this feature but is it really necessary? You know how we all stick to our own views dispite knowing it may not be true most of the time? Many professionals in fashion photography shoot in medium format and I don't think I ever heard of a Dual Card slot with redundancy feature camera. These photographers get sued if they miss a shot and even they don't need dual card slots in there cameras. Go Figure! As for swivel screen? I am 50/50 on this. I see how its convinient for a DSLR to have high angle shots or low angle shots but at the same time I don't want my DSLR to look like a DC like my old Powershot G1. It might be a good feature to have when you go to the restaurant and the waiter cannot figure out how to use your camera since it has no swivel screen. But bottom line....if you want swivel screen I highly recommend the Canon PowerShot G11 but in my own opinion I rather not have it on the 7D. More moving parts more things to repair. Final issue...Price. If you read up to hear you probably trust what I say so here it is. "The poor man pays twice!" I promise you with without Canons permission that this camera is made to last!

This camera is the camera I had been waiting for in years. I wanted a smaller DSLR than the 1D/1Ds series, I wanted a pop up flash which the 5D did not provide (the film version EOS 5 had a flash). It's almost everything I wanted....period. I hear people saying how the resolution will out resolve the lens etc but it doesn't. If it does Canon will not made a camera producing poor photos. They can say all they want about the specs but bottom like it is the users and people who look back at the photos who judge if the 18 megapixels out resolves the lens. Live most people thought with canon stuffing in more pixels was a bad move I was reall suprised with the low noise this camera produces. When I had my 50D I was kind of upset about noise levels at ISO 800. I think I said pretty much everything. It's a deal breaker! I already pre-ordered mine =)

  Rating (out of 5)
Build quality
4.5
Handling
4.5
Features
5.0
Value
4.5

Verdict

Highly Recommended!

If you decide to buy the Canon EOS 7D or its accessories you can get it them at B&H or Amazon by clicking on the links. It shows your support for my website so that I can keep adding to this site!

If you are still deciding but still want to show support for my website you can join my facebook group so that I know there are actually people who benefit from my homepage!

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Update: My 7D arrived 26/9/2009. I got emails from people that I should take the 7D out for a test and so I did. Click here to go to:

Canon EOS 7D Test Drive: Day 1: High ISO test. Lord of the Darkness?

Canon EOS 7D Test Drive: Day 2: Built-in Speedlite Trigger. Bye Bye Pocketwizard?

Canon EOS 7D Test Drive: Day 3: Old Hong Kong. DLA of the 18MP CMOS

Canon EOS 7D Test Drive: Day 4: Digital Film. CR2

Canon EOS 7D Test Drive: Day 5: Chinese National Day. 7D Action + Fireworks Photography

Day 6: Chinese Mid Autumn Festival. 7D Night Action + Astro Photography

Macro Photography with Extension Tubes on the 7D

 


Samples

Need unlimited photo storage? Try d...Trusted service by chanandrew.com

large

original

ISO 6400
1/500s
f/7.1
55mm
EF-s17-55mm f/2.8

large

original

ISO 200
1/20s
f/5.6
100mm
100 f/2.8L macro


large

original

ISO 500
1/80s
f/5.0
52mm
EF-s 17-55mm f/2.8

large

original

ISO 100
1/30s
f/3.5
20mm
10-22mm f/3.5-4.5

large

original

ISO 200
1/125s
f/14
45mm
TS-E 45mm f/2.8

 

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