Canon EOS 7D review

Full review: 18.1MP pro-spec SLR with 1080p video, 19-point AF and much more...

Image 1 of 2 Canon EOS 7D front
Canon EOS 7D front
Image 2 of 2 Canon EOS 7D back
Canon EOS 7D back

Big-sensored bruiser with HD video and pro features hurls the gauntlet down to Nikon

With the EOS 7D, Canon is pulling out all the stops to appeal to keen amateur and semi-pro photographers. In a nutshell – or rather, a tough magnesium alloy shell – the 7D offers an 18.1-megapixel sensor, speedy 8fps performance, 19-point autofocus and full HD video recording.

The EOS 7D sits between Canon’s mid-range EOS50D/60D, and the more pro-spec EOS 5D Mark II – the latter having a full-frame (35mm size) sensor as opposed to the EOS 7D’s smaller, APS-C sized device.

More on Canon
Canon EOS 550D review
Canon PowerShot S90 review
Canon EOS 60D and 1Ds set for 26 August release

If you just buy the camera bodies, the EOS 7D works out about 500 quid cheaper than the 5D Mark II. As for Canon’s arch- rival Nikon, the EOS 7D is designed to take on the Nikon D300s, a solid but rather dated workhorse that lacks HD video (expect an upgrade soon).

Canon EOS 7D: Build

As mentioned, the body’s made from magnesium alloy with environmental protection, so this is a real take-anywhere camera. Stick on a decent lens and it feels just as weighty and sturdy as its big brother, the 5D Mark II, which will reassure wildlife and action photographers. For our money it also feels sturdier than the polycarbonate resin/aluminium chassis of the new Canon EOS 60D.

Canon EOS 7D: Convincing performer

So what else is new apart from the sensor? Other headline improvements include two Digic IV image processors and an overhauled autofocus system, that offers a bewildering array of focus points (19 in fact). Which is great, but manipulating them is harder than it should be – you need to read the manual several times to figure it out. Rather than having to deal with a combination of wheels and dials, you long for a simple, dedicated button.

ISO (light sensitivity) now extends to 6400, or a rather reckless 12800 if you choose H mode. This, combined with new flash and wireless control, makes the EOS 7D a convincing low-light performer.

The rear screen is simply fantastic, even in strong sunlight. It’s bright, clear, and matches that of the Nikon D300s punch for punch. Glare is significantly reduced on the 3-inch screen, and it offers 920k pixel quality. This, combined with Canon’s logical menus, make the EOS 7D very easy to use. The quality rear screen comes into its own when using Live View or shooting HD video too. While not as fast as the 1D range, the EOS 7D is no slouch. Start up time with sensor cleaning is impressively fast, and continuous shooting maxes out at a respectable 8fps.

Canon EOS 7D: Picture quality and movie mode

Apart from unpredictable white balance indoors and a slight softness with JPEGs (a characteristic of all Canon DSLRs), the EOS 7D delivers excellent image quality. As with most higher end SLRs, we’d shoot in RAW for best results, and still try to keep ISO in the hundreds for the most consistent results. The large resolution sensor and dual image processors churn out large, detailed images you’ll be proud of for years to come. HD movie performance is great too; as well as full 1080p resolution, you get reliable AF and movement tracking, and there’s an impressive array of manual controls. All this makes the EOS 7D a solid upgrade from the EOS 50D in every sense.

Out now price quoted is body only, link: Canon

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SPECIFICATIONS
Sensor: 18.1-megapixel CMOS
Lens: Any Canon EF/EF-S lens; typically sold with 18-55mm Canon kit lens
Screen (size and res): 3 inch LCD, 920k pixel
Viewfinder: optical and rear LCD (Live View and video)
Stabilisation: via lens
Video: 1920x1080p HD, 24fps
Storage (card and internal): CF
Connections: USB, HDMI, Video output
Battery life: Approximately 800 shots
Weight/size: 148x111x74mmm/820g (without battery)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------