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The Canon 7D is the digital SLR that many Canon fans have been waiting for, with a list of long-absent features that the lineup has needed to take on cameras like the Nikon D300.
Not shying away from the megapixel race, the new Canon 7D has a brand new 18-megapixel APS-C sensor with a 1.6x crop factor. Each pixel is 4.3 microns in size, though Canon says that with their gapless microlenses, the new sensor gathers plenty of light.
The Canon 7D is designed for speed, with dual DIGIC 4 chips to speed processing of these large 14-bit files, as well as keep up with the shutter's 8-frame-per-second top speed. Even the sensor had to be tweaked to enable such speed, with an 8-channel readout to more quickly draw the image off the sensor.
The Canon 7D's buffer can handle 94 JPEGs at top speed, or 15 RAW images.
For its part, the Canon 7D's shutter mechanism is rated at 150,000 cycles, and is the same design used by the 1D-series of Canon digital SLRs.
EV compensation has been expanded to five stops in either direction, and the ISO ranges from 100 to 6,400, with an expanded setting up to 12,800. The Canon 7D also sports an HD movie mode that will capture full HD at 30p.
The built-in flash has a wider range to handle up to 15mm wide-angle lenses, like the new EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM, and the flash can also serve as the remote commander for up to three groups of flashes, another first for Canon.
Other new features include an electronic level, a RAW button, and a new Multi-function button for quick, programmable access to various functions. And don't forget the new 19-point autofocus system, complete with a new LCD viewfinder display overlay, complete with a grid, obviating the need for interchangeable screens.
Canon EOS 7D User Report
The long-rumored Canon 7D has finally materialized: an advanced subframe digital SLR that Canon says is in the same class as the 5D Mark II. This is not the 60D with a new name, we're told, but a whole new line; whether the 7D supplants the 50D is not clear.
What is clear is that the Canon EOS 7D is replete with features, many of which seem like the fulfillment of an enthusiast checklist. Other features are clear responses to just about every corner of the digital SLR market, features that are heretofore only seen on one or two cameras from Nikon, Pentax, Sony, Olympus, and even Canon's Rebel line. The end result is that much of what Canon users may have admired in other cameras is now available in the Canon 7D.
Competition is good.
The Canon 7D also goes a long way toward tempering fears that the next round of Canon digital SLRs would be full-frame, as several of the advancements take advantage of the sensor's smaller size to achieve greater frame rates. Though the new sensor is 18 megapixels, the Canon 7D is still capable of capturing eight frames per second while maintaining 14-bit analog-to-digital conversion thanks to its dual DIGIC 4 processors. That makes the Canon 7D essentially the company's pro-grade subframe digital camera, going up against the Nikon D300S, leaving the current 50D to compete with the Nikon D90. It's interesting that Canon has essentially had no camera in this category until now.
There's a lot of detail to fill in, but let's get to the walkaround first to provide the usual context. The Canon 7D is similar in size to the EOS 50D, just a little larger, measuring 5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 inches (148.2 x 110.7 x 73.5mm), and weighing 33.3 ounces (2.08 pounds, 945g) with a battery and CF card. With the 28-135mm kit lens, it weighs 51.75 ounces (3.23 pounds, 1,467g).
Look and feel. Falling somewhere between the 5D Mark II and the 50D, the Canon 7D will feel familiar to either type of user. It has a big, comfortable grip with an indentation for the middle finger. The pentaprism housing is a little larger than the 50D, but a little smaller than the 5D Mark II. That's interesting, because the pentaprism in the 7D is actually larger than the 5D Mark II, to support the 100% viewfinder with 1.0 magnification, something we'll get to shortly. Unlike the 5D Mark II, the Canon 7D has a pop-up flash built in.
Canon has nested an infrared sensor into the front of the grip for remote release, something that they've left out of higher-end EOS cameras, instead confining it to the Rebel series. It's a welcome inclusion, giving new life to my RC-1 remote control that dates back to the 1990's. Upper right are four holes for the microphone. The Canon 7D also has a stereo microphone jack for those who are serious about getting quality audio from the camera's HD video output.
Like the 5D series, the Canon 7D's Mode dial is devoid of Scene modes, the first visible sign that this is a pro sub-frame camera. The good news is that you can build you own Custom modes, thanks to the three Custom positions on the dial (C1, C2, and C3), great for quickly setting the camera to a group of settings you use frequently. (I shoot a lot of product shots, for example, but often use the same camera for casual family photography: I usually assign a Custom mode for each of those, then set the third one to black and white mode.)
The power switch is in an entirely new place, jutting out toward the rear from under the Mode dial. The Status LCD illumination button is upper right of the LCD, as on the 5D, rather than as on the 50D. And the new Multi-Function (M-Fn) button is just behind and left of the shutter release button. This button can be programmed to quickly adjust several camera parameters.
A new LCD design graces the back of the Canon 7D. Canon has eliminated the air gap between the LCD and cover glass by sandwiching a special optical elastic material between the LCD and the cover glass. This optical elastic material has the same high refractive index as the glass itself. The cover glass is also a reinforced glass instead of the acrylic used on the 50D and 5D Mark II, so they also eliminated the special anti-reflective and scratch-resistant coatings found on the other recent EOS cameras. The appearance of the LCD is indeed reminiscent of instruments like a liquid-filled compass, with added contrast and less glare. Better yet, it doesn't give your images a blue cast that makes color harder to judge, especially when outdoors with the 50D or T1i. I really like the new display.
Also new on the back is the Quick menu button, which brings up the Standard status display, allowing easy navigation and adjustment of the various controls. Where the Live View activation button currently exists on the 5D and 50D, a new RAW+JPEG toggle button has been added, an innovation first seen on Pentax digital SLRs. Whether you're in RAW or JPEG mode, pressing this button turns on RAW+JPEG for the next frame, then reverts to whichever mode you had active. Just lower left of the optical viewfinder are three holes for the speaker. Also new is the Live View/Movie mode switch and start button. When the surrounding switch is set to Live View, as shown above, the Start/Stop button enters and exits Live View mode. When set to Movie mode, the Start/Stop button starts and stops recording.
Another welcome change is actually a return to the old, with the five standard buttons aligned to the left of the LCD, rather than their more awkward position beneath the LCD on the 50D.
Because Canon moved the power switch to the upper left under the Mode dial, a new Quick control dial Lock switch was necessary, appearing lower left of the dial. Just upper left of this dial is the ambient light sensor, which the Canon 7D uses to automatically adjust the LCD backlight.
Viewfinder. A significant upgrade to the Canon 7D is its stated 100 percent viewfinder coverage (we've measured it at 98%), something currently only available on a very few competing digital SLR cameras, including the Pentax K7 and the Sony A900. Furthermore, the Canon 7D's viewfinder delivers 1.0x magnification.
Size & Dimension
|Dimension||148 x 111 x 74 mm|
|Video Format||JPEG RAW RAW + JPEG DCF 2.0|
|Battery Life||Info n/a|
|LCD Resolution||920000 pixels|
|Built In Flash||Built In|
|Battery Type||Rechargeable Li-ion|
|Memory Type||CM Flash|
|Built In Memory||Info n/a|
|LCD Size||3 Inch|