Previous page Next page

Canon EOS 7D Review

November 2009 | By Lars Rehm, Richard Butler
Buy on GearShop


Review based on a production Canon EOS 7D, firmware v1.0.9

Canon's X0D series was, for many years, essentially the default choice for keen enthusiasts, professionals and aspiring-professionals who wanted top-level image quality and functionality without the bulk (or price) of a pro-level camera such as the 1D series. The 10D, 20D and 30D were hugely successful and popular cameras, and you didn't have to spend long shooting with them to understand why. However, like every other sector of the DSLR market, there are some very competitive rivals, in terms of both price and features. Cameras such as Sony's A700 and Nikon's D200 and 300 have meant the most recent X0D EOSs have been held to higher standards and have found it a little harder to stand-out.

Which brings us to the 7D, a camera that seems determined to wrestle back the king of APS-C crown. At first glance it looks a lot like the EOS 50D - it's unmistakably a member of the EOS family - but a closer look shows that this is far from being the gentle refresh that we're used to seeing in this range. And indeed, this is intended as big brother to the 50D, rather than as a replacement for it.

For a start, the camera is built around a new 18MP sensor, but the thing you're likely to notice before you even fire a shot is the impressive new viewfinder. 1.0X magnification and 100% coverage offers a noticeable improvement over the 0.95X, 95% finder in the EOS 50D and puts the camera on the same footing as the D300S (Its 0.94X finder ends up essentially the same size, once the focal length multiplier effect of its fractionally larger sensor is taken into account).

However, the 7D isn't just a 50D with a new sensor, viewfinder and revised body - other headline changes include a new AF system with a dedicated processor, dual Digic 4 processors and a new shutter mechanism to allow 8fps continuous shooting, and the ability to control groups of external flashguns using its built-in flash. However, the updates extend beyond these big-feature changes to include a variety of tweaks, refinements and additions. Make no mistake, Canon wants to be the default choice again.

The 7D fits into the Canon range above the 50D and this is apparent when you place them alongside one another - the 7D not only features additional external controls, it also has a considerable viewfinder bulge to accommodate its huge prism. The new screen does not feature a dark border so offers the same size of display, despite appearing smaller.

Key features

  • 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 8 frames per second continuous shooting
  • 1080p HD video recording with manual controls
  • 3.0 inch Clear View II LCD screen with 920,000 dots
  • 19-point AF system (all cross-type)
  • 1.0x magnification and 100% coverage viewfinder
  • Wireless flash control
  • Environmental sealing


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2009 dpreview.com and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey

 
Previous page Next page
1736
I own it
188
I want it
335
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 11
Phil Hol
By Phil Hol (3 weeks ago)

If you have a filter fitted to protect the lens try shooting without. After buying my 100-400 lens I returned to the shop after finding my images soft using a 7D. They tested my lens with a second one they had in the shop and agreed the first lens was faulty. When I got the second lens home I found it as poor as the first until I realized the second lens tested had not had a filter fitted when tested in the shop and I had transfered my filter to the second lens when I got home.
Conclusion: I only use filters for effects and I have remove all my "protective filters" from my L lenses. Why spend hundreds of pounds on lenses just to add a piece of cheap glass on the front.

0 upvotes
Girish Madpuwar
By Girish Madpuwar (1 month ago)

I am 7D user and have noticed that my images are considerably soft. I mostly use canon 100-400L lens. Initially I thought that its problem with the way I use camera. I tried all possible things. Searched lot and found many discussion about AF problem with 7D. Can someone share their experience?
It seems 7D AF is not consistent although manual focus gives considerably crisp and sharp image.

Comment edited 45 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Patcheye
By Patcheye (3 months ago)

I'm a wheelchair user and have gone for the 7D because of the increase in range when using a shorter lens over full frame which means though I often cannot get close I often achieve a useable image.

Live on the coast so to avoid problems re dust on the sensor from the beach I purchased a second one a few months back which says, I think, just how pleased I am with the product. Re low iso and noise, possibly because of high light levels from sea reflection and living in a flat open area I personally find no problems but using 2.8 lenses helps. Not professional but have had people use my stuff on their websites - so for my needs the 7D works well - Oh, and if like me you have poor dexterity you'll find the raised buttons really helpful even when wearing gloves.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Ajaykdelhi
By Ajaykdelhi (3 months ago)

I have a 70D, am getting a used 7D at $ 800 next week, will provide a comprehensive review after that

0 upvotes
TahoeJohn
By TahoeJohn (3 months ago)

My Review of the Canon 7d as the owner of one for 1yr is this.I shoot Professionally and have used the 7d for just about 1yr.It is a bit bigger,heavier than my other EOS Canon's.Picture quality is top of the line.Video quality is top of the line.The Grain Factor when using the ISO at a higher number is compensated by a setting in the Menu so no problem.At 8fps continuous it stands above the others.Weather proof as well (Body only).Recently my Canon 7d was knocked over while mounted atop a 6ft tripod landing on solid asphalt.A little scratch on the body was all the damage it received.Though bigger and heavier the construction,function,image quality of this Camera is incredible.I shoot Landscape,Portrait,sports(MMA Fights) and everything in between.Canon went above and beyond with this model.A+ is the grade I give for this one.

0 upvotes
Shashank90
By Shashank90 (4 months ago)

Which one is a better model 70d or 7d , I have read numerous reviews and seen plenty of videos, even though 70d is a much newer version I would like to know from some one who has used them side by side.

0 upvotes
Jostian
By Jostian (3 months ago)

I think both are great, depends on your needs, the 7D is like a tank, the build quality is incredible, its AF is phenomenal (a cut above the 70D in terms of customization options), the 70D has slight advantage 2/3 of a stop at higher iso's, has wifi and touchscreen, the 7D has bigger and better OVF, and the 70D have awesome video capabilities. I played with both and went for the 7D (easy choice), the 70D felt like a toy and I didnt like the plasticky feel (compared to the 7D). Bit both are great, you'll enjoy either depending on your needs.

0 upvotes
EhXsan
By EhXsan (5 months ago)

what is max usable ISO on canon 7d?

1 upvote
PhotobyCarlos
By PhotobyCarlos (8 months ago)

www.photobycarlos.com all my pictures with 7d

2 upvotes
DreamRunnerPhotography
By DreamRunnerPhotography (4 months ago)

Checked your photos at photobycarlos.com. Really it was awesome :) Finally I decided to go for 7D after saw your website. Tnx !!!
please suggest me some good lenses which are more better for portrait & landscape shooting

0 upvotes
gjpuk
By gjpuk (2 months ago)

For potraits i use 5omm prime canon 1.8mm
for landscapes a sigma 10-20mm

0 upvotes
Total comments: 11