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Compared to...

The Canon EOS 7D is competing in the enthusiast/semi-pro bracket of the market with cameras such as the Nikon D300S, Pentax K7, Sony A700 and probably even an in-house rival in the shape of the the Canon EOS 50D. When looking through the EOS 7D's spec sheet though it becomes obvious that this camera has been designed to compete eye-to-eye with possibly the most successful camera in this sector up to now - the Nikon D300S. The cameras are very close from a price and specification point of view and will no doubt fight each other for the enthusiast-camera crown over the coming months. While this segment of the market is less crowded than the entry-level sector all major manufacturers have now at least one model in their line-up that offers features, specification and the build quality to keep serious amateurs and price-conscious professionals happy.

There are maybe 4 or 5 direct competitors to the Canon EOS 7D but for the purpose of this studio comparison we've limited the field to a slightly more manageable two; the Nikon D300S and the Pentax K-7. For those who are thinking about moving up the Canon range we've also included the 7D's smaller sister model, the EOS 50D.

Let's start with a quick look at how the contenders line up, including those mentioned above plus the Sony A550, which, despite not really being targeted at the same user as the 7D, is in the absence of an A700 replacement arguably Sony's most obvious EOS 7D competitor:

Camera Kit
price
Live
view
Video LCD Anti
Shake
Sensor
(effective pixels)
Canon EOS 7D $1700 Yes 1080p 3.0" / 920k pixels Lens option 18.0 MP CMOS (1.6x crop)
Nikon D300S $1760 Yes 720p 3.0" / 920k pixels Lens option 12.3 MP CMOS (1.5x crop)
Pentax K-7 $1050 Yes 1536 x 1024 3.0" / 920k pixels In-body 14.6 MP CMOS (1.5x crop)
Canon EOS 50D $1000 Yes No 3.0" / 920k pixels Lens option 15.1 MPMOS (1.6x crop)
(Sony DSLR-A550) $950 Yes No 3.0" / 920k pixels In-body 14.2 MP CCD (1.5x crop)

As you would expect from a Canon EOS at this level the 7D is a very well specified camera. It offers the highest resolution that we've seen on an APS-C camera so far - 18 megapixels. It also comes with the most versatile movie mode amongst its peers. Not only can it capture video at 1080p and a choice of 24, 25 or 30 fps, or 720p at 50 or 60 fps, the 7D also offers full control over shutter speed, aperture and ISO in movie mode. While in terms of nominal resolution and movie mode the EOS 7D clearly beats its biggest rival, the Nikon is still ahead in the AF department where it offers 51 AF points vs the Canon's 19. All other differences in specification are of a rather minor nature and both cameras have superb build quality, environmental sealing, a 3.0 inch VGA resolution screen and a good range of customization options.

Despite the comparable build quality and target group the Pentax K-7 is more than $600 cheaper than the EOS 7D and this is obviously reflected in its specification. It offers a lower resolution than the Canon, and comes with slower continuous shooting and a less sophisticated AF system than its rivals in this comparison. Having said that the Pentax offers many useful features such as in-body image stabilization, composition adjustment and in-camera RAW development, which make it an excellent deal for its money.

Below you find a detailed comparison table of the competitors. Keep reading on the following pages to find out how all these figures and specifications translate into image quality.

Canon EOS 7D advantages

  • Highest nominal resolution
  • Highest resolution video and highest frame rate (at 720p)
  • Highest ISO range
  • Fastest continuous shooting speed

Canon EOS 7D disadvantages

  • No built-in flash illuminator
  • No user-definable Auto-ISO
  • No dual memory card slot (vs Nikon D300S)
 
Canon EOS 7D

Nikon D300S

Pentax K-7
Price
(body only)
US: $1700 [check price] US: $1760 [check price] US: $1050 [check price]
Sensor

• 22.3 x 14.9 mm CMOS
• 18 million effective pixels
• 19 million total pixels

• 23.6 x 15.8 mm CMOS
• 12.3 million effective pixels
• 12.9 million total pixels
• 23.4 x 15.6 mm CMOS
• 14.6 million effective pixels
• 15.07 million total pixels
Body Magnesium alloy Magnesium alloy Magnesium alloy/Steel
Dust reduction

• Anti-dust coating
• Low pass filter vibration
• Dust reference image

• Low pass filter vibration
• Airflow Control System
• Dust reference image
• Anti-dust coating
• Low pass filter vibration
Native image size 5184 x 3456
(3:2 ratio)
4288 x 2848
(3:2 ratio)
4672 x 3104
(3:2 ratio)
Video

1920 x 1080 @ 30, 25, 24 fps
720p @ 60, 50 fps

720p @ 24 fps
1536 x 1024 @ 30 fps
FOV crop 1.6x 1.5x 1.5x
In-body shake reduction No No Yes
Live view Yes Yes Yes
File formats

• RAW (3 sizes)
• JPEG (2 levels)

• RAW (lossless or lossy comp, 12 or 14 bit)
• JPEG (3 levels)
• RAW (PEF or DNG)
• JPEG (4 levels)
Auto focus • 19 area TTL
• 19 cross-type AF points
• Range: -0.5 - 18 EV
• Contrast detect AF in live view
• 51 area TTL
• 15 Cross-type sensors
• Range: -1 to +19 EV
• Contrast detect AF in live view
• 11 area TTL
• 9 Cross-type sensors
• Range: -1 to +18 EV
• Contrast detect AF in live view
AF illuminator Flash-strobe Built-in lamp Built-in lamp
Metering sensor • 63 zone sensor
• 1 - 20 EV working range
• 1005 pixel RGB sensor
• 0 - 20 EV working range
• 77 zone sensor
• 0 - 22 EV working range
EV steps 1/3 or 1/2 EV 1/3, 2/3, 1/2 or 1 EV 1/3 or 1/2 EV
Sensitivity • ISO 100 - 3200
(extended to 12800 equiv)

• ISO 200 - 3200
(with 100 and 6400 equiv)

• ISO 100 - 3200
(with 6400 equiv)
Auto ISO Not user definable User definable maximum ISO and minimum shutter speed User definable
High- ISO NR Yes (4 levels) Yes (4 levels) Yes (4 levels)
Shutter speed • 30 - 1/8000 sec / Bulb
• 1/250 sec Flash sync
• 30 - 1/8000 sec / Bulb
• 1/250 sec Flash sync
• 30 - 1/8000 sec / Bulb
• 1/180 sec Flash sync
Continuous
shooting
8 fps

7 fps (8 fps with MB-D10 pack)

5.2 fps
Viewfinder • Pentaprism
• Eyepoint 22 mm
• Frame coverage 100%
• Magnification approx 1.0x
• Pentaprism
• Eyepoint 19.5 mm
• Frame coverage 100%
• Magnification approx 0.94x
• Pentaprism
• Eyepoint 18 mm
• Frame coverage 100%
• Magnification approx 0.92x
LCD monitor • 3.0 " TFT LCD
• 920,000 dots

• 3.0 " TFT LCD
• 920,000 dots

• 3.0 " TFT LCD
• 920,000 dots
Other features • Wireless connectivity with optional WFT-E5 grip
• Custom Menu
• On demand viewfinder grid
• GPS record with optional cable
• Retouching
• Custom 'My Menu'
• In-camera RAW conversion
• Digital Filters
• HDR/Multi-exposure
• Composition adjustment

Storage • Compact Flash card • Compact Flash card
• SD/SDHC card
• SD/SDHC card
Software • ZoomBrowser EX
• Photostitch 3.1
• Digital Photo Professional
• Nikon Transfer
• ViewNX
• Nikon Capture NX (trial)
• Digital Camera Utility
Dimensions 148 x 111 x 74 mm (5.8 x 4.3 x 2.8 in) 147 x 114 x 74 mm (5.8 x 4.5 x 2.9 in) 131 x 97 x 73 mm (5.1 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
Weight (no batt) 820 g (1.8 lb) 840 g (1.9 lb) 670 g (1.4 lb)
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Comments

Total comments: 3
EhXsan
By EhXsan (1 month ago)

what is max usable ISO on canon 7d?

0 upvotes
PhotobyCarlos
By PhotobyCarlos (4 months ago)

www.photobycarlos.com all my pictures with 7d

1 upvote
DreamRunnerPhotography
By DreamRunnerPhotography (2 weeks 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
Total comments: 3