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.
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
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.
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