Rear of camera controls

The layout of the 7D's rear is pretty similar but not identical to the EOS 5D Mark II. The main differences are slightly larger buttons (for operation with gloves), the addition of the movie/live view switch/button and the new 'Q' button. The On/Off switch has moved from the rear dial on top of the camera, below the mode dial. The Direct Print button gains a new function, allowing you to record a RAW or JPEG file in addition to what is currently specified. Other than that most previous EOS users, but especially 5D Mark II shooters, will feel right at home from day one with the 7D.

Many users will, however, be dismayed to find that, despite the remarkable level of customization available, there's still no way to assign mirror lock-up to an external button (although turning on live view can be used as a sort of proxy).

On-screen settings adjustment (Q Menu)

Like many modern DSLRs, the 7D has an interactive settings display panel. This means there are up to three ways of changing settings - for many options you can press a dedicated button and then spin either the front or rear dial, alternatively, there are two ways of using the interactive settings display (the Q Menu). Both methods involve pressing the new 'Q' button then using the dials or joystick to select the option you wish to change, at which point you can either roll the main dial or press 'SET'. This will bring up a dedicated screen, which can again be navigated using the joystick and selected using the 'SET' button.

The 'Q' button allows you to navigate the settings display. From here you can either roll the main dial to change a setting. Or, by pressing 'SET,' you can enter a screen showing all available options. You can use the joystick or dial to select.

Creative Auto mode

Creative Auto, which first appeared on the 50D, is the closest that the 7D comes to having a scene mode. Essentially it gives a beginner-friendly front-end to aperture priority mode. The screen gives control over a selection of image settings but, most importantly, gives a results-orientated approach to the shooting parameters. This allows the user to set the aperture and exposure compensation by choosing how blurry they want the background to be and how light or dark the image should be.

Normal display Shooting function display

Shooting mode

Button
Operation
Shoot an additional file

The camera shoots a RAW or JPEG file in addition to whichever file type it is currently shooting (it has no effect when shooting RAW+JPEG). The size and quality of the additional file is defined on the third 'Rec' menu page.
Enter the Quick Control Screen

Allows you to directly interact with the camera's settings, via its settings display, as shown above.
Enter / Leave the Menu

The camera menu is described on the following pages of this review. [example]
Picture Style

Displays the Picture Style selection / adjustment screen. [example]
Information

Displays current camera settings / information or virtual horizon. Which of these three options is shown depends on the choices made in the settings menu. [example]
Multi-selector

By default this does nothing but can be configured to give direct selection of AF points either via C.Fn IV-1 or through the Q menu.
Quick Control Dial

Canon has abandoned its newcomer-unfriendly 'push the power button beyond On' system, and reverted to giving the quick control dial its own lock switch instead. This dial can be set to control either aperture or shutter speed when in Manual mode, or to give direct access to AF points. (Dictated by C.Fn IV-1 or via the Q menu).
SET button

This button by default has no function in shooting mode, however it can be configured to one of five other functions via C.Fn IV-1 or the Q Menu.

Play mode

Button
Operation
Print

Press this button to begin printing of the displayed image on a connected printer.
Enter / Leave the Menu

The camera menu is described on the following pages of this preview.

Information

Press to change the type and level of information shown along with the image (detailed on the displays page)

 • Large image + status line + image size & quality + image number
 • Large image + status line (shutter speed, aperture, comp, filename, card)
 • Small image + status line + detailed shooting info + lum (or RGB histogram)
 • Small image + status line + lum histogram + RGB histogram + detailed shooting info

Play

Displays the last image taken (or the last image on the card). The EOS 7D is a shooting priority camera, which means that no matter what is displayed on the rear LCD this will be canceled if any of the camera's photographic functions (example half-pressing the shutter release or AF-ON) are accessed.
Erase

Press to erase the current image, displays an OK / Cancel dialog.
Quick Control Dial

Turn the Quick Control Dial to browse through images (the main dial can be used to jump images).

Front of camera controls

On the front right side of the camera is the final set of camera controls. First is the flash open button, a press of this will electronically release the flash unit. Below the lens release button is the depth of field preview button, hold this and the lens stops down to the indicated aperture to give a preview of the depth of field, either through the viewfinder or in Live View.