Canon EOS 7D Mark II: A professional's opinion
With the increasing affordability of digital full frame cameras, there's been speculation about the future of APS-C as an enthusiast format. But with the launch of the 7D Mark II, Canon has made it pretty clear it believes there's still a high-end market for crop-sensor formats.
We spoke to Bettina Hansen, a photographer who regularly shoots Canon and has experience working with the original EOS 7D to see what she made of the new camera.
|Bettina Hansen is a staff photographer at The Seattle Times. You can find her on Twitter @bettinahansen and at bettinahansen.com|
I didn't read a whole lot about the Canon 7D Mark II before I got my hands on it to test out. Being a newspaper photographer, I’m mostly concerned about a camera not getting in my way when I go to make a photograph. It should function as a fluid extension of my reflexes.
I hated the original Canon EOS 7D for this reason. To me, it had a clunky, loud shutter, slow focus, and a color profile that reminded me of puke. Not to mention noise at high ISOs. I experienced no joy in using that camera. Many of the 7Ds we had here at the paper malfunctioned when shooting video. That happened to me on multiple occasions.
That being said, this camera feels nothing like the original 7D in my hands. Instead the body feels sturdy and comfortable to hold, much like a 5D Mark III, which I love using. The shutter clips and flutters lightly, rather than the slap of the old 7D. The focus felt fast enough for me to trust it while shooting the Seahawks overtime finale against the Broncos. Everyone who picked it up instinctively put their finger on the shutter and let out an “Ooooh” at the 10 frames per second.
|© Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times|
One of the first things I noticed was a new lever surrounding the AF selection joystick on the back of the camera - it's primarily designed to quickly switch between AF selection area modes. I immediately turned it off. I prefer one mode (expanded AF area) and I hate it when the mode accidentally changes. This button would be useless for me, and seemed easy to accidentally trigger if left on.
Unfortunately, the EOS 7D Mark II lacks a feature that I consider very important for true sports cameras - a voice recorder that lets you speak into the camera and record an audio caption with an image. This is something we use a lot, especially in sports, to remind ourselves which plays are which. For NFL games we often have a card-runner taking our memory cards to another editor to caption and tone throughout the game, or we're on tight deadlines to edit them ourselves. Being able to tag select photographs and record a quick caption on the photo makes editing so much easier.
|© Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times|
For example, I often have many photos of Marshawn Lynch running what look, in photos, like identical plays. Voice tagging allows me to say into the back of the camera something like “Lynch for 4 and a first down, holding called on the play, five minutes remaining in the second,” while reviewing the image. This way, when editing, I quickly know what to write in the caption. The alternative is to shoot pictures of the scoreboard between plays to match-up with the play-by-play, which I also do, but the voice tag allows for so much more.
"Everyone who picked it up instinctively put their finger on the shutter
and let out an “Ooooh” at the 10 frames per second."
The other two things I always immediately change are to deactivate the beep, and to turn off AF activation on the shutter half press. I like to only activate the AF with both the AF-ON and star buttons: that way I can set the AF and recompose easily. During sports action, I usually keep my thumb jammed on the AF-ON button and let it track the subject as it moves towards or away from me. I left the 7D II set to “Case 1” mode of the AF cases that allow you to adjust tracking and other sensitivities. It's the one I use most often.
I've been shooting with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and EOS-1 DX, so the other first thing I noticed was the cropped sensor. I like the look of full-frame sensors, and I like knowing that my lenses are true to their focal length.
For this test, I shot large JPEGs since the 7D II's raw files aren't yet compatible with Photoshop CC or Lightroom 5.
|© Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times|
After a few days of testing, here is my personal list of pros and cons:
- Low cost
- Feels sturdy in my hands, very similar to the EOS 5D Mark III
- Weatherproofing is improved and Canon claims that the shutter is good through 200,000 actuations - this is very important for working sports photographers
- AF fast and responsive, and seems to perform as advertised
- Cropped sensor is a pro when you need a little more reach on lenses, like a 70-200 in the end zone
- Shutter feels fast and light - not nearly as noisy as the original 7D
- Video is improved, (although I didn't get to test this in depth) - better AF, choice in codecs, better resolution
- Lighter weight than the EOS-1D X, which is heavy as a rock by comparison
- No voice recorder to tag images with captions - HUGE for our sports workflow
- The cropped sensor is a negative point for me, for the most part
- High ISO noise is still an issue, albeit not as bad as the original 7D
- No built-in Wi-Fi - but there is an SD slot for EyeFi and Canon does make an (expensive) transmitter
- Default color still a little warm and over-saturated for my taste, tonal range a little more contrasty than I prefer
The takeaway - I already have a kit centered around a EOS-1D X bodies for shooting sports, so you’d have to pry those from my cold dead hands before I would use anything else. I love using them to shoot sports, and the fact that the 7D II doesn't have a voice recorder for audio captioning images is a major bummer for me. However, my EOS-1D X bodies were purchased on my behalf - I didn't pay for them personally. For the cost, the EOS 7D II will make a lot of people happy.
Its 10fps maximum frame-rate makes shooting with the EOS 5D III feel like slow motion. For me, personally, I still prefer the 5D III and the EOS-1D X because I like a full-frame sensor. However, though I absolutely hated shooting with the first 7D, I found the second iteration shockingly reliable, fast and sharp - overall it is a very good contender for the price.
Jul 19, 2017
Jul 6, 2017
Jun 22, 2017
Jun 11, 2017
|Montréal Dépaneur Out of Business DP by MarioSS|
from Your City - Out of Business
|Wish You Were Here by Dutch Newchurch|
from Street musician playing
|Flight of a Puffin by cjf2|
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.
A report by USSRPhoto is shedding some light on the return of the famed Zenit camera brand. It seems the full-frame mirrorless camera they're working on will be made in part by Leica using components from the Leica SL.
According to a reliable Korean report, Samsung is developing a smartphone sensor that's capable of super slow motion. Translation: Samsung's next batch of Galaxy smartphones may be able to shoot 1,000fps.
This simple photograph of a seahorse and Q-tip has taken the internet by storm. We spoke to photographer Justin Hofman about how it was captured, and what it means to him.
After a massive leak last week, Profoto has officially debuted the Profoto A1: the company's first on-camera flash system that they're calling "the world's smallest studio flash."
"When the first hyperfocal distance charts were designed, someone decided that an acceptably sharp background contained some blur — enough to notice in a medium-sized print [...] After that point, nearly every other hyperfocal chart followed suit."
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D) is the company's impressively compact entry-level DSLR. Packing a 24MP APS-C sensor, DIGIC 7 processor and Dual Pixel AF, it promises a lot of bang for the buck. And while not mind-blowing, it handles most tasks very well.
Correct these four common composition mistakes and your photos will be more balanced, tell a better story, and lead your viewer's eye where you want it to go.
The rugged, compact 360° action camera Kodak unveiled at Photokina in 2016, the Kodak PixPro Orbit 360, is finally available in the United States.
iOS 11 launches tomorrow, and it'll save all of your pictures in a new high efficiency image format called HEIC. Fortunately, there's now a converter that will let you turn those photos back into JPEGs.
Photo protection company ImageRights recently released a new service that lets non-subscribers take advantage of their streamlined copyright registration system that checks for errors and fills out all the required forms for you.
What's the difference between a $200 circular polarizing filter and a $100 circular polarizing filter? Roger Cicala at Lens Rentals put six different filters through a few tests to find out.
A flurry of leaks reveal that GoPro's upcoming Hero6 will shoot 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps, will cost $500, and is scheduled for announcement/release on September 28th.
Before he became the iconic director whose name we've all heard, a teenage Stanley Kubrick struck up a business relationship with New York’s Look magazine. No surprise: he was an incredibly talented photographer.
WD's new G-Technology G-Drive mobile SSD R-Series is a portable solid state option for photographers who want the reliability of an SSD in a rugged water and dust-resistant package.
Fast, stabilized and affordable is an appealing combination when it comes to lenses. With its latest 24-70mm F2.8, Tamron aims to upgrade autofocus speed and stabilization. We've got a full gallery from this updated full-frame zoom.
Photographer Clay Cook tells the story of his most ambitious photographic dream and career goal coming true: photographing A-list actress Jennifer Lawrence.
In an interview with a Chinese website, Nikon Japan's Director of Development dropped a bombshell, saying that a Nikon mirrorless camera "must be full-frame."
Here's a side-by-side spec comparison of two flagship devices with particular attention to the things that really matter – at least to people who prioritize photography features.
A month and a half after revealing the finalists of the 2017 EyeEm Awards, the photo sharing community and licensing marketplace has finally revealed the winners.
Photographer Josselin Cornou tells the breathtaking story behind two beautiful photos captured while snorkeling with humpback whales in Tonga.
The Sony RX10 IV is a fixed lens camera with a 1"-type sensor and 24-600mm equivalent lens that can shoot 4K video or stills at 24 fps, but that's not what we think is interesting about it. The addition of phase detection autofocus is pivotal to all those features.
The announcement date is set! Google will reveal their next generation Pixel phones—their response to Apple's shiny new iPhone X—on October 4th. Let the smartphone camera wars begin.
Sony just debuted three palm-style 4K camcorders that steal a bit of speedy phase detect autofocus technology from the company's RX10 IV. In fact, they kind of improve on it.
Earlier today, NASA's Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn's atmosphere, ending a 20 year long mission. Here are 21 of our favorite photographs captured by this incredible machine and its makers.
Fans of film photography should keep an eye out for the widespread theatrical release of Kodachrome, a movie staring Jason Sudeikis about the final days of the iconic film stock.
Photographer Manny Ortiz breaks down the pros and cons of shooting natural light vs off-camera flash, and explains why he chooses to shoot one, the other, or both in any given situation.
A leaked product page and a bunch of leaked photos shows Profoto is preparing to release its first ever speedlight: the Profoto A1 Air TTL
The Yashica camera brand disappeared in 2003, but a new teaser video and website hint at a comeback. Excited?
Western Digital just debuted a new, higher capacity WD Gold internal hard drive. The new drive offers 12TB of storage and class-leading reliability to the tune of a 550TB/year workload rating.