Comparison: 7D vs. 90D

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3Percent Contributing Member • Posts: 617
Comparison: 7D vs. 90D

I felt compelled to do a quick comparison of both of these cameras for those contemplating either body as a stills shooting camera, and were looking for thoughts from someone that owns both.

Again I reiterate this comparison is heavily weighted towards using these cameras for stills only. I still list the advantages of the 90D's tech and multi tool design.

Advantage 7D:

Viewfinder, larger view, brighter, mostly better (1st generation smart finder vs. 2nd generation). Just more pleasurable to use.

Build quality, no contest. The 7D feels as well built as the 5D Mk III/IV cameras with one exception, the material in the viewfinder hump is high grade engineering plastic vs. magnesium (but it does house a flash unit). It's a tank, they don't make em like this anymore. Quality perception is much much higher, pro level quality.

Handling, not only is the body built better which affects the handling, but all of the controls feel of higher quality too: better buttons, larger better control dials, switches. It's bigger, badder, and balances/handles larger lenses much better. Grip is way better than the 90D with ZERO flexing or creaking (can't say the same for the 90D). No comparison here. Can't say just how much this part matters in real life.

Card Slot, can use CF or a CF adapter with SD/wifi.

Simplicity, no question the 7D is a faster camera to navigate for still image shooting, with better external controls and a simpler menu system. It's got all you need and nothing you don't for stills. It just works despite having "lower spec".

Top LCD screen, larger, higher contrast, more info.

Price, no comparison here. You can buy four 7D's in awesome shape for the price of one 90D. Think about that.

Advantage 90D:

Smaller and lighter, enough that it may be the better camera to choose for vacations, backpacking, etc.

Live view: The best live view autofocusing of any Canon DSLR to date. Amazingly good here. Tracking moving subjects is really good with any lens you throw on it.

Technology and versatility, for anything other than stills shooting, the 90D has it.

Cropping power, more resolution, more detail.

Rear LCD, touch screen (nice for reviewing images for still shooters, and menu navigation), flip screen (great for selfies or low angle/high angle shots etc.


For viewfinder action shooting, honestly it's about a push. I thought the 90D would have a big advantage but it doesn't seem to be any faster/consistent at tracking subjects, and in sometimes it seems less reliable than the 7D. I prefer the 5 point group AF setting on the 7D hands down, and miss that on the 90D. The higher frame rate then becomes less important, and more of a burden than the 7D. 8FPS is fast enough, 10 frames isn't really that much better unless the cameras' tracking is noticeably better, and so in this case it's not a practical advantage here.

I'm underwhelmed with the 90D's build quality. Unfortunately it's not going to win any build quality awards compared to all of the XXD cameras, I give it last place here. Even my 60D feels much more robust and solid in hand, and it's dials feel better too. It's much better than any Rebel camera made, so there's that I suppose.

But the 90D's grip flexes a bit when you squeeze it and the body panels feel pretty thin. The mode dial flexes back and forth and doesn't have a high level feeling of precision. It's weather sealing appears to be a good enough improvement to give me more confidence than other XXD cameras though, that's a bonus.

I like all the 90D's technology, it's a better multi tool than other XXD cameras have ever been. But if you shoot mostly stills, all that extra tech becomes frivolous and burdensome (until you need it one day!), and you won't appreciate this camera as much for a stills only solution as other cameras have been in the past.

I'd grab the 7D 9/10 times when build quality and comfort is the most important consideration, (almost always is for me).

Overall I'd likely pick the 90D when I want one camera to take with me on vacation, it will handle just about any task very well. Battery life is fantastic, and it feels light and nimble which can be an advantage in that scenario. It's image quality is very good, got to hand it to it here- more resolution with no penalty of noise.

That said the 7D's 18 megapixels is a lot of resolution for still shooters. And if you shoot raw and enable HTP like I do, any noise advantage of the 90D melts away. HTP (used properly) helps capture a wider range of light and mitigates the DR advantages of new generation sensors well enough that I won't miss the IQ advantage of the 90D for half of the shooting scenarios. Yes there is an IQ advantage of the 90D, it's just not so much that I find it a major practical advantage in most cases.

If you are going to just shoot stills, I'd still recommend the old 7D over half the time. It's more pleasurable and purposeful to use. When I want the best raw file IQ for landscapes, macro, or astro, I'd go with the 90D.

I'd say that I'd prefer to shoot with the 7D as often as possible because it's advantages seem to focus more intently on the stills shooting experience for a wider range of scenarios. I'd prefer the 90D when I need a multi functional tool. That about sums it up.

 3Percent's gear list:3Percent's gear list
Ricoh GR Digital IV Fujifilm X-S1 Canon PowerShot S120 Ricoh GR II Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 +27 more
Canon EOS 60D Canon EOS 7D
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