2019 Buying Guide: Best cameras under $1500
Published Mar 14, 2019 | dpreview staff
Canon EOS 7D Mark II
20.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor | Dual Pixel AF | 1080/60p video
What we like:
- Video AF is accurate and decisive
- Great low light image quailty
- 10 fps burst shooting
What we don't:
- No built-in Wi-Fi
- Offers less dynamic range than competition
- Subject tracking can be situation-specific
The EOS 7D Mark II offers a strong feature set that makes it a serious contender for both still photographers and video shooters. It inherits pro-level features (and build quality) from Canon's flagship full-frame cameras, and offers them in a smaller-sensor body and at a lower price point.
At the core of this high-end APS-C DSLR is a 20.2MP 'Dual Pixel AF' sensor and twin Digic 6 processors. It's weather-sealed and features a 3" LCD, large optical viewfinder, dual memory card slots and on-board GPS.
The EOS 7D Mark II takes the strengths of its predecessor - highly capable autofocus and video - and builds on every aspect of them
Through-the-viewfinder AF is excellent, with the camera's metering sensor helping the camera track subjects and also enabling rudimentary face detection. The AF system is remarkably good at maintaining focus on approaching or receding subjects, working reliably even at 10 fps. Subject tracking can be unreliable at following subjects around the frame, though, especially compared to its some of its peers. Live view AF is impressive, combining image sensor-based face detection and subject recognition with dual-pixel AF for fast, intelligent AF. Continuous focus in live view is unavailable for stills though - a shame given how effective dual-pixel AI Servo could be.
Image quality from the EOS 7D Mark II is solid, with Canon's traditionally pleasant JPEG color rendition. Sharpening is somewhat unsophisticated, sacrificing fine detail even at base ISO. JPEGs could strike a better balance between noise reduction and detail retention. Low light noise levels in Raw are quite good (though not class leading), but base ISO dynamic range suffers relative to more modern APS-C format sensors found in several of the 7D II's competitors.
In terms of video, the EOS 7D's feature set is pretty strong. A maximum quality setting of 1080/60p and a choice of compression schemes is good to see, but the overall quality of the camera's video footage doesn't particularly stand out amongst its peers, some of which offer far sharper 4K footage. There's no focus peaking to aid manual focus or zebra to guide exposure but the camera's Dual Pixel AF means it can be made to re-focus while recording with almost perfect confidence. Only the lack of a touchscreen to re-position the AF point undermines this feature's usefulness.
The 7D II is Canon's best APS-C camera, and while focus subject tracking and Raw dynamic range aren't class-leading, the top-notch build quality, 10 fps shooting and class-leading video AF make for a compelling package.
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