Image Quality

Our test scene is designed to simulate a variety of textures, colors and detail types you'll encounter in the real world. It also has two illumination modes to see the effect of different lighting conditions.

The Canon's JPEGs are typical for the brand: their sharpening is a little soft, by default but the color rendering is one of our favorites. And, in common with the most recent Canons, the T7i offers relatively sophisticated control over sharpening if you do want crisper out-of-camera results. Sadly the lack of in-camera Raw conversion means there's no easy way to experiment with settings. Noise reduction is a little simplistic: smoothing away detail while still leaving visible noise.

Beyond this there are few surprises: the underlying Raw performance is good, showing very similar levels of detail to those of its rivals. Noise performance is also similar to the other APS-C models, falling a little behind at the very highest ISOs, but not to a significant degree.

Raw dynamic range

In terms of dynamic range, you can see that there is noise in the deep shadows, which means you don't have quite as much processing latitude when shooting high contrast scenes as you would with the best of its peers. However, if you try pushing files shot with the same exposure but different ISO settings up to the same brightness, you can see that the camera adds so little noise that it's almost entirely overcome by ISO 200.

This is a good performance if not quite cutting edge. The AF benefits of Dual Pixel AF are arguably larger than any image quality costs.

Kit Lens

We were a little disappointed to see the kit zoom's maximum aperture get darker. This means it gives a tiny bit less control over depth-of-field and a little less opportunity to let in extra light in low light shooting conditions than most kit zooms. The change is only very subtle, but it's a move in the wrong direction, in our opinion.

What can't be faulted, though, is the lenses' image quality. Here we shot a distant, detailed scene at a series of focal lengths and aperture values. All digital corrections the camera is able to apply (distortion, lateral chromatic aberration, vignetting and diffraction), were switched off.

Use the widget to look around the scene and try different aperture settings. The results are seriously impressive. Whether you look at the wide-angle or the telephoto end of the zoom, the image is sharp across the frame, even with the lens at its widest aperture. There's significant lateral chromatic aberration (the colored fringing as you move towards the edges of the image), but this is something that can be easily corrected.

So, although we're slightly disappointed that the specs of the new kit zoom narrow the envelope within which most owners will get to use their camera, the performance within that envelope is genuinely excellent.

Video IQ

The T7i's video quality isn't its greatest strength and Full HD (1080) seems a bit modest by modern standards. 4K is handy, whether you're planning to downscale for improved quality, crop and pan to boost your production values, or simply play back at 4K resolution. Worse still, the T7i's video is slightly soft 1080.

The camera offers two 'Digital Movie IS' modes: 'enabled' and 'enhanced'. Enabled crops the video very slightly and helps smooth out hand shake. There's a slight drop in quality, but nothing too terrible. Enhanced mode corrects for much greater shake but effects a very significant crop and a commensurate loss of quality. You can probably cut between footage with Digital IS on and off, but jumping to enhanced mode is likely to be distracting.

Autofocus

The T7i's autofocus system or, rather, systems are the same as those in the EOS 77D. All of of our testing shows the same performance as we saw with that camera, so it's the 77D's results that are shown below.

As with the 77D, the T7i is better at subject tracking when in live view mode. In both our mid-distance outdoor test and close-range indoor test, the cameras are better and recognizing and staying with the chosen subject when in live view mode, especially if that subject behaves in a manner the camera is unable to predict.

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This test simulates a relatively distinct target moving in a way the camera can't anticipate, such as a small child running around in a garden or a sport such as tennis, where it's unlikely anything will cross in front of your subject.

The same is true in our low-light, close range test, which simulates taking spontaneous indoor photos of friends and family and tests whether the camera will stick where you want it to.

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As well as being better at recognizing and tracking a subject, the T7i's live view autofocus is also able to operate over a much wider area of the scene, compared with the traditional through-the-viewfinder AF system, which is confined to 45 AF points. The T7i's AF module offers pretty good coverage, but that's still nothing compared with the flexibility that Dual Pixel AF offers in live view mode.