Canon EOS 7D Review
Conclusion - Pros
- Class-leading detail and resolution at base ISO, good per-pixel sharpness
- Very good low-light performance, low noise levels and good retention of detail
- 8 frames per second continuous shooting speed
- Thanks to Dual Digic 4 processors very quick and responsive performance
- Excellent build quality with magnesium body and environmental sealing
- Good ergonomics, well shaped and comfortable hand grip
- Improved button and control layout over 50D/5D Mark II
- Highly customizable user interface
- On-screen Q-Menu offers good alternative for access to shooting settings
- Large and bright viewfinder with 1.0x magnification and 100% coverage
- Highly flexible new AF system with 19 cross-type sensors
- (Relatively) quick contrast detect AF in live view
- Good quality 1080/720p video output with a range of frame rates
- Easy switch between stills mode, movie mode and live view
- External microphone socket
- Useful highlight tone priority mode
- Reliable flash exposures
- Wireless flash control
- Optional wireless and battery grips
- Dual axis electronic level
- Good battery life
- Comprehensive software bundle
Conclusion - Cons
- Unreliable white balance under artificial lighting
- Slight tendency to overexpose in contrasty conditions
- Occasional jagged lines in 720p video
- No built-in AF illuminator
If you are looking at the pros and cons list above you could be forgiven for getting the impression that we somehow struggled to populate the cons list with a number of bullet points that comes at least close to what you can see in the pros department. You are not mistaken. The EOS 7D is an excellent addition to Canon's range of APS-C DSLRs that is, in terms of build quality, speed of operation, ergonomics and image quality, a cut above Canon's previous APS-C flagship, the EOS 50D.
In some respects the 7D is even a better camera than the EOS 5D Mark II and a viable alternative for all those who do not want or need a camera with a full-frame sensor. Its eight frames per second continuous shooting speed and highly flexible AF system might even make it a consideration for credit-crunch battered sports photographers on a budget.
The EOS 7D's specification and current pricing make it also look very good next to its most direct competitor in the enthusiast bracket of the market, the Nikon D300S. It offers a higher nominal resolution and maximum sensitivity, better movie mode specification and slightly faster continuous shooting speed than its Nikon rival; but having said that, in many ways the two cameras are not too dissimilar, and it will be down to personal taste and probably your lens collection if you prefer one over the other.
The EOS 7D delivers impressive image quality across the sensitivity range. At base ISO its output comes with excellent per-pixel sharpness which, in combination with the 18 MP nominal resolution, results in exceptional image detail in this class of camera. In most situations the lens, rather than the camera, is likely to be the limiting factor. In terms of default tone curve and color response the 7D delivers the usual Canon look which is good news if you are thinking about upgrading from another model.
Despite the highest nominal resolution of all APS-C DSLRs and therefore a very small pixel-pitch the EOS 7D performs very well in low light situations and manages to maintain a good balance between image detail and noise reduction up to very high sensitivities. It's visibly better than the EOS 50D and as good as it gets in the APS-C class (if you prefer the 7D or Nikon D300S in this respect is probably a matter of taste). If you require significantly better high ISO performance than the EOS 7D can provide, your only option is to move into the full-frame segment.
There are only a couple of comparatively minor quibbles in the image quality department. The 7D is another camera in a long list of Canon DSLRs that don't do white balance under artificial light. Use custom white balance or shoot RAW if you need your whites to be white. Shooting RAW is also a good counter-measure against the camera's occasional tendency to slightly overexpose contrasty scenes. If you could not be bothered to dial in some negative exposure compensation the 1.0 EV RAW headroom is a safety cushion to fall back on.
The 7D looks and feels like a quality product. It's solidly built, comes with a weather-sealed magnesium body and has a very pleasant quality feel to it when you hold it in your hands. The chunky grip is well-shaped and comes with a rubberized surface.
On the new model Canon has made a few subtle changes to the user interface that nevertheless have made operation more straightforward and logical. It is now very easy to switch between stills and movie modes and live view almost instantly. This is clearly a step forward in terms of integrating movie recording as a viable feature rather than a last-minute bolt-on. The dedicated Q-button and -menu offer a good alternative to changing settings via the new, bigger hard buttons which, despite of being optimized for usage with gloves, are comfortable and easy to use in any condition.
Another advantage of the 7D is its customizability. The function of almost every button can be changed which should satisfy even the most eccentric and specialist photographic requirements. The same is true for the new AF system which offers an abundance of AF point selection and focusing options.
All in all the Canon EOS 7D is a camera that is joy to shoot with. The user interface has been noticeably improved over previous Canon DSLRs and is highly customizable. The Dual Digic 4 processors ensure speedy operation and you'll hardly ever find yourself waiting for the camera.
The final word
The Canon EOS 7D is a camera that can convince in all areas, and at its current pricing is going to be a very serious competitor for Nikon's flagship APS-C DSLR, the D300S. It offers excellent image quality in all shooting situations and an impressive speed of operation, combined with very good build quality and ergonomics. Both its specification and the results of our testing make it a very easy recommendation.
Canon EOS 7D
Category: Semi-professional Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
If you can justify the price tag it's hard to fault Canon's new APS-C flagship. With class-leading image quality, fast operation and excellent handling the EOS 7D is everything a semi-pro model should be--and the excellent movie mode will be a welcome bonus to those that like their pictures to move. Arguably the best APS-C SLR on the market today.
Original Rating (November 2009): Highly Recommended
Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean
- 17 Photographic tests (DR)
- 18 Photographic tests
- 19 Movie Mode
- 20 Compared to
- 21 Compared to (JPEG)
- 22 Compared to (JPEG)
- 23 Compared to (JPEG)
- 24 Compared to (RAW)
- 25 Compared to (RAW)
- 26 Compared to (RAW)
- 27 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 28 Compared to (Resolution)
- 29 Compared to (Resolution)
- 30 Conclusion
- 31 Samples
|2014_1211_140657AA by old shutter bugger|
from The Bride
|Overloaded by NZ Scott|
from Your City - Delivery Boy
|Barley by Will B Milner|
|APPLE & ROACH by TX Photo Doc|
from Delicious - Unpalatable
Try your hand at this blind portrait shootout between the Canon 1DX Mark II, Nikon D5 and Sony a9. With all bias removed, you might just rank your favorite camera brand worst.
Photo sharing site 500px has just added support for wide-gamut color profiles such as AdobeRGB and ProPhotoRGB, even allowing users to filter their searches by color profile.
DJI just released a mandatory firmware update for the DJI Spark. If you own a Spark and don't update your firmware by September 1st, DJI will remotely ground your drone.
Affordable flash manufacturer Godox has updated its smartphone app so that it can be used to control all of its wireless X flash units, not just the A1 smartphone flash.
Western Digital's new My Book Duo external desktop storage system offers up to 20TB of storage capacity, and comes with RAID-optimized WD Red hard drives.
Version 1.04 of the Sony a6500 firmware can be downloaded from the Sony Support website now.
Not sure how to choose your first drone? In this article, the second of a 3-part series, we discuss what factors you should consider when deciding what drone is right for you.
NASA photo editor Joel Kowsky didn't just capture the solar eclipse from his vantage point in Wyoming, he also managed to capture the ISS buzzing across what remained of the sun.
In these videos, talented photographer and filmmaker Daniel DeArco breaks down several tips that will help flash photography newbies start experimenting with artificial light.
Photographer and master potter Steve Irvine makes incredibly intricate, functional ceramic pinhole cameras that look like robots and monsters.
Chinese gimbal manufacturer Gudsen has released a firmware update for its Moza Air that lets you control the direction and angle of the head remotely just by moving a small handlebar-mounted control unit.
Curious how the Sony a9 performs underwater? Our friends at Backscatter took the camera diving off the Baja California coast, to find out how it handled shooting great white sharks.
While most of the DPReview crew put away our cameras and just watched the celestial event, Rishi decided last-minute to hack together a rig and capture a few shots.
Defunct Russian camera maker Zenit is making a comeback, and they're planning to release a full-frame mirrorless camera in 2018.
The days where you're more or less locked into premium or first-party flash units has gone. They're less than $50 now, so there's one less excuse not to get one. Here's our case for adding one to your kit, and a few pointers to get you going.
If you're shooting the solar eclipse here's a hint: don't fry your camera's sensor. Use a proper solar filter that offers at least 16 stops of light filtration, along with UV and IR filtering. More important? Don't look at it unless you've got solar filters. Sensors can be replaced, your retinas can't.
Photographer Rick Wenner recently captured an odd event called the Race of the Gentlemen with a rather odd camera: The Phase One XF IQ3 Achromatic, the world's only 101MP black-and-white digital back.
Buying used is a good way to save some dough, and with the right precautions you can protect yourself from falling victim to a scam.
This two-part video series takes a deep dive into the world of dynamic symmetry and geometric composition, using iconic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's brilliant photographs as a guide.
Award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the moving story behind this drone photograph, captured in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire in Gatlinburg, TN in 2016.
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.
You don't have to empty your savings account to take your photography to the next level. These cheap buys cost about $50 or less, and come with outsized benefits for your photography.
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."