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
By combining his skills as a time-lapse filmmaker and an engineer, Julian Tryba created this out-of-this-world creative 'layer-lapse' of New York City that alternates between night and day in time with the music.
Canon Japan's new lineup of novelty camera-themed gifts was just revealed online, including a lens mug and lens thermos, two retro camera-themed USB drives, and a picnic mat.
The Profoto A1 most certainly isn’t for everyone [...] But for those who are used to using the Profoto systems, and want something that pairs seamlessly with the strobes you already have, there is no better companion.
Fujifilm has asked a US district court to clear it of any wrongdoing, after allegedly being threatened with trademark litigation by Polaroid.
While a couple of our reviewers are out testing the Sony a7R III in Arizona, back in Seattle we slapped the camera in front of our studio scene to get a close look at its image quality. See how it stacks up against the competition.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #8 ranking belongs to the Nikon D7500.
B+W has announced a new aluminum filter holder that offers three slots so users can use multiple filters at the same time. The holder goes with the 2mm thick 100mm square filters it launched earlier this year.
8K video is coming a lot faster than you think, and Blackmagic is ready for it. Meet the DeckLink 8K Pro, a new high performance PCI-E capture and playback card built to handle 'real time high resolution 8K workflows.'
"Glass is everywhere in photography. From Eugène Atget’s reflective vitrines to Lee Friedlander’s sly self-portraiture, photographers have long been in thrall to the visual complications glass can inject into a composition."
Former Apple Aperture lead developer Nik Bhatt has designed an iOS app called RAW Power that lets you edit raw photos from your professional camera using your phone and tablet.... color us intrigued.
Advertising photographer Blair Bunting got his hands on the new Microsoft Surface Book 2, and it blew him away. Bye bye MacBook Pro...
The OnePlus 5T retains many of the 5's features and specs, but comes with an edge-to-edge display and a dual-camera that is optimized for low light.
Sony's recently announced IMX461 backside illuminated medium format sensor will bring 100MP resolution and almost 2x the speed to the next-gen Fuji GFX and Hasselblad X1D.
With the ‘Rent a Hasselblad’ camera equipment renting program, the camera makers is aiming to give enthusiast and professional photographers easier access to its medium-format photography products.
They say seeing is believing, and that's exactly what happened when one DPR staffer took the Google Pixel 2 out for an afternoon shooting under challenging conditions.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #9 spot we have the Fujifilm GFX 50S, a medium-format camera that took CP+ 2017 by storm.
Instagram is testing a new feature that lets you follow hashtags in addition to people, making it possible to keep track of your favorite #landscapes or #portraits without leaving your home feed.
Despite the gigantic volume of second hand film bodies in existence, it seems there is still a demand for new 35mm SLRs with a retro feel. The latest is a remake of the Ihagee Elbaflex from the 1960s, but with a Nikon F mount.
The Polaroid Insta-Share Moto Mod straps an instant printer directly to your Moto Z smartphone, so you can print your photos as soon as you've captured them.
The Mitakon Speedmaster 135mm F1.4 lens is being relaunched in 7 different mounts, including: Sony A, Sony E, Canon EF, Nikon F, Fujifilm G, Pentax K, and Leica L. Got an extra three grand lying around?
In January, Kodak announced it would bring back the beloved slide film Ektachrome. The timeline has been pushed back a bit, but Kodak says you can expect to purchase Ektachrome again in 2018.
Instagram popularity is threatening some of the most beautiful landscapes in the US, as hordes of 'nature lovers' trample over the same spots over and over again in search of the same exact shot.
You’d have to be pretty brave to immerse your $50K RED cinema camera underwater. But if you've got the guts, Gates just released a new housing you can be pretty sure won't wreck your unbelievably expensive toy.
Adobe has released a 'Lightroom Downloader' app for Windows 10 and macOS High Sierra that allows you to download all of your images from the Adobe Cloud, all at once.
After releasing a popular 4K action cam and an affordable mirrorless M43 camera, Chinese camera maker YI is diving into yet another market: 360° VR. Meet the YI 360 VR: a powerful little two-lens camera that can shoot and stream in 4K.
The DJI Spark has received a lot of attention thanks to its diminutive size, but how does it stack up? In our review, we take a look at what it's like to fly this pint-sized drone, as well as what's in it for photographers.
Between now and the end of the year we'll be counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Coming in at #10 is a fast wide prime and part of the highly-acclaimed Sigma Art series.
DxOMark has awarded the Pentax 645Z 101 points, making it the second-highest scoring medium format camera it's tested (or the highest scoring from 2015 to now, based on the originally published results).
A small explosion that sounded like a gunshot caused a panic and 24 flight cancellations at Orlando International Airport last Friday. As it turns out, it was a camera battery that exploded inside a traveler's bag.
At last, a premium superzoom bridge camera with phase detect autofocus. Is this the best all-in-one camera ever made? Read on.