Canon 7D Review

by Enche Tjin on May 29, 2010

Canon 7D is an advanced Canon EOS DSLR camera designed primarily for sports and action photography. EOS 7D is a step up (not replacement) of Canon 40D and 50D. It has similar body like 40D/50D but the buttons and switches has been repositioned for better accessibility.

There are plenty of improvements from 40D/50 line, such as improved image resolution (18 mp), better noise handling and latitude, full HD video recording, 8 fps continuous shooting and improved weather sealing.

Canon EOS 7D main specs

  • 18 megapixel image resolution
  • Record Full HD movie at various fps
  • 8 fps continuous shooting speed
  • 19 AF points, all cross type
  • New 63 layer metering from 35
  • 100% viewfinder coverage with 1x magnification

BODY DESIGN & HANDLING

Canon 7D weights 900 g or just 90 g heavier than 50D, and has exact dimension 148 x 111 x 74 mm (5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in) as 50D. It is make from magnesium alloy body which is lightweight and durable. Unlike entry level cameras, 7D is weather resistant.

Canon 7D has two main dials (one thumb dial and one round dial), an 8 ways joystick and plenty of dedicated buttons and switches. It has dedicated live view button for still or video recording. It also has Q menu, which enable you to see and change popular setting such as exposure compensation, image quality, etc.

7D also has camera mode dials which include full auto, creative auto (CA), P, Tv, Av, M, Bulb and three custom setting. There are no scene modes which are popular in entry level DSLR and compact cameras.

I find finding and changing setting in 7D is easy and fast. Maybe this is due because I used Canon 40D for about two years. If you are new to Canon advanced DSLR, it might take a while to get use to, but it will not be hard.

IMAGE QUALITY

Many cynics complain about Canon decision to increase its image resolution. Most photographers afraid that noise will be awful in images taken in high ISO setting. However,  I found that this is not the case. Image quality and noise are excellent up to ISO 3200. ISO 6400 is very acceptable especially after you remove the color noise in software like Adobe Lightroom 3.

Please check Canon 7D’s ISO comparison images at my photo gallery.

18 megapixel is great, however it has a couple consequences. First, the filesize is huge event in JPG. Average file size is around 10-15 megapixel (L quality). Second, it requires an excellent lens to take advantage of the resolution or to make it tack sharp.

Please check out my Canon 7D image gallery for image samples. (All taken with 18-135mm)

18-135mm LENS

Note: In this review, I use Canon EF-S 18-135mm which is available bundle in Amazon.com.

Unlike Canon full frame or APS sensor cameras, Canon 7D is compatible with any Canon EOS lens, including EF-S and EF lenses.  In this review, I used Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS. This lens is quite good for walk around lens due to its focal length (equivalent to 28-216mm).

It is wide enough for to capture building, and long enough for candids). Image stabilization feature is helpful up to 3-4 stops. The lens does not have USM / Ultrasonic motor, so it produces a bit of noise when focusing. However, focusing speed is very good either for still or moving subjects.

Bokeh / out of focus rendition is soft and pleasing. It is much pleasing than regular 18-55mm kit lens. However, it depth of field is still quite large because of the sensor size and big maximum aperture.

To get a very sharp image and get full advantage of Canon 7D  18 mp sensor, better lenses are recommended, such as Canon EF 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM or Canon 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM. Canon L series lenses are also recommended.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Erwin M. May 29, 2010 at 2:38 am

Wow, really a nice and clear review. Surely 7D is a great leap from previous 50D, and in my opinion it’s body and handling deserve to get 5 points too. Lets wait what Nikon will do to head-to-head with this beast.

nandy January 1, 2011 at 11:22 am

hi i am really confused between the nikon d7000 and the canon 7d , my major concern will be image quality , video , noise performance and handling .
which ones a better camera .. ?

Enche Tjin January 1, 2011 at 11:36 am

image quality and noise wise, Nikon D7000 is better. Video = Canon, Handling: depend on each individuals, for me Canon 7D has better interface and handling, but it is heavier.

Mary January 27, 2011 at 3:50 am

Hi, do you think my lens EF 28-135 IS USM is good for wedding fothography? or what type of lens do you recommend ?? , what camera do you think is good for weddings and image quality and noise.

thank you!

Enche Tjin January 29, 2011 at 1:05 pm

For Canon, I think Canon 5D mk II or better is great for wedding. I think 28-135mm is okay for wedding, but not great. The better lens for wedding will depend on your camera. If you have crop sensor camera like 550D-40D-50D-60D-7D, then 17-55mm f/2.8 is the best. If you own full frame camera such as Canon 5D mark II, then lens like 24-70mm f/2.8 is great.

Mary February 1, 2011 at 2:01 am

I have a canon 7D, really like it but I think I need some recommendation about the lens…

Thank you!

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