Published on November 22nd,2009 at 8:27 AM
By >Daimaou - G.G-B

[Review] Canon EOS 7D the Review… Nice Camera but Could have been a bit better

2 weeks have passed since I finished reviewing the Canon EOS 7D, the most affordable powerful and complete Canon DLSR on the market, or at least on the paper. Yeah, I had high expectations from the 7D. I first wished this DSLR had been a cheaper 5D MK II by offering us all another Full Frame body, then the news arrived that the 7D was only a APS-C Camera… I dreamed of having a powerful Video mode with support of different frame rates and full control on the video mode, yep, the 7D on the paper lets you do that but at the end… The 7D falls short on many aspects that made me want to own a 7D.

Canon EOS 7D Specs
– 18 Megapixel, APS-C, Dual Digic IV
– Test Lens : EF-S15-85mm F3.5-5.6 IS USM, EF50mm F1.4 USM, EF24-105mm F4L IS USM.
– LCD Monitor 3.0-inch TFT color LCD with wide viewing angle
– Shutter Speed 1/8000 to 1/30 sec., X-sync at 1/250 sec.
– ISO Sensitivity : 100-6400
– Video Mode : 1080/24/25/30p and 720/60p

First Impression
Slightly smaller than the 5D MKII and bulkier than a 50D for example (I said slightly), the 7D is a new bread of EOS DLSR. Canon built-up the 7D from scratch and decided to take under advise customers feedback when it comes to operation as well as how your camera will feel once in your hands.
More refined that we been used to have from Canon and with button even better place than before, the 7D is really a new bread of Camera and with the addition of a 19 point autofocus and its dual Digic 4, the 7D is also amazingly fast and accurate.
Keeping up against its competitor like say the Nikon D300s, the 7D even offer better AF metering than the all mighty 5D MK II, so yes, there is no doubt about this, the 7D is nothing like Canon build before.

Another nice addition, will be the special care that Canon binged to the 7D when it comes to protect your investment by making the Camera even more resistant to humidity and water than its high end 5D MK II for example. However, don’t dream, this does not mean you will be able to shoot underwater, but rather than you will now be capable to shoot under heavy humid condition without risking to damage your camera.

Let’s Shoot Baby
As I said earlier, the 7D thanks to its improved 19-point AF, color metering and dual Digic 4 image processor is an all-new DSLR that has a huge potential despite its APS-C sensor size. Fitted with Canon latest 15-80mm Lens the 7D has virtually the potential to be used in almost any setting for a Semi-Pro usage.
During my weeklong test I could enjoy different setting, ranging from landscape shooting to Press conference coverage and even Event (Tokyo Motor Show)… And while I has quite disappointed at the beginning with it, the 7D finally grow in me and I succeed to master the beast to fully enjoy its potential.
If the 7D is not a 5D MK II, the 7D is however a really powerful camera when it comes to photo, and if you just keep your ISO below to the 1000 mark, you will have spectacular photo with few noise event at 100% crop… Once you set your camera over the 1000 ISO mark, get ready to be disappointed since the noise will drastically increase forcing you to avoid any crop at 100%.
However, since the 7D is a DSLR, you can always bypass this problem in low light by mounting a better lens less sensitive to the lack of light, and in my case I had to swap with my good old 50mm to be able to shoot great photo at night below the ISO 1000 mark.
Add to this a more accurate AF and its dual Digic IV image processor, the 7D is really impressive when you need to shoot fast moving object or in my case when I had to cover Press event. Speed is a Key element when you have to work with your camera, and faster your camera will better you will have chance to catch “That Moment” which will turn your photo into a piece of art or the best among your competitor, and the 7D in this very aspect is a killer… I rarely saw such fast camera in a somehow affordable budget… Thanks to its Dual Digic IV image processor, the 7D is capable to offer faster and more accurate photos than the 5D MK II for example.

No, really despite its ASP-C sized censor and the fact that above ISO 1000 the 7D does not perform as expected, or at least as well as I would like, and fitted with the 15-80mm, the EOS 7D is really an impressive camera which will please people who needed more than the good old 50D but could not afford a 5D MK II.

Hi-Resolution Photo sample (untouched) can be downlaoded from our flickr account, please follow this link

Ah shooting video with a DSLR, what a magical experience… I have been shooting video in more “Professional” way for while now, and if I cannot call myself a professional cameraman, my needs however tend into this direction.
So what do I personally like in a Pro oriented camera? Well full manual control for sure, but also the capability to get different frame rates, and the 7D does just that with 1080/24p, 1080/25p, 1080/30p and 720/60p.
While I am not crazy about the 24p cinema like mode, I am more interested in both the 1080/30p and 720/60p mode in such cameras and especially with the later one.
720/60p is maybe less impressive than 1080p30 however, having 2 time more fps gives you smoother video and the capability to get amazingly beautiful slow motion videos… And whether it is for Akihabara News, NihonCar or ManualGear, I always set my camera to 720/60p for this very reason.
Also 720p is still easier to handle when you have to edit video, and many people are still not capable to have full HD TV in their living room or full HD capable PC Screen… So until that both 1080/60p is available in a cheap package and until that everyone on earth is capable to enjoy 1080p video, I will still prefer this video mode on top of the 1080p.

Now this said, and despite that fact that the 7D has on the paper everything I needed, the 7D fell shot in almost any Aspect that made this camera a good alternative to the 5D MK II video mode or a cheaper Panasonic GH1 for that matter.
We knew that the 5D MK II have some a serious flaw in its video mode with the so call Jello Effect and despite of being a newly designed camera with a dual Digic IV image processor the 7D MK II Still display the same symptom in 1080p while the 720/60p mode seems to be immune… However the 7D has now more annoying visual bug, with the so call moiré pattern with is “almost” acceptable in 1080p and just unbearable in 720/60p.
So basically none of the 2 video modes offered by the 7D, with the 1080p or 720p is flawless and this will make your video shooting even more complicated if you have to shoot the same subject in different setting and have to downscale to 720p your 1080p video to make it even…

Here you are in the video below (downscaled to 720p) some example of the annoying features of the 7D.

Download video

I believe that my title said it all, the 7D is not a bad camera, but the 7D could have been WAY Better and Canon did not delivered all the promised they made when announcing the 7D. Granted the Photo aspect of this camera is what most of your will care about when or if you plan to get a 7D, but the video mode is also something that many people are now interested in with such powerful camera. Also targeted to a Semi-Pro usage, the Video mode is a huge plus if you happen to use your camera in press conference where you will now be able to carry in 1 package 2 products.
Now will I get a 7D? I will be very honest with you and my answer is no, I won’t invest in a 7D, actually I was planning to ad the 7D to my collection on top for my beloved GH1 and 5D MK II, but after seeing how incapable the 7D is in video (for my needs) I will for the time being just ignore this camera…
Now if you really don’t care about the video mode in such DSLR, yep the 7D is a really nice piece of hardware that will worth checking it if you are planning to get a new camera.

Category Review Cameras
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  • Snic320

    You should try the 7D with the latest firmware versions again……

    • Daimaou – G-A.G

      I did… last week… Better, but I still prefer my 5D MK II

  • Jackies35

    Did you test both cameras first before purchasing the 5D MK II? Or did you have the 5D MK II first and will skip the purchase of the 7D?

    Do you think the 5d Mark II is pretty good for Headshots, portraits, and weddings? Would you ever think about purchasing a 1D Mark iV or Nikon D300s or D3s (if you had access to free lens of Nikon)??

    My goal is learn and grow in Portrait Photography. I was an Event Photographer and made some good money…
    however, the traveling and carrying the computer, printer, and other equipment took a tow on my!

    I need a camera that is fast, 100 VF, great IQ, and could last a long time. I currently have a REbel XT (2006).

    • Daimaou – G-A.G

      I am calling myself a Canon Fan boy, however if you are purely looking for Photo and do not need the Video, Go for Nikon (we made several test on Akihabara News go and check in the Review section)… Now depending on your Budget you can go for a Cheap D90… If you have quite a lot of Money go for the D700.

      For the 1D Mark IV, read our review I have been quite disappointed, but as for today only the 5D MK II stand-out in Canon arsenal… Cheers



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