“A Long-Awaited Update to A Classic”
When the Canon EOS 7D was released in 2009, it was considered as one of the best DSLRs in the world. Technology has evolved substantially since then, and after a long while, Canon has finally come out with the EOS 7D Mark II.
The only thing that is not clear about the 7D Mark II is whether Canon has improved it enough to be up-to-date when compared to other similar cameras in the market. It does lack a number of features we’ve been seeing on high-end DSLRs, for instance: a tilt screen, support for 4K video and Wi-Fi. But, by including a wider ISO range, better autofocus and faster burst shooting, it looks like Canon has paid high attention to the area that matters most – image quality.
The body-only version of the 7D Mk II retails for $1,799, which makes the lack of larger improvements a bit disappointing. Canon has decided to ignore competition from Compact System Cameras like the Sony Alpha A7R which offer full-frame sensors at a lower or comparable price.
At the end of the day, what photographers care about the most is image quality and overall performance, and if the original 7D is anything to go buy, the Mark II looks like it could be a great camera – especially for people who have already bought in to Canon’s lens ecosystem.
The 7D Mk II is designed as a traditional, chunky DSLR and looks very similar to the previous iteration. It measures 148.6×112.4×78.2mm and weighs around 910g, which should appeal to serious photographers. The design incorporates new elements with familiar ones to cater to existing enthusiasts. For example, even though the rubber flaps cover a microUSB 3.0 slot and supports SD cards, the camera still has an older CompactFlash slot.
Like other high-end DSLRs from Canon, build quality is excellent. The body is made using a magnesium alloy which is strong and sturdy. The 7D Mk II also has better weather sealing which allows you to use it in all sorts of conditions – a feature action and wildlife photographers would appreciate.
One of the hallmarks of the original EOS 7D was its shooting performance and with the Mark II, Canon has managed to up the ante. It has two DIGIC 6 image processors which increase burst speed from 8fps to 10fps, which is great for nature and action photography. Burst performance is only 1fps lower than the Nikon D4S but 5fps lower than the Samsung NX1.
Focusing is handled by a 65-point cross-type system which analyses both vertical and horizontal information. Autofocus is extremely responsive and reliable, even in adverse conditions. The AF center is designed to work even at -3EV, which is basically moonlight. Continuous focus tracking is also great, something which the target market for this device will appreciate. Canon uses its Dual Pixel AF phase-detection system to ensure consistent performance even when recording video.
Metering is handled by a 150,000 pixel sensor which is reliable. Spot, center-weighted average, evaluative and partial modes are provided. Evaluative metering includes all 65 available focus points.
Image Quality and Video
The EOS 7D Mark II has a 20.2MP sensor which takes excellent photographs and captures plenty of detail. However, since it has an APS-C sensor, image quality isn’t as high as the Canon EOS 5D Mark III or the Nikon D750 which are full-frame cameras.
Limitations of the APS-C sensor become evident when sensitivity is ramped up. Native ISO spans from 100 to 16,000. While there is very low noise till ISO 1600 – and noise levels aren’t bad at ISO 3200 – image quality starts deteriorating once you hit ISO 12,800. Even though there is an ‘extended’ mode which goes up till ISO 51,200, results are pretty patchy.
Even though the 7D Mk II matches image quality and performance expectations, video performance is sadly lacking. It does not support 4K and maxes out at 1080p @ 60fps. You can also capture video at 30, 25 and 24 frames per second.
Phase-detection makes sure that focusing during video capture is stable, which is a big plus. You can also transfer uncompressed video footage to an external storage device using the HDMI port. But, serious videographers should look elsewhere.
- 2 CMOS sensor
- 65-point cross-type AF sensor
- 10fps burst shooting mode
- Dual Digic 6 image processors
- 150,000 pixel metering sensor
- 1080p video at 60fps in both MP4 and MOV formats
- Maximum shutter speed of 1/80000
- Improved environmental sealing
- USB 3.0
- CF (UDMA) and SD (UHS-I) slots
- In-built GPS
- 3” LCD display with 1.04 million dots
- Decent burst speed
- Excellent autofocus
- Great image quality
- No 4K Video
- Lacks Wi-Fi
The Canon EOS 7D Mark II won’t impress people who are looking for the latest technologies. However, it does perform very well in the most important areas. In addition, it is much better than the original 7D in many respects. It is a great buy for photographers who are familiar with Canon’s ecosystem.