With 10fps burst speed and 65 AF points, is the 7D Mark II the ultimate action camera? Callum McInerney-Riley finds out in our Canon EOS 7D Mark II review

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Features:
Build/Handling:
Metering:
Autofocus:
AWB Colour:
Dynamic Range:
LCD viewfinder:

Pros:

  • - Fast 10 fps continuous shooting with large buffer
  • - Ultra-fast autofocusing system with 65 cross-type AF points
  • - Crop-frame camera giving more reach with telephoto lenses

Cons:

  • - No built-in Wi-Fi
  • - No touchscreen or tilting LCD

Product:

Canon EOS 7D Mark II Review

Manufacturer:

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Canon EOS 7D Mark II Review – Performance

Canon EOS 7D Mark II reviewSee more images taken with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II in our sample gallery

Autofocus

Where the 7D Mark II shows the most dramatic improvements is in autofocusing, with a remarkable 65 focus points covering a large portion of the frame. What’s more, all are cross-type, so they can focus on both horizontal and vertical detail. The centre point even focuses at -3EV, which is essentially moonlight.

The centre point is sensitive to f/2.8, which improves accuracy with fast lenses. Also, for the first time, it works down to f/8. This means it’s possible to use a telephoto lens with a teleconverter and still have autofocus, providing the effective maximum aperture is f/8 or larger.

Advanced iTR AF tracking uses image information provided by Canon’s new 150,000-pixel metering sensor to track subjects across a frame. Like the EOS-1D X and the 5D Mark III, the 7D Mark II has an advanced focusing menu that allows users to configure the AF system for what type of subject they’re shooting. In use, I found the continuous focusing worked very well, and the different settings do help to achieve better results.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II review

My first outing with the camera was to shoot an event in the Lightbox club in London. The lighting conditions presented a real challenge for any autofocusing system, but the 7D Mark II performed brilliantly. Using all 65 points, the camera quickly found the right point of focus and the hit rate of sharp shots was very high.

When shooting deer in dense woodland, I opted to shoot with a small cluster of AF points and move it across the frame using the joystick control on the rear of the camera. It made focusing very fast in operation and I got the shots I wanted without fault.

Like the 70D, the 7D Mark II has Dual Pixel CMOS AF, which provides better focusing in video. One improvement over the 70D, though, is its ability to change the AF drive speed for smoother focus pulls. However, the focusing in live view still isn’t as fast or decisive as using the viewfinder.

Metering

A new 150,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor provides four options for metering, partial, spot, evaluative and centreweighted average. All these settings give accurate results, striking a good balance between shadow and highlight detail. Evaluative metering is linked to all 65 AF points and I found there were no issues with inaccurate metering when this setting was used in the right situation. For most of my shooting, I rarely needed to switch metering from that setting.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II reviewSee more images taken with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II in our sample image gallery

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Canon EOS 7D Mark II Review – Build and Handling
  3. 3. Canon EOS 7D Mark II Review – Performance
  4. 4. Canon EOS 7D Mark II Review – Image Quality
  5. 5. Canon EOS 7D Mark II Review – Verdict
  6. 6. Canon EOS 7D Mark II Review – First Look
  7. 7. Canon EOS 7D Mark II Review – Full Specification
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  • Randip Sangha

    I’d say if shooting video is not a priority get a Pentax K-3, much cheaper and as much or more rugged, higher resolution

  • entoman

    Don’t worry about noise. I’ve got a 6D and a 7DMkII and I’ve done low light high ISO side by side tests to compare the quality. With NR turned OFF on both cameras, the 7DMkII only lags behind the 6D by about 1 stop.

    I regularly shoot wildlife and macro on the 6D at ISO 1600-2000 and get no discernable noise. The 7DMkII produces identical results at ISO 800-1000. At these settings it will produce superb highly detailed and noise-free images good enough for 300dpi double-page spreads in books.

    It really is an absolutely superb camera, an incredibly versatile tool. It’s built like a tank but nevertheless handles like a dream, all controls perfectly positioned, with just the right amount of sensitivity and resistance.

    The 7DMkII is perfect for wildlife, macro, sports, travel, action and reportage. It’s also excellent for landscapes. I do agree totally that it would have been even better if Canon had used a 24 megapixel Sony sensor, but if you shoot landscapes at ISO 400 the results are as detailed and noise-free as a 6D, 5DMkIII or D610.

    I’ve owned and used many DSLRs from Nikon, Sony and Canon. I can honestly say that the 7DMkII in my opinion is the best all round pro-standard DSLR on the market today.

  • craigs_gator

    Yes you did miss something because it is in the 7DMII and it is improved.

  • Dean Gill

    The reason why you do not have Wifi on the 7D Mark II is because of the casing. It’s different from the 70D. The casing on the 7D Mark II blocks the Wifi signal, however in return the 7D Mark II gives you better weather protection and can take more abuse(stronger).

  • entoman

    Er.. what is the relevance of that remark? No one has mentioned EOS-1V in this thread.

  • Adam Johnston

    Sony has among the worse performing APS-C camera’s on the market! They always have.

  • Adam Johnston

    Did you have an articulating screen on EOS-1V??? Nope didnt think so!

  • Eamonn Phillipson

    For me the top issue with my 7D is noise. (4+ years; nearly 20000 shutter count.) Canon need to make a fundamental change. Compared to others – notably Sony, the high ISO/Low light performance is unnecessarily poor. Though the sensor’s dynamic range is fine.
    It is technically “easy” to select silicon die, that generate low noise, from any given wafer. Use better ADC’s (which also generate noise) too and one would have a far more attractive tool for making photographs.
    If Sony can do it (NEX-7; A7 for example) why not Canon?
    “Feature set” is of little value if the RAW file is plagued by lesser quality than lower cost alternatives. If it were not for my investment in lenses, I would be using an A7R today and not reading this review – and having my hopes dashed. (again)
    Wake up Canon.

  • entoman

    I agree that fitting an articulated screen or a tilting screen would make the camera less robust and more difficult to waterproof, but other makers are beginning to fit them to professional cameras (e.g. Panasonic GH4) so it is certainly not impossible to waterproof them. Canon have enough experience also to make an articulated screen robust. The screen on the 70D is excellent. Tilting or articulated screens are regarded as essential by many photographers (I’m a pro, and I wish I had articulating screen on my 6D and 7D bodies!).

    Yes, to a certain degree it is true that the 7DMkII is designed as a sports/action camera, but I think Nikon and Canon are both making a big mistake in their marketing policies i.e producing cameras aimed at certain types of photography, rather than producing cameras that are truly versatile. We all shoot a variety of subjects, and it shouldn’t be necessary to have to buy different bodies for each. Not at this sort of price!

  • CHRIS

    I have just compared the price for the 400mm USM L DO mark 2

    Adorama USA $6899

    Wex photographic UK £6999 – £1399.80 VAT 20% = £5599.20

    5599.20 x 1.55 (exchange rate) = 8678.76 dollar price

    $8678.76 – $6899 = $1779.76 more

    1779.76 – 1.55 = £ 1148.24 more
    The Maths speak for themselves.
    I will be buying grey imports in the future.

  • CHRIS

    You are right about the prices in the UK.
    I have resorted to grey imports for the last 3 years.
    And have saved something in the region of a thousand pounds.
    (this includes the import duty for all of the items).
    You read the posts saying that there’s no UK warranty.
    All the items so far have been OK and most of the stuff comes
    from Japanese sources (the menu is in Japanese easy to change)
    via HK and for the money saved shipping back would not be to difficult.
    (you are also covered by the ebay warranty anyway)
    If enough people purchased gray imports it would force prices down.

  • 40D user

    I was hoping to replace my lovely EOS 40D with this, and to an extent still do. I don’t mind about the fixed screen as I rarely shoot in Live View, I’m not interested in touch screen as I’d be worried about fingerprints, and I’d not use Wi-Fi. What concerns me is the price. $2,000 equates to about £1,250, which is about what I expected. £1,600 is a joke and another example of us in the Uk being ripped off. It’s hardly as if they have to convert it to right hand drive!!

  • entoman

    This would be the best APS DSLR on the market if not for 2 major omissions i.e. an articulated rear screen, and a switch to toggle between single shot and auto-bracket. Disappointed by the sensor – at this price I expect a 24megapixel sensor with excellent noise control at ISO 1600. Isn’t it about time they swapped the dual-function buttons on the top plate for 6D-type single-function buttons? And, how about using better lenses in the viewfinder, to give a bigger view? All in all a great camera for sports/action photographers, but after 5 years of waiting I was hoping for more.

  • Luke Robinson

    Am I missing something or did the Dual Pixel CMOS AF from the 70D also not make it into this model? That’s a little surprising to me especially as they are touting its video capabilities. As a current 7D owner, the lack of that and the lack of wifi does put me off a bit.