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
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Review – Image Quality
The Canon EOS 7D Mark II performs commendably in our Applied Imaging tests, giving good resolution for its 20.2-million-pixel sensor and low noise at ISO 100-1600. As you’d expect, image quality deteriorates at higher sensitivities, but the JPEG output is still pretty good at ISO 6400, although with obvious loss of shadow detail. ISO 12,800 loses most fine detail, and the top settings are best used only when there’s no alternative.
Processed raw images give similar results, delivering usable results up to about ISO 6400. As usual, though, the highest ISOs settings are very noisy indeed, and should really only be used when absolutely necessary.
The 7D Mark II performs well with regards to dynamic range, and like other Canon SLRs its highlight tone priority setting can be used to help make the most of this, by expanding the range of tones recorded in the highlights by 1 stop, before they clip to white.
The default colour rendition is perfectly attractive, and Canon offers a range of picture styles for different subjects. These can be adjusted in-camera, and can even be adjusted by the user to suit their personal preferences.
The EOS 7D Mark II resolved around 3000l/ph at ISO 100, with smooth blurring of lines beyond this point and no problems with aliasing or false colour. This holds up to ISO 800, beyond which resolution gradually decreases due to the effects of noise and noise reduction. A reading of 2800l/ph is maintained up to about ISO 3200, and 2600 l/ph to ISO 12,800, but this drops dramatically at the top two settings, to 2000l/ph at ISO 51,200.
Base ISO DR is a pretty impressive 12.7EV, according to our Applied Imaging tests. But in real-world use the sensor doesn’t perform quite as well as these numbers suggest, giving more noise in the shadows at low ISOs than its rivals. The DR initially drops quite gradually as the sensitivity is increased, and the 7D Mark II maintains a creditable performance up to about ISO 1600. Beyond this it falls off more rapidly, with a value of 8.6EV at ISO 6400, and the top two settings give distinctly poor results.
This 3D graph compares the colour shift from the reference colour to the photographed chart: the higher the peak, the greater the shift from the original. In the default JPEG colour setting, Canon offers a moderately contrasty and saturated rendition, with some emphasis on the blues, and to a lesser extent the reds.
In real-world shooting, skin tones in portraits are rendered very well and appear rich and well saturated. There were pleasing, punchy and vibrant colours to be seen in the autumnal leaves in the forest, too.
The images above have a resolution of 300ppi, reflecting a high-resolution print. The 7D Mark II gives clean, detailed images at low ISOs, with a hint of luminance noise creeping in at ISO 1600. Shadow detail starts to deteriorate noticeably at ISO3200, and most fine low contrast detail is being lost to noise reduction by ISO 12,800.The top two settings give very murky files, particularly in the darker tones, and are best kept for emergencies only.
Adobe Camera Raw wasn’t capable of reading the EOS 7D Mark II’s raw files, so we examined them using the Digital Photo Pro software supplied with the camera. This gives broadly similar images to the in-camera JPEG processing, with very usable results up to ISO 3200 and only seriously deteriorating at ISO 12800. Again ISOs 25,600 and 51,200 really aren’t great.
The grey-card images above are JPEG files shot with the 7D Mark II’s default noise reduction and colour settings applied. The images are printed at 300ppi to reflect the noise that would be experienced in a high-resolution print. The 7D Mark II delivers clean images at low ISOs, and luminance noise only starts to become visible at ISO 800. This increases monotonously as the sensitivity is increased, but in these shots it doesn’t really show very much until the top two settings are reached. Raw files processed using Digital Photo Pro tell a similar story, being usable to ISO 6400 at least.