At last, it appears Canon has raised its game, in response to Nikon, and introducing a new breed of camera, the EOS 7D. We put it to the test...
Dynamic range and gamut
In its default settings the EOS 7D has a dynamic range of 12EV, which is up with the best DSLRs we have put through our testing regime. Like the more recent high-end DSLRs from Canon, the EOS 7D has two dynamic range optimiser options: Auto Lighting Optimizer (with Low, Standard, Strong and Disable settings), and Highlight Tone Priority. For the first time, Auto Lighting Optimizer, which brightens image shadows, can be used in manual exposure mode, but cannot now be used at the same time as the Highlight Tone Priority mode.
Consequently, it is better to use the exposure controls to retain the highlight details and then use the Auto Lighting Optimizer to bring out the shadow detail of JPEG files. The brightening effect can also be applied to raw files when they are processed using the supplied Digital Photo Professional software.
Understanding the graph
This graph shows the brightness values recorded by the test camera when it is used to photograph a stepped graduation wedge. The wedge has transmission values in 1⁄2EV steps ranging from 0 to 12EV. The camera’s exposure is set so the 12EV section in the wedge has a brightness value of 255. Software analysis of the image then determines the recorded brightness values of all the other steps and calculates the camera’s dynamic range.
When set to Standard Picture Style, with the Adobe RGB colour space, the EOS 7D is capable of recording almost the entire base of the ICC colour space, with very smooth reds, mauves and purples. As usual, though, the green coverage is a little restricted so it doesn’t quite encompass the entire Adobe RGB space.