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...
Our verdict and focal points
Nikon’s enthusiasm for putting the same (or similar) technology in top-level and mid-range DSLRs has rather emphasised the gap between Canon’s professional-level EOS-1D series and its semi-professional and enthusiast-level cameras. The EOS 7D closes that gap a little and raises questions about the positioning of the EOS 5D Mark II, which looks a little dated in comparison.
The new AF system in the EOS 7D is impressive, and getting the best from it requires a good understanding of the subject as the camera sees it, as well as the available custom functions. It brings the Canon camera’s AF into line with that of Nikon’s higher-end offerings.
EOS 7D’s AF system combines well with the 8fps maximum continuous shooting rate, making the camera a good choice for serious sports enthusiasts and professionals who cannot justify the £4,499 price tag of the EOS-1D Mark IV, or those who don’t need a larger sensor.
Canon’s engineers certainly appear to have been earning their salaries over the past couple of years, and the EOS 7D is a significant improvement over the EOS 50D. Its ability to resolve detail has increased, and noise is much better controlled across the sensitivity range, making the camera much more versatile.
It is worth noting here that none of the images I took during this test exhibits the ghosting phenomenon that has been reported in some images taken with the EOS 7D in its high-speed continuous shooting mode. Canon USA has stated that a firmware upgrade will be issued to deal with it.
Like Canon’s other high-end DSLRs, the EOS 7D has a 14-bit A/D converter that turns the electrical signal from the sensor into digital code. Using a 14-bit device enables a wider range of tones to be generated in each colour channel for better colour and smoother gradations than from 12-bit cameras.
Dual Digic 4 processors
The EOS 7D is the first non-EOS-1D series camera to feature dual Digic processors. As well as boosting the maximum continuous shooting rate, this enables more complex noise-reduction algorithms to be carried out.
Manual control of exposure in video mode
Full manual or automatic control is provided over the exposure in video mode. This is set before recording is started and the slowest shutter speed is dictated by the selected frame rate. Exposure compensation may be adjusted to ±3EV during the exposure.
The EOS 7D’s built-in flash may be set to control up to three groups of Canon EX-series Speedlite (and compatible) flashguns wirelessly. It’s easy to set up and set the flash output ratios via the Flash Control option at the bottom of the first shooting menu screen.