Canon EOS 7D Mark II Review - The Canon EOS 7D Mark II is a DSLR five years in the making, but with a 10fps continuous shooting rate and 65 cross-type AF points it could well be the perfect camera for the enthusiast sports and wildlife photographer
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Review – First Look
Out to target keen enthusiasts seeking one of the most advanced APS-C DSLR’s ever to be made and one that’s ultimately built for speed, the EOS 7D Mark II has a higher resolution 20.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor that’s partnered alongside a pair of Dual DIGIC 6 image processors – the first EOS model to use this configuration. Though the pixel count may be identical to the Canon EOS 70D, the 7D Mark II’s native ISO range of 100-16,000 is superior and can be expanded to an ISO equivalent of 51,200.
The standout feature isn’t its sensor, however; it’s all about the accuracy and speed of the performance. The inclusion of the two DIGIC 6 processors enable it to shoot at up to 10fps without a drop in resolution, equivalent to being 3fps faster than Canon’s EOS 70D and 4fps faster than the full frame Canon EOS 5D Mark III.
This will be welcomed by those who shoot in a world of ever-changing action, and though we’re yet to fully test the write speeds and burst depth, Canon claims 31 Raw files can be shot continuously at 10fps before the buffer slows, whereas set to JPEG only, the camera will shoot non-stop at full speed until the card’s capacity is reached.
Complementing the impressive burst speed is a 65-point AF system that’s considerably more advanced than what has been seen before. Rather than 19 AF points being cross-type (as per the original EOS 7D), each and every AF point is a cross-type, with the centre point offering dual cross-type focusing at f/2.8.
To enhance the performance of subject tracking, Canon’s latest generation of AI Servo III is also inherited from the EOS 1DX and improves upon the acceleration and deceleration of autofocus on moving subjects.
The focusing system developments don’t end here and it also inherits the six autofocus case studies we’ve seen featured on the EOS 1DX and EOS 5D Mark III. These provide free rein over the sensitivity and responsiveness of autofocus and tie in nicely with a new AF mode selection lever that’s positioned around the AF target controls.
This new lever allows the user to switch between AF modes without having to pull away from the viewfinder and view them via the top-plate LCD.
On the subject of viewfinder, coverage of the frame stands at 100%, with the option to display more shooting info, such as white balance and a superb levelling guide that helps to prevent shots being accidentally taken askew.
Metering hasn’t been ignored by Canon’s engineers either and with the addition of a new 150k pixel RGB+IR metering sensor, users can expect exposures to be more accurate than ever before.
Carrying on from where the EOS 70D left off, the 7D Mark II adopts the manufacturer’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology for smooth and accurate autofocus. The only disadvantage is that the 7D Mark II’s 3in, 1,040k-dot screen doesn’t support touch functionality and it’s the fixed type as opposed to having a vari-angle design, which can prove extremely useful for high and low-angled compositions.
Movies are recorded in Full HD (1920 x 1080), with a choice of frame rates from 24p to 60p, and as to be expected there are dedicated microphone and headphone sockets provided.
Design & Build
Though the camera looks similar to the 7D and feels virtually identical in the hand, there are some minor body refinements. With new body dimensions, the camera accepts a new battery grip (BG E-16), and the weather-sealing has been improved to make it second best to Canon’s flagship DSLR, the EOS 1DX.
Other interesting points are a built-in interval timer (a feature not seen on a Canon camera since the G3), built-in GPS, a 200,000 shutter cycle and dual card slots, which support both SD and Compact Flash media.
The two obvious omissions however are a touchscreen – odd since it features on the less expensive EOS 70D – and the inclusion of Wi-fi functionality that has become a given on most modern cameras today.
In Canon’s defence, the 7D Mk II is compatible with the WTF-E7 wireless file transmitter, but this does come with considerable extra expense (£599).
Available in the early weeks of November, the EOS 7D Mark II will hit the market at a cost of £1,599 (body only).
No kits will be available in the UK, however Canon did stress there will be a money-off voucher for those looking to purchase their first Canon EF-S lenses.