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REVIEW OF THE 7D
The 7D arrived safely from Canon and after unpacking both myself and my wife Jill began to familierize ourselves with the various shooting and auto focus modes. My first impression was that Canon had clearly designed a very good camera for every day use for the serious amateur.
The body is quite light compared to 1 series and can be carried comfortably with the Canon strap either over the shouder or around the neck without causing too much discomfort. (Jill has arthritis so comfort and weight is a fairly major consideration.)
The new navigation features of the 7D are impressive and we found it easy to get started even before reading the manual. The various operational settings can be found with the touch of one button marked Q and appear together on the large LCD screen allowing easy navigation to quickly change the most commonly required settings, such as ISO, white balance, shutter speed etc.
Quality setting has its own button on the back to change quickly from JPG to raw. We found this a bonus but did on occasion find the setting had changed from session to session due to an accidental knock therefore it is advisable to check settings before use. But as photographers we should do that anyway!!
The various options available for auto focus meant that the user can set the camera to his or her own shooting styles, Rob found this a little confusing at first as there is limited selection on the EOS 1. The auto focus is quick and locked on to the subject with very sharp results. If you have only used a camera with one focal point, it takes a bit of getting used to as it has up to 19 but it is worth taking the time to master this to get the best results
Manual focus is required with a 2 x extender and the 600 mm lens, but with a crop sensor of 1.6 effectly turning a 1200 mm setup to 1920 mm nearly 40 x magnification. This is really quite amazing, as the recent images we took of a nightingale at Minsmere show. The clarity is exceptional. We very rarely use a sharpness filter on our images and rely on the initial focusing to get special images so we are particularly impressed by the sharpness this camera produces.
Nightingales shot a 1/50th second at F25 with the 600mm lens. The third picture for comparison is as taken with the 28-300mm IS lens.
This third shot was taken with the 7d from the same distance with the 28-300mm IS L f/3.5 lens
so you can see the difference. All three shots are full frame as they came from the camera.
These two images of a male Willow Warbler were taken at Strumpshaw RSPB and I was extremely pleased on how the 7D handled low light conditions with a bird in deep undergrowth. They were taken at:
600mm lens F4 IS L plus 2x extender. 1/160th of a second at F16 ISO 400ASA
Samantha, our daughter, also tried out the camera and took this picture of her kitten with the first couple of shots. It was in very dark light and we hadn't played with any of the settings so the depth of field is not that great as she is still learning, but it is another good example of the camera in really poor light.
The built in motor drive is excellent with 8 frames per second and the shutter is much quieter than the EOS1 and 40D which will be very useful in minimising the disturbance to wildlife. The capture rate was far quicker than earlier models, such as the 40D and 400D which again is very useful for capturing moving subject especially when using the motor drive.
Photography is about capturing a moment in time to make it last forever. With the 7D you can now shoot amazing HD movie which look stunning on a large LCD television or Monitor. This is great for the family as well as for projects with a bit more ambition.
After using still cameras and video cameras it feels awkward at first using the 7D as a video camera but it is quite easy with a bit of practice to get superb footage. Focusing using the screen can be difficult especially in bright sunlight as you can't see the screen clearly.
Possibly the best method of shooting video, without spending extra on a viewing hood and other available equipment, was to focus the lens manually by looking through the viewfinder and then selecting the movie mode and attempting to hold the focus by the use of the live mode. This was quite difficult, especially with a moving target such as wildlife, but with continued practise stunning results can be achieved. Robert set the camera up in manual mode and used a shutter speed of 1/50 and the largest depth of field as possible. The depth of field assisted the focus as there was greater scope of achieving sharper footage.
Our shop has a small studio so we also tried the camera using studio lighting. Although it worked well for a camera designed for serious amateurs, we found it did not handle light metering that well. We did successfully use it for a few passport photos.
See also review for 28-300mm IS L F/3.5 lens for further images taken with this camera.
- Light weight body
- Fast capture rate and large buffer for writing images to card
- Fast motor drive
- Quality images and and amazing HD movie mode
- Easy Navigation of Camera settings
We highly recommend this camera for the serious amatuer or as a back up camera for any professional using any of the older Canon models. It is available from most retailers for around 1299.00 with some cheaper so its best to shop around.
Technical details supplied by CANON
Canon EOS 7D
Digital SLR Camera