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Thread: Review of Canon 7D

  1. #1
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    Review of Canon 7D

    Having started discussing my views on the 7D in another thread, I thought I'd gather my thoughts in one place in the review section where I can add/reconsider as I get more familiar with the 7D over time. At the time of first writing the review below, I'd had the 7D for 2 weeks and taken just under 2000 images. For reference, my old camera was a Canon 40D.

    I'd be very interested to hear other 7D users' thoughts and experiences, so please feel free to add your comments. In particular, I'm interested to hear about useful features and settings that you've come across, as the 7D's depth of options is way beyond my old 40D.

    Good:

    - Fast AF. Locks in and holds the focus. Seems to hit perfect focus nearly all the time. That said, I don't do birding much, so perhaps not really testing it. However, it seems to lock in focus easier when shooting macro images in low light, which is a great bonus for me (though I shoot mostly manual for macros, AF is helpful for insects in flight etc)

    - Absolutely no lag anywhere, whether its when pressing the shutter button or operating menus etc, the camera is lightening quick

    - Excellent image quality. Might not be as good as 5D2 (particulary in low light), but in good light shooting ISO100 or 200, the 7D is excellent

    - ISO 1600 is perfectly useable, better than ISO800 on 40D

    - Wireless flash trigger makes it easier to handhold a flash when shooting macro. Brilliant.

    - The new menu system ("Q button") makes it really easy to change settings. I can change auto exposure bracketing with two clicks, really handy for HDR work.

    - Love the LCD - much better than 40D

    - Like the AF microadjust feature which the the 40D didn't have

    - HD movie quality is very good, more than what I need for happy family short snippets.

    - The extra megapixels (18MP) do give some extra flexibility when cropping.

    - The 7D feels very well built and solid. All the buttons etc 'feel' right.

    - Battery life is incredible. Presume it is on the 5D2 too, as its the same battery. I've taken 841 shots with the current battery in my camera and its still reading 34% full, so should be good for over 1000 shots. Won't need more than the 2 batteries I've got (I had 4 for the 40D). The battery indicator function is pretty useful too, so you know exactly how much life is left.

    Not so good:

    - the AF system, though very good, is initially quite complex to get your head around and set up. There's more zones and options and sensitivity settings than I know what to do with (I suspect that anyone who isn't initially happy with AF performance probably hasn't mastered how to configure the AF settings for their needs). It'd be interesting to hear other user's views on what settings they've arrived at for different types of photography.

    - the grip seems to have more of an 'edge' than the 40D, so doesn't feel as comfortable. Might need to get the battery grip.

    - the file sizes are enormous. Raw files are around 25MB each. And 1 minute of HD video is around 300MB+. A 16GB CF card fills up in no time.

    - Whilst shooting videos, the camera doesn't maintain autofocus on the subject. You can re-acquire autofocus using liveview whilst filming, but its a bit clumsy and takes several seconds (someone suggested this is improved in firmware update 1.09??). So, if your subject walks around, then you either have to manually refocus whilst filming, or stop the clip/reacquire focus/restart the clip. I believe all DSLRs with a video function currently suffer from this limitation (presumably this is the final development step still to be conquered?). Of course you can extend depth of field by shooting video in manual and using a small aperture - works OK, but clearly not as easy as auto-exposure, particularly when filiming a scene with variable light, and you forego some bokeh.

    - Audio in video mode is awful... I'm sure all DSLR cameras with video are. I'll definitely buy a cheap external microphone to slot into the hotshoe. I guess its a positive that the camera has an external mic input socket...

    Conclusion:

    Overall, I'm delighted with the 7D so far. Great all round camera and probably even better if you intend to use it for birding or action photography. At its pricing level in Australia, I think it's an absolute steal...
    Richard
    Canon 5D2 | 24-105 f/4 L IS | 70-200 f/4 L IS | 85 f/1.2 L | TSE 17 f/4 L tilt-shift | 100 f/2.8 L IS macro | MP-E 65 f/2.8 macro | 1.4x | 580EX2 | MT-24 Twin Lite | Manfrotto | Photoshop CS5


  2. #2
    very good to hear that! thnks for the review tricky!

  3. #3
    Member donmcg's Avatar
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    good information as im considering a similar upgrade, cheers

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    Member einesonne's Avatar
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    I am thinking of upgrading as well. How much is Aus price just for the body??

    einesonne

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by einesonne View Post
    I am thinking of upgrading as well. How much is Aus price just for the body??

    einesonne
    Hi there

    NG Systems - an AP forum sponsor - had Aus stock for $2275 a few weeks ago. If you click on the "sponsors" button above, there should be a link to NG Systems.

  6. #6
    Member einesonne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tricky View Post
    Hi there

    NG Systems - an AP forum sponsor - had Aus stock for $2275 a few weeks ago. If you click on the "sponsors" button above, there should be a link to NG Systems.

    thanks for that info!

  7. #7
    id have to say that 3200 ISO is useable...

    The focus system is good, but not as good as my older 1D II, 19 points v 45 points is just no comparison
    the different focus systems can be helpful, but i have found single point and single point with assisit to be the best for panning...

    have had it focus wrongly a few times picking a point in the full auto (all points) mode... in single shot... not ai-focus

    the file sizes are getting beyond a joke, it fills a 16 gb card in minutes... but the images are crisp and clean and very very sharp...

    all other things are working well... this being my 8th week of owner ship...

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  8. #8
    Ausphotography Regular wideangle's Avatar
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    good practical review you have done there Tricky, thanks for the insights. Since posting this original thread, have you any more insights into the use of your new camera?
    please ask before PP my images

    "Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans"

  9. #9
    thanks for all of that practical info - I'm thinking of upgrading the 40D to this as well - looks like I might need to get used to it for a bit before taking it out to a wedding shoot though
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wideangle View Post
    good practical review you have done there Tricky, thanks for the insights. Since posting this original thread, have you any more insights into the use of your new camera?
    Actually, having just re-read what I wrote originally, I think it all pretty much still rings true

    Very happy with my purchase, its a great camera to use. Still haven't got round to trying it with a grip, but think I will at some stage. Found that I don't use the video feature all that much, after the initial novelty wore off, but useful for the odd family moment (didn't buy an external microphone and won't be now).

    Ultimately I'd like the IQ of a full frame camera (with all the other features of the 7D), but I'm happy to wait until a 5D Mk3 comes out AND the price comes down to sensible levels, so hopefully 2-3 years at least.

  11. #11
    Ausphotography Veteran rwg717's Avatar
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    Interesting to hear your comments on the 7D, I agree with most of your comments except that I have no experience with video so can't comment on that aspect (sometimes wish they had left the feature off and lowered the camera price).
    The quality is excellent as you point out but I would disagree about the grip, I also had a 40D and think the 7D has the most "cling" to one's hand of any camera I have ever used. I have reasonably big hands and lots of "busted" joints and when I stand up with the 7D it just stays there almost locked into the hand and I love this feature.
    Heaps of Mpx I like a lot and the AF is just a dream...great camera and thanks for your review, well done
    Richard
    I've been wrong before!! Happy to have constructive criticism though.Gear used Canon 50D, 7D & 5DMkII plus expensive things hanging off their fronts and of course a "nifty fifty".

  12. #12
    Thanks for the good common sense review Tricky. I'm still tossing up between the7D and the 5DMKII
    Jase

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  13. #13

    The evidence is mounting

    Thanks for those insights Tricky ... I am in the act of purchasing a 7d and your experiences are reinforcing my belief that this is the camera for me at this time in my photographic learning curve. Thanks again
    Eric
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  14. #14
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    Thanks for the comments guys, glad you found the review helpful

    Quote Originally Posted by rwg717 View Post
    The quality is excellent as you point out but I would disagree about the grip, I also had a 40D and think the 7D has the most "cling" to one's hand of any camera I have ever used. I have reasonably big hands and lots of "busted" joints and when I stand up with the 7D it just stays there almost locked into the hand and I love this feature.
    That's interesting. I found the 40D very comfy, but the 7D a little too edgy. I have medium length but thin hands... clearly hand shape makes a big difference.

    The times I find the grip least comfortable are when I've got the camera loaded with macro lens, tubes, flash and ring-flash extender, ie at its most heavy. I will buy a grip one day (currently on camera gear purchase hiatus!) to see if that helps, but not sure it will given the grip will add further weight.

  15. #15
    Ausphotography Regular kevinj's Avatar
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    Having my 7D for 2 days now,the first feature I noticed is the viewfinder,as I wear glasses,it is awesome,no more nose smudges on the rear display,so far, a great camera.
    Kev.
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  16. #16
    I am considering renting 7D for a week. Thanks for the review, was helpful in my decision.

  17. #17
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    Nice review thanks, have a chance to get hold of one of these for a couple weeks so will have to.

  18. #18
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    Having bought my first 7D, I now have two, in March I agree with your review.
    One thing I can comment on is the battery grip as I bought one with the original purchase. It does add a good deal of weight to the camera but for a guy with not large but chubby hands it is really to carry. Went out last week with it loaded with the 70-200 and mostly carrying it in one hand, no strap, it felt perfectly natural and no strain. If you need the extra battery reserves it is well worth it.
    Peter.

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  19. #19
    Great camera

  20. #20
    Thanks for the review - helped me make the decision to buy one

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