All new 19 point autofocus system unique to the 7D.
Beautiful 3 inch 920,000 dot liquid crystal LCD screen.
Max shooting rate of 8 frames/sec.
Great new viewfinder with 100% coverage.
High ISO capability up to 12,800.
Image quality- Grain evident even at moderate ISO’s.
The 7D has a lot going for it and truly hits a home run with the semi-pro market. There are other cameras out there shooting cleaner images at higher ISO’s like Nikons D700, but that comes with a $1,000 higher price tag. Serious pros may shy away from the 7D but most users will find its blazing autofocus, full HD video, and plethora of other great features more than make up for some noise at ISO’s of 1000 and beyond.
The Canon 7D hits a growing market segment that, one could argue, had been previously ignored by Canon; the true semi-pro photographer. With the advent of digital photography the last few years have seen a massive growth in this market. While buying a hot new camera certainly will not guarantee that your images will be look better, the learning curve has been drastically reduced. The semi-pro photographer was probably not going to be rushing out to buy a 1-series camera costing $4,000-$8,000 and the 40D-50D line was leaving many shooters yearning for more…enter the 7D.
On paper the 7D’s feature set is impressive enough to entice not only the prosumer but full time pro shooter as well. Full frame viewfinder, new 19 point autofocus, full HD video at 30p, 8 frame per second shooting, all in a lightweight(compared to 1-series) dust and moisture sealed magnesium body. It also boasts Dual Digic 4 image processors, high ISO capability up to 12,800, 18 megapixels, 27 custom functions and even internal flash control! I was foaming at the mouth to get this rig into the field and start shooting.
Once in the field the camera felt right at home in my hands. Canon shooters will have no problems with the control layout as it is nearly identical to the 40D, 50D and 5D MARK II models. First time Canon users should quickly feel comfortable with the common sense ergonomics. The new autofocus system is as good as advertised. It locked on to my athletes quickly and tracked them through entire sequences. The viewfinder was a joy to use, it was big and bright and marks a great improvement from both the Rebel and XXD cameras.
My first day with the camera was dark, with rain, hail and lightning threatening to shut down our shoot. We hid out for a while and between peak intensities of the storm were able to get some great shots. To compensate for the leaden skies I bumped up the ISO to 1000 and even 1250 for a while. Images looked crisp and clean on the LCD (did I mention how much I liked the screen?) while we were shooting. Closer inspection at home showed images to be quite noisy, more so than I expected. This was a bit disappointing, but not necessarily a deal breaker. Two days later we were shooting off camera flash under broken clouds and sun at much lower ISO’s and the images I got were much cleaner.