I have done a few different looks at the 7d so far and wanted to put up my final thoughts and review after using this camera for a few months now. You can see some of our other looks at the camera here: Canon 5d vs 7d comparision and Canon 7d ISO review.
Overall this is an excellent camera. There are a few things that this camera does so much better than anything I have used before. Some of my top highlights of the camera are:
Awesome focusing – Shooting weddings and other fast action events I have never been 100% happy with the autofocus of any camera I have used. Normally I have to only use the center focus point and recompose since the center point is the only accurate focus point that will usually lock on. This is not a good way to focus and if you are shooting with a low aperture like 2.8 when you recompose you might get the focus off track. The 7d focuses so much better than any other camera I have seen. You can use any one of the 19 AF points and all of them are accurate! even in dim lighting and using a focus point on the edge it will still focus quickly and accurately. To me this was really the best surprise with the camera. I can’t wait until they upgrade the 5d with this focus system.
Good build quality – Even though the 7d has it’s own naming convention (i.e. its not a 60d), it is along the same lines in Canon’s product lineup as the 50d. But this camera has a much better feel compared to the 50d line, it is heavier and the build quality is really in between the 5D and the Canon 1D. It also has weatherproofing which is really nice for anyone who shoots on location a lot.
Excellent video features and quality – I was very impressed with not only the quality of the full 1080p HD video this camera has but also the flexibility of controls. You have full manual control over shutter speed and aperture and for someone who hasn’t shot DSLR video before the learning curve was very quick. The only thing that really took me getting used to was the manual focus that you have to do. You can shoot at a pretty high ISO and still get very usable video. I shot an engagement session with it at night and shot a lot of ISO 3200 video clips with available street lights, and the quality turned out great. Being able to shoot with any type of lens and having full control over your video settings really has got my creative juices flowing about some new projects.
Here is a sample of a clip shot at 3200 with only available light (that really wasn’t good). White balance was off and this is straight out of the camera, no adjustments.
Image Quality – Although it isn’t as good as my trusty old 5d when it comes to image quality I was pretty surprised at how good this camera was. Compared to a 40d I have shot with the image quality is much improved and the noise at high ISO’s isn’t as bad as I thought it could be. Also a little note about high ISO images, Canon has a Noise Reduction setting that is in the custom functions. This will reduce the noise on high ISO shots but really does soften the image. I found better results to turn the Noise Reduction off and if you do want to remove some noise just do that in the post production, your images will be a lot sharper.
If you are looking to get a 7d, Amazon has great prices on them: Canon EOS 7D
Overall I think the 7d is a very great camera. For a cropped camera body I definitely recommend it, for me it won’t be used as my primary camera since I prefer the image quality of the full frame 5d better. But sometimes having that extra reach with a long lens on a cropped sensor camera comes in handy so for that this will be my new camera of choice. I usually prefer to shoot with a cropped sensor camera like the 7d at churches when I can’t be too close to the action but need to get in as close as possible with my 200mm lens. This gives me a little more reach compared to my full frame 5d.