|Canon EOS 7D preview|
Dennis Hissink : September 6th 2009 - 14:00 CET
Canon EOS 7D SLR camera review : For several years now, there have been rumors about a possible Canon EOS 7D introduction. Most of these were based on fiction; however, recently it became clear that certain features could very well become reality. We were offered the opportunity, even before the official introduction, to get acquainted with a new EOS DSLR camera, which indeed turned out to be the Canon EOS 7D. 18 Megapixel CMOS, two DIGIC-4 processors, an entirely redesigned AF system, 100% viewfinder with 1.0x magnification, improved Movie function, and a new LCD monitor, are just a few of the many enhancements and improvements of the Canon 7D camera. The first Canon EOS 7D camera delivery is expected in September. |
Canon EOS 7D DSLR camera research
During my meeting with Canon, a number of remarkable research results (included source GFK NL) were shared, remarkable at least for the Dutch market. I learned that currently 8.5% of Dutch households own a DSLR, of which an impressively large amount (83%) is still using their first DSLR camera. This means there is a large potential of possible switchers. The number of digital SLR cameras is expected to continue to grow, in fact; the amount of entry-level DSLR cameras will stabilize and growth will occur mainly with the advanced models.
Market share of Canon within the SLR camera market
Additionally, we are aware of a rising curve of Canon when it comes to market share, with Nikon as runner-up, followed closely by the third big party; Sony. However, if we look at the value, in money terms, we find that Nikon and Canon are both active and doing well in the more expensive digital SLR camera segment, while Sony maintains a tight grip on the lower-ranked DSLR segment.
Canon EOS 7D an advanced prosumer DSLR camera
Canon opens the door to a new market segment by launching the EOS 7D. Or rather; the camera is an addition to an already existing segment. The Canon EOS 7D should be considered an advanced middle segment camera; or in other words; advanced prosumer DSLR. Many innovative techniques in a high- quality body; a tool that serves the creative photographer in each and every way. Then again, Canon has not left a stone unturned while developing the EOS 7D. The mission primarily aimed at giving the photographer an entirely new photo experience, which is why Canon started a major research project. Worldwide, more than 5000 photographers took part in this research project, both amateur and professional, by providing ideas on what their ideal camera should look like.
Fast, accurate and versatile are the key words for the Canon 7D
Thanks to the results of this survey, Canon gathered valuable additional know-how in order to finally develop the EOS camera. One of the main requests was to have versatility. A photographer should be able to step up to the next level of creativity at any time, without encountering boundaries of camera functionality. This requires speed, among other things, which has resulted in the integration of two powerful DIGIC-4 processors. Not only does it increase the speed, it also takes noise control to a higher level, and a frame speed of no less than 8 frames per second can now be reached. However, continuous speed without a precise and fast AF is useless, so Canon made a genuine effort and developed a new AF system. In particular the accuracy is highly appreciated in practice. The innovative new AF feature of the Canon EOS 7D is a so-called orientation-sensitive AF. This enables the Canon 7D to recognize the angle at which it is held, and then automatically select the pre-set AF-point.
Canon EOS 7D body
The research also showed that the quality of the housing matters a lot to the photographers. Especially those photographers who have to do their job in various circumstances where climate plays a main role in whether a photo shoot becomes a success or a failure. The protection of the body is of crucial importance during those moments. The housing of the Canon EOS 7D therefore features extra protection against external influences. The camera has been sealed even more properly, to ensure maximum waterproof features. Additionally, every seam of the magnesium camera body has been reinforced. All in all, this provides a weatherproof feature similar to that of the professional Canon EOS-1N DSLR camera.
ISO range of the 18 megapixel CMOS sensor
One of the innovations of the Canon EOS 7D is the integrated, newly developed 18 Megapixel CMOS sensor. As expected, the sensor features a standard APS-C format, which means you have to count with an effective field of view of 1.6x the focal length of the lens. The new CMOS image sensor features a large ISO range and will stand out for its performance at low as well as high ISO values. The sensor itself has more compact circuits with enhanced sensitivity, and a higher capacity of photodiodes. This results in shooting with higher ISO values whilst maintaining an excellent dynamic range. In particular over-exposure in bright environmental light is now being prevented. The standard ISO range (100-6400) can be expanded to 12,800 which allows you to shoot in natural light under all possible conditions without losing quality.
Canon 7D features a newly developed AF-system
Thanks to having developed an entirely new AF system, and the integration of a separate processor to perform AF calculations, the Canon EOS 7D, in combination with the AI Servo AF II, is able to shoot at an impressive speed of 8 fps. Outstanding is the fact that the Canon 7D uses an AF sensor at which all 19 focus points are 'cross type' sensors when using f/5.6 or faster lenses. This combination allows the Canon EOS 7D to work both quickly and accurately, and what’s more; with advanced AF-tracking. The EOS 7D also includes Spot AF, a new feature which uses a smaller part of the sensor for focusing. This comes in handy when dealing with small subjects that have a detailed background, which could confuse the AF sensor. The Canon EOS 7D also features Zone AF which automatically limits the selection to one of the five zones. This allows photographers to ensure a certain object is automatically selected.
Canon EOS 7D viewfinder
During my brief encounter with the Canon EOS 7D, the viewfinder really stood out. Shooting with a viewfinder that provides 100% coverage and a 1.0x magnification, really is perfect and will primarily prove its value in practice. This is in fact the first EOS camera with this type of viewfinder. Although the screen of the camera is not interchangeable, the viewfinder does feature a translucent LCD monitor. This new screen, which can be enlightened in low light conditions, can hold a grid, spot metering and AF points as an overlay. Features like this make photographing a lot easier as well as a lot more pleasant.
Canon EOS 7D LCD screen
There is however another innovation of the display on the 3 inch monitor of the EOS 7D. The resolution with its 920,000 dots (VGA) and a wide viewing angle of 160 ˚ is already of high-quality, yet Canon has taken things a step further. A type Clear View II display is used for the camera, which means that flare caused by the construction of the display is being reduced. The opening between the cover of the LCD and the liquid crystal is filled with elastic, optical materials. This material causes a change in the refractive index of the light that falls on the display, thus reducing reflections. The top layer of the Clear View II LCD is made from hardened glass.
HD video function on the Canon EOS 7D SLR
Although the Movie feature is something that has only recently been introduced on a few DSLR cameras, for many photographers it seems unthinkable to shoot with a DSLR that does not offer Movie mode. Sample movies from practice show truly stunning results of photographers obtaining final results that are creatively similar to those obtained by working with expensive equipment from the filming industry; yet coming in at only a fraction of the costs. The power of the interchangeable lenses and the use of a full camera system with all its functionality is clearly present, and it even seems that many photo- and videographers will simply have to experience themselves what impact this could have on their workflow.
Canon EOS 7D movie function
This was reason enough for Canon to equip the Canon EOS 7D with an enhanced Movie function. Full HD movies now belong to the possibilities, with additional full manual operation options and selectable frame speeds. The operation has also been improved by adding a new button right of the viewfinder. The operation of the movie function has been improved, which has made it easier to use. Especially dedicated buttons provide direct access to settings now. It is now also possible to activate AF by pressing the shutter button half-way down, or like before, to use the AF-ON button. The exposure of the movie can be adjusted in the Manual mode. This mode provides full control over shutter speeds and apertures. Selecting one of the following frame speeds is also possible: 30 (29.7), 25 and 24 (23.976), on top of that; 60 (59.94) and 50 available at 720 p (please note; NTSC has different specifications). ISO can be set either automatically or manually in a range of 100-6,400 and can be expanded to 12,800. The Canon EOS 7D allows users to mount and edit their movies.
New features of the Canon EOS 7D
• 18 Megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor : Canon designed and produced this sensor, which provides exceptional image quality and delivers a great performance in low and high light situations. This is possible thanks to a new structure of the photodiodes and micro lenses.
• Capturing images at 8 fps : Thanks to the Dual DIGIC 4 processors and improved electrical system, photographers can capture pictures at 8 fps for each file type; no accessories required.
• ISO range : The EOS 7D allows photographers to capture subjects in natural light conditions. The ISO range (100 to 6400) can be expanded up to 12,800.
• Canon EOS movie function : The improved operation, which enables you to directly switch to the movie mode, makes it even more convenient to capture Full HD videos. Users can adjust exposure and frame rate - with options for 24 fps to ensure that special home cinema experience.
• Dual "DIGIC 4" processors : By using Dual "DIGIC 4" processors, users of the Canon EOS 7D never have to compromise on recording speed, image quality and ISO value.
• Impressive design : Canon really did listen to the feedback from the photographer when it came to designing the EOS 7D body and the integrated technologies. A magnesium alloy body provides protection against environmental influences - the rugged, lightweight construction is especially designed so that the camera is able to withstand dust and moisture - like the legendary EOS-1N.
Canon EOS 7D review
To sum it up; the Canon EOS 7D is an advanced semi-pro DSLR camera which incorporates several technology from the professional EOS-series, yet also features many new technologies and innovations applied to an EOS camera for the first time. Mainly creative photographers will feel invited by the 7D to take that extra step. The support you gain from the high-end technology really gives the photographer the feeling it was his own hand that captured that one incredible photo moment. We expect to receive a Canon EOS 7D test sample very soon, and after intensive testing, we will publish a Canon EOS 7D review.