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Canon EOS 7D Mark II review

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Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Good image quality
  • Decent burst performance
  • Fast, reliable AF

Cons

  • Lacks 4K video recording
  • No Wi-Fi

Key Features

  • 20-megapixel APS-C sensor
  • Dual DIGIC 6 processors
  • 65-point autofocus
  • Manufacturer: Canon
  • Review Price: £1,599.00

What is the Canon EOS 7D Mark II?

The Canon EOS 7D Mark II is an update to a classic. The original EOS 7D was released five years ago, and has long been considered royalty among APS-C sensor DSLRs. A refresh was long due, though.

With faster burst shooting, improved autofocus and much greater ISO range, the 7D MkII is clearly a superior camera.

What’s less certain is whether the 7D MkII has really done enough to seem thoroughly up to date in 2014. It misses a few features we’d like to see, such as Wi-Fi, 4K video and a tilt screen, while for speedy shooting – which should be one of its core strengths – it’s soundly beaten by the Samsung NX1 CSC.

This isn't a particularly dynamic camera, and a lack of greater improvements is disappointing when the £1599 price tag shows no reaction to the very stiff competition from other quarters. With CSCs such as the Sony Alpha A7 and A7R range offering full-frame sensors for similar or less money, and the ever-increasing speed of less burst-obsessed cameras like the Nikon D750 now not all that far behind the EOS 7D Mark II, its benefits are on the wane.

However, in the most important photographer elements of image quality and shooting/AF performance, the 7D MkII remains a great camera that’s a sound choice for people who have bought into the Canon lens system.

Canon 7D MKII 7

Canon EOS 7D Mark II – Design

The Canon EOS 7D Mark II is an update of a camera that traditionally offered a good option for wildlife and action shooters who didn’t want to pay the sort of money demanded by the Canon EOS 1D X or Nikon D4S. You get much greater speed than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, the full-frame alternative available at the same price these days: £1599 body-only.

Body shape-wise, the Canon 7D Mark II looks very similar to the original 7D. It’s a classic chunky-frame DSLR whose 148.6 x 112.4 x 78.2mm dimensions and 910g are out to appeal to fairly serious, traditional photographers. Canon 7D MKII

Like other high-end Canon DSLRs, the build is great. It uses a magnesium alloy body, and improved weather sealing means you can use the camera in just about any conditions. We imagine the 7D MkII may appeal to wildlife or action photographers, for whom the odd bit of torrential rain is just part of the hobby.

A mix of familiar elements and new additions shows Canon is keen to appeal to its existing hardcore audience here. For example, under the 7D MkII’s rubber flaps you’ll find a micro-USB 3.0 port for faster transfers, but the camera still adopts a combo of CompactFlash and SD card slots, where the more recent UHS-I and UHS-II SD formats have pushed CF further into the past.

CF still has a place, of course, but the latest high-speed SD cards have none of the performance issues previously associated with the format. You can set the two cards to record different file types, too.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II – Handling

While the body of the EOS 7D Mark II is much like its predecessor’s, Canon has applied a few little tweaks. The Q Menu button lives just to the right of the LCD display on the back, offering the same layout as the 5D MkIII.

One new feature is the thumb-operated dial slider on the back, which can be customised to alter your manual controls. For example, during one shoot we used it to make the front control dial, which is the main manual control alongside the rear rotary dial, select ISO.

The shooting experience remains familiar, though, with the locking mode dial offering the standard aperture/shutter priority modes, as well as manual and program modes. In common with other top-end DSLRs, there’s a secondary monochrome display on the top plate that that displays basic settings info.

ElectricSheep

September 16, 2014, 8:19 am

In my experience WiFi and a touch screen are not required on any prosumer DSLR. Lets' leave that to the compacts and mirror-less gang.

The price is right, very competitive and this is a very sensible batch of upgrades especially the auto-focus updates. It's been a long time since I've considered shooting with an APS-C sensor again, but considering the 1.6x crop will give my glass that extra reach, the only thing that would make me not buy this camera is if Canon have not made great progress in the higher ISO noise area over the 7D MK1.

It may be considered a conservative update, but it's solid. Typical Canon really, they've kind of given up innovating anything these days.

ElectricSheep

September 16, 2014, 10:18 am

OK - i've just seen some full res sample JPEGS, and it doesn't look that good IMO. The noise is still there. It's definitely an APS-C camera! I'd love to see some RAW files in the hope that the awful JPEG compression out the camera isn't indicative of the camera's overall performance but, unfortunately it doesn't look like Canon's made much progress on the image quality front despite all the PR talk. I'll wait for the RAW files to judge fully. Maybe not great for Pro work, but still a good prosumer camera.

TerminatahX

September 16, 2014, 2:09 pm

Looks like a very impressive upgrade from the 7D. Cant wait to see actual sports images at high iso.

novainvicta

September 16, 2014, 2:18 pm

I think its premature to talk about the IQ without shooting with the camera. I will be going to Photokina on Thursday and plan on taking a CF & SD card to actually shoot in the hall under the artificial lighting.

heidfirst

December 4, 2014, 10:19 am

It's also worth considering the Sony A77 II. It has very similar performance to the 7D II but is half the price. Whilst the available lens range is not as great as for the 7D II it is far better than for the NX1.

Zubeir

December 4, 2014, 10:23 am

I am an a-mount user, after moving away from canon. Agree I would spend the money for a A77ii which is half the price and get a great lens/lenses with the money saved. Don't know what happened to Canon, why they didn't innovate quickly enough baffles me.

trusharp

December 4, 2014, 10:40 am

Ultimately this camera is 2 years too late, What Canon were thinking dragging the 7D MK1 for so long is anyone's guess.

It's a disturbing thought that this is the best image quality Canon can come up with their APSC models at a price point higher than some full frame bodies. To make it worse just about every other APSC camera comes in at a lower price.

Zubeir

December 4, 2014, 12:20 pm

Interesting image quality and ISO comparisons on DPreview, some of the other APC's (Sony A6000 E-mount) look more detailed.

Vignes

December 8, 2014, 10:42 am

No not the A6000 but the D7100. the A6000 in higher ISO looks bad. Go to DPR and look at the skin tones of fair and dark skin subjects under RAW. the 7D2 is better than A6000. if AF is not an issue than the A6000 or other cheaper options are better option. the 7D2 AF is complex but is very useful once you get a hang of it. It all comes down to choice. I don't think 7D2 is for all. Why would you want to buy it if you're not looking for specific performance like AF etc.

Keith Reeder

January 10, 2015, 8:40 pm

Retard. The 7D Mk II's IQ is STUNNING.

Got to know what you're doing, of course...

trusharp

February 5, 2015, 12:30 pm

Really? Is that your opinion or fact? And I love your counter argument, oh wait there isn't one. Image quality doesn't constitute clean images at ISO 100 then heavy NR at higher settings. Obviously you're a very smart guy because you clearly know how to put your points across

Carlton

September 20, 2015, 12:03 pm

Seriously..... In 15fps, NX1 can't provide AF accuracy somewhere near the pin-sharp result of 7Dii.

Carlton

September 20, 2015, 12:06 pm

Well... The 7Dii is not aimed for those who takes potraits or landscapes which need a camera with a excellent IQ... On the other side, 7Dii is actually aimed for sport, nature and also wildlife photographers.

trusharp

September 20, 2015, 1:04 pm

Well Sony and Samsung have managed to school Canon with their APSC sensor which serves a lot of bodies and trump Canon in every possible area of image quality and AF. Its ludicrous to think Canon would design a body for such a segmented area of the market and if that were the case then I still say its not fit for the job as the issues surrounding the auto focus controversy are pretty damn despicable.

Carlton

September 20, 2015, 1:25 pm

Because they'll know that professional wildlife, sport photographer will buy it cause of their durability, speed, accuracy, and also the most important... The glass available for Canon DSLR. Compared to 7Dii Sony's counterpart, the A77ii, A77ii might has a better IQ but AF and glass matters too...It's an overall package that matters, not just the image sensor.

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