The complexity of the controls reflects the versatility of the camera. The graphical interface includes the option to customise the function of nearly every control on the camera, from the shutter button to the control dials. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen such a level of customisability (is that even a word?) before. The main menu system is also comprehensive, but it is very well laid out and easy to navigate using the two control dials or the joystick. As usual there is an exhaustive list of custom settings, including expanding the ISO range to 12,800.
The 7D uses the same Picture Styles system of customisable pre-sets that is present on all of Canon’s latest high-end cameras, but with an enhanced level of control. There are nine pre-sets, each of which have four adjustable parameters; sharpness, contrast, saturation and colour tone for the colour pre-sets, each with nine adjustment increments, and with the last two replaced by filter effect and toning effect for the monochrome pre-set.
One nice touch is the Raw/JPEG button on the left of the viewfinder. If you’re shooting in either Raw or JPEG modes this button allows you to quickly switch to the other mode instantly, very handy if like me you tend to take a “reconnaissance by fire” approach to exposure adjustment. You can take a number of test shots in JPEG mode, and then switch to Raw mode for the final shot, saving a lot of memory card space. The 7D has three sizes (17.9, 8 and 4.5 megapixels) at two compression settings for JPEG shooting, as well as three image sizes in Raw mode (17.9, 10.1 and 4.5 megapixels). It can also shoot in all three Raw sizes plus large JPEG.
The EOS 7D is the latest Canon digital SLR to feature high definition video recording capability, in this case taken pretty much as a whole from the EOS 5D MkII. The 7D can record in full 1080p HD at 24, 25 or 30fps with either automatic or manual exposure. Audio recording is either in mono through the built-in microphone or in stereo via an optional stereo microphone which plugs into a socket under one of the body plugs on the left side of the camera. I suspect there are going to be a lot of people who bought the EOS 5D MkII for its HD video recording, who are now kicking themselves that they didn’t wait a few months for this camera.