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Canon 7D Mark II Review

Looking to find more information regarding the Canon 7D Mark II? Read our latest review to learn more about the Canon 7D Mark II, its specifications, and if it’s a good camera body for you. 

Canon 7D Mark II Overview

I got quite fascinated by the camera and really wanted to try it out when Canon revealed the 7D Mark II in September of 2014. Like numerous others, I have been getting quite fed up with waiting for Nikon’s “Pro DX” revitalize to change the D300S, which came out back in 2009 (practically 6 years back!), so I wished to see whether such a tool would still make sense for Nikon to release based upon specifications, performance, and cost.

Sporting a high-end autofocus system with 65 cross-type focus points, remarkably fast 10 fps continuous shooting speed, dual image processors, -3 EV light sensitivity, magnesium alloy building and construction, and weather sealing, the Canon 7D Mark II is specifically customized at sports and wildlife professional photographers. And with its price tag of $1799 MSRP, the 7D Mark II sounds much more attractive to budget-conscious photographers who do not wish to pay near to 4x more for the much heavier and bulkier EOS-1D X.

Given that there is presently no direct rival to the 7D Mark II from Nikon, I will be comparing the camera to the enthusiast-level D7100, as it is the most capable APS-C camera today from Nikon. A lot of what I say about the Canon 7D Mark II is from the perspective of a long time Nikon shooter.

Canon 7D Mark II Specifications

When compared to its predecessor, the 7D Mark II shows improvements in many areas. The autofocus system is significantly better, with 65 AF points, all of which are cross-type. The 7D Mark II is clearly a much better option for usage with teleconverters considering that it can now autofocus at approximately f/8. There is a slight bump in resolution from 18 MP to 20.2 MP. Next, the maximum native ISO is increased to 16,000 from 6,400. The 7D Mark II adds a dual card slot for both CF and SD card types.

The 7D Mark II comes with a brand-new shutter mechanism rated to 200K cycles compared to 150K on the 7D. There is likewise now an integrated GPS on the 7D Mark II and the LCD screen resolution has actually been a little improved too. The only downgrade is battery life– the 7D Mark II is CIPA-rated at 670 shots vs 800 shots on the initial 7D.

The autofocus systems are rather different, with the 7D Mark II having a 65-point all cross-type AF system vs the 51-point AF system with just 15 cross-type sensing units, putting the 7D Mark II ahead of the D7100, at least on paper. Where the 7D Mark II clearly shines is the continuous shooting speed of 10 fps vs 6 fps on the D7100 and a larger buffer that permits for two times longer constant shooting.

Aside from image quality (refer to the camera contrasts page of the review), the 7D Mark II is certainly a more capable camera for capturing quick action. Like I pointed out earlier, the D7100 is not a direct competitor to the 7D Mark II and there is a pretty huge distinction in rate too, so these distinctions are expected.

Indicative Price: $1800Shutter Type: Mechanical
Body Type: Semi Pro SLRUncompressed format: RAW
Body Material: MetalJPEG Quality Levels: Fine, Normal
Max Resolution: 5496 x 3670Manual Focus: Yes
Image Ratio w:h: 3:2Lens Mount: Canon EF-S
Effective Pixels: 20.2 megapixelsShutter Speed Range: 1/8000 – 30 sec
Sensor Size: CMOSMax Video Resolution: 1920×1080
ISO Range: 100-16000Weight (grams): 770g
Battery Type: 1800mAhSealing: Weather sealed
GPS: YesSensor Size: 15 x 22.4mm

Canon 7D Mark II Performance

Below are some of the key measures that we grade camera performance on:

Canon 7D Mark II Magnesium Alloy Construction

When it comes to build quality and building, the Canon 7D Mark II is as good as it gets, thanks to its complete magnesium alloy shell and much-improved weather sealing over the initial 7D that can easily endure dust, rain and extreme humidity. Canon describes the 7D Mark II to be closer to the 1D X in regards to building and weather condition sealing, so you do not need to stress over abusing this camera in the field, as it is created to be.

When compared to other DSLRs like the Nikon D7100, the camera feels very strong in hands and really does feel like a professional camera. I have actually been using the 7D Mark II in really cold, below freezing conditions (we’ve had our share of extremely cold days in Colorado this winter season) and basically got it took in rain several times– the camera carried out perfectly afterward as if absolutely nothing had actually occurred.

Build and Handling

Handling-wise, the Canon 7D Mark II is exceptional. It definitely feels more comfortable to hand-hold than the D7100, quite near what the Nikon D810 feels like. The large grip is comfy and really nice and the controls of the camera quite resemble the Canon 5D Mark III. Aside from the added lever under the multi-controller, the a little repositioned LOCK switch and the minor distinctions in shape of the camera, there is practically no difference in between the 7D Mark II and 5D Mark III on the top of the rear of the camera.

The camera is lots of and exceptionally personalized buttons on the camera can be set to carry out various functions, which is expected from this class of a camera. On the Canon 7D Mark II, the leading rotary dial changes its habits depending on what mode you are in.

In aperture concern mode, the dial changes the lens aperture; in shutter priority and manual modes, it alters the camera shutter speed. The big rotary dial on the back of the camera is utilized for exposure settlement in aperture and shutter priority modes and changes to altering the aperture in manual mode. It normally takes me some time to get utilized to this habits when switching to Canon, but it is okay and you can get used to this habits rather quickly if you shoot typically.

The left backside of the camera has a similar design as Nikon’s higher-end DSLRs, other than a few of the buttons serve various functions. I like the button positioning, except for the “Rate” button. Fortunately is that if you choose to rank your pictures in your camera, the information is rollovered to Lightroom and Aperture when the images are imported. On the other hand, why would you wish to rate images on your camera taking a look at the tiny LCD screen in the first place? I sort through and rate my pictures in Lightroom and if there is something incorrect with a picture I took, I simply delete it.

When working in the field, I do not have the time to look and sit through images on the camera– I import them into my computer as quickly as possible. I choose utilizing two buttons to zoom in/out rather of pushing a button, then altering zoom levels with a rotary dial on the top of the camera.

Another substantial inconvenience that Canon has actually had in its DSLRs forever is image evaluation after capture. For some strange factor, when you catch a single image or a series of images, you can not utilize the rotary dial on the back of the camera to see previous images (with image preview turned on).

By default, the multi-controller/ joystick on the back of the camera is programmed to do absolutely nothing when looking through the viewfinder, so it can not be utilized for moving AF points. On the other hand, on Nikon DSLRs, the AF focus point is moved by the multi-function joystick. Having to continuously push the AF selector button in order to alter my focus point slows me down a fair bit, so I had to change the behavior of the camera so that the joystick moves the AF points. If you want to alter this habits, here is what you require to do: Press the “Q” button, then navigate to “Custom Controls” with the joystick, scroll down to the extremely last option “Multi-controller AF point direct choice” and set it to “AF point direct choice” instead of the default “OFF”. You will be able to alter the AF focus point with the joystick when you do this.

Canon 7D Mark II Setup Menu

The menu system on the Canon 7D Mark II carefully looks like that of the Canon 5D Mark III. There are 6 main icons and dots underneath that represent sub-menus. Whatever is grouped together by function, the menu system on the camera is rather extensive and can be tough to understand, particularly for a beginner or somebody who has never ever shot with a Canon DSLR prior to. I would advise taking a look at the above-referenced recommendations article to get a better understanding of the menu system.

Image Sensor, Dynamic Range and AF Performance

The Canon 7D Mark II sports a 20.2 MP APS-C sensor (1.6 x crop aspect), with a native ISO level of sensitivity of 100-16,000, which can be pushed further up to ISO 51,200. The 20.2 MP APS-C sensing unit sounds a lot like the sensor from the 70D, Canon claims that the sensor technology was not recycled in the 7D Mark II and that the sensing unit was newly developed for the camera.

Canon 7D Mark II Menu

In general, the autofocus system on the 7D Mark II is extremely solid and should have full marks for its performance. Let’s now take a look at the buffer capability of the camera and compare it to the Nikon D7100.

Buffer Capacity

The Canon 7D Mark II has a remarkable constant shooting speed of 10 fps, but how good is quickly shooting speed if a camera does not have a big enough of a buffer to accommodate all those images?

It is pretty clear that the Canon 7D Mark II is method ahead of the other two electronic cameras in both constant shooting speed and buffer capability. How does 10 fps really compare to say 6 fps and how does the buffer capacity impact the continuous shooting duration? To answer these questions, I shot a video where I demonstrate the distinction in between the 7D Mark II and the Nikon D7100:.

Without a doubt, the Canon 7D Mark II is a far better option for photographing fast action than the Nikon D7100 …

Camera Body Metering

In addition to the brand new autofocus system, Canon also bundled a brand new metering system with a 150,000 pixel RGB and IR sensing unit, which puts the 7D Mark II ahead of both 5D Mark III and 1D X, which have older metering systems. The new metering system is capable of acknowledging 252 zones and it is likewise efficient in checking out complete color, which results in superior direct exposure metering performance. When photographing various scenes in differing lighting conditions, I found the metering sensing unit to be relatively precise when shooting in Aperture Priority mode.

All metering modes (evaluative, center-weighted, partial and spot metering) worked as expected and when I did have exposure issues in some rare situations, taking care of the exposure concerns with the 3-step exposure payment utilizing the big rotary dial on the back of the camera was pretty easy.

Battery Life

When it comes to battery life, the Canon 7D Mark II is ranked a bit below its predecessor at 670 shots versus 800, more than likely due to more demanding processing requirements for handling a lot more data. With a dual-processor architecture, more advanced AF and metering systems, it is anticipated that the camera will yield fewer shots per charge. Keep in mind that these figures are CIPA estimates that take into account flash, live view and image preview use.

If you do not use flash, moderately utilize live view and shut off image preview, you must be able to yield over 1000 images per battery charge. Ensure to turn off GPS when you do not need it, as it will eat up the battery quite rapidly. Keep in mind that the battery performance degrades when temperatures are very low. The battery signs on the leading LCD and in the camera menu appear to be pretty precise, so it needs to be a pretty good sign of both charge potential and battery health.

Camera Body Live View

Canon’s execution of Live View is excellent. No interpolation at 100% zoom and exceptional clarity at all zoom levels. I like the method Canon created the Live View/Movie switch with the Start/Stop button that changes in performance depending upon whether you are in motion picture or live view mode. Changing the switch to video mode instantly turns the mirror up and begins the video mode and the Star/Stop button is utilized for taping video. This is a great feature for videographers considering that you can keep the setting on film mode when powering the camera on or off and the mirror will automatically lift up or down without the requirement to push anything.

Movie Mode

There is still no 4K video support, the 7D Mark II has superb HD movie recording capabilities, allowing up to 60 fps at a full HD resolution of 1920 × 1080. Canon undoubtedly does not desire its DSLR line to compete with high-end dedicated video recording electronic cameras like the EOS 1D C, which is why there are some constraints. Personally, I take a look at video recording as a “good to have”, considering that I seldom ever shoot video

Built-In GPS Performance

The camera obviously needs a clear sky to locate satellites initially, but once it is done, the tracking works quite well when traveling. I had GPS mostly turned off when traveling in California, since I only had a single battery and wanted to preserve battery life as much as possible.

Establishing GPS is simple. Locate the “GPS/digital compass settings” alternative in the camera menu under the wrench menu, then set GPS to “Enable”. Next, go to Set Up and set other alternatives. I set up “Auto time setting” to “Enable”, “Position update intvl” to “Every min”, made it possible for “Digital compass” (I suggested to calibrate the compass after allowing it) and disabled GPS logging. Bear in mind that updating of position often drains battery relatively quickly, so if you wish to conserve power, set “Position update timing” to a longer interval.

The 7D Mark II comes with a new shutter mechanism rated to 200K cycles compared to 150K on the 7D. The autofocus systems are quite different, with the 7D Mark II having a 65-point all cross-type AF system vs the 51-point AF system with only 15 cross-type sensors, putting the 7D Mark II ahead of the D7100, at least on paper. Aside from the added lever under the multi-controller, the slightly repositioned LOCK switch and the minor differences in shape of the camera, there is virtually no difference between the 7D Mark II and 5D Mark III on the top of the rear of the camera (Left: Canon 7D Mark II, Right: Canon 5D Mark III):.

The menu system on the Canon 7D Mark II closely resembles that of the Canon 5D Mark III. In addition to the brand new autofocus system, Canon also bundled a brand new metering system with a 150,000 pixel RGB and IR sensor, which puts the 7D Mark II ahead of both 5D Mark III and 1D X, which have older metering systems.

Autofocus Performance

I have actually been shooting with the newest Nikon DSLRs like the Nikon D750 with Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX system and I enjoy the reliability of the autofocus system. When assessing the autofocus performance of the 7D Mark II, I wanted to get a feel for how it compares to the Nikon AF system and compare the two, as objectively as possible.

When shooting with the two AF systems side by side, I discovered the 65-point autofocus system on the 7D Mark II to be very strong when compared to Nikon’s Advanced Multi-CAM 3500DX/ FX. The primary advantage is the all cross-type AF system. Where Nikon can have a hard time at acquiring focus outside the main focus area in Single Servo/ AF-S mode, the 7D Mark II just nails focus basically whenever, making it a more versatile setup when using external focus points for daily photography. For shooting fast action in AI Servo/ AF-C mode, both systems have their cons and pros and it is difficult to state which one is a clear winner.

Shooting the 7D Mark II using AF Point Expansion with 9 points gave me quite similar results to what I normally get with Nikon’s 9-point dynamic AF. The hit ratio was excellent and the variety of keepers was high. Regretfully, Canon does not have the ability to pick more focus points for its vibrant focusing, so I might not compare performance with more focus points. I did not do a lot of screening with Canon’s intelligent Tracking and Recognition (iTR), as I do not like to let my camera pick what to focus on. From what I gather, it works similarly as Nikon’s 3D autofocus mode.

What I liked about the Canon 7D Mark II focus system is its fine-tuning alternatives. Nikon video cameras generally have only one setting that enables fine-tuning AF and it is called “Focus tracking with lock-on”. Essentially, this setting permits you to specify for how long the camera will wait prior to changing the focus on a topic– you can define short to long, depending upon what you are photographing. In contrast, the Canon 7D Mark II has 3 setup settings: “Tracking level of sensitivity”, “Acceleration/deceleration tracking” and “AF point car switching”. By utilizing various combinations of these settings, one can actually adjust the AF system to practically any circumstance. Canon even supplies “cases” or templates that are essentially different mixes of these three settings.

Camera Body Comparisons

Below we take a look at a few different camera bodies that are similar to the Canon 7D Mark II and see how they compare in terms of specs and performance.

Canon 7D Mark II vs Canon 70D SNR and Dynamic Range

It appears like Canon has made changes to the sensing unit on the 7D Mark II because both sound/ SNR and dynamic range appear to be a bit different. To understand how far Canon is behind its primary competing Nikon, let’s go ahead and add the Nikon D7100 to the mix:.

Canon 7D Mark II vs Canon 70D vs Nikon D7100 Dynamic Range.

Now, this right here is the reason why Canon gets a lot heat for its exclusive sensor innovation. Look at how far up the Nikon D7100 is at lower ISO levels, reaching near 14 stops of vibrant variety, while the 7D Mark II has a hard time to reach 12. If you do not believe in numbers, see my post comparing Canon and Nikon in Dynamic Range, where I show how much even worse Canon remains in both overexposing and underexposing images.

Canon 7D Mark II vs Canon 70D vs Nikon D7100 Sensor Comparison

Based on what DxOMark reveals, the 7D Mark II’s sensing unit is inferior to the sensor on the Nikon D7100 in every method, from the color depth and vibrant variety to high ISO performance. As you will see from the camera comparisons page of this review, the 7D Mark II performs likewise at high ISOs and there is little distinction between noise levels on the two video cameras.

In general, although the 7D Mark II does quite well in handling noise, its vibrant range performance is rather disappointing when compared to other modern-day APS-C sensors.

CANON 7D MARK II VS 1D X VIEWFINDER

Although it might look like the 7D Mark II may have the same autofocus system as on the 5D Mark III and 1D X cameras, the Canon 7D Mark II actually has actually a newly established AF system that is much better than all other current Canon DSLR cams, consisting of the top-of-the-line EOS-1D X. First of all, there are 65 focus points readily available, all of which are cross-type, compared to 61 focus points, 41 of which are cross-type on the 5D Mark III and 1D X. Here is a contrast of the viewfinders between the 7D Mark II with the 1D X:

Notice just how much more overlaid info the 7D Mark II has in its viewfinder when compared to the 1D X. The focus point protection is likewise broader in comparison.

On the other hand, the Nikon D7100 has 51 focus points and just 15 of them are cross-type. As described in my autofocus discussed post, cross-type focus points are far more precise when compared to regular/one-dimensional ones, so having that much accuracy in each and every single focus point helps a great deal in getting more in-focus images when utilizing various focus points. With the 7D Mark II, the flexibility to select any of the focus points without stressing excessive about prospective focus mistakes is a fantastic relief when shooting any sort of subject.

On top of this, the 7D Mark II has a low-light sensitivity score of -3 EV and it is a better tool to be utilized with teleconverters (focuses at approximately f/8 range with the center focus point). Both the 5D Mark III and the 1D X are ranked at -2 EV.

Where the 7D Mark II is inferior when compared to 5D Mark III and 1D X is high-precision dual cross-type AF points: the 7D Mark II only has one of those, while the other two video cameras have 5 of them. Please keep in mind that only a few of the current generation Canon lenses with apertures of f/2.8 or faster are able to make the most of these double cross-type AF points, so it is not always an advantage when utilizing older glass and slower lenses.