Photographers, both professional and amateur, around the world were blown away by the announcement of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera today. The new camera in the EOS line up replaces the EOS 7D that was released in September 2009.
Considered a semi-professional camera, the 7D fell in Canon’s line up behind the 1D, 5D, and more recently the 6D, full frame DSLR’s. Boasting a beefy 18 megapixel (MP) APS-C sensor and up to eight frames per second (FPS) shooting rate, the camera was quickly adopted by professional photojournalists and sports photographers. However, it was not a perfect substitution for the more expensive 1D series of cameras.
The announcement of the EOS 7D Mark II from Canon revealed a camera that moves it closer to the 1D series than expected, which blew away photographers. A new 20.2 MP sensor replaces the 18 MP of the Mark II’s predecessor, and new processing power has bumped the FPS from eight to 10. These features alone make the new camera a desirable upgrade to the original 7D. Canon was not done with the upgrades.
The camera sports two DIGIC 6 processors, which allow the camera to respond and process images quickly. The processors help the camera clear the temporary buffer out quicker when writing images to the memory cards, which in the 7D Mark II can either be a Compact Flash card or a Secure Digital card, and increase the ISO sensitivity to a higher quality level than the predecessor. In the Mark II, the ISO, or film speed, has been expanded to 51,200. Those who started photography before the digital era should remember buying rolls of film in various speeds from ISO 50 for bright sunny days to ISO 3200 for those dimly lit photo needs. At ISO 51,200, photographing stationary objects or slow-moving subjects in near dark situations should be no problem.
However, the larger MP sensor, faster FPS rate and higher ISO sensitivity, while nice, are not the biggest change in the camera. Consumers were hoping the new offering would sport the same sensor as the 1DX offering a full frame, 18 MP shooting experience. However, the new camera still sports a APS-C sized sensor. These smaller sensors are called a crop of a 35mm sensor. Most DSLR camera lenses are designed for the 35mm film sized sensors, but those cameras with an APS-C sensor has a 1.6 field of view (FOV) crop. The simplest description is that on a full frame, 35mm sensor, a 100mm lens is a 100mm lens. the same lens on a APS-C camera is still a 100mm lens, but due to the 1.6 FOV crop, the image looks similar to a 160mm lens.
The 7D Mark II now boasts a new focusing system very similar to the flagship 1D series cameras. The original 7D had 19 focus points for photographers to use, and while it was a major step up from the consumer level DSLR’s available, many photographers were not happy. The Mark II has replaced the 19 focus point system with a brand new 65 focus point system. The new focusing system is expected to perform better when a photographer is tracking fast-moving subjects, like sports, cars, and wildlife.
The focusing update does not just apply to the still image side. The 7D Mark II, like the original 7D also has video capabilities. On the original 7D, focusing while recording had to be done manually for most subjects. Now with the new focusing system of the Mark II, full autofocus and tracking can be done while recording video up to Full HD levels.
When the new camera hits the store shelves in November, it will carry a body only price of $1,799 and a price of $2,149 for the body and a 18-135mm lens. While the Canon EOS 7D Mark II may not still hold a candle to the flagship 1DX, early looks at the camera have blown photographers away and appears to be a solid successor to the original 7D.
By Carl Auer