DCRP

Canon EOS-7D Review

Using the Canon EOS-7D

Record Mode

Flip the power switch and the EOS-7D is ready to shoot almost immediately. The camera does run a sensor cleaning cycle at startup, though you can interrupt this by pressing the shutter release button.

Autofocus speeds will depend on a number of factors, including the lens you're using and whether you're using live view and, if so, which AF mode you've selected. With the pricey F1.4L, 24 mm lens and the optical viewfinder, the 7D locks focus almost instantaneously. When light levels drop, or the subject lacks contrast, focus times will increase a bit, but they're still under a second unless you're in very low light. Using the flash as an AF-assist lamp will reduce focus times, if you don't mind blinding your subject with light.

If you're using the live view feature, it's a different story. For best performance you'll want to use the Quick AF mode, which uses the AF sensor, just like when you're shooting with the optical viewfinder. The total focus time is about a second longer, though, due to the time required for the mirror to flip down and then back up. If you're using either of the two live (contrast detect) AF modes, expect focus times that start at one second and often can be two or three seconds long. In low light the camera can struggle to lock focus, and you can't use the AF-assist lamp as you can when shooting with the AF sensor.

If you're shooting with the optical viewfinder then shutter lag won't be a problem. There's a bit of shutter lag with live view, but it's barely noticeable.

As with all digital SLRs, there's no delay between shots, even if you're shooting RAW+JPEG. You can shoot as fast as you can compose the next photo.

You can delete a picture as it's been saved to the memory card by pressing the delete photo button.

Now, here's a look at the numerous image size and quality choices available on the camera:

Resolution Quality Approx. file size # images on 4GB card (optional)
RAW
5184 x 3486
RAW 25.1 MB 155
mRAW
3888 x 2592
17.1 MB 229
sRAW
2592 x 1728
11.4 MB 345
Large
5184 x 3456
Fine 6.6 MB 593
Normal 3.3 MB 1169
Medium
3456 x 2304
Fine 3.5 MB 1122
Normal 1.8 MB 2178
Small
2592 x 1728
Fine 2.2 MB 1739
Normal 1.1 MB 3297

As you can see, the 18 Megapixel RAW files are absolutely enormous, so kudos to Canon to providing smaller sizes for folks who don't need 18 Megapixel images. You can take RAW and JPEG images at the same time, in any combination (I left them out of the chart to keep things simple). I explained the virtues of the RAW format earlier in this review.

The EOS-7D has a detailed, yet easy-to-navigate menu system that looks great on its ultra high resolution LCD. About the only thing I'd add to it would be a help system. The menu is divided up into several tabs, covering shooting, playback, setup, and custom settings, plus a menu that you design yourself. Since each tab contains exactly one "page" worth of items, you never have to scroll down to see more options. And with that, here's the full list of menu items:

Shooting 1
  • Quality - each of these can be selected separately
    • JPEG (Large/Fine, Large/Normal, Medium/Fine, Medium/Normal, Small/Fine, Small/Normal)
    • RAW (RAW, mRAW, sRAW)
  • Redeye reduction (on/off) - whether the redeye reduction lamp is used
  • Beep (on/off)
  • Release shutter without card (on/off)
  • Review time (Off, 2, 4, 8 sec, hold) - post-shot review
  • Peripheral illumination correction (enable/disable) - see below
  • Flash control
    • Flash firing (enable/disable)
    • Built-in flash function setting
      • Flash mode (E-TTL II, manual, multi)
      • Shutter sync (1st curtain, 2nd curtain, hi-speed)
      • Flash exposure compensation (-3EV to +3EV, 1/3EV increments)
      • E-TTL II (Evaluative, average)
      • Wireless function (Disable, internal + external, external only, internal + multiple external) - I'll save the details on these for the camera manual
      • Channel (1 - 4) - this and all items below only shown when using wireless flash
      • Firing group (A+B+C, A:B, A:B C) - how the wireless groups fire
      • Internal-external flash ratio) (8:1 - 1:1)
      • A:B fire ratio (8:1 - 1:8)
      • External flash exposure compensation (-3EV to +3EV)
      • A, B flash exposure compensation (-3EV to +3EV)
      • Group C flash exposure compensation (-3EV to +3EV)
    • External flash function setting - shown when a modern Canon Speedlite is attached, and will look similar to the above
    • External flash custom function settings - set the custom flash settings on modern Canon Speedlites
    • Clear external flash custom function settings
Shooting 2
  • Exposure compensation (-5EV to +5EV) + AE bracketing - see below
  • Auto Lighting Optimizer - see below
  • White balance (Auto, daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten, white fluorescent, flash, custom, color temperature) - see below
  • Custom white balance - select an image to use as a reference for the custom WB feature
  • White balance shift/bracketing - see below
  • Color space (sRGB, Adobe RGB)
  • Picture Style (Standard, portrait, landscape, neutral, faithful, monochrome, user 1/2/3) - I described these earlier

Shooting 3

  • Dust Delete Data - create a "dust map" for using with Digital Photo Professional
  • One-touch RAW+JPEG - define what settings the camera uses when you press this
    • Simultaneous RAW (RAW, mRAW, sRAW)
    • Simultaneous JPEG (Large/Fine, Large/Normal, Medium/Fine, Medium/Normal, Small/Fine, Small/Normal)

Shooting 4

  • Live view shooting (enable/disable)
  • AF mode (Live mode, live mode w/face detection, quick mode)
  • Grid display (Off, rule of thirds, complex)
  • Movie recording size (1080p30, 1080p24, 720p60, 480p60) - only shown in movie mode
  • Sound recording (on/off) - only shown in movie mode
  • Exposure simulation (enable/disable) - whether the live view image simulates the actual exposure or brightens as-needed so you can compose your shot
  • Silent shooting (Mode 1, mode 2, disable) - I told you about these earlier
  • Metering timer (4, 16, 30 secs, 1, 10, 30 mins)
Playback 1
  • Protect images
  • Rotate
  • Erase images
  • Print order - tag photos for printing

Playback 2

  • Highlight alert (on/off) - shows clipped highlights
  • AF point display (on/off) - shows the AF points that were used
  • Histogram (Brightness, RGB)
  • Slideshow
  • Image jump with main dial (1, 10, 100 images, date, folder, movies, stills) - how the jump feature works in playback mode

Setup 1

  • Auto power off (Off, 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30 mins)
  • Auto rotate (Camera+PC, PC only, off)
  • Format card
  • File numbering (Continuous, auto reset, manual reset)
  • Create/select folder
  • WFT settings - control the wireless file transmitter
  • Recording function + media select - for use when a USB flash drive is attached to the optional wireless file transmitter
Setup 2
  • LCD brightness
    • Auto (1 - 3) - camera adjusts brightness based on ambient light
    • Manual (1 - 7)
  • Date/time
  • Language
  • Video system (NTSC, PAL)
  • Sensor cleaning
    • Auto cleaning (enable/disable) - at startup and shutdown
    • Clean now
    • Clean manually - flips the mirror up
  • VF grid display (enable/disable) - whether a composition grid is shown in the optical viewfinder

Setup 3

  • Battery info - displays capacity, health, and the shutter count
  • Info button (Camera settings, electronic level, shooting functions) - choose which of these screens is displayed when you press the Info button
  • Camera user setting - save current settings to the mode dial
    • Register (C1, C2, C3)
    • Clear (C1, C2, C3)
  • Copyright information - this is new, and it allows you to embed the photographer's name and other details into the metadata of a photo
    • Display copyright info (on/off)
    • Enter author's name
    • Enter copyright details
    • Delete copyright info
  • Clear all camera settings
  • Firmware version

Custom functions

  • I. Exposure
    1. Exposure level increments (1/3-stop, 1/2-stop)
    2. ISO speed setting increments (1/3-stop, 1-stop)
    3. ISO expansion (on/off) - opens up ISO 12,800
    4. Bracketing auto cancel (on/off)
    5. Bracketing sequence (0/-/+, -/0/+)
    6. Safety shift (enable/disable) - whether the shutter speed or aperture are automatically adjusted in Av or Tv mode to get a good exposure
    7. Flash sync speed in Av mode (Auto, 1/250 - 1/60 sec auto, 1/250 sec fixed)
  • II. Image
    1. Long exposure noise reduction (Off, auto, on) - for exposures longer than 1 second
    2. High ISO speed noise reduction (Standard, low, strong, disable)
    3. Highlight tone priority (enable/disable) - improves highlight detail and dynamic range, but increases noise in shadow areas; minimum ISO setting rises to 200; see below for more
  • III. Autofocus/Drive
    1. AI Servo tracking sensitivity (Slow - fast, in 5 steps) - these first three items are new
    2. AI Servo 1st/2nd image priority (AF priority/tracking priority, AF priority/drive speed priority, release/drive speed priority, release/tracking priority) - for use with burst mode
    3. AI Servo AF tracking method (Main focus point priority, continuous AF track priority)
    4. Lens drive when AF impossible (focus search on/off) - whether the camera keeps trying to focus when it's having trouble
    5. AF micro-adjustment (Disable, adjust all by same amount, adjust by lens) - tweak the AF by ±20 steps for up to 20 lenses
    6. Select AF area selection mode - here's where you can turn the five focus point modes that I described earlier on and off
    7. Manual AF point selection pattern (Stops at edges, continuous) - whether AF point select wraps around when you hit the edge
    8. VF display illumination (Auto, enable, disable) - whether focus points, grid, etc. are illuminated in the viewfinder
    9. Display all AF points (enable/disable) - whether only the active AF points are shown in the viewfinder, or all of them
    10. Focus display in AI Servo/MF (Enable, disable) - whether the AF points in the viewfinder track the subject
    11. AF-assist beam firing (Enable, disable, external flash only, IR AF-assist beam only) - the last option only uses infrared AF-assist beams found on certain flashes, instead of burst of light
    12. Orientation-linked AF point (Same for horz/vert, different AF points) - allows you to use difference AF points when shooting with the camera in different orientations
    13. Mirror lockup (enable/disable) - flips the mirror up earlier than normal to prevent blur caused by its action
  • IV. Operation/Others
    1. Custom controls - see below
    2. Dial direction during Tv/Av (Normal, reverse)
    3. Add image verification data (on/off) - for use with the optional Original Data Security Kit
    4. Add aspect ratio information (Off, 6:6, 3:4, 4:5, 6:7, 10:12, 5:7) - displays framing guidelines for these ratios in live view and saves the chosen ratio in image metadata; Digital Photo Professional will automatically show the images in the chosen aspect ratio
  • Clear all custom functions

My Menu settings

  • Up to six of your favorite menu items can go here; menu can be set up on the camera or with EOS Utility

I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted. Unfortunately for me, now I have to describe some of those items in further detail.

Let's start with peripheral illumination correction, which aims to reduce the amount of vignetting (dark corners) in your photos. The camera has data for 25 lenses built in, and you can add more via the EOS Utility software. It took a few attempts to see this feature in action, since the 24 and 50 mm prime lenses I tried first didn't have any to speak of. Then I got out the 17-85 mm EF-S lens (which I'm not a huge fan of), and found what I was looking for: vignetting when peripheral illumination correction was off. Below you can see how this feature helps to correct for this annoyance:

Peripheral illum. correction off Peripheral illum. correction on

While this feature didn't get rid of the vignetting completely, it definitely makes a difference. By the way, if you take a picture with the RAW format, you can manually tweak how much vignetting correction is applied by using Digital Photo Professional.


Some of the more hardcore flash settings

I'm not going to go into the details on all those flash options (especially the wireless ones), but I do want to mention one of the options for the built-in flash. That option is called MULTI flash (I have no idea why they capitalize it), and it allows power users to adjust the flash strength, count, and even the frequency. Can't say I've ever needed to do that, but I'm sure it appeals to somebody out there.

The EOS-7D has a nice -5EV to +5EV exposure compensation range, and naturally, you can bracket for it, as well. The bracketing feature takes three shots in a row, each with a different exposure value. The interval between each exposure can be as little as ±1/3EV to as much as ±3EV. If you've got a large memory card, this is a good way to ensure properly exposed photos every time.

Next, I want to tell you about the Auto Lighting Optimizer feature. Simply put, this feature brightens the underexposed areas of a photo. You can choose from three levels of ALO when shooting JPEGs (or just leave it off), and you can also tweak this property in RAW images. In the two Auto modes, ALO is set to Standard. For the other shooting modes, you'll need to turn it on manually. Here's an example of the Auto Lighting Optimizer in the real world:

ALO Off ALO Low ALO Standard ALO Strong

I don't really need to describe what happens as you increase the level of ALO -- the building in the foreground gets brighter, as does the clock tower. Canon mentions that noise levels may increase, though given that this isn't a "noisy" camera, I wouldn't worry about that too much.


WB shift and bracketing (at the same time, no less)

The EOS-7D has plenty of manual white balance adjustments. The custom white balance option allows you to use a white or gray card as a reference, for accurate color in mixed or unusual lighting. Another option is to manually set the color temperature, which can be adjusted between 2500K and 10000K, in 100K increments. If either of those are a little off, you can use the white balance shift to move the white balance in the green, blue, magenta, and amber directions (see screenshot). You can also bracket for for white balance, with the camera taking three shots in a row, each with a slightly different WB setting. Heck, you even even do fine-tune and bracket at the same time!


Battery info screen

Like the EOS-5D Mark II, the 7D has a battery status meter that you can access via the setup menu. This displays the remaining capacity, the overall health off the battery, as well as the number of photos you've taken thus far. If you have a Nikon D-SLR, this screen may look a bit familiar.

The Highlight Tone Priority feature is another one of those things that's better explained with an example than words. This option puts an emphasis on the highlights of your photos, trying to extract as much detail as possible from them. The minimum ISO goes from 100 to 200 when using this feature, and Canon says that it may increase shadow noise. I'll add an example in the next few days, after the weather clears up.


That's some serious customization

While I could go on and on about all of those custom settings, I'm just going to mention one more before we hit the photo tests. This particular option lets you customize a whopping ten different buttons on the camera and its attached lens. Here's are the buttons you can customize, and the options that you can choose from:

  • Shutter release: Metering + AF start, metering, AE lock
  • AF-On: Metering + AF start, AE lock, AF off, FE lock, off
  • AE lock (*): AE lock, metering + AF start, AF off, FE lock, off)
  • Depth-of-field preview: DOF preview, AF off, AE lock, One Shot <-> AI Servo, IS start (on supported lenses), switch to registered AF function (e.g. 19-point, zone AF, spot AF)
  • AF stop (on certain lenses only): AF off, AF start + metering, AE lock, One Shot <-> AI Servo, IS start, switch to registered AF function
  • Multi-function (M-Fn): FE lock, AE lock, RAW+JPEG quick switch, electronic level
  • Set: Off, image quality, Picture Styles, menu, playback, Quick Control menu
  • Main dial (in manual mode): Shutter speed, aperture
  • Quick Control dial (in manual mode): Aperture, shutter speed, AF point direct selection
  • Multi-controller (joystick): Off, AF point direct selection

I don't think I've ever seen a digital SLR with this kind of customization. Very nice!

Alright, that does it for menus -- let's talk about photo quality now. Since I don't have the 28 - 135 mm kit lens, there's no distortion test in this section. I will tell you the lens I used for each of these tests as we proceed.

I took the macro test with my rather fussy Canon F1.4, 50 mm lens. The results are exactly what I'd expect to see from a Canon digital SLR: the figurine is very smooth (perhaps a bit soft), without even a hint of noise. Colors are quite saturated, as well.

The minimum distance to your subject will depend on what lens you have attached to the camera. If you're really into macro photography, then you may want to consider one of Canon's dedicated macro lenses.

The night scene was taken with the excellent Canon F4L, 70-200 mm IS lens. As with the macro photo, the night test shot is very clean, and slightly soft. While noise isn't an issue here, you will spot some highlight clipping, especially on the left side of the image. The 7D definitely clips highlights more than your typical D-SLR, due to its very high resolution APS-C sensor. I wouldn't expect to see any noise on this "L" lens, and what do you know, there isn't any!

Now, let's use that same scene to see how the EOS-7D performs at high sensitivities in low light. Since the resolution of the camera is so high, the crops don't show a very large area, so I recommend viewing the full size images whenever possible.


ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

ISO 12,800 (H)

The first two shots are nearly impossible to tell apart. At ISO 400 you see a slight amount of noise start to appear, but it's not nearly enough to concern me. There's a bit more noise at ISO 800 but, again, it won't keep you from making a large print. At ISO 1600 you start to lose a bit of detail, but the results are still quite good, especially when you consider the resolution of this camera. The image becomes more mottled when you get to ISO 3200, which will reduce your print sizes to small or midsize. The ISO 6400 photo is missing a fair amount of detail, and is probably not usable for a whole lot. I would probably pass on the ISO 12,800 (high) setting when in low light.

Seasoned camera users will know that shooting RAW and doing some simple post-processing can lead to much higher quality photos, especially at high sensitivities. Let's take the ISO 3200 and 6400 photos to illustrate this:

ISO 3200

JPEG, straight out of the camera

RAW -> JPEG conversion (Adobe Camera Raw)

RAW -> JPEG conversion + NeatImage + Unsharp Mask
 
ISO 6400

JPEG, straight out of the camera

RAW -> JPEG conversion (ACR)

RAW -> JPEG conversion (ACR) + NeatImage + Unsharp Mask

The first things I noticed when comparing the RAW and JPEG images were the improvement in dynamic range (note the US Bank sign) and the yellow color cast that appeared in the RAW images (could be a Photoshop thing). After running the conversions through my noise reduction software of choice and then applying some unsharp mask, I ended up with photos that were sharper and more detailed than the JPEGs being produced by the camera. I'm still not sure what you can do with the ISO 6400 shot, but shooting RAW definitely injected some life into the ISO 3200 photo.

We'll see how the EOS-7D performed at high sensitivities in better lighting in just a moment.

I don't expect to see redeye on digital SLRs, and there really isn't much to talk about here. There's a bit of red at the top of each eye, but it's not the bright, demonic red that most people associate with this phenomenon. I should mention that there is no redeye reduction tool in playback mode, so you'll have to count on the 7D's redeye reduction lamp and ample flash/lens separation to take care of it for you.

And just like that, we're at the second of our ISO tests. This shot is taken in our studio, and is comparable with those from other cameras I've reviewed over the years. I used the Canon F1.4, 50 mm lens for this photo. Again, since the images are so large, the crops don't show much of the scene, so view the full size images to get the most out of this test!


ISO 100

ISO 200


ISO 400


ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

ISO 12,800 (H)

Everything is as smooth as a baby's bottom through ISO 800, just as you'd hope to see on a digital SLR like this. Small amounts of noise start to appear at ISO 1600 and 3200, but they're still incredibly clean for an 18 Megapixel SLR with an APS-C camera. As with the night scenes above, details start to go south at ISO 6400, though this image is definitely usable for small and midsize prints (and perhaps larger if you shoot RAW). I'd save the high (ISO 12,800) setting for desperation only, and shooting RAW is probably the best idea in that situation.

Alright, let's see how the ISO 3200, 6400, and 12,800 crops look if you shoot RAW and post-process:

ISO 3200

JPEG, straight out of the camera

RAW -> JPEG conversion (Adobe Camera Raw)

RAW -> JPEG conversion + NeatImage + Unsharp Mask
 
ISO 6400

JPEG, straight out of the camera

RAW -> JPEG conversion (ACR)

RAW -> JPEG conversion + NeatImage + Unsharp Mask
 
ISO 12,800 (H)

JPEG, straight out of the camera

RAW -> JPEG conversion (ACR)

RAW -> JPEG conversion + NeatImage + Unsharp Mask

First impressions here are (again) the much "yellower" image with the ACR RAW conversion, and the really nice increase in sharpness (even without using Unsharp Mask). You definitely get more usable images after post-processing, and you may even be able to squeeze out a small print at the ISO 12,800 setting.

I'm going to use our test scene one last time to compare the EOS-7D to its rivals, the Nikon D300s and Pentax K-7. To level the playing field, I've reduced the resolution of the 7D and K-7 to 12 Megapixel, to match the D300s. If you want to compare the full size images, the 7D images are right on this page, and the K-7's photos are in its review.

ISO 1600

Canon EOS-7D (downsized)

Nikon D300s

Pentax K-7 (downsized)
 
ISO 3200

Canon EOS-7D (downsized)

Nikon D300s

Pentax K-7 (downsized)
 
ISO 6400

Canon EOS-7D (downsized)

Pentax K-7 (downsized)

At ISO 1600, the three cameras are quite close to each other, with the K-7 being just a bit noisier than the other two. Nothing really changes at ISO 3200, save for a slight increase in noise levels on the K-7. What things get impressive is at ISO 6400, where the 7D easily matches (and perhaps exceeds) the image quality of the D300s. I know that downsizing the 7D's 18 Megapixel images reduces some of the noise, but unless you're printing a billboard, you won't see a difference between the two cameras. The Pentax K-7, while quite the bargain, can't quite match the image quality of the 7D and D300s at this ISO setting.

Overall, the EOS-7D's image quality was very good, though there are a few areas that could be improved upon. Both of those areas happen to fall in the exposure department. While most of the time the 7D produce photos with accurate exposure, it did overexpose at times. And, like a compact camera with too many pixels stuffed into a tiny sensor, the camera clipped highlights more than I would've liked. One thing I can't complain about is color: everything was nice and saturated.

Image sharpness is dependent on both the camera itself and the lens you you attach to it. For whatever reason, Canon sent me the 17 - 85 mm EF-S lens to test with the EOS-7D. To put it mildly, this is not a great lens: it's fairly soft, and loaded with purple fringing. I once owned this lens, and eventually sold it for those very reasons. I eventually got my hands on the pricey F1.4L, 24 mm lens, which produces much sharper photos. If you want an example of "you get what you pay for" compare this same photo taken with the 17 - 85 mm and 24 mm lenses.

As for noise, you won't see any of it at low sensitivities. In low light situations, it becomes apparent at ISO 800, but it won't become an issue for another stop. In good light, you can safely shoot through ISO 3200 without having to worry about noise (unless you're making very large prints). The highest sensitivities will turn out best if you shoot RAW and do some post-processing, as I hopefully illustrated earlier. Purple fringing is lens-dependent, and while there was a lot of it on the 17-85, you'd be hard-pressed to find any on the other three lenses I used in the review.

Now, it's your turn to analyze some photos. Take a look at our extensive photo gallery from the EOS-7D. View the full size images, and perhaps print a few of them if you can. Then you should be able to decide if the 7D's photo quality meets your needs.

Movie Mode

The EOS-7D has the same movie mode as its big brother, the 5D Mark II. That means that you can record Full HD video (that's 1920 x 1080) at either 24 or 30 frames/second, until the file size reaches 4GB or the recording time hits 30 minutes. At the Full HD resolution, you'll hit the file size limit in about twelve minutes. Two lower resolutions are also available: 1280 x 720 at 60 fps (great for action) and 640 x 480 (also at 60 fps), and the time limits for those are 12 and 24 minutes, respectively. For those of you who use the PAL system, the frame rates will be 25 fps instead of 30 fps, and 50 fps instead of 60 fps.

The EOS-7D records monaural sound with its movies. If you want stereo sound, you can attach an external microphone to the mic input on the side of the camera. The camera does not allow for manual microphone level adjustment, nor does it offer a wind cut filter.

To record a movie, you first must set the switch on the back of the camera to movie mode. Then you probably want to focus (using the AF-On or shutter release button), unless you're doing it manually. Then press the Start/Stop button to begin filming, and again to stop. While you're recording, you can press the shutter release button down to take a still photo, though the movie will pause while this occurs.

The 7D offers the same set of manual controls in movie mode that were added to the 5D Mark II via a firmware update. To take advantage of this, you'll want to set the mode dial to the "M" position. There you can adjust the shutter speed (with a range of 1/30 - 1/4000 sec), aperture, or ISO speed.

There are some advantages and disadvantages of shooting movies on a digital SLR. On the plus side, you can use any lens you own, from fisheye to super telephoto. You can zoom in and out as you please and, if your lens has image stabilization, that's available too. You've got the manual controls I described above, and you can fool around with Picture Styles, as well. There are a few downsides, though. For one, the camera is not focusing continuously while you're recording a movie. You can press the AF-on button to use contrast detect AF, but that results in slow focusing, clicking noises, and other weird effects. That means that if you adjust the focal length or your subject moves out of focus, you'll probably want to adjust the focus manually. That's a lot harder than it sounds -- it takes practice, for sure.

Canon uses the H.264 codec inside a QuickTime wrapper. That means that you'll get high quality with smaller file sizes than M-JPEG (relatively speaking, of course). Even so, a 60 second movie takes up a whopping 330MB on your memory card. And speaking of which, you'll need a high sped CompactFlash card to take full advantage of the HD movie mode.

I don't claim to be a professional videographer, so don't expect anything too amazing from these samples (check out Vimeo for better stuff). That said, here are sample videos taken at 1080p30, 1080p24, and 720p60. My 1080p24 subject matter isn't great, but that's all I have for now. For each movie you can download the original, gigantic movie, or one that I've downsized to make it a quicker download.


Click to view compressed movie (1920 x 1080, 30 fps, 12MB, QuickTime/H.264 format)
Click to view original movie (1920 x 1080, 30 fps, 61.5 MB, QuickTime/H.264 format)


Click to view compressed movie (1920 x 1080, 24 fps, 11.6 MB, QuickTime/H.264 format)
Click to view original movie (1920 x 1080, 24 fps, 61.1 MB, QuickTime/H.264 format)


Click to view compressed movie (1280 x 720, 60 fps, 8 MB, QuickTime/H.264 format)
Click to view original movie (1280 x 720, 60 fps, 51.7 MB, QuickTime/H.264 format)

Playback Mode

The EOS-7D has a pretty basic playback mode. Features you will find here are slideshows, image protection, DPOF print marking, thumbnail view, and zoom and scroll. This last feature lets you enlarge your photo (by up to 10X), and then move around in the zoomed-in area -- perfect for checking focus. By using the quick control dial, you can move from one photo to another (maintaining the zoom setting), which is quite handy.


Lots of ways to jump through images

You can "jump" through photos using the main dial on the top of the camera, in groups of 10 or 100 photos, or by date, folder, or file type (movie or still).

The only "editing" tool on the camera is for image rotation. There's no way to resize or crop photos on the camera. Unlike the 5D Mark II, the EOS-7D offers a movie trimming tool, which lets you remove unwanted footage from the beginning and/or end of a clip.

By default, the 7D doesn't tell you much about your photos. However, if you press the Info button, you'll see a lot more, including two different types of histogram.

The camera moves through photos instantly, as you'd expect on a D-SLR.

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