Canon EOS 7D Mark II Review

November 27, 2014 | Mark Goldstein | |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 20.2 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 7Mb.

The Canon EOS 7D Mark II produced images of excellent quality during the review period. This camera produces noise-free JPEG images from ISO 100 all the way up to ISO 3200, with noise first appearing at ISO 6400. The faster settings of 12800 and 16000 display relatively little noise, with ISO 25600 suitable for small prints and web images and the fastest setting of 51200 best reserved for emergenices. The JPEG images were a little soft straight out of the camera using the default Picture Style and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good overall exposure. The night photograph was very good, with the maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds and Bulb mode allowing you to capture enough light in all situations. The 6 different Picture Styles and the ability to create your own are a real benefit to JPEG shooters, as are the Highlight Tone Priority and Auto Lighting Optimizer custom settings when used in the right conditions. The HDR mode combines three images taken at different exposures to create a single image with greater dynamic range, plus it offers natural and more artistic looks.

Noise

There are 12 ISO settings available on the Canon EOS 7D Mark II which you can select at any time. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with the JPEG version on the left and the RAW on the right:

JPEG

RAW

 

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

 
iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg  

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

 
iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg  

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

 
iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg  

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

 
iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg  

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

 
iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg  

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

 
iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg  

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

 
iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg  

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

 
iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg  
     

ISO 16000 (100% Crop)

ISO 16000 (100% Crop)

 
iso16000.jpg iso16000raw.jpg  
     

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

 
iso25600.jpg iso25600raw.jpg  

ISO 51200 (100% Crop)

ISO 51200 (100% Crop)

 
iso51200.jpg iso51200raw.jpg  

File Quality

The Canon EOS 7D Mark II has 2 different JPEG file quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality JPEG option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

20M Fine (6.26Mb) (100% Crop)
20M Normal (3.14Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_fine.jpg quality_standard.jpg
   
20M RAW (23.4Mb) (100% Crop)
 
quality_raw.jpg  

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images at the default setting are a little soft and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Alternatively you can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default results.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
   
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

Flash

The flash settings on the Canon EOS 7D Mark II are Auto, Manual Flash On/Off, and Red-Eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (135mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (135mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On setting or the Flash On + Red-eye option caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg
   

Red-eye Correction

Red-eye Correction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Night

The Canon EOS 7D Mark II's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds and there's a Bulb mode for even longer exposures, which is excellent news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 30 seconds, aperture of f/11 at ISO 100.

Night

Night (100% Crop)
night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Highlight Tone Priority

This custom setting promises to improve the highlight detail of the image by expanding the dynamic range from 18% grey to bright highlights. Turning it on didn't make a great deal of difference in our test shot, as shown below.

Off

On
highlight_tone_priority1.jpg highlight_tone_priority2.jpg

Auto Lighting Optimizer

This setting promises to automatically correct the brightness and contrast of an image, with three levels of varying intensity available. There was a slight difference between the weakest and strongest settings, as shown below. Note that the user guide warns that this setting might cause noise to increase at higher ISO speeds.

Off

Low
auto_lighting_optimizer_01.jpg auto_lighting_optimizer_02.jpg
   

Standard

High
auto_lighting_optimizer_03.jpg auto_lighting_optimizer_04.jpg

Multiple Exposure

This new setting allows you to combine up to 9 images into a single composite image, with a range of different ways to blend them together. Here's an example with two images combined.

multi_exposure.jpg

HDR

The HDR mode combines three images taken at different exposures to create a single image with greater dynamic range, with natural and more artistic looks also on offer.

Off

+1 EV
hdr_01.jpg hdr_02.jpg
   

+2 EV

+3 EV
hdr_03.jpg hdr_04.jpg
   

+3 Natural

+3 EV Art Standard
hdr_05.jpg hdr_06.jpg
   

+3 EV Art Vivid

+3 EV Art Bold

hdr_07.jpg hdr_08.jpg
   

+3 EV Art Embossed

 
hdr_09.jpg  

Picture Styles

Canon's Picture Controls, similarly to Nikon's Picture Styles, are preset combinations of different sharpness, contrast, saturation and colour tone settings. The six available Picture Controls are shown below in the following series, which demonstrates the differences. There are also three User Defined styes so that you can create your own look.

Standard

Portrait

picture_style_01.jpg picture_style_02.jpg
   
Landscape

Neutral

picture_style_03.jpg picture_style_04.jpg
   
Faithful

Monochrome

picture_style_05.jpg picture_style_06.jpg