Canon EOS 7D Review

October 14, 2009 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Canon EOS 7D is an 18 megapixel digital SLR camera incorporating a new APS-C CMOS sensor designed and manufactured by Canon. Featuring a revised photodiode and microlens construction, the 7D's sensor offers a versatile ISO range of 100-12,800. Other new additions include dual DIGIC 4 processors offering continuous shooting at 8fps, improved 19-point cross-type auto-focus system including Zone and Spot AF, Focus Colour Luminance metering system which measures from 63 zones, and an Intelligent Viewfinder with 100% frame coverage and 1.0x magnification. The Canon 7D's 3 inch Clear View II LCD screen with 920,000 dot resolution is used for the camera's Live View and Movie modes, with Full HD 1080 video supported. The Canon EOS 7D is equipped with an integrated Speedlite Transmitter, making it easy to control external Speedlite flashguns with no additional accessories required. The magnesium alloy body offers weather sealing, an Integrated Cleaning System and 150,000 release shutter durability. The Canon EOS 7D is available now for £1699 / €1999 / $1699.

Ease of Use

In terms of its design, the EOS 7D is outwardly very similar to the full-frame Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Sharing almost exactly the same dimensions (148.2 x 110.7 x 73.5mm) and weight (820g), the 7D is a little smaller but 10g heavier than its big brother. The 7D has a magnesium alloy body which should make it more durable in the longer term than plastic-bodied cameras, and it also adds a level of weather-sealing that the 5D Mark II notably lacks. The 7D has a proven, well-thought-out design - the most serious design flaw is the rubber cover for the extension system terminal on the bottom of the camera, which will take you about five minutes to lose as it's completely unsecured.

There's a textured area on both the deep hand-grip and around the thumb-rest on the rear of the camera, and the Canon 7D is perfect for everyone with normal to large-sized hands. Like other semi-pro cameras, the 7D offers two control wheels; a small one on the top of the handgrip, and a large, spinning dial on the back of the camera. This rear 'quick control dial' is characteristic of all high-end Canon EOS cameras. It's a bit of an acquired taste compared to more conventional control dials, but you quickly get used to it and it is easy to 'spin'. This dial can be used to apply rapid exposure adjustments, with the new Lock button preventing any further changes being made, useful if you want to maintain the current settings.

The quick control dial takes up the space where you'd normally expect to find a four-way controller, which means that for menu navigation Canon has had to incorporate an additional small joystick on the back of the camera. This joystick works well enough, but it's not as positive or as easy to use as a conventional four-way controller. On the 7D, Canon has extended the joystick's capabilities; it can be used in conjunction with the new Q button to use the Quick Control screen. Depending on which shooting mode you're using, this lets you set various parameters via the LCD screen, using the joystick to move around the options and the Set button to change them. First featured on the EOS 50D and similar to the system that Sony Alpha DSLRs have used for a while, the Quick Control screen is particularly well-suited to beginners and tripod work.

On top of the Canon EOS 7D, positioned above the large monochrome status LCD display, are three buttons, each of which has two functions. You press a button and then turn either the top dial or the rear dial to change the corresponding setting. It takes a little while to memorise which button does what, and which dial you need to turn. The 7D also shows the settings on the main LCD screen as well as the status LCD. There's also a smaller fourth button which activates the status LCD display light so that you can use it in the dark.

The EOS 7D offers a significantly upgraded auto-focus system, with some options that are completely new to the EOS system. There are still the usual three Auto focus modes (One Shot, AI Focus and AI Servo), but there's a totally new AF sensor with 19 cross-type AF points, each of which is a standard-precision cross-type sensor. The center AF point also has a separate, diagonal pair of high-precision line sensors, which provide even greater precision when used with lenses with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or faster.

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Front Rear

The M-Fn , or Multi-function, button is a new addition to the top of the camera, which toggles through the five different AF area choices after pressing the AF Point select button The AF areas are Manual AF, Spot AF, AF point expansion, Automatic AF point selection and Zone AF, and they can also be selected via the Quick Control Screen menu. Spot AF mode is especially noteworthy, allowing you to manually choose any single AF point and actually reduce the size of that AF point, useful for precise focusing in macro or portrait photography.

Conversely, AF Point Expansion allows you to manually choose any one AF point to be the primary focus, but also makes additional surrounding points active, useful for sports photography and other moving subjects. Automatic AF point selection in AI Servo AF mode has also been tweaked - you can now pre-select any of the 19 AF points and use that as a starting point to begin tracking the subject, rather than having to start with the center AF point. Finally, Zone AF selects a small cluster of AF points (either 9 or 4) in the viewfinder, with five different zones available, especially useful for action photographers.

The 7D's metering system has also been improved, with the new 63-zone dual layer metering sensor analyzing focus, colour and luminance information to produce the exposure. There are four metering modes including a 4% Spot metering mode, useful in tricky lighting conditions as an alternative to the excellent and consistent Evaluative metering system.

There are two LCD displays on this camera; the 3-inch colour LCD on the rear and the smaller status panel on the top. On cheaper DSLR cameras, the LCD on the rear usually has to do both jobs, but on this model all the camera settings are visible from above on the smaller panel. This makes the Canon EOS 7D quicker to use, and also helps to extend the battery life, as you can turn off the rear LCD screen and still be able to change the main settings.

The rear LCD screen offers a fantastic VGA resolution with 920K dots, so you may find yourself using it more often than you thought. It allows you to judge the critical sharpness of your photos using the LCD screen, which has been a long-standing issue on Canon's entry- and mid-range DSLRs. The optical viewfinder has been upgraded, now offering an improved 100% coverage compared to the 5D Mark II's 98%, 1.0x magnification, and even a new Dual Axis Electronic Level which helps to ensure perfect horizons in your images (also available on the main LCD screen). New to the EOS system, a transmissive LCD has been incorporated into the viewfinder with various overlay features on offer, including AF points, spot metering circle and composition grid - all useful aids when framing a shot.

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Front Front

Like most DSLRs aimed at prosumers, the EOS 7D offers all the usual serious manual and semi-automatic shooting modes for users who want more advanced exposure control, via a chunky and positive dial on the top-left of the camera body. Canon refers to these advanced operations as the 'creative zone' and provides all the normal settings including Program, Aperture and Shutter Priority and a full manual mode. There are two auto shooting modes aimed at beginners - Full Auto (the green mode) and Creative Auto (CA). The latter was first featured on the cheaper 50D model, and is targeted at beginners who have grown out of using the Full Auto mode, allowing you to change a few key settings using the LCD screen, with a simple slider system for changing the aperture and exposure compensation, or Background and Exposure as the camera refers to them.

Once the EOS 7D is in the 'creative zone', users can adjust the ISO setting into one of nine positions from 100 to 12,800 (you need to to enable the 12,800 mode via the "ISO expansion" custom function option). This extensive ISO range allows you to shoot in almost any lighting conditions without having to resort to using the built-in pop-up flash or an external flashgun. The pop-up flash has a moderately powerful guide number of 15 and can be used with lenses up to 15mm wide. Canon have also equipped the EOS 7D with an integrated Speedlite Transmitter, making it easy to trigger external Speedlite flashguns with no additional accessories required.

The 7D's menu system is the same as on most EOS cameras, utilising a simplified tab structure that does away completely with scrolling. There are 11 colour-coded horizontal tabs and up to 7 options in each one, providing quick and easy access to the various options. You can even setup your own customised menu page for instant access to frequently used settings via the My Menu tab. Only the complex Custom Functions menu detracts a little from the overall usability. The documentation that comes with the 7D is very clear, as it is with all Canon cameras. You get a detailed manual in English throughout and you'll find everything you need to know about the camera's operation in here, without the need to search through the supplied CDs for an electronic manual.

I tested the EOS 7D with the new EF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens, which is offered as one of two 7D kit lenses in some regions. This combination offered fast, positive autofocus which can track moving subjects very well, isn't too heavy and is also pretty quiet. It does exhibit some noticeable distortion though, particularly at the wide-angle end. The 18-135mm lens also crucially features image stabilisation. This is important for Canon, as several competitors offer image stabilisation that's built-in to the camera body. The difference between Canon (and Nikon) and the other manufacturers is that Sony, Olympus and Pentax have opted for stabilisation via the camera body, rather than the lens, which therefore works with their entire range of lenses. Canon's system is obviously limited by which lenses you choose, but it does offer the slight advantage of showing the stabilising effect through the viewfinder. Canon and Nikon also claim that a lens-based anti-shake system is inherently better too, but the jury's still out on that one.

The EOS 7D features not one but two DIGIC 4 processors, which produces noticeably faster image processing, start-up and image review times than previous Canon DSLRs that we've reviewed (as you'd expect), and better noise reduction in high-ISO images (jump to the Image Quality page for ISO samples). The twin DIGIC 4 processors also allow the 7D to shoot a lot faster than most other EOS models, obtaining a very fast speed of 8fps at 14-bit for up to 126 full-sized JPEGs or 15 RAW images when used with a UDMA (Ultra Direct Memory Access) Compact Flash memory card.

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Top Pop-Up Flash

The 7D has a very similar Live View system to the 5D Mark II. If you're new to DSLRs and don't understand the terminology, basically Live View allows you to view the scene in front of you live on the LCD screen, rather than through the traditional optical viewfinder. This is an obvious attraction for compact camera users, who are familiar with holding the camera at arm's length and composing via the LCD screen. It's also appealing to macro shooters, for example, as it's often easier to view the screen than look through the viewfinder when the camera is mounted on a tripod at an awkward angle.

Thankfully Canon have made Live View much easier to actually turn on, with a new dedicated switch and Start/Stop to the right of the optical viewfinder which toggles between the Movie mode and Live View mode. When activated a grid line display and very useful live histogram can be enabled to help with composition and exposure, and you can zoom in by up to 10x magnification of the image displayed on the LCD screen. Focusing is achieved via the AF-On Lock button or the traditional method of half-pressing the shutter-button. Live View can also be controlled remotely using the supplied EOS utility software, which allows you to adjust settings and capture the image from a PC.

The EOS 7D's Live View mode attempts to satisfy both the consumer and more technical user, with three types of focusing system on offer. The first, Quick AF, works by physically flipping the camera mirror to engage the auto-focus sensor, which then momentarily blanks the LCD screen and causes a physical sound, before the image is displayed after about 1 second. The other methods, Live AF and Live AF with Face Detection, use an image contrast auto-focus system, much like that used by point-and shoot compacts, the main benefits being the complete lack of noise during operation, and no LCD blackout. Unfortunately these are much slower than the Quick AF mode, taking over 3 seconds to focus on a clearly-defined subject in bright light, which I think will put off most users that are attracted by the promised point-and-shoot experience. On a more positive note, you can move the AF point around the screen, and the 7D I successfully detected faces in most situations.

Live View is also used for the 7D's movie mode. The 7D supports full 1080p HD - it can record high-definition, wide-screen video in 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, at a frame rate of 24fps, in the Quicktime MOV format using the H.264 codec. The maximum size of a single video clip is either 4 gigabytes or one second below 30 minutes. You can also take either single or continuous stills during recording, with video capture continuing after the final still frame has been taken. Audio is recorded in linear PCM format without any compression. There's a built-in microphone on the front of the camera for mono recording, and also a socket on the side for connecting an external stereo microphone. It also has an HDMI port for playing back 1920 x 1080 still images on a HD TV. It uses the industry-standard HDMI mini-out connection, but note that you'll need to purchase a suitable cable separately. You can also still connect the 7D to a standard TV set via NTSC/PAL. The new Movie switch/button combination makes it a one-touch process to begin recording, a big improvement on the 5D Mark II's convoluted system.

There are, however, some notable drawbacks to the Canon EOS 5D Mark II's video mode. Although you can autofocus during movie recording, the camera uses the painfully slow contrast-AF mode, and even the user guide warns against trying to auto-focus "since it might momentarily throw the focus way off or change the exposure". Focusing manually is a much better idea, although most AF lenses have MF rings with very little 'travel' between their close-focus point and infinity, and in a quiet environment it's also possible to hear the sound of the focusing ring. You can set the aperture and shutter speed when shooting movies, but only both at the same time with the Mode Dial set to M (Manual). You can't set the aperture and let the camera set the shutter speed, or vice versa, so you either have to be confident setting both values or rely on the camera's auto-exposure system while filming. Exposure compensation and AE-Lock can, thankfully, both be used.

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Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

You can take a single/sequence of still shots whilst shooting video, but this causes a 1 second delay which you'll need to edit out later. Handholding the EOS 7D and shooting video is very difficult, with the DSLR form factor not lending itself well to controlled shooting at arm's length. It's a much better idea to mount the camera on a dedicated video tripod. Having said all that, I've no doubt that experienced videographers will be able to achieve some fantastic footage with the EOS 7D. More casual users hoping to grab some quality footage of the kids may be put off by the inherent difficulties of shooting video using the relatively alien SLR format.

The EOS 7D implements the same dust-removal technology as the EOS 50D and 5D Mark II, where the sensor is shaken briefly at high frequency to dislodge any dust particles from its surface. This could delay the need for manual sensor cleaning, perhaps indefinitely, but it won't be able to remove 'sticky' deposits like salt spray, pollen or the smears left behind by careless sensor cleaning or the wrong kind of solvent. The 7D also inherits the internal Dust Delete Data system from the 50D, which can map the position of visible dust on the sensor. This can then be deleted automatically after the shoot with the supplied Digital Photo Professional software.

Peripheral Illumination Correction is a feature that's actually a lot simpler that it initially sounds. Basically it corrects the unwanted effects of vignetting, typically seen in wide-angle photos in the corners of the frame. The 7D contains a database of correction data for various Canon lenses and, if Peripheral Illumination Correction is enabled, automatically applies it to JPEG images. For RAW images the correction is applied later in the Digital Photo Professional software. Up to 40 lenses can be programmed into the 7D, with over 80 currently available to choose from. Peripheral Illumination Correction is a useful and effective addition, particularly for JPEG shooters, and can safely be left turned on all of the time.

Even more useful, especially if you have a number of older lenses, is the AF Microadjustment feature that has trickled down from the pro Canon EOS-1D Mark III. Very similar to Pentax's AF Adjustment custom function, it allows you to alter the focus of each lens, then use a focusing target to test if the lens focuses correctly, and if it doesn't, alter it slightly using the AF Microadjustment option, then test again until perfect focus is achieved. With most other DSLR systems you'd have to send the camera and lens off for calibration (and maybe even have to pay for it), but with the 7D you can calibrate all of your lenses in the comfort of your own home (up to 20 lenses can be stored in the camera).

Once you have captured a photo, the Canon EOS 7D has an average range of options for playing, reviewing and managing your images. More information about a captured image can be seen on the LCD by pressing the Info button, which brings up a brightness image histogram and all the shooting Exif data, including shutter speed and the time and date it was captured, with a second press displaying an additional RGB histogram. Highlight Alert and AF Point Display can also be turned on via the Playback menu. It is simple to get a closer look at an image as you can zoom in up to 15 times, and it is also possible to view pictures in a set of nine contact sheet. You can also delete an image, rotate an image, view a slideshow, protect images so that they cannot be deleted, and set various printing options. Unlike some competitors, there are no digital styles or effects that can be applied to an image after it has been taken - the more subtle Picture Styles are the only way of tweaking your JPEGs in-camera, before they are captured.

The Canon EOS 7D's software suite is very good. Admittedly, photographers who've graduated to a camera like this one will almost certainly have chosen image browsing and editing software already, so they won't need the basic image browsing program included here, but there's more than that. You also get Canon's simple but effective PhotoStitch application for making panoramic shots, a utility for using the 7D remotely (while tethered to a PC) and Canon's Digital Photo Professional application for converting RAW files. This is a big bonus, because other makers don't always include such good RAW conversion software. Digital Photo Professional certainly isn't the best RAW converter on the market, but importantly does mimic the camera's Picture Styles 'retrospectively'. In addition the supplied Picture Style Editor software can be used to create custom Picture Styles on your computer instead of in-camera.

In summary, the Canon EOS 7D is an impressive DSLR for the prosumer, with a solid no-nonsense design, excellent auto-focus and metering systems, and several noteworthy features making their debut on an EOS system camera.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 18 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 7Mb.

The Canon EOS 7D produced images of outstanding quality during the review period. This camera produces noise-free images at ISO 100 all the way up to ISO 1600, with some noise appearing at ISO 3200 and particularly the fastest settings of ISO 6400 and 12800. The Canon EOS 7D's EFS 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS kit lens dealt very well with chromatic aberrations, with limited purple and cyan fringing effects appearing only at the edges of the photo in high contrast situations. Image stabilisation via the kit lens is a feature that means the EOS 7D works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. Note that there is some significant barrell distortion at the wide end of the focal range. The 18 megapixel images were quite soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpening setting 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. Picture Styles provide a quick and easy way to tweak the camera's JPEG images, while the Auto Lighting Optimizer and Highlight Tone Priority also help to get the most of JPEGs.


There are 8 ISO settings available on the Canon EOS 7D. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with JPEG on the left and the RAW equivalent on the right:



ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100_raw.jpg

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200_raw.jpg

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400_raw.jpg

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800_raw.jpg

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600_raw.jpg

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200_raw.jpg

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400_raw.jpg

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800_raw.jpg

File Quality

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

18M Fine (6.23Mb) (100% Crop)

18M Normal (3.08Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg

18M RAW (23.2Mb) (100% Crop)



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 are a little soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes via the Picture Style options.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

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

Focal Range

The Canon EOS 7D's EFS 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS kit lens offers a versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:



focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The Canon EOS 7D's EFS 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS kit lens handled chromatic aberrations very well during the review, with some limited purple and cyan fringing present around the edges of the frame in particularly high-contrast situations. Here are some 100% crops which show the typical chromatic aberrations that you can expect:

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg


The flash settings on the Canon EOS 7D 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 (216mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (216mm)

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


The Canon EOS 7D'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/8 at ISO 100. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Image Stabilisation

The Canon EOS 7D's EFS 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS kit lens offers image stabilisation, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with Image Stabilisation turned off, the second with it turned on. Here is a 100% crop of the image to show the results. As you can see, with Image Stabilisation turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti-shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/6th / 29mm antishake1.jpg antishake1a.jpg
1/8th / 192mm antishake2.jpg antishake2a.jpg

Picture Controls

Canon's Picture Controls, similar 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.



picture_style_standard.jpg picture_style_portrait.jpg


picture_style_landscape.jpg picture_style_neutral.jpg


picture_style_faithful.jpg picture_style_monochrome.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.


highlight_tone_off.jpg highlight_tone_on.jpg

Auto Lighting Optimizer

This custom setting promises to automatically correct the brightness and contrast of an image, with four 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.


auto_lighting_off.jpg auto_lighting_low.jpg


auto_lighting_standard.jpg auto_lighting_strong.jpg

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Canon EOS 7D camera, which were all taken using the 18 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample RAW Images

The Canon EOS 7D enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We've provided some Canon RAW (CR2) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

Sample Movie & Video

The Canon EOS 7D is the second Canon DSLR to capture full HD video. It does so at 1920x1080 pixels and 30fps, and stores it in the Quicktime MOV format using the H.264 codec. This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1920x1080 at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 16 second movie is 89.7Mb in size.

Product Images

Canon EOS 7D

Front of the Camera

Canon EOS 7D

Front of the Camera / Flash Raised

Canon EOS 7D

Front of the Camera

Canon EOS 7D

Isometric View

Canon EOS 7D

Isometric View

Canon EOS 7D

Rear of the Camera

Canon EOS 7D

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Canon EOS 7D

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Canon EOS 7D

Rear of the Camera / Quick Menu

Canon EOS 7D

Rear of the Camera

Canon EOS 7D

Rear of the Camera / Live View

Canon EOS 7D

Top of the Camera

Canon EOS 7D

Bottom of the Camera

Canon EOS 7D

Side of the Camera

Canon EOS 7D

Side of the Camera

Canon EOS 7D

Front of the Camera

Canon EOS 7D

Front of the Camera

Canon EOS 7D

Memory Card Slot

Canon EOS 7D

Battery Compartment


When the Canon EOS 7D was announced at the beginning of September 2009, many people instantly dismissed it because of the lack of a full-frame sensor. On closer inspection, that seems to be their loss, as the 7D is a fantastic APS-C DSLR that only narrowly misses out on our highest 5 Star / Essential award.

Outwardly very similar to the 5D Mark II, the Canon 7D is not just a clone with a smaller sensor in both size and megapixels. Indeed, it has several new features and technologies that are unique to the EOS system, and which will no doubt find their way onto future cameras in the range. Chief amongst these is the excellent auto-focus, with a faster and more accurate 19-point system and a number of significant new options that will particularly appeal to action and macro shooters. The metering system, processing and operation times, optical viewfinder and flash system have all been upgraded too, making the EOS 7D one of the most well-specified Canon DSLR to date.

Importantly Canon haven't forgotten image quality either. You may think that bumping the megapixel count to 18 on such a comparatively small sensor would only degrade the resulting photos, but thankfully you'd be wrong. The new 18 megapixel CMOS sensor and expanded ISO range produce virtually no visible noise at all from ISO 100 all the way up to ISO 1600, with even the three faster settings of 3200-12800 producing perfectly usable images. All other image quality aspects are up to Canon's usual high standards, so top marks go to the 7D in this department.

The only real fly in the ointment is the official recommended retail price, particularly in the UK. £1699 / €1999 / $1699 body-only is starting to step on the toes of the 5D Mark II, which lacks some of the newer innovations and weather-sealing, but does offer that coveted 21 megapixel full-frame sensor and even better ISO performance. The launch price may drop in the next couple of months, but for the moment the 5D Mark II gets our vote. That's not to detract in any way from the EOS 7D - this really is a break-through camera that advances the EOS system as a whole.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 5
Value for money 4

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Canon EOS 7D from around the web. »

The Canon EOS 7D introduces a new series of Canon DSLR cameras. This is now their highest-end 1.6X crop-sensor DSLR, sitting between the 50D and the full-frame 5D Mark II in price while having more features than both of those digital cameras. The 7D adds a number features not presently seen on Canon cameras outside of 1D and 1Ds series: a 100% coverage viewfinder and a weather-sealed body. This is also the first Canon SLR to have a built-in level, this one showing tilt and pitch independently.
Read the full review »




22.3mm x 14.9mm CMOS

Effective Pixels

Approx. 18.00 megapixels

Total Pixels

Approx. 19.00 megapixels

Aspect Ratio


Low-Pass Filter


Sensor Cleaning

EOS integrated cleaning system with fluorine coating

Colour Filter Type

Primary Colour



Dual "DIGIC 4"


Lens Mount


Focal Length

Equivalent to 1.6x the focal length of the lens



TTL-CT-SIR with a CMOS sensor

AF System/ Points

19 cross-type AF points (f/2.8 at centre)

AF Working Range

EV -0.5 - 18 (at 23°C & ISO100)

AF Modes

AI Focus
One Shot
AI Servo

AF Point Selection

Automatic selection: 19 point AF
Manual selection: Single point AF
Manual selection: Spot AF
Manual selection: AF point Expansion
Manual selection: Zone AF
AF points can be selected separately for vertical and horizontal shooting

Selected AF Point Display

Indicated by a transmissive LCD in viewfinder and on top LCD panel and Quick Control screen

Predictive AF

Yes, up to 8m¹

AF Lock

Locked when shutter button is pressed half way in One Shot AF mode or AF-ON button is pressed.

AF Assist Beam

Intermittent firing of built-in flash or emitted by optional dedicated Speedlite

Manual Focus

Selected on lens, default in Live View Mode

AF Microadjustment

C.Fn III-5
+/- 20 steps
Adjust all lenses by same amount
Adjust up to 20 lenses individually


Metering Modes

TTL full aperture metering with 63 zone Dual Layer SPC
(1) Evaluative metering (linked to All AF point)
(2) Partial metering (approx. 9.4% of viewfinder at centre)
(3) Spot metering (approx. 2.3% viewfinder at centre)
(4) Centre weighted average metering

Metering Range

EV 1 - 20 (at 23°C with 50mm f/1.4 lens ISO100)

AE Lock

Auto: In 1-shot AF mode with evaluative metering exposure is locked when focus is achieved.
Manual: By AE lock button in creative zone modes.

Exposure Compensation

+/-5 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments (can be combined with AEB).


3 Shots +/-3 EV 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments

ISO Sensitivity*

Auto (100-3200), 100-6400 (in 1/3-stop or whole stop increments)
ISO can be expanded to H: 12800



Electronically-controlled focal-plane shutter


30-1/8000 sec (1/2 or 1/3 stop increments), Bulb (Total shutter speed range. Available range varies by shooting mode)



Auto white balance with the imaging sensor


AWB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, White
Fluorescent light, Flash, Custom, Colour Temperature Setting.
White balance compensation:
1. Blue/Amber +/-9
2. Magenta/ Green +/-9.

Custom White Balance

Yes, 1 setting can be registered

WB Bracketing

+/-3 levels in single level increments
3 bracketed images per shutter release.
Selectable Blue/Amber bias or Magenta/ Green bias.




Coverage (Vertical/Horizontal)

Approx. 100%


Approx. 1.0x¹


Approx. 22mm (from eyepiece lens centre)

Dioptre Correction

-3 to +1 (1/m) (dioptre)

Focusing Screen

Fixed (Transmissive LCD screen)


Quick-return half mirror (Transmission: reflection ratio of 40:60, no mirror cut-off with EF600mm f/4 or shorter)

Viewfinder Information

AF information: AF points, focus confirmation light.
Exposure information: Shutter speed, aperture value, ISO speed (always displayed), AE lock, exposure level/compensation, spot metering circle, exposure warning, AEB.
Flash information: Flash ready, high-speed sync, FE lock, flash exposure compensation, red-eye reduction light.
Image information: White balance correction, CF card information, monochrome shooting, maximum burst (2 digit display), Highlight tone priority (D+).
Composition information: Grid, Dual Axis Electronic level

Depth of Field Preview

Yes, with Depth of Field preview button.

Eyepiece Shutter

On strap



3.0" Clear View II TFT, approx. 920K dots


Approx. 100%

Viewing Angle (Horizontally/Vertically)

Approx 160°


Anti-reflection and Solid Structure

Brightness Adjustment

Auto: Using extenal amibent light sensor
Manual: Adjustable to one of seven levels

Display Options

(1) Quick Control Screen
(2) Camera settings
(3) Dual Axis Electronic Level


Built-in Flash GN (ISO 100, meters)


Built-in Flash Coverage

up to 15mm focal length (35mm equivalent: 24mm)

Built-in Flash Recycle Time

Approx. 3 seconds


Auto, Manual flash, Multi flash, Integrated Speedlite Transmitter

Red-Eye Reduction




Flash Exposure Compensation

+/- 3EV in 1/2 or 1/3 increments

Flash Exposure Bracketing

Yes, with compatible External Flash

Flash Exposure Lock


Second Curtain Synchronisation


HotShoe/ PC Terminal

Yes/ Yes

External Flash Compatibility

E-TTL II with EX series Speedlites, wirless multi-flash support

External Flash Control

Via camera menu screen



Auto (Stills and Movie), Creative Auto, Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual (Stills and Movie), Custom (x3)

Picture Styles

Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User Defined (x3)

Colour Space

sRGB and Adobe RGB

Image Processing

Highlight Tone Priority
Auto Lighting Optimizer (4 settings)
Long exposure noise reduction
High ISO speed noise reduction (4 settings)
Auto Correction of Lens Peripheral illumination

Drive Modes

Single, Continuous L, Continuous H, Self timer (2s+remote, 10s +remote)

Continuous Shooting

Max. Approx. 8fps. (speed maintained for up to 126 images (JPEG)¹ (with UDMA card), 15 images (RAW))²



Electronic viewfinder with image sensor


Approx. 100% (horizontally and vertically)

Frame Rate

30 fps


Manual Focus (Magnify the image 5x or 10x at any point on screen)
Autofocus: Quick mode, Live mode, Live Face detection mode


Real-time evaluative metering with image sensor
Active metering time can be changed

Display Options

Grid overlay (x2), Histogram


Still Image Type

JPEG: Fine, Normal (Exif 2.21 [Exif Print] compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system (2.0),
RAW: RAW, M-RAW, S-RAW (14bit, Canon original RAW 2nd edition),
Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant

RAW+JPEG Simultaneous Recording

Yes, any combination of RAW + JPEG, M-RAW + JPEG, S-RAW + JPEG possible.

Image Size

JPEG: (L) 100%4x3456, (M) 3456x2304, (S) 2592x1728
RAW: (RAW) 100%4x3456, (M-RAW) 3888x2592, (S-RAW) 2592x1728

Movie Type

MOV (Video: H.264, Sound: Linear PCM)

Movie Size

1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps)
1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps)
640 x 480 (59.94, 50 fps)

Movie Length

Max duration 29min 59sec, Max file size 4GB


New folders can be manually created and selected

File Numbering

(1) Consecutive numbering
(2) Auto reset
(3) Manual reset


Custom Functions

27 Custom Fubctions with 70 settings

Metadata Tag

User copyright information (can be set in camera)

LCD Panel / Illumination

Yes / Yes

Water/ Dust Resistance

Yes (equal to EOS-1N)

Sound Memo


Intelligent Orientation Sensor


Playback Zoom

1.5x - 10x

Display Formats

(1) Single image with information (2 levels)
(2) Single image
(3) 4 image index
(4) 9 image index
(5) Magnified view

Slide Show

Image selection: All images, by Date, by Folder, Movies, Stills
Playback time: 1/2/3/5 seconds
Repeat: On/Off


Brightness: Yes
RGB: Yes

Highlight Alert


Image Erase/Protection

Erase: Single image, All images in folder, Checkmarked images, unprotected images
Protection: Erase protection of one image at a time

Data Verification

Original image verification data can be appended to the image (OSK-E3 required for verification)

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