Pros + Amazing quality
+ Live view is great
+ HD video is amazing
+ Battery life is better than expected
+ Low light performance is great
+ 19 point AF system amazingly fast and accurate
+ 3-inch LCD is very nice for viewing an
Cons - Rolling shutter
- Not a full-frame sensor
Summary No, but it's so good that one starts to contemplate this question, which was never the case before the 7D was introduced. Both systems, crop and full frame, have their pros and cons and place in photography. But before I get into that let me say I have not been as excited about a camera since the introduction of the 5D MK I four years ago. That's because the 7D raises the crop camera bar to the point where crop users will not feel at a disadvantage to full frame camera users, especially if coupled with awesome ef-s lenses such as the 17-55 f2.8.
How so? The 7D sets a new standard in four major ways.
1. It produces whopping 18MP pictures, which are just 3MP shy of the current top of the line full frame Canon cameras. Just few years ago most pros were producing stellar results using the 1Ds MKII 16MP camera. Now you have more MPs in a crop sensor, that's a major achievement. This achievement translates into bigger prints and, perhaps more importantly, cropping power. Out shooting wildlife with a 300mm instead of 400mm? You can crop the 7D files down to 50% of their original file size and still obtain sharp pictures. It's just not that easy with the 1D MK III 10MP files.
2. Many worried that extra MPs in small crop sensors would translate into nosier pictures, but the amazing thing is that this camera produces images with what seems to be less noise than the 1Ds MKII. The noise level is very good. At ISO 1600 I still prefer pictures coming from my 5D MKII, but below ISO1600 they are very close. Frankly, I can go with either camera because most of my professionally shot portraits and product pictures are shot at ISO100. At ISO100 both produce very clean files and are practically indistinguishable.
3. Focus is the one area that was lacking on the previous 1.6 crop Canon cameras and this camera changes that. It's not a 1D in focus speed and accuracy, but it's the next best thing compared to them. It's faster than the Canon 5D MKII, which is known to be slightly faster or around the focus performance range of the 50D and 40D.
4. The drive chain is fast, so fast it's beyond anything I needed in my professional work in portrait, commercial, and product photography. Going through pictures taken at 8fps produces very little difference from frame to frame. One probably has to shoot a very fast moving subject/object to see the advantage of such fast drive system.
There are obviously many other things that I have not covered in this review. But based on the above, all I can say is that this camera has really raised the bar for all cameras and made it much more affordable to obtain a professional level camera for all types of photography. If you were considering buying the 5D MKII as an upgrade give this camera a test because it might be all you need.
As for the advantages of crop cameras I always find it odd that casual users who shoot many things but focus on landscape think they need a full frame to realize their potential. Crop cameras such as the 7D and 50D are fine for most users and offer many advantages including:
1. greater depth of field at lower aperture for landscape photography
2. greater tilt and shift effect because of sensor size relative to effect (8mm in shift is greater in effect relative to a 22mm sensor compared to a 35mm sensor)
3. greater magnification with micro lenses and extension tubes because of smaller sensor (1:1 in full frame equals 35mm, 1:1 in crop equals 22mm)
4. smaller lighter lenses with wider aperture that achieve greater reach (such as the 17-55 2.8 vs the 24-70 2.8 similar reach but much lighter and smaller)
Traditionally the three areas full frame cameras outshine crop cameras are a bigger brighter viewfinder, shallower depth of field for portrait photography, and better ISO performance, which on the last point the 7D has proven not be an issue anymore.
And for the second point really, most beautiful low depth of field portraits are done around f2.8-2.0 in full frame (going wider will make depth of field too narrow to place two eyes in focus). Hence, if one is using a wide prime, a crop sensor will produce the same depth of field at 2.0-1.4. Considering an affordable 50mm f1.4 lens on crop has the same field of view as 85mm lens on full frame there is really no reason to discount a crop camera any more as the 7D levels the playing field.
Pros Great build quality, excellent feature set, included lens is very good and performs well in low-light shooting, buttons are in fairly good positions, changing options requires very few button clicks. I love the leveling feature as well.
Cons Doesn't work well with my Quandary flash. When using the flash, the computer can't seem to decide what to do. This results in a lot of flash adjustments and misfires. Especially in eTTL mode. I plan on upgrading to a Canon Speedlite flash.
Summary I would definitely recommend this product to any shooter that's looking to make the jump from entry level dSLR or film SLR to a pro model. This is definitely a pro's camera. There are no 'Sport', 'Night', etc... presets like on the Canon XSi. You simply need to be experienced at knowing what ISO vs shutter speed vs aperature will do to the final picture. The camera does have a full auto mode, but this defeats the purpose of the camera and I can't see too many people using this. When I used full auto, it usually set the ISO setting too high resulting in a grainy image. My preference is to keep ISO as low as possible. Even with shutter speeds as long as 1/4", I was able to obtain a clear image due to the lens' image stabilization feature. I was not able to get a good image beyond 1/4". Beyond that, I would need a tripod.
I have been shooting for almost 10 years on various digital cameras from point and shoots to this pro level model. There are advantages to point and shoots that shouldn't be overlooked. if you're a vacation shooter or only use a camera every once in a while, this is probably not the camera for you. This is mainly because of the expansive feature set. There are a lot of different ways to get to the different features. Just changing WB requires some memorization of which keys do what. I imagine this will frustrate the sporadic user. I've previously used the XSi from Canon which produced beautiful images if this is your typical usage.
The main advantage to the 7D is the picture quality - especially with the included lens. The 28-135mm lens is fantastic. It's built well, the image stabilization is very good, and it is easy/quick to focus. When you combine this lens with the excellent viewfinder in the 7D, it's almost easy to shoot great shots. The only real issue I had is when I wanted to change the AF point or metering zone. I'm a fairly technically adept person and I had a hard time remembering how to do this.
From a pro standpoint, it has features that you wouldn't expect on a camera for under $2k. 9fps is great (especially at 18MP), but 30fps 1080p video? This is amazing. The video quality is almost awe inspiring and has opened a whole other world of creative possibilities. The camera features remote flash capabilities, remote trigger options like bulb mode (you control how long the aperature is open which is great for fireworks or night-time street scenes). It is a heavy camera that can be difficult to use for extended periods and the LCD doesn't swivel out which is annoying in movie mode, but no camera is perfect. For $1699 (body only), you can't beat the features.
Compared to a D90 or D300, it does take better pictures and feels better in your hand. Obviously, the Mark series is the flagship and is considerably better in harsh environments. I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable shooting sports events in the snow or rain - I would not think twice about it with a Mark III. If you're a true pro that makes a living on photography, the Mark series (and newly released 1D Mark IV) is the camera for you. if you're an aspiring pro (like me) and are trying to establish an impressive portfolio, this is a minimal investment to pursue your dreams - and it produces professional level photos.
Pros Feature set, HD video @ 1080p+, decent kit lens, good flash, 100% viewfinder, customizability + auto modes, 8 fps option, build quality, so many others
Cons Steep learning curve for former non-dSLR users, video can stutter (may be user error!), video sound only OK
Summary Often times, one looks at the options for an electronics or camera product and ends up choosing the model that has the fewest compromises, despite the fact that the best choice always has at least some level of compromise. The Canon EOS 7D is the first product I've seen for which I've seen no compromises. It truly seems that Canon surveyed customers and said, "based on the video/dSLR options out there, ours and others, what would make the best camera," took nearly every good suggestion and put it into this camera. I am very impressed so far.
I wanted to move from point and shoot to dSLR, one that included quality HD video. I realized there would be a steep learning curve, however I used to have an AE1 (old film SLR) and was comfortable using that, so I decided to take the plunge. My criteria were straightforward, and included:
- under $2k
- quality lens options plus a good zoom kit lens
- HD video with few limitations in terms of frame rate, focus, clip length
- quality images even in low light
- a simplified auto mode in addition to custom settings
I was considering the 5D Mark 2 and Nikon cameras with HD, but for reasons of cost (5D) and limits on video (Nikon) I decided to wait.
The 7D met all my criteria and more. The 100% optical viewfinder ensures that every shot is framed exactly as one sees. Shots taken in "auto" mode are generally clear and crisp in high and moderate light. Using a 16 GB CompactFlash card, I can shoot hundreds of high quality shots or nearly an hour of 1080p HD video. Battery life is excellent so far (had the camera 3 weeks).
I never thought I'd care about multiple consecutive shots, but the 8 frames per second is fantastic for taking action shots, for example, at a kids soccer game. Live view enables one to frame and shoot via the clear, bright 3" LCD.
The manual is clearly written, though I am still working through it given my lack of dSLR experience. I suspect existing dSLR or custom-settings users will have a far easier time with the breadth of settings and options. I will say that settings are easy to access and change using a scroll wheel/button combination or one of the many setting-specific buttons or dials on the camera. Inexperienced users of dSLR should simply prepare for a steep learning curve, though you can start using auto-mode right out of the box.
Video has excellent image quality, but the single mono microphone on the camera is only fair. It picks up every movement of the camera, and has limited range. I recommend an external stereo mike for better videos. I mention that the video I've taken stutters a bit, but frankly I think that is my error on settings or something. I still have 100+ pages of the manual to finish, and hope to figure it out.
I've read some comments elsewhere about the "compromise" of an APC-S sensor vs a full frame sensor. Were I a professional, I might have issues. That said, I see extraordinary image quality, likely due to the dual digic 4 processors and the overall quality of the 7D. I imagine that this will not be an issue for anyone except those very few who require a full-frame sensor.
The camera's build is very sturdy. It is well weather-sealed, of sturdy material and solid feel. I appreciate the built-in sensor cleaning system and the quick and easy on/off lenses as well.
I admit I purchased this before seeing reviews on Cnet or dpreview.com, but I needed it for family events and couldn't wait. So far, no disappointment.
Overall, I highly recommend this camera. If you have a lot of disposable cash and must have a full frame model, get the 5D Mark II, otherwise, this is an outstanding camera with none of the typical feature, build quality, usability or other issues associated with mid-range dSLRs.
PS. FYI, I've been watching prices on eBay, Cnet, and elsewhere for this model. The lowest prices from reputable sellers from whom Canon honors the warranty are $1699 body, $1899 with 28-135mm kit lens as of October 27, 2009. I suspect this will not change for awhile, because it appears there are very limited supplies of the camera in market, at least in the USA.
Pros Fast, full featured, great kit lens, feels like a real camera in your hands!
Cons You've got to be kidding?
Summary Have been looking to move up from 2 Canon point n shoots with RAW to DSLR for some time now. Just tried the new T1i and it was fast, but plastic lens in the kit and body didn't impress me, neither did the quality of the shots. The 7D did impress the heck out of me, all I could keep saying was "Holy Sh**" and I mean it in a good way!
The features are all there, you just have to read the book and you'll find them. Quiet and built like a tank, I love it!
Pros I HAVE USED YOU GUYS FOR EVERYTHING, MOST OF THE TIME YOU GUYS ARE PRETTY QUICK AT GETTING UP REVIEWS, BUT NOT WITH THIS CAMERA, A MUST FOR REVIEWS!!!
Cons GET A REVIEW UNIT UP PLEASE!!
Summary PLEASE GET A REVIEW UNIT UP!!