Hands On Review: Canon EOS 7D Mark II


First look

Before I begin, let me tell you about the camera it is replacing. My primary camera has been a Canon EOS Rebel T1i (EOS 500D). Over the years, newer upgrades were released, the latest version being T5i. I have no negative impressions about this camera, it has been a solid and reliable camera over the years. My photography skills have outgrown this camera and lately I find myself constantly pushing the limits of the T1i. Then along came a serendipitous announcement at Photokina of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. After checking over the specs, I pre-ordered the 7D Mark II. Yesterday, the camera arrived.

What is in the Box:

What is in the box


First impressions:

The camera is heavier and has a more solid feel than the T1i.

Buttons I commonly use are now on the left of the display screen

1 gig Compact Flash card is not useful when shooting RAW images. Forget about video. However, it will have do for the moment.

The user manual is my best friend at the moment. There are lots of new setting that I need to review.

So many cross type focus points. This is going to take time to get used to so many focus points. My previous camera had nine. NINE.

I’m off to Material Culture to meet up with a friend to take photos with the 7D Mark II. I’ll post the photos and my impressions on the blog tonight.

Real World Update:

Met up with my friend Richard at Material Culture, a warehouse full of curiosities for sale. The perfect place to test out the new Canon 7DMarkII on a cold and rainy November day.

My first impressions upon actually working with the camera is generally positive. I’m moving from a camera that has basic functions with a few bells and whistles to one with far more advanced functions. While there are many functions I want to explore, I thought it would be best to stick with the basics for this photowalk, with a focus on testing the ISO capabilities and working out how to control the 65 auto focus points. Because this is a big change in my camera technology, I brought the user manual and stopped several times to reference it during the photowalk.

The lighting in the warehouse is quite interesting and I decided to take a series of images while increasing the ISO. I set the drive mode to Silent Single Shooting and I could barely hear the photo being taken. Richard mentioned on several occasions he could not hear the camera snap a photo at all. You have the option for Silent Continuous Shooting, however, it reduces FPS to 4fps. I made sure the F-stop was set to its widest setting and selected Aperture Priority mode to allow the camera to decide shutter speed. All images were shot in RAW format. I brought two lenses with me, the Canon 40mm f/2.8 pancake and Tokina 12-24mm f/4. I used the 40mm to shoot the ISO test photos.

One change that stood out from the start is the way photo data is displayed with an image. It is far more easier to find and read the data in this format. This is a marked change from the TIi that I immediately noticed during the photowalk.


This camera is so new Adobe LightRoom has not updated its camera raw plug-in for the 7DMarkII as of November 1st. I had to jump through a few hoops this evening to convert the RAW images into jpegs. Photos will be posted on the blog on Sunday.

UPDATE: Kevin Ames of Photofocus reports Digital Photo Professional (DPP) Canon’s tethering software has no compatibility with Mac OSX Yosemite. The author offers ideas for a workarounds until everything is updated with Canon and Apple.

Needless to say, I panicked when LR and iPhoto did not recognize the RAW files from this camera. I am hoping this incompatibility issue gets resolved ASAP.

The following are three images from a series of images I took yesterday at Material Culture. I have DPP installed on my Win 8.1 machine and have not installed it on my Mac. Using DPP in Windows, the software recognized the RAW files and allowed me to convert them to JPEG. The images posted here and on Flickr are those JPEG images without any post processing. What you see is what the camera captured.

Image #1: ISO 6400, f2.8, 1/100, 40mm


Image #2: ISO 800, f/2.8, 1/13, 40mm


Image #3: ISO 3200, f/3.5, 1/50, 40mm


So far, the camera has exceeded my expectations and I will continue to explore the features of this camera and post my findings here on the blog.

The entire series of photos can be found at my Flickr account. They are available for downloading if you prefer a closer look at the photos.

Took Buster out to the park today and used the walk as an opportunity to test the video feature of the 7DMarkII. I had a Canon 100mm f.2.8L lens attached at the time and here is a short video I created with two clips taken today. The first is of Buster walking in the grass and the second clip is of a leaf falling into Pennypack Creek.

Let me know your thoughts on the images or questions you may have about this camera.


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