5. Workmanlike compensation: The 7D is one of the few cameras that lets you use exposure compensation in manual mode. This isn't as trivial as it sounds. Suppose you routinely want to underexpose a series of pictures by 1⁄3-stop (-0.3 EV). Or you're shooting a high-key subject and want to keep the exposure 2⁄3-stop hot (+0.7 EV). Just set the desired compensation, and when you set the match scale exposure, it will incorporate this adjustment. (Why not just fiddle with the ISO like with a film camera? Remember that with a digital camera, changing the ISO setting doesn't shift the meter, but boosts the signal from the sensor to mimic higher sensitivity at the cost of increased noise.)
6. The obligatory mys-tery mirror lockup: Yes, it's there, with the 2-sec self-timer. When you press the shutter, the mirror locks up immediately, with the exposure happening after a 2-sec delay.
7. Secret speedy setting: Like several other DSLRs, the Maxxum 7D buries an ISO 3200 sensitivity setting in a custom setting-in this case, bank 4, under ISO menu setup. Switch it to "ISO 100-3200" and you can "push" the capture speed a stop more from ISO 1600. We found the noise levels here moderate in our test-certainly usable for available-light shooting. So break out that f/5.6 mirror lens.
8. Don't overstabilize: The Maxxum 7D's chip-based Anti-Shake System is a wonder: It can counteract hand shake with nearly any lens you can mount on the camera-including independent brands. But you can overdo it. As do other manufacturers of image-stabilized SLR systems, KM recommends that you turn off Anti-Shake when the camera is mounted on a tripod. If you don't, the 7D may try to "stabilize" a steady camera, causing a feedback loop that results in less sharpness. Too much of a good thing.
9. Quick focusing switch, part I: If you believe in careful manual focusing for critical sharpness, you should know about the AF/MF button. This instantly switches the camera to the alternate focusing mode-to manual if you're in AF, to AF if you're in manual. So, if you're using manual focus, hit the AF/MF button along with a light press of the shutter to focus the lens quickly, then release it for fine fiddling. Don't like pressing two buttons? You can switch the AF/MF button to toggle operation in Custom Menu 1. Scroll to AF/MF button and change it to "Toggle." (Note: If you've opted for smooth focus, described in #3, the AF/MF button doesn't work.)
10. Quick focusing switch, part II: Here's another quick switch for focusing finicks. Go to Custom Menu 1, scroll down to Auto AF setup, and switch from default to "DMF" (for direct manual focus). Now, when the camera is set to "A" on the focus-mode dial, the camera will focus in this sequence: As soon as the AF achieves focus, the camera will flip the AF into direct manual focus, allowing you to touch up or vary focus with the manual ring as long as you maintain slight pressure on the shutter button. It's neat and speedy.
We talk about flash units "mating" with cameras, but in the case of the Maxxum 7D and its dedicated flashes, the camera and flash have to literally couple before you can use wireless flash. Oddly, the Maxxum 5600HS (D) and 3600HS (D) flashes do not have a built-in switch to enable wireless control. You must attach the flash to the 7D hot-shoe, turn both flash and camera on, and, in the camera's shooting menu 2, change Flash mode to Wireless. Now you can disconnect the flash and work wirelessly.