This 18MP entry into the DSLR war competes impressively with Nikon's D300s.
Form And Functions
The camera has the most solid APS-C body Canon has made yet, with magnesium-alloy body panels and more weathersealing than the EOS 50D, though not quite the same level as the 5D Mark II.
The control layout is similar to the 50D's, though most buttons are to the left of the 3-inch 920,000-dot LCD. The on/off switch also moved up to behind the mode dial, and a useful new switch moves between still and video capture. The new RAW + JPEG button lets you grab a RAW shot even in JPEG-only mode.
Custom functions let you change the role of some buttons, and a new interface makes it easier to do so, showing where on the body you'll find the buttons being assigned. The new Q (Quick Control) button brings up a screen that shows you the most essential settings and lets you navigate through them with the small joystick on the camera back.
Race All of these new features and design approaches are great, but it feels as though Canon is playing catch-up. Nikon was first to couple its AF and metering systems for tracking purposes, and Olympus and Sony offered navigable quick menus many models ago. Likewise, Nikon was the first to offer a rock-solid APS-C format camera.
That said, Canon has indeed caught up, if not with a definitive lead over Nikon in this category. The 7D wins on resolution, but loses on low-light AF speed. It wins on low noise at high ISOs, but can't match the 3D AF tracking on the D300s.
Canon's main edge comes in burst rates. The 7D can grab 14-bit RAW images at 8 fps, while the D300s slows to 2.5 fps and must be dialed down to 12-bit to reach its native 7 fps rate.
The DSLRs wars continue, but Canon has served this category of camera well.
Imaging: 18MP effective, APS-C sized CMOS sensor captures images at 5184x3456 pixels with 14 bits/ color in RAW mode.
Storage: CompactFlash stores JPEG, Cr2 RAW, and RAW + JPEG files.
Burst Rate: Full-sized JPEG s(Fine mode), up to 126 shots at 8 fps using a UDMA card; RAW, up to 15 shots at 8 fps; RAW + JPEG, up to 6 shots at 8 fps.
AF System: TTL phase detection with 19 illuminated focus points (all cross-type); single-shot and continuous AF with Predictive AI Servo focus tracking. Tested sensitivity down to eV -2 (at iSO 100, f/1.4).
Live View: TTL phase detection or contrast detection autofocus.
Shutter Speeds: 1/8000 to 30 sec, plus B (1/3-, 1/2-, or 1-EV increments); 150,000-cycle rating.
Metering: 63-zone TTL metering, evaluative, centerweighted, partial (approx. 9.4% of viewfinder), and spot (approx. 2.3% of viewfinder). EV 1-20 (ISO 100).
ISO Range: Normal, ISO 100-6400 (in 1/3-EV increments); expanded, ISO 12,800.
Video: Records at 1920x1080 at 30/25/24 fps; 1280x720 at 60/50 fps; 640x480 at 60/50 fps in MPeg-4 AVC MOV format; built-in mono microphone; stereo minijack input.
Flash: Built-in pop-up with E-TTL II autoflash and wireless control of optional flash units, GN 39 (ISO 100, feet); flash sync to 1/250 sec; dedicated Canon hot-shoe.
Viewfinder: Fixed eye-level pentaprism.
LCD: 3-in. TFT with 920,000-dot resolution.
Output: Hi-speed USB 2.0, mini HDMI video, composite video and analog audio, N3-type remote control.
Battery: Rechargeable LP-E6 Li-ion, CIPA rating 800 shots (with optical viewfinder) or 220 shots (live-view).
Size/Weight: 5.8x4.4x2.9 in., 1.81 lb with a card and battery.
Viewfinder Test: accuracy, 100% (excellent); Magnification, 1.0X (excellent).