The Canon 7d, on the market for almost a year, is in my humble opinion the best digital SLR Canon has released for the avid amateur or semi-pro. It’s not a 5D and it’s not a 1Ds but it is an affordable camera with great specifications. And, comparing it to the 500D for my application has a microphone input. The video is incredible and I can quite see why ad commercials have been shot on this camera.
So why did I purchase this camera? Firstly, the ability to record sound directly from a microphone plugged into the camera. I was a little surprised at the fact that there is no way to control volume levels which is a downside although Canon have promised a firmware update. There is a work around if you are serious about your video sound and that is to use a stereo digital recorder mounted on the hot shoe. Taking your sound out of the recorder into the mic socket allows you to control the sound as good as the ability of your digital recorder. For my applications this is more than adequate.
Canon have maintained their participation in the megapixel race by giving a brand new 18 megapixel APS-C sensor with a 1.6x crop factor. The new sensor gathers plenty of light with each pixel 4.3 microns in size with their gapless microlenses assisting with this. This baby is definitely competition to the Nikon D300.
The 7D is designed for speed with dual DIGIC 4 chips together with a fantastic 8 frames per second top speed. The buffer can handle 94 jpegs at the highest speed or 15 RAW images. I like the fact that exposure compensation has been increased to five stops over or under coupled with a top ISO of 6400 which can be expanded to 12 800.
If you like HD video then this camera is for you. The HD movie mode captures full HD video at 30 fps when set to NTSC format and 25 fps when set to PAL in non-USA countries. Just be sure that your PC can handle these files and don’t get a surprise like me when it doesn’t.
The electronic horizon level to help with those landscape images doesn’t ring any bells for me but will probably help some. The RAW button will help when moving between jpeg and RAW as long as you remember the last change you made. Another little feature is the flash commander mode that allows you to control up to three groups of off camera flash units.
I am happy that there is still a non-full frame high end DSLR that will allow me to get that extra out of my zoom lenses. It’s size is slightly bigger than the 50D weighing in at 3.23 pounds or 1.4kg with a 28-105 kit lens.
If you are looking for the idiots settings or Scene Mode you’ll find that they are missing on the dial which hails this camera as an entry level pro camera. The enthusiast who can afford it will miss these settings.
If you are looking for a camera that shoots high quality video and stills then this one is for you. There is a lot more that I could write about the 7D but what I have given here is perhaps for the serious amateur who is looking to take a step up to pro quality and ease of use without breaking the bank. Happy shooting if this the route of your choice.