Basic Specifications
Full model name: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Resolution: 20.20 Megapixels
Sensor size: APS-C
(22.5mm x 15.0mm)
Kit Lens: 7.50x zoom
18-135mm
(29-216mm eq.)
Viewfinder: Optical / LCD
Native ISO: 100 - 16,000
Extended ISO: 100 - 51,200
Shutter: 1/8000 - 30 seconds
Max Aperture: 3.5 (kit lens)
Dimensions: 5.9 x 4.4 x 3.1 in.
(149 x 112 x 78 mm)
Weight: 49.0 oz (1,388 g)
includes batteries, kit lens
Availability: 11/2014
Manufacturer: Canon
Full specs: Canon 7D Mark II specifications
20.20
Megapixels
Canon EF/EF-S APS-C
size sensor
image of Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Front side of Canon 7D Mark II digital camera Front side of Canon 7D Mark II digital camera Front side of Canon 7D Mark II digital camera Front side of Canon 7D Mark II digital camera Front side of Canon 7D Mark II digital camera

7D Mark II Summary

The Canon 7D Mark II is a much needed and much welcomed upgrade to the venerable, 5-year-old EOS 7D. Catering primarily to sports, action and wildlife photographers, the 7D Mark II -- like the 7D -- borrows many features and performance specs from their 1D-series models, but at a more affordable price. The Canon 7D Mark II looks to continue this heritage with an even more flexible and powerful 65-pt. AF system, Dual DIGIC 6 processors, Dual Pixel CMOS AF, improved build quality and more advanced video features. The Canon 7D Mark II is undoubtedly a big upgrade over the 7D in many ways, though the Mark II does falter in a few areas.

Pros

Excellent image quality; High ISO performance improved over predecessor; Excellent burst speeds (up to 10fps); Significantly improved buffer depths; 65-pt AF system; Dual Pixel CMOS AF; Can focus down to f/8 (great for teleconverters); 1080/60p video; Headphone and mic jacks; Rugged build quality.

Cons

Autofocus speed (AF shutter lag) slower than 7D and 70D; Mediocre battery life for a pro DSLR; Dynamic range at low to moderate ISOs not as good as competitors; Phase-detect AF did not perform as well as expected in our low-light AF tests; No built-in Wi-Fi; No autofocus for 1080/60p video.

Price and availability

The Canon 7D Mark II was released in November 2014 and is sold in both a body-only model with a retail price of $1,799 or with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens for $2,149.

Imaging Resource rating

5.0 out of 5.0

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Canon 7D Mark II Review

by
Posted 09/15/2014

Updates:
01/19/2015: Field Test Part I
02/18/2015: Field Test Part II
03/11/2015: Image Quality Comparison and Print Quality, Conclusion

*Note: A pre-production unit was used for these product images and select screenshots.

Canon 7D Mark II Review - pre-production unit

Five years after the release of the venerable Canon 7D, the "Mark II" update for Canon's flagship APS-C DSLR is here. In keeping with 7D "tradition," the new Canon 7D Mark II brings professional-level features and specs to an APS-C camera and introduces some new, powerful technology and processing horsepower not seen on other EOS cameras. And with Canon being one of the pioneers of the HD-DSLR revolution, it's not surprising that the new 7D Mark II provides significant new features and enhancements over the original 7D for still photography as well as for cinematography.

If you're a professional photographer in need of a speed-shooting, video-recording secondary camera to your full-frame 5D Mark III or 1D X camera, or if you're an advanced enthusiast photographer looking to step up from a mid-range DSLR, the Canon 7D Mark II is aimed right at your needs.

At a glance: Canon 7D Mark II vs Canon 7D
Canon 7D Mark II
Canon 7D
65 AF points, all cross-type
19 AF points, all cross-type
Dual Pixel CMOS AF
Contrast-detect; MF only for video
1080/60p HD Video, MOV or MP4
1080/30p HD Video, MOV only
ALL-I, IPB, IPB Light video compression
IPP video compression
Continuous shooting 10 fps
Continuous shooting 8 fps
Buffer capacity: 31 RAW, 1090 JPEG
Buffer capacity: 25 RAW*, 94 JPEG
Dual DIGIC 6 Processors
Dual DIGIC 4 Processors
ISO 100-16,000, + 25,600, 51,200
ISO 100-6400, + 12,800
Headphone jack built-in
No headphone jack for monitoring audio
200,000-cycle shutter life expectancy
150,000-cycle shutter life expectancy
CF (Type I) plus SD card slot
Single CF card slot (Type I and II)
Built-in GPS with compass
Compatible with GP-E2 GPS module
670 shots per charge (OVF, LP-E6N)
800 shots per charge (OVF, LP-E6)
250 shots per charge (LV, LP-E6N)
220 shots per charge (LV, LP-E6)
148.6 (W) x 112.4 (H) x 78.2 (D) mm
148.2 (W) x 110.7 (H) x 73.5 (D) mm
820g (body only)
820g (body only)
*with v2.0 firmware, RAW buffer increased from 15 to up to 25 RAW frames.
For an in-depth comparison, check out our 7D Mark II vs 7D comparison.


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Overview

Specs-wise, the new Canon 7D Mark II is leaps-and-bounds more powerful than the original 7D. The 7D Mark II is all about bigger, better and faster! As Canon's Technical Advisor, Chuck Westfall, puts it, the Canon 7D Mark II is a "fusion camera" -- bringing a lot of technology and features down from the 5D Mark III as well as bringing some up from the 70D.

Canon 7D Mark II Review - Pre-production Unit

At the heart of the camera is a newly designed 20.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor. While that's the same megapixel count as the sensor on the 70D, according to Canon, the 7D Mark II's sensor is in fact an all-new design, with improved clarity over the 70D's sensor. Fortunately, like the Canon 70D, the new 7D Mark II brings over Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF live view focusing system (more on that later).

Canon 7D Mark II Review - Pre-production Unit

Coupled with this new higher-resolution sensor is some serious processing horsepower. The original 7D featured dual DIGIC 4 image processors, which was a first for non-1D-series EOS cameras. However, since the camera's debut, Canon has advanced their image processors a bit, with the latest version being the DIGIC 6. The new 7D Mark II features dual DIGIC 6 image processors, giving this cameras more processing performance that any other EOS camera, including the $7,000 1D X and its dual DIGIC 5+ setup! Thanks to the new 20.2-megapixel sensor and the new dual image processors, the default ISO range is now 100-16,000 and expandable up to 25,600 and 51,200.

Dual Pixel focusing is only part of the story for Canon's new APS-C DSLR. For still photographers, and especially those who shoot sports, wildlife and fast-moving action, the 7D Mark II is equipped with an all-new 65-point, all cross-type phase-detect autofocus system.

Not only is the new AF system a significant upgrade over the 7D's 19-point system, the 65 cross-type AF points is superior to the 61-point, 41-cross-type AF system in the 5D Mark III (5D Mark III vs 7D Mark II) and even the 1D X! (However, only the center AF point on the 7D Mk II is f/2.8 dual cross-type, whereas the 5D3 and 1D X have four dual cross-type AF points.) And, in case you're wondering, fans of teleconverters need not worry, as the 7D Mk II includes the ability to focus at f/8 with the center cross-type AF point.

Canon 7D Mark II Review - Pre-production Unit

For all your subject tracking needs, be it for football, soccer or birds-in-flight, the 7D Mark II features Canon's AI Servo AF III for the same AF performance as the flagship 1D X. So, not only does the 7D Mark II provide much better autofocus performance over the 7D, it also allows current 5D3 and 1D X owners who are using a 7D Mark II as a secondary or backup camera to have their AF systems "in-sync" so to speak, with the same settings and customizations so it's trivial to switch between the cameras.

And with seven AF area modes, including the new Large Zone AF option, the 7D Mark II is capable for action photography as it is portraiture and wedding photography. The 7D2 also features orientation-sensitive AF point selection, letting the photographer configure different AF point modes in landscape and portrait orientations.

Canon 7D Mark II Review - Pre-production Unit

Now, while the 7D Mark II has the autofocus chops to lock onto pretty much anything moving or stationary, being able to fire off a fast burst of shots is crucial for sports and wildlife shooters. Again, the 7D Mark II delivers. While it's not at the 1D X's level of 12-14fps, its up to 10fps burst rate is certainly a nice upgrade from the original 7D's 8fp. There's also a new silent continuous burst mode at 4fps.

Thanks to the significant processing upgrade from the dual DIGIC 6 processors, the 7D Mark II's buffer capacity enjoys a substantial boost from the original 7D. The Mark II is now capable of around 26 continuous shots in RAW (Canon specs claim 31 RAW files) and over 1090 in JPEG, which is a big step up from the 25 RAW/94 JPEG buffer performance of the 7D.

The 7D Mark II gets a big upgrade to its metering system, which puts it ahead of the 7D and the 5D Mark III and 1D X. The new 7D Mk II utilizes a 150,000-pixel RGB and IR metering sensor, up from the approximately 100,000-pixel metering system of the 5D3/1D X. And the new system recognizes 252-zons, whereas the original 7D used a 63-zone system. More importantly, unlike the more primitive sensor of the 7D, which only provided limited compensation for red and green, the exposure sensor on the 7D Mark II is full color, allowing much better automatic exposure.

Canon 7D Mark II Review - Pre-production Unit

The 7D Mark II features an ingenious anti-flicker feature to allow for more reliable exposures when shooting under sodium- and mercury-vapor lights found in sports arenas. These lights have rapid on-off cycles that, while imperceptible to the human eye, wreak havoc for exposure at faster shutter speeds. Without the feature, a reliable percentage of your shots will be underexposed. With the anti-flicker option on the 7D Mark II, the camera's exposure sensor detects the flicker of these lights and subtly delays the shutter release to ensure photos are only captured when the lights are at their brightest.

Canon 7D Mark II Review - Pre-production Unit

There are other notable improvements and additions to the Mark II, including, for the first time, the inclusion of a built-in intervalometer and bulb timer function -- the first such feature in a Canon camera since the EOS-10s in 1990. Nikon users have long enjoyed this feature, while Canon shooters had to resort to external triggers and timers for their time-lapse needs. This is a welcome change indeed.

Canon 7D Mark II Review - USB Protector

Canon 7D Mark II USB/HDMI Cable Protector.

Squarely aimed as a professional video tool, the 7D Mark II includes both a 3.5mm microphone jack and a headphone jack for monitoring audio. There's also HDMI output (more on that further down) and a USB 3.0 connection. For both HDMI and USB ports, Canon will be including a cable protector/cable locking housing to prevent accidental strain to the cables and ports. Canon stressed that this was an essential item particularly when using the USB 3.0 connection, as damage to this port can require an expensive repair.

Canon 7D Mark II Review - Pre-production Unit

Like the 6D, there is now a built-in GPS, and Canon also added a compass function. The GPS module itself has been upgraded to add support for the Russian GLONASS system, which improves positioning accuracy. Unfortunately, there's no built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, which struck us as odd in 2014. When asked about this, Canon said the omission owed to interference from the all-metal construction. Cameras like the 70D have a mixture of metal and plastic -- the top face of the 70D being polycarbonate for instance -- so Wi-Fi radio signals are not blocked.

Canon 7D Mark II Review - Pre-production Unit

Lastly, storage and batteries have changed for the Mark II as well -- for the better on both fronts. Taking a cue from the 5D3, the new camera has dual card slots -- one UDMA 7 CF slot and one UHS-type SD slot. Users will be able to automatically switch to a second card upon filling the first, as well as record RAW and JPEG files to separate cards. Canon claims there should be no issue with write speed to the SD card when using the dual slots in sequential mode, though no information was available about performance when writing data to both card types simultaneously.  

The 7D Mark II uses a new battery pack -- the LP-E6N -- however, before you groan loudly after spending truckloads of cash on multiple LP-E6 batteries for earlier Canon DSLRs, we should mention that the 7D Mark II is fully compatible with older LP-E6 batteries: the new "N" variants are the same shape, but have a higher capacity. They also happen to be compatible with the older LP-E6 chargers.

Build Quality & Design

While the original 7D was not technically a 1D-series camera, in terms of build quality and level of dust- and weather-sealing, it was most certainly a rugged camera with 1D-like construction and a full magnesium alloy chassis. In fact, Canon described the level of dust- and weather-sealing on the 7D as matching that of the EOS-1N film SLR. The 7D was a well-built camera that's been known to take quite a beating -- or even some downright torture* -- and keep on ticking (*Don't try this at home, please).

Canon 7D Mark II Review

With the new 7D Mark II, Canon's upped the game with even better construction, and dust- and weather-sealing that's "four times better than the 7D." Now, Canon didn't provide a numerical metric as to what "four times better" constitutes, but given the toughness of the original 7D, the Mark II version is most assuredly up to the challenge of shooting in the field in dusty, rainy and generally terrible conditions.

Special care has also been given to the shutter and mirror mechanisms in the Mark II. The shutter mechanism is now rated up to 200,000 shutter actuations (up from 150K in the 7D), and the mirror mechanism was redesigned to more closely resemble the 1D X's system. Specifically, the Mark II now uses a motor to move the mirror directly, rather than relying on springs like the 7D. That means you can expect reduced vibrations from the mirror.

Canon 7D Mark II Review

For the upward movement, Canon even built in a tiny brass, spring-mounted counterweight to help counteract vibration. And on the downward movement, a "bound prevention" mechanism slows the mirror drop as it reaches the end of its movement. This is a critical feature for improving AF performance. In a DSLR, some of the light is reflected down through the primary mirror to hit the AF sensor. For fast and accurate AF performance, you want the mirror drop actuation after taking a shot to be as steady and as quick as possible so the AF cycle can begin again.

Aside from the build quality itself, the new 7D Mark II design is classic Canon DSLR, bringing the styling and button layout of the 5D Mark III, with one new change. The 7D Mark II surrounds the normal multi-directional "joystick" button on the rear of the camera with a new AF area-selection thumb lever. By default, this lever lets you toggle through the various AF area patterns after pressing the AF Point Selection Button at the top right-most corner on the back of the camera. Out of the box, this lever mimics the same behavior as the Multi-function M-Fn button that sits up top behind the shutter release button. Now, Canon gives you another, perhaps more comfortable, option for quickly changing AF point modes without taking the camera down from your eye, while at the same time freeing up the M-Fn button for further functionality.

Of course, buttons are customizable on the 7D Mark II and both the AF area-selection thumb lever and the M-Fn can be programmed for other functions that better suit your shooting style.
The depth-of-field preview button has also been re-positioned from the left side of the lens mount to the right side for easier reach when gripping the camera.

Video Features

While the 7D Mark II will undoubtedly provide image quality and AF performances for still photography, the camera's video enhancement are perhaps the most intriguing and significant upgrade from the original 7D.

Canon 7D Mark II Review - Pre-production Unit

With the extra processing horsepower, the 7D Mark II is now able to record in both MOV and MP4 formats and up to 1920 x 1080 resolution at 60p, which is up from the maximum of 30p in the previous model (720/60p is still present). Like Canon introduced on the 5D Mark III, the new 7D Mark II includes both ALL-I intraframe compression for higher quality video and IPB interframe compression for smaller file sizes. However, for the first time Canon is offering a third compression scheme for video recording -- IPB Light -- which is an even more compressed format for those times when sheer length of recording time or memory card capacity is paramount.

Of course, one of the hallmark features for video recording on the 7D Mark II is Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, first found on the 70D. The 70D's introduction of Dual Pixel AF was certainly game-changing, and with the 7D Mark II the performance and functionality of this full-time video AF system are expanded further.

Canon 7D Mark II Review - Pre-production Unit
Canon 7D Mark II Review - Pre-production Unit

Videographers can now adjust the Movie Servo AF Speed, including separate speeds for before and during recording. For example, you can set up the camera to quickly lock focus on a subject prior to recording, and then once you begin capturing video, the speed of focus transitions between subjects could be set slower or faster depending on the look you want in that particular scene. You can also adjust the Movie Servo AF Tracking Sensitivity, similar to how Servo AF can be adjusted for still images. With this setting, you can bias the camera towards maintaining your current focus point, or toward quickly focusing once a new target moves into frame. For instance, similar to the advantage brought on by back-button focusing, by adjusting the sensitivity of Movie Servo AF tracking, you can set the camera to be less likely to re-focus if someone or something moves between the camera and your intended subject.

Also new for the 7D-series, is the option for clean, uncompressed HDMI video output in 8-bit 4:2:2 with variable bit rate quality (internal video is recorded at 8-bit 4:2:0 VBR like previous Canon HD-DSLRs). Users have the option of having viewfinder information mirrored over the HDMI signal for use with larger monitors, or disabled for clean external recording. The camera supports simultaneous internal recording and output of clean HDMI signals, however the cameras rear LCD is disabled in this mode. And for the first time on a Canon HD-DSLR, there's also HDMI audio output, which will help for syncing audio with external recorders or for monitoring camera audio away from the camera itself.

The Canon 7D Mark II has a number of other advanced video features including timecode support, a silent movie mode, and, for the first time, optical distortion correction in movie mode.

Hands-on

We had the opportunity to get some brief hands-on time with a pre-production version of the 7D Mark II, and as expected, it feels very well built and extremely solid, just like the 7D and 5D Mark III before it. The deep, contoured handgrip will feel very familiar to users of the 7D and 5D Mark III, and is covered in Canon's typical rubberized material for a nice, secure hold.

Canon 7D Mark II Review - Pre-production Unit

Ergonomically, there's not a drastic difference in button layout, though long-time users of the 7D will undoubtedly notice slight tweaks and additions to rear buttons. Compared to the previous model, the Quick Menu button has been moved from the top left corner down between the rear control dial and the joystick button. Menu and Info buttons are placed now on the upper left side of the LCD. Five buttons left of the LCD follow the layout introduced with the 5D Mark III, with Creative Style, a Rate button, a Zoom button, and finally the Playback and Delete buttons arranged from top to bottom. Rather than silkscreen the logo next to the button, Canon's eliminated the doubt and puts logos right on the buttons.

Canon 7D Mark II Review - Pre-production Unit

The 7D Mark II keeps the same photo/movie Live View toggle switch with start/stop button next to the OVF like the original 7D, however the camera can now be configured to use the shutter release button for stopping and starting video recording. This ergonomic decision has a secondary benefit: because the shutter now starts and stops video recording, a simple cable release allows you to start and stop recording. This is great for tripod-based shooting to eliminate any issues with bumping the camera, as well as when shooting on shoulder rigs because you can run the cable release down on to handgrip a la the Canon Cinema EOS cameras.

Like the previous model, the optical viewfinder provides 100 percent coverage, and it felt nice and bright. In the Mark II, the viewfinder has been given an upgrade, though, to the new Intelligent VF II, which provides much more shooting and exposure information around the frame than the older model.

Canon 7D Mark II Review - Pre-production Unit

Also new for the 7D-series are interchangeable focusing screens. The default screen is calibrated to display approximately a f/5.6 depth of field, however for precise manual focusing with f/2.8 lenses or faster, a Super Precision Matte screen is available as an optional accessory that will show the true super-thin depths of field through the viewfinder.

Overall, the Canon 7D Mark II feels super-solid and well-built, and based on the specs and claimed performance capabilities, Canon sounds like they have another winner on their hands. If you're ready to upgrade from your 7D or simply need a DSLR with some serious photo and video horsepower, the Canon 7D Mark II should be at the top of your list.

Canon 7D Mark II Review

Pricing and Availability

The new Canon 7D Mark II was released in November 2014 and is sold in both a body-only model with a retail price of $1,799 or with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens for $2,149. The BG-E16 Battery Grip and optional Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E7A Version 2 are also available, with the grip retailing for around $215 and the WFT-E7A Version 2 going for $769. Both the Canon 7D Mark II camera and Battery Grip are backwards-compatible with the current LP-E6 batteries.

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Canon 7D Mark II Field Test Part I

Comfortable handling, robust controls and great image quality

by Jeremy Gray |

Canon 7D Mark II shooter's report photoIntroduction. The 7D Mark II is Canon's newest APS-C DSLR body with the original 7D debuting over five years ago. Featuring a 20.2-megapixel CMOS sensor with embedded Dual Pixel AF, a 65-point all cross-type AF sensor, and dual DIGIC 6 processors, the Canon 7D Mark II improves upon the original 7D in many critical ways and delivers solid performance.

Camera Body and Handling. The Canon 7D Mark II feels great. The body is constructed of durable magnesium alloy and has weather and dust sealing, which is said to be improved over the original. Additionally, the shutter is rated for 200,000 actuations; an improvement over the 150K-rated life of the original 7D's shutter. Build quality is very good and the body has a nice grip that fits naturally in my hand. While ever so slightly larger than the original 7D (though the body-only weight is identical), using the 7D Mark II for extended periods of time is easy. With an acceptable weight and a battery rated for 800 shots (without flash), the camera is well suited for a long day of shooting. The CIPA rating for battery life (50/50 flash/no-flash) is lower than the 7D, though (670 vs 800). The 7D Mark II has both CF and SD card slots, which is a nice usability upgrade over the original which had only one CF slot. The camera also includes a USB 3.0 port for quick file transfers and tethered shooting. The 7D Mark II also features a built-in GPS, which can be enabled through the menu system. Unfortunately, the 7D Mark II does not have built-in Wi-Fi.

Canon 7D Mark II Field Test Part II

A top choice for wildlife, sports and multimedia

by Jeremy Gray |

Canon 7D Mark II shooter's report photoIntroduction. In Part I of this shooter's report, I discussed how the Canon 7D Mark II handled and performed in general terms. In Part II, I'll further discuss the performance of the Canon 7D Mark II, particularly autofocus performance, high ISO performance, speed and video.

Shooting in Automatic Modes: Metering. With an improved EOS Scene Detection System and a 150,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor, the 7D Mark II meters most scenes very well. The 7D Mark II offers spot metering, evaluative metering, partial metering, and center-weighted average metering, all of which work as advertised. When using spot metering, a thin, stationary black circle appears in the middle of the viewfinder. Disappointingly, spot metering is limited only to the center of the sensor and is not tied to a movable AF point, unlike what I'm used to with my Nikon DSLRs.

Auto white balance also works well. While providing all of the typical white balance options and an easily customized Kelvin temperature option, the 7D Mark II's auto white balance setting delivers excellent results. Overall, the 7D Mark II meters both exposure and white balance well. I used the camera in particularly difficult lighting conditions and was impressed with its overall performance.

Canon 7D Mark II Image Quality Comparison

The 7D Mark II faces off against the 7D plus other APS-C flagships.

by William Brawley |

Canon 7D Mark II image qualityUsing crops from our laboratory Still Life target, we compare the Canon 7D Mark II against the Canon 7D, Nikon D7100, Pentax K-3, Samsung NX1 and Sony A77 II. All of these models sit at relatively similar price points and/or categories in their respective product lineups.

These comparisons were somewhat tricky to write, as the cameras vary a great deal in resolution, so bear that in mind as you're reading and drawing your own conclusions. (We generally try to match cameras in these comparisons based on price, given that most of us work to a budget, rather than setting out to buy a given number of megapixels.)

Canon 7D Mark II Conclusion

What's our final verdict?

by William Brawley |

The Canon 7D Mark II arrives as a long-awaited update to the popular original model. The Canon 7D was a unique camera, a bridge between an enthusiast camera and a professional one. It brought down many high-end features from their top-tier EOS cameras, such as dual image processors, powerful autofocus, rugged build quality and just overall speedy performance. It was a hit with sports, action and wildlife photographers, and now five years later, the Mark II version is here and with a host of performance and feature upgrades.

Among the notable new features and upgrades, the Canon 7D Mark II sports Dual DIGIC 6 image processors capable of firing off a 9-10fps continuous burst (depending on settings) and chewing through over 100 JPEGs or around 26 RAW files until the buffer fills. Autofocus gets a notable upgrade to a 65-point, all cross-type AF system, including f/8 AF compatibility on the center AF point, which is great news for teleconverter users. The new 20.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor provides a minor increase in image resolution, but also features Dual Pixel CMOS AF for quick and smooth live view focusing for stills and video.



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