Canon 7D Mark II Conclusion

Pro: Cons:
  • Excellent image quality for an APS-C sensor
  • High ISO performance improved over predecessor, pretty much on par with the best APS-C models
  • Superb hue accuracy when using manual white balance
  • Low prefocused shutter lag
  • Excellent burst speeds of up to 10fps
  • Very good buffer depths
  • Excellent Live View AF (Dual Pixel CMOS AF) and shutter lag performance
  • Backwards-compatible with the older LP-E6 batteries.
  • Built-in GPS
  • Dual memory card slots: CF & SD
  • Center AF point will autofocus at f/8
  • Low-light AF now rated down to -3.0 EV instead of 7D's -0.5 EV (but see related Con)
  • Headphone jack and external mic jack
  • Touch-sensitive rear buttons for silent controls during video recording
  • 1080/60p video (MOV or MP4)
  • ALL-I, IPB & IPB Light video compression options
  • Full AF shutter lag slower than 7D and 70D
  • Mediocre battery life for a pro DSLR
  • OVF does not have 100% coverage (closer to 98%)
  • Dynamic range at low to moderate ISOs not as good as competing models
  • Very warm Auto and Incandescent WB indoors in tungsten light
  • Dedicated AF sensor didn't focus as well in low light as expected with our low-contrast AF target; low-light AF was better in Live View mode
  • No built-in Wi-Fi
  • Rear LCD is not touchscreen or articulating
  • No Movie Servo AF at 1080/60p

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.

In both our lab testing and real-world Field Test, the Canon 7D Mark II performed very well. Image quality from the new 20.2MP sensor was very good, producing images with excellent detail, accurate colors and very good high ISO performance for an APS-C sensor. The 7D Mark II produced sharp JPEG images with very good detail, but with a good RAW converter, additional detail can often be extracted from the files. At higher ISOs, the 7D Mark II is not class-leading compared to other enthusiast and semi-pro APS-C DSLRs, but nonetheless very good and a noticeable improvement over the original 7D.

In terms of speed performance, the 7D Mark II is a solid performer. Shutter lag, cycle times and burst speeds are all very good based on our lab tests, and the generous buffer depth is also very welcomed. However, autofocus performance was not a clear-cut improvement over the original 7D. With the new iTR AF (Intelligent Tracking and Recognition) feature, which utilizes color information, face detection and other info from the metering sensor, the 7D Mark II provides greater focus accuracy, however that does slow down sheer AF speed (and burst rate slightly, too). Nevertheless, even in single-shot AF mode, which doesn't use the optional iTR mode, we found the AF lag speed to be slower than the 7D and 70D.

All in all, the Canon 7D Mark II is a much needed and much welcomed upgrade to the venerable EOS 7D. A popular model for sports, action and wildlife photographers, the 7D was a camera that provided performance and specs similar to that on 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 AF system, sheer processing performance that surpasses the 1D X, improved build quality and more advanced video features, and therefore gets our top marks as a Dave's Pick.

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