Canon R7 Review

Camera Reviews / Canon Cameras / Canon EOS i Hands-On Preview
Basic Specifications
Full model name: Canon EOS R7
Resolution: 32.50 Megapixels
Sensor size: APS-C
(22.3mm x 14.8mm)
Kit Lens: n/a
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 100 - 32,000
Extended ISO: 100 - 51,200
Shutter: 1/8000 - 30 sec
Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.6 x 3.6 in.
(132 x 90 x 92 mm)
Weight: 21.6 oz (612 g)
includes batteries
MSRP: $1,500
Availability: TBD
Manufacturer: Canon
Full specs: Canon R7 specifications

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32.50
Megapixels
Canon RF APS-C
size sensor
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Canon EOS R7 Hands-on Preview

Canon's first enthusiast-oriented APS-C camera in its mirrorless EOS R system delivers a good first impression

by Jeremy Gray | Posted 05/24/2022

Last week, he had the chance to go hands-on with Canon's two new APS-C EOS R-series cameras, the EOS R7 and the R10. While the cameras have a lot in common, there are some key differences, and the cameras have different target audiences. If you'd like to read about the consumer-oriented, compact EOS R10, head over to my colleague William Brawley's Canon EOS R10 Hands-on Preview. If instead, you're more interested in an enthusiast camera, even if it comes at the expense of a larger size, more weight, and a higher price, you're in the right place.

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens at 500mm (800mm equiv.), F8, 1/1000s, ISO 2500.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Canon Digital Photo Professional 4 (Beta). Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Canon calls the EOS R7 its "high-end APS-C model." Whereas the EOS R10 targets a similar audience as Canon's EOS M6 Mark II camera, the R7 is aimed more at EOS 90D and 7D Mark II DSLR users. Basically, the EOS R7 is Canon's enthusiast-oriented EOS R-series camera. It's a first for the EOS R-series, which has thus far exclusively featured full-frame image sensors.

What makes the R7 a "high-end" APS-C camera? It combines a high-resolution APS-C image sensor, a sophisticated autofocus system borrowed from the EOS R3 flagship camera, impressive physical controls, and competitive video features. Let's dive in and see what the R7 is all about and why Canon users should be excited about the new camera.

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens at 254mm (406mm equiv.), F5.6, 1/500s, ISO 640.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Canon Digital Photo Professional 4 (Beta). Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Canon EOS R7 key features and specifications

  • All-new 32.5-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor
  • DIGIC X processor
  • Continuous shooting at up to 15 frames per second (mechanical shutter) and 30 fps (electronic shutter)
  • Similar autofocus system as the Canon EOS R3
  • AI-powered subject detection autofocus
  • In-body image stabilization
  • 4K/60p video oversampled from 7K
  • Canon Log 3
  • Dust- and moisture-resistant construction
  • Dual UHS-II card slots
  • W x H x D: 132 x 90.4 x 91.7mm
  • Weighs 612g
  • $1,499 body only

Canon EOS R7 design and handling: Midsize mirrorless camera with impressive usability

The Canon EOS R7 isn't as small as the R10, but it's far from a large camera. The R7's dimensions (W x H x D) are 132 x 90.4 x 91.7 millimeters (5.2 x 3.56 x 3.6 inches), and it weighs 612 grams (21.59 ounces) with a battery and memory card. Compared to the Canon EOS R5, the APS-C R7 is slightly deeper but is otherwise narrower by 6mm and shorter by nearly 8mm. What about the 7D Mark II DSLR? That camera is 148.6 x 112.4 x 78.2mm, so the R7 is significantly narrower and shorter, although not quite as thin. The 7D Mark II weighs 910g, so the R7 is much lighter. The EOS 90D is 140.7 x 104.8 x 76.8mm and weighs just over 700g, so even that smaller DSLR is still a lot larger than the R7 overall.

The Canon EOS R7 is a good-looking R-series camera with a similar style and design as Canon's full-frame EOS R5 and R6 cameras.

The move to mirrorless then has afforded the R7 a smaller size and weight than its DSLR predecessors. Does that mean you give something up regarding physical controls and usability? I don't think so. The R7 has a lot going for it. When I first picked up the camera, I was impressed by its overall feel. The front grip is quite large, although not overly so, and fits very nicely into my hand. Even when using a large lens like the RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM telephoto zoom, the R7 maintains a good balance. It's not a large camera, but it feels large, if that makes sense. That's a good thing, by the way.

The R7 has a large joystick near the thumb rest, which can be used to navigate menus and move the autofocus area around. Surrounding this joystick – which works well – is a rotating control dial. The inclusion of the dial is fantastic and makes the R7 more user-friendly than the R10, which not only has a smaller joystick but lacks the rotating control dial altogether. On the top of the R7 is a dedicated ISO button, too, which I like. You can access ISO on the R10 using a function button on the directional pad, but I prefer ISO control on the top deck.

As for the electronic viewfinder, it's pretty good. It's not in EOS R3 territory, but the R7's EVF has 2.36 million dots, which is sufficient and provides a clear, sharp view. The EVF also performed well regarding refresh rate, although we don't have detailed specs about the EVF yet. It's not an overly large EVF, but it never felt too small in use. The eyecup is also quite comfortable and did a good job keeping ambient light out of the EVF.

The R7 has a rather large rear LCD. It's a touchscreen, of course, and it's fully articulating. The articulating display is nice for video, although I prefer a more traditional tilting display for still photography. On the plus side, you can use the display in portrait orientation, which is nice. The LCD is reasonably sharp and has approximately 1.62 million dots, up from 1.04 million on the R10. The LCD worked well in bright light, which proved useful outdoors during the day in sunny Florida.

The Canon EOS R7's LCD touchscreen is fully articulating and has 1.62M dots.

Further evidencing the R7's positioning toward enthusiast users, the camera includes two UHS-II SD card slots. Sure, they're not CFexpress slots, but dual UHS-II slots are still nice. The R7 also includes in-body image stabilization, which promises up to 8 stops of stabilization. The camera also has an "auto-level" feature that can slightly rotate the image sensor itself to keep your images straight. It's an optional feature but a great one to have. It's not a "cropping" function either because the sensor physically rotates.

The Canon EOS R7 has a large joystick near the thumbrest, which also includes a surrounding rotating control dial. I really liked using the joystick and control dial.

APS-C cameras are great for wildlife thanks to the crop factor, so it's good news that the R7 includes dust and water resistance. The camera promises about the same level of weather resistance as the EOS 90D, which should be sufficient for shooting in inclement weather. It's not waterproof, of course, but it should hold up well to regular use in bad weather. The camera feels robust, too.

Canon EOS R7 image quality: All-new image sensor delivers strong performance

The Canon EOS R7 sports an all-new 32.5-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor with a 1.6x crop factor. It's worth noting that 1.6x is slightly different than some other APS-C cameras, including those from Fujifilm, Nikon and Sony, all of which have a 1.5x crop factor. That means that Canon's sensor is slightly smaller than those found in some other APS-C cameras, but I doubt that there's any noticeable impact on image quality. It'll be interesting to see how the R7 performs in our lab.

Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM lens at 85mm (136mm equiv.), F1.2, 1/500s, ISO 100.
This image has been cropped but is otherwise straight from the camera. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

The new image sensor is different than that found in the EOS 90D and EOS M6 Mark II, which offers the same resolution, but like those other sensors, the new one isn't backside-illuminated, and it's not stacked. The lack of a stacked design isn't all that surprising. Still, it does mean that despite featuring a similar autofocus system as the EOS R3, the R7 doesn't deliver quite the same level of performance as that full-frame flagship camera.

The EOS R7's native ISO range is 100-32,000, with an expanded range up to 51,200. While we won't know the full story on the R7's image quality until it goes through our lab, the initial impressions are quite positive. The camera performs well at higher ISOs, including up to ISO 6400, which is as high as I got during daytime shooting. Consider the image below shot at ISO 6400. Looking at the 100% JPEG crop straight from the camera, the image maintains good detail without being overly noisy. I'm pretty impressed by the default noise reduction, although you could do even better with a processed raw file. Speaking of processed raw files, the R7's images aren't yet supported in Adobe Camera Raw, so I used a beta version of Canon's Digital Photo Professional 4 app, which isn't my preferred way to process Canon raw files.

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens at 500mm (800mm equiv.), F7.1, 1/1000s, ISO 6400.
Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens at 500mm (800mm equiv.), F7.1, 1/1000s, ISO 6400.
100% crop. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

When shooting at lower ISO settings, the EOS R7 performs even better. At or near base ISO, the camera delivers good dynamic range, tonality and color. Canon is lauded for its color processing, and the R7 continues this positive trend. All the portrait images in this preview are straight from the camera, and I'm pleased with how the R7 handled skin tones and general color accuracy.

Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM lens at 85mm (136mm equiv.), F1.4, 1/320s, ISO 100.
This image has been cropped and I've made cloning adjustments, but it's otherwise straight from the camera. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Autofocus and performance: EOS R3-lite, or something else entirely?

Without a stacked sensor, the EOS R7 cannot quite match the R3 in terms of performance. However, many aspects of the R3's autofocus system are present in the R7, including its AI-powered subject detection features. The R7 can automatically detect and track people (body/head/face/eye), wildlife (dogs/cats/birds) and vehicles. However, like the R3 and unlike the Nikon Z9, you must manually select which subject you want the camera to track. That's not a big annoyance, but it's worth pointing out.

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens at 300mm (480mm equiv.), F5.6, 1/1000s, ISO 800.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Canon Digital Photo Professional 4 (Beta). Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

The R7 is powered by Canon's DIGIC X processor, and its autofocus system includes 651 autofocus points, which is less than the R3's 1,053 points. This, of course, makes sense given the smaller APS-C image sensor. The R7's autofocus coverage is excellent, though, going across nearly the entire frame. The camera did a great job of focusing on moving subjects throughout the entire frame and showed a strong ability to reacquire focus when a subject left and re-entered the frame.

When photographing wildlife especially, the R7 did a great job of finding birds and then focusing on the eye, even when the eye was relatively small in the overall frame. When the subject was too small for the camera to zero in on the eye, it still did a good job tracking the body.

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens at 400mm (640mm equiv.), F6.3, 1/2000s, ISO 1600.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Canon Digital Photo Professional 4 (Beta). Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

To help the system, especially when multiple birds were in the frame, I often utilized Flexible Zone AF. This allows you to customize the size and shape of square and rectangular autofocus areas to limit the camera's tracking priority to a smaller portion of the frame. The camera includes three Flexible Zone AF slots, so I set ones up for landscape and portrait orientation shooting. Otherwise, it can be a bit tricky to get the camera to focus on the correct subject when there are multiple ones to choose from in the frame – this applies to wildlife and portraiture. The camera generally did a good job dealing with this situation, though it wasn't perfect.

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens at 200mm (320mm equiv.), F5.6, 1/2000s, ISO 500.
This image has been cropped but is otherwise straight from the camera. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

When it comes to performance, it's mostly good news. The EOS R7 can shoot at 15 frames per second using its mechanical shutter. While we need to do full buffer testing in our lab when we have another hands-on opportunity with the camera, I found the buffer to fill quickly. Fortunately, it also cleared quite quickly when using a UHS-II SD card. It's a high-speed camera with its mechanical shutter and allows you to capture bursts of action effectively. If you want even more speed, you can shoot up to 30 fps when using the electronic shutter. However, the lack of a stacked sensor strikes again, as the R7 is prone to rolling shutter.

This image illustrates the rolling shutter distortion that can be present when using the R7's electronic shutter.
This image has been cropped. Image courtesy of William Brawley. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Overall, the EOS R7 delivers impressive autofocus and performance. It's certainly geared toward enthusiasts, and while it can't match the speed and performance of the full-frame R3, the R7 offers a heck of a lot of performance for its price.

Video: 4K/60p and 1080/120p video

Given our brief time with the new R7 and R10 cameras, we focused on still photography. However, we'll dig into the cameras' video performance during our full reviews. Nonetheless, to give an overview of the R7's primary video specs, they're impressive. The camera records 4K/60p video using the full width of the sensor. The 4K video is oversampled from 7K resolution. The camera offers Canon Log 3 and HDR video, plus Full HD video at up to 120p. The R7 records uninterrupted video, limited only by battery, memory card and temperature, although Canon promises impressive continuous recording under typical conditions.

In the field: Wildlife with the Canon EOS R7

While the smaller sensor can make an APS-C camera less compelling for landscape or portrait photography, the crop factor makes them great options for wildlife photography. When using the RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens, for example, the 1.6x crop factor makes the lens deliver the same field of view as a 160-800mm lens would on a full-frame camera. That makes getting "close" to wildlife that much easier. APS-C cameras are popular choices for bird photographers for this very reason.

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens at 363mm (581mm equiv.), F6.3, 1/2000s, ISO 2000.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Canon Digital Photo Professional 4 (Beta). Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

My experience using the R7 for wildlife photography was positive. The camera's impressive autofocus system and speedy performance make it a great choice for wildlife photography. The camera's robust design and ample physical controls help, too, allowing me to make fast adjustments to exposure compensation, ISO and autofocus modes without diving into complicated menus. The EVF also did a good job of keeping up with action, although it's not a blackout-free EVF or anything quite that sophisticated.

The R7's in-body image stabilization, a feature missing from the new R10, also helps, especially when using longer lenses. Combined, a lens's image stabilization and the camera's IBIS produce a steady image when composing at longer focal lengths and, of course, promise a sharper image at slower shutter speeds, all else equal.

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens at 400mm (640mm equiv.), F6.3, 1/800s, ISO 400.
Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

The R7 has a few advantages over the R10 that are especially noticeable when doing wildlife photography. Beyond the higher-resolution sensor, the R7 also offers faster continuous shooting speeds, albeit only when using the electronic shutter and running the risk of rolling shutter. The R7 also has better physical controls, meaning I spent more time shooting and less time messing around in menus. The R7 has better weather resistance and dual SD card slots, which means more reliability. The R7 also has a higher-resolution LCD monitor, although that's not quite so important when photographing wildlife. The R7's mechanical shutter sensor cover is important when doing any outdoor photography, as it protects the sensor when changing lenses in the field.

Summing up my hands-on time with the Canon EOS R7

The Canon EOS R7 is like a new and improved mirrorless version of some of Canon's most popular APS-C DSLR cameras, including the 7D Mark II and 90D. For wildlife shooters in particular, although sports photographers as well, the R7 is a welcome addition to the EOS R-series family, and it's made a strong first impression.

Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM lens at 85mm (136mm equiv.), F1.8, 1/250s, ISO 100.
This image has been cropped but is otherwise straight from the camera. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

The R7's 32.5-megapixel image sensor may not be stacked or backside-illuminated, but it still delivers good image quality. Likewise, the camera's autofocus system, which is borrowed from the EOS R3, can't quite reach the lofty heights of that flagship full-frame camera, but it nonetheless performs very well. Simply put, the EOS R7 offers good performance in a reasonably compact package and at an attractive price.

Pricing and availability

Speaking of "attractive price," just how much is the EOS R7? The camera launches next month for $1,499 body only. The R7 will also be available in a kit with one of Canon's new APS-C RF-mount lenses, the RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM. The kit will cost $1,899.

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens at 400mm (640mm equiv.), F7.1, 1/1250s, ISO 4000.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Canon Digital Photo Professional 4 (Beta). Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Our hands-on time with the Canon EOS R7 was brief, spanning just over a day, but the camera looks very good. We're anxious to get our hands on the R7 and R10 again so we can put them through more extensive testing. While most of the images here are from my time with the EOS R7, William Brawley also went hands-on with the EOS R7 and R10 cameras, so there are many more real-world EOS R7 images available in our Canon EOS R7 Gallery. Be sure to check them out. Don't forget to read William's Canon EOS R10 Hands-on Preview if you think a smaller APS-C EOS R-series camera is more your speed.

 

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