The 7D Mark II was announced in September 2014, and right from the bat looked to be a very interesting addition to Canon’s range.
Having a high-end AF system, including a very quick ten fps shooting speed, image processors, magnesium construction and a weather sealing build, the Mark II seems to be specially tailored those shooting sports and wildlife.
Plus with an affordable price, the 7D Mark II seems a lot more attractive to budget-conscious photographers that don't wish to pay close to four times as much for the heavier and bulkier EOS 1D X.
Camera Construction and Handling
With regards to build construction and quality, the Canon 7D Mark II is close to the best you can get, because of its complete alloy shell and improved weather protection compared to the first 7D, which is capable of handling rain, dust and severe humidity.
Canon talks about the 7D Mark II being nearer to the 1D X in regards to construction and weather sealing, therefore you don't need to be concerned about not taking care of this particular digital camera when out using it, as it's built to be sturdy.
The camera feels extremely good in your hands and genuinely does have a professional feel in comparison with other DSLRs.
Handling-wise, the Canon 7D Mark II is superb. Its grip is very good and comfy, plus the settings on the camera look a lot like the Canon 5D Mark III.
In reality, apart from the extra lever beneath the camera’s multi-controller, a slightly repositioned locking switch, as well as the small variations of the build of the camera, there's practically no distinction between the 7D Mark II and 5D Mark III on the back or the top.
The camera can be configured in many ways, and the buttons on there able to be set to do various functions, which is anticipated from a camera of this class.
From the Nikon shooter viewpoint, the most difficult item to become used to was the absence of a rear dial. We’re really accustomed to the two control setup on Nikon DSLRs (with a single on the front side along with another on the back), making it painless to switch aperture and shutter speed settings.
On the Canon 7D Mark II, the uppermost rotary dial changes its function based on the mode you're using the camera in.
Image Sensor, Dynamic Range, and AF Performance
20.2 MP CMOS Sensor
100 to 51,200 ISO Sensitivity
The Canon 7D Mark II boasts a 20.2 MP sensor, including an ISO sensitivity of 100 to 16,000, that may be extended up to around ISO 51,200.
Unlike Nikon, which usually buys sensors from various other companies as Aptina and Sony, Canon develops and also manufactures the sensor technology of its cameras.
Certainly, it appears as Canon have made some modifications to the sensor on the 7D Mark II because the noise, dynamic range and SNR seem to be a little different.
Nevertheless, it's vital that you be aware that the modifications aren't extreme and just seem to be apparent at higher ISOs, especially with respect to SNR. What is especially disappointing is exactly how small the modification is in the dynamic range - there's basically no difference at ISO 100.
Generally, although the 7D Mark II does very well in managing sound, its dynamic range performance is quite disappointing when compared with many other contemporary APS C sensors.
Even though it may look like the 7D Mark II has the very same autofocus system as on the 5D Mark III and 1D X digital cameras, the Canon 7D Mark II features a recently created AF process which is much better than any other current Canon DSLR cameras, like the top-of-the-line EOS 1D X.
To begin with, you will find sixty-five focus points offered, all of which are cross-type, when compared with sixty-one on the 5D Mark III and 1D X. Moreover, the 7D Mark II features a low light sensitivity rating of -3 EV and is a far more option to be put into use with teleconverters.
The 65 point autofocus process over the 7D Mark II is extremely powerful. The primary benefit will be the Mark II’s cross type AF system – it gets focus right every single time, which means it is a more flexible setup when utilizing outer focus for day-to-day photography.
The hit ratio was great and the amount of keepers was high.
What I appreciated about the Canon Mark II was its fine-tuning options. By mixing and matching various settings, you can adjust the AF system to nearly any situation.
Overall, the autofocus process of the 7D Mark II is extremely good and deserves high praises for its overall performance.
Besides the autofocus system, the Mark II comes bundled with a fresh metering engine, having an IR sensor, as well as a 150,000 pixel RGB.
This new system is effective at recognizing 252 zones, in addition to being capable of reading full color, resulting in better performance during exposure metering. Upon photographing various scenes in different lighting scenarios, I discovered the metering sensor being rather accurate when recording in Aperture Priority mode.
All of the metering modes, ranging from evaluative to spot metering, work as you would expect. When I found I had some issues with exposure (rarely), working through these issues with the 3-step exposure compensation using the big rotary dial on the back of the camera was pretty easy.
As for battery life, the Canon 7D Mark II is rated somewhat below the previous model at 670 shots versus 800, likely because of far more demanding processing requirements for managing much more information.
The dual-processor architecture, higher AF and also metering engine, it's anticipated the digital camera will yield fewer shots per charge.
If you don’t like to use flash, sparingly make use of the live view and switch off the photo preview, and you ought to get more than a thousand images per battery charge.
Also switch off GPS when it’s not needed, as it is going to eat up the battery fairly quickly. Additionally, always remember that the battery performance degrades when temperatures fall too low.
The electric battery indications on the uppermost LCD and also within the menu appear to be fairly accurate, thus we reckon it’s a good readout of both the charge and battery health.
The way Canon have implemented Live View is fantastic. No interpolation at full zoom, and also superb clarity at every zoom level. We were particularly fond of the way Canon created the Live View/Movie switch with a Start/Stop button which changes in functionality based on whether you're in live view mode or movie mode.
Changing the switch to video mode instantly turns the mirror in place and activates mode, while the Star/Stop switch is utilized for capturing video.
This functionality is a fantastic aspect for videographers, because it allows you to movie mode on when turning the Mark II on and off, and the mirror will instantly raise up and down without you having to press anything else.
Although the Canon 7D Mark II still doesn’t do 4K video, it has great HD movie recording abilities, allowing as many as sixty frames per second at full HD resolution of 1920×1080.
Canon clearly doesn't wish its DSLR line to go head-to-head with dedicated video recording cameras such as the EOS 1D C, hence the reason for are a few limitations.
The GPS capability works rather well too - an enormous plus for traveling & landscape photographers. The camera clearly requires a clear sky to find satellites at first, but the moment it has, the tracking functions rather nicely when moving around.
I experimented with the GPS feature a couple of times and the location was kept of track of relatively well.
As expected, performance at low ISO amounts is very beneficial. There's a small amount of noise present at ISO 400 and ISO 800 shows somewhat more, though it's not a big problem.
High ISO performance is a really important way of measuring DSLR sensor quality for low light photography. ISO 1600 adds much more visible grain, though it's not awful.
Conversely, ISO 3200 greatly boosts the volume of noise in comparison, particularly in the shadows. There's a noticeable loss of color and minimal loss of detail also.
As we push ISO to 6400, the quantity of sound increases significantly. There's a huge color loss, especially in darker parts of pictures and a noticeable lack of details down at pixel level.
The ISO 12800 somehow looks even worse in comparison, with colors blending together in several areas on the picture. There's an enormous loss of dynamic range and detail.
As you might expect from an APS C sensor, Canon’s Mark II begins very well at its base ISO; however, noise increases considerably with every stop.
Pictures around ISO 3200 appear very good, however, anything pushed past that shows a good deal of noise and thus there's a noticeable loss of dynamic range and both colors.
While both Nikon and Canon have been silent for nearly six years but not releasing news for their high-end APS C DSLRs, many believed that need for them was dead and neither company would release such a camera.
Nevertheless, Canon was the very first for breaking the silence in September 2014, when it eventually revealed its Canon 7D Mark II, a worthy and significant improvement to its predecessor.
The camera was welcomed with both skepticism and fanfare from a lot of Canon snappers, since it made good sense for a few and no sense at all for others.
While sports or wildlife photographers welcomed the digital camera and completely understood the advantages associated with adding such a video camera to their lineup, some other photographers have been puzzled by the introduction of the camera, particularly because of its price, as they can very easily get the full frame 6D for a lot less.
The point is, the 7D Mark II isn't a regular camera and this was never intended to be.
The Canon 7D Mark II is a special device aimed at sports/wildlife photographers which a capture action that is rapid.
True, the Mark II can't truly go up against other sensors in regards to dynamic range, though it's not a landscape or a portrait camera, and its dynamic range efficiency isn't that relevant or important.
Despite having a smaller sensor size than some other APS C sensors on the market, it does really well at very high ISOs - and that’s all you need, as you'd hardly ever be pressing this kind of sensor past ISO 3200. Overall, I'm really pleased by the Canon 7D Mark II as a sports or wildlife camera.