Elaborating on my earlier post, today at work the Canon rep was here and she brought a pre-production model of the Canon 7D Mark II in for us to take a look at!
(here’s the shot I took of it earlier today again)
It was really cool to get a sneak peek at the camera, because it’s not going to be out for at least another month and I’m going to have so many people asking about it at work.
First things first - it feels really nice. Like, the weight of it is balanced extremely well and it just feels good in your hands. Still has a completely magnesium chassis, so it can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’. Unfortunately, because of the metal body and retaining the pop-up flash, it doesn’t have built in WiFi. But to be fair, a lot of the crowd that uses the 7D as it is doesn’t seem like they’d be the ones to really utilize the WiFi much. (As neat as it is on my 6D I’ve barely used it.)
In terms of what they’re upgrading in it from the previous version, it’s a very nuts-and-bolts upgrade. It’s still using an APS-C sensor, so all your crop-lenses will work a-ok on it. 20.2 megapixels, up to 16000 ISO natively, 10 frames per second continuous shooting (with a 31 photo buffer for RAW and over 1,000 for JPEG). Also, it shoots full 1080p HD video, with uncompressed HDMI output and an audio jack built in for monitoring audio levels, which is really nice for videographers. No tilt/touch screen, but due to the higher physical demands it’s specced for that’s not surprising.
One neat thing that was mentioned is that for Youtubers and other folks who want video they can put right on the web, there’s now a heavy-compression version of 1080p footage they can shoot. The specs I was quoted at said that it gave you about 43 minutes of footage on a 4GB card, so really heavy compression going on but fantastic for space saving and getting as much space out of your cards as you need.
It’s got 2 card slots, a CF and SD, which is a smart move - the original 7D was CF only and this means that people won’t have to get rid of their cards. Also allows for fun things like JPEG on one card and RAW on another.
The biggest things for me, though, were some small but hugely important changes to the ergonomics of the camera. One is that it’s got a 100% viewfinder (everything you see in the viewfinder is what’s in the frame of the photo.) Another is the fact that they’ve changed the Depth of Field preview button to be flatter and on the face of the camera - you can now hit it with the third finger of your right hand instead of having to use your left to press it, which is very useful. It feels incredibly natural.
Yet another is the addition of a small toggle switch around the joystick on the back of the camera. This might seem odd to some people but it is really damn cool. You can customize it to go through different settings, and the one that was previewed blew my mind. If you set your autofocus point (of which the camera has about 61) off of the center, you can flip the toggle switch to move it right back to the center if you need to change, and flick it again to move back to the AF point you were previously on. That’s HUGE. It speeds up things tremendously.
And the M. Fn button on the top of the camera? That’s still used to toggle to custom settings if you need to, but now it has a new and incredible feature - you can toggle through things like drive mode, white balance, metering mode, and more by pressing it and using the control wheels. This might not sound like much at first, but here’s the kicker - you can see everything that you use it for in the viewfinder. You don’t have to move your face from the viewfinder to change these things at all. I was able to switch the camera from single shooting to high-speed burst and Daylight white balance to Tungsten or Custom Kelvin without moving my face from the viewfinder once. That is absolutely wild and is a huge gamechanger.
Additionally, they included a 4-direction level that’s in the viewfinder as well! You don’t have to use the LCD screen to see if you’re holding the camera level!
Overall, I was incredibly impressed with the camera and I think that all of the 7D users at the store will be as well. It might not look like a gigantic or amazing improvement on paper, but holding the camera in your hands makes a huge difference. There are a lot of small changes that combine into huge improvements in your shooting workflow that a lot of professional photographers are going to appreciate. I would absolutely purchase this as a second body for my 6D or as my main sports/action camera.
Keep an eye on this one, folks. I think it’s going to wind up being more than the sum of its parts in a big, big way.