Field Review: Canon 7D (Night 1)

The Canon 7D is a recent purchase of mine made to compliment my 5D Mk II. So far, I’ve been very impressed with the camera. I gave the camera its first real test at a Seder since this week is Passover. My findings are after the jump.

Equipment Used

Canon 7D

50mm F1.8 II

85mm F1.8


The 7D feels amazing in my hands. It actually feels better than my 5D Mk II. To be more clear on that, it feels tougher. My 5D Mk II is still more comfortable and I’ve got the button layout memorized better than that girl’s phone number I tried picking up last night :). Something I’ve tended to do when I get my photographer’s adrenaline rush is grip my cameras very tightly. The 7D can take it well.

The screen is very nice, as is the new locking mechanism on the back dial. Something I could actually without is the Raw/JPEG button. The new layout is a bit confusing but I was able to adapt.

The camera feels a bit smaller than my 5D Mk II which is nice because I recently took off the Canon strap and replaced it with a Sniper strap. I love this thing. It truly makes shooting with two bodies much more comfortable and easier to do. Plus there’s all that extra padding too.


The 7D has 8fps shooting, dedicated video record button that also allows for switching into Live View/video mode, a totally revamped autofocus system, dual DIGIC 4 processors, wireless flash control for use with something like my 430 EX II, and clean High ISO results.

This is really all you need. To shoot the Seder, I mostly used just high ISO and 8fps.


Whenever someone asks me about the autofocus, I always speak very highly of it. Other tech journalists know I’m a camera nerd and so they ask, “Are you hard?”

To which I reply, “I now wear skirts because my pants can’t survive the 7D being in my hands.”

Anyway, the autofocus is very advanced now. There is total auto, spot AF, single point AF, AF point expansion, zone AF and 19 point selection. They’re all very useful depending on what you’re shooting and adds to the 7D versatility. Additionally, they all work very effectively. The 7D locked onto subjects at the Seder that my 5D Mk II would hunt for. To be fair though, with the 50mm F1.8 II, autofocus was horrible. It made me rely a lot on manual focus. This is critical as there are very important parts of a Seder that requires accuracy.

I’ve always had problems with that lens as well though.

High ISO

This camera gets too much criticism for its high ISO capabilities. I shot at 3200 for nearly the entire time and still got very usable shots. In fact, I feel that the images from the 7D are better than those of the Nikon D300s that I’ve reviewed recently.

Granted, I’m doing this review shooting in JPEG for ease of transfer. Then again, Adobe supports the 7D RAW format. I had lots of trouble with Nikon. Seders in a house are done in very low light. This camera did damn well for the conditions.


Something I don’t like is the loud shutter. Granted, at an event, most people will probably not hear it as the music or people talking over it will muffle the sound. I wish that is had the 5D Mk II’s shutter as it’s very quite and most people don’t hear it at all.

And that’s the type of stealthiness you want at an event.

When someone makes a silencer for cameras, I’ll be the first to sample it.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and also what you’d like to see from the review.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.