First Impressions: Canon 7D Mk II

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 7D Mk II first impressions images (1 of 7)ISO 2001-160 sec at f - 3.2

The Canon 7D Mk II has been in development for many years now, and the company’s track record of staying conservative sticks true to this latest product. When the first 7D launched, it made waves in the APS-C world with its super fast FPS rate and its complementary features to the 5D Mk II. Canon’s choices to stick to the safe side and make modest improvements isn’t a bad one per se at all–but we’d be telling complete lies to say that we didn’t expect more.

As far as the feature set goes, Canon has a 20.2MP APS-C sensor at the heart of the camera that also shoots at 10fps, houses dual DIGIC 6 processors, 65 cross type AF points, a 100% viewfinder, a magnesium alloy camera body, dust and weather resistance that is said to be 4x better than the original, GPS integration, a CF and SD card slot, ISO ranges from 100-16,000, a custom movie servo mode and much more.

We took a look at the 7D Mk II earlier last month.

Tech Specs

Taken directly from my notes during the meeting

10 fps

20.2 mp new sensor

Digic 6 dual

65 cross type AF points

100 viewfinder

Dual pixel AF

Magnesium alloy body

Dust and weather resistance


CF and sd card slot

Price Point of $1799

ISO 100-16,000

Custom movie servo mode and 60p

Built in intervalometer

4x better than original 7D

150,000 pixel count on metering sensor

31 shots in raw for the bugger

New battery still compatible with old ones

Ai servo AF III is same as in the 1D X

New large zone of focusing abilities

Can shoot 1090 joeys until buffer runs out

Silent mode for shutter shooting

Tracking sensitivity

All-I and IPB and IPB lite

Hdmi out

Headphone jack

Intelligent viewfinder with dual level

Supports interchangeable screens

USB 3.0 terminal

200k shutter mechanism improvement

Compass function with gps

New battery grip

Wireless file transfer is being updated


Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 7D Mk II first impressions images (6 of 7)ISO 2001-50 sec at f - 3.2

Canon’s 7D Mk II shows us that the company is more or less incredibly happy with where they are in the ergonomics game. Years ago, the company was trying to change their designs to satisfy more customers and adapt to the market. The biggest deviation from their original products was the original 7D. The design changes continued to the 60D, 70D, 1D X and the 5D Mk III. With the Canon’s 7D Mk II’s announcement today, we can see that not much has indeed changed.

As such, very little on the front of the camera is new: you still have a lens release, flash button, and a depth of field preview on the front with a customizable button also there for custom functions.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 7D Mk II first impressions images (5 of 7)ISO 2001-50 sec at f - 3.2

The camera’s grip very much feels the same too. If anything, Canon customers will see that the texture of the camera is a bit rougher–which means better grip in real life use.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 7D Mk II first impressions images (2 of 7)ISO 2001-160 sec at f - 3.2

The top of the camera very much looks the same as the older 7D with a couple of small changes. For starters, the mode dial now has a locking button–which is a feature many of their other cameras have incorporated. Additionally, you still have the dual button controls for many variables when shooting.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 7D Mk II first impressions images (3 of 7)ISO 2001-160 sec at f - 3.2

The back of the 7D Mk II looks almost identical to the back of the original 7D–which we’re personally a fan of. It surely didn’t need any more buttons. Indeed, most of the controls are on the left side instead of the right like many other companies do these days. You still have the simple switch from video to stills mode, the exposure dial on the back, and the AF point selector joystick. This one feels very much like the one on the older 5D Mk II–which we much preferred to the current trend in Canon’s sticks.

Build Quality

Canon claims that the 7D Mk II has 4x the weather sealing of the original 7D which makes us wonder if there are lenses being designed with even better weather sealing. We will need to test this when we get a review unit in.

Otherwise, the 7D Mk II feels almost identical to the original 7D. That means that photographers that are upgrading will feel right at home with the camera. 5D Mk III owners looking for a backup will also be super comfortable with the camera. More than anything though, holding this camera in my hands made me feel like this was designed for current Canon customers more than anyone else because of just how familiar it feels.

I was and still am a Canon customer–and it’s nice to know that the familiarity is there for me.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 7D Mk II menus (2 of 2)ISO 2001-25 sec at f - 3.5

Canon has the same familiar menu system that the 5D Mk III and 70D have overall. Providing that you can navigate through them, you’ll have no problems working with the camera but you should surely know that these menus hide layers and layers of features and power inside the camera.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 7D Mk II first impressions images (4 of 7)ISO 2001-30 sec at f - 3.2

There were also very minor changes made that drastically improve your shooting experience like changing from AF setting to AF setting is done. Indeed, the 7D was the camera that made the focusing capabilities super advanced to begin with and did away with the company’s previously archaic system.


Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 7D Mk II first impressions images (7 of 7)ISO 2001-50 sec at f - 3.2

In our short amount of time with the pre-production model, we found that the AF system is right on par with Nikon’s if not better. The 7D Mk II has AI Servo AF III which is pretty much the same as the 1D X’s. We weren’t allowed to shoot a movie of the focusing mode while the camera is shooting a video, but with Canon lenses it seems to perform quite well–if not better than the 70D’s.

Image Quality

Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to stick a card in the camera to bring back sample images, but Canon decided to keep the megapixel count modest as well as the ISO range modest. What this means to us is that they probably worked on really refining the sensor and the image quality output considering how wonderful Canon’s colors usually are. In many ways, it gets us excited because it more or less is more of what we need and not just us geeking out over numbers.

First Impressions

While many other companies are innovating and trying to change the photography game, there are surely a large number of us that are trying to stay conservative to older ways. Canon is trying to cater to that customer and in many ways fighting against the trend of adding in loads and loads of new features with every new iteration of the camera. With that said though they are surely keeping up with the market given that they added an intervalometer, gave the camera a CF and SD card slot, and worked on extra AF and usability improvements.

There are many out there that would probably have wanted the camera to shoot 4K, but we have to agree with Canon when we say that those shooters should move up to the Cinema EOS series instead.

We’re working on getting a review unit, but we will keep you guys updated.

Chris Gampat

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