Canon EOS 7D: Hands-on Preview

by Reads (800)

Canon offered us some one-on-one time with the just-announced EOS 7D, and with only a few precious minutes to spend with a pre-production unit, and we wasted no time putting it to work. Stills, 1080p video, a full range of ISO shots – it’s all here. Keep on reading for some initial impressions and samples from the brand spanking new Canon EOS 7D.

The EOS 7D unit I tested had all the look and feel of a production-ready unit, but the team at Canon hadn’t yet finalized all of the gear under the hood. Bear in mind that these images and photos will offer a nice preview of what we can expect to see from this camera, but should by no means offer any final conclusions about how the 7D will perform.

It has the same sturdy feel in hand as the 5D Mark II but in a tighter, slightly less bulky body.

Controls and buttons are positioned in a very similar arrangement to the 5D, so those who are familiar with that system (or really, any Canon DSLR) will have no trouble picking up the 7D and setting straight to work. The afternoon weather on Times Square brought a few clouds overhead, but the auto white balance did a nice job of adjusting to the grey skies.

Colors are vibrant despite the overcast skies. The details of the leaves in the foreground are very sharp in the image below, and there is no trace of purple fringing at the area where leaf meets bright sky.

The shot below offers some inspection of the EOS 7D’s dynamic range. Looking at the upper left corner of the photo, some detail in the shadows under the building is discernible stretching back away from the camera.


100% crop

Fine details in the image of the leaves below are visible at 100% crop.


100% crop

Moving indoors with the EOS 7D opened up opportunities to test the 7D at a variety of ISO settings.

ISO 250

ISO 1000

ISO 6400

The camera’s sensor picks up a lot of the red light from the wall just out of view to the left, but even with all that neon glow the ISO 6400 shot looks remarkably noise-free. Distortion is more obvious at 100% crop, but the photo is most definitely usable.

ISO 6400, 100% crop

We’ll reserve judgement until we can put a finalized unit to our own studio test, but the preliminary results are promising.

To capture indoor action, we used a brighter metering setting in our second sample video.

Additional Sample Images


To put it plainly, I liked shooting with this camera. Our pre-production sample produced some high-quality images with beautiful detail and vibrant color. I’m looking forward to putting a fully equipped, production ready EOS 7D through the paces for a full review. We’ll be interested in seeing how the new metering system performs and if it will really keep overly aggressive reds in check, as Canon claims. First impressions, of course, are always important. And the EOS 7D made a very striking first impression.

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