Canon EOS 7D Review / Test Report - Applications
DSLR Reviews - DSLRs
Friday, 29 January 2010 00:00

The following section is organized by the variety of photographic scenarios LANDSCAPE, MACRO, NIGHT, PORTRAIT and SPORTS photography.

Nature Photography

The EOS 7D is perfectly suitable for nature photography. The image quality is very good all the way up to ISO 800 which probably as high as it needs to be for this purpose. The "Integrated-Cleaning-System" seems to work fine - we weren't able to spot any sensor dust during out tests. The body sealing against dust and moisture comes handy in some of the tougher outdoor situations. Please note that you will need corresponding lenses in this case. The offered kit lenses are not sealed to the same standards. The battery life is fairly good at around 400 images of mixed usage.

In terms of lenses there're lots of interesting options like the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 USM IS or the EF 70-200mm f/4 USM L IS. If you're into wildlife or birding there're lots of super-tele lenses to choose from ... at a price. The biggest problem of the 7D is not the lack of lenses but the lack of lenses that can exploit its (megapixel-)potential. If you're into full HD video the EOS 7D will fit your needs as well. The APS-C sized sensor does make a difference compared to the dwarfish sensors used in most conventional HD camcorders out there.

Macro Photography

Macro photography means Live-View these days and, just like all the competitors, the EOS 7D offers this feature albeit based on a fixed screen rather than on an articulated one which is a bit unfortunate. Activating Live-View is as easy as pressing the corresponding button (which can be configured to activate either HD video or Live-View). Objects can be enlarged up to 10 times for accurate manual focusing.

There're currently no less than 6 dedicated macro lenses made by Canon plus numerous more from the thrid-party gang so you should be able to find something here. Canon has two dedicated flash units for macro photography - the Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX and the Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX. If this is not enough these units can be coupled with additional slave flash inits.

Night/Low-Light Photography

The EOS 7D is reasonably suitable for night/low-light photography. Its high ISO performance is rather typical for an APS-C DSLR and as such not overly impressive beyond ISO 800, maybe ISO 1600. The long exposure noise reduction works fine so tripod-based night images are no problem. As usual bulb exposure is available but it's not programmable so the the exposure button has to remain pressed during the whole exposure.

The viewfinder of the 7D is big and bright so it's comparatively easy to compose your scene in dark conditions. Alternatively Live-View may also used of course.

Canon offers lots of IS lenses which help to shoot are comparably low ISO settings (at cost of shutter speed) in some situations. The lens portfolio does also include an industry leading range of ultra-large aperture lenses which can be useful here. The Speedlites 430EX II and 580EX II may also be suitable at times in order to keep lower ISO settings.

Portrait Photography

The min. X-sync of 1/250sec is generally fine for the typical focal lengths used for portrait photography (~50-135mm) and high-speed sync. is also available with external flashunits. Furthermore, the camera supports remote flash capabilities for balanced lighting using multiple flash units without the need to purchase a corresponding remote transmitter units.

The Canon lens lineup has a number of highly interesting lenses for portrait photography - namely the EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 85mm f/1.2L or one of the popular 70-200mm f/2.8s. The Speedlites 430EX II and 580EX II are worth a thought - both can be used in bounce mode (tilt + swivel) and they're powerful enough to be used with diffusors for producing soft light conditions.

Sports Photography

The EOS 7D can shoot continuously with up to 8 frames per second in image bursts of 126 JPEGs or 15 RAWs. The phase detection AF is extremely fast and accurate even in low light conditions. Unlike lower spec EOS DSLRs the 7D supports AF sensor handover so it can follow a tracked object across the frame (within the AF array zone).

The Canon lens lineup offers numerous long tele lenses so whatever you're looking for you should be able to find it here. There's a reason why most sports photographers prefer Canon here. The Speedlite 580EX II (GN 58 @ 105mm) should be strong enough for freezing some moderately fast indoor actions.