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Living with the Canon EOS 7D

Canon EOS 7D

Firstly, this is NOT a review, if you are looking for a review please go to dpreview.com they dissect the camera to the nth level and then put it back together or Digital Photography School. By the way, DPReview’s rating is “Highly Recommended” with an average of 9.16/10 as compared to Nikon’s D300s (which I have a lot of respect for) with an average of 9.16/10, how odd is that? Anyways, this is about living with it and I have the camera for nearly a month.

First thing you have to understand about the Canon EOS 7D, it is a professional graded “still” camera!!! I will come to the video in a latter post, 1 thing at a time. So what do I mean by that? Well, coming from the very good and light Canon EOS 400D, its like coming off a bicycle with training wheels and driving a racing bike, I know I said this before and I will probably say it again.

First thing you will notice when you pick up the Canon EOS 7D is it’s weight at 918g with the battery in is not light add a battery grip with 2 batteries, a CF card grip and  a 24-70mm f/2.8 L lens and here comes 2,378 kg, not light at all I can tell you.

Second thing you will notice is it’s size, it is massively larger than the Canon EOS 400D, but what a grip, with 2,5kg in your hand you better have a good grip and you do.

Thirdly you will feel the magnesium alloy quality of this professional camera, it fells so good.

And then you switch it on and at first glance life just became more complicated, the buttons and the menu (until you figure out the Quick and Custom menus) looks devastatingly confusing. I read the manual cover to cover 3 times so far, about to do it again but not cover to cover this time. I can now drive the racing bike around a track but I am still far for being able to race…

There are little things I have noticed using the camera, if RAW is used at high ISO you might be disappointed with the amount of noise, oddly enough I did not find this problem with the use of JPGs, most probably due to the high amount of post processing. Taking movement of anything whilst is high burst mode (up to 8 frames a second)  is wonderful but watch how quick you fill your memory card. Lastly, it is deadly silent in comparison to other DLR’s I have used or tested.

So would I recommend it as an upgrade from a 400D/450D/500D? Not unless you are going into photography seriously, the price does not warrant it. If you are doing casual photography and want the ability to do the odd video clip, I would advise either the Canon 500D or the cheaper but versatile Canon PowerShot SX20 IS (I will do a “living with the Canon PowerShot SX20 IS a little later). If you, like me, are either in action, sport or wildlife photography the Canon EOS 50D will do fine if you do no care about video. But if you are serious and have the finance for it the Canon EOS 7D paired with a versatile L lens, I recommend the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM to start with bringing you to an equivalent of 39-112mm of this 1,6 cropped sensor,  is the way to go.

I will write more about this in the weeks to come as I will soon have the opportunity to try a Canon EOS 5D Mk1 and maybe others in the field. I am also taking some courses in the next few months of subject maters I had not really thought off previously. But first impressions are that It was a very good investment.

Pascal Parent

Pascal's day job is as a technologist but you can mostly find him behind a camera after hours. As a passionate photographer he regularly shares his experiences with the world. From how-to to reviews you will find it all in his regularly updated blog and other places.

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