Photography News 15

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Camera review

Canon EOS 7DMkII Canon has been a bit like a sleeping giant this year, but it has finally stirred, launching an exciting update to a much-loved camera – and it’s a cracker! ON TEST

SPECS

STREETPRICE £1599 CONTACT www.canon.co.uk SENSOR 20.2 megapixels, CMOS, 22.4x15mm IMAGESIZE 5472x2648 pixels ISORANGE 100-16,000 expandable to 51,200 AUTOFOCUSMODES AI Focus, AI Servo, One Shot EXPOSURE COMPENSATION +/-5 EV in 0.3 or 0.5 EV stops, bracketing available SHUTTER 30secs-1/8000sec, plus B. Flash sync at 1/250sec METERING 150,000 pixel RGB+IR sensor. Evaluative, partial (6%), spot (1.8%), centre weighted EXPOSUREMODES Scene Intelligent auto, programAE, shutter- priority AE, aperture- priority AE, manual (stills andmovie), custom (x3) SHOOTINGSPEEDS Max. approx. 10fps in continuous high, self- timer andmirror up LCDSCREEN 3in, 1040k dot resolution STORAGE Two slots: one CF, one SD DIMENSIONS (WXHXD) 148.6x112.4x78.2mm WEIGHT (BODYONLY) 910g

Words & pictures by Roger Payne

The Canon’s LCD is bright, clear and colourful, with each main menu broken down into subsections; the main AF menu, for example, has five. But if you’re used to moving through menus using the front or rear input dials, you’ll quickly get frustrated by the fact that you seemingly have to scroll through all the submenus to get to the next main menu. This isn’t the case – pressing the Q button scoots you between the main menu categories – but it’s a shame you can’t change this functionality to, for example, the front input dial. In every other respect, the camera handles beautifully. A (small-handed) colleague remarked that the 7D MkII was a tad oversized for her, with the video record/live view button far too much of a stretch for her right thumb with the camera in hand, but I had no such issues. Granted, it is quite a chunky affair, but the solidity of the magnesium alloy body inspires confidence and just feels ‘right’. The viewfinder is excellent, too. It is bright and features some unique information (facilitated by a transparent LCD) that’s overlaid on to the image area to complement the more standard LCD info shown across the bottom and up the right hand side of the screen. This extra information helps you to change more functions with the camera up to your eye. You can also display a viewfinder level, which I thought would be handy, but the level works over two axes which makes it nigh on impossible to get spot on while hand-holding.

play, while the very materials used to construct the system are claimed to reduce vibration. Whatever Canon has done, it’s worked and while I can’t verify the lifespan claims, this piece of internal design makes the 7D MkII great to use. It boosts low light hand-holding capabilities, too. With my 5D MkII, straying below 1/30sec results in camera shake. Here – with IS lens attached – I could drop down to 1/8sec and still get a sharp result; an impressive two-stop gain. All this fast capturing bravado is nothing without a focusing system to match and the 7D MkII emphatically steps up to the mark. The aforementioned rugby match was captured in the dreariest of conditions that necessitated ISO 3200 with the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L lens I was using. The Canon’s autofocus performance was nothing short of exceptional. The 7D MkII has a 65-point AF system with each point offering a more sensitive cross-type sensor that picks up both vertical and horizontal movement. The system’s central AF point offers dual cross-type focusing at f/2.8 and f/5.6 and sensitivity down to -3EV. A wealth of focusing override options are provided via the menu system. Among other things, you can choose how the focusing reacts to subject movement and even change how you scroll through point selection manually. This level of fine-tuning is sure to appeal to the more avid sports photographer.

The original 7D was launched in 2009 and instantly became a hit among serious enthusiasts, especially those shooting sport or any other fast- moving action. This fundamental raison d’être remains in the MkII, but the performance has been enhanced in almost every conceivable way. Thanks to dual DIGIC 6 processors, the new model can dispatch 20.2-megapixel resolution files at ten frames-per-second. At full tilt, the EOS 7D MkII will record 31 Raw files before it needs to pause for breath. Shoot JPEGs and you’ll be able to keep going for over 1000 frames. That’s 10fps for well over a minute and a half. I used a UDMA card to double-check and, sure enough, the camera is unrelenting when capturing JPEGs. I got more than 31 Raw files, too; my estimate would be closer to 50. In practical terms, this level of image capture is probably excessive. I used the camera to shoot a rugby match and never found myself firing for any longer than two seconds, but you have to admire the camera’s capability. It’s a performance you won’t find anywhere else in the current Canon EOS range, save the £5000 EOS-1D X. But even that flagship model can’t top the 7D MkII’s JPEG capture capabilities. Complementing these rapid frame rates is a newly-developed shutter and mirror drive system that is both whisper quiet and beautifully damped, even when shooting at the maximum frame rate. There’s also a Silent continuous shooting mode that captures at four frames-per-second. As well as being quiet, the shutter is also more durable, with a claimed lifespan of 200,000 cycles. This is down to the use of two motors, one powering the mirror, the other the shutter. There are also dampers and absorption mechanisms at

For the full version of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II review,

please see Issue 52 of Advanced

Photographer, on sale in newsagents now, or go to iTunes for the digital version.

All this fast capturing bravado is nothingwithout a focusing system tomatch and the 7DMkII emphatically steps up to themark. The Canon’s autofocus performancewas nothing short of exceptional

Photography News | Issue 15

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