With the launch of the new Canon EOS 7D Mark II in Australia, Wild received a sample along with its standard kit lens (18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM) to road test.
This camera has already received a number of reviews, but we were nevertheless excited to see how it performed in some common outdoor settings, as well as giving it the professional treatment in the hands of one of our in-house photographers, Blake Storey at an indoor event.
Both indoor and outdoor trials revealed similar results, however it’s worth noting that a different lens was used for the indoor trial in a bid to capture more light. Even so, our photographer found resulting images began to get quite grainy at ISO levels 2500 and above, which is more evident when shooting in RAW format.
A faster camera than the first EOS 7D, the Mark II has speedy autofocus and continuous-shooting – it can even shoot at 9.5fps continuously in JPEG (manufacturer claims up to 10fps) – all of which is critical for wildlife or sports photographers. On the other hand, the fixed LCD screen may be a let down for anyone who has worked with an articulated Live View display before, which makes framing shots much easier.
As for the construction of the camera, the Mark II is a little lighter than the original, but it’s still heavier than many comparable models, weighing in at 910 grams (body only). However, the difference is minimal and in conjunction with the dust and weatherproof nature of the housing simply makes the camera feel more rugged. Also note the dual card slots (SD and CF), which can be programmed to store RAW and JPEG files separately.
These features certainly lend the camera for use in the outdoors, and its intuitive controls made the camera easy to operate on the fly. Our second adventure with the EOS 7D Mark II was on a brief birding trip in Melbourne’s northeast on a very gloomy Spring evening. While the kit lens was used in this scenario, we nevertheless found it relatively straightforward to switch between wildlife and landscape shots, toggling shutter speed and aperture controls as required.
Of interest for some of the more experimental photographers, Canon now includes on-board HDR capacity, just don’t expect it to compare with some time spent manually compositing the bracketed images – the software is prone to leaving ghosts and is somewhat restrictive in the kinds of effects that you can achieve.
All-in-all the Canon EOS 7D Mark II is a worthwhile improvement on the original, particularly when it comes to speed improvements. This style of camera lends itself to avid enthusiasts seeking to improve on their skills in the field. That being said we would recommend any interested buyer avoid purchasing the camera with the kit lens, as you’ll find better value for money with a higher-end, fit-for-purpose alternative (even a higher quality ‘walk around’ lens will yield far greater results).
By itself, the camera body will set you back upwards of $1500, so expect to spend more than $2000 when adding a better-than-kit lens.