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The other day I wrote a post titled “Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Camera Gear is Fine!” that seemed to have resonated with many of you, who, like me, have felt the peer pressure to upgrade to a more expensive model. In that post I talk about that you don’t need a high end camera to take wonderful photos and encouraged you all to work and practice with what you have. If you haven’t seen that post already, I urge you to check it out.
In that article, I also mentioned that the DSLR I have used for the past two years, a Canon 700D or T5i, has started to fail on me after all the heavy use it has seen. I took it from deserts and tropical rain forests to icy -40°C winter landscapes and back several times over and it has served me well through all of that. I often lovingly called it “a piece of shit”, but to be honest, that 700D taught me a whole lot. I was never able to take the easy way out and had to work with what I had. Anyways, that camera is sadly on its way out.
Yesterday, I picked up the new 7D Mark II, a camera that has been hyped tremendously ever since it was released at the beginning of November.
Why I decided to stay with a crop sensor and didn’t switch to a full frame
Honestly, it’s just my personal preference. As a travel photographer, I do almost the whole wide variety of photography. Landscapes, wildlife, portraits, some action and sometimes even some street photography. I could have worked with both crop and full frame sensors of course, but I do like how versatile the new 7D Mark II is and I prefer to have that bit of extra zoom that the 1.6x crop factor gives me. This allows me to carry only one camera body for all purposes and keep all my lenses that I already have. Plus, this camera was exactly in my budget. I’m sure it will do great in all the situations that get thrown at me.
Now, let’s talk a bit more about what the 7D Mark II can do
In this following spreadsheet you can see all the specs we talked about and compare them to some other popular Canon cameras on the market.
Also worth mentioning are:
- A built in GPS receiver
- Built in intervalometer and bulb timer
- Magnesium alloy body and enhanced dust and weather sealing that is according to Canon 4 times better than the one on the original 7D.
- Dual memory card slots for one CF and one SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card
- Autofocus selection joystick (also called “the nipple”) allows for quick changing of the AF area selection
- Anti flicker mode
- USB 3.0
The 7D Mark II goes where no other APS-C DSLR has gone before and brings quality improvements that so far have only been seen in full frame sensors. As you can see, that camera is up there and competing hard with the way more expensive full frame models. And at 1799$ (as of December 2014) it is a lot cheaper than the 5D Mark III at 3399$ or even the 1D X at 6799$.
What I am most excited about
The viewfinder: Upgrading from a 700D, for me the new 7D Mark II viewfinder with the 1.00x magnification is awesome. Finally, I can actually see what the picture is going to look like and won’t have to guess what is included in the frame and where the frame edges really are. No more surprises from now on. The viewfinder can also be completely configured and adapted to ones needs. The full information might seem a bit overwhelming, but as I said, it is highly configurable and you can pick and choose what is displayed. I especially love the added electronic level (no more crooked horizons, especially in low light situations), which will save me some time and worries in post processing.
The better ISO capabilities: The 7D Mark II still doesn’t reach the low noise levels of full frame cameras, but it’s definitely getting a lot closer. With my old 700D, everything over ISO 400 would basically be unusable and I’m definitely looking forward to being able to shoot up to ISO 1600, 3200 and even 6400 and still get usable files. I mostly photograph with a tripod in low light situations and thus don’t have to crank the ISO that often, but in those situations that call for it, this higher ISO capability will definitely come in handy.
The 10 frames per second and the insane autofocus: For capturing a subject in motion, you want high frames per second and a small as possible shutter lag. The camera should respond very quickly in order not to miss an important step in a movement. The 7D Mark II is unbeatable in this and now matches the high end 1D X – definitely a fast action camera ideal for sports and wildlife. On top of this, the 65 cross type autofocus points and the quick lever selection are just sick and will allow me to track and keep the focus on my subject a lot more efficiently.
What is next? I’ll head to Whistler this weekend for some skiing, adventure and more and will get to test the 7D Mark II in a variety of situations. So watch out for a more in-depth review coming up.