Given the impression of the recently introduced new full-frame cameras, Canon surprised APS-C fans with the announcement of the EOS 7D Kk II. Although the increase in pixel count is modest (up to only 2 Mpix overall), as a replacement for the 5-year-old EOS 7D, the new model has several improvements.
It is the first pro-level model to adopt a newly developed 20.2-MPix APS-C CMOS sensor with the firm’s Dual Pixel AF technology allowing phase-detecting AF capability during live-view and movie capture.
It also features a new 65-point phase-AF system in the viewfinder with 80% coverage in the frame, and adopts cross-type (vertical and horizontal line) sensors at each point. It has the same layout as the Air Force system in the EOS 5D Mk III and 1DX, and has similar controls and menu options as those models.
Other pro-level features include interchangeable focus screens (with a super-accurate matte option for high-speed lenses), 100% viewfinder coverage, and continuous shooting up to 10fps. Unlike some recent rival models, the LCD is fixed (for better sealing and long-term durability), but it is a 3-inch panel with 1.04M-dots.
In addition to the dual-pixel AF option during video capturing, the new camera is also equipped with a wide range of additional film production capabilities.
Canon EOS 7D Mk II review: Low ISO performance
Options include MOV (H.264) or MP4 formats, multiple compression formats (IPB, ALL-I and Lite IPB), slow motion (50 / 60fps), plus headphones and mic socket, as well as a mini-HDMI output . For external recorders.
The new Canon EOS 7D Mk II measures 5.9 x 4.4 x 3.1 148 / 148.6 x 112.4 x 78.2 mm and weighs only 2.00 lbs / 910g with batteries. It is available to pre-order for only $ 1799 body or is complete with a stable EF-S 18-135mm f4.5-5.6 IS STM zoom.
Canon EOS 7D Mk Main Specifications:
20.2MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
Dual Pixel CMOS AF (with Live View)
Dual DIGIC 6 Image Processor
100% percent viewfinder coverage
Interchangeable focus screen
3-inch 1,040k-Dot LCD
Wide-area 65-point AF system using cross-type sensors only
Full HD video recording up to 60fps
ISO 16,000 sensitivity, expanded to ISO 51,200
10 fps continuous shooting
Durable magnesium alloy body with extensive sealing
Canon EOS 7D Mk II: Low-ISO Scores Low ISO, Still Competitive at High ISO
With a DxOMark sensor score of 70 points, the EOS 7D Mk II lags behind the ranks used by some older, smaller micro-four-third sensors such as the highly-regarded mirrorless Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the Lumix DMC. A bit discouraging.
Color sensitivity is good at 22.4 bits but lags behind the best in class, while at the base ISO (measured at ISO 94) the dynamic range is somewhat lower then we might expect at 11.8 EVs.
However, despite performance at low ISOs (higher than average shadow noise), the Canon EOS 7D Mk II performs at par with rivals at high-ISO, with an ISO score of 1082 in the low-light category.
Noise levels at low ISOs are hindering Canon sensor performance.
Canon EOS 7D Mk II vs Canon EOS 7D: Increased Performance Increase
The new Mark II shows some incremental improvements, with dual pixel COS AF and a slight increase in pixel count.
From a sensor performance standpoint, the four-digit lead over its predecessor is really only a minor advancement.
This is equivalent to about 1/3-stop improvement in color sensitivity, just 0.1 ER in DR (based on the base ISO) and about 1/3-stop improvement in low-light sensitivity.
Although there is no real improvement in the base ISO, the EOS 7D Mk II has improved the DR at higher ISOs.
Canon EOS 7D Mk II vs Nikon D300s vs Sony Alpha 77 II: Competitive Performance
Although rival Nikon has not yet updated the aging, but still praised the 12-mpix D300S, Sony is actively developing models in various fields.
Its 2011 SLT A77 has recently been upgraded with a Mark II version that introduces the newly developed 24-MPX sensor found in the A-6000, even without the on-chip PD-AF pixels .
Although the sensor sits behind a permanent half-silver (aka translucent) mirror, it is the best performance of the three models in relation to color sensitivity and dynamic range, although light loss from the mirror inevitably impacts low-light scores.
Although the five-year-old Nikon D300s sensor achieves the same performance as the new Canon, it takes into account the novel dual pixel AF system and 10fps continuous shooting as well as the pixel count of the latter model.
However, Canon has a slightly narrower dynamic range at lower ISOs, which is easily on a par with Sony from ISO 400, and is much broader than ISO 200 to Nikon.
On paper, the Canon EOS 7D Mk II looks a solid choice for sports and action photographers, but its sensor performance is the best in class, at least at low ISO. Relatively high noise, low discriminating color, and DR below average at base ISO all continue to hold Canon sensors against rivals, but not so at high sensitivity.
In fact, when the light level falls, the Canon EOS 7D Mk II performs competitively, even outpacing rivals. If Canon can only address performance on a base and low ISO, the EOS 7D Mk II would prefer the all-round as a whole, but the Sony A77 II seems a more compelling option in this category.