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800 of 816 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A seriously capable and enjoyable camera.
(I'm putting a quick update at the top, for those who don't get a chance to read all the way through. As of 03/03/2014 my 7D is still working perfectly, and only has slight cosmetic wear on the mode dial, where the rubberized coating is coming off. The camera is a bit over 4 years old at this point and I still love it.)

The Canon EOS 7D is Canon's semi-pro /...
Published on December 7, 2009 by Anthony Pantliano

versus
182 of 241 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great camera, poor quality control!
Although the camera deserves many stars (see the positive ratings here), I rated it as 1 star in order to draw attention of potential buyers to the quality control issues. I wanted something faster focusing than my Pentax K-x with better low light performance. After a lot of reading I decided on 7D with 70-200mm F4 IS lens (yes, F2.8 is faster but much less portable and...
Published on August 9, 2010 by BookWorm


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800 of 816 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A seriously capable and enjoyable camera., December 7, 2009
(I'm putting a quick update at the top, for those who don't get a chance to read all the way through. As of 03/03/2014 my 7D is still working perfectly, and only has slight cosmetic wear on the mode dial, where the rubberized coating is coming off. The camera is a bit over 4 years old at this point and I still love it.)

The Canon EOS 7D is Canon's semi-pro / enthusiast digital crop sensor SLR. It's a terrific SLR that shines in photo quality, control placement, speed, and viewfinder size and coverage.

First, let me tell you a little about myself so you can gauge what my expectations for the camera are. I'm strictly a hobbyist photographer and use my camera a couple of times a month at museums, outdoor parks, and vacations. Besides photos of my dog, my photography consists primarily of static subjects. This is my second SLR.

Enough of me, onto the camera. The 7D is a fairly bulky SLR and dwarfs "entry level" models such as the Olympus E-510 (see my photos), though it's no bigger than Nikon's D300s. With that said, it's not uncomfortably large and is easy enough to carry around all day. Build quality is terrific and the camera has a solid, luxury feel to it. The 7D fits very well into my average sized hands and, with the kit 28-135 lens, is nicely balanced. All the buttons are easy to reach and, if you've used a Canon camera before, easy to figure out. The magnesium body is sealed against moisture and dust. The shutter button is well placed and has a nicely defined halfway point. A control dial is on the back of the camera and behind the shutter button too. There is also a joystick-like toggle on the back of the camera as well.

A large (3") and high-resolution (920,000 pixel) screen is on the camera back with a secondary status LCD display on the top (with backlight). The screen is a pleasure to use when reviewing images for focus, and when manually focusing in magnified live view mode. Compared to the 3-inch 420,000-pixel screen on my Panasonic LX3 it's a definite upgrade, and makes a noticeable difference.

The viewfinder is huge and bright and has 100% coverage. Coming from the Olympus, which has a very cramped and tunnel-like viewfinder, it was a revelation, and was one of the reasons I decided to step up to the 7D. Also, by using a transmissive LCD on the viewfinder the only markings you see until you confirm focus are for the selected focus method (for instance, a single box when using one focus point, or brackets when using the auto select autofocus method). Moreover, a composition grid can be imposed on the viewfinder. The information display on the bottom of the viewfinder is large and bright and contains lots of shooting and camera information. (Update 05/27/2013: Since I've been trying to shoot manual focus more, I've noticed that the 7D will light up the focus boxes as you manually focus to let you know what part of the scene is currently in focus, at least it does when using Canon lenses. I can't comment on other lens brands since I only own Canon lenses. The 7D's huge viewfinder makes it easy to manually focus.)

The camera is very responsive and turns on almost instantly. The sensor cleaning occurs when you turn the camera on or off but can be interrupted during power up. Focus speeds with the kit lens are very speedy, even in dim light (two 40 watt lamps and a television as the only light sources in a 17' x 11' room). The 19-point all cross type autofocus is uncanny at picking the correct subject. If it doesn't get it right the first time it will the second. I usually set all my cameras to center point autofocus, but the 7D does a great job picking out the subject, so I leave it on fully automatic mode (unless I'm using the 50mm f/1.4 lens, since wide aperture lenses like that can focus shift with such a shallow depth of field). Live view focusing is not a quick, especially in low light, and I only use live view when I need to shoot at a weird angle and I can't shoot looking through the viewfinder. Live view can be used with a mirror flip or contrast detection. The contrast detection mode is fairly pokey, while the mirror flip mode is quicker, but introduces a brief break in the view. Continuous shooting is available in both a high and a low setting. High is 8 FPS, while the low speed is 3 FPS. The shutter sound is nicely subdued and not nearly as noisy as the Olympus' is.

Photo quality is terrific. There are various Picture Styles you can choose to alter the contrast, sharpness, color tone, and saturation of the photos. At any rate, 99% of the time, colors are natural, exposure is accurate, and dynamic range is great. At this level of camera, that's expected though. What I really love about the 7D is the high ISO noise, or lack thereof. The luxury of feeling confident while shooting at high ISO is priceless. I've taken a good number of shots as high as ISO 3200 and have no complaints. Of course there is a bit of noise, and the mushiness that noise reduction brings, but for an 18 MP image at ISO 3200, I have no complaints. The ISO speeds above 3200 are OK as well, but I'll reserve those for emergency use only, they get fairly processed looking. (Updating this section a bit: Since the 7D is over 3 years old at this point its high ISO shooting is not as good as it once was relative to the competition. I have a Canon G1 X and the Fuji X100 and they both do a bit better at ISO 1600 and higher. Having said that I doubt anyone would complain about the 7D's high ISO results, but you should be aware that sensor technology has gotten better since the 7D was introduced.) The relatively large APS-C sensor not only allows for low noise, but also allows me to produce nicely blurred backgrounds and great depth of field. I couldn't achieve the same degree of that effect with the smaller 4/3 sensor in the Olympus, and I certainly couldn't do it with my point and shoot cameras unless I was in macro mode. There is an Auto Lighting Optimizer feature that attempts to correct photos that are hard to correctly expose (e.g. big difference between shadows or highlights in a scene). It works well for the most part, but, depending on the subject, the differences are very subtle. There is also an image highlight tone priority option available in the menu system that limits the lowest ISO setting to 200 and helps preserve highlights a bit, but it too, is subtle. (Update 05/27/2013: Having recently decided to try shooting in RAW and editing my photos using Adobe Lightroom 4, I have noticed that it is worth the effort. If I thought the 7D's jpegs were good, the RAW files, post-processed, are even better. Using RAW I'm able to pull out details in the shadows and highlights, correct white balance, and remove purple fringing. Anyone who is hesitant to shoot RAW because it sounds intimidating, just go for it. You can always have the 7D shoot a RAW + jpeg together if you're cautious. Thankfully, even shooting that way the 7D is a fast camera.)

The HD movie mode is nicely done as well. You set your focus, either automatically or manually, before you start recording. You can refocus during recording but you'll definitely notice it. You can adjust shutter speed, aperture, and ISO in manual movie mode as well. There is a monaural microphone on the front of the camera, or you can plug in a stereo microphone. By pressing the shutter button, you can interrupt the movie briefly to take a still photo, similar to Canon's S series super zoom cameras.

The 28-135mm kit lens is nicely constructed and fairly sharp from corner to corner. Purple fringing is not much of a problem in my photos. The field of view is kind of narrow though. The lens starts at 44.8mm with the 7D's 1.6x field of view crop factor taken into account. Without a wide angle it's not an ideal all around lens, but I do feel it's worth the extra money for the kit with this lens. You end up getting a nice, ultrasonic motor, image stabilized, 4.8x lens for a minimal cost.

The only things I don't like about the camera so far are that in auto ISO you can't limit how high it goes (this has been remedied with firmware version 2.0.0 released in August 2012, see below for more details). The other thing I'm not fond of is the fact that when you're in playback mode the most you can zoom out is a 9-image grid. With such a large high-resolution screen I would appreciate an index grid playback mode that showed more photos. Lastly, I find the process for setting the custom white balance a bit long winded. You have to take a photo of a white reference object then go into the menus to choose that photo as the reference photo. On other cameras, even Canon's point and shoots, the process is much faster, and it doesn't save the reference photo to your memory card. It's not the worst system, and I have become very quick at it, but it could be better.

All in all... a phenomenal semi-pro SLR. The Canon 7D covers all the bases.

12/17/2009 Update: I found a nice case for the 7D which fits the camera with kit lens quite well. It doesn't fit much more than that, but it's a good case if you don't carry too many accessories with you. It's the Lowepro Topload Zoom case.Lowepro Topload Zoom 1 Camera Bag (Black)

12/19/2009 Update: You can change the depth of field preview button to switch to another autofocus mode when you hold it down, instead of doing a depth of field preview. I find this very useful since I hardly ever use depth of field preview. Now if I find that the autofocus is consistently not picking the right subject for a shot, I simply hold down the depth of field preview button to have it temporarily switch from auto select mode to spot focus mode. Very convenient.

01/04/2010 Update: Just got back from a trip to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The 7D was a joy to use. I took about 160 photographs. Of those only 4 or 5 are out of focus due to camera error. The low light performance continues to impress me. I took many photos at ISO 1600 through 3200 and all of the photos are completely usable. In the large "Sea Life" and "African Mammals" rooms I was able to take sharp pictures of these very dim rooms while shooting handheld at ISO 3200 and no flash (see pictures). Anyone who has visited these exhibits knows how challenging they can be to shoot.

10/20/2010 Update: I am still loving this camera. No problems to report. In fact, I was a little miffed when Canon introduced the 60D because it seemed like I could have saved some money by buying that, however, one of the students in my digital photography class bought one, and while it is a nice camera, the build quality and design are nowhere near the standards on the 7D. Still happy with my purchase.

04/05/2011 Update: Still no problems to report with the camera. I took it out after a recent snow storm when it was still flurrying and it survived just fine.

01/02/2012 Update: Still no problems to report with the 7D. I continue to recommend it.

06/13/2012 Update: The camera still works wonderfully. I've purchased the Canon 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens to replace the kit lens as I was looking for something sharper and a bit wider, and the 24-105 does indeed deliver. Build quality and sharpness are much higher than the kit lens. Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras

07/05/2012 Update: I picked up Canon's new pancake 40mm f/2.8 lens and it makes a great addition to the 24-105 lens. It's small, sharp, and quick to focus. It really does make a huge difference in the 7D's weigh and size and makes carrying the camera on a long hike easy. Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens

08/15/2012 Update: I just installed Canon's firmware update version 2.0.0. The update improves many things; maximum RAW burst of 25 images, in camera RAW editing, JPEG resizing, image rating, maximum auto ISO setting, audio level adjustment in movies, GPS compatibility, file name customization, faster scrolling of zoomed images, and quick control screen during playback. The firmware was easy to install and download and took only a few minutes.

08/20/2012 Update: I just picked up Canon's 50mm f/1.4 lens for low light shooting, and it is indeed a great low light friend. The angle of view is a bit tight, but it produces sharp photos with shallow depth of field and nicely blurred backgrounds, especially at f/2.0 and wider. Also, the camera is still working like new and I have no mechanical problems to report. However, a bit of the rubberized coating is coming off of the mode dial. It's very subtle though, and completely cosmetic. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

10/25/2012 Update: I got Canon's 60mm EF-S macro lens and it's a great macro lens. Sharp, small, and quick to focus. I recently took the 7D and my 4 lenses with me to Walt Disney World, took over 1000 photos, and the camera and all the lenses performed great! Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

04/25/2013 Update: I've also purchased Canon's 28mm f/2.8 IS USM lens and it's a nice compact option that gives the camera a normal view (45º) and has the benefit of an image stabilizer. It makes a great all around / museum lens. It's very sharp and quick to focus. Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM Wide Angle Lens

05/28/2013 Update: I purchased Canon's 70-300 IS USM lens and it makes a decent telephoto option at a great price. It's not as sharp as Canon's L series telephoto lenses, but it's a great option for those who don't do frequent telephoto work. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras

P.S.: Sorry for the long review. There is a lot to cover, and even so I may not have gotten everything. If you'd like to know something I didn't cover, feel free to leave a comment and I'll answer it as quickly as I can. Also, I will update this review as needed based on any new experiences I have with the 7D.
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1,288 of 1,332 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does the 7D beat full frame cameras?, October 13, 2009
This review is from: Canon EOS 7D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Camera)
No, but it's so good that one starts to contemplate this question, which was never the case before the 7D was introduced. Both systems, crop and full frame, have their pros and cons and place in photography. But before I get into that let me say I have not been as excited about a camera since the introduction of the 5D MK I four years ago. That's because the 7D raises the crop camera bar to the point where crop users will not feel at a disadvantage to full frame camera users, especially if coupled with awesome ef-s lenses such as the 17-55 f2.8.

How so? The 7D sets a new standard in four major ways.

1. It produces whopping 18MP pictures, which are just 3MP shy of the current top of the line full frame Canon cameras. Just few years ago most pros were producing stellar results using the 1Ds MKII 16MP camera. Now you have more MPs in a crop sensor, that's a major achievement. This achievement translates into bigger prints and, perhaps more importantly, cropping power. Out shooting wildlife with a 300mm instead of 400mm? You can crop the 7D files down to 50% of their original file size and still obtain sharp pictures. It's just not that easy with the 1D MK III 10MP files.

2. Many worried that extra MPs in small crop sensors would translate into nosier pictures, but the amazing thing is that this camera produces images with what seems to be less noise than the 1Ds MKII. The noise level is very good. At ISO 1600 I still prefer pictures coming from my 5D MKII, but below ISO1600 they are very close. Frankly, I can go with either camera because most of my professionally shot portraits and product pictures are shot at ISO100. At ISO100 both produce very clean files and are practically indistinguishable.

3. Focus is the one area that was lacking on the previous 1.6 crop Canon cameras and this camera changes that. It's not a 1D in focus speed and accuracy, but it's the next best thing compared to them. It's faster than the Canon 5D MKII, which is known to be slightly faster or around the focus performance range of the 50D and 40D.

4. The drive chain is fast, so fast it's beyond anything I needed in my professional work in portrait, commercial, and product photography. Going through pictures taken at 8fps produces very little difference from frame to frame. One probably has to shoot a very fast moving subject/object to see the advantage of such fast drive system.

There are obviously many other things that I have not covered in this review. But based on the above, all I can say is that this camera has really raised the bar for all cameras and made it much more affordable to obtain a professional level camera for all types of photography. If you were considering buying the 5D MKII as an upgrade give this camera a test because it might be all you need.

As for the advantages of crop cameras I always find it odd that casual users who shoot many things but focus on landscape think they need a full frame to realize their potential. Crop cameras such as the 7D and 50D are fine for most users and offer many advantages including:

1. greater depth of field at lower aperture for landscape photography

2. greater tilt and shift effect because of sensor size relative to effect (8mm in shift is greater in effect relative to a 22mm sensor compared to a 35mm sensor)

3. greater magnification with micro lenses and extension tubes because of smaller sensor (1:1 in full frame equals 35mm, 1:1 in crop equals 22mm)

4. smaller lighter lenses with wider aperture that achieve greater reach (such as the 17-55 2.8 vs the 24-70 2.8 similar reach but much lighter and smaller)

Traditionally the three areas full frame cameras outshine crop cameras are a bigger brighter viewfinder, shallower depth of field for portrait photography, and better ISO performance, which on the last point the 7D has proven not be an issue anymore.
And for the second point really, most beautiful low depth of field portraits are done around f2.8-2.0 in full frame (going wider will make depth of field too narrow to place two eyes in focus). Hence, if one is using a wide prime, a crop sensor will produce the same depth of field at 2.0-1.4. Considering an affordable 50mm f1.4 lens on crop has the same field of view as 85mm lens on full frame there is really no reason to discount a crop camera any more as the 7D levels the playing field.
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555 of 584 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Canon EOS 7D, October 14, 2009
By 
Richard (Alhambra, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Canon EOS 7D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Camera)
Well after much deliberation between this and a 5d Mark II i decided to opt for the 7D and spend the extra I save on some nice wide angle lenses. First of all for anyone who is expecting a 1.6 crop camera's image quality to be better than the 5d mark ii you can forget it. The 5D mark ii is a full frame sensor camera and the 7D is a crop, different cameras for different purposes. I know three people who own a 5d mark II, wedding photographer, cinematographer and a landscape photographer. As you can tell, they all need wide angle and good low light performance. The 5D Mark II/other full frame cameras are targeted towards users with wide angle needs. So if you find yourself in a crowded room with little light during a wedding the EOS 7D may not be for you, less you put on a 10-22mm EFS lens which is the widest Canon Zoom Lens for a APS-C camera. (Or 8-15 F4L Fisheye).

Image Quality from this camera is amazing, I'll put up some pictures once it stops raining where I live. Detail is very good, and the 28-135 lens accommodates this cameras ability very nicely, however, starting off at 28mm will probably be too long for most people in everyday situations such as those for street photographers. Picking up a 17-55 2.8 lens will probably be highly recommended by many.

Build Quality is superb. This "tank" of a camera is no light weight and one of the first things you notice when you pick up the camera is the hefty feel you get. Very ergonomic grip and a robust feel all around. Don't expect to have it hanging around your next too long though. Weather seals are improved and you can notice that the area above the viewfinder is much larger thanks to a 100% coverage pentaprism.

Autofocusing, now I've read some issues about the 7D's new focusing system such as softness from auto zone focusing and I am also getting some mixed results with that as well, some images ranging from very soft to some being as sharp as single AF select. I will update later as I take it out for more situations. However, with that being said, the camera's autofocusing with the 28-135mm lens is very quiet, very fast and accurate for the most part especially with using the cameras single AF select mode.

Battery Life: still on the first charge off the box, taken about 500 test shots and a few seconds of 720p recording, battery life is about halfway.

ISO performance. Now here is where many have a bone to pick. I am not afraid to use high ISO as my prints rarely go beyond 11x14. More than often I found myself using nothing higher than ISO 1600 on my girlfriend's 500D/T1i. With the 7D I feel very comfortable using 3200 with about ISO 4000 being my cut off point, that's where the trade offs between detail and noise will become apparent and start to bother me.

Overall this camera is a very impressive and I'd give it a rating of about 90/100. It has alot to offer being a HD video DSLR. It'll provide many rebel users enough room to learn and grow. However, I cant stress enough that if you find yourself needing wide angle capabilities and low light performance, saving up for a full frame, it will definitely be worth the wait in the long run. In fact a few 5D Mark I cameras are available for cheaper than the 7D. Without a doubt this is one of the top crop cameras of the market right now. You won't regret buying this camera.

*Update* First of all, I've been using the wireless flash with a 430ex II for some portrait photography, it works fine and comes in very handy. Secondly, I've finally had a chance to customize all the settings of my camera, READ THE MANUAL! It's about 250 pages but you'll need to in order to make the most of your camera. Most of it is the usual, but because this camera offers so many different options, reading the latter pages is a must.
Firmware release 1.0.9 is out so dont forget to update if you still have 1.0.7.
For those of you still wondering if the 7D is worth the upgrade or worth buying over a full frame, keep in mind that Canon just release rebates for some EF and EF-S lenses including the 10-22 and 17-55 2.8; as well as some very popular L lenses. So for those of you debating between a 7D and Mark II, getting a kit and using the money saved for a wide angle will pretty much cover all the focal lengths you will really need.
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422 of 444 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should I Buy This Camera?, October 15, 2009
By 
Gatorowl (Florida, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Canon EOS 7D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Camera)
I think this question is one that most of us ask ourselves when considering a purchase of this magnitude. The question is not an easy one, and I'm not sure I made the correct decision in purchasing this marvelous piece of technology. Let me put it in perspective; I am a prosumer camera user. I love photography and take a variety of photographs including family pictures, sports photography (see photos at smugmug for gatorowl), and casual street photography. I have owned lots of cameras including film, digital P&S and DSLRs. The 7D is my sixth DSLR (including a DReb XSI that I sold after two weeks). Before the 7D, my main camera was a 40D, which I found to be satisfactory especially the image quality (IQ). The negatives of the 40D are lack of weather sealing, 6.5 frames per second (fps) repeat rate, 1600 ISO max (can be pushed higher) and some focusing issues especially in sports photography. Of course, when comparing with the the DReb series, these "negatives" immediately become positives. The 40D has better construction, much faster repeat rate, and much better focussing (the T1i has, arguably better high ISO capabilities). The 40D compares well with the Nikon D90. Both cameras are very close. The D90 has video, better high ISO performance, and is a little more compact. However, it is a little slower in repeat rate, and I found selecting D90 focus points a bit on the clumsy side. Anyway, because of lens choices, I decided to go Canon. The 50D held no allure mainly because it was an incremental improvement. So, I thought my kit was set for at least a couple of years.

Notice that in the above discussion, I never talk about IQ. Of all the 10MP or better DSLRs that I have used, there is no noticeable difference in IQ. However, after the 7D announcement and some of the preliminary reviews, I was convinced that the 7D was a quantum improvement over the 40D in every respect. I panicked, sold my 40D and bought a 7D.

So, what did I find? The 7D is a great camera and is a clear improvement over the 40D. In some respects, it is substantially better than a 40D, but IQ isn't one of those major improvements. If you look at your files at 100%-300%, you will see more detail in a 7D shot. I have a standard photo that I take in my office when I get a new lens. I had to blow the photos up to 300% before I could detect differences. There was more texture detail in the 7D and the contrast and saturation were better. However, to be honest, it's not clear how much of this difference is attributable to the camera or the lenses (I shot the 40D with a Sigma 70-300mm and the 7D with a Canon 70-300mm IS lens). Frankly, I'm not surprised. DSLRs are so good right now, differences in IQ at low ISO are marginal. However, I do feel confident that I can shoot at 1600 ISO or 2000 ISO with the 7D without a substantial reduction in quality. While I can control noise at 3200 ISO, color saturation and contrast decline more than I like. With the 40D 800 ISO was as far as I wanted to go, but I would push it to 1000 when desperate. The 7D provides is a major ISO gain.

I really love the 7D focus system. I don't know if it is as good as the Canon 1D series, but it is so, so much better than the 40D. By focusing on the exact point in a field, I feel like my creative options are substantially expanded. I was frequently frustrated by having the wrong part of my picture in focus. This need never happen with the 7D.

The 8fps repeat rate is a nice bonus. It just raises the probability that the exact frame you want will be captured.

So, the question is should you upgrade? You have to decide whether you can afford it; so my advice assume that you can afford the camera, but are looking for the camera that best matches how you shoot.

If this is your first SLR (film or digital):

I'd recommend starting with a Canon T1i or Nikon 90D. The 7D is an extremely complex camera that will take many hours to learn and dozen of hours shooting to master. Unless you have the time to invest in such a camera it will just be a source of frustration. Unlike almost every other camera I've owned, the user will obtain disappointing or bad results unless s/he truly understands this equipment. By contrast, you can take other DSLRs and just start shooting. Unlike the other cameras, the 7D has no scene modes. With other DSLRs you can take your time and gradually learn the more sophisticated capabilities. Most importantly, the quality of your pictures will be just as good.

If you are moving up from an entry level DSLR:

You need to ask yourself why you are moving up? If you are dissatisfied with the IQ, then the 7D is not your answer. Using the 7D, it will take a lot more work (initially) to become proficient. However, if you need a faster framerate, better high ISO performance (although the T1i and D90 are very good for high ISO), long for a better focussing system, or shoot in the rain or the beach, then the 7D might make sense.

If you are moving up from a mid-level XXD or Nikon D300:

As before, you're getting very little IQ improvement (wildlife photographers claim they can use the extra cropping capability, but I'm not convinced it's substantial). Buy the 7D because the features provide you with value. Also, I would seriously discourage anyone from switching from a Nikon D300 to a 7D. There has to be an absolute must-have 7D feature for you to make that leap.

As for me, I don't regret this purchase. I'll never say never, but I'm hoping that the 7D will be my last crop-sensor camera. I love the flexibility and expansion of creative options that the new features allow me. It's a wonderful camera. I'm looking forward to spending many hours becoming intimately acquainted with its capabilities.

UPDATE: December 2010:

I guess one should never say, "never" since I've purchased (and sold) two crop-sensor cameras. Since writing this review, the major camera companies have released several cameras in the crop-sensor arena, so I thought that I'd update my review. In terms of best all-around crop-sensor camera, nothing released since the 7D beats Canon's offering. However, the more recent releases are in some cases marginally better than the 7D on certain dimensions.

I'll start with the T2i. It's a great little camera, which is virtually a twin to the T1i but with some updates. Whether these updates are significant depends on how you shoot. The two biggest improvements that the T2i has is its video and jPeg quality. The T2i has the 7D's 18MP sensor, so raw image quality should be virtually identical. However, the low-noise, high-ISO jpeg samples I've seen have been truly amazing. Canon has definitely improved the jPeg engine with this camera. Therefore, if you are on a budget and don't want to bother with raw, the T2i or its bigger sister, the 60D, are attractive choices. The T2i's video is comparable, if not better than the 7D's, so if you want video that is a nice improvement over the T1i, then the T2i is a good choice. The one major T2i flaw is the AF system. It is the same AF system as previous Rebel generations and is clearly inferior to the 7D. The lack of AF flexibility and accuracy on the T1i drove me crazy, so I sold my copy. There were too many missed shots, and I found that it just didn't work well as a backup. I fear that the T2i shares this flaw.

Which brings me to the 60D. Canon has positioned this camera as a replacement for the the 50D, but others have labeled it an upgrade for the Rebel series. I think that both views are correct. Compared to the 50D, the camera has a slightly slower continuous shooting rate, less metal construction, and no micro-lens AF adjustment, but it has video capabilities, a swivel LCD (great for video but also for taking still shots at odd angles). Compared to the T2i, it is bigger (similar in size to the 50D), has a more solid feel to it, much better AF (similar to the 50D but not as good as the 7d), and much faster continuous shooting. Personally, if I hadn't already purchased the 7D, I would be a 60D customer. It's IQ is similar to the 7D (jpeg, almost certainly better), and the AF is adequate for my needs.

This brings up the Nikon D7000, which is currently the rave. It is a D90 replacement and adds some nice improvements including weather sealing, much improved AF, 100 ISO (the D90 started at 200), micro-lens AF adjustment, enhanced video, improved IQ, and greater resolution (16MP). The IQ improvements is the feature that gets the most press. the D7000 most likely offers the best crop-sensor IQ available 2010-11. However, for most purposes, most of us won't notice the difference between pictures taken with comparable quality lenses from any of these camera. Where the D7000 shines is in the quality of noise in shadow and dark areas and in low-light shooting. The D7000 provides a greater capacity to "push" the shadows giving greater dynamic range to those who work in raw. And ISO 3200 shots retain noticeably more color and dynamic range with less noise than the Canons. While it's noticeable, the difference may require near pixel-peeper scrutiny to see. While these features are significantly improved, they are still not at the same level as the better full-frame cameras, but it is at a level that makes low-light shooting and dynamic range less of a reason to consider full frame.

Thus, for anyone with a significant investment in Canon lenses, there is no reason to switch. The 7D is still the best available crop sensor camera for Canon shooters, but the 60D is more than adequate for anyone who doesn't absolutely need the 7D's pro-level features. The T2i is great for anyone on a budget, but if you can stretch a bit, I'd recommend the 60D. You will be able to grow with it and will find little in it to frustrate you. It is a great all-around camera with very few compromises. E.g., I am yet to micro adjust my 7D for any of my lenses. I'm either very lucky or not that picky.

For someone starting out, the decision is harder. the D7000 is a fantastic update for anyone shooting Nikon's entry-level cameras, but it is not a must-do update for D90 users. The D90 is a great camera that still meets my needs and the D7000 improvements are nice but not essential unless one is shooting at a pro or semi-pro level. For a new user, the $1199 price is awfully high for a first camera, especially when there are so many good lower-priced alternatives (look elsewhere for reviews of NIkon's entry level offerings). If someone is an enthusiast and is trying to decide between the D7000 and the 7D, I think that the cameras are sufficiently close that the decision should be made based on lenses that you want to use. All in all, this is a great time to purchase a crop-sensor camera.
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61 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 7D / 18-135 package is worth considering, August 21, 2010
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I thought I would write this so people can make up their minds about the lens choice. The 28-135 USM lens which comes with the other kit is probably a better lens BUT the EF-S 18-135 is more versatile. The 18-135 is WAY wider and just as long. The lens makes a little more noise and the manual focus ring does rotate while auto-focusing. That said, the image quality is far better than I thought it would be. I wasn't planning to use the kit lens much. I have other lenses to use with my 7D, I have found myself using the 18-135 more than I thought. The image quality is surprisingly great! The focusing ring rotating while auto-focusing has been a non-issue. It has not even been a concern. The 18-135 has better image quality than the 18-200. I think it's one of Canon's best all=around lenses now that I have used it for a few weeks. I am glad I chose this kit over the 28-135 because of the ability to go wide if you need it.

Enough about the great lens. The 7D has been great! Read the reviews on DP Review or TheDigitalPicture for the specifics. I cannot say enough good about the 7D. I came from a T1i and there is NO COMPARISON between the Rebel series and the 7D. It's not even close. The T2i (at the time of this review) is a good alternative to the 7D if you don't have the extra $$ but the 7D is FAR better in so many ways. The feel in your hand, the focusing system, high speed continuous shooting, the ability to customize the buttons on the body to do whatever you want, the electronic level, (use it all the time in VF AND LCD) all of the custom functions, wireless flash control built in, metering system, transmissive LCD viewfinder that looks amazing!..you cannot really compare the 7D to anything except the 5D MkII. The 7D is a better camera than the 5D. The ONLY thing the 5D has is full-frame and I LIKE the crop factor of the 7D. All lenses get in closer and if you want a wider angle, get a wide angle lens like the EF-S 10-22. The APS-C format is here to stay. I got the best EF-S lens (17-55 IS USM) and it's the best lens I can imagine. Canon is showing us the APS-C is going to be around for a long time.

The owner's manual is great (like all Canon DSLRs) and the battery life has been spectacular! There is a built in gauge that tells you how many shots you have on the current battery and the quality of the battery. I got an Opteka battery as a spare for less than half the price of the Canon and it has worked fine and charges fine with the included charger.

The built in wireless speedlite controller in the 7D is a big plus also. There is no need to get one accessory. It will control off camera flashes.

The Canon 7D is a better camera than the T5i (Rebel series)or the 5D IMO. The price is reasonable for what you are getting....A camera you could keep for a long time.

One thing to note: when you first get the camera...put the lens on and before you put a battery in....look through the viewfinder. You will be shocked, it needs power from the battery to work. Without power, the VF looks dark and cloudy. It has an LCD so you can overlay grid lines, focusing aids, and the electronic level inside. I didn't know this when I looked at the 7D at my local camera shop. I almost didn't buy one because I thought the VF was terrible. It turns out it's because there was no battery installed at the time!

This "review" is not very well done and a little random, but I really wanted to let everybody know that this kit with the 18-135 is nothing short of great! I would highly recommend it to anyone. If you are a pro, this lens is not good enough for you, but it's good enough for most, and WELL worth having around even if you are a pro or aspiring pro. It's SO versatile. LOVE IT.

The 7D is one of the best cameras in the world for any price at the time of this review. It's a little expensive for some, but worth it. Get one and find out.

Update: 11/17/10 - I ended up getting the EF-S 17-55 F/2.8 IS USM lens and it's the best thing since sliced bread. It stays on the 7D almost all the time. I also got an EF 24-104 F/4L and it's amazing. I sold the 18-135 that came with th e camera. I would have sold the 28-135 as well. I would still recommend the 18-135 that comes with this kit....but I would recommend MORE that you simply buy the body only and get a 17-55 F/2.8 IS USM with it. You might as well start off with the best lens ever made for this camera.

The 7D: I cannot imagine a better camera for any price. It does everything SO well. landscapes, kids, pets, sports, action, still life, low light, any thing you want to photograph the 7D will let you do WELL. The ISO range and performance has been more than satisfactory. The 7D has not disappointed in any way. It has exceeded my expectations. I am about to do another video on YT under the same user name. I have some videos up there already on the 7D. I will be doing a 90 day review on what I think of the camera. I would highly recommend it still.....even with the upcoming release of the 5DmkIII in a few months. Get a 7D and get this lens or the body and the 17-55 2.8 and you will be very happy.

Update: 2/11/11 - I continue to use this 7D. I use the 24-105 F/4L, 17-55 F/2.8, and 100mm macro mostly. The camera is good for any type of shooting. It has great image quality. I have now used it in snow storms, rain, wind, dust, etc. I have had no problems with it. I still plan to use this camera for quite some time. I see no reason to move to anything else. The 7D continues to be one of the best out there. The built in flash control has come in handy, but I got a $40 Cactus trigger (no you cannot buy them here) They work great. I can use the 430EXii anywhere, and off camera. The built in flash has limitations. It does not work outside sometimes if it's too bright or there is too much distance. As I said before, buy body only and get a really good lens. This camera is equipped with a very nice sensor. You need a good lens to take advantage of the resolution. Get a good "L" lens or the 17-55 Canon F/2.8 IS. You will not be disappointed. I am curious to see what they do to replace this camera. It will be quite a day when they top the 7D.

Update 4-17-11 - I am coming up on a year since I got this combo. Now since the terrible earthquake in Japan the prices are up. I have not seen any issues with the 7D yet. I am still impressed with it. I use it almost every day. I carry it with me in an "Ape Case" bag along with my 17-55 F/2.8, 24-105 F/4L, 50mm and 100mm lenses. I love this thing and would still recommend buying it. The replacement will not be out for over a year if even then. Get the 7D. It's still a good buy. The Nikon D7000 is a good alternative now however. Not as good as the 7D in my opinion but newer sensor tech. I would get the 7D body only and use the lenses you already have. If you are getting a 7D as your 1st DSLR it's too much camera for you. Learn on a T1i, T2i, T3i then move up in a few months if you are still learning. Get a 50mm if you don't have any lenses. If you have the money get a 17-55, 24-70 or 24-105L lens. The lens this combo comes with does not match the 7D quality. It will do but the 7D deserves a better lens.

Update 9-17-11 - For those of you still reading, I am still using the 7D hard. It has about 15,000-20,000 clicks on the shutter. It still looks and feels new! Every time I use the 7D is like the first time. Nothing is loose, broken, or even worn. The 7D is the type of camera I wish would last the rest of my life. The number of options you have with this camera in the menus, with it's dual processors, speed, ease of use, etc...still make me happy. As you may know already, I sold the kit lens (18-135) I use a 100mm 2.8 macro, 50mm 1.8, 17-55, 24-105 mostly. I have others as well. The 7D is STILL one of the best cameras money can buy for stills AND video. I am very pleased with the image quality, build quality, look, feel, and ease of use. I expect to get 50,000 to 100.000 shots with it. Maybe more. I will use the 7D until I can get better results with something else.

Update 6-12-12 - I continue to use and enjoy the 7D. I have gone through many lenses. The 24-105 and 17-55 and 100mm macro are my favorites. For the first time since film cameras, I don't even feel the need to upgrade. The 7D continues to do a great job with any situation. Portraits, still life, action, sports, family events, anything I care to shoot.....the 7D does a great job. I have found that anything under 1600 ISO needs no noise reduction. 3200 and 6400 needs some NR. A new or used 7D would be a good choice. It's a very capable camera here in 2012. Just an update for those interested. I have had a great experience with the 7D.

Update 4-15-13 - I am still using the 7D body and plan to keep using it for another year or two. I just can't find any other reason to upgrade. The overall image quality and my ability to capture shots with the 7D to be very good. There are many options in 2013. With the price of the 7D body down a bit.....I would still buy one today. I would get the body only, then find a good lens to fit your style of photography. Pick up a 50mm F/1.8 or 1.4 with the body while deciding what lens (or lenses) you want. The 17-55 is great. The 24-105 is great also. If you want a cheaper option then you might consider the 18-135 with the body. I just wanted to do one last update with a camera now about 4 years old......it's still great. Most cameras would be obsolete now but the 7D is an exception. It was so good when it first came out.....it's still worth buying today. I am still loving it. The 7D has never let me down. Now with firmware version 2.0.3 it has even more features. Amazing camera. I am very happy.

Update 8-19-13 - The 2.0.3 Firmware really improves the performance of this camera. You can re-size JPGs, edit RAW images and convert to JPG in camera. Those are just some of the new features. The buffer now holds many more files, both JPG and RAW while shooting at 8FPS. GPS capability has been added. The sensor has been surpassed by new cameras BUT the 7D still has excellent image quality for anything from action, sports, portraits, macro. With this new update I feel like I got a new camera. If you have a 7D update it. If you are thinking of buying one.....it's still a great camera body. A bit over priced now.....but worth it. Canon might be able to do even more with firmware updates in the future with the 7Ds dual processors and excellent quality.
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105 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost perfect advanced DSLR for Action Photography, May 28, 2010
By 
Enche Tjin (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews
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Canon 7D is an advanced Canon EOS DSLR camera designed primarily for sports and action photography. EOS 7D is a step up (not replacement) of Canon 40D and 50D. It has similar body like 40D/50D but the buttons and switches has been repositioned for better accessibility.

There are plenty of improvements from 40D/50D line, such as improved image resolution (18 mp), better noise handling and latitude, full HD video recording, 8 fps continuous shooting and improved weather sealing.

Canon 7D weights 900 g or just 90 g heavier than 50D, and has exact dimension 148 x 111 x 74 mm (5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in) as 50D. It is make from magnesium alloy body which is lightweight and durable. Unlike entry level cameras, 7D is weather resistant.

Canon 7D has two main dials (one thumb dial and one round dial), an 8 ways joystick and plenty of dedicated buttons and switches. It has dedicated live view button for still or video recording. It also has Q menu, which enable you to see and change popular setting such as exposure compensation, image quality, etc.

7D also has camera mode dials which include full auto, creative auto (CA), P, Tv, Av, M, Bulb and three custom setting. There are no scene modes which are popular in entry level DSLR and compact cameras.

I find finding and changing setting in 7D is easy and fast. Maybe this is due because I used Canon 40D for about two years. If you are new to Canon advanced DSLR, it might take a while to get use to, but it will not be hard.

IMAGE QUALITY

Many cynics complain about Canon decision to increase its image resolution. Most photographers afraid that noise will be awful in images taken in high ISO setting. However, I found that this is not the case. Image quality and noise are excellent up to ISO 3200. ISO 6400 is very acceptable especially after you remove the color noise in software like Adobe Lightroom 3.

18 megapixel is great, however it has a couple consequences. First, the filesize is huge event in JPG. Average file size is around 10-15 megapixel (L quality). Second, it requires an excellent lens to take advantage of the resolution or to make it tack sharp.

18-135mm LENS

Unlike Canon full frame or APS sensor cameras, Canon 7D is compatible with any Canon EOS lens, including EF-S and EF lenses. In this review, I used Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS. This lens is quite good for walk around lens due to its focal length (equivalent to 28-216mm).

It is wide enough for to capture building, and long enough for candids). Image stabilization feature is helpful up to 3-4 stops. The lens does not have USM / Ultrasonic motor, so it produces a bit of noise when focusing. However, focusing speed is very good either for still or moving subjects.

Bokeh / out of focus rendition is soft and pleasing. It is much pleasing than regular 18-55mm VR kit lens. However, it depth of field is still quite large because of the sensor size and big maximum aperture.

To get a very sharp image and get full advantage of Canon 7D 18 mp sensor, better lenses are recommended, such as Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras or Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM UD Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras. Canon L series lenses are also recommended.

AUTO FOCUS PERFORMANCE

Canon has improved its auto focus system from 9 points (40D/50D line) to 19 points system. With the additional all cross type AF points, auto focus is fast and accurate. New to AF system is Zone system.

Zone AF is Automatic AF point selection, but restricted to a small cluster of AF points in the viewfinder. By grouping several AF points in a cluster, it become easier and more accurate in tracking fast and unpredictable moving subjects such as sport photography. In short, AF system are much better than Canon previous DSLR cameras.

To learn more about this auto focus sytem, Canon has provide a tutorial videos and descriptions.

There are plenty to like about Canon 7D

+ Many dedicated buttons, easy and fast to change settings
+ New AF system works very well, simple and customizable
+ Noise is very well controlled up to ISO 3200, 6400 is acceptable
+ Big and bright viewfinder with 100% coverage
+ Excellent 8 fps continuous shooting
+ Sound of the shutter click is soft, and low. (not "ka-ching")
+ Auto ISO works a lot more accurate than in 40D
+ New Quick Menu make reviewing or changing setting easier
+ 5 stops exposure compensation

On the other hand, these are what I don't like about 7D

- No Auto ISO limiter like in Nikon cameras or Canon EOS Rebel T2i 18 MP CMOS APS-C Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only)
- Auto ISO is limited only to ISO 3200
- Relatively big and heavy
- No dedicated button for exposure compensation (you need to go to Q menu to change it)
- Auto focus in live view is a joke, it takes up to 3 seconds to lock focus

COMPETITORS

Nikon D300s 12MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)
Nikon D300s is an arch rival of Canon 7D and the only one at this moment. It fell short in some areas such as image resolution (18 mp vs 12 mp), and video recording (full HD vs 720p). However, D300s has some unique feature such as 51 AF points and dual card slots (Compact and SD card).

CONCLUSION

I highly regard Canon EOS 7D as the almost perfect advanced camera today and it is quite hard to imagine what could still be improved in this camera. It has several downside such as Auto ISO is limited to 3200, and AF in live view is still very sluggish. Sports and action photographers will love this camera.

Subjective Rating - Relative to advanced DSLR cameras of 2010

Image Quality : 5/5
Features : 5/5
Performance : 5/5
Body and Handling : 4/5
Value for Money : 4/5

For image samples and ISO comparison, or other reviews, please visit my blog. You can find my blog address from my profile page. Thanks for reading.
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Canon APS-C DSLR Yet, October 28, 2009
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This review is from: Canon EOS 7D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Camera)
By any measure, the new Canon EOS 7D is a worthy successor to the EOS line of APS-C sensor DSLRs. I believe it finally levels the playing field for many Canon shooters envious of Nikon DXXX shooters.

I am an advanced amateur photographer who has owned the 20D for the last 5 years and will use it as a backup body now. With each Canon announcement of a successor to the XXD line of DSLRs, I was tempted to upgrade but resisted each time up until now. This was partly due to budgetary constraints, but I felt mostly that each new model was only an evolutionary modification rather than a revolutionary one. If there's one thing to keep in mind in this fast-moving world of DSLR photography, then it is that DSLR bodies come and go (and depreciate quickly in value, like most electronic goods) but excellent glass will nearly always be sound investments (high-quality lenses maintained in good condition may appreciate in value).

The 7D appears to be a game-changer for many Canon photo enthusiasts like myself who prefer or can only afford to shoot with an APS-C sensor body. Nikon shooters have had an excellent choice of a crop sensor body in the D100/D200/D300 (now D300s), but for Canon shooters, the top-of-the-line equivalent was trailing in the feature set department. Now most of the features that were absent in the Canon XXD body as compared with their main rival are present in the 7D.

Notable features:
- 18 MP APS-C CMOS sensor
- Dual DIGIC 4 processors (a first for a prosumer Canon DSLR)
- Maximum 8 fps frame rate
- Maximum ISO 12,800
- VF with 100% coverage and 1.0x magnification (a first for a Canon DSLR)
- 19-pt AF (all cross-type with f/5.6 or faster lenses)
- 63-zone metering system (measures focus, color, and luminance)
- On-demand grid lines in VF (a first for any Canon DSLR)
- Built-in electronic leveler in 2 planes (a first for any Canon DSLR)
- Built-in wireless flash trigger (a first for any Canon DSLR)
- HD video in 1080p (30/25/24 fps) and 720p (60/50 fps)

I have had the camera for over a week now. My initial impressions are mostly positive thus far. Additional thoughts in the form of updates will be forthcoming once I get an opportunity to capture more images under various conditions (indoors/low light, outdoors, action, etc.) and get my act together to type it up. So far, I believe that the IQ, VF, LCD monitor, and handling are all vast improvements over the 20D. Taking photos at high ISOs and achieving low noise captures is all the rage these days. I feel that random photos I've taken at ISO settings up to 1600 are completely usuable. In the past, I felt comfortable shooting with my 20D mostly south of ISO 400/800. I shall pixel peep some more and shoot at even higher ISOs to see where the happy medium for me shooting with the 7D lies. Tolerance for noise, I feel, is very subjective.

Limitations:
There is a steep learning curve with this camera. The 7D is packed with new features that I have yet to maximize to my advantage. Coming from a 20D rather than a more recent line of XXD body makes things even more challenging. A careful read of the user's manual is critical.

If ultimately low noise captures at high ISOs is most important to you, then a FF sensor body is the way to go rather than an APS-C sensor body. A larger pixel pitch that captures more light (at the expense of lower resolution) will help maintain low noise levels at very high ISOs. This is a key reason why the small-body FFs, such as the Nikon D700, Canon 5D/5DMkII, and Sony A900/A850, are so revered. Any of those cameras will likely outperform the 7D at high ISOs in terms of low noise captures. Moreover, they provide less DoF than APS-Cs at equivalent fields of view. However, the obvious downsides are their cost and need for big, heavy, and expensive glass.

The 7D should not be viewed as an HD camcorder replacement. Although useful to have and with slightly more shooting options as compared with the version currently offered in the 5DMkII, video capture in the 7D still suffers from lack of continuous AF. Unfortunately, the jello phenomenon (from rolling shutter) and monoaural sound (external stereo mic input is available, though) make for a less than harmonious package.

*** Please be aware that some information about potential problems with the initial batch of 7D bodies has surfaced on photography forums and elsewhere (including here on Amazon). They include difficulties with the new AF system (particularly in AI servo mode, though some users have had trouble in any AF mode) resulting in OOF photos, as well as ghosting (residual preceding images captured in subsequent images) under certain shooting conditions. Canon is aware of the latter and will issue a firmware update in the near future. Meanwhile, a firmware update (1.0.9) has already been issued that fixes problems with suboptimal AF in Live View, among other bugs. Of note, my copy has no troubles with AF that I have encountered at this point. ***

Overall Impression:
The Canon EOS 7D is probably the best overall Canon APS-C sensor DSLR currently available. As far as feature set, it fares extremely well with its slightly more expensive main rival, the Nikon D300s. In its favor, the D300s has a larger, 51-pt AF system and dual CF/SD card slots. A scientific shoot-out from a reputable photography website or magazine is sorely needed to help resolve the issue of which has better IQ at high ISOs. I believe the current lack of Adobe software support for 7D RAW images is the rate-limiting step.

With my limited use of the 7D thus far, I have found the camera to be a sheer pleasure to shoot with. It is a worthy upgrade for 10D/20D users, and probably for 30D users as well. Shooters of the 40D/50D will need to determine whether the new features are worth dishing out $1700 USD for, particularly during these challenging economic times. Mostly anecdotal evidence exists so far that suggests there may be a slight improvement in IQ from the 7D as compared with the 40D/50D. Nikon and other brand photo enthusiasts should weigh the benefits and risks of switching systems.

Once Canon publicly addresses any potential problems with the AF system encountered by some users, then I can offer the 7D my highest recommendation.
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I upgraded, should you?, October 25, 2009
It depends! If you are looking for a comparison between the 5D and the 7D, or if I would have a recommendation of one over the other, this is not for you. This is written from the perspective of someone who upgraded from the xxD series to the 7D. Before I go into a detailed review about the 7D and whether you should upgrade or not, a little background about me to help you guys compare it to your situation. I'm an amateur photographer who does the occasional paid gig, more because I enjoy it rather than for the money. I have been taking pictures for 4 years now, went through 35mm learning curve and then switched to 20D in Mar 06. I have shot with the 40D, but never owned the 30/40/50D. Current lenses include 17-40mm f/4L, 24-70mm f/2.8L, Tamron 28-75 f/2.8, 70-200mm f/4L IS, 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8, 135mm f/2L & 100mm f/2.8macro. I still have my 35mm EOS 3 which I love and use rarely.

Am I happy I upgraded from the 20D?

You bet! I believe that one should invest in lenses first and keep the camera for the last (unless of course, if you are a pro). It has been a real upgrade from the 20D. The 7D feels like a slightly bigger and definitely heavier camera than the 20D and I am still getting used to carrying it (this is a review after 24 hrs of the purchase). When I put the 24-70 2.8L on to it, it balanced just beautifully, yes, both are heavy, but they just beautifully balance each other. I could carry the 20D with battery grip in one hand. However, the 7D+24-70L is definitely a two handed camera, even without the battery grip. If you are a petite lady or a guy with small hands reading this, you could get some practice lifting 5lbs dumb bells. No, I am not joking...add the 580EX on top of this, and you will know that I am serious. I love the way it feels in my hand and the way the camera rests firmly on my left palm while I hold it. So much for ergonomics and body feel. The neck strap has 7D written on it, which clearly is meant for bragging rights.
The IQ is the biggest jump from the 20D (duh!) Every clickgasm results in a beautiful image, especially when you combine it with a good repertoire of lenses. Yes, I said clickgasm, because every click is just so much sweeter like a 1000 bag pipers playing in the distant, but just for 1/60th of a second. Love it.
I also love the sensor cleaning functionality, something that was missing in the 20D, which was more prevalent in the 40D & 50D. It provides confidence and reassurance that this is a good thing for the camera.
Oh and talk about the LCD. A real leap for me, may be less so from the 50D, but I love how the menu functionality is organized. The resolution of the LCD is outstanding and almost zero glare. I constantly had that problem with the 20D, but this is a huge improvement and am very happy. In the 20D, you could'nt tell if an image was OOF, but in this, it is very obvious if there is a shake or OOF. And the color and contrast visible in the LCD itself is outstanding. Think of the jump between monochrome computer monitors to the color flat screens...that is what it is for me. In addition, I also like how the Quick Setting is organized, which displays about all the image settings from exposure scale, white balance, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, metering and all the happy stuff. The menu is different from the Quick Setting, and that goes into the additional details such as FEB, AEB, ISO expansion, custom functions, Highlight Tone Priority etc. Very well done Canon, I love it so far.
The 8fps is really cool, but I used to have 5 fps in the 20D with the battery grip and used it only while shooting sports, the 8 will come in handy on the rare occasion that I use it for pro sports. And you get that without any additional battery pack, which is good.
ISO expansion and noise reduction looks very good at the first glance. The pictures from the 20D were sub par at 800 and unusable at 1600 and above. I took a couple of pictures at 3200 with the 7D and am very impressed with the improvement in IQ. There is a substantial improvement despite the higher MP in the sensor, so very happy with it. For the thrill of it, I shot a pic at 12800 (posted it in the gallery, the canon 77mm lens cap) and compared it with the same pic at 3200. I would give a 5 star to canon on this one too.
OMG, the 19pt focus, I absolutely love it. Think of it this way, I learnt advanced photography in the Canon EOS 3 (35mm), which has 45 point focus. when I bought the 20D, I felt like it was a huge downgrade in focusing ability. It was not cool to loose the ECF feature of the 3 either. But I love going back to the 19point focus feature...I dont know, something about it is just cooler. It is most helpful in taking macro shots, which I do a lot of, and I dont have to move the focus and then move the camera ( I know, I know, pathetic way of taking macro shots). Again, glad that finally Canon is bringing this feature in.

Two features I am yet to use and will add it to a later review after use are the wireless flash and the HD video.

Should you upgrade from the 30/40/50D?
I have shot with a 40D and I have to say that the improvement in IQ from 20D to 40D was substantial and a bigger leap than the 40D to the 7D (I have not used the 50D). If you have $1900 extra and would love to splurge on this, by all means. The only time I would strongly advise against buying the 7D is if you spent much of your time with your previous DSLR in the basic mode and never in the P, Av, Tv, M modes. This camera doesnt have any of those modes and is not meant for someone interesting in learning photography, it is meant for someone who knows what they are doing.
If you are really interested in shooting HD video in one camera and want to make use of a good collection of lenses for the video, absolutely go for it. This provides a slightly cheaper option compared to the 5D. I never even considered the 5D as I knew it was not for me. I dont know that I will gain value for the additional $800. So cant help you if you are trying to choose between the 5d and the 7d.
The four biggest reasons I can see you going for an upgrade are
1. HD video
2. Wireless flash
3. 19 pt focus
4. Weather and Dust sealing that is a part of the xD series.
If you are considering an upgrade for the sake of IQ, you may be in for a disappointment. Dont get me wrong, there is an improvement (my POV is from 40D), but just that the 40D itself is so good that there is little room for Canon to improve. There are a lot more reasons to upgrade if you are using the 20D or the 30D as I have mentioned earlier in my review.
Any complaints with the camera so far?
None so far, Im very happy. Of course, the price could be cheaper, but oh well. I also wish real estate in California was cheaper, but lets be realistic, Canon is in this business to make money. I noticed that one reviewer had focusing problems, I have had none and am very happy with the camera so far.
I will continue posting pictures and additional review points...happy clickgasm!

UPDATE AFTER 7 DAYS OF USING THE CAMERA.

So far, I have been extremely happy. If there is something that has consistently wowed me, it is the LCD, amazing resolution, color and clarity in that. Portraits coming out of this camera are pleasing, more so on the 85/1.8 makes it a great combo. ISO1600 is usable, I took one or two in ISO12800, which was better in quality compared to my 20Ds 3200. Not great, but useful to preserve memories. May not suit professional expectations of quality. I uploaded some of my first pictures, not sure why Amazon is not displaying them (nothing obscene in the pictures). Definitely happy with my purchase and would highly recommend!
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should I upgrade? Um YES!, October 22, 2009
By 
J. Rhodes (Baltimore, MD United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Canon EOS 7D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Camera)
I upgraded from the Rebel XSi and boy what an upgrade it was! I'm mainly a hobbyist photographer even though my friends all say I should quit my day job (they just suck up because I will shoot their events for free!). I upgraded from the XSi because I kept finding myself arguing with the XSi over it's light metering, focus points and choice of shutter speeds in Aperture Priority mode. I can say without a doubt that the 7D out performs the XSi in every way (and it should since it's a semi pro camera while the XSi is a consumer camera!).

When I bought the 7D I slapped the 28-135 lens on it (already had it for the XSi) and started shooting, quickly noticing it's much improved light meter. It blew me away at how perfectly it would calibrate the white balance for every picture and what it was metering the light from. I was blown away just by that! After about a week of usage I decided to upgrade to an L lens for both the moisture/dust protection all around and also it give this camera a "proper" lens. It was worth every penny!

Matched with an L lens, this camera far exceeds what I was expecting out of it. I took it to a friends 1st birthday party and shoot the 1 year old using the L lens (17-40 UWA) on full manual at 100ISO, 50 shutter, aperture 4.0 with the 430EX flash and my god, the pictures are gorgeous! The camera's ability to track faces is spot on, the kid's eyes are sharp, crisp, colorful and full of life. They just make your heart melt! I'm sure it helps that this camera has special settings this lens in it's memory and it shows.

I have not played around with the video much, not my cup of tea. However my brother-in-law, who is a video editor, says the ability to capture video at such a short focal length requires thousands upon thousands of dollars in the video world and says that the 7D (and the 5Dmii for that matter) can do what a 10k camera can for a fraction of the price.

Another feature which was a welcome upgrade was the weather sealing. Not that I plan to go into the trenches with my camera but going out to a dusty, muddy farm and taking fall pictures is less worrisome now since I don't have to bother trying to keep my camera away from all the floating dust.

This is a phenomenal camera and I highly recommend it to anyone who is into photography as a hobby or a casual professional. I'm sure a "real" pro who lives their life on photography would welcome a full frame body more than the 1.6 crop but for me, I don't care, this camera does everything I want and more! It's a perfect addition to my ever growing camera bag and has become my one and only camera for which to shoot with. My poor XSi has been booted from my day bag and sits idle on my shelf collecting dust with it's non-dust protected body. I wonder if I should sell it before it's too late!
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beginners OK!, March 20, 2010
By 
Michael Guerra (Kerrville, Texas) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Canon EOS 7D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Camera)
I bought this camera as a complete newbie to photography. My sum total of knowledge about photography was: keep extraneous junk out of the shot, fill the frame with your subject, and... that's it. I took pictures with my Olympus C740 UZ in full auto mode, and could not tell you the difference between an f-stop and a flame thrower. However, my plan was to become an accomplished amateur photographer ASAP. Once the camera was on order I got Bryan Peterson's book, "Understanding Exposure" and read it cover to cover. Wow! If you consider yourself a beginner, get this book today. Read its' reviews here on Amazon, this is what you need to understand a tremendous amount about photography in, literally, the first half an hour of reading. So, because of that book, I was not the least bit intimidated by the EOS 7D, and was up and running taking pictures immediately. And, by the way, the mode dial has been in aperture priority, shutter priority, or manual since day one. As far as I'm concerned, "auto" and "creative auto" don't exist. I went from knowing absolutely nothing about photography to having a firm grasp of the essentials in a week, with this camera and Bryan Peterson's book. As a complement to the camera I also got at the same time Doug Sahlin's book, "Canon EOS 7D for Dummies". It is an excellent accompaniment to the camera manual, and, like Peterson's book, full of good general photography basics. If you have anything on the ball at all, you can become a photographer with this camera and those two books. From this base, you can then continue to hone your skills and learn forever. So my point is not to talk about the camera, but to tell any beginner they can use THIS camera starting from a base of no knowledge and with diligent study learn very quickly. If it is in your budget, you don't need to go from a point and shoot to a "bridge" camera to a DSLR. If you are serious, want to learn, and have the scratch, you can start right here.
I have had this camera for eight days and learned and practiced the following things I never knew in that time: What f-stop is and how it affects depth of field; how to use shutter speed to stop or imply motion; what ISO is and how it can affect picture quality; how white balance works and when and how to modify it; using exposure compensation and exposure bracketing, and how to combine those with filters in unusual lighting situations; when and why to use a tripod with slow shutter speeds; how to take great macros without a macro lens using a 50 mm prime lens and an extension tube; how to use direct flash, bounce flash, fill flash, ring flash, and off camera flash for macros, portraits etc. to eliminate shadows and balance exposures. Why you don't use a wide angle lens for portraits! The list goes on but the point is you can do it too. So don't be afraid to buy a "scary" camera, just roll up your sleeves and learn. Also, get a Cotton Carrier to carry the camera around, you don't want this thing hanging on your neck! Cotton Carrier is a vest that securely clips the camera to your chest, it is a necessity in my opinion, put Cotton Carrier in a search engine and peruse his website. I took a "Macro Walk" yesterday with it and it is the best! No sore neck.
Anyway if you want to know more about the camera itself there is plenty of info here, but I just want beginners to know you can succeed with this awesome machine.
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Canon EOS 7D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)
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