Canon 7D II

September 16, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Canon has finally announced the 7D II crop body.  The first version of this camera came out about five years ago, and since then it's been a hit with wildlife photographers because of its 1.6x crop factor and higher end specs.  Five years is a long time though, and the 7D is overdue for a overhaul.

I can hear birders going crazy already scrambling for a copy of this body because:

  1. On crop bodies all lenses become about 1.6x "longer" (have an extra 1.6 times magnification).  Birds don't like you getting too close.  We try and get around it with "hides" and baiting (though hard core birders say that's cheating) etc, but at the end of the day, not having to be as close means more chance of a natural looking shot.
  2. It's got an improved autofocus system that will *hopefully* mean faster, more accurate AF.  The old 7D was a bit "hit and miss" with it's AF - especially in comparison to more modern bodies like the 5D III.  Better AF means two things: a higher probability of getting an in focus shot (critical in wildlife where you may only get one chance), and it allows you go after shots where the previous AF wouldn't keep up (faster birds in flight for example).
  3. The autofocus will work down to f/8.  This means that a 500mm or 600mm f/4 lens with a 2x teleconverter will still autofocus!  For us who can't afford that glass, our 150-600mm f/5.6-6.4 will autofocus through most of its range with a 1.4x teleconverter.... though I don't think I'd be willing to suffer the IQ drop.
  4. NOISE!  Apparently it will produce less noise in low light.  Even in good light, the tele lenses birders tend to want don't let heaps of light in.  By the time you go into a forest, overcast, or early/late light situation, winding up the ISO is the only real solution.  Even in good light, being able to run a long lens stopped down is advantageous for better IQ and DOF.
  5. Higher resolution (slightly).  Physics dictates that as you cram more pixels into the same size sensor, noise should increase.  So that they could reduce noise, but also give it 1.8MP bump is nice.  More pixel provides for more opportunity to crop if needed.

All in all it makes for a "wet the pants" level of excitement amongst some people.  Hopefully when reviews, sample images, and real world images start appearing, all these points will be ticked off and the 7D II will be a truly awesome wildlife body.  Then I'll just have to think seriously about whether to buy one.... and the marital problems associated therewith.  ;-)


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