Canon 7DMKII– Impressions

Frequent readers are aware that I normally shoot a 1DMKIIN with right around 550,000 shutter clicks. They also know that it has been stuck in ERROR 99 for several weeks and it looks like time to replace it.

My dream camera is a 1DX but until Molly and I sell the house, it is out of the question price wise (roughly 6K). That leaves the 5DMKIII and the 7DMKII. I’ve shot the 5DMKIII and truth be told….it is probably the best all around camera I have ever shot. For my style of photography, the only drawback is the 6.5 frames per second max frame rate. That camera produces some of the smoothest, detailed files that I have ever worked on…….and at insanely high ISO’s. I shot a night race at Fairmount for Paulette and had to crank the ISO up to 10,800. I told Paulette that I would try and make her a 8×10 of the starting gate sequence but I wasn’t going to give her false hope that it would turn out. Brought the files into the computer. Ran Imagenomic’s Noiseware on default Night mode and WOW!!!! Cleaned up and printed with NO noise and no loss of detail that I could see. Again…great camera. With our long lens, we would gain in image quality (22 something mp versus the 8mp (1DMKIIN) and 40D (10mp)but not get any ‘effective reach’ via crop factor.

You all know I am a speed freak when it comes to frames per second and shutter speed. The 7DMKII runs at 10 frames per second(fps) vs the 1DMKIIN’s 8 fps. They both have buffers that will roll 21 RAW frames before hitting the wall. These days, having a camera that will help keep shutter speed up in poor light is expected for bird photography. To me that means ISO 800 and above. The old camera could shoot at ISO 800 but I only shot it at that ISO as an emergency thing. Standard was 400 ISO and in really good light I would drop it to 200 or 320.

When the 7DMKII came in from Lensrentals, I realized that this was a camera that was smarter than me. I was able to set it it up for center point AF,RAW capture and ISO 400. First time I decided to ‘hammer’ the shutter it went through those 21 frames real quick. I normally don’t hammer a shutter but I needed to know 🙂 . After a cloudy day of shooting, I thought the 400 ISO wasn’t too shabby but the shutter speed results from adding Exposure Compensation didn’t help me. I was going to Fairmount Park for the races and I prayed for sunlight since I normally like 1/2500 of a second to make sure I froze the action and a cloudy day would mean a ‘fight’ to hit 1/2500.
I got the sunlight– no problems. Not really fair to compare 22 something mp file versus a 8mp file. I had to skip a day to continue the trial and shot these Thursday. Cloudy,dodged rain and thought I would just go for broke. I set the ISO to AUTO and I rarely set anything to auto and proceeded to start photographing. Got home and noticed the images looked a little bit grainy…..not bad but definitely not 1DMKIIN 400 ISO smooth. I was starting to be disappointed until I noticed the ISO was 1600. The 7DMKII’s 1600 looked better than the 1DMKIIN’s 600 ISO. Ran the images through Imagenomic and I have to admit they clean up pretty well. I even found some that were at 2500 ISO but I screwed up the image–missed focus (the 7DMKII’s single point focus is real ‘tight’ and as my friend Sam Hampton always told me …a pro never shows you his culls 🙂 ).

Anyway….here are 3 that I thought weren’t too bad. I have the info in the captions. Note the Bunting was at 400 ISO ( before I switched to Auto ISO) and has a bit of blur–bird moved. Shot it right before a good little rain shower.

Click thumbnail for larger image–

For a 1.6 crop body with 22 + megapixels, I would expect some noise but all in all—this ain’t bad–better than the old camera–especially when the old camera is stuck in ERROR 99. Might have a new one by fall.

As always YMMV.

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4 thoughts on “Canon 7DMKII– Impressions

    • Hey Beans
      Still in limbo about getting a new camera with all the house stuff we have to do to get it ready to sell……but you never know 🙂


  1. The new 7DMKII is a ton better than the original 7D, which as you know, I owned for a time and found it’s “noise” mostly disappointing in low light situations. All of these low light situations on your post show very good noise performance (or lack of noise) in all the backgrounds. However, the same old problems still exist; how much image sharpness are we willing to “give up” in exchange for small sensors, crop factors and shutter speed? It’s a tough problem to solve!!!

    The 1DX gets very close, but at incredible cost. So once again, we have to make a choice and it is a tough one to make. You only live once, and when “YOUR Maker” asks you if You have any regrets, please don’t say, “I wish I would have bought that 1DX”.


    P.S. I still own a 1DMKIV and like them a lot, but I’d love to have 1DX too! LOL

  2. Hey, Mr Jeff
    I always kick myself in the rear when I did not buy the 1DMKIV back when I talked you into buying one LOL. I liked the 7DMKII but like I have said—once you have owned a 1D series, it is hard to be satisfied with any other body.

    As always, you have given me something to think about.

    Thanks my friend


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