Canon 7D Mark II vs 70D vs 7D vs 6D Comparison

September 18, 2014

Canon 7D Mark II camera on brown background

In this article I will compare the Canon EOS 7D Mark II versus three other Canon DSLRs, the EOS 70D (APS-C), EOS 7D (APS-C, previous model the MKII replaces) and the EOS 6D (affordable Full-frame). It will be interesting to see how well the new 7D MKII stand against those other Canon DSLRs.

Canon 7D Mark II is Here!

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

canon-eos-7d-mark-ii APS-C DSLR is here

It has been a very long time since the Canon EOS 7D was announced on September 1st 2009. It took Canon 5 years to refresh this model. Some photographers raised an eyebrow thinking to themselves: “What was Canon thinking?”. I think that we should be happy that it’s here, as we spent a lot of time talking about a 7D replacement, waiting to upgrade out current camera body. Now that the time comes, you probably eager to known whether it was worth the wait. Even if you haven’t waited so long, it’s still Canon’s APS-C flagship model. The only place to upgrade here is to one of Canon’s Full Frame DSLRs, with the cheapest one is the 6D, which offer an entry-level entrance to Full Frame photography.

Now that’s the Canon EOS 7D Mark II is here, it’s interesting to see how it stacks up against the older model, as well as the 70D enthusiasts APS-C which was announced about a year and two months earlier, and also versus 6D FF, which is on the market for two years already (as of the time of writing).

We’ll start with an introduction to the 7D Mark II to get more familiar with its key features, and than we’ll move on to the comparison itself — so let’s get started!

Canon EOS 7D Mark II Key Features

The Canon EOS 7D Mark II is aimed for both enthusiasts and professionals alike. It was designed from the ground up to offer complete control for the photographer to express its creativity, fast performance that many photographers demand, ease of use, advanced video functions and improved capabilities expected from a next generation model.

The 7DMK2 is built to a very high standards. It all starts with a great body design. The camera is favorable by many photographers for sports, action shooting, and outdoor photography. Canon has designed the body to be very durable. The body is made of full magnesium alloy construction which protects the camera against impact and it’s also weather-sealed which protected the camera against water and dust (you can’t use it underwater!). It has four times the resistance of its predecessor, and just behind the 1Dx.  So in general, you should be worries shooting with it in a rainy day or in dusty environments, although Canon site doesn’t mention the specific water ingress protection. The 7D Mark II shutter life is 200,00 cycles.

Canon 7D Mark II vs 7D size comparison

Canon 7D Mark II vs 7D size comparison - Can you notice the differences? (via camerasize.com)

The camera size and external design didn’t change much from the 7D, but I personally don’t see it as a disadvantage, as the 7D was very comfortable to hold an operate. Canon added a lock button to the mode dial at the top of the camera, there is a GPS module which slightly bumps from the top near the hot-shoe. So yes, the 7D Mark II has a built-in GPS receiver and also a Time Sync function and a digital compass. This means that the camera not just records the current geo-location position, but also the direction the camera is facing, making it easy to relocate the exact place you took the shot.

magnesium alloy body EOS 7D Mark II

Durable but lightweight magnesium alloy body - EOS 7D Mark II

At the heart of the camera is a refined 20.2 megapixel APS-C size CMOS sensor and Dual DIGIC 6 image processor. So the camera is backed up with the based ingredients for super high-resolution and detailed images for both Studio and Outdoor use and processing speed.  Speaking about speed, the 7D MArk II can shoot at up to 10 frames per second in burst mode and in full resolution. The sensitive sensor allows shooting at ISO range starting from 100 up to 16,000, expanding to ISO 25600 and ISO 51200. In fact, this sensor was optimized for low-light shooting according to Canon, which should appeal to photographers who demand superb low-light performance, whether for stills or video recording.

The speedy 10fps burst is backed up with very quick 65-point AF all cross-type (f/5.6 cross-type AF points, except the center) AF system and 55 millisecond shutter release time lag. The AF system is super sensitive at the center point at EV -3 (with a f/2.8 lens), which makes the 7D Mark II an excellent AF performer also in dark situations as well (Center AF point is f/2.8 dual cross-type). The AF focus points are widely spread across the frame to promote a super fast subject tracking performance in every available lighting conditions.

The 7D Mark II also take its AF performance even further in video recording with the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system, and in other words, on-sensor phase-detection pixels which covers eighty percent of the sensor light-sensitive area. There is not loss in image quality according to Canon, and this helps promote a super fast AF when shooting fast moving subjects in videos. So there is not more that long “hunting” like in contrast-detect AF where the lens comparing various contrast images to find out the sharpest to determine the correct focus distance. There are technologies like the Panasonic DFD found on the GH4 and LX100 that improve upon the base contrast detect AF system, but the on-sensor phase-detection AF system shown to work extremely well for Live View, so there is not need to Canon to re-innovate here. Of course many photographers prefer shooting with manual focus, but I think for the average video shooter that love shooting video once in a while, this autofocus system will work beautifully and will provide smooth focus transition when changing focus from one subject to the next.

The 7DMKII offers 6 different autofocus subject tracking presets to choose from, allowing fine-tuning for the most preferred AF behavior for a particular scene.

The 6 Auto focus Presets (Advanced iTR focusing)

  1. Case 1: Versatile multi purpose setting
  2. Case 2: Continuous to track subjects, ignoring possible obstacles
  3. Case 3: Instantly focus on subjects suddenly entering AF points
  4. Case 4: For subjects that accelerate or decelerate quickly
  5. Case 5: For erratic subjects, moving in any direction
  6. Case 6: For subjects that change speed and move erratically
* the Advanced iTR is an improved version of the iTR of the EOS-1D X, a camera that costs almost $7K.
The EOS 7D Mark II uses color and face data to be able to fine tune the AF system for those specific uses. You can clearly see that Canon refined this camera to answer the high-demands of sports and fast-action photographers.  This can happen a lot where the camera can lose a focus from the reasons stated in the 6 cases, so it’s a VERY welcomes features that I’m sure is very practical for daily fast-action shooters and sports photographers. Canon has a nice demonstration on their website, where you can see that the camera focuses on a single person, and suddenly a few people are blocking the camera at the front. The 7D Mark II was able to continuously focus on that single subject (Player) without any interruption – Super useful! I can’t remember any other camera that is optimized for subject tracking performance like this camera, excellent work Canon.
Does the Canon EOS 7D Mark II have AF micro adjustment?Yes, +/- 20 steps. You can adjust it for all lenses, adjust up to 40 lenses individually. The camera remembers the adjustment for each lens based on the lens’ serial number.
At the back of the camera you can find the new AF area selection lever that allows you to quickly the AF area selection.

The Canon EOS 7D Mark 2 can record Full HD videos at 60p, 30p and 24p in either MOV or MP4 format. It’s great to see that the camera can now record in both formats, as well as uncompressed HDMI out as well. The MP4 is an industry standard and widely supported by many operating systems and video editing software, but in general, it’s easy to convert a MOV video (Apple QuickTime movie) to MP4. In fact, the MP4 (MPEG-4) is based on the QuickTime format specifications with refinements.  Both video format types hold the same H.264 video stream but in different containers.

Many people prefer shooting in MP4 because of its widely supported by media players, better compression size and it’s also popular for sharing videos on the Internet. At 60p you shoot in inter-frame (IPB), and in 30p and 24p you can shoot shooting in either intra frame (All-I) or inter-frame (IPB). There is also an option for lite inter-frame in 1080p30/24.

The complete list of movie sizes:

  •  1920 x 1080 (59.94, 50 fps) inter-frame
  • 1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 24, 23.98 fps) intra or inter frame
  • 1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25) lite inter-frame
  • 1280 x 720 (59.95, 50 fps) intra or inter frame
  • 1280 x 720 (29.97, 25, 24, 23.98 fps) lite inter-frame
  • 640 x 480 (29.97, 25 fps) inter-frame or inter-frame lite

Here’s a sample video shot with the Canon 7D Mark II with various Canon lenses.

As you noticed, there isn’t any 4K UltraHD video option.  That’s quite unfortunate I have to say, especially at times that we see 4K coming in new digital cameras and even on smartphones.

Among its other features:

  • Pentaprism optical viewfinder with 100% coverage (Intelligent Viewfinder II)
  • Multiple Exposure shooting
  • Multiple Aspect ratio shooting
  • Dual Card Slots (CF + SD)
  • Dual-Axis electronic level
  • In-camera RAw processing
  • RAW + JPEG shooting
  • 3.0 -inch 1.04-million dots Clear View II LCD monitor
  • Built-in GPS receiver (top near hot-shoe) and digital compass (bottom-right corner; when viewed from the rear) – view latitude, longitude and elevation
  • Advanced mirror vibration control technology (reduces vibrations in high-speed shooting)
  • Interval timer / Bulb timer
  • 1/8000 sec maximum shutter speed
  • 150,000-pixel RGB light metering sensor with iSA Intelligent Subject analysis system
  • UTC time view
  • Flickr detection system (take the shot at the peak light volume)
  • In-camera  peripheral illumination, chromatic aberration and distortion corrections
  • USB 3.0
  • Official compatible battery grip (BG-E16) – unique to the 7D Mark II, holds 2x LP-E6N or 6x AA batteries with improved ergonomics and handling
  • 1/250 sec flash sync speed
  • 4.0 fps silent continuous shooting
  • In-camera HDR
  • Star rating system
  • FE lock
  • Creative filter with real-time display
  • Movie Servo AF adjustable speed (Standard, 4 Slow options)

No doubt that the Canon EOS 7D Mark II is aimed for top performance, and packs a long list of advanced features and updated that certainly makes it the most attractive APS-C Canon camera to date. Some will argue whether this is enough of an update for five years wait. On the negative side, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II lacks built-in WiFi, no panorama shooting (Auto-stitch), no 4K video recording, older battery grip is not supported and probably the most triggering one — the Canon EOS 6D Full Frame is just $100 away. I’m sure that some photographers might think twice before staying with an APS-C, advance as it is, when there is the 6D FF waiting for them for just $100 more. Furthermore, it’s not the perfect time to get the older 7D camera for much less.

7D Mark II vs 7D vs 70D vs 6D

The Canon EOS 7D Mark II certainly looks very attractive and I’m sure it will be super popular. As a buyer, I’m sure that some of you have a few dilemmas deciding whether or not go with the 6D which is a FF camera, or go with a cheaper model like the older 7D pr the 70D, and spend the rest of your budget on a better lens. That’s a good argument, but in order to to do, you need to fully understand the cons and pros of each camera and learn how the four camera differ. For this purpose I create the following specs comparison table, which will give you a clear view of the key differences between the cameras.

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Conclusion

Some people might expected more from the EOS 7D M2, but in my opinion and after observing its specs closely and not just on the surface, it is a huge upgrade over its predecessor, in almost any way you look at it.  The 7D Mark II should certainly give the 6D a good competition for those who don’t mind not leaving the Full Frame dream. This included an excellent low-light performance (Still waiting to see how it performs next to the 6D, but initial samples look amazing), best AF system among the four cameras for video recording and fast-action shooting,  dual-card slots, best weather-sealing in the group, most durable shutter, new Intelligent viewfinder, fastest burst in the group, best video recording functions with headphone and mic input, built-in GPS and digital compass, time-lapse and in-camera HDR, USB 3.0 and lots more.

Yes, it’s a long list of very useful features, and it certainly looks a much more attractive package than the 70D, 7D and 6D. none of these cameras are cheap, but both the 6D and 7D Mark II are significantly more expensive than the mid-range models.  I think that the 7D certainly lost its glow, quite a long time ago to be honest. The 70D was a good alternative until the 7D Mark II arrived. It’s still a good option to go with a less expensive camera and spend the rest of your budget on a better or another lens.

That said, it’s hard to ignore what the 7D Mark II has to offer, and in my opinion it certainly worth it if you find its extra features useful for your specific shooting style. Whether to get the 6D full frame or stay in the APS-C zone is still a good question. The 7D Mark II is much more sophisticated/advanced camera than the 6D, and I personally was convinced going with the 7D Mark II than dive into the full frame world. That said, I’m sure that each one and one of you have a different opinion, and for some people the option to shoot with the actual focal length of the lens and enjoy those beautiful ultra wide angle lenses is preferable to great functions the 7D Mark II offer.

I am eager to hear your opinion about the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, and if you like this new update and which camera you prefer among the three and why. Please share your opinion in the comment section below, and don’t forget to LIKE this article and our Facebook page to get update when new articles are published. Thanks for reading.



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