Hands-on with the Canon EOS R7!
The Canon EOS 7D Mark II was an ultra-popular camera model for an incredible timespan — nearly eight years. Now, the 7 series is represented in the Canon EOS R series, with the Canon EOS R7 being the long-awaited replacement for the 7D II.
To say that the R7 is a massive upgrade from the 7D II is an understatement.
Also new to the R series is the R7 and the simultaneously introduced Canon EOS R10 mirrorless cameras' APS-C imaging sensor format (1.6x field of view crop factor). These are the first APS-C camera models to feature the excellent RF mount.
The smaller imaging sensor means a considerably lower price and smaller form factor relative to the camera's performance, and the R7 is, as expected for a 7D II replacement, loaded for performance.
Powered by the DIGIC X processor, the R7 shares the identical ultra-high 15 and 30 fps maximum frame rates of the current flagship Canon EOS R3. Better still, the R7 inherits the R3's AF options and outstanding subject detection and tracking algorithms/capabilities. Additionally, the R7's resolution is higher than the R3's (32.5 vs. 24.1).
Assured is that the R7, like the 7D II, will be an extremely popular camera for its performance:price ratio. While the R7 has great general-purpose utility, wildlife and sports photographers will especially be attracted to this camera's capabilities.
The R7 takes away the few remaining excuses to remain on a DSLR platform.
The last bullet mentions the lens mount. While the lens mount for an interchangeable lens camera may seem a basic necessity, this one is worth mentioning. The About Canon RF Lenses and the RF Mount page goes into an in-depth discussion. Still, the basics are that the RF lens mount retains the large 54mm inner diameter advantage of the EF mount (for reference, the Nikon Z mount has a similar 55mm diameter, the Nikon F-mount is only 44mm, and the Sony E mount is 46.1mm), keeping the rigidity, durability, strength, and ultra-wide aperture support the large-diameter mount provides while reducing the flange back distance (distance from the back of the lens's mount to the imaging sensor) from 44mm to 20mm.
The RF mount design supports optical designs that are potentially smaller than possible with the EF mount and often include large-diameter rear-positioned elements that can feature reduced angle of light rays in the image circle periphery. Bending light to a lesser degree can lead to improved image quality including better-corrected aberrations. The larger rear-element design of RF lenses also lends to a comfortable shape and weight balance. Improved camera-lens communication also increases performance, including instant feedback for enhanced in-lens image stabilization.
The lens makes a huge difference in the camera's overall performance, and Canon's RF lenses have proven very impressive, reason alone to buy into the Canon EOS R-series cameras.
The Canon EOS R7 gets a new Canon CMOS APS-C (1.6x field of view crop factor) imaging sensor densely packed with 32.5 megapixels of resolution.
While the EOS 90D and EOS M6 Mark II share this resolution and sensor size, the R7's imaging sensor is different. Also note that the R7's imaging sensor is not backside-illuminated (BSI), is not stacked, and, with a far lower cost, the R7's imaging sensor does not share the high-speed readout featured in the R3.
|Canon EOS 7D Mark II||1.6x||22.4 x 15.0mm||4.1µm||5472 x 3648||20.2||1.0x||100%||f/6.6|
|Canon EOS 90D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.20µm||6960 x 4640||32.5||.95x||100%||f/5.2|
|Canon EOS R3||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||6.00µm||6000 x 4000||24.1||.76x||100%||f/9.7|
|Canon EOS R5||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||4.39µm||8192 x 5464||45.0||.76x||100%||f/7.1|
|Canon EOS R6||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||6.56µm||5472 x 3648||20.1||.76x||100%||f/10.6|
|Canon EOS R7||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.20µm||6960 x 4640||32.5||1.15x||100%||f/5.2|
|Canon EOS R10||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.72µm||6000 x 4000||24.2||.95x||100%||f/6.0|
|Canon EOS R||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||5.36µm||6720 x 4480||30.3||.71x||100%||f/8.6|
|Canon EOS RP||1.0x||35.9 x 24.0mm||5.75µm||6240 x 4160||26.2||.70x||100%||f/9.3|
|Canon EOS M6 Mark II||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.20µm||6960 x 4640||32.5||opt||100%||f/5.2|
|Canon EOS M50 Mark II||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.72µm||6000 x 4000||24.1||100%||f/6.0|
|Canon EOS M200||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.72µm||6000 x 4000||24.1||n/a||n/a||f/6.0|
Optional aspect ratios are 3:2 (6960 x 4640), 4:3 (6160 x 4640), 16:9 (6960 x 3904), and 1:1 (4640 x 4640).
Only a small number of full-frame camera models exceed the R7's 32.5 MP resolution, and no APS-C models surpass it.
Does everyone need this much resolution? No, but from an image quality perspective, I can't think of a negative reason for having too many pixels. All other aspects remaining equal, more is better. That said, there are some negative aspects to ultra-high image resolution. More specifically, higher resolution magnifies things you don't want to see, including:
The details of diffraction do not need to be understood. Still, all photographers should be aware that, as the aperture opening decreases (higher f/number), images become less sharp at the pixel level beyond the approximate aperture we refer to as the Diffraction Limited Aperture ("DLA", included in the table above). As resolution increases, that point of visible degradation occurs at a wider aperture, negating a bit of the higher resolution advantage. While you will frequently want to use apertures narrower than this camera's f/5.2 DLA, the decision to do so should occur with the understanding that pixel-level sharpness is a compromise being made. Those wanting to retain maximum sharpness in their ultra-high resolution, very deep DOF (Depth of Field) images may decide that tilt-shift lenses and focus stacking techniques are especially attractive.
Large file sizes require large storage capacities, increased file transfer/load times, and increased computing cycles. The C-RAW format significantly reduces the impact of those first two downsides. Just get higher capacity memory cards and disk drives and a faster computer if necessary.
I've mentioned "pixel-level" very frequently here and want to emphasize that when the final output size matches that from lower resolution imaging sensors, the entire list of magnification issues just presented are negated, and down-sampling to a lower resolution has benefits.
The advantages of the increased detail captured by a higher resolution imaging sensor abound and include the ability to output at a larger size or to crop while retaining high resolution. I often use the entire image dimensions to frame the final composition I am seeking, attempting to have the most detail for viewing or printing large. While this strategy is usually a good one, sometimes that tight framing gets me in trouble, such as when I clip wingtips, need a bleed edge for printing, or need to format the image to a non-3:2 ratio, such as for an 8x10 print. Having this much resolution available provides the freedom to frame subjects slightly looser to better accommodate such needs, with a high resolution not being sacrificed by moderate cropping. "Reach" is all about pixel density (not imaging sensor size), and birders especially will love that the ultra-high pixel density of this imaging sensor effectively increases the "reach" of all lenses. Additionally, with this much resolution, the potential exists to crop various final compositions from a single image.
Note that the APS-C sensor format provides a 1.6x field of view crop factor that yields an angle of view that frames a scene considerably tighter than a full-frame imaging sensor. While the narrower angle of view makes lenses seem to have more reach, again, the pixel density of the imaging sensor is usually more important when focal length limited. The R7's imaging sensor provides the best of both in those regards.
Increased noise — at the pixel level (not necessarily at a comparable final output size) — can arrive with increased pixel density.
This camera's ISO range is 100-32000 in 1/3 stop increments along with the extended H(51200) setting. Especially for an APS-C sensor, I dismiss the highest options, assured that they will have a too-low SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio).
I'll wait until I can get an R7 into the lab before finalizing my evaluation, but I expect that this camera, with the latest technology in the new Canon CMOS imaging sensor along with a DIGIC X processor, will have image quality that modestly outperforms the 90D. What I see in my about-2,500 sample images supports this expectation.
For example, look at the detail showing in this 100% crop from an ISO 640 EOS R7 RAW photo processed in Canon DPP using the Standard Picture Style with sharpness set to only 1 and low noise reduction.
The Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM Lens was partially responsible for the impressive detail showing in this crop sample. Want to see the view from the other side?
As first seen in the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, the EOS R7 includes Dual Pixel RAW technology. The Canon Dual Pixel RAW page covers this in more depth.
Like the 1D X Mark III, R3, and R5, the R7 supports HDR PQ HEIF 10-bit recording. Often, the first question is likely, "What is HDR PQ?" HDR PQ (Perceptual Quantization) is a new gamma curve based on the characteristics of human eyesight. It supports HDR recording at ITU-R BT.2100 standard (PQ).
Your next question is likely, "What is HEIF?" HEIF stands for "High Efficiency Image File Format," a standard created by the MPEG group. As with JPEG, HEIF is a file format used to store image data after the image development process is complete. While JPEG files use an 8-bit YCbCr 4:2:2 lossy compression scheme, HEIF uses a 10-bit YCbCr 4:2:2 HEVC compression algorithm (also lossy), complying with the ITU-R BT.2100 HDR standard. HEIF provides up to 4x more precision in image data gradation and a wider color range than sRGB and Adobe RGB can store. HEIF files are containers, able to store multiple images (typically compressed with a codec such as HEVC (H.265)) along with image derivations (cropping, rotation), media streams (timed text, audio), depth information, image sequences (like a burst of images, supports animation), image data (EXIF), and more. Huge is that, thanks in part to computing power improvements, HEIF files are compressed to a significantly smaller size than JPEG files, about 50% smaller at similar quality levels. Along with all of the other benefits, Apple migrating to HEIF from JPEG means we can expect this standard to take hold in the industry.
Per Canon, "HEIF files are intended to be viewed on HDR-compliant displays and monitors."
The Activate HEVC codec option is available in the DPP help menu, and once selected, the Canon HEVC Activator is downloaded (serial number required). Once that app was installed, DPP understood the .HIF file format and the HDR PQ images look remarkably good (including those captured in RAW format). I was not planning to share the results of this testing, and the scene is of low photogenic quality with unstable lighting, but ... I thought the camera's performance warranted sharing with you. The following are downsized screen captures (at review time, Photoshop could not open .HIF files). Look closely at the outdoor brightness while the indoor blacks retain detail (that detail is even more obvious in the full-size images) as illustrated by the 1D X III.
Again, the image quality in the samples I've reviewed in depth, out of about 2,500 sample images captured to date, appears excellent. Canon's color is always great, and I'm especially impressed with the sharpness I'm seeing.
The R7 has dual SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II) memory card slots for redundancy, organization, and performance.
The compact and affordable SDXC format has been around a long time, with many kits already covering this need.
Utilizing the highest R7 movie recording formats and framerates requires fast memory cards. For 7k oversampling movie recording, a V90 SDXC memory card is suggested.
Like most Canon cameras, the R7 formats memory cards quickly.
IBIS was first featured in a Canon interchangeable lens camera in the EOS R5 and R6. While other camera brands have long included this feature in some of their camera models, Canon made an impact out of the gate with the up-to eight stops of shake correction those full-frame systems provide, with the large image circle provided by RF mount credited in part for this 5-axis image stabilization system's capabilities.
CIPA-compliant test results differ from lens to lens, and Canon is officially saying up to 7 stops of combined "Coordinated IS" with RF lenses equipped with optical IS. Some lenses, like the Canon RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM Lens, test out at up to 8 stops for standardized yaw/pitch shake correction at their longest focal lengths. Again, Canon's official statement is up to 7 stops correction.
For a long time, a high percentage of Canon lenses have included in-lens optical image stabilization. Canon indicated that the in-lens stabilization is superior in performance compared to in-camera correction. That is especially the case at the telephoto end of the focal length spectrum, but on the wide-angle end, in-camera stabilization can be quite effective. In-lens IS cannot account for camera rotation.
What is better than one or the other? Both.
The R7 in-body image stabilization features coordinated control from the camera and lens. Gyro (angular velocity) and acceleration sensors in the lens and gyro (angular velocity), acceleration, and imaging (movement vector) sensors in the camera communicate via the lens CPU and DIGIC X processor to perfect the optical correction applied. Especially in the normal focal length range, the coordinated control is very effective. This system creates phenomenal performance specs.
Think about the impact that 8-stops or even 6-stops of shake correction can have on your images. The difference can be significant for both stills and video.
Another image stabilization benefit that should not be overlooked is the aid in AF precision. The camera's AF system can produce better focus precision if it sees a stabilized image.
In-lens and in-body image stabilization are both on or both off. The IS switch on a lens featuring image stabilization controls the IBIS function. When using non-IS lenses and IS lenses omitting the IS switch (such as the simultaneously announced Canon RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM and RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM Lenses, camera settings permit IBIS to be always on, similar to Mode 1 found on all Canon image-stabilized lenses or only on for the shot, similar to the Mode 3 found on some Canon lenses. Adapted EF and EF-S lenses are supported, and IBIS adds huge value to non-stabilized lenses in a kit.
Note that the IBIS adds a rattling sound (and slight feel) to the camera when powered off (don't worry about this) and a very slight and then hum when powered on. I recommend turning IS/IBIS off when tripod-mounting the R7 with most lenses, primarily due to the framing drifting. Mode III IS avoids this problem. Powering off the camera (or opening the memory card door) parks/resets the IS/IBIS, and the scene framing can change slightly when the camera is powered on.
The capabilities of this IBIS system are game-changing, requiring a new mindset for the photographer. The value of adding image stabilization to your current non-stabilized lenses (including EF models) is huge.
Get this: the R7 has a new feature enabled by the IBIS. For most images, I want my camera perfectly horizontally level — no roll. Cameras have long featured a super-helpful electronic level that was game-changing for those of us with HLDS (Horizon Level Deficiency Syndrome). With the graphic aid shown in the viewfinder or on the rear LCD, the camera could be adjusted until the indicator showed level.
The R7 takes that feature to the next step, providing an Auto-level option that uses the imaging sensor's rotation capability to level the shot automatically. The optical path is circular, so rotating the sensor to a level position (within its degree of capability) results in a normal image that is level even when the camera is not quite so. Auto level is also a great asset to both still and video recording. I love it.
The Canon EOS R7 can shoot up to 30 fps in full electronic shutter mode, the same rate as the R3. With the mechanical shutter selected, the R7 can shoot at up to 15 fps — 3 fps faster than the R3.
There are factors in play with the maximum rates, with 12-bit capture vs. 14-bit capture being a 30 fps downside the R3 does not have.
Daunting is selecting the best images from a shoot involving significant use of the 30 fps capability. A one-minute duration of 30 fps shutter release pressed creates 1,800 images (30 frames x 60 seconds).
Does everyone need 30 fps? No. However, with the extreme number of images captured today, it is challenging to create imagery that stands above those from the crowd. Using the 30 fps rate may capture that perfect moment of action that makes an image rise above the rest. Bat on ball, ball leaving foot, ball leaving hand, shot put leaving the thrower's hand, hurdler in perfect jump pose, perfect wing flap pose, peak of a dog's leap, steeplechase crash (illustrated below via a1 capture) are a small number of examples that benefit from the fast frame rate.
The 29 examples below were captured sub-second, illustrating the 30 fps capture.
There images were captured with the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L USM Fisheye Lens.
The longer I use 30 fps, the more I value it and the more I want it.
Here is a set of 30 fps volleyball images.
The volleyball setter puts the ball high, giving it high drop speed. Without the ball in the frame, timing the shot to have the ball in the frame is tough. Pressing the shutter release on 30 fps continuous shooting makes that job rather easy.
Like the R10, the R7 features RAW burst mode. Unlike the R10, the R7's RAW burst mode does not provide a faster continuous shooting speed. When RAW burst mode is enabled (a menu option), the R7 will capture 32MP frames at up to 30 fps for up to approximately 30 maximum shots (with a fast memory card). I know; what is the point?
Do you ever press the shutter release too late? Are you ever stressed about the potential of missing the bird taking flight shot? The R7 has your back on this one.
With both RAW burst mode and preshooting enabled, 30 fps image capture is available for up to 0.5 seconds BEFORE the full shutter button press. That means up to 15 pre-shutter release shots are recorded. Note that Canon software is (currently) required to select and process these images.
Here is a frame rate and buffer depth comparison table:
|Model||FPS||Max JPG||Max RAW||Shutter Lag||VF Blackout|
|Canon EOS 7D Mark II||10.0||130||31||55ms||100ms|
|Canon EOS 90D||10.0/11.0||57/58||24/25||59ms||96ms|
|Canon EOS R3||12/30||540||150||20-76ms||0ms|
|Canon EOS R5||12/20||350||87/180||50ms||n/a|
|Canon EOS R6||12/20||1,000+||240||n/a|
|Canon EOS R7||15/30||224/126||51/42||n/a|
|Canon EOS R10||15/23||460/70||29/21||n/a|
|Canon EOS R||2.2-8||100||34/47||50ms||n/a|
|Canon EOS RP||4||Full||50/Full||55ms||n/a|
|Canon EOS M6 Mark II||14/30||54||23||53ms||n/a|
|Canon EOS M50 Mark II||7.4/10||33/47||10||n/a|
|Canon EOS M200||4/6.1||1120||13||n/a|
While the R7's buffer depth seems substantial, 30 fps RAW capture eats that capacity fast — in just over a second. I did not experience a full buffer condition during any skateboarding, soccer, or volleyball shoot sequences with a fast Lexar 256GB Professional 1667x UHS-II SDXC Memory Card installed.
The R7 is responsive upon shutter release press, though the mechanical shutter sounds a bit loud and clunky.
With the full electronic shutter selected, this camera does not make any sound during image capture. Complete silence is a hard sound to share on a website, so I'll trust that you can understand this camera's ability to be stealthy. The ability to shoot in complete silence is of great value, ideal for use during quiet events such as weddings, when skittish wildlife is the subject, and any time movies are simultaneously recorded with audio. Selecting the full electronic shutter has both advantages and disadvantages.
Let's start with the positives. At the top of the list is that the full electronic shutter enables the fast 30 fps drive mode.wildlife are the subjects With no mechanical shutter used, there are no moving parts, shutter failure is highly unlikely, there is no shutter vibration to be concerned with, and again, the camera can be operated in silence.
With no sound or other haptic feedback, knowing precisely when the image is being captured can be problematic, and adding a "beep" is counter to the goal of the silent shutter. Canon handles this issue nicely with a white frame appearing in the viewfinder the instant the image is being captured.
Additional downsides of an electronic shutter are related to the current technology line-by-line reading of the imaging sensor. Fast side-to-side subject or camera movement can result in an angular-shifted image with vertically straight lines becoming noticeably slanted (with the camera in horizontal orientation). Understand that the second curtain of a mechanical shutter chasing the first curtain can produce the same effect, but the difference between mechanical shutter (with electronic first curtain shutter) and electronic shutter performance in this regard has historically been quite big.
We saw the R3's fast imaging sensor readout drastically reducing this effect, but keeping the R7 affordable means a slower readout, with some angular effect present in action images. Look for the stretched volleyball in the standalone sample image in the framerate discussion.
Certain light pulsing can influence electronic shutter-captured results, creating very troublesome banding. I have heard it said that defocused highlight bokeh circles can become clipped or truncated when using an electronic shutter, though I have not been able to produce this issue in testing.
As discussed, with the full electronic shutter enabled, this camera does not make any sound while capturing images.
The R7's available shutter speeds are: Mechanical: 30-1/8000 sec (1/2 or 1/3 stop increments), Bulb, Electronic: 30-1/16000 (1/2 or 1/3 stop increments up to 1/8000 then 1 stop until 1/16000) (available range varies by shooting mode).
Flash X-Sync is 1/250 sec. with the mechanical shutter and 1/320 sec. using electronic 1st curtain. Flash photography is not available with Electronic shutter.
Canon's latest AF systems are outstanding performers with incredible subject tracking and eye detection. With this camera having the DIGIC X processor, the same software algorithms running on the R3 are accessible to the R7.
While the R7 inherits the AF performance of the R3, the imaging sensors are not shared; therefore, the AF performance is not completely identical. However, in use, it is challenging to tell the difference.
Canon's outstanding AF performance was the primary reason I migrated fully to mirrorless cameras. Especially with subject tracking and eye detection, getting properly focused images is unbelievably easier than it was not very long ago, especially in challenging scenarios.
The EOS R7's Dual Pixel CMOS AF system features 651 AF Areas (5915 manually selectable AF positions available for stills, 4823 for Movies) covering up to approx. 100% x 100% of the frame. Those coming from a DSLR will find the ability to maintain continuous focus with a point in the periphery of the image game-changing. Here is a sample showing that benefit and a bit of discussion from the R5 review.
Notice where the rider's head is positioned within the frame (an R5 capture), and notice where the auto-selected AF point is? If the eye is not in focus, the image will probably be deleted immediately. The eye AF feature of the latest EOS cameras works incredibly well, tenaciously keeping eyes in focus with no significant effort on the photographer's part, even when the subject rapidly changes position in the frame — and even through brush or a fence. This feature is incredible.
I put the R5's eye and face (and helmet) detection AF, the predecessor to the newer R7 system, to one of the most challenging tests I encounter: a quarterhorse cantering/galloping toward the camera at frame-filling and closer distances with the shallowest depth of field available provided by the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens. This shoot was timed for the warm late-day sunlight, but the forecast changed in the afternoon. Instead of having warm light bathing the subject, late evening heavy cloud cover added to the AF challenge. Camera settings started at ISO 4000, 1/1600, f/4 and ended with ISO 6400, 1/1250 resulting in 1-stop underexposed images (essentially yielding ISO 12800). The near-latest-captured images are shown in the frame rate illustrations earlier in the review.
In addition to having a fast closing speed, the horse rapidly goes up and down — faster than I can adjust the camera to maintain an AF point on the rider's head. As the horse gets closer, its ears begin to bounce up into the selected AF point, causing AF confusion with the closer contrast usually causing the camera to adjust focus to the horse's head, considerably forward of the rider. Focusing on the horse is only fine if it, not the rider, is your subject. When using a DSLR, the top focus point (when shooting in vertical orientation) is not high enough in the frame to enable use of the entire field of view, with the top of the resulting images often requiring cropping for the subject to fill the frame.
With the R5 set to people eye priority and that camera's 20 fps continuous high speed+ mode selected, the AF system accurately tracked the rider's head (when very far away) and eye (when closer) incredibly well as it rapidly bounced up and down, using nearly the entire frame — at distances as close as I could keep the head in the frame.
I'm blown away at how easy it now is to maintain proper focus in this challenging situation. Especially reassuring is seeing the red AF square rapidly tracking the subject's eye while shooting. The images below are cropped and reduced examples from the R5's 20 fps electronic shutter illustration above (ISO 12800-equivalent), representing under 0.6 seconds.
When the rider turned back for another pass, the R5's head detection showed its prowess, accurately determining that a helmet was in the frame and tracking it.
The primary challenge remains for me to direct the camera for proper subject framing. Additionally challenging was selecting down the keepers from a huge number of mostly in-focus frames captured in a short time. Some mental retraining is required to delete perfectly good images.
I was especially excited by the addition of animal tracking. Initially introduced with the R5, the Canon AF system identifies and steadfastly holds focus on most animals' eyes. In the field, I find animal eye AF as game-changing as people eye AF. One of the biggest challenges of photographing wildlife is keeping the proper AF point selected, such as when a swimming duck instantly changes direction. Now, in many cases, the camera takes care of that challenge for you, and that feature alone is worth the price of the camera.
The above image is greatly reduced but notice the red AF indicator square precisely on the eye (look closely). Even the eyes of frogs covered in duckweed are readily detected (again, look for the red AF square).
That was the initial EOS R5 AF experience, but now the EOS R3, an upgrade to the R5 and R6, and the R7 feature a new level of subject tracking capabilities. Included are people, animal, and vehicle subject detection options.
For people, eye, face, head, and body detection are featured in that priority order based on detectability. When more than one eye is in the frame, the camera selects the closest eye and provides an option to switch to the other eye(s) — press the joystick in the other eye's direction, and that eye will be tracked.
Notice the R7 picking up this skateboarder's eye?
The R7's animal priority detection is the same as that of the R3. Dogs, cats, and birds are specifically listed for animal detection, but this feature works exceptionally well for many other species on these cameras. For example, they readily recognize deer eyes.
While the above target may not seem overly challenging for eye detection, the example below shows one of the game-changing aspects of this feature. Read the Can Your Camera Focus on an Eye Behind Brush? page for more information, but autofocusing on an eye in thick brush is an outstanding capability.
Eye, face, and body detection is available.
New on the R3 and now available on the R7 is vehicle priority, adding detection of the other primary in-motion subject. This mode targets motorsports (automobile, motorcycle), formula car, GT car, rally car, and on- and off-road motorcycles, targeting the whole or spot (when no roof is present) subject. Deep learning technology is used, and helmet detection is featured.
The subject-tracking feature in the R5 was available only with the entire available AF area active. In the R5 review, I mentioned that it would be helpful to be able to limit the area that the camera has to select the subject within. The R3 and now the R7 bring us that feature, with all AF area options having tracking capabilities. Tracking can be independently turned on or off.
For example, enable tracking, put a spot AF point near a subject, and half-press the shutter release. The R7 will pick up the subject and track it throughout the frame (in servo AF mode). This is an extremely useful feature.
For much of a kids' event I photographed with a 50mm f/1.2 lens set to f/1.2, I used servo (continuous focus) mode with a spot AF point selected and tracking enabled. Placing that point near a subject's eye and half-pressing the shutter release maintained the camera's focus while I recomposed for optimal composition. The eye very reliably stays in sharp focus.
With the extreme number of focus points available on this camera, moving between individual focus points can become a challenge, including significant repetitive button pressing or holding. However, this camera has multiple great AF area selection options.
The joystick multi-controller, nearly ubiquitous on a pro-grade camera, is an easy and well-understood option provided on the R7. This controller is Canon's very responsive 8-way type, as it should be. It works well, but it does not avoid the pressing or holding needed for more significant changes.
The tap, touch, and drag AF touchscreen interface introduced initially on the EOS M5 is a fantastic Canon EOS focus point selection option. That feature has been included in all EOS mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras since — except the EOS R3. Fortunately, the Touch and Drag feature is back with the R7.
While the R7 has adequate focus area selection options, I don't use manual AF area selection nearly as frequently because the subject detection technology performs so well.
The R7 can AF at EV -5 – 20 (at 23°C & ISO100). EV -5 is really dark. This is not Canon's best-rated low-light focusing camera, but it is among the best. That performance is with the AF assist lamp covered.
Located on the right side of the camera is a bright LED focus assist lamp that extends AF capabilities into complete darkness within its very good range. The focus assist lamp typically clears the hands holding the camera, a notable feature because some camera models have a left-side AF assist lamp that shines directly into the left hand when using a normal shooting position. A lens hood can partially block this light, and sometimes hood removal may be optimal, depending on the focus point selected and the amount of reflected assist light available for the selected point.
The R7's supported AF areas are similar to the R3. Featured is Automatic selection (651 Available AF areas) or Manual selection: 1-point AF (AF frame size can be changed with 5915 AF positions available stills (4823 Movies)), AF point Expansion 4 points (up, down, left, right), AF point Expansion surrounding (all surrounding points), Flexible Zone AF 1-3 (all AF points divided into minimum 9 to 567 maximum focusing zones), Whole Area AF (entire focusing area with 651 maximum focusing zones). Note that, when enabled, subject tracking in Servo AF mode will take over the AF point selection once the subject is established. Turn off tracking to lock AF to the selected point or area.
The R7 focuses very fast, and this advanced AF system is suitable for practically all pursuits. The R7 results from shooting action, including skateboarding, volleyball, and soccer, along with a couple of hours of bird photography, were nearly all in sharp focus.
For those choosing between Sony and Canon MILCs, note that the Canon does not defocus the lens before focusing in One Shot AF mode. Especially because of this design difference, the Canon's One Shot AF lock time is dramatically faster than the current Sony camera models.
Most review-time-current sensor-based AF systems do not provide cross-sensitive AF point technology, and Canon has not promoted otherwise for the R7. This camera may struggle to focus on only perfectly horizontally oriented lines of contrast. That said, I don't often encounter this issue with any of the R-series cameras. Rolling the camera slightly until focused will usually resolve AF lock-on issues.
With AF calculations made directly on the imaging sensor (vs. on a separate sensor in a DSLR), AF calibration becomes a greatly reduced issue, and EOS R7 AF accuracy is especially excellent, very reliably precisely focusing shot after shot. With imaging sensor-based AF, this camera can be expected to focus consistently accurately, even with third-party lenses. Using the imaging sensor for AF enables the mirrorless advantage features such as the precise eye and subject tracking just discussed.
Canon's AF Case settings are provided. AF tracking sensitivity, acceleration/deceleration tracking, One-Shot AF release priority, and AF point auto switching can be independently adjusted, enabling autofocus performance to be dialed in to your needs. Similar to the 1D X Mark III and R3, the previous Case 5 and 6 are omitted, and AF Case A (Auto) is included, instructing the camera to analyze the scene and optimize the settings in real-time. This AF system performs superbly in the Auto setting for most uses, leaving another challenging setup to the camera's judgment.
Focus Peaking and Focus Guide manual focusing aids are available.
With RF-mount lenses utilizing electronic focus only, a variable adjustment rate manual focus ring can be implemented. Turn the focus ring quickly, and focus distances change very fast. Turn the ring slowly, and very precise focusing becomes available. The variable rate manual focusing can be advantageous if properly implemented. Still, I often find the difference in rotation rates to be too similar, and the variable speed becomes a frustration, making rocking the focus ring into precise focus a challenge. An R7 menu option enables linear manual focus adjustments.
A very useful feature first provided in the Canon EOS RP and then on the R5 was Focus Bracketing. Now found in the R7, this feature has more details to be understood, and the Canon Focus Bracketing page delves into this topic.
The R7 features 4K 60P recording with 7k oversampling — for up to 6 hours. Full HD 120p is supported. Overheating may become problematic at near 1-hour durations at the highest bitrate recording settings, and recording stops when the card capacity is exceeded.
Vertical video is supported.
As expected, recording stops when the card capacity is exceeded, but note that movies are finished on the card when batteries become drained.
A Heat control submenu provides heat-related options. Figure close to an hour of recording at the highest bitrates before thermal shutdown.
More to come.
The EOS R3's high-performing metering system features 384 zones (24x16), and the metering range specification is good: EV -2 – 20 (at 23°C, ISO100, with evaluative metering).
EOS R7's metering modes include Evaluative metering (AF point-linked), Partial metering (approx. 6% of the area at the center of the screen), Spot metering (approx. 3% of the area at the center of the screen), and Center-weighted average metering. Exposure compensation is +/-3 stops in 1/3- or 1/2-stop increments.
AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing) uses those same numbers with 2, 3, 5, or 7 shots available.
I am increasingly impressed by EOS cameras' metering capabilities, and the R7's metering system is highly reliable. While I still use manual mode 95% of the time, I rely on the camera's metering via Auto ISO a significant percentage of that time.
Related to metering is Canon's Anti-flicker mode (mentioned before), a feature that has migrated to the EOS R7. This mode is a game-changer when photographing under flickering lights, especially when photographing fast action.
The EOS R7's nicely sized 0.39" (9.9mm), approximately 2.36 million dots OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) looks good (the same specs as the EOS RP), and the 59.94 fps "Power Saving" and 119.88 fps "Smooth" refresh rates perform well.
The EOS R7's EVF has a huge 1.15x magnification and a 22mm-high eyepoint, with dioptric adjustment (approx. -4.0 to +2.0) facilitating viewfinder use without eyeglasses. Brightness is adjustable in 5 steps, along with auto adjustment based on perceived ambient brightness. EVF color tone is adjustable in two levels (2 each blue/amber or green/magenta).
An EVF makes a configurable vast amount of information available for display (including the focal length) and also makes that information rotatable when shooting vertically. A quality EVF makes viewing images easy, especially when zooming in for sharpness verification, especially in bright daylight, and especially for eyes that otherwise require corrective optics (if you don't need glasses now, you will need them at some point).
The R7's non-removable eyecup is substantial in size and flexes easily to aid in blocking light as well as helping to avoid eyebrow bruising. According to Canon engineers, the non-removable eyecup design allowed "... increasing the EVF magnification slightly, and allowed moving the rear-most optics in the EVF farther backward." [Canon]
I was a big fan of optical viewfinders, but the latest EVFs converted me. The OVF simulation view assist provides an OVF-like HDR view of a scene if that is your preference.
The EOS R7's rear LCD is a 3.0" (7.62cm) Clear View LCD II TFT, approx. 1.62M dot, Vari-angle Touchscreen LCD with a 59.94fps refresh rate (slower in low light levels and when magnification is in use). Video display refresh rates correspond to the selected movie frame rate (except for High Frame Rate 120p video).
The Vari-angle feature of this LCD permits rotation of nearly 180° horizontally and 270° vertically, making hard-to-get shots and unique perspectives (including selfies) easy to capture. This feature has especially great appeal for vlogging.
Anti-smudge coating is applied, making the LCD easy to clean. Anti-reflection coating has not been applied.
The proximity detector (outside the viewfinder on the right) allows the camera to automatically select the optimal display, but the menu system permits manual selection of a preference.
Canon's touchscreens make changing camera settings easy, including via Canon's always excellent menu structure and the handy "Q" button (showing the Quick Control screen).
Canon R-series cameras provide a significant number of logically positioned controls, and those familiar with any of the other Canon R-series cameras will feel immediately at home with the R7 in their hands. Those familiar only with the DSLR controls will require a bit of acclimating, though the change is easily worth the small effort. After settings up the camera to my preference, I was immediately ready to shoot whatever arrived in front of the lens.
The Canon EOS standard location for the menu button is on the top-left of the camera's back, and that is where it landed on the R7. This is the only left-side control on the back — left side controls are out of reach for the right thumb, requiring the left thumb.
Moving to the right, we find a modestly-sized (non-removable) eyecup that extends nicely behind the LCD screen, along with the eye-detection sensor. I appreciate the nose relief that this design affords. The diopter control is on the left side of the EVF and is rather easy to access while looking through the viewfinder.
Moving farther to the right, we find an easy-to-reach joystick — inside a control you've not seen before. I love that Canon is trying something new, and this feature is a good one.
The dial surrounding the joystick feature requires a bit of acclimation to retrain the brain. While the joystick is flush inside the dial, making it slightly harder to find and use, the dial easy to reach while retaining a firm grip on the camera.
The top-right three buttons provide the usual AF-ON, Exposure lock, and AF point/area selection (magnify during playback) functionality. The latter two buttons are vertically stacked to fit into the small space.
The slightly dished multi-function controller to the right of the LCD has a 4-way cross keys functionality. It seems there was an opportunity to include a third dial in this location, but the 4-way functionality is easy to use with raised nubs assisting. The center button functions as the "Q" Quick control button in addition to "Set."
Dedicated Info, Playback, and Trash buttons are conveniently located above and below the 4-way cross keys controller. These buttons are flush with the back of the camera, requiring an intentional press to activate (and possibly a look to locate). Note that the AF-ON button is slightly raised, making it easier to find tactilely.
The top of the R7 shows both new and old features.
The shutter release, M-Fn button, Main/top dial, and movie record button retain their current standard locations.
Pressing the M-Fn button enables the last-used function to be changed using the Main (top-front) dial. Pressing M-FN repeatedly steps through the settings enabled for this feature, with again, the Main dial being used to change the setting selected.
The red Movie shooting button provides instant access to video recording. I prefer the top position of this button vs. the rear position design often used.
A dedicated ISO button provides fast access to this most-used function, and the usual lock button is located by itself in an otherwise black area of the top panel. The nicely-raised Lock button prevents settings changes as configured in the Tools menu Multi-function lock option.
Near the far right (from the back of the camera perspective) of the top is the power dial. This camera's dial has three positions, including a dedicated movie setting. The dial works great and is easy to access with the grip hand, though reaching the center position requires a bit more care.
R-series camera models without a top LCD continue to have a dedicated mode dial, and this dial is loaded with options. The fully automatic point-and-shoot mode is a requisite member of the dial. Complete beginners can open the box, charge and install the battery, insert a memory card, and select the green A+ fully-automatic Scene Intelligent Auto mode to have a camera ready to go, taking care of everything for point and shoot simplicity. This mode is simple to use from the user's perspective. Still, it is far from simple from a technological standpoint as it uses powerful artificial intelligence algorithms to deliver excellent results across a wide range of situations.
Fv, Flexible-priority AE mode has become a standard option on the R-series cameras.
Also included are Canon's standard P, Av, Tv, M, and Bulb modes along with three convenient custom modes. Additionally, the R7 gets the special scene (such as Portrait, Group, Landscape, Sports, Kids, Panning, Close-up, Food, Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene, HDR Backlight Control, and Silent) and creative filter modes.
Video selection migrated from the mode dial to the power switch, as mentioned, with the mode dial then selecting settings for movie recording.
Moving farther to the left, we find the viewfinder bulge, again featuring plenty of nose relief on the camera back. Canon's new multi-function shoe is provided, and the RF lens mount shows itself prominently on the front.
The left side of the EOS R7 (as viewed from behind) features HDMI (HDMI Micro out Type D, HDMI-CEC not supported), USB (Hi-Speed USB 2.0 USB Type-C connector also used for computer communication / smartphone communication / USB power), Headphone socket (3.5mm stereo mini jack), RS-60E3-type remote control terminal, and External Microphone In (3.5mm Stereo mini jack) ports.
The camera's right side features a spring-loaded slide-and-open memory card door and the usual neck strap holder.
The front view of the camera shows the usual shutter release, AF assist LED, IR receiver, and lens release button.
New for the R-series is the AF/MF switch.
Minimally the first two RF-S lenses omit all buttons and switches, and the switch I miss the most on such lenses is AF/MF switch. Canon takes care of this omission by providing a conveniently located AF/MF switch on the front of the camera.
Without releasing the grip on the camera, the switch can be toggled with one finger.
By default, the button within the AF/MF switch is programmed for the depth of field preview function. However, many other functions can be assigned to this button.
The bottom of the R7 features the standard tripod threaded insert.
Is battery grip available for the Canon EOS R7? Unfortunately, no, and the grip positioning holes are not provided.
While not game-changingly smaller or lighter than the EOS full-frame mirrorless cameras, the R7 is refreshingly small and light.
|Model||Body Dimensions||CIPA Weight|
|Canon EOS 7D Mark II||5.9 x 4.4 x 3.1"||(148.6 x 112.4 x 78.2mm)||32.1 oz (910g)|
|Canon EOS 90D||5.5 x 4.1 x 3.0"||(140.7 x 104.8 x 76.8mm)||24.7 oz (701g)|
|Canon EOS R3||5.9 x 5.6 x 3.4"||(150 x 142.6 x 87.2mm)||35.8 oz (1015g)|
|Canon EOS R5||5.5 x 3.8 x 3.5"||(138.0 x 97.5 x 88.0mm)||26.0 oz (738g)|
|Canon EOS R6||5.5 x 3.8 x 3.5"||(138.0 x 97.5 x 88.4mm)||24.0 oz (680g)|
|Canon EOS R7||5.2 x 3.6 x 3.6"||(132.0 x 90.4 x 91.7mm)||21.6 oz (612g)|
|Canon EOS R10||4.8 x 3.5 x 3.3"||(122.5 x 87.8 x 83.4mm)||15.1 oz (429g)|
|Canon EOS R||5.4 x 3.9 x 3.3"||(135.8 x 98.3 x 84.4mm)||23.4 oz (660g)|
|Canon EOS RP||5.2 x 3.4 x 2.8"||(132.5 x 85.3 x 70mm)||17.3 oz (485g)|
|Canon EOS M6 Mark II||4.7 x 2.8 x 1.9"||(119.6 x 70.0 x 49.2mm)||14.4 oz (408g)|
|Canon EOS M50 Mark II||4.6 x 3.5 x 2.3"||(116.3 x 88.1 x 58.7mm)||13.7 oz (387g)|
|Canon EOS M200||4.3 x 2.6 x 1.4"||(108.2 x 67.1 x 35.1mm)||11.3 oz (320g)|
The R7 with a battery and memory card (no strap) weighs 21.5 oz (610.7g) on my scale.
When small size is paramount, the grip is an easy target, and Canon did a great job of reducing the R7's grip size while keeping it usable even with larger lenses.
Primarily, the space between the R7's grip and the lens mount is shortened modestly from the previous R-series models. After photographing and holding the R7 with a mounted RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM Lens continuously for a couple of hours, I could tell that one knuckle on my size-large hand had been slightly against the lens. I was not feeling pain, but was noticing contact.
The grip depth, shelf above the grip, surface grip material, and overall ergonomics are excellent.
Here is a mechanical shutter durability rating chart:
|Model||Shutter Durability Rating|
|Canon EOS 7D Mark II||200,000|
|Canon EOS 90D||120,000|
|Canon EOS R5||500,000|
|Canon EOS R6||300,000|
|Canon EOS R7||200,000|
|Canon EOS R||200,000|
|Canon EOS RP||100,000|
The 200,000 mechanical shutter number should be adequate for most users of this camera.
The R7 is weather-sealed at a level similar to the EOS 90D, which is specified by Canon as having a "Combination of sealing materials and high-precision parts for a dust-proof and drip-proof design." The sealing on the 90D is not as complete as on Canon's higher-end models, including the 7D II. You may not intentionally get a camera wet, but sometimes, wet happens.
The R7's shutter closes when the camera is powered down, adding an extra level of protection to the imaging sensor.
Magnesium alloy and high-strength engineering plastic are the R7's primary structural materials.
Overall, this is a quality-built camera.
Helpful is that the R7 can directly plug into a phone using a MiFi-certified cable.
Wireless LAN (IEEE802.11b/g/n) (2.4 GHz), with Bluetooth 4.2 support is provided. Connect to EOS Utility or a Smartphone, Upload to image.canon, or print wirelessly.
In-camera panoramic shot, in-camera depth compositing, in-camera backlight, and auto panning mode are featured.
Like the R5 and R6, the R7 uses the high-capacity Canon LP-E6NH Li-ion Battery Pack (2130mAh), 14% more powerful than the Canon LP-E6N (1865 mAh) utilized in a large number of previous EOS camera models. An increased capacity battery helps offset a downside of mirrorless cameras relative to DSLRs, the reduced number of shots available from the same battery capacity.
The LP-E6NH battery's form factor is very nice, featuring a significant amount of power in a compact size – several fit comfortably in my pocket. I love the simplicity sharing the LP-E6-series batteries and chargers across my kit and appreciate that I can take a single, small, direct-plug charger when traveling, even when I have multiple camera models along. Especially great is that the entire series of batteries, including the original LP-E6 (1800 mAh), are forward and backward compatible, including their chargers.
There are several of these chargers in my kit, making it convenient to quickly charge multiple batteries.
The R7 is backward compatible with LP-E6N and LP-E6 battery packs and supports in-camera LP-E6NH battery charging with the Canon USB Power Adapter PD-E1. The R7 can be AC-powered using the Canon AC Adapter AC-E6N plus Canon DC Coupler DR-E6.
The CIPA battery life rating (at 23°C) for the LCD is approximately 770 shots in "Power Saving" mode and 660 shots in "Smooth" mode. The EVF rating is about 500 shots in "Power Saving" mode and 380 shots in "Smooth" mode. Bulb exposure maxes at approx. 5 hours and Full HD video recording is approx. 3:50 (less for 4K).
In real-world shooting, the CIPA numbers are often far exceeded, and getting twice the rated shots per charge is not surprising. When field-testing the R7 in a variety of scenarios, about 2,000 EVF-captured images were on the card before the battery indicator started blinking red. Overall, I'm comfortable with this battery's life in the many cameras I've experienced it in.
the remaining battery capacity (6-levels and % remaining) and recharge performance (3-levels) are indicated.
As mentioned, a battery grip is not available for the R7. That is an accessory I will miss, primarily due to the less comfortable vertical shooting position.
A lens can make a big difference in a camera's overall performance and resulting image quality, and the growing, directly compatible Canon RF Lens lineup is quite impressive.
The EOS R7 is available in a body-only kit or in a kit with the Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens, a good lens that shares the optical design of the Canon EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM. The kit lens is nicely paired to the EOS R7.
For those who want to upgrade to a professional grade lens, my choice for an R7 standard zoom lens would be the Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens, Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens, or Canon RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM Lens. These lenses offer a great general-purpose focal length range, wide apertures, image stabilization, high-performing AF systems, professional-grade build quality, and excellent image quality.
Those often shooting in especially dark environments may find the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM Lens to be their perfect standard zoom lens option. This lens is an ideal choice for weddings and events, but its size and weight may suggest a second, lighter lens to be included in the kit.
Again, the Canon RF Lens lineup is very impressive, featuring many options for varied needs.
Via one of the Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS Rs, ranging from relatively low to rather high-priced, Canon EF, TS-E, and MP-E lenses become compatible. These adapted lenses perform as native (with potential added benefits such as IBIS and improved AF accuracy).
EF-S lenses are also supported via the adapter, easing the transition from an APS-C DSLR to a mirrorless camera.
Canon's EF-M lenses are not compatible with the RF mount, even with the adapter, and because of their shorter flange back distance, it is unlikely that we will see a Canon option to support this combination. Note that when using some third-party manual focus lenses on the adapter (Rokinon/Samyang, for example), the camera may not take a photo unless "Release shutter without lens" is enabled in the menu.
Next, minimally add a telephoto zoom lens to the kit. The Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens is an outstanding choice.
Priced modestly higher than the EOS 90D, the R7 will be found a great value by those needing high performance without a high price.
Keeping a review of the incredibly-feature-laden EOS R7 concise but complete is a difficult balance, and this review is not a complete description of every EOS R7 feature available. Canon Technical Service's R7 specification document is 150 pages long, and the owner's manual (a link to the manual will be provided with this review) that highlights all of the features found on this camera and explains their use will be much longer. Read the manual, use the camera, repeat (or, turn the mode dial to the green square, and don't worry about the rest).
Owning a Canon product provides access to Canon support, and the support Canon's USA division has provided me is excellent (sorry, I have no experience with the other Canon divisions). When I call for support, I get an intelligent person who sincerely wants to help with the question or problem. Canon repair service, though I seldom need it, is fast and reliable. Those residing in the USA with an EOS R7 in their kit along with point-qualifying lenses will qualify for Canon Professional Services membership and the additional support benefits this membership provides.
The production EOS R7 used for this review was on loan from Canon USA.
The power and performance delivered by the relatively affordable Canon EOS R7 are impressive. This camera handles most challenges with ease, and most importantly, the imagery it can capture is outstanding. Wildlife photographers (including birders) and sports photographers (including parents) will be especially attracted to this camera.
Bringing you this site is my full-time job (typically 60-80 hours per week). Thus, I depend solely on the commissions received from you using the links on this site to make any purchase. I am grateful for your support! - Bryan