Ok, so where do I start… As someone who bought the original 7D when it was released and had it be his workhorse for more than 4 years, to say that I couldn’t wait to see the Mark II version, would be an understatement. From rumours and leaks to the actual announcement, I feel like I’ve been duped. I wanted to believe that the some of the rumours weren’t true and that the 7D Mark II will have seriously improved video features. And it does, but more on that later.
After 5 years, the now classic 7D finally has a successor in the face of the Canon 7D Mark II. The 7D has always been a stills camera first and foremost, and the Mark II is no different. Catering to the sports/action photographers the 7D Mark II has video features which are a bit dated in 2014.
So in this post I’d focus mainly on the video features, as I am not a photographer and the stills features of the 7D/7D mark II are of little interest to me. If you want to learn more about the stills features of this camera, a quick google search will reveal plenty of photography related sites which will give you everything you need to know about the 7D Mark II and it’s amazing stills functions and features.
So in short here’s what Canon believes a modern DSLR should have:
Canon 7D Mark II Video Features
- 20.2 MP APS-C CMOS Sensor resolution (5,472 x 3,648)
- Dual DIGIC 6 Processors
- Dual Pixel AF (DAF – same as on the C100/C300)
- .MOV and .MP4 wrappers
- IPB and All-I compressions
- 1920 x 1080 / 60 fps, 30 fps, 24 fps
- 1280 x 720 / 60 fps, 30 fps
- 640 x 480 / 30 fps
- ISO 100 – 16,000 (expandable to 51,200)
- Headphones output, and microphone input
- Clean 8-bit 422 via Micro HDMI
- Magnesium Alloy Body Construction
- 3.0″ 1.04m-Dot Clear View II LCD Monitor
- Built-in intervalometer – so you can take those awesome timelapses
- To be released in Nov. 2014
- Priced at $1,799 – body only, or $2,149 with 18-135mm kit lens
I’ve seen 16,000 ISO touted as Native, but I find that hard to believe. We’re lucky if it is 3,200 native. Judging from the photos alone, I don’t see any changes to the design apart form the top dial, which now has the same 5D Mark III style lock button.
Ok, so first things first – No 4K recording whatsoever! This for me is the biggest letdown. While I haven’t been living in a cave in the last three years, I’ve noticed that Canon are probably the most conservative of all the big camera manufacturers. Hell, even Samsung are entering the 4K arena with the NX1! What Canon are doing making a clear cut separation between their PRO and Consumer lines in terms of video.
If you want to shoot 4K on a Canon DSLR – you have to go Canon 1DC, which no one is buying because the thing uses an outdated codec and costs 10 grand. Or, you get a C500, which you can’t get 4K out of unless you go externally via Odyssey 7Q or Codex external recorder. All these are part of the CINEMA EOS line or professional tools they offer.
To Canon 1080p is pro-sumer at best. They are making a killing off of the C100/C300, but this cash cow is not going to give milk forever, so expect some sort of a 4K variant at NAB 2015. I think one of the biggest problems they have in having decent 4K in their DSLRs or camcorders is the fact they don’t have a proprietary 4K or any kind of codec. Sony have XAVC for example, Blackmagic license ProRes. Whatever Canon are doing, they need to get their 4K codec fast and start implementing 4K throughout their line-up. But maybe that’s just wishful thinking. I personally do not think we’ll ever see 4K consumer/pro-sumer camera from Canon in the next 3-4 years.
They are going to resist change as much as they can and re-sell the same technology over and over again to maximize profits. It makes sense from a business perspective to a degree, but it’s quite a poor way to treat your existing customers, and hardly score any points with potential new customers looking for the latest and greatest. How are they going to sell a 1080p camera in 2014 and beyond, is definitely beyond me.
It will have aliasing and moire , just not as much as the original 7D, but the Canon CMOS sensors are not clean, as this one doesn’t seem to have OLPF, so Mosaic Engineering is where you’d have to go to get one.
What about Dual Pixel AF you say? Well, it’s neat , but the fact that you have to keep your subject in the centre of the frame, doesn’t add much for me. I can see it being useable in certain live, run’n gun situations of course, but not something I’d use every day. I don’t like to use anything automatic when I shoot video.
What about 1080p/60 then? Well it’s good to see it finally, but it is a feature present on most similar spec-ed cameras from competitors, and has been a standard for the last two years (GH3/4/A7s, Nikon D5300).
Clean HDMI 422 in glorious 8bit? – Who cares, seriously – is anyone using the uncompressed feed on the 5D Mark III?
What about Magic Lantern? – ML is probably the only people capable of bringing the 7D Mark II to the 2014 by doing their magic to make it shoot raw at least. We don’t know if they’ll support it, but we hope that happens soon.
[Canon 7D Mark II via Canon USA]