DV In Review: Canon EOS 7D

DV by Jay Holben

The Canon EOS 7D has its frustrations, but this DSLR is an exceptional production tool.

I take great pains with my reviews to be as thorough as possible to consider all the angles and to put the tools through real practical testing. I had the chance to do all of this with the Canon EOS 7D Hybrid DSLR/HD camera – and more. Due to Canon’s generosity, I’ve had the camera in my hands for much longer than most reviews would ever merit and I’ve had the opportunity to do several tests, still shoots as well as shoot a short film for director Jamie Neese.

As with all reviews, there are aspects of the Canon EOS 7D that I am critical about; no product is perfect and no single product can do everything that everyone would possibly want. My biggest conundrum here is that my most significant issues with the Canon 7D are really because I am trying to use the camera for what it was not designed to do. Although the 7D has HD video capabilities — 1920 x 1080 MPEG-4 H.264 AVC format with a Super 35-sized (APS-C) sensor — this is NOT a digital video camera. This is a still camera, and as a still camera it’s fantastic. I have been very happy with the quality, features and performance of the 7D as a still camera. The sensitivity of the chip is astounding, even with the slow 28-135mm or 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 package lenses.

My critical comments come from the camera’s shortcomings when shooting HD video in a production environment. In short, when you use the camera for what it’s not really meant to be used for, you have problems. Go figure.

The problems, however, are not insurmountable and, considering the cost of the camera and the quality of images it is capable of, in addition to all of the third-party tools and accessories coming on the market for the DLSR hybrid cameras, most of my issues quickly become moot.
So, with all that in mind, I’ll dive into my thoughts on the 7D. As an HD Digital video camera, the ability to have a full Super 35-sized sensor (22.3 x 14.9 mm) with incredible (6400 ISO) sensitivity for $1,700 is remarkable. The image quality is astounding – even though it’s H.264 MPEG4 4:2:0 video. Color representation and latitude are fantastic. The 7D shoots 1920 x 1080, 1280 x 720 or 640 x 480 video at 29.97, 25, 23.976, 59.94 or 50 frames per second. Both 1920 x 1080 and 1280 x 720 are recorded at 330 MB/min (44 Mb/s). read more...

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