HDR Guide

Canon 7D Camera Review

Steaming Edamame

This Canon 7D review is from Matt Koenig is a photographer who is passionate about world travel and making inspiring images.  He writes about photography at Matt Koenig Photography where his Monday Photo Inspiration series is a reader favorite.

I’ve been shooting with the Canon 5D Mark II for several years now but I had a need for a second camera body and the Canon 7D was at the top of my list.  Some of the features that drew me to the Canon 7D included a high speed continuous shooting mode of up to 8 fps and a much more accurate 19-point AF (all cross point)  system.

Recently I shot my kids soccer season and both of these features really exceeded my expectations.  First, with the high speed continuous shooting mode and a fast UDMA CF card I was able to capture all of the action without missing important frames.  With the Canon 7D set to AI Servo and the AF set to Auto Select (all 19 focusing points are used) I was easily able to track running players and maintain focus while panning.  This works extremely well even in lower light situations.  The AF system is really incredible and I now find myself reaching for the Canon 7D over the Canon 5D II more often than not.

Jalapeno splash in water, shot with Canon 7D

Photo by Matt Koenig with Canon 7D

Unlike the Canon 5D II which has a full frame sensor the Canon 7D has an APS-C sensor (1.6X crop factor).  What this means is that when you put a 50mm lens on the Canon 7D the effective focal length is actually 80mm (50mm X 1.6).  This works to your advantage when shooting things like sports or wildlife where the extra reach is welcome.

In terms of high ISO performance the Canon 7D performs well and I’m not afraid to shoot at ISO 3200.  It’s not quite as good a performer as the Canon 5D II however, but the differences are marginal in most shooting conditions in my opinion.  The ISO can be set as high as 12800.

I also really like the ergonomics of the camera.  The button layout is different than the Canon 5D II and features a dedicated video mode button and a relocated power switch.

I’ve also found the 7D to be a better camera for HDR than the 5D Markii.  Most notably due to the 8FPS speeds over the 3FPS of the 5D.

The 8fps is so fast in fact that I can often get by (though not ideal) without a tripod for a lot of 3 bracket HDR shots – especially when I’m not shooting in low light.

Sunset shot with a Canon 7D

Photo by Matt Koenig, shot with Canon 7D


You can auto bracket your shots ±3 stops in 1/3- stop increments for 3 successive shots.  To setup the Canon 7D for HDR shooting follow these 3 steps.

  1. Set the camera to high speed continuous shooting mode
  2. Set the exposure bracketing sequence to make sure the exposures come out in the correct order ( -, 0, +)
  3. Set the auto exposure bracketing

One limitation of the Canon 7D (and most Canon cameras) is that you are limited to taking 3 auto bracketed exposures at once.  So what you will need to do is set the auto bracketed exposure to say ±1, take your 3 shots and then go back into the auto bracket menu and change it to ±2 and take another 3 shots.  Keep doing this until you have the series you want in order to create your HDR image.

One tip to make this easier is to utilize the custom settings feature of the Canon 7D under the Camera User Settings menu.  Register each bracketed setting so that all you have to do to quickly change the bracketed settings is change your mode dial to C1, C2 and C3 where C1 might be an exposure bracket of ±1 and C2 would be an exposure bracket of ±2 and so on.

I’m extremely pleased with the performance and reliability of the Canon 7D.  With its fast 8 fps continuous shooting mode, 19-point AF system and 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor it’s a well-rounded package for any shooting situation, especially HDR.

Priced at $1699 (body only), it’s far from a cheap camera, but really provides incredible bang for the buck.

Posted 5 years ago on 05 June 2012

About Matt Koenig

This Canon 7D review is from Matt Koenig is a photographer who is passionate about world travel and making inspiring images. He writes about photography at Matt Koenig Photography where his Monday Photo Inspiration series is a reader favorite.

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