On 1st of September, Canon has announced a new professional DSLR model: EOS 7D. It's not full-frame but offers many interesting and pro features.
Infact it is not an evolution of the full frame 5D (older model or newer 5D Mark II) but a "crop sensor" model, so compatible with EF-S lenses. Nevertheless it offers professional features, much more than the latest prosumer model EOS 50D (a crop sensor model), in terms of burst rate, focusing, build and other capabilities that we will describe here.
Let's see the main innovations of this model:
- sensor: a new 18 megapixels CMOS sensor, the pixel race continues though the sensor is relatively "small" (not a full frame). Canon claims the smaller size of pixels will not impact on reduced dynamic range and increased noise for a new sensor design. Several tests will have to be done to prove that.
- burst rate: notably up to 8 frames per seconds, candidating this model for sport photography. Consider that EOS 50D reaches 6 fps while 5D Mark II "only" 3.9 fps, that is anyway enough for most shooters. The high burst rate is made possible by 2 DIGIC IV processors.
- build: solid build with dust and moisture sealing (Canon claims like in the old EOS 1N film cameras).
- exposure metering: a new system with 65 zones, up from 35 zones offered so far by Canon, and taking into account both color and luminance. Here competition with Nikon had its beneficial effect: Nikon from years is offering a 1005 zone system considering both color and luminance. Canon had to reduce the gap...
- exposure compensation: finally +/- 5 EV, after years of just +/- 2 EV when almost all other systems offered a wider range...
- focus zones: 19 cross-type (i.e. high precision) focus points, up from 9 cross-type in 50D and 15 in 5D Mark II, so a notable improvement. Focus points can be considered together in groups for better tracking of moving subjects.
- viewfinder: 100% coverage (cool) and slightly bigger than 50D, but smaller than 5D that is full frame. Size of the viewfinder is often neglected in evaluating a DSLR but is an important aspect for a DSLR for proper control of focusing and composition/framing.
- video: full HD recording with manual control of aperture (added recently to 5D Mark II with a firmware update) up to 4 GB of filesize, that is around 19 minutes at highest resolution or longer with lower resolution.
- other features: a built-in wireless flash control, a new anti-reflection LCD (3 inches with 921'000 pixels - here no news), many operation customizations (basically many buttons are configurable).
- Weight: 820 gr, just 10 grams more than 5D/5D Mark II but 335 gr less than 1D Mark III.
Initial price should be around $ 1700, so about 500 $ more than 50D (that will probably soon be replaced) and almost $ 1000 less than 5D Mark II, so filling a market gap. A probable good move from Canon.
An official brochure from Canon is available at this link.