Why I’m excited about the upcoming Canon 7D

8689636.jpgOkay, it’s still a rumor, the magic press conference isn’t supposed to happen until Sep/1 but from what we’ve seen popping up here and there, the 7D seems to be a real possibility.

At the same time I see a lot of “What? No full frame??!” popping up on various sources. But if you detach yourself from the thought that this has to be a Canon 5D Mk II replacement (too early!) and if you take into account the current economy (Photographers looking at alternatives to the big bodies), and if take apart the alleged key specs of that camera, things start to become a bit more interesting.

Rumor 1: 18MP APS-C

Aaaah, lots of pixels (but not quite 21MP as the 5D MkII) and a 1.6 crop sensor. Makes sense to not pack 21 million pixels on a smaller sensor. I expect the pixel density to be similar to that of the 5D Mk II and they’ve got that covered pretty well. Why is the 1.6 crop sensor good? Because it serves a bunch of different crowds. A 1.6 crop will give you more performance in the telephoto range. A 300mm lens will behave as if it was 480mm long. Wildlife anyone? Or sports? And the big ISO range of up to 3200 (or even up to 6400 and 12800, even though I don’t expect that to be too usable) is going to allow those long (and not too bright) lenses to be used in more situations. Also imagine the wedding photographer who will have to switch back and forth between wide angle and telephoto a lot. Back in the day of film they simply had two bodies, one with a telephoto lens and one with a wide angle and all was good. If you already own a 5D or a 5D Mk II that you use more in the wide angle range, the 7D will make an ideal companion for it. It’s not too heavy to carry around (I expect the form factor to be similar to that of the 5D Mk II) and you can use it to squeeze quite a bit more focal length out of your long lenses.

Rumor 2: Dual DIGIC 4

Yess. Faster processing. If we can believe the rumors, this will allow for 8 frames per second. If you’re a sports shooter, this will make you happy. Especially as you won’t have to shell out as big as you would’ve had to pay for a 1D MkIII, which admittedly is even faster, but will most likely still be way more expensive too.

Rumor 3: 19 cross AF sensors

19 cross type sensors means more effective Servo AF, e.g. better tracking of moving targets. Sports photography anyone?

If any of those rumors are true, I believe Canon will have a very exciting camera in their portfolio that has a lot to offer to a lot of people. Let’s wait and see what Sep/1 will actually bring.

(Rumored specs and pic via canonrumors.com)

Update: typos fixed

Author: Chris Marquardt

Chris Marquardt is co-author of Absolut analog and The Film Photography Handbook. He hosts Tips from the Top Floor, the world's longest running photography show. Chris teaches photography all over the world on his photo tours. He is also a regular on the TWiT Network.

7 thoughts on “Why I’m excited about the upcoming Canon 7D”

  1. It looks to me it is time for a upgrade. I have the 40d as of now.
    And I will not need no upgrades for lens.
    I believe it will be a good move up
    for me and others that still keep are older lens.
    As for the 18MP good job Canon .
    I don’t believe it needs 21MP.

  2. Yes, I agree on it being a great stable mate for a 5D / 5D MK2 – but i’m confused a little by the nomenclature for this body.

    It feels a lot more like a worthy successor for the 40/50D line – ie a 60D rather than a XD line. The XD line should have remained full frame or 1.3 crop. IMHO.

  3. “A 1.6 crop will give you more performance in the telephoto range.”

    I never understood people who claim the crop sensor is somehow an advantage for telephoto. Isn’t it as if you took the same photo with a full frame and then just cropped it? Where is the advantage? It’s not zoomed in any further, you don’t get any more details. Is the advantage just that it does the cropping for you? I just don’t see how this always-on, forced cropping, could be any advantage to anyone.

  4. The cropped sensor does just crop the scene but it does so at full resolution. On a 5DMII you could get a similar focal length equivalent by cropping the image in post knowing that you’re throwing away 8MP in the process. Not a big deal since 13MP is still plenty for larger prints, however the cropped sensor will show you the scene already cropped (or zoomed) which allows for proper framing to begin with. ID prefer to have two identical bodies whether they are both full frame or not – makes decisions about which camera / lens combination to use a lot easier.


  5. When the sensor is APS-C (1.6x), then a full frame sensor is 2.56 times bigger =>
    1) to crop out the APS-C rectangular from a MKII RAW would mean 21/2.56 = 8 MP which is less detail than 18 MP
    2) BUT obviously the 18 MP on a crop sensor are not similar sized but much smaller than the 21 MP on a full frame. ISO6400, hahaha.

    Or am I wrong?

  6. A lot of rumors on bodies. What about lenses? Canon “L” lens team is long hibernating. Almost all the L lenses were introduced b4 2000. Some of them need urgent replacements but no wind about it. C’on wake up and listen to the users’ requirements.

  7. I also have a question about lenses. Any rumors about when Canon is going to bring out something new similar to the
    Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III?

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