Let's review noise next. Following are a pair of 100% crop comparisons between the 7D, 50D, 5D II,1D III and Rebel T1i/500D. Comparing apples to apples. If you have read any of the site's other recent Canon EOS DSLR camera reviews, you will recognize the following color block test that clearly shows and compares sensor noise. Click on the color block image below to view a pair of image comparisons between several current-at-this time DSLR cameras. This comparison was previously featured on this page, but has been moved to its own page to avoid (especially for mobile users) the large file download required.
*24mm FOV Comparison:
The above graphic depicts 3 of the 7D's AF modes (single point, expansion and zone) along with another new feature - AF Point Switching. AF Point Switching allows one AF point to be selected for horizontal compositions and a second AF point for vertical shooting.
If you are using AF, you are likely using the viewfinder. And the first thing Canon APS-C body users will notice when peering into the 7D's bright all-glass pentaprism viewfinder is that it is huge. Hold a 50D up to one eye and a 7D to the other and the difference in size is very obvious. Here is Canon's size comparison graphic:
The 7D utilizes Canon's new Intelligent Viewfinder which uses a liquid crystal overlay to provide various displays of focusing points and zones, on-demand grid lines and a spot metering circle. The LCD overlay can also be illuminated or turned off completely. Being able to see the entire frame in the viewfinder is a big advantage. You are no longer guessing where the frame edges really are during composition.
While the 7D can indicate both pitch and roll level using AF points in the viewfinder, pressing the shutter release turns off the display. So, using it this way requires manual focusing (or prefocus with AF and then turn on MF) or turning off the AF function of the shutter release (use the rear AF-ON button for AF). Better in both display and functionality is the Live View implementation as seen below.
Obviously, the 7D has the Live View feature found in all of the latest Canon EOS bodies. It's a great feature - I use Live View a lot for still life, product and landscape photography.
What you get with the 7D is most similar to the 5D II's feature set. Here is the list: Full HD video capture at 1920 x 1080 resolution (1080p) with selectable frame rates of 24p (for that cinema-style look), 25p or 30p. The EOS 7D will also record 720p HD at 50p or 60p (59.94) and SD video at frame rates of 50p or 60p (59.94). The 7D includes a built-in monaural microphone (gets the job done) and a 3.5mm jack for an external stereo microphone such as the Rode Stereo Video Mic. In-camera video trimming is a new feature.
The 7D sounds solid and crisp but not overly loud. The Live View quiet AF modes are especially quiet. Use the mouseover bar below to see a sequence of 8 fps captures.
+8 fps Example:
Want more battery life? Shoot in portrait orientation a lot? Add a BG-E7 Battery Grip as shown above. It accepts two LP-E6 batteries (or 6 AA batteries in the included tray). Better yet, it provides a complete vertical grip with the appropriate buttons. The BG-E7 adds a lot to the size and weight of the 7D, but it is easily installed or removed to give you the best of both worlds.