The rumors were true.
Canon announced a new camera body, the EOS 7D, September 1. As industry-watchers predicted the new Digital SLR is an 18-megapixel, with a APS-C CMOS sensor capable of shooting at 8 frames-per-second (fps).
Canon says in a press release that the EOS 7D boasts significant advancements including:
- A new 19-point Autofocus system
- New Canon iFCL Metering System (Intelligent Focus, Color, Luminance)
- Dual DIGIC 4 Imaging Processors
- 8 fps continuous shooting up to 126 Large JPGS
- ISO settings from 100-6400 (expandable to 12,800)
- Full HD video capture at 1920 x 1080 resolution with selectable frame
- Native 24p recording for videographers to achieve a more cinema-style look without the need for post-processing.
Canon’s New 7D Autofocus System
Canon’s autofocus systems have been much-maligned by photographers. Canon says in its announcement the new autofocus system is “…the most advanced AF system ever seen in an EOS SLR.”
It’s comprised of a new multi-axis cross-type 19-point AF grid, with focusing points spread out across the image plane and clearly displayed through the new Intelligent Viewfinder. All 19 points are f/5.6-sensitive for both horizontal and vertical cross-type focusing, with the center AF point adding high-precision diagonal cross-type sensitivity for f/2.8 and larger aperture lenses.
Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR camera is the first EOS SLR to feature 19 cross-type focusing points that remain fully functional with maximum apertures as small as f/5.6. This, says Canon, “…brings the performance of the AF system to unprecedented levels for assignments as varied as fast-moving sports action or low-light wedding ceremonies.”
The new Canon AF system also features:
- Spot AF mode reduces the size of a single AF point to focus on small subjects like an animal in a cage.
- AF Point Expansion mode uses a cluster of AF points adjacent to the selected AF point to automatically assist focusing on moving subjects, such as an athlete on the run.
- Zone AF that divides the 19 AF points into five selectable focusing zones and makes it easier to achieve focus with subjects that are difficult to track with Single Point AF or AF point expansion, such as birds in flight.
The Canon 7D’s metering system will factor color information into the exposure equation. The Canon iFCL metering includes “…a 63-zone dual-layer metering sensor that reads both illumination and color for consistent results in all lighting conditions, keeping exposure levels stable from shot to shot, even as the light source changes,” says the media release.
Canon 7D features requested by photographers
The new 7D Digital SLR has features and enhancements requested by users, including:
- The Dual Axis Electronic Level, featuring an artificial horizon on the LCD screen in Live View or in the viewfinder. The level shows both horizontal roll and vertical pitch, assisting users with keeping shots level.
- The 7D’s pop-up flash has a built-in Speedlite Transmitter for control of multiple off-camera EOS Speedlites.
- A new Intelligent Macro Tracking function has been added and will help reduce blur during macro shooting by recognizing when a macro lens is attached and automatically adjusting the AI Servo sampling frequency.
More 7D improvements:
- New ergonomic improvements of the Canon EOS 7D camera, starting with a new body design with continuous curves outlining the top of the camera and a revised grip that fits better in a user’s hand.
- A new Quick Control Button, which opens an easy-to-navigate menu on the camera’s LCD screen. From this menu, users can adjust all camera settings including AF modes as well as set custom button functions, an insightful new feature that can easily customize each button’s function to the photographer’s preference.
- A RAW/JPEG toggle button, allowing photographers to quickly add large JPEG or RAW file formats to their already selected shooting mode at the touch of a button.
- A new large, clear 3.0-inch solid structure Clear View II LCD screen with 920,000 dot/VGA resolution for enhanced clarity and color when viewing images.
- 9 internal seals for enhanced weather resistance.
- 150,000-cycle shutter.
- A new WFT-E5A wireless file transmitter (WFT) exclusively for the EOS 7D Digital SLR . The WFT-E5A wireless transmitter offers IEEE802.11a/b/g and Ethernet, ideal for commercial and studio work.
How much is the Canon 7D?
The Canon EOS 7D is priced at $1699 USD (body only) and a in kit with a EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM zoom lens for $1899 USD. The 7D is expected to start shipping at the end of September 2009.
Until the new 7D is tested it remains to be seen if it will live up to hype. Will the new autofocus system win back disgruntled 5D MkII owners? Will the Canon 7D help the company recover from the poor sales of the 50D. Stay tuned, more on this new Canon camera as the story develops.