The EOS 7D is the best compact-sensor Canon you can buy. It is aimed at advanced photographers, and buttons can be reassigned if you don't like their layout. Its fast continuous shooting speed of 8 fps will please action photographers, and its excellent photo quality will suit everyone. The 7D contains many professional-grade features found in more expensive DSLR cameras.
A "joy to shoot with." Since it's aimed toward advanced photographers, including pros on a budget, the Canon EOS 7D skips novice-oriented features. For example, you won't find Portrait or Landscape presets on the mode dial; they're still there, but you have to hit the menu. Experts like the way the buttons are laid out, but if you don't, just reassign them. The 100 percent optical viewfinder shows everything in your shot, which "inspires more confidence when framing," Imaging-Resource.com's Shawn Barnett says. What's missing is the swiveling LCD screen from comparable cameras. Overall, DPReview.com says, the Canon EOS 7D is a "joy to shoot with."
Fast enough for serious action photography. The 7D is the cheapest Canon that's fast enough for serious sports and action shooters, experts say. It can fire off 8 fps: "just what serious photographers on a budget have needed to capture sporting events without an outrageous initial investment," says Barnett. In movie mode, the Canon 7D can shoot full 1080p HD video at 24, 25 or 30 fps, and "is quite good, despite the lack of continuous autofocus," Barnett reports. Battery life is rated at 1,000 shots per charge, which is very good for its class.
All-metal and weather-sealed. Unlike cheaper DSLRs, the Canon EOS 7D is built for rugged use. It's fully weather-sealed so you can shoot in dusty or rainy conditions, with a tough magnesium alloy shell. Less expensive DSLRs usually use plastic bodies to save weight and cost. Experts say plastic bodies are tough enough, but they all count the 7D's metal body as an advantage. So do plenty of owners, who say it "gets rid of the concern [about] little dings and dongs while in action," as one Amazon.com user notes.
Handy tools for advanced shooters. The Canon EOS 7D has just one memory card slot, so you have nowhere for your overflow shots. However, like pro-level cameras, the 7D uses faster Compact Flash (CF) cards instead of the SD cards that cheaper cameras use. There's a built-in electronic level that shows both pitch and tilt, on both the viewfinder and LCD, and the pop-up flash can wirelessly command a slew of external flashes -- as many as three groups of four flashes each. A handy button lets you toggle between RAW and JPEG capture. "Such conveniences are what makes the Canon 7D ideal for the serious photographer," Barnett says.
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After a full test, the Canon EOS 7D ranks as one of this site's top-rated DSLRs. Dave Stevenson does a particularly good job of explaining what type of user should buy the 7D versus the pricier Canon EOS 5D Mark II.
Review: Canon EOS 7D Review, Dave Stevenson, Dec. 21, 2011
Mike Tomkins thoroughly explains the Canon 7D's summer 2012 firmware update and why it's an improvement. A link leads to this site's exhaustive review of the 7D, published when the camera hit the market in January 2010.
Review: Canon Rejuvenates the EOS 7D, Acknowledges 40mm Lens Issue, Mike Tomkins, Aug. 7, 2012
This hands-on evaluation of a preproduction Canon 7D includes tons of sample photos and videos shot at various HD resolutions and frame rates. DPReview.com is one of the most comprehensive photo review sites, but experts here now like newer cameras better than the 7D, a fact that isn't reflected in this glowing report. This is an older review, but it is still valid.
Review: Canon EOS 7D Review, Lars Rehm and Richard Butler, November 2009
Lori Grunin walks readers through the Canon DSLR lineup, explaining which model works best for which type of photographer. She calls the 7D Canon's "least expensive model suitable for action shooting." Links lead to her full reviews of each camera, which are detailed and complete but less intensive and lengthy than those at the dedicated photo websites.
Review: Which Canon dSLR? (Roundup), Lori Grunin, May 8, 2012
Most of the 490-plus owners posting reviews here are very happy with the Canon EOS 7D, awarding it 4.5 stars out of 5 overall. A few give it low marks, usually because they got a lemon, but some think the photos look too soft.
Review: Canon EOS 7D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera With 3-Inch LCD, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of February 2014