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Canon 7D VS 7D Mark II: A Deep Dive Comparison

Canon 7D VS 7D Mark II

As far as DSLRs go, the Canon EOS 7D has made a lasting impression on photographers alike.  Thanks to its dynamic range, image sensor, and more, it has become a renowned entry-level digital camera in its own right.

It’s no wonder the bar has been set HIGH for the Canon 7D Mark II, its successor, and the supposed upgraded version.

So, how exactly do the two Canon cameras compare?

Read more below to discover their similarities and differences.

Canon EOS 7D

Launched in 2009 with a resolution of 18.0 megapixels, the Canon 7D has snuck its way into the hearts and camera bags of avid photographers.

The Canon 7D was recognized as a very good camera for entry-level shooters.

In a nutshell, the Canon 7D is the OG. The first avenger, if you will.

What makes the 7D SO great is that it’s a no-brainer for any photographer. During its time of release, the Canon 7D had a TON OF PROS.

These include a reputable megapixel sensor with low noise and incredible details. It’s further recognized for its good ISO performance, fast autofocus, and fast burst rate.

However, just like any other camera, this phenomenal camera also has its CONS.

It DOES NOT have any dedicated AF-assist lamp, an odd focal length for subframe DSLR, and no continuous autofocus on Movie mode.

Full Breakdown of Specifications

  • Digital single-lens reflex
  • Canon EF mount lenses
  • 18.0 MP, APS-C Sensor
  • 1080/30p Video
  • ISO 100-6,400 (100 – 12,800)
  • Optical viewfinder
  • 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
  • Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
  • Up to 8 fps
  • Weather sealed body
  • 800 shots per battery charge
  • 148 x 111 x 74 mm, 860 g

Pros

  • Reputable megapixel sensor
  • Low noise
  • Good ISO performance
  • Fast autofocus
  • Fast burst rate

Cons

  • No dedicated AF-assist lamp
  • Odd focal length for subframe DSLR
  • No continuous autofocus on Movie mode

Canon 7D Mark II

Fast forward to 2014, and Canon decides to bless the world of modern cameras with yet another game-changer. Enter the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, the newest addition to a growing family of cameras photographers aspire to have in their rosters.

With a 20.2 megapixel resolution, the Canon 7D Mark II introduces itself as a worthy mid-range DSLR successor to the 7D. The two cameras are obviously impressive on their own, but the Mark II was specifically built for wildlife, sports, and action photographers.

We have the Canon 7D as the first avenger.

Now, think of Mark II as the strongest avenger.

(I won’t be referencing it to any avenger so as not to offend any Marvel biases…)

Just like the strongest avenger (ahem, Thor), the Mark II came late to the party but arrived equipped with all the specs that photographers look for.

Compared to its predecessor, the Mark II delivers many PROS, including a higher ISO performance, excellent burst speeds, and improved buffer depths.

It now even has the capacity to focus down to f/8 and comes with headphones and mic jacks.

Unsurprisingly, the Mark II still comes with its own set of CONS. Its autofocus speed is noticeably slower than the Canon 7D and didn’t perform well in low-light autofocus tests. It also did not come with built-in wi-fi and autofocus for 1080/60p video.

Full Breakdown of Specifications

  • Digital single-lens reflex
  • Canon EF mount lenses
  • 20.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
  • 1080/60p Video
  • ISO 100-16,000 (100 – 51,200)
  • Optical viewfinder
  • 3.0 LCD, 1040k dots
  • Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
  • Up to 10 fps
  • Weather-sealed body
  • 670 shots per battery charge
  • 149 x 112 x 78 mm, 910 g

Pros

  • Higher ISO performance
  • Excellent burst speeds
  • Improved buffer depths
  • Can focus down to f/8
  • Has headphone and mic jacks

Cons

  • Slower autofocus speed
  • It doesn’t perform well in low-light autofocus tests
  • It doesn’t come with built-in wi-fi and autofocus for 1080/60p video

Canon 7D vs. 7D Mark II: A Side by Side Comparison

Now that you have all the specifications, pros, and cons of the two cameras, it’s time to focus on the ACTUAL camera comparisons. This will be a deep dive into the two digital cameras and how they distinguish themselves from one another.

Also, expect a very transparent judgment on which camera is better based on the feature.

Here’s an overview of what this Canon 7D VS 7D Mark II review will cover:

  • Body Comparison
  • Sensor Comparison
  • Connectivity Comparison
  • Image Processor
  • Burst Mode
  • Video Recording

Body Comparison (Winner: Tie)

Truthfully, there are not too many differences between the Canon 7D and 7D Mark II in terms of build.

However, both the Canon 7D and the Mark II come with a weather-sealing camera body for added protection against moisture and dust, even during the harshest weather conditions.

Its button layouts are practically the same as well. Having the same lens mount also makes it easier for photographers to use the same lenses for both cameras.

The most notable difference are its weight and dimensions:

  • Canon EOS 7d
  • External Measurements: 148 x 111 x 74 mm (5.83 x 4.37 x 2.91″)
  • Weight: 860 g (1.90 lb)
  • Canon EOS 7d Mark II
  • External Measurements: 149 x 112 x 78 mm (5.87 x 4.41 x 3.07″)
  • Weight: 910 g (2.01 lb)

Another notable difference is its approximate number of shots based on battery life:

  • Canon EOS 7d: Lasts for up to 800 shots; longer battery life
  • Canon EOS 7d Mark II: Can only last for up to 670 shots

Sensor Comparison (Winner: Canon 7D Mark II)

The 7D Mark II possesses a more advanced image processing engine, with the successor boasting noise reduction, processing speed, color accuracy benefits, and interchangeable focus screens.

In addition, both the Canon 7D and Mark II have an APS-C sensor. However, despite having the same kind of sensor, they still differ in size. The Mark II has a slightly larger imaging sensor.

As most photography enthusiasts know, the image quality relies greatly on the imaging sensor’s size. The larger the sensor, the larger the individual pixels.

And yes, as you already know, larger individual pixels will give you a wider dynamic range and better low-light sensitivity.

Another reason to want a larger sensor camera is its ability to provide more creative exposure options for the photographer.

Think greater depth-of-field and color depth to distinguish the subject from the background of the image.

Doesn’t that just scream professional photographer? We thought so.

Connectivity Comparison (Winner: Canon 7D Mark II)

When purchasing a camera, one factor that should NEVER be overlooked is the imaging applications with which a camera can communicate. Various interfaces are key to making accessory control and data transfer more convenient.

Because when you think about it, no matter how good a camera is, it doesn’t mean much if you can’t access or transfer your photos conveniently.

A headphone jack is one of the notable improvements the 7D Mark II has over its predecessor. The headphone jack makes for better audio monitoring during video recording sessions.

One feature that both the Canon 7D and Mark II share is the PC Sync terminal, which is a medium used to control strobe lights in a studio through the camera. This is something that a professional photographer will highly appreciate.

Image Processor (Winner: Canon 7D Mark II)

As mentioned earlier, the original Canon 7D has a megapixel resolution of 18, while the Mark II has a megapixel resolution of 20.2. The key differences are more evident in the image processor, with the Canon 7D having a DIGIC 4 processor and the Mark II with a DIGIC 6 processor.

What does this even mean?

Well, it simply means that the 7D Mark II has a better default ISO range over the Canon 7D and can shoot MORE frames per second when in burst mode. It has the capacity to take more continuous shots, which makes it a suitable camera for shooting sports or action pictures.

ISO

The ISO range saw a large improvement:

  • Canon 7D – 100-6400 ISO range
  • Canon 7D Mark II – 100-12800 ISO range

The improved range equals better image quality even when shooting in low-light conditions.

Burst Mode (Winner: 7D Mark II)

As far as upgrades go, the 7D Mark II definitely distinguishes itself from the burst mode feature. Don’t get us wrong, though. The Canon 7D also did great in this aspect, performing at an impressive 8fps.

It just set the bar higher, with continuous shooting at 10fps. Goodbye entry-level, hello professional level.

And it doesn’t stop there. The successor also has improved focus points and can also shoot in SILENT burst mode, capturing 4fps. And if that still doesn’t impress you, take a look at some additional features below:

  • RAW format – shoots 31 continuous frames
  • JPEG format – shoots 1090 continuous shots

Note: These advancements are made possible by the Mark II’s DIGIC 6 processor.

Another reason why we say the Mark II is GREAT for sports shooting? The focus points. It has a 65-point cross-type AF system, while the Canon 7D only has a 19-point cross-type AF system.

We don’t know about you, but that’s a HUGE AF point difference.

Video Recording (Winner: Canon D7 Mark II)

When you compare other Canon EOS cameras to the Canon 7D, it would be a lie to say that others come close. For the longest time, the Canon 7D was a favorite in, quite literally, the cinematic universe for videographers.

Why? Because it offered outstanding video capture and overall, it just had great quality AND performance.

Perhaps the only flaw was that it used contrast detection, making it too slow to shoot subjects that moved too quickly.

Nevertheless, it’s definitely safe to say that the Canon 7D made a lasting impression and set the bar high for the Mark II.

Thankfully, the Mark II did NOT disappoint. Among the upgrades, we have improved video compression. The 7D Mark II utilizes ALL-I compression, which is a type of compression that assures that all key frames will retain their superior quality.

Though both the 7D and Mark II maintain video quality at 1080 video capture, the Mark II reigns supreme as it can capture 60 frames per second. That is TWICE the number of frames the Canon 7D could handle.

Here are some additional video-related features of the Mark II that are worth mentioning:

  • Timecode support
  • Silent movie mode
  • Optical distortion correction in movie mode
  • Uncompressed HDMI output

Note: Both the Canon 7D and Mark II can export in MP4 or MOV formats.

Additional Features Breakdown

After taking you through the mains, ins, and outs of both cameras, let’s go over some of the key similarities and key differences that you should note before ending the camera comparisons.

Tip: Keep in mind that as you make your camera purchase, you should always remember to consider what will give you your money’s worth based on the kind of photography or videography work you are most likely to do or venture into.

Similarities:

  • Both cameras have a live-view, full-frame LCD screen
  • Both cameras come with a built-in flash
  • Both cameras’ physical control panel layouts are the same
  • The Canon 7D and 7D Mark II have AF continuous shooting
  • Have the same lens mount and are compatible with 326 lenses
  • Close dynamic range at 11.7 and 11.8, for the 7D and Mark II, respectively
  • Both have a phase detection autofocus system
  • Both cameras have multi-exposure modes
  • Both cameras do NOT have image stabilization
  • Both cameras can support raw files
  • Both cameras share the same shutter speed of 1/8000 to 30 seconds.

Differences

Canon 7D Mark II

  • Contains AF tracking
  • Color depth: 22.4
  • Screen resolution: 1040k dots
  • Continuous shooting: 10.0 fps
  • Weight: 910 g (32.1 oz)
  • Resolution: 5472 x 3648 pixels
  • Maximum extended ISO of 51200 ISO
  • Built-in mode for bulb timer shots.
  • Dual memory card slots for additional shooting capacity
  • Linear resolution: 6% better than the 7D

Canon 7D

  • It does not contain AF tracking
  • Color depth: 22.0
  • Screen resolution: 920k dots.
  • Continuous shooting: 8.0 fps.
  • Weight: 860 g (30.3 oz)
  • Resolution: 5184 x 3456 pixels.
  • ISO: 12800
  • Does not have a built-in mode for bulb timer shots.
  • NO dual card slots.
  • Lower amount of megapixels than the Mark II

Canon 7D VS 7D Mark II: So, Who Wins?

Both reputable cameras in their own right. Both are highly praised for their quality and their features. But as with any comparison review, there can only be one true winner.

Though the Canon cameras shared a hefty amount of similarities, the Mark II obviously still trumps the predecessor in many aspects.

Overall, the successor truly is an upgraded version that accommodates all the features photographers loved from the 7D.

It may still not have image stabilization and built-in wifi, but it does come with a ton of notable improvements that make us almost forget about its shortcomings.

So if you have been rattled by which camera to choose, take this review as a sign to go for the newer, improved version to make the most out of your photography experience.

However, we’re also not stopping you from getting the OG Canon 7D camera.

We understand if you still have a hard time deciding between two outstanding cameras. Fear not because here is a list of conditions for you to choose one over the other, and vice versa.

Buy the Canon 7D If…

  • You want a more lightweight option.
  • You’re looking for a slightly cheaper model.
  • You’re inclined to go for the more nostalgic option.

Buy the Canon 7D Mark II If..

You are looking for the following conditions: 

  • Improved video resolution
  • Higher screen resolution
  • Better image resolution
  • Improved low light sensitivity
  • Autofocus system

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