The Canon EOS 7D digital SLR is designed for users who want fast shooting performance. That means sports photographers, nature photographers, and basically anyone who needs to freeze-frame a fast-moving subject.

It has a crisp-sounding shutter, a sturdily built (and heavy at 900g) stainless steel and polycarbonate body, and all of the Canon EOS 7D's settings can be controlled via dedicated buttons or button/dial combinations.

The Canon EOS 7D slots in to Canon's digital SLR line-up between the Canon EOS 50D and the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Some of its features are actually better than those of the 5D Mark II (such as its greater number of focus points and faster burst speed), but it's not fair to compare the two cameras directly - the 5D Mark II is a full-frame, 21.1-megapixel, 35mm camera.

The Canon EOS 7D, on the other hand, doesn't have a 35mm sensor, instead using a 22.3x14.9mm, 18-megapixel sensor. It produces huge images (up to 5184x3456 pixels and 18MB in size) and requires CompactFlash cards to store them. We used an 8GB Lexar Professional UDMA 300x card to get the most out of the camera.

Photography advice

Canon EOS 7D: built for speed

With a burst speed of almost five frames per second in our tests (Canon quotes 8fps), you'll almost certainly be able to capture all the action of a sporting event, a bird swooping down to its perch, or water droplets hitting the ground. However, it's outclassed by a professional high-speed camera like Canon's EOS 1D Mark III, which can shoot at 10fps according to the company. The EOS 1D Mark III also costs almost two and a half times as much as the Canon EOS 7D and only has a slightly bigger sensor.

Canon EOS 7D: Low-light performance

Our tests show that even on a gloomy day the Canon EOS 7D will take vibrant shots in its standard colour mode, although you might have to adjust the levels slightly during post-processing to give the darker colours more richness.

In dark environments the Canon EOS 7D's ISO speed can be boosted greatly, allowing you to use a shutter speed fast enough to counter blurring as you hold the camera. We achieved usable results in dimly lit environments primarily using ISO 1600, but you can get great results even at ISO 3200; in our low-light tests, colours were captured vibrantly and we didn't even have to adjust the luminance of the shots in post-production.

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