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Canon 7D II versus Canon 7D

The Canon EOS 7D Mark II and the Canon EOS 7D are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2014 and September 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The 7D Mark II has a resolution of 20 megapixel, whereas the 7D provides 17.9 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Canon 7D II vs Canon 7D

The physical size and weight of the Canon 7D II and the Canon 7D are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the 7D Mark II – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon 7D II vs Canon 7D
Compare 7D Mark II versus 7D top
Compare 7D Mark II and 7D rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 7D is somewhat smaller (2 percent) than the Canon 7D II. Moreover, the 7D is markedly lighter (5 percent) than the 7D Mark II. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 7D Mark II gets 670 shots out of its LP-E6N battery, while the 7D can take 800 images on a single charge of its LP-E6 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 7D II» 149 mm 112 mm 78 mm 910 g 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon 7D« 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
Canon 80D« » 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
Canon 750D« » 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749- i Canon 750D
Canon 760D« » 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 849- i Canon 760D
Canon G3 X« » 123 mm 77 mm 105 mm 733 g 300 Y Jun 2015 999 i i Canon G3 X
Canon 100D« » 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549- i Canon 100D
Canon 700D« » 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649- i Canon 700D
Canon 70D« » 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Canon 6D« » 145 mm 111 mm 71 mm 770 g 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
Canon 60D« » 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
Canon 5D Mark II« » 152 mm 114 mm 75 mm 850 g 850 Y Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 50D« » 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The 7D was somewhat cheaper (by 6 percent) than the 7D Mark II at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 7D II vs Canon 7D

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the 7D is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 7D II and Canon 7D sensor measures

With 20MP, the 7D Mark II offers a higher resolution than the 7D (17.9MP), but the 7D Mark II has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.10μm versus 4.31μm for the 7D). However, the 7D Mark II is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 years) than the 7D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

7D Mark II versus 7D MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the 7D Mark II has a notably higher overall DXO score than the 7D (overall score 4 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.4 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Canon 7D II» APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270Canon 7D II
Canon 7D« APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466Canon 7D
Canon 80D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579Canon 80D
Canon 750D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p22.712.091971Canon 750D
Canon 760D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570Canon 760D
Canon G3 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.412.352163Canon G3 X
Canon 100D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363Canon 100D
Canon 700D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161Canon 700D
Canon 70D« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668Canon 70D
Canon 6D« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082Canon 6D
Canon 60D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366Canon 60D
Canon 5D Mark II« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 50D« » APS-C 15.1 4752 3168-21.811.469663Canon 50D

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the 7D Mark II provides a higher frame rate than the 7D. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the 7D is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 7D II vs Canon 7D

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 7D Mark II and the 7D are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 7D II, the Canon 7D, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon 7D II»optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 8000 10.0 Y n Canon 7D II
Canon 7D«optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n Canon 7D
Canon 80D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 80D
Canon 750D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 750D
Canon 760D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 760D
Canon G3 X« »- n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 2000 5.9 Y Y Canon G3 X
Canon 100D« »optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.9 Y n Canon 100D
Canon 700D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 700D
Canon 70D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 70D
Canon 6D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 4.5 n n Canon 6D
Canon 60D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 8000 5.3 Y n Canon 60D
Canon 5D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 3.9 n n Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 50D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 6.3 Y n Canon 50D

The 7D Mark II is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the 7D has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 7D was succeeded by the Canon 7D Mark II.

Review summary: Canon 7D II vs Canon 7D

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 7D II or the Canon 7D – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (20 vs 17.9MP) with a 6% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.3 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 920k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years of technical progress since the 7D launch.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 7D:

  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (800 versus 670) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2009).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 7D Mark II is the clear winner of the match-up (7 : 2 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

7D Mark II 07:02 7D

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 7D Mark II or the 7D. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 7D II»Rec84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon 7D«HiRec84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
Canon 80D« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
Canon 750D« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i Canon 750D
Canon 760D« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 849- i Canon 760D
Canon G3 X« »Rec-4.5/53.5/54/5 Jun 2015 999 i i Canon G3 X
Canon 100D« »Rec78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549- i Canon 100D
Canon 700D« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i Canon 700D
Canon 70D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Canon 6D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
Canon 60D« »Rec79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
Canon 5D Mark II« »91/10079/1004/55/5- Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 50D« »HiRecHiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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