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Canon 7D vs 7D Mark II

The Canon EOS 7D and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2009 and September 2014. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The 7D has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the 7D Mark II provides 20 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon 7D VS Canon 7D II
Canon 7D Canon 7D II
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 20 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-6400 (100-12800) ISO 100-16000 (100-51200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 920k dots 3.0" LCD, 1040k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
8 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
800 shots per battery charge670 shots per battery charge
148 x 111 x 74 mm, 860 g 149 x 112 x 78 mm, 910 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 7D and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 7D and the Canon 7D II. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 7D vs Canon 7D II
Compare 7D versus 7D Mark II top
Comparison 7D or 7D Mark II rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 7D II is somewhat larger (2 percent) than the Canon 7D. Moreover, the 7D Mark II is markedly heavier (6 percent) than the 7D. 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 compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

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

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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)
Camera
Model
 
Canon 7D» 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699iCanon 7D
 
Canon 7D II« 149 mm 112 mm 78 mm 910 g 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 iCanon 7D II
 
Canon 80D« » 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199iCanon 80D
 
Canon G3 X« » 123 mm 77 mm 105 mm 733 g 300 Y Jun 2015 999 iCanon G3 X
 
Canon 70D« » 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199iCanon 70D
 
Canon 6D« » 145 mm 111 mm 71 mm 770 g 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099iCanon 6D
 
Canon 60D« » 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399iCanon 60D
 
Canon 1D Mark IV« » 156 mm 157 mm 80 mm 1230 g 1500 Y Oct 2009 4,999iCanon 1D Mark IV
 
Canon 5D Mark II« » 152 mm 114 mm 75 mm 850 g 850 Y Sep 2008 3,499iCanon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 50D« » 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299iCanon 50D
 
Nikon D7000« » 132 mm 105 mm 77 mm 780 g 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499iNikon D7000
 
Sony RX10 III« » 133 mm 94 mm 127 mm 1051 g 420 Y Mar 2016 1,499 iSony RX10 III
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The 7D was somewhat cheaper (by 6 percent) than the 7D Mark II at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.

 

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the 7D Mark II is 1 percent bigger. 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.

Technology-wise, the 7D Mark II uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 6 (Dual)) than the 7D (DIGIC 4 (Dual)), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon 7D and Canon 7D II 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). Yet, the 7D Mark II is a much more recent model (by 5 years) than the 7D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Canon 7D II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 7D Mark II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inch or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inch or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inch or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 7D are 25.9 x 17.3 inch or 65.8 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 13.8 inch or 52.7 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 11.5 inch or 43.9 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The 7D Mark II has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Canon EOS 7D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS 7D Mark II are ISO 100 to ISO 16000, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-51200.

7D versus 7D Mark II MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the 7D Mark II has a markedly higher DXO score than the 7D (overall score 4 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466Canon 7D
 
Canon 7D II APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270Canon 7D II
 
Canon 80D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579Canon 80D
 
Canon G3 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.412.352163Canon G3 X
 
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 1D Mark IV APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.0132074Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Canon 5D Mark II Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579Canon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 50D APS-C 15.1 4752 3168none21.811.469663Canon 50D
 
Nikon D7000 APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780Nikon D7000
 
Sony RX10 III 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.112.647270Sony RX10 III

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the 7D Mark II provides a faster frame rate than the 7D. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the 7D is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 7D and the 7D Mark II 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), as well as the same magnification (0.63x). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 7D and Canon 7D II along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Canon 7Doptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n Canon 7D
 
Canon 7D IIoptical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 Y n Canon 7D II
 
Canon 80Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n Canon 80D
 
Canon G3 Xoptional n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y Canon G3 X
 
Canon 70Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n Canon 70D
 
Canon 6Doptical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 n n Canon 6D
 
Canon 60Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3 Y n Canon 60D
 
Canon 1D Mark IVoptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Canon 5D Mark IIoptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 3.9 n n Canon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 50Doptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3 Y n Canon 50D
 
Nikon D7000optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D7000
 
Sony RX10 III2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 14.0 Y Y Sony RX10 III

The Canon 7D II has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

The 7D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the 7D Mark II uses Compact Flash or SDXC cards. The 7D Mark II features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 7D only has one slot.

 

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 7D and Canon EOS 7D Mark II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon 7DYmonononeY-mini2.0---Canon 7D
 
Canon 7D IIYstereomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 7D II
 
Canon 80DYstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon 80D
 
Canon G3 XYstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon G3 X
 
Canon 70DYstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 70D
 
Canon 6DYmonomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 6D
 
Canon 60DYmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 60D
 
Canon 1D Mark IVYstereononeY-mini2.0---Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Canon 5D Mark IIYmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 50DYnonenone--mini2.0---Canon 50D
 
Nikon D7000YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D7000
 
Sony RX10 IIIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony RX10 III

It is notable that the 7D Mark II has a headphone jack, which makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process. The 7D lacks such a headphone port.

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the 7D Mark II has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.

The 7D Mark II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. 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. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 7D or the Canon 7D II – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 7D:

  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (800 versus 670) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2009).


Advantages of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 17.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 6%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.3 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 6 (Dual) vs DIGIC 4 (Dual)).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • 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.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years of technical progress since the 7D launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 7D Mark II is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 2 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

7D 02:14 7D Mark II

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 7D and the Canon 7D II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 7D and the 7D Mark II in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon 7D+ +84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699iCanon 7D
 
Canon 7D II+84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 iCanon 7D II
 
Canon 80D+ +84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199iCanon 80D
 
Canon G3 X+..4.5/53.5/54/5 Jun 2015 999 iCanon G3 X
 
Canon 70D+ +83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199iCanon 70D
 
Canon 6D+ +83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099iCanon 6D
 
Canon 60D+79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399iCanon 60D
 
Canon 1D Mark IV..89/100..5/5.. Oct 2009 4,999iCanon 1D Mark IV
 
Canon 5D Mark II91/10079/1004/55/5.. Sep 2008 3,499iCanon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 50D+ ++ +4.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299iCanon 50D
 
Nikon D7000..80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499iNikon D7000
 
Sony RX10 III+84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2016 1,499 iSony RX10 III
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon 7D:
Check Ebay offers
Canon 7D II:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon 7D vs Canon 7D II

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 7D Canon 7D II
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2009 September 2014
    Launch Price USD 1699 USD 1799
    Sensor Specs Canon 7D Canon 7D II
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 22.4 x 15.0 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 336 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 27 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 20 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 5472 x 3648 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 4.10 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 5.94 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-6400 ISO 100-16000 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-12800 ISO 100-51200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4 (Dual) DIGIC 6 (Dual)
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 66 70
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.0 22.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.7 11.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 854 1082
    Screen Specs Canon 7D Canon 7D II
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.63x 0.63x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 7D Canon 7D II
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 8 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy150 000 actuations200 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Canon 7D Canon 7D II
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 3.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket no Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Geotagging no internal GPS GPS built-in
    Body Specs Canon 7D Canon 7D II
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type LP-E6 LP-E6N
    Battery Life (CIPA)800 shots per charge670 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 148 x 111 x 74 mm
    (5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in)
    149 x 112 x 78 mm
    (5.9 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 860 g (30.3 oz) 910 g (32.1 oz)

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