Canon 7D vs Nikon D850
The Canon EOS 7D and the Nikon D850 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2009 and July 2017. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (7D) and a full frame (D850) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 45.4 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
|Canon 7D||Nikon D850|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor||45.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-6400 (100-12800)||ISO 64-25600 (32-102400)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 920k dots||3.2" LCD, 2359k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting touchscreen|
|8 shutter flaps per second||9 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|800 shots per battery charge||1840 shots per battery charge|
|148 x 111 x 74 mm, 860 g||146 x 124 x 79 mm, 1005 g|
Body comparison: Canon 7D vs Nikon D850
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 7D and the Nikon D850 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the 7D – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D850 is notably larger (10 percent) than the Canon 7D. Moreover, the D850 is markedly heavier (17 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (7D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D850).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.
|Canon 7D»||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||30.3 oz||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699||-||Canon 7D|
|Nikon D850«||5.7 in||4.9 in||3.1 in||35.5 oz||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299||Nikon D850|
|Canon 5DS« »||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 7D II« »||5.9 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||32.1 oz||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 70D« »||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199||-||Canon 70D|
|Canon 60D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon T2i« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.7 oz||440||n||Feb 2010||699||-||Canon T2i|
|Canon T1i« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.3 oz||400||n||Mar 2009||799||-||Canon T1i|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||6.0 in||4.5 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 50D« »||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299||-||Canon 50D|
|Canon 30D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.9 in||27.7 oz||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399||-||Canon 30D|
|Canon 20D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499||-||Canon 20D|
|Nikon D5« »||6.3 in||6.3 in||3.6 in||49.9 oz||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D810« »||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||34.6 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299||-||Nikon D810|
|Nikon D610« »||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D7000« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||27.5 oz||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499||-||Nikon D7000|
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 launched at a markedly lower price (by 48 percent) than the D850, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.
Sensor comparison: Canon 7D vs Nikon D850
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 7D features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon D850 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D850 is 158 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 45.4MP, the D850 offers a higher resolution than the 7D (17.9MP), but the D850 nevertheless has marginally larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.35μm versus 4.31μm for the 7D) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D850 is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 10 months) than the 7D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D850 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
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 Nikon D850 are ISO 64 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 32-102400..
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 consideration, the D850 offers substantially better image quality than the 7D (overall score 34 points higher). The advantage is based on 4.4 bits higher color depth, 3.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.6 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.
|Canon 7D»||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.0||11.7||854||66||Canon 7D|
|Nikon D850«||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100||Nikon D850|
|Canon 5DS« »||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/60p||24.7||12.4||2381||87||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/60p||24.6||12.4||2308||86||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 7D II« »||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 70D« »||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||22.5||11.6||926||68||Canon 70D|
|Canon 60D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.5||813||66||Canon 60D|
|Canon T2i« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||784||66||Canon T2i|
|Canon T1i« »||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||1080/20p||21.7||11.5||663||63||Canon T1i|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 50D« »||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||-||21.8||11.4||696||63||Canon 50D|
|Canon 30D« »||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||-||21.5||10.8||736||59||Canon 30D|
|Canon 20D« »||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||-||21.9||11.0||721||62||Canon 20D|
|Nikon D5« »||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D810« »||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97||Nikon D810|
|Nikon D610« »||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D7000« »||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||10800/24p||23.5||13.9||1167||80||Nikon D7000|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the D850 provides a better video resolution than the 7D. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.
Feature comparison: Canon 7D vs Nikon D850
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 7D and the D850 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, the Nikon D850, and comparable cameras.
|Canon 7D»||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||8000||8.0||Y||n||Canon 7D|
|Nikon D850«||optical||Y||3.2||2359||tilting||Y||8000||9.0||n||n||Nikon D850|
|Canon 5DS« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 7D II« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||8000||10.0||Y||n||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 70D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||8000||7.0||Y||n||Canon 70D|
|Canon 60D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||n||8000||5.3||Y||n||Canon 60D|
|Canon T2i« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||fixed||n||4000||3.7||Y||n||Canon T2i|
|Canon T1i« »||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||4000||3.4||Y||n||Canon T1i|
|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|
|Canon 30D« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||8000||5.0||Y||n||Canon 30D|
|Canon 20D« »||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||8000||5.0||Y||n||Canon 20D|
|Nikon D5« »||optical||Y||3.2||2359||fixed||Y||8000||14.0||n||n||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D810« »||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||8000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D810|
|Nikon D610« »||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||4000||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D7000« »||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||8000||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D7000|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 7D has one, while the D850 does not. While the built-in flash of the 7D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The 7D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D850 uses SDHC or XQD cards. The D850 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: Canon 7D vs Nikon D850
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 Nikon D850 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 7D»||Y||mono||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 7D|
|Nikon D850«||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D850|
|Canon 5DS« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 7D II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 70D« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon 70D|
|Canon 60D« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon T2i« »||Y||stereo||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T2i|
|Canon T1i« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T1i|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 50D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 50D|
|Canon 30D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 30D|
|Canon 20D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 20D|
|Nikon D5« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D810« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D810|
|Nikon D610« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D7000« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D7000|
It is notable that the D850 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the 7D does not offer wifi capability.
The D850 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. 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 vs Nikon D850
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 7D better than the Nikon D850 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 7D:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 145g or 14 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (48 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2009).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D850:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (45.4 vs 17.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 59%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (34 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (4.4 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (3.1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.6 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 920k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1840 versus 800) out of a single battery charge.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 10 months of technical progress since the 7D launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D850 is the clear winner of the contest (20 : 5 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.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 7D or the D850. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
Expert reviews: Canon 7D vs Nikon D850
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.
|Canon 7D»||HiRec||84/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699||-||Canon 7D|
|Nikon D850«||HiRec||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299||Nikon D850|
|Canon 5DS« »||Rec||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||Rec||83/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 7D II« »||Rec||84/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 70D« »||HiRec||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199||-||Canon 70D|
|Canon 60D« »||Rec||79/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon T2i« »||HiRec||77/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699||-||Canon T2i|
|Canon T1i« »||HiRec||74/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799||-||Canon T1i|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||91/100||79/100||4/5||5/5||-||Sep 2008||3,499||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 50D« »||HiRec||HiRec||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299||-||Canon 50D|
|Canon 30D« »||HiRec||HiRec||rev||rev||-||Feb 2006||1,399||-||Canon 30D|
|Canon 20D« »||-||HiRec||-||rev||-||Aug 2004||1,499||-||Canon 20D|
|Nikon D5« »||-||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D810« »||-||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299||-||Nikon D810|
|Nikon D610« »||HiRec||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D7000« »||-||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,499||-||Nikon D7000|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, 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.
- Canon G12 vs Canon 40D
- Canon G12 vs Canon T2i
- Nikon D5300 vs Nikon Df
- Nikon D750 vs Canon 1D X Mark II
- Nikon D750 vs Canon M5
- Nikon D750 vs Panasonic GX850
- Olympus PEN-F vs Sony A7S
- Panasonic GH5s vs Panasonic FZ1000
- Panasonic LX10 vs Canon G9 X Mark II
- Pentax 645Z vs Pentax K-1 II
- Sony A6400 vs Canon 5DS R
- Sony RX10 II vs Leica V-LUX Typ 114
Specifications: Canon 7D vs Nikon D850
|Camera Model||Canon 7D||Nikon D850|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2009||July 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 1699||USD 3299|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||35.9 x 14.9 mm|
|MP Resolution||17.9 Megapixels||45.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3456 pixels||8256 x 5504 pixels|
|Pixel Size||4.31 μm||4.35 μm|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-6400 ISO||64-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-12800 ISO||32-102400 ISO|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.2 inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||2359k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||8 shutter flaps/s||9 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC or XQD cards|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||LP-E6 power pack||EN-EL15a power pack|
|Battery Life||800 shots per charge||1840 shots per charge|
148 x 111 x 74 mm
(5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in)
146 x 124 x 79 mm
(5.7 x 4.9 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||860 g (30.3 oz)||1005 g (35.5 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.