Canon’s flagship APS-C format camera, the Canon EOS R7, looks and feels worthy of its billing. It features the same Dual Pixel CMOS AF II technology as the Canon R3, R5 and R6 in a weather-sealed body that’s smaller and lighter then the Canon 90D. There’s also the ability to shoot uncropped 4K video at 60p, C-Log and ports to connect an external mic and headphones.
Granted, the viewfinder and screen don’t have especially impressive specifications, but they do they job. It’s also capable of capturing a high level of detail and keeping noise under control well through most of the ISO range.
Phase detection focusing and intelligent subject detection
32.5MP APS-C sensor
Same mount as Canon R3, R5 and R6
Limited RF-S lens range
Unique control arrangement
Lack-lustre viewfinder and screen specification
What is the Canon EOS R7?
The Canon EOS R7 reviewed here and the Canon EOS R10, launched at the same time, are the first APS-C format mirrorless cameras with the Canon RF mount. This mount is directly compatible with both the Canon RF and RF-S mount lenses. RF-S lenses produce an image circle that is only large enough to cover APS-C format sensors so they are smaller and lighter than their full-frame counterparts.
According to the manufacturer, the Canon R7 is aimed at the same audience as the EOS 7D Mark II, which dates from September 2014, but it gains a lot of features and technological advances in comparison with the DSLR. Consequently, the EOS R7 is Canon’s flagship APS-C format camera and it’s designed to appeal to experienced enthusiast photographers.
Camera type: Mirrorless
Announced: 24th May 2022
Sensor: 32.5Mp APS-C format (22.3 x 14.8mm) CMOS
Processor: Digic X
Lens mount: Canon RF
Sensitivity range: ISO 100-32,000 expandable to ISO 51,200
AF system: Dual Pixel CMOS II AF phase detection with up to 5915 positions and 651 automatically selectable points
Subject detection and tracking: Humans (Eyes/Face/Head/Body), Animals (Dogs, Cats and Birds) or Vehicles (Racing cars or Motor bikes)
Viewfinder: 0.39-type 2,360,000-dots OLED EVF
Screen: Touch-sensitive vari-angle 2.95-inch LCD with 1.62 million dots
Video resolution: 4K (3840 x 2160) at up to 60p, Full HD: (1920 x 1080) at up to 120p
Max continuous shooting rate: Mechanical shutter: 15fps for up to 224 Jpegs or 51 raw files, Electronic shutter: 30fps for 126 Jpegs or 42 raw files
The Canon EOS R7 and EOS R10 share quite a lot of technology, but as the flagship model, the R7 is the more advanced of the two.
In a key difference between the two cameras, the Canon R7 has a 32.5MP sensor while the R10 has a 24.2MP sensor. Canon is open about the fact that the R7’s APS-C format sensor shares some similarities with the sensor in the Canon EOS 90D and Canon EOS M6 Mark II, but the micro lenses and wiring have been revised to enhance the performance.
In addition, the sensor R7’s features Dual Pixel CMOS AF II technology. That’s Canon’s most advanced version of its on-sensor phase-detection focusing technology and it’s the same as in the full-frame Canon EOS R5, EOS R6 and the headline Canon EOS R3. It means that the camera always uses phase detection focusing and every pixel can be used for focus detection. The system is also claimed to be sensitive down to -5EV.
This sensor is also paired with Canon’s latest line of processing engines, the Digic X series. This combination enables a maximum continuous shooting rate of 15fps (frames per second) with the mechanical shutter and 30fps with the electronic shutter. Those rates are both possible at full resolution and with full autofocus and metering capability.
In addition, the Canon R7 has intelligent subject detection and tracking, which uses deep learning algorithms to enable the camera to detect and focus on people, animals and vehicles. It uses hierarchical detection, prioritising the eyes (when eye detection is enabled in the menu) the heads then bodies when detecting humans or animals.
As you’d expect, there’s also Touch & Drag AF, which allows you to set the AF point by touching or dragging on the screen with your finger.
The response of the R7’s AF system can also be refined to suite the subject or shooting conditions by adjusting the parameters in the Case Studies section of the AF menu tab. That’s particularly useful when shooting sport or wildlife.
The EOS R5 and R6 were the first of Canon’s cameras to offer in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) and now the R7 offers it too. It corrects camera shake across 5 axis for video and stills and gives up to 8EV shutter speed compensation. With the new RF-S 18-150mm f3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens it gives up to 7EV compensation.
There’s also a digital stabilisation option designed for video that can set to standard or ‘Enhanced’ mode, with the latter resulting in a dramatic crop.
The IBIS in the R7 also enables another neat trick, horizon correction which can be used when shooting stills or video. This feature is activated via the menu and it uses the sensor’s ability to move to correct a sloping horizon. You can see its impact in the viewfinder and on the screen on the back of the camera.
Canon is pitching the R7 as a hybrid camera, which means it has a good range of video features as well as stills-shooting options. The headline figures are that it can shoot 4K footage at 60p with full-sensor readout so your lenses deliver the framing you expect. If you want to slow action more dramatically, there’s Full HD at 120p and there is the option to crop the 4K 60p/50p footage if you need to frame your subject tighter.
It’s also possible to shoot 4K 25/30p footage oversampled from 7K (in 4K Fine mode) with 4:2:0 8-bit or 4:2:2 10-bit colour. Canon Log 3 is available if you’re keen to grade the footage or need to match the output from another camera.
The usual 29 min 59 second limit of video recording has been removed and it’s possible to shoot for around an hour before the camera needs to cool down.
In addition, vertical video recording is supported.
Naturally, the Canon EOS R7 has both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology onboard, and it’s compatible with Canon’s free smartphone apps for transferring, sharing and printing images. This connectivity can also be used to stream live from the R7 to YouTube without the need for a computer.
There’s also a panoramic mode, found in the Scene mode options, which is a first for an EOS camera. In addition, Canon has included a panning option in which the camera looks at the speed of the subject and automatically sets a shutter speed that will freeze it while blurring the background.
The Canon R7 also has a raw burst mode which enables images to be recorded from the 0.5seconds before the shutter button is fully-pressed. That could be useful when photographing unpredictable action. Plus, there’s HDR PQ mode for capturing high dynamic range (HDR) images in HEIF (High Efficiency Image File Format) or video.
The Canon EOS R7 accepts the Canon LP-E6NH battery and has dual SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II card slots.
Build and handling
Recognising that many photographers appreciate some downsizing when switching to a mirrorless camera, the EOS R7 is 132mm wide and 90.4mm high, which means it’s smaller than the Canon 90D. It’s also weatherproofed to the same level as the 90D, and while not having the tank-like build of the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, it feels well-constructed and able to take the type of use it can expect in an enthusiast’s hands.
Despite the comparatively small size of the camera overall, the grip is nice and deep so you feel like you have a secure hold even with a long lens mounted.
Canon aficionados will instantly recognise the R7 as a Canon camera, but it doesn’t have exactly the same shape or control layout as any other model.
The top plate of the Canon EOS R7 looks quite similar to the Canon 850D as there are no controls on the left side and a large mode dial on the right. However, the mode dial has more options, including 3 custom settings. There’s also a power switch that sets the camera to shoot stills when it’s flicked to ‘On’ and pushing further selects video mode.
The video record and ISO buttons sit just behind the knurled metal front control dial.
There’s new ground broken on the back of the R7 as its joystick sits quite high-up and is surrounded by the control wheel. Both are nicely positioned for use by your right thumb. Just to the right of this control is the AF-on button while the exposure lock and AF point buttons are on the brow of the thumb rest. I was concerned that I might press these accidentally, but it didn’t happen during my time shooting with a pre-production sample at the UK press briefing.
Moving the control wheel up and away from the navigation pad makes the back of the camera look less cluttered and the navigation pad seems a little naked. I like the fact that you don’t need to move your thumb far to switch between using the control wheel and the joystick, but the joystick would benefit from protruding a little further and/or having a rubberised pad to give it more grip. I didn’t have any problems with adjusting the wrong feature when I reached for the joystick or the control wheel, but I could see it might be an issue for some photographers depending upon their hand or thumb size.
Also, the difference in the control arrangement when switching between the R7 and the R10, which has dual dials on the top-plate, or the 90D which has the larger control dial, or the R6 or R5 which have dual control and a large control wheel, causes a moment’s pause. Unless Canon is planning to switch to the R7’s control arrangement for the R6 Mark II and R5 Mark II, it might have been better for the R7 to match the R6 and R5 more closely. It seems odd that Canon would bring out the R7 and R10 at the same time and give them a different control arrangement.
It took me a little while to work out how to switch the R7 to manual focus mode. That’s because it has a new switch on the front to change between autofocus and manual focus. This has customisable button within it. By default, it’s set to preview the depth of field, but I rarely use that with a digital camera, so instead, I set it to switch between one-shot and servo AF. The button is fairly easy to reach with the third finger on my right hand and it’s convenient way to switch the focus mode quickly without open the Quick menu.
Canon has added stills or video selection duties to the power switch on the top of the camera. While it’s nice to have a switch to access video mode, including it on the power switch is a pain in the behind and I frequently found I’d flicked straight to video mode when I wanted to shoot stills.
As with Canon’s full-frame mirrorless cameras, including the flagship Canon EOS R3, the R7 has a vari-angle touchscreen. This is a 2.95-inch LCD with 1.62 million dots, which isn’t especially exciting in terms of specification, but it works well and it’s fine for composing low- and high-level shots in landscape or portrait orientation. Because Canon has embraced full-touch control, it’s also useful for changing camera settings with a tap.
Naturally, there are a couple of new options in the menu, such as the horizon correction, but in other respects it’s very familiar and it doesn’t take a long time to get used to.
As it’s a mirrorless camera, the Canon R7 has an electronic viewfinder. This is a 0.39-inch type 2.36M-dot unit, so there are more resolute finders out there, but it provides a clear-enough view in most situations without especially impressing. It can also be set to work in a similar way to an optical viewfinder if the ‘OVF View assist’ is activated. This may seem attractive to those switching from a DSLR to a mirrorless camera for the first time, but it means missing out on one of the key benefits of the mirrorless camera design.
There’s a power-saving option that sets the viewfinder’s frame rate to a maximum of 60fps rather than the 120fps ‘Smooth’ setting, but even when shooting a fast-moving subject, I found the ‘Power saving’ setting was fine.
In conclusion, while the R7 has a control layout of its own, I think it’s unlikely that existing Canon users will take long to adapt to it unless they frequently swap between cameras. The rather usual touch bar control seen on the original Canon R and the touch-sensitive Smart Controller seen on the R3 are absent with Canon instead preferring to stick with traditional buttons and dials for the R7. It will be interesting to see if Canon continues the new joystick and control arrangement into other cameras.
Canon held the UK press briefing for the R7 in a bowling alley and ice-rink, neither of which were brightly lit – quite the opposite in fact. As if the gloomy conditions of the ice-rink weren’t challenging enough, the background was also very busy and the skaters were wearing black and red outfits that could be mistaken for it. Nevertheless, the subject detection system of the beta sample R7 proved very useful when photographing and videoing ice-skaters. It performed especially well when the RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM was mounted.
Switching to the RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM and shooting at 100mm or longer gave the camera more of a challenge because the maximum aperture dropped to f/6.2 or f/6.3, but it was still able to recognise the subject and get it sharp – especially when the skaters entered a poll of light. Helpfully, the boxes that appear in the viewfinder keep you informed about whether it’s seen the subject or not.
With the Subject detection set to ‘People’ and the Eye detection enabled, the R7 is quick to target the eyes when a subject is detected and turned towards the camera. And, crucially, it usually gets them sharp.
I shot with the R7 in the ‘Case A’ or ‘Auto’ AF configuration mode. This is sets the camera to adapt its tracking automatically to the subject movement. I found that the Canon R7 kept with the subject very well, only once jumping to another skater when they crossed over the path of my original subject, this can be improved by using the AF customisation options.
This impressive autofocus performance continued when I got hold of a full-production sample of the Canon R7. When shooting at a local wildlife park (Beale Park) with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM II mounted via an adapter, the camera even proved up to the task of capturing sharp images of squirming otters. When they looked towards the camera it did a great job of recognising their eye and focusing on it. However, as I found with the Fujifilm X-H2S, it tended to latch onto an ear when their side profile was in the frame, despite an eye being visible.
Canon states that when the Subject detection and tracking is set to ‘Animal’, the R7 is capable of detecting, cats, dogs and birds. So otters are a bit of a stretch and it’s interesting to see what other animals are detected. Meerkats bodies and eyes were detected quickly, and lynx are a form of cat so it was no surprise that the camera took them in its stride. Ducks, owls and parrot-like birds presented little problem with their eyes being detected quickly, but it was less sure of rhea. And lemur eyes were spotted quickly, even when the animal’s face was almost in profile.
Although they were moving, the focus distance didn’t change very quickly with these subjects, but photographing my dog racing for a ball is a different matter. When shooting with the RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM on the R7, I found the camera was very quick to detect his eyes. However, examining my images reveals a slight delay in getting his eyes sharp so that the focus is on the far end of his body for the first couple of shots in a sequence shot at 15fps. It also lost the focus on his eyes now and again in the sequence. Switching to the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM II mounted via an adapter, gets the focus closer to the mark early on, but I still have a few images at the start of some sequences that aren’t quite sharp at the right point. Nevertheless, I still have some perfectly sharp images in each sequence shot with the two lenses.
While the Canon R7 isn’t quite as fast or as sensitive to eyes in the frame as cameras such as the Fujifilm X-H2S that have a stacked sensor, it’s still good – and of course it’s quite a bit more affordable. The subject-detection, and specifically the eye-detection, isn’t infallible, but it’s a very useful addition.
Checking the 4K video that I have shot during my testing confirms the R7’s autofocus prowess continues into video mode and hunting isn’t especially problematic.
I used a Lexar Professional 2000x SDXC UHS-II Gold Series memory card (maximum read/write speed 300/260MB/s) to enable the 15fps maximum continuous shooting rate with the mechanical shutter and 30fps with the electronic shutter and then 4K video recording with no problems.
I was able to record 65 raw and Jpeg (large best quality) images simultaneously in one sequence at 15fps. Switching to shoot just raw files enabled a sequence of 76-86 images, while shooting the best quality large Jpegs by themselves extended the burst depth to around 400 images – exceeding Canon’s claims. Activating the electronic shutter and shooting at 30fps enabled sequences of 50 raw files, 128 highest-quality large Jpegs, and 47 simultaneous raw and Jpeg files, again just beating Canon’s claimed figures.
At low ISO settings the Canon R7 is capable of capturing a good level of detail. Noise is also controlled well as the sensitivity (ISO) setting is pushed up. However, I’d aim to make ISO 12,800 the maximum value I’d used as this strikes a good balance between the level of detail and noise (or the impact of noise reduction).
Comparing images shot at mid- to high-level sensitivity settings reveals that the Jpegs have less noise, but they also look smoothed at 100%. The raw files, however, have some luminance noise and more detail. It’s good to see that fine details are handled better in the Jpegs from the R7 than they are by the Canon 90D.
Dropping down from ISO 12,800 to ISO 3,200 sees a nice jump in the level of detail in Jpegs from the R7 while ISO 1,600 images look very good with just a hint of luminance noise in the shadows when viewed at 100% on screen and excellent levels of detail.
Canon EOS R7 IBIS performance
Canon claims a maximum shutter speed compensation of 7EV for the R7 with the RF-S 18-150mm f3.5-6.3 IS STM. I struggled to achieve this with the lens at its longest point. When shooting at 1/4sec, which is about 6Ev slower than you would normally expect to be able to use, around 50% of my images were acceptably sharp at full-size on a a 27-inch screen. Only around one in ten would pass muster at 100% on-screen.
I had to drop to a shutter speed of 1/15sec (4EV compensation) before I was completely happy with the results visible at 100% on-screen but my hit rate improved to around 90%.
In video mode, the IBIS worked well when I was standing still, handholding the camera, however, it can’t compensate fully for the movement of walking with the camera. Turning on the digital stabilisation improves the steadiness of the footage overall, but there’s the occasional dramatic jolt which makes it seem a little unnatural. I didn’t notice a significant when using the Digital Stabilisation’s Enhanced mode and there’s a significant crop.
The Auto level feature which is powered by the IBIS, works well in both stills and video mode. In both modes, the horizon levels smoothly within a couple of seconds and there’s no wobble or recoil visible.
Canon EOS R7 video performance
The Canon EOS R7 proves a capable video camera with features that are ideal for those with some experience of shooting video as well as relative newcomers. It’s great to be able to swap from stills to video mode with a flick of a switch and for the settings to be unique to each so you don’t have to reset your exposure settings etc every time.
Canon’s tabulated Movie recording size screen makes it easy to select mutually compatible resolution, frame rate and codec settings, and there’s a custom menu section where you can group together your most frequently used features.
Like the stills, the movies from the R7 show good colour with the auto white balance setting coping with most situations well. As mentioned earlier, the focusing system works well and usually follows a selected subject seamlessly.
This 4K 50P video was shot hand-held on a beta sample Canon EOS R7. The video shows a section at 50% speed and another with C Log in action.
Is the Canon R7 a pro camera?
The Canon EOS R7 is Canon’s flagship APS-C sensor mirrorless camera, and it isn’t billed as a professional camera. However, its specifications include a number of features found in Canon’s pro cameras, such as the EOS R5, EOS R3 and EOS R6. What’s more, the EOS R7 is a successor to the popular EOS 7D series of APS-C DSLRs, which were built for speed and used by many professional photographers, particularly in wildlife and sport.
When did the Canon R7 come out?
The Canon EOS R7 was officially announced on 24 May 2022. The Canon EOS R7 price tag was £1,349 / $1,499 when it was launched.
Can I use EF lenses on the Canon R7?
The Canon EOS R7 uses the RF mount, but you can use Canon EF lenses on the camera if you use one of Canon’s RF to EF Mount Adapters. The R7 also uses the new Canon RF-S lenses.
Does the Canon R7 have Wifi?
Yes, the Canon EOS R7 has built-in WiFi. This means you can connect it to your smart devices and, using Canon’s image.canon platform, back up your images in the cloud and share them on social media.
Is the Canon R7 weatherproof?
Canon says the R7’s body is weather-sealed to protect it from moisture and dust. It’s said to be weather-proof to the same levels as the Canon EOS 90D
Is the Canon EOS R7 a full frame camera?
No, the Canon EOS R7 uses a 32.5-megapixel APS-C format (22.3 x 14.8mm) CMOS sensor.
While the Canon EOS R7 is pitched as a mirrorless equivalent to the EOS 7D Mark II, some may feel that the EOS 90D is a more direct comparison. However, the R7 makes some significant steps-up, not least Canon’s latest AF system with the addition of the subject detection and the ability to shoot at up to 30fps with the electronic shutter or 15fps with the mechanical shutter. There’s also full-sensor 4K video at up to 60P, C-Log and ports to connect both a microphone and a pair of headphones.
The image quality of the stills and video is also good, with noise being controlled well and plenty of detail at the lower end of the sensitivity (ISO) range.
My only real reservation with the camera is that Canon decided to launch it with just two lenses and neither seems especially well-suited to the camera’s intended audience. The RF-S 18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM and RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM are both variable aperture lens with underwhelming maximum apertures. I suspect that this is because Canon is keen to emphasise the small size and low weight of its new system, but dedicated enthusiast photographers are likely to want higher-end lenses with bright constant apertures. Granted, they can use EF and RF optics on the R7 via an adapter, but I think a lot of photographers will be looking for Canon to commit to the RF-S mount more convincingly than it has with the EF-M mount. And many photographers will be unwilling to pay for and carry full-frame lenses when they have an APS-C format camera.
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