Reviews |Canon EOS R7 first look

Canon EOS R7 first look Review

Canon EOS R7 review
Review

Price when reviewed

£1349.99

€1649.99

Our Verdict

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 uncrossed 4K video at 60p, C-Log and ports to connect an external mic and headphones.

Our shots from an early sample of the camera also show that it’s capable of capturing a high level of detail and keeps noise under control very well at high ISO settings.

For

  • Phase detection focusing and intelligent subject detection
  • 32.5MP APS-C sensor
  • Same mount as Canon R3, R5 and R6

Against

  • Limited RF-S lens range

What is the Canon EOS R7?

The Canon EOS R7 reviewed here and 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.

Specification

  • 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
  • Shutter speed range: Mechanical: 30-1/8000 sec, Bulb, Electronic: 30-1/16000 sec
  • Built-in flash: No
  • Battery: Li-ion LP-E6N, Viewfinder: Approx. 500 shots Screen: Approx 770 shots
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 132.0 x 90.4 x 91.7mm
  • Weight: 612g including battery and memory card
Canon EOS R7 review

Features

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 sensor shares some similarities with 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 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.

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 and with the new RF-S 18-150mm f3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens it gives up to 7EV compensation.

The IBIS in the R7 also enables another neat trick, horizon correction. This is a feature that 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 to crop the 4K 60p footage if you need to frame your subject tighter..

It’s also possible to shoot 4K 30p footage oversampled from 7K and Canon Log 3 is available if you’re keen to grade the footage or need to match the output from another camera.

According to canon, the usual 29 min 59 second limit of video recording has been removed and it’s possible to shoot for around an hour before th camera needs to cool down.

Other features

Naturally, the Canon EOS R7 has booth 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.

Canon EOS R7 review

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.

Canon EOS R7 review

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, but it’s an arrangement I like after spending some time using the camera.

As with Canon’s full-frame mirrorless cameras, including the flagship Canon EOS R3, the R7 has a vari-angle touchscreen. This is great 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, such as the horizon correction in the menu, but in other respects it’s very familiar.

Canon EOS R7 review

As it’s a mirrorless camera, the Canon R7 has an electronic viewfinder. This is a 2.36M-dot unit, so there are more resolute cameras out there, but it provided a clear view in the confines of the bowling alley and ice-rink briefing venue. This can also be set to work in a similar way to an optical viewfinder if the ‘OVF View assist’ is activated.

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. 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.

Canon EOS R7 review

Performance

This assessment is based upon the performance of a beta sample of the Canon EOS R7 and it’s possible that the camera’s performance will change a little by the time it goes on sale. However, my overall impression of the Canon R7 is good.

Canon held the UK press briefing 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 R7’s subject detection system 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 th 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, and when it has, you can be pretty sure that the subject is sharp.

With the Subject detection set to ‘People’ and the Eye detection enabled, the R7 was quick to target the eyes when a subject was detected and turned towards the camera.

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.

Checking the 4K video that I shot confirms the R7’s autofocus prowess. Despite the very low light conditions, there’s no hunting and the subject remained in focus.

Canon EOS R7 review

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 as well as the 4K video recording.

Freezing the skaters meant using a fast shutter speed and naturally, this meant pushing up the sensitivity (ISO). As yet, it’s not possible to process raw files from the R7 so I’m only able to look at the Jpegs. The results at ISO 25,600 look good and I might even use to ISO 32,000 if the circumstances really called for it, but if possible I’d make 12,800 the maximum value I’d used at this strikes a nice balance between the level of detail and noise that’s visible.

Dropping down to ISO 3,200 sees a nice jump in the level of detail, 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. The results at lower ISO settings are excellent.

Canon EOS R7 review

Canon EOS R7 sample images

These images were captured on a pre-product sample of the Canon EOS R7 and the image quality may change. Follow the link to browse and download full-resolution images from the Canon EOS R7. Please respect our copyright.

Canon EOS R7 image gallery

Canon EOS R7 sample video

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.

Early verdict

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.

There’s a lot more testing to be done with the Canon EOS R7, but the early signs are very good indeed. My only reservation so far is that Canon has decided to launch it with two variable aperture lenses, the RF-S 18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM and RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM. 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.

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Gerhard Botha
Gerhard Botha
1 month ago

I sold my 7D recently with the intent of going for the r7 when it comes. Thanks for the review. I will be one of the many r7 users who will/has never own a -s lens. Could not care. I want a crop sensor on a 400:2.8 or 600:4. Thats what the r7 is for and it sounds like they did a great job!
They other use might be the r7 and something like 24mm lens for street etc, but the whole size argument is a bit out of proportion if you ask me. For that case, r6/,r5 + 35mm also works and it is ff.

Phil Olenick
17 days ago

I’ve been using Canon SLRs since 1968, starting with a 35mm FT-QL, moving to DSLRs in late 2006 with a Rebel XTi, then the T4i, the 70D and now an 80D.

I’ve run in Manual mode ever since I started using Live View. Set the exposure to taste on the screen and you’re done. But in bright light, the external screen can be hard to see, so I became intrigued by having a viewfinder that worked the same way. (My PowerShot G5X gave me a taste of that.)

As an amateur, the R5 is too expensive for me, and the R6 – while 20 MP is fine for full-frame lenses – is thrown into low a resolution by crop lenses, so the R7 it is.

I’ve ordered an R7 body and the Control Ring EF to RF adapter so I can use my 3 EF-S and 2 EF lenses. I don’t need to buy the RF-S kit lens – my EF-S 18-135mm IS nano-USM lens will do just fine. I’ll even be able to use the control ring to emulate the aperture control ring on the FL/FD lenses from my old FT-QL SLR.

Last edited 17 days ago by Phil Olenick