Canon R7 – 1st Batch

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Canon announced the R7 on on May 24th, 2022.  Almost in the same breath, Canon said that the R7 is not the mirrorless equivalent to the Canon 7D line even though they share the same numeral.

Personally going from the Canon 7D Mark II to the Canon R5 felt like an evolution.  Going from the R5 to the R7, I see the corners that were cut.  Of course, we are comparing a $3500 camera to a $1500 camera, so there should be some difference.  The R7 is not just a crop-version of the R5, but it could have been.  The image quality is impeccable. The focus tracking is on par with the Canon R3.  Eye Tracking especially with Animals is better than the R5.  The camera wakes up immediately when powered on.  It’s a cool camera. 

So, why did I buy the R7?  I am fed-up with using the Canon RF Extenders with the Canon RF100-500mm.  For birding. I have used both the Canon 1.4X and the 2x RF Extenders and they slow down the performance of the RF100-500mm lens.  Worse, the reduction in light is significant and it also impacts the subject tracking.  The R7 eliminates the problems by boosting the range of the lens with its 1.6X crop to the equivalent of 800mm.  No loss in light, no loss in speed and 32meg files to boot.

NOTE – The Canon R5 can shoot in a 1.6 crop-mode.  However, this also reduces the file from 42megs to 17megs.

The annoyances – Canon majorly screw-up the release of the camera.  I placed an order as soon as the camera was announced.  People on Facebook started receiving the camera within two weeks.  However, Canon skipped releasing quantities to their major distributors like B&H Photo and Best Buy.  Instead, they started distributing onesie, twosies here and there.  Personally, I received my R7 almost two months after I placed my order on May 24th.  Canon’s excuse – supply chain issues.  Real reason – Canon’s forecasting and planning.  It is funny to see Canon marketing promote the Canon R, a 4-year old camera with very mixed reviews because it can’t ship stock in the new R7 and R10.  But, if you check Best Buy this week, you will see the R7 kit popping-up.  The R7 body only is still a rare item.

Canon cutting corners – Instead of using a LCD on the top of the camera for the camera settings, Canon went retro with a dial (like the old 7Ds…).  If you want to know specifics, you need to use the main screen on the back of the R7.  This means instead of a quick glance to check setting, you now need to fumble through menus or deal with overlays on the touchscreen.  Annoying.

Canon also combined multi-use joystick with the Quick Control dial.  Odd, but you get used to it.  Confusing if you are using both the R5 and the R7 at the same time. The power button is in a different place. The Magnify button is also combined with the AF Point selection.

Canon also dropped the resolution of the main screen to 1.6M pixels.  The R5 is over 2M pixels.  Honestly, you will notice the difference in screen sharpness on the R7.  Those missing pixels have an impact.

Overall, these are minor annoyances.  The R7 is a cool camera.  But, Canon really could have made the R7 a real mirrorless successor to the 7D series by adding in a few touches from the R5.

Here are some additional photos taken with the Canon R7 and the Canon RF100-500mm lens.  More too come…

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2 Replies to “Canon R7 – 1st Batch”

  1. I do not make a living with my camera but I am very enthusiastic in its use, especially for sports. I currently have the 7D MK II and love the camera. I would like to make the jump to mirror less and was waiting on Canon. But in all my research, yours and DPReview have both mentioned the “annoyance” of the control reordering and lack of screen on top of the camera, that screen making it more “professional “ for use. Like most, it’ll be a one time purchase and was now thinking of just setting my sights on the R6, losing that 1.6 reach. Just curious your thoughts of moving from the 7D line to mirror less for sports. Is the R7 really worth it or the R6 for the more “professional “ workflow? Thank you,

  2. The best camera is the one that is in your budget. And, you have to consider your TOTAL budget. Lenses are expensive especially the Canon RF lenses.

    Keep this in mind – photographers replace the camera bodies over time but build a catalog of lenses that will continue to be used over their career. Canon typically updates its popular cameras between 18 months and 3 years. The R5 and R6 are at the end of that cycle. I would expect a Mark II next year, but, because of the pandemic and supply-shortages, it might be a little longer. Canon typically updates its popular lenses every 5+ years.

    Photographers typically update their camera bodies when technology improves but hold onto their lenses. You can never have enough lenses – especially if you want to use multiple bodies or have additional photographers at an event. Lenses also hold their value much better than camera bodies. Think about the Canon EF 70-200mm L lens. There are photographers that still use the first generation version of that lens because they love the look it captures even though Canon has updated that lens several times. Typically, photographers only sell their lenses when they are switching camera brands or camera mounts.

    You should also consider used lenses and refurbished lenses from trust-worthy dealers. I do NOT recommend ebay because you could end up with a gray-market product that may not be serviceable! Did you know Canon sells refurbished cameras and lenses? After Canon, I would strongly recommend B&H Photo and Adorama, both in NYC. I have purchased used lenses from all three. B&H and Adorama are very trust-worthy and have dedicated departments that specialize in used cameras and lenses. They evaluate each product, rate them and price them accordingly. Do not even hesitate on buying a lenses rated a 9 (B&H) or E (Adorama)! The Canon RF 100-500mm L pops up used/refurbished every so often. (Really, you can find any lens over a year old refurbish/used.)

    Back to the camera itself. Many pros use either the R5 or R6 or both. The R5 is incredibly well-rounded but costs $3500. The R6 has a reputation for extremely low noise due to the specs of its image sensor. Some pros have moved up to the new R3 if they can find one and have the $6000 budget.

    So what about the R7? The R7 really is Canon’s hidden gem. It has incredible picture quality, tracking on par with the R3, the 1.6x crop boost and is a BARGAIN … if you can find one. It’s very easy to criticise a camera when you have the luxury of shooting for the media (like DPReview or a news service) and can choose any camera you want because the company is paying for the camera. For the rest of us, the best camera is the one that you CAN use right now.

    Going from the Canon 7D Mark II to the Canon R7 will feel very natural for you. I went from the Canon 7D to the 7D Mark II to the R5 and now the R7. Currently, I use both the R5 and the R7. Playing “Find the Button” is the biggest problem, but I will get used to it. As I said in my post, there are things that I notice BECAUSE I am using both cameras. But, the R7 should be a great fit for you.

    Since you are planning on shooting sports, take a look at Jared Polin’s FroKnows review of the R7. He loved it.

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