Just a short audio podcast today, to let you know about a video, that I just published. I’m proud to announce the availability of our newest viewfinder mockup tool, for the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, and I’ve just finished putting together a video to walk users through how to use the tool.
Whether at university or a local camera club, when teaching photography, it can really help your students to understand the theory you are covering if you are able to show them exactly what they’d see through the viewfinder in any given situation. With every viewfinder element available, including the all new Intelligent Viewfinder II technology, the 7D Mark II Viewfinder Mockup Tool enables you to emulate exactly, any possible configuration and setting.
The 7D Mark II Viewfinder Mockup Tool is a Photoshop PSD file (requires Photoshop CS6 or newer). Each element is a separate layer, including every autofocus point in various states, grid lines, Intelligent Viewfinder II icons to indicate your selected shooting mode, white balance setting, drive and focus modes, file format and metering mode, as well as the new in-screen warning display.
The battery indicator can show varying charge levels, and exposure indicators, shutter speed, aperture, metering information, ISO setting and burst frames, and the new meter level on the right side of the viewfinder. It’s all included! With a single mouse click, you can immediately emulate the red viewfinder information that turns on automatically in low light, or when selecting your Autofocus mode.
The file is 4096 pixels wide, so perfect for 4K, and because the graphics are all on layers, you can create transparent overlays for use in programs like Adobe After Effects, to emulate looking through the viewfinder in video. This is also high enough resolution for any kind of presentation, eBook and even print publication.
To create something of this quality yourself from scratch literally takes weeks. I know, because that’s how long it took me to create! And because of that, I made the tool as intuitive and easy to use as possible, so that we can make it available to buy if you are in need of something like this, and save you the trouble of creating something similar from scratch.
Anyway, it probably won’t make much sense without seeing the Viewfinder Mockup Tool in action, so do take a look at the video, and there are more details on the product page at https://mbp.ac/vfm7d2.
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Viewfinder Mockup Tool PSD File
You can pick up your copy of the Viewfinder Mockup Tool by adding it to your shopping cart with the button below.
Following on from my First Impressions review of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, today we’re going to dive in a little deeper, and see how this new offering faired during my Winter Wonderland Tours here in Japan over the last few months.
Although I’ll touch on some of these areas again today, I ran through many of the great new features in that earlier First Impressions review, which was episode 453, so check that out as well to hear more about what’s new. One of my main objectives while shooting through January and February was to really try to pull the most out of the autofocus, because as we heard in my first review, I was not really impressed with how well the camera handles subjects coming towards the camera.
Another thing we’d not looked at yet was the ISO Performance of the 7D Mark II, so I’ve done some more tests and have got information regarding that to share with you as well today.
Am I Happy with the 7D Mark II?
OK, so the first thing that I’d like to get to, is really somewhat subjective, but very important, as I know that some people have not been happy with the 7D Mark II, especially because of the autofocus capabilities in certain situations. Well, if you ask me if I’m in general happy with this new camera, the answer is a resounding “YES”! It’s not perfect, and we’ll get to that shortly, but I am absolutely happy with my 7D Mark II. It’s a very worthwhile addition to my kit.
Canon EOS 7D Mark II
I mentioned in that first review that I might even consider selling my 1D X. Is that still the case? Well, no, not really. Why? Because the 7D Mark II starts to get a little noisy as you push up the ISO, and I have some images that I simply could not have got without the 1D X, so it stays, for now. However, I have to say that I’ll probably be revisiting this decision as I actually work through the rest of this year, based on just how much I really use the 1D X now that I have the 7D Mark II.
During my Winter Wonderland Tours & Workshops, I was using the 1D X basically as my second camera most of the time. After deletions during my initial run through my images, I see that from January 26 to February 26, I shot 18,931 images with the 7D Mark II, and I shot just 1,565 with my 1D X, which is less than 10% of my images for this time period.
Part of this was because I really wanted to see how well the 7D Mark II performed, and sometimes, even though I would have preferred to not have the crop factor for a wider field of view, I stuck with the 7D Mark II for test purposes. Most of the time though, I just loved having that crop factor for my wildlife work, and the extra 2 megapixels from the 7D Mark II are very welcome as well.
Intelligent Viewfinder II
I found the new Intelligent Viewfinder II a pleasure to work with, and although the 1D X is still a great camera, I just found things like having the digital level right there in the viewfinder all the time very useful. It’s also great to be able to see at a glance what shooting mode I’m in as well as other information that you can now display right there in the viewfinder.
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Intelligent Viewfinder II
AF Point Coverage
Another thing that I really like is the wider autofocus point coverage. The 1D X seems to have all of it’s 61 AF points scrunched up in the middle of the frame, whereas the 7D Mark II’s AF points almost fill the frame! Especially for birds in flight, this gives us much more freedom as to where in the frame we can place the subject and still be able to track it with our autofocus.
Although the 7D Mark II does have AF points across such a wide area of the frame, it did take me quite some time to really get the most out of the AI Servo tracking capability, and I mentioned the problems I was having in my earlier First Impressions review. As I’ve shot more with this camera and continued to tweak my settings, I have greatly increased my success to fail ratio for subjects moving towards the camera, which were initially the most problematic.
Although I tried lots of combinations as I tested this camera, my Tracking Sensivity, Accel./decel. tracking and AF pt auto switching settings ended up going back to pretty much what I’ve always used with the 1D X. As you can see in this photograph of my settings (below), I add these three settings to the My Menu on the camera for easy access, and I changed these a lot over the two tours trying to find my optimal settings.
7D Mark II AI Servo Settings
For both the snow monkeys running towards me, and birds in flight, both subjects moving erratically, I found these settings to work the best. I have Tracking sensitivity set to -2, Accel./decel. tracking set to 1 and for AF pt auto switching I’ve been moving between 0 and 1 depending on the subject, depending on how accurately it’s working in a given situation.
With erratically moving subjects it’s important for the AF points to switch around quickly, so it’s tempting to increase the AF pt auto switching sensitivity, but as you increase the sensitivity, the focus often switches to an unwanted part of the scene too readily, so I found myself with AF pt auto switching set to zero most of the time.
This as I say is pretty much how I use my 1D X. As you can see in this stitch of six frames of a snow monkey coming down a snow bank towards me, screen-captured in Canon’s Digital Photo Professional with the AF Points displayed, the autofocus stayed with the face of the monkey for five of the six frames. Click on this to view larger so that you can see the active focus points, but you’ll see that the focus stays pretty much with his face for five of the six frames.
AI Servo Tracking Success (click to view larger)
This level of accuracy is what I was hoping for, and was finally able to draw from the 7D Mark II. I still get the feeling that the overall success rate for this kind of AI Servo shooting isn’t quite up to the levels that I get with the 1D X, but without shooting exactly the same subject at exactly the same moment with both cameras simultaneously, it’s hard to quantify that.
OK, so let’s move on and take a look at the image quality and ISO performance. As I’ve done in previous reviews of the 1D X and 5D Mark III, for these ISO performance tests, I simply set up a shot, with some light and shade areas, and shot a series of images going through the entire ISO range of the 7D Mark II in full stops and I’ve compared that with the 1D X. There is no ISO 50 on the 7D Mark II, so I started at ISO 100 on both cameras. The maximum ISO you can set on the 7D Mark II is 51200, but the 1D X goes up to 204800, so I included these last two ISOs for the 1D X as well, for comparison.
I used a 100mm macro lens for the tests, and set the camera’s aperture to f/10. Note that because of the 7D Mark II crop factor I did have to move the camera to try to frame both sets of images similarly, but they are not identical, and don’t really need to be to be able to appreciate the results.
First up, here is a gallery of 22 images resized to 1440 pixels wide, just so that you can get a feel for the downsized image quality at the entire ISO range. The labels below each image tell you which camera the image was shot with, and at what ISO. Don’t forget to open your browser up wide enough to see the images at their full size, or you’ll be looking at a browser generated smaller version.
Looking at these results, I’m sure you’ll agree that if you are shooting for Web or relatively low resolution presentation, then up to 12800 ISO is perfectly acceptable, and if you are OK with a bit of noise, even up to 51200 is pretty good still.
Here is another gallery of images, this time, 100% crops of the black cat with the shadow from the zebra. This gives us a good comparison of the noise levels in both the lighter areas and the shadows, where noise is generally more obvious. Click on the images and take a look at the noise in each as you click through them, and do take a moment to compare even the first pair of images at ISO 100.
Image Quality Trade-Off
The first thing that I noticed confirmed what I had started to think about the images from the 7D Mark II based on my shooting in the field over the last few months. Basically, the 7D Mark II produces lower quality images than the 1D X, even at the lowest ISO settings. From ISO 100 you can see grain in the 7D Mark II images, although this doesn’t really start to become visible in images from the 1D X until you hit around ISO 400.
Now, let’s not take this information out of context here. We have to keep in mind that the older brother 1D X is 3.5 times the price, and is a full-frame sensor camera. Because of the crop factor and higher resolution, the 7D Mark II’s pixels are smaller at 4.1 µm (micrometer) compared to the almost 1.7 times larger 6.95 µm pixels in the 1D X. (As pointed out below, we probably should have used the area of the photosites here, so the 1D X photosites are 2.87 larger than the 7D Mark II, not 1.7 – thanks Thomas!) There’s no getting around this, as you simply have to cram more pixels onto the sensor to achieve the resolution of the 7D Mark II.
Like everything, it’s a trade-off. Two reasons I’ve been using the 7D Mark II over the 1D X is because of the crop factor which works in our favour for some wildlife photography, and the higher resolution, which is always nice to have if it doesn’t come at too much of a drop in image quality.
And that, is the most important thing to bear in mind here. Yes, the 7D Mark II produces lower quality images than the 1D X, but do I consider that to be a problem? Absolutely not. I’ll continue to use the 7D Mark II for the benefits that it brings to my photography, and at the end of the day, the image quality is still off the charts if you don’t compare it to a much more expensive full frame sensor counterpart. (See some images from the field to back this up in last week’s 100-400mm Mark II lens review.)
ISO Performance Drops Two Stops
Now, back to the ISO performance comparison. To me, it looks like the two stops of performance that starts right down at ISO 100, compared to ISO 400 on the 1D X, holds pretty much through the entire ISO range. Here are the same images as above, but this time I’ve ordered them with ISO 100 on the 7D Mark II next to two stops higher ISO from the 1D X, so we start at ISO 100 vs. 400, then 200 vs. 800 and so on. As we get into the higher ISOs, the shadow noise from the 1D X increases compared to two stops lower ISO on the 7D Mark II, but the brighter areas such as the cat’s face hold out much better on the 1D X.
If we bear this all in mind, as I say, I’m thinking that the 1D X has about two stops better ISO performance than the 7D Mark II. If you recall back to my 5D Mark III review, I found that the 5D Mark III had about one stop lower ISO performance than the 1D X, so it’s right in the middle of these two cameras.
My 7D Mark II ISO Ceiling
With all of my cameras, I like to decide on a ceiling to which I’ll take the ISO, based on tests like these and real-world use cases in the field. With my 1D X, this has in practice been ISO 12800. I have images from the field at this ISO that I am very happy to have been able to shoot, and the image quality is there. With the 7D Mark II, I’ve happily gone up to ISO 3200, and based on these tests will probably go up to 6400 if I need to.
ETTR for Best ISO Performance
Before you jump on your keyboard and start to write me that I’m crazy, or that you don’t see this level of performance from your camera, take a moment to consider that I always Expose to the Right, a technique known as ETTR. I’m not going to delve into this today, but basically, because I expose my images so that the information on the histogram is just about touching the right shoulder, I get better ISO performance from my camera than you will say, if you trust the camera’s meter, and you have a large gap on the right side of your histogram. There’s simply less noise if you expose to the right, even if that means increasing your ISO by a few stops to achieve the brighter exposure. See episode 381 if you’d like to learn more about this.
The Final Verdict
OK, so let’s wrap this up now, with my final verdict on the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. The autofocus doesn’t feel quite as snappy as the 1D X for subjects advancing towards me, although it’s now very acceptable, and the image quality is not quite as good by comparison, but still exceptionally good. These two things are the only even slightly negative aspects. When you consider all the great points about this camera, that we’ve covered in this and my First Impressions review, and then think of the price, at almost a quarter of the cost of the 1D X, I think Canon are on to a winner here.
For many, the 1D X is out of reach, but I honestly don’t think you need to be too concerned about that if this is the case for you. If you need a wildlife or sports camera, don’t want to break the bank, you won’t go far wrong with the 7D Mark II. I have both but I’m sure I’ll continue to reach for the 7D Mark II over the 1D X moving forward, unless I need to literally be able to shoot in the dark, which is where the 1D X still has the ultimate edge. Honestly, the extra reach you get from the crop factor and the higher resolution among other things all make the 7D Mark II in many ways, the better camera.
Either way, I hope you found these reviews useful, and remember, if you buy from our friends at B&H, you can help to support our Podcast and Blog by buying with our links below. And if you feel like splurging, I also mentioned in last week’s podcast, the 7D Mark II and Canon’s new 100-400mm lens are a match made in heaven, so I’ll just go ahead and reuse last week’s widget just in case.
New Fine Art Print Giveaway!
Before we finish, I also wanted to let you know that we have started a new fine art print giveaway draw to win a print of a photo from January’s Hokkaido Landscape Photography tour. Just visit the page https://mbp.ac/giveaway and enter your name and email address to subscribe to our newsletter, and enter for a chance to win. I’ll be drawing the winner on June 14, 2015, and remember that you can enter this draw even if you’ve entered previous draws.
A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a Canon EOS 7D Mark II, and last week used it to shoot three days with the adorable Snow Monkeys in Nagano, four hours north-west of Tokyo, and I’m now in a position to talk about my first impressions. I’ll follow up with a more detailed review later, but here are my initial thoughts on this new camera.
1.6X Crop Factor
Before we jump in and look at some photographs, let’s talk a little about the camera itself. Probably one of the most important aspects for many is that the Canon EOS 7D Mark II is a crop factor camera. I have been shooting with full frame bodies since the first generation 5D and 1Ds, and although my old 1D Mark IV that I used for wildlife had a 1.3X crop factor, since the release of the Canon EOS 1D X I have been shooting exclusively with full frame cameras.
The 7D Mark II has a 1.6X crop factor, which means that if you are shooting at a 100mm focal length, the camera actually captures an image that is the equivalent of a 160mm focal length. Now, for wide angle shots this is obviously an unwelcome limitation, but my main use for this camera is going to be wildlife, and similarly for sports photographers too, getting a little bit more reach out of our telephoto lenses is generally a good thing.
I’ll try to go into more detail on all the new stuff when I have more images to share and more experience with the 7D Mark II, but for now, here are a few other things that I am very happy to see in this new body. Firstly, I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the viewfinder on the 7D Mark II is approximately 100%. The original 7D also has a 100% viewfinder, although I never used the 7D. My old crop factor cameras had very dark viewfinders though, which I never really liked. You don’t necessarily notice this if it’s all you shoot with, but once you start shooting with a 100% viewfinder the narrower field of view models seem dark and difficult to really see well.
Intelligent Viewfinder II
I also really like some of the new features in the Intelligent Viewfinder II, such as the ability to turn on a permanent digital level that displays whenever you half-press the shutter button. On my other bodies, I have to map the M-fn button to display this level whenever I press it, and I was stumped initially that I could not map this button in the custom functions of the 7D Mark II, but then I found how to turn this on in the viewfinder, and love that it’s there all the time now as I shoot.
Here’s a screenshot from the User’s Manual to show you what I mean. The digital level is at the top of the frame, above the focusing points, which means that you can now simply glance at that whenever you need to ensure you have the camera level, rather than pressing a button to display this information using the focus points, as is the case for the 5D Mark III and 1D X that I also use.
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Intelligent Viewfinder II
You can also now display various camera settings to be displayed in the Intelligent Viewfinder, such as your auto-focus mode, which I love being able to do. I switch between One Shot and AI Servo quite a lot, and being able to see that right there in the viewfinder is very useful. I’ve also turned on displaying my image quality in the viewfinder as well. I only ever shoot raw, but I have found myself in JPEG through reasons I can never understand in the past, and have had to reshoot images in raw, so I just like to be able to see this in the viewfinder as a double-check.
65 Focus Points!
Of course, the other major change and probably the reason that I decided to buy the 7D Mark II is that it has an almighty 65 Focus Points, all cross-type! The 5D Mark III and 1D X have a very respectable 61 focus points, but even the 1D X with it’s incredible auto-focussing only has 41 cross-type sensors. Now, does this mean that the 7D Mark II has better autofocus, well, unfortunately it doesn’t really, as we’ll see.
10 Frames Per Second!
Another feature that sports and wildlife shooters are always interested in, is the number of frames per second, and the 7D Mark II shoots a very respectable 10 frames per second. This is the same as the 1D Mark IV, which was the top of the line sports camera from Canon before the 1D X, and even the 1D X only beats that by 2 frames per second in raw mode, so again, 10 fps for a $1,800 camera is just crazy-talk. Amazing! As an aside, the shutter sound of the 7D Mark II is pretty sweet too. Not very loud, but a nice solid sound that’s very easy on the ears. [Listen to the audio to actually hear the shutter sound I recorded.]
I also really like how GPS is now built in, which saves me from having to use my GP-E2 which I’m still using on my 5D Mark III and 1D X to geotag my images. In the 7D Mark II settings you can set the camera to either just tag images, or create a track-log and tag the images at the same time. One thing that I don’t like is that the camera continues to record coordinates even after you turn it off. This means that you have to go into the menus to disable GPS when you no longer need the track-log to be created. In my opinion this should turn off when you turn off the camera, or at least have an option for it to be turned off with the camera, which would save going into the menus each time.
At first, I thought this might be a bit of clever marketing blurb, as it was with the 5D Mark III, but Canon claim that the 7D Mark II has “enhanced dust and weather resistance”, and go on to state in the camera specifications that the camera’s seals are built to resist water and dust, which in addition to the rigid magnesium alloy body make the 7D Mark II “ready for almost anything”.
Now, I’m still not going to take this at face value until I’ve really given the weather proofing a good hammering, but we had a fair amount of rain on one afternoon with the snow monkeys, and it snowed for most of the rest of the time, and the camera held up fine so far, without any kind of protection. Now of course, snow isn’t wet until it melts, so that’s not such a great test, but the rain didn’t bother it at all, in the few hours that I got mine wet. More to come on this later as I really put the camera through it’s paces.
7D Mark II in Snow
Built-in Intervalometer and Bulb Timer
I also want to give an honourable mention to the built-in intervalometer and bulb timer, which has been a long time coming, and I love this, but, it’s totally wasted for me on this camera, because I will almost certainly never use this feature on my wildlife camera. This is something that I would have loved in the 5D Mark III, and will be happy to hopefully see in a future full-frame camera, which is what I’ll use for my landscape work.
OK, so they’re the main features that I am impressed with, and that lead me to pick up my own 7D Mark II, but how did it handle in the field?
As I said, I used the 7D Mark II for three full days shooting the Snow Monkeys with some private tour customers that I took over to Jigokudani for four days last week. I shot all of the images that we’ll look at today with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II lens without an Extender fitted. I’ll update you on these findings after I’ve taken this camera to Hokkaido with me to photograph the red-crowned cranes, whooper swans and sea eagles for a total of almost four week in January and February, but my initial impressions based on photographing the snow monkeys are as follows…
Slight Start-up Lag
First of all, if you want the ultimate sports and wildlife camera, the 1D X is still it, for a number of very subtle reasons, but when you consider that the 7D Mark II is almost a quarter of the price, the reasons could become pretty insignificant. One of the reasons is that there is a very slight lag when you first raise the camera to your eye to capture something in a hurry.
A number of times I’d see a snow monkey doing something that I wanted to capture in an instant, but the camera takes just a split second or maybe even half a second or so to respond as you try to focus initially. Now, this could be down to the Intelligent Tracking and Recognition, or iTR Autofocus which the manual says can slow down focusing a little. I prefer to leave iTR AF turned on though, because it uses subject colour information to continue to focus on the subject, which is pretty important when tracking a subject around the frame.
It’s also very possible, if not likely, that the lag that I saw was due to the cold weather, which slows down the liquid crystal action that is used to display the in-screen information, giving the impression that the camera itself is slow. The temperature was between 1 degrees Celsius to around minus 8 during our time with the snow monkeys, which is certainly cold enough to start seeing this behaviour.
So, is this slight lag a big problem? Not really. I can totally live with it, especially when you consider the cost of this camera compared to the 1D X. We aren’t really comparing apples to apples by expecting it to be quite as snappy. I’ll let you know how the camera fairs in really cold conditions once I’ve used it in Hokkaido, but I don’t think this is going to be a big issue. Plus, Canon only actually support the camera down to freezing point, which is ridiculous when you consider how these cameras are used, but that’s their decision to make I guess.
AI Servo Performance
The other thing that wildlife and sports shooters are going to be interested in hearing about, is the AI Servo focusing performance. Once again, so far this doesn’t seem as accurate as the 1D X. Let’s look at a series of 30 frames of a snow monkey coming straight towards the camera. This burst was literally three seconds long, so I didn’t stop shooting at all between these thirty frames.
Snow Monkey Autofocus Test
The very first frame was totally sharp, so the camera had no problem locking on to the face of the snow monkey quickly as I raised the camera. Note that in the settings I have the camera setup to give priority to focus for the 1st AI Servo image, so this is as expected. I also have the AI Servo 2nd image priority set to Focus rather than Speed, so I was expecting the following frames to be perhaps more consistently sharper, but that wasn’t the case. The camera kept sharp focus until frame 5 when it ran off a little for a total of 5 frames, before locking back in on the face in frame 10, the last image on the top row.
100% Crop of First Frame
[UPDATE] I’m adding the above and below 100% crop of the first and the tenth frame of this series in reply to a comment. This first frame was the sharpest of the first 10 frames, with the rest varying slightly between that and the following tenth frame image.
100% Crop of Tenth Frame
After that, frames 11 through to 17 were also slightly soft, with the focus just slightly behind the face. Frame 18 was sharp again, and then the focus ran off very slightly again for five frames, getting gradually worse, until the focus almost locked back in again on frame 24 and it got really sharp again by frame 26. Unfortunately by that time the snow monkeys foot was starting to leave the bottom of the frame. The last two frames were totally soft, as the monkey dropped out of the frame.
I’m checking sharpness at 100% as I always do, because I want maximum sharpness, and honestly, I think the performance was under par, and I found this to be continuously the case for around eight similar bursts. The sharpness comes in for some frames, but then runs out again, and you just don’t see that level of failure with the 1D X with the same tracking and sensitivity settings.
Don’t get me wrong, if you aren’t worried about critical sharpness, many of these frames are usable, but they aren’t totally sharp. Here’s a 100% crop from frame 18, which is probably the sharpest of the series, so that you can see how sharp it got. I’d use this at a push, although I’m not totally happy with it. The settings for this series by the way was 1/800 of a second, at f/8, ISO 640.
Snow Monkey – Frame 18 100% Crop
Here too (below) are frames 19, 20 and 21, which gradually run more and more out of focus, from left to right. Don’t forget to click on the image to enlarge it to see the detail, or lack of detail in this case. This example is about 66% of the original, so it’s downsized very slightly to enable me to show you all three images together. Frame 19 is just about usable at a push, but frames 20 and 21 are unusable really. Now, in a burst like this, I’m happy if I have some usable frames, so this is not necessarily a bad result, but it’s not as good as I’d expected either.
Snow Monkeys Out of Focus – 66% Crop
So, these results are probably not what many of you were hoping to see and hear about, but this is the reality. Do bear in mind that even when using the 1D X we aren’t necessarily going to nail every frame, but the hit ratio is usually a bit higher than this in similar conditions. As I say though, this was from just over a handful of bursts, and I’ll be giving the 7D Mark II another good test in January and February on my Winter Tours & Workshops, and I will be sure to report my findings in March when I get back.
My auto-focus settings here were by the way were Tracking Sensitivity at zero, so equal priority for Locked on and Responsiveness. Acceleration/deceleration Tracking was set to 1, which should help to track a subject moving at various speeds, and AF point auto switching was set to zero, as I usually prefer the auto-focus to stick with my subject rather than easily moving to surrounding objects.
OK, so before we finish for this first impressions review, let’s take a quick look at the ISO performance. I shot between ISO 640 and 1600 over the three days, and was pretty impressed with the ISO performance to say that there are 20.2 megapixels on the 7D Mark II’s APS-C sensor. I’ll need to do some straight comparisons to really compare the 7D Mark II and the 5D Mark III and 1D X, but from what I’ve seen, up to ISO 1600, the 7D is seems to be pretty much on a par with the 5D Mark III. Here is a 100% crop from an image shot at ISO 1600, 1/125 of a second at f/8.
Grooming Junior – ISO 1600 100% Crop
Click on the image to view at full size, as the above image is resized for the blog post, but you can see in the full sized image that there is a little bit of visible grain creeping in, but it’s very organic, and nothing that I’ll worry about when I have to start to increase my ISO in low light. I’ll do some direct comparison’s later, but for now, all I can say is that I’m pretty happy with the ISO performance of the 7D Mark II.
Here too is the image that I cropped this last example from, just in case you were wondering what this little guy looks like in context.
And here to finish with is another shot of a little monkey, just because. You’ve gotta love these little guys. This was shot at ISO 800, 1/400 of a second at f/5.6.
So, after that you’re probably wondering how happy I am with the 7D Mark II. Well, at this point in time, despite the new 65 cross-type focus points, I’m happy enough, but not overly impressed with the auto-focus. I’ll know more about this soon, but for now, it’s good, but not amazing. ISO performance is good, especially considering the 20.2 megapixel resolution, and there are a bunch of other features that I mentioned that are very welcome too.
All-in-all, it’s a big thumbs up, and when you consider that I’m basing most of my comparisons with the Canon EOS 1D X which is almost four times the price, you really can’t go wrong with the 7D Mark II. As a cheaper alternative to the top of the line, you’ll get what you pay for, and much, much more.
100-400mm Mark II Review Coming Up!
I have actually just also picked up the new 100-400mm Mark II lens released on Dec 19 (2014) the day after this visit to the Snow Monkeys. I will be taking the 100-400mm on the road in January and February, and will be reporting my findings on that in March too, along with the 7D Mark II update. If you don’t usually follow my blog, do bookmark it, subscribe to the RSS feed or subscribe to the Podcast in iTunes etc. so that you don’t miss these upcoming reviews along with all the other photography goodness that I publish.