My personal workhorse for the past four years, the EOS 7D is probably the best APS-C DSLR which Canon has made.
So, you can imagine my excitement when I got my hands on the review unit of the new Mark II version.
The EOS 7D Mark II comes with an upgraded 20.2-megapixel CMOS image sensor, dual Digic 6 image processors and phase-detection autofocusing (AF) technology.
For AF, the Mark II uses Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, first seen in the EOS 70D.
It also taps a new 65-point all "cross-type" AF system. The result is a consistently fast and accurate focus lock, both during image capture and video-recording.
I put the Mark II's AF speed to the test by comparing it with my EOS 7D using the EF-S 18-135mm IS STM lens.
For still photography in Live View mode, my 7D takes 4sec to lock onto a dimly lit object. The Mark II took under 1sec.
For video-recording in Live View mode, the 7D's AF has always been problematic for me, so I often use manual focusing.
There were no such issues with the Mark II, which took less than 1sec to lock focus when I panned to a new scene in bright sunlight. In dim lighting conditions, it took up to 3sec.
The contest was much closer when using the optical viewfinder for shooting stills. Both cameras achieved instantaneous focus lock in bright sunlight, and took up to 2sec in dim conditions.
Starting up the camera is instantaneous, so you can start shooting almost immediately after switching it on. Shut-down is also quick at about 1sec, even though the process triggers the cleaning of the sensor.
The Mark II doubles the number of SD card slots of the 7D to two.. The second slot can serve as backup or more storage space.
Using a CF card with a writing speed of 50MB per second, the Mark II was able to capture 19 RAW images in 2sec before the memory buffer ran out. It managed 34 JPEG images in just under 4sec, so the shooting speed is close to what is advertised.
The magnesium-alloy body feels solid and the rubberised contoured grip provides a secure and comfortable grasp of the camera.
Much thought has been given to the button layout of the 7D. The Mark II differs slightly in this regard, but it is just as good, with all the buttons within easy reach of my fingers and thumb.
The mode dial is now lockable, so it does not move when brushed against your body. The rear mini-joystick remains handy for changing AF point.
I have a couple of quibbles with this camera.
One is the new "rate" button at the rear and left side of the camera. I feel that those buying this camera will probably not be the types to rate their pictures as they shoot.