Canon EOS 7D Digital Camera Review$1,699.99
Speed and Timing
There are two burst-rate speed settings, High (with a top claimed speed of 8 shots per second) and Low (3 shots per second). The maximum number of shots in a single burst depends on image size and format, of course. Shooting fine JPEGs, the maximum burst is 94 shots with a standard CompactFlash card or 126 with a UDMA card. For RAW files without JPEG, the maximum is 15 with either type of memory card.
Burst mode shooting is a key strength of the Canon 7D. The company claims a maximum continuous shooting rate of 8 shots per second. Our speed test results came in at 7.49 shots per second using a fast UDMA card, a very satisfying result. And, as noted below, you can keep shooting continuously for over 100 shots (large JPEGs) before the buffer fills and shooting slows.
The 7D offers two straightforward self-timer options, without advanced capabilities such as multiple shots after the timer ticks down. Either timer mode will work with the shutter, or an optional wireless remote control, including the RC-1 and RC-5 ($30).
The 7D uses a new 19-point autofocus system. When shooting with a lens with a maximum aperture higher than f/5.6, all of these points focus as cross-type sensors. If the maximum aperture is f/2.8 or higher, the center focus point is about twice as sensitive to horizontal and vertical lines as the others.
There are three Focus Mode options: One Shot, AI Servo (continuous autofocus), and AI Focus, which switch between the two depending on whether the subject is in motion.
After shooting with the 7D for a while, we found ourselves coming back to the Zone AF system frequently. It offers a nice combination of user control and flexibility, avoiding the chore of maneuvering individual focus points with the control wheels or joystick (pretty cumbersome) but still pointing the camera in the right direction.
There are 5 available Zone Focus settings. Switching between them while shooting is fast and efficient: just press the AF Point button at the top right of the camera back, then turn either control dial to cycle through your options, which are displayed both in the viewfinder and on the rear LCD.
The 7D doesn't have a dedicated autofocus assist lamp. Instead, the built-in flash can be used to fire off brief strobing bursts to help the camera autofocus. We prefer a dedicated lamp, since it's a less intrusive solution when trying to shoot candids.
When using manual focus, the focus confirmation light in the viewfinder will indicate whether the subject is in focus if you press the shutter halfway.