I’ve been using the Canon 7D MKII for a month or so now and I have to say that I am very impressed. I got it mainly for sports and events. So far, it has done everything I have expected and then some. As opposed to the full frame cameras I own, this camera has a crop factor of 1.6x. That means my 300mm lens will be more like a 480mm lens on the 7D MkII. It’s great when I need more reach.
The first thing I noticed is how solid the 7D MkII feels in my hands. It also weighs like a solid camera. I also added the grip to make vertical shooting easier and for a better fit in my hands. But, most importantly is how it performs and how the images look.
The 7D MkII autofocuses very quickly, tracks very well and can shoot up to 10 frames per second. I point and focus at a subject and the response is immediate. I rarely miss with this camera. When I shoot sports, the 10 frames per second comes in handy as I can look for subtle differences between frames that make stronger photos. Sure, there are more photos to browse, but I have a workflow where I protect photos in the camera as I shoot. It is much faster browsing in camera than on a computer. So, when I download, I can sort by protected photos in Photo Mechanic, which is the best image management software as far as I am concerned. If you want to learn more about Photo Mechanic, go to http://www.camerabits.com/.
Just like the 5D MkIII and 1Dx, you will want to pick an autofocus case that suits the needs for your what you are shooting. I have had great success with Case 4 at tracking sensitivity -1. I picked -1 after a couple of shoots because I would rather have autofocus stay with a subject longer rather than pick a new subject quickly, which is pretty important for basketball and football where a player may run across your frame in front of your primary subject very quickly.
Image quality? There’s a slight drop off from my 5D MkIII. But, it is slight. Sure, the pixel peepers will make a big deal out of every little degradation. But, that’s not entirely why I use or don’t use a camera. I have shot up to ISO 6400 with this camera and still have publishable photos. For RAW, it doesn’t matter, but when I am shooting JPEG, I have high ISO noise reduction set at low. This works well for sharp images and low noise when I am shooting JPEG, which is what I am usually doing when shooting sports and events.
Are there downsides? Only one, as far as I am concerned. It is a battery hog. I go through half the life of a battery after photographing one basketball game. With my 5D MkIII, maybe one bar goes off the battery life. But, I have extra batteries anyways. So, it isn’t a huge deal for me. I just keep better track of battery life.
So, would I buy another one of these? Yes, yes and yes. It’s fast, feels good in my hands and has great image quality.