Canon 7D mark II Review – Footage and First Look at Video Features

1-YU2A9504The Canon EOS 7D mkII was announced a week ago. For a long time the old Canon 7D was one of the best video shooting DSLR’s. Now the new addition to the Canon DSLR family offers many improvements in video mode. At cinema5D we took the camera into the field and tested it thoroughly to give you an impression of what it offers

Note: This review and footage were shot on a beta camera. There may be improvements in the final production version of the camera.

I got into a nostalgic mood when I sat down to write this article, as the original Canon 7D served me very well despite its limitations. Be it a BBC news pieces or a National Geographic Video, that camera was truly a working horse for me.

5 years to the date, and its successor landed on our desk raising modest expectations when it comes to the video side, as this camera according to its specifications isn’t offering all the features we would wish for and that other large sensor cameras already offer.

Watching Canon’s 7D mkII promotional video led us to believe that an extensive amount of sharpening was used in post and indeed our own findings support the assumption that the 7D mark II footage is a bit soft. We can tell you the video quality of the Canon 7D mark II is comparable to that of the Canon 5D mark III. Soft but very clean. In the above video, 25% sharpening was used in post in order to make the clean picture “alive”.

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Besides the nice looking clean video mode it seems that Canon for the first time added audio output via HDMI. For a long time this feature was requested by professionals who worked with Canon DSLR’s on news assignments or when using external recorders.

Another enhancement from the original model is the headphone jack. Now it is possible to monitor your audio while recording video, but mind you that on this “beta camera” the preamps were rather noisy. Also audio and video were not in perfect sync as you can see in the video. Probably this issue will be resolved in the production version.

Other than that the added full HD in 50p and 60p mode is a very nice addition, but limited to IBP compression only. Normal video is recorded in ALL-i coding like on the 5D mark III. Other “basic video features” like peaking or magnifying video while recording did not make it into this camera.

Another noticable improvement is the brighter and larger LCD screen, dedicated video overlays, better lowlight capabilities, Dual-Pixel CMOS AF (as on 70D) and the ability to use both CF and SD cards.

All in all the Canon 7D mark II offers surprisingly nice looking and clean video with lovely and accurate colors and no aliasing or moiré. We will go into detail in our upcoming lab test where we will compare sharpness, colors, dynamic range and lowlight to other cameras including the old 7D.

One or two years ago this camera would probably have sold like hot cakes. 5D mark III video in a much more affordable APS-C body and slow motion in full HD. But now that 4K is here for many the video might be too soft.

Many thanks to Sonja Völker from herzilein-wien.at

Music by themusicbed.com
The Light the Heat – Autumn Eyes

 

Johnnie Behiri is a freelance documentary cameraman/editor/producer working mostly for the BBC and other respected broadcasters. He is also co-owner of cinema5d.com

Watch it on Vimeo

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Hannay
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Hannay

It’s not like Canon is loosing the race, they are just not racing at all.

This got embarrassing 6-7 cameras ago. Now it’s just beyond sad.

A
Guest
A

Agree(

abi
Guest
abi

not racing at all? so fanboy did u think with this mark ii canon join the race? look at this spec, this is 2 years behind competitor,.. what we need is canons answer to A7s, and sadly we only have this fake 60p, what a shame

Hannay
Guest
Hannay

Maybe if you read my post again and think really hard for a minute, you’ll understand what I’m saying.

Sebastian Wöber
Member

I think you’ll be surprised with what Canon will come up next. They always took their time to get the products right. They’ll continue to do it this way. Their main focus in DSLR is still photo.

Mike
Guest
Mike

> They always took their time to get the products right.

What Canon is clearly doing has nothing to do with “taking their time” to get something “right”. Obviously they are protecting their high-margin Cinema EOS cameras (bodies priced from $5,000 to $20,000, lenses from $4,000 to $35,000) by holding back on the video capabilities of their consumer DSLRs.

Rec Insdustry
Member

i agree

d s
Guest
d

Agree re: their main focus being still photo. As a newspaper photographer, the still aspects along with some video capabilities (more than enough for newspaper video) make this camera a dream come true.

Everyone seems upset that the 7D Mark II isn’t what they hoped it to be, but maybe it wasn’t built for you in mind.

A
Guest
A

“Soft but very clean”
What? I don’t get your point. Video may be soft and may be sharp, may be detailed and not. Here (as well as in 5D3) we see the same c**p – soft and UNDETAILED video! It looks like upscaled 720p. It’s not even near acceptable production quality

Sebastian Wöber
Member

What Johnnie meant was there is no aliasing and moiré. The picture is soft but beautiful. Yes, it looks best in 720p. Yes it’s annoying that it doesn’t do beautiful 1080p. But for what it is I think it does have potential.
Would I prefer an A7S? Yes. But if I had less budget and was targeting 720p the mkII would be an interesting option for me. We’ve seen and tested most latest cameras. 7Dmk2 did make an impression.

abi
Guest
abi

how can a soft images producing moiree?
can i order hot ice tea please….

less budget and buy this 720p at 1.800U$ doesnt make sense…

D
Guest
D

Moire is more a function of transmission and display, not capture.

A
Guest
A

You have to agree, 720p in 2014 is not interesting at all)

Sebastian Wöber
Member

I observe that about 95% of all videos on vimeo are in 720p… All our tradeshow videos are always in 720p. The 5D mark III is the perfect camera for these kind of shoots. I’m glad there’s a more affordable alternative (including glass) to deliver the nice Canon look in an easy to use package. The A7S has a lot of strengths, but also weaknesses and is much more expensive if you shoot full frame.

nowhat
Guest
nowhat

you could shoot your trade show videos with a frickin iphone… no one needs a 5d for that seriously

Jay
Guest
Jay

Sebastian, just because most videos stream at 720p doesn’t mean that most are now shot in 720p…that’s the distinction.

When shooting crisp, clear 4k with affordable options like the GH4 and Sony A7S, you can downscale for web streaming and the video will look even better.

I love Canon, but their days of producing cutting edge consumer technology is behind them. I was one an ardent Canon shooter, but I’ve had to jump ship because their video capabilities are years behind the competition.

Eno
Guest
Eno

Yes it may be one of the best 720p cameras out there…and nothing more. Even the cheapest Nikon DSLR (D3300) films much better than this :(.

Chris Gibbs
Guest

That’s a lot of high-end stills camera functionality for the money, additional video functionality is simply gravy. I’d suspect the market for this “still camera” is you average camera-club shooter who likes long lenses and nature photography. But in all fairness to Canon, this is a seriously full-featured reduced frame profession spec stills camera.

A
Guest
A

We all know what their cameras are really capable of. They cut it out. So, to be really fair, they simply fool us

Chris Gibbs
Guest

Personally, I’m glad Canon and Nikon are hanging in there and producing kick-ass “stills” cameras. But to be honest, just move on, buy a Sony if you’re more interested in motion (like the rest of us stills guys have), life’s to short to wait in hope for some ships to turn toward your port!

Sebastian Wöber
Member

Yes, Sony is great and at cinema5D we’re slowly replacing our Canon gear for Sony. But there is no camera that fits all. Each project needs different cameras. To simply say “this is bad” “this is good” i think is just not right. There are many cameras that are really not worth it, the Canon 7D mark II is not one of them.

Chris Gibbs
Guest

Yes, horses for courses. If you’re the White House staff photographer, then Sony aren’t the best choice, for that gig you’d hang onto your 5D3. Ditto for press & sports, for that you want a good OVF and a fast responsive camera from Canikon. Problem with all these discussions, they often turn into some sort of “spectator sport” mentality. My team’s better than yours……….. :-)

Eno
Guest
Eno

Yes if you need to deliver 720p than 7D mark 2 is the way to go :), but it’s usefulness stops there!

Oscar
Guest
Oscar

Not even close to competition.
– sell your shares if you hold any :)

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