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Canon EOS R7 initial review

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Canon EOS R7 in hand

The Canon EOS R7 is a 32.5MP APS-C mirrorless camera built around Canon’s RF mount. It sits as a more expensive sister model to the EOS R10, launched alongside it. It’s targeted at a similar enthusiast photographer market as the existing EOS 90D DSLR and, perhaps, the EOS M6 II.

Key Specifications

  • 32.5MP APS-C CMOS sensor with Dual Pixel AF
  • Up to 30 fps shooting (e-shutter), 15 fps with mechanical
  • In-body image stabilization, rated at up to 7 stops
  • Oversampled UHD 4K up to 30p, line-skipped or cropped 4K/60p
  • 10-bit video as ‘PQ’ true HDR footage or C-Log
  • 2.36M dot OLED viewfinder
  • 1.62M dot fully-articulating touchscreen
  • Twin UHS-II SD card slot
  • Environmental sealing
  • Mic and headphone sockets

The EOS R7 will be available for a list price of $1499 body-only, or $1899 with the new 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM zoom lens.



What’s new

Sensor

Canon EOS R7 sensor
The EOS R7 a ‘new’ 32.5MP APS-C sensor which continues to offer Dual Pixel AF and Canon’s Dual Pixel Raw mode.

As with the R10, Canon says the 32.5MP CMOS sensor at the heart of the EOS R7 is not the same as one used before. It strikes us as unlikely that Canon is committing a lot of money to designing entirely new front-side illuminated sensors at this point, leading us to speculate that the new version is a variation of the existing design, perhaps manufactured on a newer production line that allows finer fabrication of the sensor’s circuitry.

Whatever the difference is, the sensor, combined with the latest ‘Digic X’ processor allows faster continuous shooting and faster video rates than we’ve seen from any of Canon’s existing 32.5MP cameras.

In addition, this speed feeds into to a substantially reworked AF system.

Autofocus

AF Selection
Any of the AF areas modes can now be used to initiate AF tracking.

Canon still hasn’t fixed the Enable/Enabled error in the interface (This message indicates that tracking is enabled, not you should press ‘Info’ to enable the mode).

The EOS R7 gains the same autofocus system as the R10. This dispenses with the separate Face/Tracking focus mode and instead lets you engage tracking as an option when using any of the AF area or zone modes. This means you get the choice of how to initiate tracking, using an AF target that’s a good fit for the subject you’re trying to shoot.

The AF areas now include three customizable AF zones whose size and shape can be adjusted.

Subject Recognition
You can set the camera to recognize humans, animals or vehicles. The human-recognition mode is distinct from the face/eye detection that remains available, even if the recognition mode is turned off.

In addition, the EOS R7 has the subject recognition modes inherited from the EOS R3, letting you choose to prioritize people, animals or vehicles. Given the slower read-out of the R7’s FSI-CMOS sensor, we don’t necessarily expect the same AF performance as Canon’s sporting mirrorless model, but the R7 should be just as good at identifying subjects of the type you select.

Continuous shooting

The R7’s sensor readout is fast enough to offer continuous shooting at up to 30fps, using its electronic shutter. We’ve not had a chance to measure the rolling shutter rate, or test whether the camera is dropping to 12-bit readout (which seems likely, with an FSI sensor), but it’s a decent spec to be able to promise.

Perhaps more significantly, the R7 can shoot 15 frames per second with full AF using its mechanical shutter, which means there’ll be no rolling shutter concerns (and it’s not so long since Canon’s flagship sports model shot at a comparable rate). Notably, the EOS R7 has a larger image buffer than the R10, making it more practical for shooting bursts of action.

In our initial testing we could capture around 100 compressed Raw images when shooting at the 15 fps mode with mechanical shutter, and around 65 shots in 30fps mode, meaning around two-to-three times more images in a burst than the R10 can manage.

Video

Canon EOS R7 top controls
The movie function is accessed by moving the power button one stage beyond the ‘On’ position. We found this could be a little fiddly and difficult to consistently use accurately.

The video specs of the EOS R7 are improved over the R10 and over cameras that used the previous versions of the 32.5MP Canon sensor. The biggest difference is that, as well as being able to shoot oversampled 4K at up to 30p, using the full 7K area of the sensor, it’s also able to capture sub-sampled (probably line-skipped) UHD 4K at up to 60p from the full sensor width.

Movie Menu
The EOS R7 can shoot full-width (but sub-sampled) 4K at up to 60p or you can apply a fairly major 1.81x crop and use a native 3840 x 2160 pixel region.

Alternatively, like the R10, there’s the option to capture 4K/60p using a native 3840 x 2160 pixel crop of the sensor. But, because the R7’s sensor is higher resolution than that of the R10, it means a bigger crop is required to get down to that native region. The R7’s cropped 4K/60 applies a 1.81x crop on top of the sensor’s existing 1.6x crop, relative to full-frame. This will be useful for achieving a zoomed-in look but means you’re using just 1/4 of the camera’s sensor, so there’ll be a significant noise cost in all but the best light.

Canon EOS R7 mic headphone remote
The EOS R10 has both microphone and headphone sockets, letting you use external mics and monitor the audio for level and background distractions, while you record.

As well as the HDR PQ option for capturing true HDR footage for HDR displays, the R7 offers the ability to capture 10-bit footage in the C-Log 3 profile, designed to retain flexibility for color (and brightness) grading. This, combined with in-body stabilization, headphone socket and pretty decent video AF (albeit not as good as in stills mode), makes the R7 a pretty competitive video machine at its price point.

True HDR stills

As we’ve seen on the EOS R6 and R5, the R7 and R10 can shoot 10-bit HEIF files using the HDR ‘PQ’ curve. These shoot wider dynamic range images in a way that allows them to show that wider dynamic range in a realistic manner if you connect the camera to a high dynamic range display or TV.

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How it compares

We’ve compared the EOS R7 with its two most obvious image-stabilized enthusiast APS-C rivals: the Sony a6600 and Fujifilm’s slightly more expensive X-T4.

Canon EOS R7 Canon EOS R10 Sony a6600 Fujifilm X-T4
MSRP (at launch) $1499 $979 $1399 $1699
Pixel count 33MP 24MP 24MP 26MP
Sensor tech FSI-CMOS (Dual Pixel) FSI-CMOS
(Dual Pixel)
BSI-CMOS BSI-CMOS
Image stabilization Yes
(Rated up to 7.0EV)
No Yes
(Rated up to 5.0EV)
Yes
(Rated up to 6.5EV)
Max frame rate 15fps (mech)
30fps (e-shutter)
15fps (mech)
23fps (e-shutter)
11fps (mech)
8fps (e-shutter)
15fps (mech)
20fps (e-shutter)
Viewfinder res / mag 2.36M dot 2.36M dot 2.36M dots
0.70x

3.69M dots
0.75x

Rear screen res / type 3.0″ 1.62M dot fully-articulated 3.0″ 1.43M dot fully-articulated 3.0″ 0.92M dot tilt up/down 3.0″ 1.62M dot tilt up/down
Video 4K/30p full-width oversampled,
4K/60p subsampled full-width or with 1.81x crop
4K/30p full-width oversampled, 4K/60p from 1.56x crop 4K/24p full-width oversampled, 4K/30p with slight crop DCI or UHD 4K up to 30p full-width, oversampled,
up to 60p with 1.18x crop
10-bit video options HDR PQ
C-Log 3
HDR PQ None HLG
F-Log
Mic / Headphone sockets? Yes / Yes Yes / No Yes / Yes Yes / via adapter
Card slots 2 x UHS-II SD 1 x UHS-II SD 1 x UHS-I SD 2 x UHS-II SD
Battery rating (LCD / EVF) Unspecified / 660 Unspecified / 450 810 / 720 500 / 500
Weight 612g (21.6oz) 426g (15oz) 503g (17.7oz) 378g (oz)
Dimensions 132 x 90 x 92 mm 126 x 88 x 83 mm 120 x 67 x 69 mm 135 x 93 x 64 mm

The Sony has a lower specificaton in several regards, most noticeably in terms of its video capabilities, but it also has the autofocus system that’s most comparable to that of the new Canon. The X-T4’s autofocus isn’t as simple nor is it quite as dependable as that of the Canon or Sony, but it has a higher-resolution viewfinder and video specs that are a good match for those of the Canon (the Fujifilm’s 60p footage requires a slight crop but is much more detailed than either of the R7’s 60p modes).

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Body & handling

Canon EOS R7 rear

The R7 body has no immediate precedent in Canon’s range: it’s shaped rather like a smaller R6 but has a couple of control points we’ve not encountered before. The grip and feel in the hand is immediately familiar, though, with a large, comfortable grip that will make R-series or X0D users feel right at home.

The dial setup on the R7 is unusual, though. There’s an upward-facing command dial immediately behind the shutter button, just as there is on the R10 and a great many Canon cameras. However, rather than the large, horizontal second dial of the R10, the R7 has a second vertical dial that encircles the AF joystick on the back of the camera. It’s an unusual design and one that some of us found meant they ended up adjusting exposure when they were trying to nudge the AF point. This wasn’t universal, though, so perhaps it’s something we’ll get used to.

Canon EOS R7 shutter closed
Unlike the R10, the R7 is able to close its mechanical shutter when switched off, preventing dust getting on the sensor as you change lenses.

The other difference is that the cardinal points on the R10’s four-way controller are marked with their permanent functions, whereas the R7 lets you customize which functions its larger, easier to operate controller gives you access to.

Given the (comparatively) modest price of the R7, it’s no surprise that the Eye Control system from the EOS R3 hasn’t yet trickled down this far. Instead you’re likely to primarily use the AF joystick, or a combination of buttons and dials if operating Canon DSLRs is truly ingrained on your soul.

The EOS R7 has twin UHS-II SD card slots, which live behind their own door on the side of the camera, making access much easier than on the R10, particularly if you’re on a tripod. It’s also weather-sealed to a greater degree than the EOS R10 though, as usual, Canon doesn’t attempt to quantify this.

Viewfinder and screen

Canon EOS R7 articulated screen

The R7 has a 3.0″ fully-articulated rear touchscreen. It’s 1.62M dot unit, meaning it offers a resolution of 900 x 600 pixels, giving it a slightly wider 3:2 aspect ratio, rather than the 4:3 of the R10’s screen.

The viewfinder is a 2.36M dot OLED panel, which is still a common spec on sub-$1000 mirrorless cameras. Canon tends not to give information about refresh rates or the magnification offered by the viewfinder optics. Neither is a particularly high-end panel, but both are comparable, for now, with the camera’s (rather elderly) peers.

Battery

Canon EOS R7 LP E6NH battery

The EOS R7 uses the LP-E6NH batteries shared by the EOS R6 and R5 models. This is a 15.3Wh unit, meaning over twice the capacity of the one used in the R10. This powers the EOS R7 to a rating of 660 shots per charge.

CIPA numbers tend to under-represent the number of shots you’re likely to get during many types of photography. We find 660 shots is sufficient that you’ll rarely need to worry about running out of battery, even for quite intensive sports or event photography.

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Initial impression

Canon EOS R7 top down

As with its less expensive model, Canon insists the EOS R7 doesn’t replace the EOS 90D or EOS M6 II, but if that proves to be true for the lifespan of this model, it’s fair to assume that its successors will spell the end of those in-house rivals in the long run.

So how does it do? The EOS R7 looks to be a competant enthusiast option. The revised autofocus system is a significant step beyond what the EOS M6 II offers, both in terms of power and simplicity, and goes far beyond what the centrally-focused autofocus sensor of a DSLR can compete with.

We’re pleased to see the R7 is built around the larger LP-E6NH battery used in the full-frame R5 and R6 modes, but the viewfinder specifications are a little disappointing, by comparison. A 2.36M dot panel is fair enough in the sub-$1000 EOS R10 but looks a but underwhelming in the $1500 R7.

Canon EOS R7 rear dial

Other question marks around the R7 relate to slightly unusual rear command dial that encircles the AF joystick at the upper right of the camera. It’s split opinions on the DPReview team, so that’ll be part of our focus as we spend more time with the camera. Oddly it means the more basic model might be a little easier to control, quickly.

Beyond the camera body itself, the R10’s enthusiast ambitions mean it’s more likely that its users will want to fit more than just the kit zoom. The 18-150mm F 3.5-6.3 IS STM looks capable enough, from what we’ve seen, and certainly covers a decent range, but it’s not exactly the brightest lens in the world. And, while Canon has done a good job of fleshing-out its RF lens lineup, only a fraction of these make much sense on an APS-C body, from a focal length, size or price perspective. A lot of the R10’s appeal will hinge on what Canon does next with the RF range.

Ultimately it seems more likely that Canon will introduce some more affordable RF-mount lenses that could pair well with the R10 than it was that they’d introduce more ambitious lenses for the EF-M system. In which case, should the R10 be taken as an unexpected vote of confidence in APS-C as an enthusiast format, or is it merely a bait-and-switch tool to bring enthusiasts into the RF fold, in the hope that it’ll encourage them across to full-frame in the long run?

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Sample gallery

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