Saturday, January 10, 2015

Getting Acquainted With The 7D MK II

Well, I tried to withstand the temptation, but face it my main interest is wildlife photography and filming and I am almost as interested in the tools of the trade as in the actual filming and photographing, so at the end of the day I just had to try the new Canon 7D MK II that so many are raving about. It arrived late Tuesday evening--too late for any shooting.

Wednesday morning was the first opportunity to use the camera. There was no chance to micro-adjust it  with any of the lenses before pressing it into action.but this is no worse than using a camera that does not have the micro-adjustment feature so I went ahead and used it to photograph whitetail deer with the 70-200mm f2.8 L IS II.

Whitetail Doe: Canon 7D MK II-Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS II @200mm - ISO 1600-1/400 sec.-f 4.0

On my way out to photograph that afternoon I used the camera with the 24-105mm lens to take some scenic shots and it worked well for this purpose.

 Canon 7D MK II-Canon 24-105mm f4 L IS  @24mm - ISO 100-1/25 sec.-f 8.0
It was brutally cold that afternoon, but nonetheless I set up the equipment and micro-adjusted the camera with the 500mm F 4.0 lens. As it turned out it needed to be adjusted -5, which is the same amount the 5D MK III requires with this lens

Canon: 7D MK II-Canon 500mm F 4.0
Now it was time to try it on some wildlife and I turned my attention to the nearby bird feeder, where the usual assortment of winter birds was busily feeding.  As it was getting late and I was primarily interested in the low-light performance of the camera, I used ISO speeds ranging from 640--6400 and the ones posted today are taken at 1600 and 6400.  Also I shot with the lens completely wide open to verify if the micro-adjustment was successful.

Female Cardinal: Canon 7D MK II-Canon 500mm f 4.0L IS - ISO 1600-1/320 sec.-f 4.0

Female Cardinal: Canon 7D MK II-Canon 500mm f 4.0L IS - ISO 6400-1/1000 sec.-f 4.0
Experienced photographers will note that I could have  successfully used slower shutter speeds and therefore have used a lower ISO which should have given somewhat better images, but the reason I shot at the speeds I did was to get an idea of the cameras' potential at high speeds.  This is still not the best test of high ISO performance though as even very high ISO settings will likely look much better in better quality light than they do in murky, dim light. I also want to point out that all of the images with the exception of the scenic shot are cropped a moderate amount, which also influences image quality. 

The last photograph for today is one taken with the old 7D on the day before the MK II came.  This is in ideal light conditions and the photo is  cropped a moderate amount.

White-throated Sparrow: Canon Original 7D -Canon 500mm f 4.0L IS - ISO 1600-1/400 sec.-f 4.0
This post is not presented as proof of any particular point of view, but simply to show what I have gotten from the 7D MK II to date with a limited amount of shooting.  I  like the solid professional feel of the camera, the performance of the auto-focus system and the  image quality looks to be very promising.  I think the last photo does demonstrate; however, that good lighting and focus, etc. are more important than the features of the camera being used to take a photograph and that the old 7D as well as older cameras such as the 30D and 40D are capable of taking excellent professional quality photographs that are still competitive today.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.