The Canon EOS 7DmkII will be delivered in November. I had a pre-production sample for some days and wanted to find out, how good the autofocus really works in video mode and really put the camera through its paces.
Beeing a member of the Canon Ambassador Programm means we sometimes have the chance to work with cameras, that are not on the market yet. Ambassador Richard Walch for example was shooting with the EOS 7DmkII before anyone knew it existed. I also took the chance to get the 7DmkII in my hands before it is delivered just to do some test shootings. You can find technical details on every corner of the Internet already, and as a reader of my blog you already know – for me a Camera is a tool. And i want to know what i can do with this tool. I´m not interested too much in specs and details, i want to see results. The 7DmkII offers 3 really interesting things for me: 65 Autofocus points (cross type), Autofocus in video and 10fps.
I never cared about autofocus in video mode on a DSLR. Like i almost never care about anything that says “Auto” too much. Auto means i´m loosing control, and i don´t like to loose control. I really want to know where my focus is and i want to move it exactly where i want it to be.
But from time to time things that are called “Auto” appear and really make sense. And having autofocus could be useful from time to time. If it really works. If i can´t access the camera for example. That would give me much more possibilities where i can put a DSLR and shoot video. This is why i didn´t only test the 7DmkII myself, i went to see fellow photographer Wolfgang Lienbacher and the Red Bull Skydive Team in Salzburg with a simple thought – if this Autofocus works while you´re jumping out of a plane with it, chances are high it will work everywhere 😉 Watch the Video to see how great the autofocus worked up there, while falling down to earth at about 200km/h:
Keep in mind that this is a pre-production sample camera. Meaning it´s not guaranteed that the picture quality is as high as it will be in the final version that will be delivered in November.
If you don´t use the autofocus in such harsh conditions, you also have the possibility to lock the focus point to your subject. So before you start shooting your video, you just focus on your subject, press record, and when the camera or subject is moving, the autofocus will follow exactly. If you keep in mind that we had no chance to activate the focus point in this video, the results are even more amazing.
Finally, i´d like to write down some words on “APS-C only”. When i was on stage at photokina, giving workshops at Canon, a lot of people were asking me what i think about the 7DmkII. Even more people seemed to ask me “but it´s only APS-C, well, not so good, huh?”.
Do you remember that Megapixel hype when digital photography just started out? After some years of “wow, we can shoot and watch the results immediately”, someone managed to convince a lot of people that megapixel is all you need. If it really makes sense to get as much megapixels out of small sensors as possible was nothing anyone would ever ask… just give them a loooot of megapixels and they are happe. “It is a great camera because it has 12 Megapixels” …
After some years, the word has spread. People suddenly knew “ok, megapixel is not that important. The sensor is much more important. It´s better to have a bigger sensor with less mp, than a smaller sensor with more mp”. Ok. But then this “someone” must have showed up again and now convinced people, that Full Frame is the only sensor that makes sense at all. Everything below full frame is crap. At least that is what i hear all the time.
Might take some years before this nonsense stops, as it took some time for the megapixel hype to stop. So let´s just have a quick look at some sensor formats, maybe that helps a bit:
Medium Format, Full Frame, APS-C and iPhone in one picture. You really want to make a difference? A really big difference you and everyone who will watch your photos will see and feel? Then go from APS-C to medium format. That makes sense and difference. I had a shooting with Paukee from Excuse Me Moses last week with the Hasselblad 503cx and Phase One p25 back. That is a difference i can see and feel when editing the photos.
Medium format is double size of Full frame. At least. Yes, that makes sense. And yes, of course, there is a difference between APS-C and full frame. But honestly, stop hyping full frame as the only sensor that makes sense for pros. That is simply not true. As a pro it can be a big advantage to have a crop sensor. The focus is not that sensitive on a crop sensor. It is much easier to mess up the focus on a full frame and really easy to mess it up on medium format, while APS-C is not that sensitive. And crop sensor also means you can turn a 200mm lens into a 280 or maybe even 300mm lens, depending on the crop factor your sensor has. This is a big advantage for sport- action- or wildlife photography.
However, if this didn´t convince you, maybe you want to watch Zack Arias who took much more time on that topic and made this video about different sensor sizes. And he gets much more distinct on that one then i did 😉