Since the first announcement of Canon’s mirrorless RF lineup, photographers have been waiting for a camera with an APS-C sensor. It took probably a little longer than we could have guessed, but still in May 2022 the world saw two mirrorless cropped cameras with RF-S mount: R10 and R7. Now it’s safe to say that the fate of the EOS M line is sealed. Today we have the Canon EOS R7 top-of-the-line mirrorless APS-C camera in our review.
The Canon EOS R7 got a classic design relative to the trends of the mirrorless RF line. However, there are still a few interesting features. First is the three-position Off/On/Video switch – we saw a similar solution in the EOS R5c camera, it’s really convenient.
Secondly, the multi selector was “moved” higher and is now combined with the joystick – many were worried that it is easy to hit during operation, this is not the case, everything is fine. Thirdly, and this is probably the minus, the top panel has lost the second control disk – now the exposure control is not so handy.
The camera has an APS-C sensor measuring 22.2 x 14.8 mm (cropped 1.6x) with 32.5 megapixels. A similar sensor was installed in the EOS 90D and EOS M6 II, but according to the manufacturer, the sensor is not the same – maybe it is, maybe it’s just marketing.
The latest generation Digic X processor is responsible for data processing. The ISO range is 100-32000 with an extension to 51200, unfortunately, the lower value cannot be reduced. For video mode, the maximum ISO value is limited to 12800.
The EOS R7 has a state-of-the-art Dual Pixel CMOS AF II, 100% of the frame is covered by 5,915 dots, which are divided into 651 auto zones. There is face, eye, animal, car and motorcycle recognition.
The continuous shooting performance is impressive. With a mechanical shutter the speed can go up to 15 frames per second, and with an electronic shutter up to 30 frames. Autofocus and auto exposure work during continuous shooting. The maximum speed depends on the shooting conditions, including the speed of the memory card – in our case we worked with the Delkin Devices Black UHS-II 256GB card. The shutter speed range is 30s-1/8000, with an electronic shutter of 30s-1/16000. Synchronization up to 1/250s with mechanical shutter and up to 1/320s, with electronic first shutter.
The pivoting display has a diagonal of 2.95″ and a resolution of 1.62 MP, the viewfinder has a resolution of 2.36 MP with a refresh rate up to 120fps depending on shooting conditions. No outstanding performance here, everything is standard for cameras in this price segment.
The interfaces are: USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (without power support during operation, battery charging in the camera is guaranteed with the USB adapter PD-E1), Micro HDMI, headphone output, microphone input, sync cable, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth. The camera is also equipped with two SD slots with support for UHS-II high-speed interface.
Let’s start with the dynamic range. For technical testing of the sensor we use the Datacolor SpyderCheckr 24 color scale.
When restoring an overexposed picture by one step, the matrix copes perfectly. At restoration of two steps from the light there is a loss in halftones. Such corrections should be resorted to only in extreme cases. Reconstructing three steps in the light gives a significant distortion of colors.
The situation in shadows is more optimistic. One step in the shadows does not cause any changes in the picture, there is no noise, and the color rendering does not suffer. Two steps already show insignificant noise, which is absolutely non-critical. Three stages gives more noise, which can be easily handled by the automatic noise reduction. The detail does not suffer. Pulling out the four nulls reveals noticeable color noise, which contributes to both detail and color reproduction. Five steps greatly affect color reproduction, and the noise grain becomes very coarse. It is better to avoid such corrections in color images, but not so critical in B/W.
Summing it all, we can say that EOS R7 has about one and a half stops margin in the light and 3-4 stops margin in the shade. The results are to be expected and, unfortunately, compared to the EOS 90D and EOS M6 II, there are no global changes. All in all, this is a sufficient margin, which gives good opportunities at the post in professional work.
Let’s start with the synthetic sensor test and compare the performance with the latest APS-C cameras we have tested before. Throughout the ISO range, the EOS R7 shows worse results compared to Nikon Z50 and Fujifilm X-T4. And if up to 1600-3200 values the real picture will be almost the same, then higher ISO values of our opponents will be noticeably cleaner.
For the sake of interest, let’s compare full-frame cameras with similar sensor resolutions. Also, we decided to include the EOS R in this comparison, since we don’t have more modern Canon cameras with the corresponding synthetic test.
As one would expect, in this comparison our hero also loses. The leaders remain the Z6 II and the A7 IV.
Now let’s analyze the real crinkle at basic ISO values. As in the previous test we will use the SpyderCheckr scale. All files were converted through RawDigger to disable all kinds of built-in corrections.
At ISO400 you can notice the first small monotonous noise. ISO800 already gives colored noise, noticeable in the lighter parts of the frame. Grain becomes coarser with each new value, ISO3200 can be called the limit for large format printing. Then the noise affects the detail, but the color reproduction does not suffer much. ISO12800 can be considered the maximum value, above which you should not go when working with color photography.
According to CIPA measurements, the effectiveness of matrix stabilization can reach 8 steps when shooting with the RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM. It is important to note that the matrix stabilizer works in conjunction with the optical stabilizer in the lens. With the RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM (with which our testing was conducted), CIPA promises the user an efficiency of up to 7 steps.
When testing the camera we used Samyang autofocus lenses through an EF-RF adapter, it turned out that the matrix stabilizer does not work with third-party lenses. Also, when working with branded lenses with optical stabilizer, there is no possibility to separately disable the optical or matrix stabilizer work.
The effectiveness of the matrix-optical stabilization combination is simply impressive. In our tests we could get practically the same 7 steps. At that, if you look at the resulting graph, practically 3.5 steps give 100% result!
The Canon EOS R7 can currently be called one of the most functional cameras with an APS-C sensor. However, the impression is spoiled by the range of RF-S lenses – there are only two of them and they are far from the lenses that should be used in professional work. In this review we tested the camera mainly with Samyang 14/2.8 and 85/1.4 lenses and we’d like to mention that even with third-party lenses via EF-RF adapter the autofocus works perfectly. Perhaps, one of the main pluses of EOS R7 is autofocus which works fast and precisely both in photo and in video.
Unfortunately, the matrix stab doesn’t work with third-party lenses, which is frustrating because the stabilizer here is incredible. The only camera we’ve encountered with such efficiency is the medium format Fujifilm GFX 50s II.
Of course, we would have liked to see some breakthrough in the dynamic range and picture quality when working at high ISOs, but the reality turned out to be more prosaic. In this respect, the R7 is inferior even to less professional cameras from other manufacturers. Nevertheless, if you are considering R7 to replace 90D or choosing between our hero and 90D/M6 II, the choice is obvious – Canon EOS R7 is a painfully modern and functional camera, which fully meets the professional demands.