The newly released Canon EOS R7 is the most advanced crop sensor camera from Canon that is inexpensive and has pro-grade autofocus rivaling some of the class leaders — even Sony. It’s typically been touted as a wildlife-focused camera, although it can turn its hand to most types of photography. It has a new 32.5MP sensor with a more modern processor, giving stunning images even in low light. It is a camera primarily aimed at enthusiasts but gives near-professional results and we thoroughly enjoyed shooting with it. It has in-body image stabilization, which is unusual for an APS-C camera, and it provides up to seven stops of IBIS. Because of this and its affordability, we don't think there’s much else like it in the APS-C world.
Canon EOS R7 review
Canon EOS R7: Design
- Small and lightweight — great for traveling
- Fully articulating screen
- Dual SD card slots
The design of the Canon EOS R7 has divided opinions among its users, as Canon has steered away from the conventional body layout. The R7 has a D-pad as opposed to a control dial wheel, which does mean more programmable buttons, and they’ve also added an AF/MF switch on the front of the camera. There’s also a dedicated video option on the on/off switch, which was missing on the R5 and R6.
One simple, but great feature that we love is the fact that it has dual card slots, which is unusual for an APS-C camera. Though we would’ve liked it if it were compatible with CFexpress or other faster memory cards but at this price point, two SD card slots are more than acceptable. The R7 also has a fully articulating screen, which is great for vlogging, taking selfies, or being able to shoot low to the ground or at unusual angles and not have to struggle to see your composition.
Shooting speed: Up to 30FPS
ISO range: 100-32000, expandable to 51200
Weight: 1.17 lbs
Dimensions: 5.20 x 3.56 x 3.61 inches approx.
Release date: June 2022
The EVF has 2.34M dots, which is the same as the Canon R10 and Sony A6600 — it's absolutely fine, but a little underwhelming considering there are cheaper full-frame cameras that have a higher resolution. The 3-inch LCD screen is clear and bright with touchscreen capabilities and has a 1.62M dot display. We would like to have seen another control wheel on the body to enable manual users to control all three of the main settings independently, but this is only a small thing. The mode dial could've also benefitted from a lock to avoid accidentally changing modes while you’re shooting, although we didn’t have a problem with this when we were testing it.
All in all, it's a very small and lightweight camera that is very comfortable to hold and a pleasure to shoot with. It’s much smaller than a DSLR which makes it great for traveling. Although for some reason, Canon has decided not to make the R7 compatible with a battery grip, so if you have large hands this camera may feel a little on the small side for some users.
Canon EOS R7: Performance
- Accurate tracking for people, animals and vehicles
- Excellent in low light
- Produces beautifully sharp images
In a nutshell, the performance of this camera is incredible. It produces razor-sharp images that give beautiful color and it’s a dream to shoot with. It’s effortlessly simple to change your settings while out in the field by using the middle button, which brings up a quick menu where you can change your shooting mode, focus mode, eye detection and more. While we were testing this camera, we hardly had to go into the main menu system at all.
We were very surprised with how good the autofocus and tracking were on this camera. Not only does it have very accurate face and eye tracking for humans, but it also has animal tracking, and vehicle tracking, too. When we tested it on humans and animals, it effortlessly tracked their eyes throughout the frame (outdoors and inside) and switched to face detection when the subject wasn’t looking at the camera (something you won't find on Sony's APS-C cameras).
On vehicle tracking, the camera easily tracks the driver's face or helmet. One area it did struggle with was when shooting a bird, as we discovered when we came to look at the shots it had actually focused on the grass just behind the bird instead of the bird itself. However, the lens we were shooting with was not a typical wildlife photography lens, even with the crop factor taken into account, so we put it down to not being able to zoom all the way in to track the bird properly. Despite this, eye-tracking this good in a $1500 camera is impressive.
On top of this the in-body image stabilization can work intelligently to correct minor composition issues in-camera. For example, its tilting function can automatically level-out wonky horizons in landscapes and when shooting a panorama it counteracts the natural unevenness when shooting handheld.
Of course, when we were testing this lens, every single night was cloudy, so we couldn’t test out the R7’s astrophotography mettle, however, we did go out before sunrise one morning to see how it performed in the blue hour when there wasn’t much light. We were shocked to see how beautiful the images came out. It made them look so much brighter than it actually was, and even at ISOs of around 6000 the noise was minimal. Though do keep in mind that we were using this camera with the full frame 28-70mm lens, which lets in an insane amount of light.
Canon EOS R7: Functionality
- Fast burst mode up to 30FPS but slow buffer clearing
- No video record limit
- 4K video resolution
Now onto the biggest flaw we could find with this camera: the buffer. The ability to shoot at up to 30FPS is impressive in theory, but in practice, it fills the buffer up very quickly and it takes a long time to clear – and realistically, you’ll rarely ever need to use 30FPS. Even with a faster card, at 30FPS the camera is receiving so much data that it still goes into its buffer mode regardless. This isn’t too much of an issue for many types of photography — astro, landscape, portraits, etc, but if you want to take advantage of the vehicle tracking and shoot motorsports, you’ll likely struggle with the buffer. Even switching to Compressed RAW files didn’t seem to speed the buffer up that much. We found that 15FPS in the electronic shutter first curtain mode seemed to give the most usable frame rate, and honestly, 15FPS is more than enough for most types of photography.
The R7 would also be a good vlogging camera as it can shoot 4K video and you get eye tracking and autofocus in video — not to mention it having no record limit and the footage being very good quality. The only issue is the lack of compact wide-angle lenses available — and crop sensor lenses in general. And with a 1.6x crop, you can’t exactly put a full-frame lens on it for vlogging because then it’ll be even tighter. We’d love to see Canon come out with some wide-angle lenses for their crop sensor range.
Should you buy the Canon EOS R7?
Looking at this camera on its own — it would be difficult to tell you not to buy it as it has almost everything a full-frame camera has but at a lower price and in a smaller package. However, the main reason not to buy this camera would be that the range of APS-C lenses (RF-S) available is seriously limited. Currently, there are only two (not including the kit lens) — the RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM and the RF-S 55-210mm f/5-7.1 IS STM. Obviously, you can put full-frame RF lenses onto the R7, and they work beautifully, (we used the RF 28-70mm f/2 L USM) but you'll have to account for the 1.6x crop factor which could be tricky for anyone wanting to shoot astrophotography as there likely won't be any focal lengths that are wide enough after the crop. Not to mention, full-frame lenses are much more expensive. That said, this could be a worthwhile option if you plan on moving up to full-frame in the future as you won't have to then upgrade all your lenses.
Obviously, this isn't a fault with the EOS R7 itself and because Canon hasn't been making crop sensor mirrorless cameras for very long we'd expect to see this rise in line with their lens roadmap. But it’s something to consider if you are looking at getting this camera. Going forward, Canon seriously needs to up its game with compatible RF-S lenses to make this camera a more compelling option.
However, if you’re looking to do wildlife photography, putting a full-frame telephoto lens on this camera could be advantageous with the crop factor — perhaps the RF 70-200mm F2.8 L is USM which we've previously reviewed (check out our review of this lens here) or the RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM. There are also no third-party lenses available for this camera so far — you can use an older EF lens with an adapter, but the eye-tracking does tend to struggle when you do this.
If the Canon EOS R7 isn't for you
If you’re looking to stick with Canon, the EOS R6 could be a great option to consider if you’re looking to do more astrophotography or low-light shooting, as the R6 generally performs better in low light. There are fewer pixels in the R6’s 20MP sensor, but it is a full-frame sensor compared to the R7’s APS-C sensor. The R6 also has a wider ISO range of 100-25600 compared to the R7 at 100-12800. If you have the budget to upgrade and want to take your astrophotography more seriously, the R6 could be a better option.
If you’d rather stick to a crop sensor camera, the Fujifilm X-T4 could be a great alternative. It does a lot of what the R7 can do, and as the Fujifilm X-T5 has just been released, the X-T4 has come down in price, making it around the same price as the R7 (or cheaper on the used market) and has more compatible lenses.
If we are going like-for-like, then the newest crop sensor Sony camera would be the A6600, however, it's hard for us to recommend that one over the R7. So, if you want to switch to Sony, and have a bigger budget, we think the Sony A7 IV is definitely worth considering. Although not in the same league, the A7 IV has many of the same features as the R7, but has the added advantage of having more compatible lenses. The Sony also has a wider ISO range and is slightly better at shooting in low-light conditions.