Canon finally produce an IS macro lens and a high end APS-C dSLR – the Canon 7D

Written by Gary on September 2nd, 2009

Olympus have always had an image stabilised macro lens by virtue of its in-body IS, Nikon has their relatively new VR micro lens, but until now, Canon did not have an image stabilised macro lens.

This has changed with the announcement of their EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro USM hybrid IS lens which has Super Spectra coatings to reduce flare, UD glass to reduce CA, circular aperture blades for nicer bokeh, and a 3 position focus limiter for even better AF performance. 1:1 macro at 0.3m focus; 67mm filter; 625g; water-resistant seals; $US1049; optional tripod mount and adapter for macro speedlights;

Now there is something for Olympus to aspire to – I have been wishing Olympus would make a Four Thirds lens similar to their superb ZD 50mm f/2.0 macro lens but with improved AF performance and a 3 position focus limiter (oh, and contrast detect AF so it can work on Micro Four Thirds in AF as well).

But perhaps more exciting for many Canon users, is their latest dSLR, the Canon 7D.

At last, Canon have produced a high end but not 1D pro-like dSLR with a APS-C cropped sensor and features to match the Nikon D300s. Up until now, Canon really has not had a dSLR that could compete with the Nikon D300 let alone the newer D300s at a similar price point and feature set.

The main features of the 7D include:

  • 18mp APS-C 1.6x cropped sensor with supposedly better noise profile, although given the photosites are now about the same size as the Four Thirds sensors, it will be interesting to see how they compare
  • weather and dust resistance
  • 8fps burst rate without need for additional battery holder
  • ISO 100-6400 expandable to 12800
  • HD movie in 1080p or 720p and can change frame rate to 24/25/30fps in 1080 mode, while 720p has 60fps/50fps(PAL), dedicated movie on/off button, and you can set aperture, shutter speed, but still no AF during video which is as expected – only the Panasonic GH-1 has that capability
  • 19 point cross-type AF sensors which work as cross-type if aperture f/5.6 or brighter
  • improved metering system
  • ability to overlay grids via transmissible LCD screen in the optical viewfinder with 100% coverage and 1.0 magnification
  • electronic level indicator
  • built-in remote flash transmitter which can control 3 groups of flashes (the ST-E2 optional transmitter could only do 2 groups)
  • 820g

So after saying in my last post there were few reasons to buy a APS-C sensor camera other than as a backup body which will give more focal length reach, the 7D certainly appears on the face of it to be a very attractive sports camera – but which lenses will be optimised for its 18mp sensor?

It makes one think, it may be time for an upgrade to the Canon 1DMIII – I can imagine a 1D MIV would have this feature set and more, but with a pro body and a APS-H 1.3x crop sensor – or perhaps Canon will decide there is no point to a 1D MIV now, and instead build the high burst rate into a 1Ds MIV?

If the high ISO performance of the 7D is really as good as they say it is, I’m not sure there will be too many people racing out to buy a 10mp 1DMIII – although I do love mine even though it has trouble with its AF.


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