CANON R7 + RF-S 18-150mm: Canon’s new EOS R7 and its bundled RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens marks the start of a new, more capable line of cropped-sensor cameras for Canon. The review camera was a pleasure to use with the RF-S 18-150mm lens. It’s likely to be as popular as the EOS 7D II was among photo enthusiasts, not least because of its price-to-performance ratio.
RRP: $2349 (body only); $2899 (with RF-S 18-150mm kit lens)
While Canon’s first steps into mirrorless cameras based on the existing EF lens mount (the M series), failed to ‘gel’ with photo enthusiasts, the introduction of a new line of APS-C cameras with RF mounts looks set to kindle plenty of enthusiasm in a sector of the market that has often been neglected. Because cropped-sensor cameras are cheaper to make, smaller and lighter to carry and benefit from the focal length extension the smaller sensor provides, they’re attractive to travellers, sports and wildlife photographers, especially birders.
Some commentators see the new EOS R7 as a replacement for the popular, but now eight-year-old EOS 7D Mark II. However, it’s a much better camera, offering higher resolution, built-in IBIS and a sophisticated AF system adapted from the EOS R3. Competitive video capabilities and a wide range of user-adjustable controls make it streets ahead of the 7D II or any of the EOS M mirrorless models.
The EOS R7 is also easier to operate, with a generous hand grip and key controls like the shutter button and main control dial within easy reach, plus dedicated ISO and Movie buttons. It’s the first camera in the EOS R System to have a combined AF multi-controller and control wheel, which can work together to provide fast AF point control and enable shooting and playback functions to be accessed with a single thumb movement or rotation of the dial.
The dual pixel phase detect/contrast detect autofocusing system is also leading edge, with 651 selectable AF points and subject tracking based on Deep Learning technology, which refines the system’s ability to recognise both people and animal subjects. For human subjects, the system includes settings that will track human faces, selected eyes, the head and the body. Face, eyes and body tracking are also available for dogs, cats and birds and vehicle tracking can track two- and four-wheeled vehicles, including motorsports vehicles. The camera can be set to prioritise the entire vehicle, a person in or on the vehicle or a detail on the vehicle itself. In each situation, a tracking frame is displayed over the area selected for tracking.
The mechanical shutter is rated for 200,000 cycles and the shutter curtain closes automatically when the camera is switched off to prevent dust from getting on the image sensor. Using the electronic shutter minimises shutter shock and shutter failure because no moving parts are involved. It also allows silent shooting for situations that require it.
The bundled RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens is a great match for the new camera – and a surprisingly good performer although, unfortunately, it’s not supplied with a lens hood. This pair provides plenty of attractive features for photo and video enthusiasts as well as sports and wildlife photographers, who can take advantage of a growing range of Canon’s useful and interesting range of EOS R telephoto lenses.
1. With an overall weight of 612 grams for the camera body plus battery and cards, the EOS R7 is roughly 50 percent lighter than the EOS 7D II and also more compact in size, making it a better choice for travellers and hikers.
2. The five-axis sensor-shift image stabilisation can provide up to eight stops of camera shake correction and can work with the lens-based optical IS systems for both native RF lenses and adapted EF lenses. Low-light shooting is much easier with the new camera.
3. The maximum continuous shooting speed is 15 fps with the mechanical shutter or 30 fps with the electronic shutter, including during silent shooting. Buffer capacities reach up to 184 Large/Fine JPEGs or 46 RAW files with a high-speed card.
4. The R7 supports 4K 60/50p recording capabilities with no frame cropping. It is the first APS-C EOS camera outside of the Cinema EOS line to include Canon Log 3 and also offers Cinema Gamut and the standard BT.709 and BT.2020 colour space settings for more flexible editing. HDR PQ (YCbCr 4:2:2 10-bit BT.2020) recording is also available to provide recordings with a high dynamic range plus minimal grading.
5. The 1,620,000-dot vari-angle monitor has a touch screen with all the regular control functions. It can also be used for pulling focus while recording movie clips. The OLED screen in the EVF has 2,360,000 dots, a high 120 fps refresh rate, a 22 mm eyepoint and 1.15x magnification (due to the sensor’s crop factor), which combine to provide superior viewing.
6. The interval timer can be used for recording 4K and Full HD time-lapse movies and also to record a sequence of stills. Users can specify the recording interval across a range of 00:00:01 to 99:59:59 minutes and the number of shots to be taken across a range of 0 to 99. All-I compression is the default setting for all time-lapse movie recording.
7. Dual UHS-I / UHS-II SD card slots are located beneath a slide-and-open cover on the right side of the camera body. Both are compatible with the Speed Class 3 standard.
8. Interface ports include HDMI Micro out Type D and USB 2.0 USB Type-C connectors plus 3.5mm stereo mini jacks for microphone and headphone connections and a RS-60E3-type remote control terminal. Built-in 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 connections are provided for wirelessly connecting to other devices.
9. The supplied LPE-6NH rechargeable Li-ion battery is the same LP-E6NH battery as used in the EOS R5 and R6 cameras. It supports USB charging and is CIPA rated for between 660 and 770 shots/charge when the monitor is used for framing shots or 380-500 shots/charge when shooting with the EVF. Up to 3.5 hours of Full HD video recording is possible, with somewhat less for 4K movies.
10. The bundled RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens weighs only 310 grams and is 84.5 mm long, extending to 126.5 mm when zoomed in to 150mm. The optional EW-60F lens hood, is highly recommended and should be offered with the lens.
Canon Australia; 1800 021 167; www.canon.com.au.
– Margaret Brown
For Margaret’s extended review of this camera, including performance charts, click here