At a glance
Andy Westlake and Joshua Waller review Canon’s high-end APS-C format RF-mount mirrorless camera, which boasts a 32.5MP sensor and 30fps shooting. Read our Canon EOS R7 Review.
32.5MP APS-C sensor
ISO 100-51,200 (extended)
30 fps shooting
4K 60p video
3in, 1.62m-dot vari-angle LCD
For and against
Compact, weather-sealed body with plenty of external controls
Rapid and reliable autofocus tracking
High-speed continuous shooting at up to 30fps
High-resolution sensor delivers impressive levels of detail
High-quality 4K video recording with no 30-minute time limit
Very limited range of RF-S lenses
Rear joystick / command dial takes some getting used to
2.36m-dot EVF is somewhat low resolution for the price
Kit lenses aren’t weather-sealed
In a long-expected move, Canon has introduced two new mirrorless cameras, the Canon EOS R7 and Canon EOS R10. Both employ the APS-C sensor format, but use the same RF lens mount as its full-frame models. This means they’re not part of the EOS M system that Canon has used for APS-C mirrorless until now, and can’t use EF-M lenses.
Of the two, the EOS R7 is the more advanced, boasting a higher resolution 32.5MP sensor, faster shooting, a larger viewfinder and in-body image stabilisation. As the numbering suggests, Canon sees it as a successor to the EOS 7D Mark II APS-C DSLR, which means it’s one of the most ambitious APS-C mirrorless cameras yet made, going head-to-head with the likes of the Fujifilm X-T4 and Sony A6600.
The EOS R7 is available for £ body-only, or £ with the Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM zoom.
Canon has built the EOS R7 around an updated version of the 32.5MP sensor from the EOS 90D DSLR and mirrorless EOS M6 Mark II. In concert with the Digic X processor, this offers a standard ISO range of 10032,000 that’s extendable to ISO 51,200. The R7 can shoot at 15 frames per second using the mechanical shutter – half as fast again as the EOS 90D – with a buffer of up to 224 JPEG or 51 raw images. Select the silent electronic shutter and it’ll reach 30fps for up to 126 JPEG or 42 raw images.
Shutter speeds go as fast as 1/8000s using the mechanical
shutter, and up to 1/16000s using the electronic shutter.
Autofocus employs Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF II, with each pixel split into two to enable on-sensor phase detection. There are 5,915 manually selectable focus points covering the entire image area, which are claimed to work in extremely low light equating to -5EV. The EOS R7 also inherits the intelligent subject detection and tracking system from the flagship EOS R3, which is capable of recognising humans, animals or vehicles.
For viewing, you get a 2.36m-dot electronic viewfinder and a 3in, 1.62m-dot vari-angle touchscreen. Power is provided by Canon’s familiar LP-E6N battery, which promises 500 shots per charge using the viewfinder, and 770 with the LCD. Canon is promising a similar level of weather-sealing to that of the EOS 90D, but disappointingly, neither of the RF-S lenses are similarly protected.
In terms of video, 4K 30p recording is available that’s oversampled from 7K, in 4:2:0 8-bit or 4:2:2 10-bit colour (HDR PQ or C-LOG3) and with no 30-minute time limit. There’s also a 1.8x 4K crop mode that can go up to 60fps, Full HD recording at up to 120fps, and a 4K timelapse option. Vertical recording is supported, for social media use. 4K Fine (IPB) is recorded at 120Mbps, or 170Mbps with C-Log or HDR PQ on, going up to 340Mbps (4K crop, 60p). People, animals and vehicle detection and tracking autofocus is available while recording video.
Microphone and headphone sockets are built-in, with Canon Log 3 also on board for easier post-processing. A switch on top selects between stills and video modes, with separate settings retained for each. Canon has also used the same new hot shoe as on the EOS R3, which includes a digital audio interface and can supply power to connected devices.
Build and handling
Canon has squeezed this rich feature set into a body that’s smaller and lighter than the EOS 850D DSLR, yet still boasts a large, comfortable handgrip and a good array of external controls. It employs two electronic dials for changing exposure settings, with the rear dial unusually placed vertically on the back, around the focus area selection joystick.
The top plate is relatively clean, with movie and ISO buttons placed behind the shutter button. Canon has kept the top plate uncluttered, with the mode dial and power switch joined by movie, IS and Fn buttons; the latter gives quick access to a range of secondary settings. On the front, a switch around the depth-of-field preview button selects between auto and manual focus, which is handy given that many of Canon’s more affordable RF lenses lack AF/MF switches, including the new RF-S optics.
The menus and controls follow the same layout and design as Canon’s other cameras. For anyone who’s used a recent EOS model the menus and buttons will on the whole be immediately recognisable, apart from the rear command dial / scroll wheel. This surrounds the joystick controller, and seems an unnecessary design indulgence that doesn’t add much to the
Two new RF-S lenses
Alongside the EOS R7 and R10, Canon also introduced two new RF-mount lenses designed for the APS-C format. Firstly, the RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM is a compact, collapsible design that offers a 29-72mm equivalent zoom range. It will be sold in a kit with the EOS R10, or on its own for £ Meanwhile the RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM costs £ and offers a 29-240mm equivalent range. Both lenses include optical stabilisation and stepper motors for autofocus.
It has to be said that these lenses are the most disappointing part of Canon’s APS-C RF announcement. The 18-45mm may be small and light, but its focal-length range and aperture is uninspiring to say the least, especially as the firm offers an equally compact 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 in EF-M mount. The 18-150mm looks like it should be a nice travel lens, and could make a fine match with the EOS R10. But like the 18-45mm, its 29mm equivalent wide end looks out of touch when competing cameras come equipped with 24mm equivalent zooms, especially as there’s no RF-S ultrawide zoom.
It’s a shame that buying a high-speed, high-performance compact camera, one is immediately faced with having to use full-frame lenses in order to get a good choice of lenses.
Neither lens really comes close to matching the ambition of the EOS R7, so let’s hope Canon comes up with some more interesting RF-S offerings soon. For EOS R7 owners to really get the most from the camera, it would be good to see something along the lines of 15-50mm f/2.8 and 15-80mm f/4 zooms, with weather-sealing and premium optics. It would also make sense for Canon to make RF-mount versions of its EF-M lenses, which could give it a shortcut to a nice RF-S line-up.
If you’re coming from a Canon EOS DSLR, then you’ll find there’s a range of EF to RF mount adapters available. Crucially, EF lenses perform well on the camera, albeit without the size advantage of native RF-mount lenses.
©user experience. It can take a while to get used to this rear command wheel / dial, and we’d have much prefered a standard rear dial, and perhaps a third wheel for setting ISO, like on the higher-end EOS R5 and R6.
Viewfinder and screen
The rear screen gives a clear and bright view of the scene and menus, although at slightly under 3 inches, it isn’t the largest screen around. The resolution of 1.62m dots helps make up for this, and as you can turn and tilt the screen to your heart’s desire, it helps with viewing the screen even when shooting outdoors in bright sunlight. Of course it’s also ideal for vlogging and selfies.
The electronic viewfinder is acceptable, in that it does a good job of showing you what’s going on. But with a resolution of 2.36m dots and an average size (0.72x equivalent magnification), it’s nothing particularly special, and disappointing when compared to higher-resolution EVFs found on other cameras such as the Fujifilm X-T3/X-T4. Dioptre adjustment can be found on the left, and there’s an eye-detection sensor so that the camera will automatically switch between the rear screen and EVF when needed.
You can customise what’s shown on screen in the menus, and the Info button will toggle through the displays. A variety of grids can be selected, with all the usual options such as the ‘rule of thirds’, and a dual-axis electronic level and histogram can be viewed on the screen (or EVF). There’s an optical viewfinder simulation mode designed to give you a natural view of the scene, without additional processing, so the opposite of ‘what you see is what you get’ which has become the norm on mirrorless cameras.
You also get the choice of either a power-saving mode, with a refesh rate of 60fps, or a smoother 120fps display. I found the standard power-saving mode perfectly adequate.
In terms of autofocus, the camera offers an impressive 5,915 manually selectable AF points, with 100% coverage both vertically and horizontally, or 651 AF points using automatic selection. The camera offers human, vehicle, or animal tracking, and you don’t need to specify what type of animal you’re shooting, with the system automatically detecting dogs, cats and birds. Vehicles mode will detect cars or motorbikes, but doesn’t mention trains or planes. With humans, the camera will automatically detect eyes, face, heads and bodies.
Focus works in low light down to -5EV, and an AF assist beam can be switched on or off if needed. The camera has a dedicated section for the autofocus options, with four cases for different tracking scenarios, as well as auto. These cases can be customised to your own preferences. You can use the touchscreen to touch and drag the AF point if needed, but this can be switched off in the menus. Manual focus peaking options can be customised, letting you set the peaking colour.
You can shoot with continuous AF at up to 15fps using the mechanical shutter, or up to 30fps with the electronic shutter.
Focus performance was particularly impressive when set to subject tracking, with the camera successfully following and focusing on the specified subjects. Fast-moving situations rarely seemed to faze the camera, with shot after shot correctly focused on the subject’s face.
With the dynamic range settings on default, the camera gives acceptable results in most situations. But there are times when the camera can produce JPEG images with blown highlights, and as usual it can be difficult to recover these even from the raw files. In bright, high-contrast sutuations, enabling the Highlight Tone Priority setting can be used to combat this.
Once you switch to the multi-shot HDR mode or HEIF images, you suddenly realise how much dynamic range is usually missing. If you’re used to shooting with a smartphone where every image is taken in HDR you’ll quickly wish for more dynamic range. You can of course shoot in raw for additional dynamic range, or use the previously mentioned HDR or HEIF modes.
The camera supports HEIF images, and to shoot these, you need to switch on the HDR
The EOS R7 resembles Canon’s DSLRs, but with some notable updates and a few unique quirks
The compact body boasts a large, comfortable handgrip and a good array of physical controls.
5-axis in-body stabilisation is on board, promising up to 8 stops of shake suppression, along with automatic horizon correction (which has previously been available only on Pentax cameras).
Dual card slots
Canon has included dual UHS-II SD card slots, allowing you to back up files to both while shooting.
You can fit RF and RF-S lenses directly, and EF and EF-S DSLR lenses via the Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R. However, Canon’s EF-M lenses can’t be used.
The R7 uses the same LP-E6N battery as many other Canon cameras, which gives up to 770 shots per charge.
The mode dial offers 3 custom modes, where you can save photo and video settings.
©PQ mode, which lets you record a HEIF file (and raw file if it’s switched on). You can then convert this to a JPEG image in-camera, with increased dynamic range over a standard JPEG image. However, it’s worth noting that there is very little support for HEIF (.HIF) files even with the latest version of Adobe Photoshop (v23.4.1).
The shutter sound is relatively quiet, similar to other mirrorless systems I had to hand, and quieter than a full-frame Sony A7 III. Using the electronic shutter and silent option you can shoot completely silently, and this can be switched on/off in the menus.
Metering generally performs very well, with the camera giving well-exposed images, which tend to give a brighter image than other brands, as is the normal case when using Canon cameras. If you’re used to Canon cameras this will be perfectly normal, but if you’re used to other camera, you can easily alter this with a turn of exposure compensation.
Auto white balance (AWB) is exceptional, with the camera producing extremely pleasing colours in a wide variety of shooting scenarios. If you wanted to be a little fussy, then you might find colours a little too neutral (rather than warm that many find pleasing) but again this is entirely subjective, and can easily be
adjusted by tweaking the ‘Picture Style’ settings. Auto White Balance also gives the option of ‘Ambience’ priority or ‘White priority’ which will be useful for white-background product shots.
In-body image stabilisation performed admirably, with the camera producing sharp photos time after time. On default settings the camera would increase the ISO sensitivity rather than let the shutter speed drop too low, helping to keep images sharp.
The amount of the scene included in the video, or the crop factor depends on which resolution and frame rate options you select. This also has a knock-on effect on the quality of the image, as only 4K 30fps uses a 7K image downsampled to 4K, and switching to a higher frame rate results in a cropped image. Focus performance during video recording is good, with the camera quickly and accurately focusing on the subject.
Editing the video files is a pain-free process with video recorded at roughly 120Mbps (4K Fine, 25p, IPB). You can also save custom video modes to three different custom modes found on the mode dial.
4K Fine (IPB) is recorded at 120Mbps, or 170Mbps with
C-Log or HDR PQ on, going up to 340Mbps (4K crop, 60p). People, animals and vehicle detection and tracking autofocus is available while recording video. Full HD high-speed video can be recorded at speeds up to 120fps, so for those users who are looking for 240fps video, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Value for money
The Canon EOS R7 offers good value for money if you consider it on its own, without comparing it to other brands. For example, if you look at the cheaper Fujifilm X-T3 (£ body only), you’ll find that it offers a higher-resolution electronic viewfinder and CINE video recording, but lacks in-body image stabilisation (IBIS). Another alternative is the Fujifilm X-T4, which offers IBIS, and is available for £ body only. The Fujifilm X-S10 is also another very competitively priced option, at £ body only, with IBIS, but no weather-sealing.
The other benefit the Fujifilm X, Sony E, and Micro Four Thirds systems have going for them is the vast array of lenses available, in comparison to Canon’s two RF-S lenses. Of course, you can use RF (full-frame) lenses on the EOS R7, however, this defeats the purpose of using a smaller camera system. In comparison, with the Fujifilm X system and
Micro Four Thirds system, all the lenses have been designed to be the optimal size for the sensor. Sony’s E-mount system includes a reasonable range of APS-C lenses plus full-frame optics.
In comparison to the Canon EOS 90D DSLR, the EOS R7 offers quicker continuous shooting of 15/30fps vs 10fps, is smaller and lighter, with significantly more focus points, as well as much more advanced subject-detection autofocus. However, it can’t match the 1,300-shot battery life of the EOS 90D, instead offering 770 shots using the LCD.
In comparison to the Canon EOS 7D Mark II – which Canon sees the EOS R7 as a mirrorless replacement for – the R7 again offers faster continuous shooting (15/30fps vs 10fps), a higher-resolution sensor, 4K video, built-in Wi-Fi, a touchscreen and tilting screen, as well as more-advanced autofocus (5,915 AF points vs 65). It’s clear that we’ve come a long way since the EOS 7D Mark II was released in 2014!
ISO and noise
The crops shown below are taken from the area outlined above in red
Noise performance is particularly well controlled considering the sensor is both slightly smaller than most other APS-C cameras (with a 1.6x crop rather than 1.5x crop), as well as a higher resolution than other APS-C sensors. This means the Canon EOS R7 has some of the smallest pixels of any APS-C camera currently available. The camera gives good JPEG results up to ISO 12,800, and you don’t really need to worry about noise until you go above this, with ISO 25,600 and above being particularly noise-filled. As you’d expect, using either the top standard setting of ISO 32,000, or the extended ISO 51,200 is to be avoided.
THE CANON EOS R7 out-specs all of Canon’s APS-C DSLRs, plus its older EOS M-series mirrorless models. It does this in a lightweight body that handles very nicely, despite its small size. With high-speed shooting, advanced AF tracking, and good battery life, it would make for a great all-round choice, just as long as you don’t mind the lack of lens choices, or are happy using full-frame optics.
The EOS R7 is, however, up against some strong competition in the form of the cheaper Fujifilm X-T3. In comparison, its electronic viewfinder feels like an afterthought in terms of resolution and magnification. But it’s not a massive issue as the EVF still looks good, and gives accurate colour and exposure information. We’re not convinced by the rear control wheel, either. Canon’s standard thumbdial would have done the job and been less awkward to use.
But the biggest problem, without doubt, is the optics. With the EOS R7, you’re left with the choice of just two APS-C lenses, in comparison to more than 40 X-mount lenses for the Fujifilm X system, more than 20 APS-C lenses for Sony’s E-mount system, and over 100 lenses for Micro Four Thirds cameras. But the only RF-S lenses are zooms that are designed to be compact, rather than designed for optimum image quality. So for the best results you’re going to need to use a full-frame RF lens, or EF lenses via an adapter.
This is a shame, as in our time with the Canon EOS R7, the camera performed almost flawlessly, with great results possible. Whether you’re shooting stills or video, it’s certainly an appealing camera. However, without additional RF-S lenses it could easily feel limiting.