Mini Review: Canon 7D for stock

I've owned and shot with a Canon 40D for a while now, and have been very happy with it. For my personal use it is more than adequate as well. I did feel that 10MP was starting to get dated, especially when cropped - and I figured if I was going to produce 500 photos a year in 2011 I should try to be a bit ahead of the game :) As well, I wanted a bigger viewfinder. With that in mind I upgraded to the Canon 7D.

Overall, I am quite happy with it. The jump from 10MP to 18MP is real, though it doesn't make any difference for small prints. With stock, though, things are inspected at 100% so more resolution can be important for resolving fine details, and it gives you more room to crop and still results in a 'Maximum' size file.

Here are the main benefits of this camera for me:

1. Resolution. More is not always better, but I am very happy to have an extra 8MP for stock. I also like that I can shoot in the sRAW or mRAW formats and still have enough resolution to submit them. The RAW+JPG button is nice, as I can shoot jpgs for family and still quickly get a RAW capture that I intend to use for stock.

2. Buttons! There are lots of buttons on this camera and they can all be customized. I like that the Depth of Field preview can be set to toggle between single shot and continuous focus. I like that the live view and movie buttons are now separate, and the SET button can be used for the quick menu. I like the mFn button near the shutter. I also like that I can choose which dial does what in each mode so my main dial near the shutter is aperture regardless of mode.

3. Viewfinder. The new large viewfinder is nice to use, but really shines when you realize that it is basically 100%. With my 40D I would be careful, but still end up with a bit that I didn't see in the viewfinder. This always meant cropping my file a bit, but also if you sell the RAW it is still there. There are also some nice features with the LCD like a grid and the ability to not see the AF points you aren't using. That is really nice - a big clear view with a single AF point!

4. AF modes. One thing that always annoyed me on my 40D was that the AF area was larger than the indicated frame in the viewfinder. I could focus on a small object that was completely outside the AF frame. this causes issues when taking portrait on an angle, and you couldn't be quite sure where it was focusing. With the 7D there is an AF spot mode that shrinks it down... Along with micro adjust I'm getting more shot in perfect focus.

5. Spot meter. My 40D had it, but in the 7D it shows in the viewfinder when active. I like that :)

6. Wireless flash trigger. I love being able to trip my flashes without one on the camera!

7. Three custom modes. I love having access to three custom user settings. I have one setup for low light, one for fast action and one for flash. The 40D had this too, but it is a much overlooked point.


1. It is pricey, and a bit hard to justify over the 60D.

2. Big files. While the camera can shoot very fast and I find the interface improved, I do find it a bit slower than my 40D right after I take a shot. Also takes more storage, etc. across the board.

3. Noise. I wouldn't say noise is a problem, and I don't run my images through any noise reduction software other than a mild dose of Lightroom's built in feature. But I would say that I notice a bit more shadow noise at 100%. On the one hand I would argue that when downsized it is no different than the 40D, but for stock the reviewers don't downsize, so it is relevant. Never had an image rejected yet for noise from the 7D...

4. Needs good lenses. When I upgraded to the 40D I suddenly noticed the limits on some lenses and upgraded to some primes. Luckily my lenses can still keep up with the 7D - but I wouldn't expect great results at 100% with a cheap zoom. The admins have noted this in a thread - you need good glass in front of this camera!

Anyone else loving (or hating) the 7D?

Photo credits: Brad Calkins.

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August 12, 2011


Hi Brad, I'm new to the Stock scene. I just read your review on the 7D. You asked if anyone else loves or hates it. I basically made the same transition as you did by going from the 40D (which I still have) to the 7 D. In between I treated myself to a 1D Mk III ...which initially I loved. I then got the 7 as a backup for the I never use the 1D. My 7 d is now on over 300,000 shots and still working well. A great camera. I can't agree more with you on the lenses though. A lot of people think it's the camera that counts but I think you can take brilliant photo's with an old 350D if the glass infront is L or equivalent. It'll be interesting to see how long I have to wait to make my first sale.

March 17, 2011


Looks like a very fine camera to me.

March 16, 2011


Great review Brad, as this is the next camera I am planning for!

March 16, 2011


I have shot with the 7D for a year now and love it, however I [lucky me] also have a 5D2. They are very different machines both producing great pictures. If you are after ultimate image quality the 5D2 still is the camera to have. However the focus system of the 7D is just fantastic when you take control of it. Folk say the 5D2 is not for sports, but I have used mine for motorsport with no issues and also often use the 7D in the studio.

March 16, 2011


For stock photos, the 60D / 550D (and the new 600D) would work just as well as the 7D. My photos are all done with 350D / 500D / 550D / 60D so far.

I see no purpose getting a 7D for the type of stock photos I shoot as they all sport the 18MP CMOS sensor anyway, just that the 7D has the best AF system but my subjects aren't running away. :)

In my experience, the 60D on the other hand works great! Especially when I'm doing product shoot, I can swivel the LCD to the front and adjust the product while looking at the frame. It's just awesome!

Here's my article on the 60D with my thought on how it compares to the other Canon 18MP bodies.

March 16, 2011


Hello I am the owner of a Nikon D700, congratulations on your purchase:)
I think that when you buy a full frame, no matter if it's Canon or Nikon or any other brand, the difference is made by the photographer, with this response I wish you good luck for your sales, but more important is to grow spiritually,congratulations also to the review, the 7 D seems to be a very good machine!

March 14, 2011


Two of my pals own it and so I've kind of play with it some. I drool over the images it shoots and want one for myself. However, having small hands and girlie strength, my problem will be the weight of it. One time, while in a picnic, my friend had me take care of it as she went for a bathroom trip. And so I took 'advantage' of the moment. Man, it was heavy and my neck and arm felt it! So I am waiting for the '8d' or whatever Canon will come up with and hoping that like the 60d, they will make it less heavy than its predecessor.

March 13, 2011


Nice shots!

March 13, 2011


Love this camera. Its what i use for my wildlife shots

March 12, 2011


Good picture!!!

March 12, 2011


Thanks Brad :-)

March 12, 2011


nice pic and thanks for share

March 11, 2011


I would have loved the 5D, but aside from the extra $1,000 to buy the body I was concerned that all my lenses would need replacing - my beloved 28mm would suddenly be wider than I like to shoot and expose the flaws in the corners, my macro is an EF-S, etc.

I have a friend who has a Pentax K10D and it was terribly out of focus - I found a hidden bios feature for him which enabled microadjust and it made a huge difference. With my 7D it improved my 50mm and 28mm lenses, but my macro and zooms didn't need adjusting. The 50mm was clearly focusing better after the adjustment... Unless you are finding your lens consistently back or front focuses, I wouldn't spend a lot of time on it.

March 11, 2011


I upgraded recently from my beloved 50D, I was torn between the 7D with the new AF system and speed and the acclaimed 5DMKII. I chose the 5D and still glad I did although I do notice it's slower than the 50D when shooting action shots but as I do not do many thought this not to be an issue. How did you get on micro adjusting? Never tried or looked into this, do you think it is needed? Did you see much diference after you used this function?

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