Canon’s new EOS 7D will be released later this month with a USD$1700 tag. Key features include eight FPS continuous shooting, 18-Megapixel Resolution and full HD video with variable frame rates and manual exposure control. Three new lenses were also announced, being the EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM, EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS and an interesting EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM featuring Canon's new Hybrid Image Stabilization (Hybrid IS) technology, which compensates for both angle camera shake and shift camera shake, and is designed especially for macro photography.

Designed as a step-up camera for serious amateur photographers or a second camera for professionals in the field, the EOS 7D boasts a completely new 19-point Autofocus system, a new Canon iFCL Metering System (Intelligent Focus, Color, Luminance) and a new Intelligent Viewfinder. An 18-megapixel Canon CMOS sensor and Dual DIGIC 4 Imaging Processors fuel the EOS 7D's 14-bit A/D data conversion and its ability to freeze fast motion in high-resolution with eight fps continuous shooting up to 126 Large JPEGS using a UDMA CF card.

The EOS 7D captures low-light images with a wide range of ISO speed settings from 100-6400 (expandable to 12,800). Video capture is full HD video capture (1920 x 1080 resolution) with selectable frame rates of 24p, 25p or 30p.

"The EOS 7D represents a completely new chapter in digital photography and Canon product development. This camera stands alone as the most functional and innovative DSLR Canon has released to-date, bringing together all of the best professional features offered, along with numerous user requests at a price-point everyone can appreciate," stated Yuichi Ishizuka, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group, Canon U.S.A.

New Autofocus System

The completely re-designed system includes a new multi-axis cross-type 19-point AF grid, where the focusing points are evenly spread out across the image plane and clearly displayed through Canon's new "Intelligent Viewfinder". All 19 points are f/5.6-sensitive for both horizontal and vertical cross-type focusing, while the center AF point adds high-precision diagonal cross-type sensitivity for f/2.8 and larger aperture lenses. The 19 cross-type focusing points also remain fully functional with apertures as small as f/5.6 giving it the versatility to cover fast-moving sports action or low-light indoor subjects.
New modes include:
  • Spot AF mode reduces the size of a single AF point to focus on small subjects like an animal in a cage
  • AF Point Expansion mode uses a cluster of AF points adjacent to the selected AF point to automatically assist focusing on moving subjects, such as an athlete on the run
  • Zone AF divides the 19 AF points into five selectable focusing zones and makes it easier to achieve focus with subjects that are difficult to track with Single Point AF or AF point expansion, such as birds in flight
  • Additional AF improvements include a revised Automatic AF point selection sequence that allows a user to pick any one of the 19 AF points as a starting point for tracking moving subjects in AI Servo mode. Previous EOS models required the subject to first be acquired by the center focusing point
  • If the subject moves away, the camera will continue to track the movement with the remaining points and display the active focusing point in the viewfinder. Also, a time-saving feature is AF Point Switching, which allows photographers to select and register one AF point for horizontal compositions and a second AF point for vertical shooting, ideal for studio and portrait photographers
  • To complement the new AF system, the exposure metering system for the EOS 7D has been completely re-designed to take color information into account, another first for an EOS system. Canon's iFCL metering includes a 63-zone dual-layer metering sensor that reads both illumination and color for consistent results in all lighting conditions, keeping exposure levels stable from shot to shot, even as the light source changes
  • Canon's new Intelligent Viewfinder uses a liquid crystal overlay to provide clear and precise displays of focusing points and zones, on-demand grid lines and a spot metering circle. The LCD overlay can also be illuminated in extreme low-light situations or turned off completely. The viewfinder includes 1.0x magnification and a large all-glass pentaprism with an anti-reflective coating to maximize clarity and provide a brighter display.

    EOS HD Movie capture

    Following the lead of the
    5D Mark II, the EOS 7D takes features Full HD capture with manual exposure control, and selectable cinematic frame rates for both NTSC (National Television System Committee) and PAL (Phase Altering Line) standards.

    The camera uses Dual DIGIC 4 Imaging Processors and a large APS-C-sized CMOS sensor and allows for three video recording modes – Full HD and HD in a 16:9 aspect ratio and Standard Definition (SD) in a 4:3 aspect ratio, all at selectable frame rates. There's a built-in monaural microphone but an external stereo microphone can also be used.

    New Features

    A new built-in Dual Axis Electronic Level aids architectural and landscape shooting by including an artificial horizon over the image on the rear LCD screen in Live View or in the viewfinder using illuminated AF points for easy leveling while shooting. Both horizontal roll and vertical pitch are shown, making it easy to identify when the camera is in a fixed level shooting position and ready to take the shot.

    The pop-up flash features a built-in Integrated Speedlite Transmitter for control of multiple off-camera EOS Speedlites without the need for an external transmitter and a new Intelligent Macro Tracking function helps reduce blur during macro shooting by recognizing when a macro lens is attached and automatically adjusting the AI Servo sampling frequency.

    Canon also points out ergonomic improvements in the body design, with continuous curves outlining the top of the camera and a revised grip that fits better in a user's hand. There's also a new Quick Control Button, which opens a menu on the camera's LCD screen which controls all camera settings including AF modes. Also new is the custom button function, RAW/JPEG toggle button providing quick dual-format shooting for adding large JPEG or RAW file formats already selected shooting modes.

    The Canon EOS 7D camera also features a new large, clear 3.0-inch solid structure Clear View II LCD screen with 920,000 dot/VGA resolution for enhanced clarity and color when viewing images. The camera's nine internal seals enhance weather resistance, and the shutter is good for 150,000-cycles according to Canon.

    New Wireless Connectivity

    Canon is announcing the availability of the new WFT-E5A wireless file transmitter (WFT) exclusively for the EOS 7D - this provides a wide range of digital connectivity options including IEEE802.11a/b/g and Ethernet.

    With Geotagged shooting applications photographers can fire up to 10 cameras simultaneously while maintaining control over camera settings and remote live view on a laptop or smart phone. The WFT-E5A wireless transmitter can also transfer and display images on DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) compatible televisions and photo frames. Geotagging is now possible via Bluetooth, using compatible GPS devices to append coordinate data to the images.

    Canon EOS 7D DSLR pricing and availability

    The Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR camera will be available at the end of September, and will be sold as body-only at an estimated retail price of USD$1700. It will also be offered in a kit version with Canon's EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM zoom lens at an estimated retail price of USD$1900. The Canon WFT-E5A wireless file transmitter is scheduled to be available in early November and sell at USD$700.

    EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens

    The EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens is designed to capture sharp close-up images of small objects as well as portrait-length telephoto shots. The incorporation of Canon's new Hybrid IS in this L-series macro lens allows it to compensate more effectively for camera shake during close-up shooting. 

    New Hybrid IS Technology: Designed Especially for Macro Photography

    The world's first optical image stabilizer for SLR cameras was introduced in the EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM in 1995. Canon's latest image stabilization technology is targeted at the macro realm with the new EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM.

    When shooting handheld close-ups at 1x camera shake makes it difficult to achieve acceptable results even with lenses incorporating conventional image stabilizers. The Hybrid IS extends this to the macro realm by compensating for both angular camera shake and shift camera shake – problems that become more apparent as magnification increases.

    Conventional image stabilizers of the type found in Canon IS lenses incorporate an angular velocity sensor (vibration gyro) to compensate for angular camera shake. Based on the amount of camera shake detected by the sensor, the IS system calculates the amount of blur on the image plane, after which lens elements in the IS are positioned to compensate for the shake. However, this type of image stabilizer can neither detect nor correct shift camera shake common to handheld macro photography. 

    The Hybrid IS includes an acceleration sensor in addition to the conventional angular velocity sensor (vibration gyro). Based on the amount of camera shake detected by the two sensors, a newly developed algorithm calculates the amount of blur on the image plane, after which lens elements in the IS are positioned to compensate for the two types of shake.

    EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens

    Canon's new EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens makes is a multipurpose wide-angle zoom lens featuring three aspherical elements and one UD glass element. The zoom range of this lens is equivalent to 24-136mm on a full-frame camera.

    EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens

    Finally, the new EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens features a compact IS unit with shake correction up to four shutter speed steps, the zoom range of this lens is equivalent to 29-216mm on a full-frame camera.

    Lens pricing and availability

    The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM and EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lenses are scheduled to be available at the end of September and sell at estimated retail prices of USD$1050 and USD$500, respectively. The Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 USM is scheduled to be available in late October and sell at an estimated retail price of USD$800.

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