Canon Launches Blockbuster 7D D-SLR at 18MP, 8fps, 1080p Video, all at $1699

Canon this morning introduced the much rumored Canon 7D D-SLR. Cramming 18MP into a compact (1.6x multiplier) sensor the camera can run at a brisk 8fps. It comes with an all new and massively configurable AutoFocus and metering system. Sensor technology improvements help the camera retain good high ISO performance even with the relatively tiny (hardly more than 4 microns each) pixels (photosites).

In just about every way, including price, the camera is a clear upgrade over the Canon 50D. 19 Auto-focus points, 1080p video capability, new metering, an updated and improved control system, electronic levels for both left-right (pitch) and front-back (yaw) and the ability to use its built-in flash as a remote multi-group TTL commander make this camera an impressive mid-range offering--clearly designed to one-up the newly introduced Nikon D300s.

For those looking for video capability the 7D offers a broad array of video and audio options making it likely that more and more serious video will be captured with D-SLRs. The camera can capture a maximum clip of about 12 minutes of HD video at a time. The still buffer is rated at 15 Raw files or nearly 100 JPEGs.

The controls are more configurable than just about any other Canon--or any other D-SLR for that matter--as is the AF system. Options even include the ability to use different AF points for horizontal and vertical shooting. Part of me is always thrilled by all these options and another part cringes as I think about how much confusion will abound when people who only use their cameras occassionally start getting these, setting up features and then trying to remember what they did the next time they pull the camera out. But the flexibility certainly makes the camera a great tool for addressing a wide array of photo situations.

The camera will not directly challenge the 5D (despite the somewhat confusing model name) since it is not a full frame camera but it does have many new features and technologies which will no doubt find their way into other Canon D-SLRs up and down their product line. This camera does fill in the "hole" in the Canon product line that the Nikon D300 and D300s have been addressing--for a 'prosumer' model positioned below the flagship line but above the entry level product line. At $1699 expected street price it is competitively priced for those serious enough to want to go beyond their first D-SLR and move up a step in performance and features. You can read the full press release on the Canon site, which includes many more new innovations and features. Those include a new generation of wireless transmitter with remote browser control (for $699) and a new option for Bluetooth GPS connectivity. The Canon 7D will also be available in a kit with the newly announced 18-135mm lens for $1899.

You can also read about the new Canon 100mm Macro lens, Canon 18-135mm zoom lens and Canon 15-85mm zoom lens.


Canon 7D product shot, courtesy Canon, Inc.