12 April 2022

My Thoughts on Upgrading my Canon EOS 7D Mark II

General thoughts on upgrading Canon gear for Birds in Flight Photography
Upgrading current Canon gear for my Birds in Flight / High-Speed Action Photography

I firmly believe and respect the process every photographer is going through when composing and capturing every image – even more so when its fast-moving birds in flight or other fast-action photography. A lot do is with the technology in hand, but the biggest challenges are (in my opinion) combinations and permutations of quite a few 'other' (non-technical) considerations for capturing that special moment.

Over the years many birds in flight and bird photographers have asked me for my opinion on my thoughts on the development, direction and / or evolution of the Canon DSLR / Mirrorless camera’s Autofocus (AF) system and other optimisations.

I have truly enjoyed every moment with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II (mostly paired with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens). I have only really used the camera for Birds in Flight Photography, bees and butterflies, but, I know and have worked with many Canon EOS 7D Mark II photographers applying it in every photography genre out there. I cannot recall one single photographer that was not happy with his or her camera. Mostly, I have met them as camera / photography students and many of them are still learning on how to extract the maximum value from their cameras. There were many technology / other challenges, but these are expected when a (new) photographer tries out mastering any of the camera settings unfamiliar to him / her.

In 2017 I created an article The Future of the Canon EOS 7D Mark III? - in anticipation of the release of a possible Canon EOS 7D Mark III. Of course, now in 2022, its becoming more and more evident that there will be no Canon EOS 7D Mark III, but instead we should see the introduction of a possible Canon EOS R7 in the foreseeable future.

Pied Kingfisher with Catch : Canon EOS 7D Mark II Copyright Vernon Chalmers
During August 2017 I did a write-up about my own Canon EOS 7D Mark II Long-Term Use and Experience

I still do the majority of my Birds in Flight Photography with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II paired with the 'ever-green' Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens. 

I still follow my own quote over the years of ‘shoot with what is in your hands and make (and enjoy) the moment – chase the light, forget about kit in hand’. This is still very relevant to me to this day.

However, camera (and AF) technology is moving forward at a rapid pace and I have revisited my own quote a few times over the last three years. Sometimes thinking of what I would want to see as a replacement camera (in my hands for birds in flight photography). 

My main Canon EOS R7 Interest Areas:
  • APS-C vs Full Frame
  • Autofocus System
  • Memory Card(s)
  • Sensor (Megapixels)
  • Image Processor(s)
  • RF to EF Lens Compatibility / AF Speed (via Lens Adapter) 

Canon EOS R7 Launch Date Probably Late 2022 >>

Grey Heron In Flight : Canon EOS R6 Copyright Vernon Chalmers
I have had the opportunity to field test both the Canon EOS R and later the Canon EOS R6 for Canon South Africa. I did a wide variety of photography / and birds in flight with the EOS R, but was generally not that impressed at the time. I changed my tune quite somewhat during field testing the Canon EOS R6 for birds in flight photography exclusively. 

It was the first time I really became exited about the new Autofocus (AF) System. Not so much the higher frame rate of the EOS R6 compared to the EOS 7D Mark II, but the accuracy and tracking of the new Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF II System deployed in the Canon EOS R6 / EOS R5 (inherited from the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III).

I still shoot with my old gear, am well aware of the advances in the Canon EOS R AutoFocus System, but still prefer the EOS 7D Mark II. I am excited about the future release of a possible Canon EOS R7, but like many other birds in flight (EOS 7D Mark II) photographers will wait in anticipation to see what the actual specifications / performance will be if there is indeed an (APS-C) Canon EOS R7 in the EOS R lineup.

Page Image Information © Vernon Chalmers

Image 1: Product Images - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens pairing

Image 2: Pied Kingfisher with Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens

Image 3: Grey Heron with Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 STM lens

Image 4: Cape Teal Ducks with Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens

Cape Teal Ducks in Flight : With Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5/6L USM lens Copyright Vernon Chalmers Photography
Cape Teal Ducks in Flight : With Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5/6L USM lens

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