24 May 2022

Thoughts on Upgrading my Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Upgrading my Canon EOS 7D Mark II

General thoughts on upgrading Canon gear for Birds in Flight Photography
Canon EOS 7D Mark II paired with EF 400f/5.6L USM Lens

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' which is now renamed 'End of Canon EOS 7D Mark III Speculations' - in anticipation of the release of a possible Canon EOS 7D Mark III. 

On 24 May 2022 Canon launched the APS-C Canon R7 (and Canon R10) that should become the new standard for fast-action wildlife Canon APS-C hobbyist photographers looking for upgrading / replacing their current Canon EOS 7D Mark II cameras.

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 / EOS R10 Launch 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).

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

Canon Photography Training Milnerton Woodbridge Island | Kirstenbosch Cape Town

End of Canon EOS 7D Mark III Speculations

The Canon EOS R7 was Launched / Released (together with the Canon EOS R10) on 24 May 2022 for the High-Action / Wildlife Hobbyist Photographer

New Canon EOS R7 APS-C Mirrorless Camera (Image Credit: Canon Malaysia)
New Canon EOS R7 APS-C Mirrorless Camera (Image Credit: Canon Malaysia)

Canon EOS R7 and Canon EOS R10 Information / Videos



Update: Canon launched two APS-C / crop bodies) Canon EOS R cameras on 24 May 2022 - both bodies were released as the first APS-C format R bodies for the Canon EOS R System.

Even after the introduction of the Canon EOS R System the hopes were still high that a Canon EOS 7D Mark III would still be released in 2021 / 2022. The original Canon EOS R did not offer sufficient high-speed performance and even in my own conclusion, after my early 2019 Canon EOS R field testing, confirmed its inefficiency as a high-performance body.

The Autofocus of the original EOS R as well as other in-body specifications were significantly improved upon with the release of the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6. One major improvement was the new Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF II System offering accurate speed and (human and animal) subject traction that was on par (and in some ways of higher specification) than that of the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III.

After my 2020 Canon EOS R6 field testing for birds in flight / high-action photography I concluded that the Canon EOS R6 was a suitable Canon EOS R recommendation / replacement for action photographers wanting to migrate or buy into the EOS R System.

While testing the Canon EOS R6 for birds in flight (even with the two supplied RF f/11 lenses) I realised that there will be no direct Canon EOS 7D Mark III replacement for the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. The AF performance of the Canon EOS R6 was indicative (to me) that the Canon EOR R System will offer a high-performance and affordable (APS-C) body for the Canon enthusiast and hobbyist wildlife photographers.


(My) Birds in Flight Photography Paradigm is shifting towards the Canon EOS R7
I have used the Canon EOS 7D Mark II almost exclusively for Birds in Flight photography (throughout its entire life cycle). I am still an avid user of this extremely capable Canon APS-C (1.6x Crop Factor) DSLR body for birds in flight / fast action photography. Like many current (and previous) Canon EOS 7D Mark II photographers I am quite exited about the announcement of the Canon EOS R7 - and should be considered as a suitable upgrade / replacement for the Canon EOS 7D Mark II.  

Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF II System
The Autofocus (AF) System in a the new Canon EOS R7 is more / less the same Dual Pixel CMOS AF II System deployed in the Canon EOS R6 / Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R3.

Canon RF (and EF / EF-S) lenses for Canon EOS R7
There are already quite a few cost-effective RF (L) lenses that should pair well with the Canon EOS R7 / EOS R10 (in the 400mm to 800mm range for birds in flight / high-actiom). All current Canon EF / EF-S should be compatible with the Canon EOS RF lenses via the current EF - RF Mount Adapter). 




New Canon EOS R / PowerShot Cameras to be Released 2022 / 2023
New Canon EOS R / PowerShot Cameras to be Launched 2022 / 2023

Canon EOS 7D Mark II Resources / Birds in Flight Photography Gallery View

Two Cost-Effective Canon Lenses for Birds in Flight Photography View

Birds in Flight Photography View

Canon Photography Training Milnerton Woodbridge Island | Kirstenbosch Cape Town

01 May 2022

Macro & Close-Up Photography Cape Town Facebook Group

Macro & Close-Up Photography Cape Town Facebook Group
Macro & Close-Up Photography Cape Town Facebook Group

Join the Macro & Close-Up Photography Cape Town Facebook Group >>

An invitation to anyone who is interested in capturing Macro / Close-Up nature images and / or current Macro nature / close-Up photographers in / around Cape Town and Western Cape for discussing / uploading Macro / Close-Up images.

Group Admin / Moderator: Vernon Chalmers

The Macro / Close-Up Photography Cape Town Facebook Group is a Vernon Chalmers Photography / Social Media project featuring Close-Up / Macro Photography around Cape Town (and other local areas).


Macro & Close-Up Photography Training Milnerton and Kirstenbosch Garden, Cape Town - More Information

Macro & Close-Up Photography Cape Town Facebook Group
Close-Up Photography : Canon PowerShot SX40 HS

Bird watching in the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Bird in the Table Bay Nature Reserve / Woodbridge Island

Helmeted guineafowl - Table Bay Nature Reserve
Peekaboo! Helmeted Guineafowl - Table Bay Nature Reserve

On a glorious and crisp morning I went on my routine short walkabout around the Table Bay Nature Reserve Diep River, Woodbridge Island.

Normally, I'm out looking out for birds in flight, but on this particular mid-morning most birds were settled in their feeding and 'doing-nothing' routine.

I was very pleased to see a few helmeted guineafowl jogging along, at times, precariously close to Otto du Plessis Drive (on-route to the Reserve).

Making my way through the Reserve, and highlight of my morning, was a close encounter with a nesting / perched pair of pied kingfishers. I was fortunate enough to capture at least one of them.

Towards the end of the gallery below are two birds in flight images captured of a Cape teal duck, Egyptian goose and Darter flying over the Diep river (flowing past the Table Bay Nature Reserve and the adjacent Milnerton Golf Course).

My 'Bird Species Index' around Woodbridge Island / Table Bay Nature Reserve

Images by Vernon Chalmers with Canon EOS 7D Mark II and Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens.

Thoughts on my settings used for Birds in Flight / Perched Birds
Exposure settings (mainly aperture and shutter speed)  will depend on birds in flight and / or perched birds. With so many birds flying up and down the Diep river, Woodbridge Island / Table Bay Nature Reserve area I rarely change my exposure settings. Shooting with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Canon EF 400mm f/4.5L USM lens since early 2015 I've tweaked my settings alike for fast and slower birds. One of the only settings I will change is the shutter speed (to support the lighting conditions).

For perched birds I generally use the same settings in good light conditions for providing a decent exposure. With enough time (and perhaps more so in less light) I may adjust from Manual to Av (Aperture Priority) Mode for decreasing shutter speed and ISO. What I do try and change is the AF Mode, but it is rarely achieved as my main focus is to keep things simple and to enjoy the outing (if setup for birds in flight).

I could also use the Full Frame 6D for perched birds, but prefer the reach of the Crop / APS-C body. Sitting, say for instance, in a hide for perched birds I will use a different combination of body / lens and settings, but in my local shooting environment I prefer one body / lens paring and one set of settings for both flying and perched birds.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Lens Settings
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Auto-ISO 400-1200
  • Shutter Speed: 1/4000s
  • AF: Large Zone (Case 1)
  • 10 fps / handheld
  • AF on
  • FL: 400mm (prime lens)
  • CF Card: Lexar Professional 800x / 120MB/s 32GB

Canon EOS Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography

(Click to Enlarge)
Grey Heron in the Table Bay Nature Reserve - Diep River / Woodbridge Island
Grey Heron in the Table Bay Nature Reserve (overlooking the Milnerton Golf Course)

Close Encounter with Pied Kingfisher in the Table Bay Nature Reserve Image 1 / 2
Close Encounter with a Pied Kingfisher in the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Little Cisticola on guard in the Table Bay Nature Reserve
Little Cisticola on guard in the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Cape Spurfowl in Fight over the Table Bay Nature Reserve
Cape Spurfowl in Fight over the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Southern Masked Weaver (ringed) overlooking the Table Bay Nature Reserve
Southern Masked Weaver (ringed) overlooking the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Cape Teal Duck in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve
Cape Teal Duck in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve

Egyptian Goose in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve
Egyptian Goose in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve

Darter in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve
Darter in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve

The Hadeda ibis was from a previous walk back from the Table Bay Nature Reserve. Quite tame and minding his own morning breakfast routine.

Hadeda Ibis with breakfast - close to the Table Bay Nature Reserve
Hadeda Ibis with breakfast - close to the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Small birds in the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Food Photography - In-Studio Braai (Barbeque)

South Africans love to braai (barbeque) - even if it is indoors...

In-studio braai before and about good to go… with different lenses (macro lens and landscape lens)

At Vernon Chalmers Photography Training Studio Arnhem / Milnerton (Canon Lifestyle Photography)

I experimented with various Canon body, EF lens and Speedlite flash pairings and eventually decided on the the 100mm macro focal length for the first close-up image and a wider-angle landscape lens (16 - 35 mm focal length) for a wider perspective for the second image.

Image 1: Canon EOS 6D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens and Ring Lite MR-14EX II flash

Image 2: With Canon EOS 70D / EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens and Speedlite 430EX III-RT flash

Before the Braai - with Canon 6D / EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens
Before the Braai - with Canon 6D / EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens / Speedlite Flash

Braai Almost Ready - With Canon EOS 70D / EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Ultra-Wide Lens
Braai Almost Ready - With Canon EOS 70D / EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Ultra-Wide Lens  / Speedlite Flash

Photographing Butterflies at 400mm (different lenses)

When out an about in the garden it is not a requirement to use a macro lens for photographing small butterflies.

Most 70-300mm / 100-400mm / 300mm / 400mm zoom / prime lenses should be more than good to go on APS-C or Full Frame camera bodies for butterfly close-up photography.

Macro & Close-Up Photography Training Cape Town >>


For the first three images I used the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens (paired with Canon EOS 70D)

Last image with Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens (paired with Canon EOS 7D Mark II)

African Monarch butterflies: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
  • Canon EOS 70D
  • Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens (Mark I)
  • Manual Mode: @ 400mm
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • ISO: 1/1000s
  • Shutter Speed: 1/2500s
  • IS Turned Off / Handheld

Garden Acrea butterfly : Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
  • Manual Mode: @ 400mm
  • Aperture: f/56
  • ISO: 1250
  • Shutter Speed: 1/2500s
  • No Lens IS / Handheld

Location: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town

Close-Up Butterfly Photography with Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens >>

African Monarch butterfly: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden 01
African Monarch butterfly: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

African Monarch butterfly: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden 02
African Monarch butterfly: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

African Monarch butterfly: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden 03
African Monarch butterfly: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Garden Acrea Butterfly : Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Garden Acrea Butterfly : Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Canon Photography Training Milnerton Woodbridge Island | Kirstenbosch Cape Town

Macro & Close-Up Photography Training Cape Town Support

Vernon Chalmers Macro & Close-Up Photography Cape Town Support
Vernon Chalmers Macro & Close-Up Photography Cape Town Support


Macro & Close-Up Support for Photography Training at Milnerton and Kirstenbosch Cape Town

Photographers who have attended any of  my Macro & Close-Up Photography Training Cape Town in the past (or about to attend at Milnerton / Woodbridge Island or Kirstenbosch Garden and is registered / confirmed) are welcome to request Macro and close-Up Photography Support via my Support Options (WhatsApp and / or eMail) for sharing images, learn more, and for getting online support.

Macro & Close-Up Photography Support is a private photography support dedicated to the continuous practice and support for any Macro / Close-Up Photography workshop delegate who has attended the Workshop in the past.

Request Macro / Close-Up Photography Training Support >>

Macro / Close-Up Photography Training Support
Any registered delegate who has attended the Macro & Close-Up Photography Workshop is welcome to post images and / or request any support with regard to macro / close-up images and / or related camera gear.

Goal and Objectives of the Support Function
A private support channel for assisting delegates of any of my Photography Training with ongoing skills development and hands-on support in terms of:

  • Photo sharing, learning and Q&A platform
  • Discussing relevant knowledge / skills and related settings
  • New gear purchasing assistance / guidance (no sales)
  • One-on-one facilitation for fine-tuning camera / lens settings
  • Post-processing advice and guidance

Minimum EXIF Data
(when uploading images)
Please add at least ISO / Aperture and Shutter Speed with body / lens ID. You don't need to repeat it on every image. Only in your main description if uploading more than one. You're also welcome to just ask a question.

Image Quality
Image quality is not essential - more important is asking questions and sharing various elements of your Landscape Photography learning process.

Publishing Camera / Photo Information

Please share minimum camera / lens / phone / location information such as brand and other settings if available (Aperture / ISO / Shutter). If you don't know please ask before / when you post.

Asking Questions
Anybody is also welcome to post questions to the group or Admins to answer. You don't have to post it with an image, just ask a question re general camera / lens / photography settings.


Macro & Close-Up Photography Cape Town Support Group
Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm Macro Lens

Vernon Chalmers Photography Training / Workshops Cape Town
  • Canon Camera / Photography Basic Training Cape Town More
  • Birds in Flight Photography Training / Workshop Cape Town More
  • Canon Speedlite / Ring Lite Flash Photography Training / Workshop Cape Town More
  • Macro / Close-Up Photography Training / Workshop Cape Town More
  • Landscape / Long Exposure Photography Training / Workshop Cape Town More
  • Digital Workflow / Lightroom Post-Processing Training / Workshop Cape Town More