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Pick Your Jaw Up Off The Floor After This 7D MkII AF Demonstration | Video

By Anthony Thurston on November 7th 2014

If there is one area on the specs sheet of the 7D Mark II that almost no one can honestly take issue with, it is the AF system. Simply put, this system rivals that of the flagship Canon EOS 1D X.


It is one thing to hear about how awesome something is, but it just doesn’t have the same effect unless you are able to see it in action. The video that you will see below, which is shot looking through the optical viewfinder, demonstrates the incredibly impressive tracking capabilities of the 7D MkII.

What makes this even more impressive, is that this was shot with the 7D Mark II paired with its kit lens, the new 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 IS STM. I can’t help but wonder how much more impressive it would be on a higher quality pro lens, like the Canon 70-200mm F/2.8L IS II.

[REWIND: Initial Impressions on the 7D Mark II]

The best in class (APS-C DSLR) 10fps burst mode on the 7D MkII paired with this incredibly impressive AF system makes this camera probably the best action/sports/wildlife camera that you can get for under $2000. (The Samsung NX1 could give it a run for its money, but the jury is still out on that one).

You can pick up the 7D Mark II now from B&H for $1799 if you just need the body, or if you want the new 18-135mm kit lens (which is actually a pretty decent lens), you can get the 7D Mark II kit for $2149. I am excited to take this body out to shoot some college football from the sideline tomorrow. Stay tuned for my full review.

[via Canon Watch]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. William Emmett

    I don’t remember how early in the development of the 7D Mark II, but Canon Rumors announced the 7D II may not, or be delayed because of sensor problems. No mention was made of the actual sensor that was installed in these early models, but it was scrapped. Did Canon actually develop a new sensor for the 7D MII, or did they revive a older design that was tested but never introduced. Quite possibly there may come another version to the 7D Mark II in the future, or possible firmware update? The development of this cameras is not over yet.

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  2. David Wilkins

    just Canon catching up

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  3. Matthew Riley

    Very cook I am actually attending the Adorama and Canon: Capturing the Action, event next Wednesday where they will be talking about the 7D

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  4. dimitris stilio

    Mr.Antony…really? Pick up my jaw for what? Is this an article or an advertisement?Maybe you are too excited for this.
    That video does not prove anything. Almost static subject – just moving hands – without showing us the results.
    Also the boxes shooting around obviously lost a lot of pictures as they were aiming at the back wall. Plus the subject was easy to target as there was quite enough contrast with the backround (black shirt vs light grey wall).

    Please somebody put this camera under a real test. Put a greyhound dog running towards you. Stay in the sideline for horses running. Wait for these bikes at this downhill race. Do something that will really impress us.
    I own the a6000 because I was persuaded by all these over-excited articles only to find out later that the performance was not at my standards. I was stolen! I expect from you more serious attitude towards the readers (IMO slrlounge is quite famous and you affect a lot of people in their buying decisions). I expect real tests and real comparisons between rivals in the same category such as a77II, NX1, d7100, etc.

    Thank you and sorry for being aggresive, but I have a reason for hating this overwhelmed posts.

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  5. Ryan Orcullo

    Miss miss miss! But it’s so cool. Tracking abilities are quite impressive. Buffer rate is ver good :)

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    • Dave Lyons

      i’m sure they had it set to jpg low quality only to try and whoo you

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    • adam sanford


      I don’t know what the photog in the video was shooting, but testing with production unit (link below) showed a **RAW buffer of nearly 50 shots @ 10 fps** (i.e. higher than advertised), and still punched through a very respectable 5.7 fps after the buffer was filled. That’s an impressive throughput for a non-pro rig.

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    • Dave Lyons

      yes it would be if most of them were in focus and this video clearly shows thats not the case. You’re going to need that 50 shot buffer to get enough shots to get a few in focus. I’ll admit thats the d7*00’s pitfall (buffer) but I’m just not impressed with this “jaw dropping” video of this cameras AF.

      Raw or not it’s not very efficient (which you gotta admit), the sensor blows and it’s way over priced. Im sure it will work for people but they aren’t ripping me off and I’m not impressed by these rimshot ways they are trying to get people to forget the guts can’t produce a better pic than a 5+yr old nikon

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    • Ryan Orcullo

      I smell a Nikon user here :P

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    • adam sanford

      Respectfully disagree, Dave, but I hear you. Consider:

      1) The dude in the video was fighting with what looked to be a panning head on a tripod. A tripod for close action at high burst with an easily-handholdable standard FL lens? This dude was either not a pro or was also shooting video and didn’t bother to come off the tripod to shoot stills. So I wouldn’t condemn the AF just yet — it’s deemed by many to be at least on-par than all the 1DX’s you see on sidelines at NFL games or at the Olympics. Better testimonials through the VF will surely follow.

      2) As a Canon owner, but certainly not a fanboy, I get hammered about sensor scores (esp. at low ISO). But in my book, missing a shot completely due to a tiny buffer or lower burst rate is worse than a taking a good shot with 10-15% less dynamic range.

      I don’t think either of us is right or wrong here. It’s all about your sensibilities and what you personally prioritize. Canon prioritized action/reach shooters wanting to have improved burst rate, buffer and AF, and that’s absolutely the right call for these kind of shooters. The 7D2 will sell well.

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    • Dave Lyons

      Ryan… yes I am a nikon user… but I don’t speak out my a**, I started with canon.

      Adam, I do agree with you on your last one mostly. Where I don’t is that this video is supposed to make my jaw drop because the video is displaying such an amazing example of the af working. Who’s shooting, how they are shooting it etc… don’t matter because the video is “jaw dropping”.

      Yes it will sell well and if it suits you thats great… i’ll admit the flickering lights deal is cool but to me that’s just canon trying to add stuff to keep your mind off of their biggest issue. Some people say the sensor isn’t a big deal but considering it’s the main part of the camera it should be!!

      Can you honestly tell me you’re not worried about canons inability at this point to even remotely come close to releasing a current sensor? The dx0 test showed the IQ of this camera was on par with a D300s… that’s just horribly shocking.

      Look at their recent releases:
      t5i same as the t4i
      t4i basically the same as t2i & t3i
      t5 is worse than the same model line from 8 years ago
      70d has basically the same IQ as the 30D I started with 8 years ago

      Everyone praised the 5dm3 for its af and speed and the one guy who did reviews on here tested the 5dm3 vs d810 and the 5dm3 averaged only about 60% in focus shots where the d810 was in the 80’s

      To me canon is using it name to rip people off and thats why i dislike them so much

      the ppl on canon rumors are now trying to say nikons raw files are open and that leads to false and improved DR LMFAO!!! ummm no… DR is a big deal, most canon users don’t realize why until they shoot something with it. Like with birds, I shoot a lot of hummingbirds and while I just moved to florida my place in ky had lots of hummers but feeders where in the shade and a lot of times I’d have to shoot in near darkness and way under exposed to get a high enough shutter speed but it was fine because it still got detail where a canon wouldn’t come close and I could open it up and it’s look like noon. So maybe i can’t shoot as fast but I still got the shots, I guarantee you if a canonizer was there i would have had way more usable images.

      unless you got a 5dm3 or 1dx you’re not 10-15% less you’re probably over 20% less… they average over 2 stops less, don’t kid yourself its a lot and even the 5dm3 and 1dx are way less compared to the new nikons. I think the 6d has greatest dr at 12.1 i believe while the d810, d750, d600, d610 are almost at 15 thats 3 stops. The only real issues on buffer are d7*00.. which i agree sucks but it’s plenty

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    • adam sanford

      Dave, respectfully — and I do mean that — consider:

      DXO does not give awards for photography. But these folks do:

      I don’t cite charts like this (and there are many of them out there in different realms of photography) to incite an argument so much as make a point. Many pros continue to use Canon *despite* how ‘wretched’ the sensors seem to be. If Canon is all marketing hype, overpriced, etc. why on earth are so many professionals sticking to the brand? Things like quality, customer support, that lens portfolio, ergonomics, etc. have to come into the equation, and with that in mind, many folks don’t mind a small sensor difference.

      I also do not worry about Canon’s commitment to dynamic range like it’s the bogeyman under the bed. It’s a camera — it’s neither a mortgage that must mature nor some validation of our canny wisdom in selecting what new technology to buy. If I was a pro landscape shooter and my livelihood depended on my output, I *might* care more about ISO 100 performance, but I’m not, so I don’t. My 5D3 is pretty sweet and I love using it.

      So I just happily use my camera. I’m a positive person. I prefer to see what my camera *can* do rather than what it can’t. I don’t cry myself to sleep because some gentlemen with a test target said something better was out there.

      Canon makes nice gear. Nikon makes nice gear. I’ve never used it, but I hear Sony makes nice gear as well. There is no absolute best as we’re all different shooters with different needs.

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    • Dave Lyons

      If you look at the newest article on here with the 7dm2 review and video you can see as they plainly point out and show examples of an inferior sensor and show a $400 nikon dusting it in Image Quality.

      There’s been all this talk from Canon users about the dxo conspiracy theory but that review clearly shows that dxo isn’t wrong after all.

      I’ll tell you right now if canon had a camera that had better IQ & at least on par DR as a Nikon then I might be using it… I’m going to use what gives me the best overall quality especially at the price points but when the 7dm2 can’t beat a d300 in IQ and only 2 fps more I’ll spend $400 on a d300..

      Im sure your 5dm3 produces great images but where I’m seeing the big issue is when I go back a few years to edit/re-edit a pic and my nikon ones are so much more usable with all the extra data… just my preference

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  6. Mark Sheppard

    I’m with Dave. I can see that the face recognition is trying to keep up but I bet that very few if any of the photos would have been keepers. Even if they were some in focus IMO they would have been meaningless because of the framing. I’d like to see how well it does that with a full body shot, and then look at the actual images to see if any are sharp.

    Not to mention that at $1800 for an APS-C camera is pricy and the expectations should be very high.

    It’s an interesting video, but for me it raises wore questions than it answers.

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    • adam sanford

      I’m not sure this was a sports/action pro photographer at work here. I’d love to see through-the-VF videos of 1DX and D4S guys on the sidelines at a sporting event. I would gather that their framing, tracking and corresponding hit rate is much higher than what this video showed.

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    • Dave Lyons

      adam… the problem si the title claims “pick your jaw up off the floor” which infers to a extreme level of seriousness. If they think thats cool they should see the nikon ml have a go at it a 2x and 6x as fast

      Mark.. right on lol! yes expectations are high and after the gigantic turd it dropped on dx0’s test….

      A lot of fast replacement shutter money coming canons way

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  7. Dre Rolle

    Great video demo and article. Could’ve given a heads up though, I felt like I was going to have a seizure halfway through :)

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  8. Ben Perrin

    Spray and pray has gone to a whole new level

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  9. Enzo Scorziello

    Interesting, the Sony a-6000 is 11fps on an aps-c sensor. It will shoot 43 shots (RAW) til the buffer fills and significantly more jpegs. People are oohing and aahing simply because Canon is finally catching up with the competition and calling it great and “affordable”. I think ill pass.

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    • adam sanford

      Mirrorless is a terrible choice for the wildlife/sports/birding photographers that the 7D2 is aimed at. Consider:

      1) These people want *optical viewfinders* for maximum responsiveness. Why add even the slightest lag to someone capturing action?

      2) The principal allure of mirrorless — equally great shots in a much smaller package — is lost if you are bolting a supertele and a monopod on it, right?

      3) These people rack up thousands of shots out in the elements — so an EVF would burn through batteries at a much higher rate than an OVF.

      Mirrorless can do amazing things and will eventually rule the photography world — don’t get me wrong — but it’s a poor fit for *these* kind of shooters. Sports / wildlife / birding guys will be the last group to leave SLRs; they will give up their OVFs when you pry them from their cold, dead hands. :-P

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    • Dave Lyons

      hell buy a used, cheap d300s and have a ton of money over for the kids bdays and you’ll have something close enough.

      so far… crappy sensor… and sorry but that AF sucks for a camera in that price range.

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  10. Dave Lyons

    1. wheres the write up of 7d m2 dx0 tests?
    2. I maybe half blind but i’m seeing a hell of a lot AF “misses” in this video maybe 30-40%, the only times it stays on the guy are when his torso isn’t moving and the guys shirt confuses it. I think you’re hearing the fast shutter and thinking its great, be interesting to slow it down to see % of accurate vs misses

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  11. dave birch

    a77 with the 16-50/2.8 is a much better performer (and value)

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  12. adam sanford

    Very cool. An STM lens is much slower focusing than a (modern) USM lens, but the subjects were not moving at an significant speed *away* or *towards* the camera — that’s probably why it was able to keep up so well.

    I remain shocked that Canon has not offered a good USM kit lens for this camera. I recognize STM’s noise & smooth focusing for video strengths, but this the great autofocusing camera for action — give it a quick focusing lens!

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    • Matthew Saville

      Hmm, I found STM to be more than fast enough for all but the most active situations.

      But you’re right, a solid EF-S USM lens would have been nice. I think for that however, sticking with full-frame L glass is probably the best option…

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