OK, first of all I am not using a production model of the R7, nor do I have one in my hands, but I can read the specs and the first reviews from sources I trust, and I have reservations. I make these points from someone looking for a pro-level body that is great for wildlife photography in particular. So features like video specs, for example, have no value to me.
I honestly feel this camera is not a natural contender for a R7 designation in the context of the EOS 7D range and market.
To explain: the 7DI and II were professional-level APS-C bodies and that had several characteristics: the best sensors of the time, great buffers, great weather sealing (and built like a tank), great tracking (7DII), and battery grips to increase the energy supply and balance the heavier lenses.
While the R7, without doubt, has a great tracking system, to me this is more like an evolution of the ##D series, of which the last was the 90D, for the following reasons:
This camera is competing with BSI and stacked sensors from competitors like Sony and Fuji. In a premium camera I would have expected Canon to match that.
While the sensor may not be leading edge it is capable of producing enough throughput to stress the buffer. I would like to have seen a bigger buffer leading to dual CF Express A card slots that were backward compatible with SD cards, as Nikon has done - that would resolve any bottleneck issues.
According to several sources, Canon have advised that the weather sealing is NOT as good as for the R3, 5, and 6 bodies - which makes no sense for a pro-level wildlife camera that has to be used in all conditions.
The reviews and sample images I have seen seem to indicated a lot of noise for images in excess of ISO 4000, which these days is considered a fairly modest ISO value, again time will tell but it's another straw in the wind...
Finally, there is no announcement of a battery grip, when one is usually announced with the body. This provides not only a benefit for more energy capacity, but also (especially for a light body) helps to balance the longer and heavier glass that normally goes along with wildlife photography.
So: I DO applaud the camera at the price point at which it is located, and I think it is great value for money - no argument there. However, to me it is not a inheritor of the pro-level characteristics that would make this deserve a R7 designation. Perhaps call it something like an R8 or R9? I would expect a R7 to have all the features that I listed as a true inheritor of the marque...
So for me the question is: is this their best effort at a truly pro-level APS-C camera? I am not going to rush out to find this camera (I suspect there will be a long queue for that anyway), I shall wait and see. Maybe Canon will make a 100+MP replacement for the 5DsR that I love, and with that capacity, keep the specs above and produce a camera that I can shoot great scenery in FF and wildlife in crop mode!
I complexly agree. I’d add the mediocre EVF and the slow, seemingly consumer-oriented RF-S lenses it was released with. It looks to me like an excellent, reasonably priced replacement for the 90D. I don’t see it as a replacement for he 7D II.
I’m looking for a lighter alternative or complement to my 5D IV, but this appears to be too much of a step down. It will be a superb camera for many purposes, just not mine.
Personally, I have not even considered the RF-S lenses, I have enough FF lenses of EF and RF varieties for my needs. If Canon were to bring out the 10-24 on the RF roadmap as a FF lens, I would be interested, as it would give me 10-24 + 24-105 + 100-500, which is a massive spread in three lenses. But otherwise, if it is RF-S glass, it is not on my list of wants.
RF lenses matter to me for two reasons. First, there is no high-quality R-mount zoom with the appropriate focal lengths to make a good walk-around lens for the R7, as far as I know. Second, the bulk of the weight savings from a smaller sensor system is the lenses. This is not just because a shorter FL provides he same AOV. It’s also because lenses designed for a smaller image circle are narrower, hence lighter and cheaper to produce.
Nothing wrong with that perspective. That's the nature of photography! 🙂 If we all needed or wanted exactly the same thing, it would make for a rather limited market space, I suspect.
I think your perspective is very valid. A lot depends on where one is coming from. At the moment, given my reservations about the R7 and the promise of a lot of glass coming out for the RF / RF-S mount (Canon promised 32 over 4 years), , so I feel no necessity to go out to look for RF-S units: I can wait and enjoy what I've got. But again: everyone is different!
For myself, I have a huge range of Canon lenses, at last count: 34 EF and EF-M lenses, and 4 RF lenses. I have the actually rather excellent RF 24-240 lens which is a bit of hidden gem. I was encouraged by reviews by those I respect that indicated it was actually quite competitive to some RF L glass: for example, it held its own across the range of the RF 24-105 f/4 L lens. So that works for me as a walk-around unit very well with my R6 bodies
Also a lot depends on what focal lengths one is shooting at. My work is usually at the very long tele end, being a wildlife photographer, and so the RF 100-500 is a natural unit for me, but I can also use my existing EF 100-400MkII, and Sigma 150-600 and 60-600 units as they work flawlessly with the Canon EF-RF adapters, so no further immediate investment is needed. 🙂
A contrary viewpoint:
While I agree that the R7 could have been called something like an R70 or R90 - if maintaining the xD naming conventions applies outside the xD series - from the viewpoint of someone upgrading from the xxD series (70D -> 80D to this) who could never justify the price level of the xD and prior R-series bodies, the R7 is perfect. Other than losing a pop-up flash that I don't use and the top-panel LCD, this body is an across-the board win. (I'll keep my 80D to use with its battery grip until one comes out for the R7.)
My main reason to upgrade is to get the EVF so I can use Live View in bright daylight (I'm a landscape shooter who trusts the sensor focusing more than the viewfinder focus points, which have a different light path - yes, I've done the Micro AF calibration for all of my lenses, but that's still a kludge).
Like the EVF, everything else is an improvement over the xxD series: two card slots, viewfinder focus joystick, R3-type autofocus, fast burst speeds.
With the EF to RF Control Ring adapter I'll be able to use my two EF lenses (Canon 70-300 IS USM, Tamron f1.8 45 VC) and my three EF-S lenses (Canon f2.8 17-55 IS USM, Canon 10-18 IS STM. and Canon 18-135 IS USM).
You folks looking for an upgrade to your 7D Mk II bodies will probably get one with dual CF card slots and a stacked BSI sensor - but it will probably cost a lot more than this xxD-priced model.
Your approach is perfectly valid. The issue I, and I suspect many of my colleagues have, is that Canon have been quite consistent in naming R-series bodies with the same numbers as their DSLR equivalents. In numbering this new camera the R7 they are essentially taking a category of model that was occupied by a high-end, professional-grade APS-C DSLR.
The camera that now has the R7 badge on it is not at the level of a 7D-series successor, for reasons I laid out in my original post. This camera is an excellent upgrade for those who want to have a camera to replace their XXD series bodies, but I would feel happier if it was identified as something like a R70
What is concerning is for those who want a replacement to 7D-series camera for our wildlife or other applications, where an APS-C sensor offers benefits but will work at the highest level with the best protection. With this slot in the line-up taken, it begs the question as to whether Canon will or will not make such a camera. If they did not, then it pushes us in the direction of other brands, such as Fuji (which specializes in APS-C bodies and has some excellent offerings), Nikon and Sony. All of these brands are offering stacked and/or back-lit sensors, decent buffers and fast cards, along with serious environmental sealing - all things that are missing in this camera.
So, no-one is trying to deny you, or anyone else this body - it's a great deal (although I would wait for the reviews on its noise above ISO-4000) and will be a great upgrade, but those of us who wanted something more are asking - "That's great, but what about us?"