As a lifelong wildlife fanatic, I have always found (wild) animals fascinating, and capturing them on camera is currently my favorite hobby. So when I recently had the opportunity to take the Canon EOS R7 (opens in a new tab) On a small whale watching cruise in Sydney, I took the plunge. I jumped on board armed with the RF100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM (opens in a new tab) Y RF 600mm f/11 IS STM (opens in a new tab) Lenses to go along with the camera and as I had anticipated, the performance of the R7 was absolutely fantastic!
It’s really quite impressive what Canon has been able to do with its latest affordable mirrorless camera for enthusiasts: it does everything it says on the tin and it does it well. However, seeing the results after returning home, I realized that an APS-C camera was not for me, at least not when trying to photograph wildlife.
So I have a request to Canon… can we get a full frame version of the EOS R7? You know, something with a 32MP stacked sensor, image stabilization, fast burst speed, a decent buffer depth, and excellent autofocus and subject tracking performance? That would be really delicious.
Why do I want a full frame 32 MP mirrorless
My current favorite snapper is the Canon EOS 6D MarkII (opens in a new tab); you can go ahead and make fun of me for holding on to my DSLR but I haven’t found the right full frame alternative yet. And as someone who tests cameras for a living, I guess that’s saying something.
I was excited when Canon announced the EOS R7 – the spec sheet looked fabulous and I was keen to try it out for myself to see if I could finally go mirrorless. And since I’ve been a Canon user since the beginning of my photography journey, I already have lenses that I can use with an adapter, so it also made financial sense.
However, it had been a while since I’d taken pictures with an APS-C format camera, so while the EOS R7 itself can’t be faulted for performance, I just couldn’t appreciate the final images I got after run them through my usual editing process.
First of all, for something as specific as trying to capture whale breaches (when marine mammals jump out of the water), it’s best to zoom all the way out to get a wider field of view, as it’s hard to predict where they’ll appear next. Considering that the APS-C sensor gave me more reach with the 100-400mm lens (around 150-600mm in this case), I had the lens set mostly to the 100mm (equivalent) focal length. That means I had to cut back significantly to get close to the humpback calf (who was putting on quite a show, by the way).
As a result, I lost a bit of image quality, plus a smaller sensor doesn’t capture detail in highlights and shadows as well as a full-frame one. So while the images I got of a leaping whale were perfectly fine to post on Instagram, there’s no way they’d be high enough quality to enlarge and print, which, I’ll admit, is always my goal.
I also miss the shallower depth of field that I’ve gotten used to with a full frame sensor. shooting with it EOS R5 (opens in a new tab) and my old 6D Mark II gave me some nice background blur to separate the subject more prominently from the background. The R7 of course gave me some of that but, where it counted, it fell a bit short due to the smaller sensor.
While I haven’t needed to use the EOS R7 in low light when shooting animals, I would be a little concerned about the performance of the sensor compared to a larger imaging surface.
the sweet spot
I’m aware that the natural question to ask is probably “Why not buy the EOS R5 or R6?” Well, personally, the R5 is overkill for my needs, as much as I love a high resolution sensor, I don’t really need 45MP and don’t see myself needing to shoot 8K video anytime soon, and it’s also quite expensive. On the other hand, the 20MP EOS R6 (opens in a new tab) it just doesn’t have the sensor resolution to tempt me to make the switch to mirrorless from my 26.2MP 6D Mark II.
The price of the R7 is fair, and while I know a full frame version will cost more, if it gives me the speed and accuracy, and more importantly the image quality, that I’m personally looking for, then I’m willing to wait and shell out the extra money.
To summarize, I would love a camera with good sensor resolution, the same autofocus speed and tracking accuracy as the R7, and image stabilization. 32MP seems to be my resolution sweet spot, and if it comes with a price tag that won’t burn a hole in my already depleting pocket, even better.
So what do you think, Canon? Willing to go with the flow?
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