Shooting Portraits with Canon 7D mark II

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Is Canon 7D mark II good enough for studio portraits? We have been using the Canon 7D Mark II in our studio for quite some time now and have fall in love with it for all types of shoots, including with a wedding engagement shoot that we did here.  The Canon 7D mark II follows the ergonomic design and build quality of the 5D Mark III, so there shouldn’t be any problem using it for professional work.

[Canon 7D mark II image samples –  Canon 7D mark II first impression | Canon 7D Mark II Hands on review | Canon 7D Mark II or Canon 5D Mark III | Creative Lighting Modifiers with Grids ]

Check out the best price on Canon 7D mark II at these stores  (B&H | Adorma | Amazon)

Canon 7D mark II equips with a 20MP dual pixel AF CMOS sensor which offers a reasonable resolution to print up to 12×18” at full photo quality. It is no 36MP Nikon D810 or 50MP Canon 5Ds, but you wouldn’t want that on an APS-C sensor camera anyway. The ISO performance on the Canon 7D mark II is very well received and since I often shoot at low ISO in the studio, image noise is never a problem. When I do shoot at ISO1600, the image quality is still very acceptable. I would say the Canon 7D mark II has a useful ISO range up to 3200, after that you are losing too much dynamic range and seeing visible noise. The Canon 7D Mark II autofocus speed is fast, it is a bit hard to test how it compares to the 5D mark III, but on paper it has a more superior AF system featuring 65 AF points spread across a significant portion of the frame. All of the AF points are cross-type with the center AF point being dual cross-type. Consider that I often shoot in single point AF “One shot” mode, the superior performance of the AF system is unnoticed in the studio, but one thing I have noticed is the AF points are more sensitive to the dark, it has become apparent that when I shoot in a high contrast setting, the autofocus is able to acquire focus even on a very dark part of the subject. Brilliant !

The 7D mark II has been a very pleasant camera to shoot with, its grip and ergonomics are very similar to the EOS 5D Mark III with a button layout almost identical to that of the 5D Mark III. It feels and operates like a pro camera even with a slight advantage in weight and size compare to the 5D mark III. The 1.6x crop factor on the 7D mark II works out quite well for studio portraits too. As I typically shoot at f/8 in the studio, I opt to use the 24-105mm lens instead of the 24-70mm. It offers a better focal length coverage, weight less and is as good as the 24-70mm optically at f/8. There is not much I need to say about image quality on the 7D mark II, it scored reasonably at DXOMark; the tonal details, colour rendition and image details are all top notch, check out some of the Canon 7D mark II image samples from the above links.

There is one slight issue though, the 7D mark II battery is only rated for 600 shots on a single charge. It will be good to see a battery life of over 1000 shots for the next version. Hey, if Nikon D7200 can do it, Canon can do it too.


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About Kent Yu

Kent is a professional wedding and portrait photographer based in Wellington, New Zealand. He and his team specialise in modern and contemporary weddings. Kent has his work published in international magazines and is a regular author to a number of photographic publication. He is fascinated by photographic equipment and enjoys showcasing the gear used in creating his images. You can find him on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Google+
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