Canon's EOS 7D has been one of the most significant modern EOS cameras ever. One camera provided the features and performance to be the perfect step-up camera for thousands of amateur and advanced amateur shooters, and at the same time was an ideal entry-level professional camera for working pros or serious, dedicated SLR enthusiasts. For nature and wildlife shooters, as well as action and sports photographers, its speed and performance have made it a compelling alternative to full-frame cameras. Since its introduction in the fall of 2009, the EOS 7D has found a home in the hands of literally thousands of advanced users.
Over 2.5 years has elapsed since the EOS 7D entered the market, a long time in this era of rapid new model development – and a testimony to its sound design and the power of its features. But Canon's engineers have not stood still. Understanding the importance of the EOS 7D in the Canon SLR line-up, they have embraced the needs of the experienced SLR enthusiast, and in doing so made the EOS 7D an even better camera.
This firmware is now available for free download. To find the update, follow this link to to the Drivers & Software download area for the EOS 7D. From this product page, select your Operating System and OS Version from the dropdown menus, and you should see a file description for "EOS 7D Firmware Version 2.0.0 [OS version here]" listed in the the Firmware section.
This is one of the most significant firmware upgrades ever delivered by Canon for EOS cameras. Firmware version 2.0.0 adds a variety of new capabilities to the EOS 7D, making it even better-suited to its role as the affordable professional camera in the EOS line-up. Canon engineers have listened to EOS 7D users over the past 2-plus years, and responded with what they call a "full-spec" upgrade. The enhancements basically come in three categories:
- Upgrading continuous shooting performance with RAW images
- Incorporating support for GPS
- Add a host of new features, including some of direct interest to many pro and advanced EOS users
Firmware version 2.0.0 doesn't fix minor problems. Instead, it takes an already powerful camera and enhances its capabilities in some very tangible ways.
"Burst Rate" refers to how many continuous shots a digital camera can shoot, without having to stop or slow down dramatically to write image files to the camera's memory card. The EOS 7D's class-leading 8 fps maximum shooting speed remains perhaps its single most impressive feature. But now, RAW image shooters can fire continuously for a noticeably longer period of time:
- Full-resolution RAW images: now up to 25 shots in a burst (previously 15 maximum)
- Full-res RAW + JPEG images: now up to 17 shots in a burst (previously 6)
Without losing any shooting speed, each and every EOS 7D ever produced can now be upgraded to shoot over 60% more RAW images in a continuous burst. To a wildlife or sports photographer, this can be a significant difference: at 8 fps, it means that the shooter can fire a burst for over three full seconds of action. This can mean longer continuous RAW image sequences of anything from a touchdown run at a football game to a bird of prey soaring down to a river to snare a fish from the surface of the water.
And as noted above, the improvement for RAW + JPEG burst rate (at full 18 million pixel resolution) is nearly 300% – enough to make RAW + JPEG shooting an attractive alternative to users who previously may have avoided it when shooting action sequences.
Please note that JPEG (only) burst rates are unaffected by this firmware upgrade. At full resolution/fine JPEG quality, 126 shots can be taken consecutively at 8 fps, if a UDMA 6-compliant CF card is used.
Many travel photographers, wildlife and nature shooters, and even law enforcement personnel have requested some ability to record GPS location info, and have it be applied to each image – as it's taken, not after the fact using software at the computer. Firmware version 2.0.0 for the EOS 7D delivers support for Canon's newly-available optional GPS receiver: the GP-E2. A shoe-mount GPS device announced along with the EOS 5D Mark III in early 2012, the GP-E2 becomes compatible with the EOS 7D once the camera's firmware is upgraded. The following GP-E2 features are possible with the EOS 7D:
- Record GPS latitude, longitude, and altitude (elevation) information, for each picture
- GPS data is added to each image's EXIF text data, along with shooting information such as shutter speed, aperture, date/time, and so on
- GPS Logging function: record the route the camera has travelled, and each day's record can be converted with software (included with GP-E2) and applied to many popular digital mapping programs
Please note: even after upgrading the camera's firmware, the GP-E2's Electronic Compass and GPS Time Sync functions are not available with the EOS 7D. The GP-E2 GPS receiver requires cable connection to the EOS 7D.
Once updated with this new firmware, each and every EOS 7D adds the following capabilities – many of which have been introduced in more recently-developed cameras, such as the EOS 60D or EOS 5D Mark III. Any of these may be of interest to different potential EOS 7D users.
Set maximum Auto ISO speed
EOS 7D has always had an Auto ISO setting, but until now, no way to tailor it to a user's preferences. With this extensive firmware upgrade, a new menu screen allows the user to set a maximum ISO that's observed when the camera is set to Auto ISO. The maximum ISO can be set anywhere from ISO 400 to 6400, in full-stop increments.
New: in-camera RAW processing
Shoot a RAW file, play it back on the camera's LCD monitor, and process it in-camera – using many of the tools available for RAW processing in Canon's DPP software. Change White Balance, Picture Style, even specific corrections like Chromatic Aberration or linear distortion lens corrections; create a new, finished JPEG copy at the same or smaller resolution, and write it to the camera's memory card. Ideal when you need a quick, small-resolution JEPG to send out via e-mail or upload to a web site.
Quick Control capability – during image playback
EOS 7D has the rear "Q" button, to call-up the Quick Control menu and immediately access various camera settings. Now, like the EOS 60D and 5D Mark III, the EOS 7D can press the "Q" button during playback, and quickly choose from a variety of options, including whether to display a highlight alert on the LCD monitor, apply a star-rating to images (for easier editing later at the computer), or even to re-size JPEG images.
Rating Function added
Completely new to the EOS 7D. Play back images, and apply a star-rating system to each image, to make editing at the computer or even initial downloading quicker and easier. The star rating system can be recognized by a number of third-party software programs, as well as (of course) Canon's Digital Photo Professional, ZoomBrowser EX, and ImageBrowser software programs.
Re-size JPEG images in-camera
If you shoot JPEG original files, create a reduced-resolution copy of any shot on your memory card – any available resolution that's smaller than the original image can be chosen. Another ideal setting for quickly getting one or more images ready for sending to clients, including with e-mail, uploading to the web, or even for fast re-sizing of images for on-screen uses such as PowerPoint presentations.
Faster scrolling through magnified images
One of those ease-of-operation improvements that you probably won't notice first, but whose benefit quietly grows on you as you use the camera. Magnify an image during playback, and you'll find the scrolling around it with the 8-way multi-controller is noticeably more responsive and positive.
Set file names in-camera
Previously possible only with the top-of-the-line EOS-1D series models, this is something many advanced SLR enthusiasts have heavily requested. Camera still initially names files IMG_xxxx.JPG (or .CR2). But now, users can use an on-screen menu to pick any combination of 4 alpha-numeric characters (such as MIKE xxxx.JPG), or 3 characters plus an L, M or S to indicate the image's resolution (USAL xxxx.CR2). (File names with this upgrade are set by the photographer before shooting, and cannot be changed in-camera after a shot is taken.)
Manual adjustment of video sound recording levels
Another huge one for the serious EOS 7D user. Now, the camera can be set for either automatic audio recording levels, or they can be manually set using the same 64-step range and on-screen analog scale as other recent EOS models.
As noted before, this new firmware upgrade can be applied to any existing EOS 7D camera(s) that a user may own. Full instructions for the firmware upgrade are available on the same Canon web site where the file can be downloaded (follow this link to find the firmware on the EOS 7D Product Page). The installation process is the same as with prior EOS firmware upgrades.
Canon will begin factory-installing this firmware in newly-produced EOS 7D cameras, beginning in summer of 2012. By checking the camera's menu (Menu > 3rd Set-up Menu > Firmware version), it's easy to tell if version 2.0.0 is installed... if the menu reveals a version number lower than 2.0 (in other words, 1.x.x), it's easily upgradable by the photographer, and otherwise not a cause for concern.
Several important new capabilities and features have been added to the EOS 7D, and anyone who owns one of these cameras can take full advantage of this – giving them a better, more capable camera, without costing them a cent to change the firmware and take advantage of most of the new features. For anyone who may have been considering stepping-up to an EOS 7D, the camera's performance is underscored by its increase in RAW image burst rate. Video users will welcome the ability to manually adjust audio levels, as they've become accustomed to with other EOS HD-SLRs from the recent past. Serious enthusiasts and pros will appreciate the ability set their own file naming prefixes, avoiding potential problems when working events with two or more cameras, and allowing them – from the start – to have naming conventions that can be tailored to the subject or event they're shooting.
Again, it's one of the most significant firmware updates that Canon has provided, for one of the most significant EOS cameras ever. All EOS 7D owners should seriously consider adding it and new updates it brings to their cameras. And, it's another reason for EOS Rebel, 50D or 60D shooters to consider stepping-up to the EOS 7D if they're ready for a new camera.
The CDLC contributors are compensated spokespersons and actual users of the Canon products that they promote.
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