The EOS 7D Mark II isn’t the first Canon EOS camera to use a clear, transmissive LCD panel directly above the focus screen for viewfinder information. But without question, it’s the most sophisticated and feature-packed display to date. We’ll discuss the ways this can be managed by the photographer, to show the information he or she wants, and clear any unnecessary info from the finder display.
Using the Full Viewfinder Display image (above), we’ll quickly look at the different information that’s in the EOS 7D Mark III’s viewfinder. From top to bottom:
New: Viewfinder Electronic Level display
Full-time Electronic Level display can appear in the camera’s finder, the first time that’s been possible in any EOS camera. This joins a separate level display that can appear on the LCD monitor; the two are independent of each other. It’s a dual-axis Electronic Level, showing any tilt (in 1-degree increments) from side-to-side, as well as up-and-down.
Auto AF Point Selection frame
As with previous EOS models, thin outer lines form brackets that surround the entire AF point array. When Automatic AF point selection is active, this frame appears in the finder to indicate that you’re in that AF Area mode.
New: Large Zone AF frame lines
Smaller frame lines appear to indicate the center, left or right areas when the new AF Area “Large Zone AF” has been selected. These won’t appear at any other time.
AF point (larger individual “box”)
Each of the 65 AF points is indicated by a separate, square icon. These normally appear only when a particular AF point is active and that can be from manually selecting its location or in an expanded AF Area setting (or Automatic AF Point Selection), if the point is selected by the camera.
Surrounding AF point (smaller individual “box”)
- All can be activated, to indicate the location of each available AF point (if you wanted to move from one AF location to another, for example).
- During Spot AF, the smaller box inside a larger AF point indicates that this AF Area option is active and shows the location of the particular Spot AF point in use.
- These are also used to indicate the presence of expanded AF points, in the Zone AF or AF Point Expansion AF Area settings.
These can be separately turned on or disabled, in the camera’s Set-up Menu. Grid Lines, along with the Electronic Level, are a very useful compositional aid, and greatly assist in keeping horizon lines and similar elements straight in a finished picture. Note that unlike many previous models with grid lines in the viewfinder, the EOS 7D Mark II does run them through the center of the image, making it easy to determine the exact center in compositions. Grid Lines are especially useful because the EOS 7D Mark II doesn’t offer a separate interchangeable focus screen with etched Grid Lines as an accessory.
Spot metering circle
This circle is at the very center of the viewfinder, indicating the approximate area covered by the EOS 7D Mark II’s Spot metering. This only appears when Spot metering is active; Spot metering on the 7D Mark II is only at the center and cannot be moved elsewhere in the picture area.
New: Shooting Information
This is the first time ever in an EOS camera that this amount of shooting information appears in the viewfinder. Only the currently active settings are displayed across the lower part of the focus screen and they’re grouped together with similar settings (in other words, all WB settings are clustered together and each appears in the same area, all Exposure mode settings appear in same area, and so on). Each grouping can be individually be activated or turned off, in the Set-up Menu > Viewfinder display > Show/hide in viewfinder.
Settings include the new FLICKER! warning, which (when active) appears both during actual flicker correction and blinks to alert the shooter to turn the correction on if flicker is detected and it’s currently off.
This new information is particularly useful if you’re changing a setting with one of the top buttons (WB/Metering, or Drive/AF). These settings can now be made while looking through the viewfinder, something not possible with earlier EOS models. The new finder icons appear and change as you input changes via the buttons and either the Main or Quick Control Dials.