Gear : The Canon 7D, Our Wildlife Cameras

Readers of this blog know that I don’t write many gear reviews, nor do I boast about my own equipment or discuss my latest piece of kit. In general, I tend to fall into the category of “it’s the photographer, not the camera,” and when my shots fail to impress, I know it’s not because the cameras sucks. Despite this declaration, I am a bit of a photo geek, and do recognize that quality equipment increases the chance of producing quality images.

Migrating Cranes ( Grus canadensis  ) - Crex Meadows Wildlife Management Area, WI

Like many photographers who share their work on the web, in galleries and during presentations, I’m often asked about my camera. With a smug half-grin / half-grimace, I’ll say it’s the photographer, not the camera that took the picture. Yet, I do know that the camera matters.

With the endless release of new digital cameras packed with more megapixels, better video and faster autofocus, we continue to rely on the Canon 7D for 90% of our wildlife photography. While there are better high speed cameras than our 7D’s, these bodies remain the ultimate affordable package for wildlife enthusiasts. Available for as little as $950 for a factory refurbished body, I can not think of a camera that offers more value per dollar.

Sandhill Nuclear Family ( Grus canadensis  ) - Crex Meadows Wildlife Management Area, WI

The Canon 7D is an 18 megapixel body with a user customizable autofocus module that is more than adequate to photograph flying birds or running mammals. The pixel density is high, and when coupled with a 300mm lens, the camera produces a cropped image that looks as if it was shot with a 480mm optic. For those who don’t want to carry a bulky 500mm f4.0 lens or can’t afford the $7000 price tag, Canon 7D users with their 300 f4.0’s get to play like the “Big Boyz (Galz)” for less than $2500. 

Other compelling features of the Canon 7D includes a rapid 8 frames per second (fps) image capture with a deep buffer that stores as many as 25 raw images or 130 jpgs before the camera slows down. Combined with 1080p Full HD-Video, an in-body remote speedlight trigger, weather sealing, 100% image viewfinder and an ISO range from 100 to 12,800, this four year old piece of technology still rocks.

Flying to Roost ( Grus canadenis  ) - Crex Meadows Wildlife Management Area, WI  

While we might turn to a different camera when producing high resolution landscapes, our Canon 7D’s are the go to bodies for wildlife photography and will likely continue to fill this role for many years into the future. 

©2000-2013 / Bruce & Tamy Leventhal. All rights reserved. No image on this site may be used without permission.