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[Part 4] Comparing the burst rate and card writing speed

The EOS 7D Mark II, launched after nearly 5 years of development in the background, boasts specifications superior to the EOS 7D in almost every way. Steady progress has been achieved. How do the various upgraded functions change the actual shooting environment? In this series, we will explore the hidden capabilities of the EOS 7D Mark II from eight different points of view. Part 2 sees us comparing the camera's [burst rates and writing speed]. (Report: Ryosuke Takahashi, Model: Hitomi Otsuki (Oscar Promotion))

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CHECK 7 Burst Rates

How does a difference of about 2 fps turn out?

Testing method

The EOS 7D and EOS 7D Mark II are secured to a multi-arm and fitted with an EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM. Set the cameras to manual exposure (1/8,000 f/2.8), One Shot AF + high speed continuous shooting + Zone AF (default settings for the rest), and release the shutter at the same time using a coupled release for 5 units simultaneously. Check whether you can get a best shot of the instant the lady turned her head.

EOS 7D Mark II

Maximum of about 10 frames/sec

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EOS 7D

Maximum of about 8 frames/sec

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The number of shots that can be taken per unit time is 8 for the EOS 7D Mark II and 6 for the EOS 7D. Although there is only a difference of 2 shots between the two, this can be a big difference when capturing decisive moments.

Higher probability of capturing a decisive moment

A maximum continuous shooting speed of about 10 fps is possible with the EOS 7D Mark II through the use of ball bearings in the shutter unit and the latest mirror-bound suppression mechanism in the camera. Besides the higher speed compared to the maximum 8 fps of the EOS 7D, the camera’s movements and vibrations are also incredibly quiet. The number of shots that can be taken per unit time increases as a result of the increased frame speed. Instantaneous movements of subjects that previously could not be captured with the EOS 7D can now be shot.

In the example above, two cameras were secured to a multi-arm and their shutters released simultaneously the moment the lady turned around. The EOS 7D Mark II has a short interval between frames, allowing the movement of the lady’s hair to be captured continuously. The difference between the two appears especially pronounced from the third frame onwards. This difference in performance is advantageous in situations where the subject’s movements are fast, allowing more shots to be taken per unit time. This means that you can choose the best shot from among several pictures. Moreover, since the release time lag on the EOS 7D Mark II has been shortened from about 0.059 sec (EOS 7D) to about 0.055 sec, there is less time lag between the subject’s movement and the shutter release. Furthermore, since the shutter button stroke etc. have also been aligned on higher end models such as the EOS-1D X, the camera reacts very sensitively to sudden release operations as well. While the difference in continuous shooting capability may be only about 2 fps, if you include the sense of movement, the EOS 7D Mark II exhibits a nimbleness that stands out way above this figure. To say that the feeling you get is close to that of the EOS-1D X, which has a maximum continuous shooting performance of 12 fps would not be an exaggeration.

Continuous shooting speed

The number of frames can be chosen freely

The number of frames on the EOS 7D Mark II can be set freely when shooting in the high speed/low speed/continuous quiet modes. The number of frames that can be set is 2-10 for [High Speed Continuous Shooting], 1-9 frames for [Low Speed Continuous Shooting], and 1-4 frames for [Silent Continuous Shooting]. Select the preferred continuous shooting speed when you want to increase the interval between frames.

CHECK 8 Writing to a card

What is the difference in the image processor?

Testing method

An EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM was fit to an EOS 7D Mark II or EOS 7D to take continuous shots of the distant scenery at high speed. The time required from the buffer full state until the access lamp went off was measured three times. The test results were then averaged out and posted.

Compact flash card A

(64GB, UDMA7, maximum writing speed 150 MB/sec)

RAW+JPEG

Red: EOS 7D Mark II 5.32 sec

Blue: EOS 7D 13.27 sec

RAW

Red: EOS 7D Mark II 4.72 sec

Blue: EOS 7D 6.54 sec

Although the official writing speed of this CF card is 150 MB/sec, the image processing of the EOS 7D cannot keep up with the writing speed, resulting in a large time difference when compared to the EOS 7D Mark II.

Compact flash card B

(64GB, UDMA7, maximum writing speed 60 MB/sec)

RAW+JPEG

Red: EOS 7D Mark II 5.66 sec

Blue: EOS 7D 13.41 sec

RAW

Red: EOS 7D Mark II 4.88 sec

Blue: EOS 7D 6.62 sec

Even with a CF card that has a writing speed of 60 MB/sec, the performance of the EOS 7D Mark II is still fully utilised. With the EOS 7D Mark II, the writing time of a RAW+JPEG file can be said to be a practical value.

Effortless shooting on the EOS 7D Mark II even when shooting in RAW+JPEG

The factors that decide the writing speed to a CF card are the image processor performance and the compatibility of the recording media itself. The higher the processing capability for both of these factors, the higher the writing speed will be, therefore allowing the next shot to be taken faster. The EOS 7D Mark II is equipped with the latest dual DIGIC 6 image processors and high speed parallel processing circuits to speed up all actions. The EOS 7D’s dual DIGIC 4 image processors cannot simply be compared to EOS 7D Mark II due to the different formats of the processors. However, when the writing time from a buffer full state is tested, the processing time of the EOS 7D Mark II is overwhelmingly shorter despite having a higher pixel count and burst rate. In particular, when shooting in RAW+JPEG (which imposes the greatest stress), the time difference becomes significant. Even when different types of CF cards are used, the writing speed is still about 2.4 times faster on average. While the difference is small when shooting in RAW or JPEG, the same trend was observed.

*This design was produced using a prototype model. As a result, please note that the actual product may differ in terms of the appearance, image quality, etc.

Ryosuke Takahashi

Born in Aichi in 1960, Takahashi started his freelance career in 1987 after working with an advertising photo studio and a publishing house. Photographing for major magazines, he has travelled to many parts of the world from his bases in Japan and China. Takahashi is a member of the Japan Professional Photographers Society (JPS).

Digital Camera Magazine

A monthly magazine that believes that enjoyment of photography will increase the more one learns about camera functions. It delivers news on the latest cameras and features and regularly introduces various photography techniques.

Published by Impress Corporation

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