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First Impression by Subject: Motorsport

What kinds of photos does the EOS 7D Mark II produce, and how does it revolutionise conventional photography? This article presents the first impression of the EOS 7D Mark II from the viewpoint of a motorsport photographer. (Reported by: Naoki Kobayashi)

Mobility Greatly Enhanced with the Lightweight and Compact Body

What surprised me at my first contact with the EOS 7D Mark II is the light weight and compact size of the body. At the same time, however, it expresses a sense of robustness when I hold it in the hands, giving me a reassuring feel.

As a rally photographer, I have been capturing shots of rally cars that traverse the roughest courses in the world. The EOS 7D Mark II has received much attention as a camera that is equipped with a sophisticated level of performance necessary for rally photography. The first noteworthy feature is its dust- and moisture-resistance. As we are required to carry out shoots in harsh environments that are subject to dust and water splashes, for example, reinforcement of the dials and measures to protect the sensor from dust are essential considerations. Not to be overlooked too is the remarkable continuous shooting performance, which is needed for tracking the movement of fast-moving subjects. Although the maximum burst of about 10 fps may be inferior to that of the EOS-1D X, this is nonetheless sufficient for motorsport photography. I also like the crisp feel that I get from the press of the shutter button, and the performance for tracking moving subjects is also significantly enhanced compared to the EOS 7D. The AF area selection modes also offer a wider range of choices with the addition of the new Large Zone AF mode, while the controls of the camera are also compatible with other Canon cameras. The grip allows you to hold the camera vertically or horizontally, and the viewfinder with a coverage of about 100% is also bright and clear.

If I had to raise a point that leaves room for improvement, I would say that a slightly heavier camera body would be desirable considering the balance when a super telephoto lens with a focal length of 300mm or longer is attached to the camera. However, this cannot be helped as there are greater advantages of having a lightweight body. For professional photographers who always need to carry two cameras around their neck, the lightness of the EOS 7D Mark II is a very attractive quality. Many professionals are currently using the EOS 7D for their shoots at the rally venues. With the release of the EOS 7D Mark II, the demand for the camera is expected to grow further.

EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM/ FL:16mm (equivalent to 26mm in 35mm format)/ Manual exposure (1/500 sec., f/7.1)/ ISO 200/ WB: Auto/ AI Servo AF/ Single-point Spot AF

Here, I used the ultra wide-angle EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM to capture this shot from a point close to the car. With the maximum continuous shooting speed of about 10 fps and the clarity of the viewfinder image, I was able to create a strong impact as intended.

EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM/ FL:160mm (equivalent to 256mm in 35mm format)/ Manual exposure (1/500 sec., f/8)/ ISO 200/ WB: Auto/ AI Servo AF/ Single-point Spot AF

With AI Servo AF used to set the focus on the rear of the rally car, the camera demonstrates its excellent power in tracking the moving vehicle, capturing a fleeting moment when the car kicked up a cloud of dust.

Hot Feature

AI Servo AF
High Accuracy in Tracking the Rapid Movement of Vehicles

AI Servo AF is a feature that is indispensable in motorsport photography. This is even more so when you want to capture the rapid movement of a rally car. In this shoot, the AI Servo AF mode of the EOS 7D Mark II has also demonstrated a high level of accuracy in maintaining the focus on the moving subject. I feel that its tracking performance is significantly enhanced compared to that of the EOS 7D.

Recommended Lenses

Telephoto + Wide-angle Zoom Combination for Handling Diverse Scenes

EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

This is the most frequently-used zoom lens in rally car photography. The balance is superb when the lens is attached to the EOS 7D Mark II. As the lens is often used in situations where the shooting positions are constrained, I am pleased that the lens allows me to adjust the focal length by zooming.

Click here to see details of the EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM

The EF16-35mm ultra wide-angle zoom is a very convenient lens when I want to capture a rally car with the magnificent scenery as the backdrop. Also, it allows me to move extremely close to the subject, thereby creating a moderate perspective effect. The IS feature also comes in very handy for taking handheld shots.

Click here to see details of the EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM

Naoki Kobayashi

Born in 1965 in Chiba. Kobayashi started motorsport photography at the age of 27 when he was still a salaried worker. The Macau GP in 1994 marked the start of his career as a freelance photographer. A member of the Japan Racing Photographers Association (JRPA).


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