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First Impression by Subject: Railway

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 professional in railway photography. (Reported by: Yuya Yamasaki)

EOS 7D Mark II Revolutionises the World of Railway Photography

There are three most distinctive features about the EOS 7D Mark II. One of them is AF performance, with enhancements made particularly to the focus tracking function. With the more advanced AI Servo AF III and AF Configuration Tool, the level of subject tracking performance is almost on par with that of the EOS-1D X. On top of that, tracking of colour information by EOS iTR AF has also improved, while the new tracking algorithm that is introduced on EOS cameras for the first time is also much more powerful in tracking objects other than human subjects. After trying out the EOS 7D Mark II on bullet trains travelling at a high speed, the superb AF tracking performance made it so easy that I felt the process was not challenging enough.

The second feature of the EOS 7D Mark II is the 65 AF points, the largest number in the EOS series. Needless to say, all the AF points are of the cross type, and the centre AF point is sensitive down to f/8 and a low-light limit of -3EV, making it so much easier to photograph using a super telephoto lens when the surroundings are dark. What is also amazing is the variety of AF area selection modes. In addition to modes that are also available on the EOS-1D X, including Zone AF and the two types of AF point expansion, a new Large Zone AF has been added. APS-C format sensors have a wide focusing area, and with the new Large Zone AF mode, it is now possible to track the subject speedily and accurately up to the four corners of the image. Scenes for which I would rely on MF in the past, such as the full view or rear view of the train cars, can all be captured with AF.

Last but not least is the high continuous shooting speed of about 10 fps. Frankly speaking, I thought the speed of 8 fps on the EOS 7D was not enough for photographing subjects such as the bullet train, and the enhancement made on the EOS 7D Mark II has helped to make the experience a stress-free one. Many might think that the difference of 2 fps is negligible, but this difference is in fact crucial in the world of railway photography.

Summing up the above, the EOS 7D Mark II is undoubtedly the perfect camera for those who wish to capture trains and other moving subjects as desired.

EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4×/ 560mm (equivalent to 896mm in 35mm format)/ Manual exposure (1/1,000 sec., f/5.6)/ ISO 400/ WB: Daylight/ AI Servo AF/ Large Zone AF

I was trying to capture the rear view of a bullet train, and did not realise there was another train approaching from the front. Despite its sudden appearance, AI Servo AF continues to maintain the focus on the intended subject.

EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM/ 26mm (equivalent to 42mm in 35mm format)/ Manual exposure (1/250 sec., f/2.8)/ ISO 1600/ WB: Daylight/ One-Shot AF/ Spot AF

It is not only the AF performance that has evolved on this camera. With the Dual DIGIC 6 processors and a high pixel count as well as high resolving power of about 20.2 megapixels, you can reproduce not just subtle colours, but also the actual feel and ambience of the location.

Hot Feature

Viewfinder Information
Settings Viewable through the Eyepiece

With the adoption of the Intelligent Viewfinder II, tasks such as mode switching can now be done while you are looking into the viewfinder. As almost all camera settings can be displayed within the viewfinder, it is possible to concentrate on the composition and subject while keeping your eye in contact with the eyepiece.

Recommended Lenses

The Perfect Pair for Drawing Close to or Away from the Subject

EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4×

Built in with an extender, the focal length of this lens is equivalent to 320 to 896mm in the 35mm format when it is attached to the EOS 7D Mark II, making it an indispensable lens for photographing bullet trains. It also works well with AF, allowing the photographer to concentrate on the shoot while leaving the focusing work to the camera such as when taking close-up shots with a strong impact.

Click here to see details of the EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x

EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM

In railway photos, the train is often positioned at the edge of the composition, and the maximum aperture is used in most cases to "freeze" the movement of the fast-moving subject. This lens maintains a strong resolving power when the aperture is opened up fully. This makes it the perfect lens when you want to include scenery in the railway photo.

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

Yuya Yamasaki

Born in 1970 in Hiroshima, Yamasaki is the representative of "Railman Photo Office," a photo library that specialises in railway photos. He has been producing photographic works on railways from unconventional angles with his unique sensitivity.

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.

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