- Canon 7D Mark II Specs
- Basic Camera Settings for Wildlife Photography
- How to Get Shallow Focus With the Canon 7D Mark II
- Freeze Action With a Fast Shutter Speed
- Where to Get a 7D Mark II
- 20MP sensor
- 10fps burst mode with autofocus
- 65-point AF
- 3” 1.04m-dot LCD
- Full HD video capabilities
- ISO range of 100-16,000
- Dual Digic 6 processor
- Weatherproofed body
- Built-in GPS
- 670-shot battery life
- 200,000 cycle shutter life
photo by nattul via iStock
The Canon 7D Mark II is getting older. It dropped five years ago as a professional single-lens reflex camera and led the market for a few years. However, in our digital age, digital cameras quickly go out of style.
In fact, the Canon 7D Mark II was one of the last in Canon’s 7D series which has now been discontinued entirely.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t still snag a Canon 7D Mark II for your photography needs. I specifically think it’s the best budget camera for wildlife photography in 2020.
Since we already have a full Canon 7D Mark II review, this article is going to walk you through the different ways you can use the Canon 7D Mark II for wildlife photography, or really any action photography. We’ll also quickly walk you through the Canon 7D Mark II specs, features, and price.
Table of Contents
Canon 7D Mark II Specs
There’s obviously a reason I picked the Canon 7D Mark II as one of the best additions to your wildlife photography gear, and it’s all about the specs.
This camera features a magnesium alloy body that is weather-proofed beautifully. When the Canon 7D Mark II came out, Canon said it was 4 times more durable than the original 7D.
It’s also built to last in terms of longevity. The shutter is rated at 200,000 cycles (versus 150,000 with the original 7D), which means more bang for your buck.
For still photographers, specifically those working with wildlife, this camera offers a 65-point AF system and a 150,000-pixel RGB + IR metering sensor that enables you to shoot with Canon’s Intelligent Tracking and Recognition focus system.
In practice, this means that you can depress the shutter button to focus on your subject and the camera will track it across your screen.
Other Canon 7D Mark II Specs:
You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned very much about the video capabilities of this camera, and that’s because the video isn’t anything exciting. However, I understand that if you’re going to be buying an expensive camera, you’ll still want to understand what you’re getting into.
As such, feel free to watch the following video by ZY Productions.
As you can see, most of the video specs that used to be exciting about this camera are now pretty run of the mill, like Full HD 60p video.
While I strongly believe this camera is incredible for wildlife photography, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for wildlife videography.
Basic Camera Settings for Wildlife Photography
photo by belizar73 via iStock
In order to showcase just how great the Canon 7D Mark II is for wildlife photography, I’m going to walk you through the exact settings I use on it while photographing wildlife.
Firstly, in wildlife photography, it’s important for you to use a camera with a silent or near-silent shutter sound, which is one of the Canon 7D Mark II features I love most.
And, if you’ve ever seen one of those adorable videos of a monkey grabbing a camera out of a photographer’s hand right before throwing it onto the ground (ouch), then you know a good wildlife photography camera has to be sturdy. I already talked about how much I love the Canon 7D Mark II build quality.
If you’re shooting wildlife during the day, you’ll want to keep your ISO as low as possible, between 200-3,200.
photo by eryltan via iStock
I also recommend you start using the AF tracking system with a slower moving animal until you get the hang of it if you’ve never worked with this system before (which is why I’m using meerkats for this tutorial).
But, just because you’re working with a slower moving animal, doesn’t mean you don’t need to pay attention to the animal’s body language.
photo by Cloudtail_the_Snow_Leopard via iStock
For special moments you need to capture quickly, like the adorable expression above, you’ll need to use a high ISO speed with a fast shutter speed.
photo by NeoPhoto via iStock
Or, for the slower moments, you can use a single-point Spot AF to create an incredibly shallow focus on just one animal.
How to Get Shallow Focus With the Canon 7D Mark II
Photo by Niklas Garnholz on Unsplash
If you’re looking to get a shallow focus, like I mentioned above, follow the steps here. It’s important to note that these specs are for a shallow focus during bright daylight.
First, set your aperture to f/1.4. Next, use a 50mm lens and set your manual exposure to 1/500 sec.
You can play around with your ISO, although I recommend you keep it between 1,600-2,000.
Don’t forget about your white balance, although the Canon 7D Mark II’s daylight settings should work for this technique.
Freeze Action With a Fast Shutter Speed
photo by toos via iStock
As you know, it’s incredibly important for wildlife photographers to purchase cameras that come with a fast shutter speed. For example, those gorgeous photos of birds in mid flight require a shutter speed of up to 1/3200.
This is why the Canon 7D Mark II shutter speed is another huge selling point of this camera for me. I’ve found that the best way to capture action with this camera is to set your aperture somewhere between f/4-f/5.6 and to use a manual exposure set to 1/2000 sec.
You can, once again, play around with the ISO, although I’ve found 3,200 to work pretty well just about every time.
Your white balance will once again be set to Daylight.
But, the most important part of freezing action is understanding the animal that you’re photographing. For example, meerkats are incredibly territorial animals, which is why you can photograph them standing straight up. This is actually part of community guarding and every part of the community does it.
Where to Get a 7D Mark II
Like I mentioned, the Canon 7D Mark II is getting older and has been discontinued brand new, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still purchase one for your wildlife photography needs.
I purchase most of my used cameras from MPB, and you can read more about why I do that in the learn more link below, but suffice it to say, I truly think MPB is a used camera website that was built by and for photographers.
Plus, since MPB rotates through thousands of products a day, there’s always a better deal available on this site.
In fact, MPB has a wide range of options for those looking for this camera specifically. The Canon 7D Mark II price on MPB ranges from $750 to $850, depending upon the condition.
Thankfully, MPB staff rate every single camera they receive, so you know you can expect similar quality across the board if you work with them frequently. As of the time of this writing, there are multiple “excellent” options on their used Canon 7D Mark II bodies, which means that the sensor is clear and operates perfectly, the LCD features the lightest of marks, and the rubber grips and covers are as good as the day the original owner purchased it new.
And, if this price tag is still a bit too high for you, then you can help offset the cost by trading in your old gear you don’t use anymore. This way, not only do you not need to go through the hassle of selling your camera to an individual photographer, but you also can directly apply the funds to your photography business or hobby.
If this is an option you think you’d like to explore, feel free to also check out MPB’s online quote creator.
Overall, I hope you now understand why the Canon 7D Mark II is one of the best wildlife photography cameras you can purchase in 2020.
Good luck and happy shooting.