Nikon D7000 vs Canon 7D: Live View

I’ve just posted my in-depth video review and comparison of the Live View implementation for the Nikon D7000 and Canon 7D.

Canon 7D Live View Advantages

  • Live Histogram
  • Exposure Meter
  • Exposure Simulation with no shutter/aperture limitations
  • DOF Preview
  • Better zoom button placement for one-handed operation
  • Both Phase and Contrast Detect AF
  • Mirror stays up when shooting
  • Electronic 1st shutter curtain

Nikon D7000 Live View Advantages

  • Zoom/Focus to extreme edges of the frame
  • All Metering modes available
  • Zoom In + Out buttons, single button press to return to unmagnified view
  • Subject tracking AF mode
  • Continuous AF
  • Faster Contrast AF

Part 1:
00:00 – 00:32 : Introduction
00:32 – 04:15 : Magnification
04:15 – 07:48 : Information Displays
07:48 – 08:37 : Setting White Balance
08:37 – 09:11 : Setting ISO
09:12 – 09:53 : Setting Image Resolution/Quality
09:53 – 10:45 : Setting Exposure Mode
10:45 – 14:28 : Metering Display and Exposure Simulation

Part 2:
00:00 – 02:35 : Live Histogram
02:35 – 07:02 : Depth of Field Preview
07:02 – 10:14 : Phase vs Contrast Autofocus Tutorial
10:14 – 12:24 : Switching between Phase and Contrast AF on 7D

Part 3:
00:00 – 03:20 : D7000 Focus Modes
03:20 – 04:30 : 7D Focus Modes
04:30 – 05:37 : Contrast AF Speed Comparison
05:37 – 06:29 : Mirror Drop/Slap
06:29 – 07:18 : Magnified View Clarity Comparison
07:18 – 10:04 : Summary

Additional information not covered in the videos

One key Canon 7D Live View feature I forgot to mention in my video is its electronic 1st shutter curtain. Most DSLR sensors rely upon the light-blocking function of a closed shutter to help facilitate the clearing or “resetting” of the sensor’s pixels, so that all pixels start out as “black” for a new exposure. When a photograph is taken, the first of two shutter curtains is opened to expose the sensor to the light in your scene, followed by a second shutter curtain that again blocks light to the sensor, allowing the camera to then read the pixel values off the sensor and generate the photograph.

The 7D’s sensor (along with previous Canon models like the 40D and 50D) has a unique feature that allows it to completely reset its pixels without the need to block out light via the shutter. This feature is enabled in Live View whenever you use one of the 7D’s “quiet” modes (mode 1 or 2), which were originally designed to make the camera quieter by reducing the audible noise of the shutter’s first curtain. But this feature has the added benefit of eliminating the minor camera vibrations that can occur when the 1st shutter curtain is moving, which translates to sharper photographs for situations where the absolute minimum amount of camera vibration is essential. Such situations include using very long focal lengths like 400mm and also macro/microscopic photography.

Canon has designed its electronic 1st shutter curtain so that it can emulate the complete functionality of an actual mechanical 1st curtain, including the cases of high shutter speeds (above 1/250) where both the 1st and 2nd curtain are both “open” at the same time to form a “slit”, so that only a portion of the sensor is exposed to light at any given time. This is no small feat.

The Nikon D7000 has no electronic 1st shutter curtain, so to take a photograph the camera must first close the shutter (between photographs, the shutter is open in Live View so that the camera can display the scene on the LCD and also meter/focus). The camera then resets the pixel values on the sensor, which is aided by the blocking of light of the closed shutter, then begins the process of taking your photograph by opening the 1st mechanical shutter curtain.

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10 Responses to Nikon D7000 vs Canon 7D: Live View

  1. János Bánári says:

    fantastic comparison

    Thank You!!!!

  2. Sheldon says:

    Wow, Awesome review. I like how you really address the strengths and weaknesses of both Camera and you really go into the fine details. Keep it up!

  3. Sheldon says:

    By the way, I have a Canon 7D. I pride myself for having really learned my Camera and all of it’s features however I learned something when I saw your videos about the Expo Simulation and the DOF button. Very cool

  4. Peter Yang says:

    I’m still in shock and disbelieve. How Nikon call it “LiveView” when in fact there is nothing “live about it.” Without “exposure metering” to show how a change in aperture and shutter-speed affect your photo. What good is a Nikon Live View???

    Is this a bad joke on Nikon’ s part? Nikon should just call it a DEAD-VIEW.

    I wasn’t impressed with canon 60d’ release and was seriously considering Nikon d7000. Now, I feel fortunate I didn’t make the jump.

    Thank you for making this video. It is both enlightening and disturbing.

  5. Speedchaser says:

    Simply superb. I’d learn things from your videos that I would have never thought of in the first place. Thank you very much for taking your time to do this up.

  6. It is really a great and useful bit of information. Thank you for sharing.

  7. kvandt says:

    Very interesting stuff, that learns me a lot.
    I think there is one small mistake in the first movie. My good old D80 has the same “QUAL” button and that allows me to change the image quality by turning the wheel… So I think there is a dedicated button, is it?

    • Adam says:

      The D7000 also has a dedicated QUAL button but it serves as the zoom-in button in Live View and so its “QUAL” functionality is unavailable in Live View.

      • kvandt says:

        Thanks for explaining, my D80 does not have live view, so I don’t have this “problem”.
        Anyway I hardly change this setting, keep it on RAW+LargeJPG.

  8. PeterS says:

    Hi! First of all, grat site! I aprecieate reading i watching videos.
    I think about one more comparison about live view, how both cameras can handle it in very low light, I own nikon d90 and canon 40d and they`re not so good as I wanted to be – ist difficult to focus in live view at night.

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