Canon 7D, sorry – i am not impressed (yet)

After reading all the exciting news and seeing all the heart-warming videos on Vimeo and YouTube, i was all for acquiring the all-new Canon 7D dslr camera with 1080p HD video. I read the adventures of Philip Bloom and watched his Red-style movies made with his (pre-production) 7d and i was amazed.

So it arrived yesterday. The 7D with 8gb Sandisk Ultra iV memory and Tamron 17-50 2.8 lens. I did not change any setting, put it on Manual as suggested in the manual (ASA on 300) and started shooting, almost while it was still coming out of the box 😉

But i am not impressed; even disappointed. The camera drops frames. Period. You already see it during filming; the picture hampers, stutters sometimes. I thought this was due to processing speed of the display, trying to keep up with the datastream in a low-priority mode of some kind. But, alas, once viewed and eventually rendered in FCP the problem is still there. Just a frame here and there. If it wasn’t for the HD, you’d think it comes straight out of a telephone camera.

Am i getting crazy here (well, almost, as a matter of fact, after spending 2100 euros)?! Am i missing something here?

Gone through the manual and the menus ’til late at night, but to no avail…

This can only mean a small number of things, either

1 – the preproduction models lent out to Philip Bloom and others were optimized for shooting video UPDATE: Philip Bloom stated that all his 7d movies are made with a standard productiomodel!
2- the production firmware is buggy
3 – i have a faulty  7D on my hands

Please – all you new 7d gurus out there – let me know if you experience the same problems.

This NEEDS TO BE SOLVED, otherwise i’ll have to ask Canon to take it back and refund – i can not use a camera that drops frames. (again:) PERIOD!

Martin Beek


49 Responses to “Canon 7D, sorry – i am not impressed (yet)”

  1. October 2, 2009 at 10:45 am

    perhaps the cf card is too slow?

  2. 2 marvelsfilm
    October 2, 2009 at 10:51 am

    You’d think that indeed, but it is the fastest 8GB card i could find yesterday: a Sandisk Utra IV (2 types higher and faster than the ones i put i my EX1).
    So that can’t be the issue – there isn’t anything much faster and affordable yet.
    On the other hand; the manual says that the camera buffers data if the card is too slow and tries to write it anyway (up to a limit of course).
    The problems arrise already in the first few seconds and keep occuring.
    It’s STRANGE….


  3. 3 roger767
    October 3, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    how about shooting in 720p? also the same framedrops?

  4. 4 marvelsfilm
    October 3, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Yep! We spent all day (again) configuring and testing, but with the same results.
    Some things have become apparent:
    – a few frames are dropped (sometimes, not always) if bright patches of light appear in the picture. This seems like a compression versus processor power issue. This already occurs when viewing the picture (not even recording yet).
    – fps and any other setting whatsoever does not change this EXCEPT putting the camera on AutoISO (don’t want that), then it occurs slightly less frequent.
    – speed of movement of camera or object is not of significance here; slow smooth cameramoves make it extra apparent.
    – Canon is not of any help at all; the tech guy here in Holland replied to my email complaint with the curious remakr: “i am not in the position to comment on this” – hey! are we politicians?!

    Tried everything, under all circumstances, but i seem to be stuck with a camera that stutters during live view and recording….

    Anyone else?

  5. 5 Gert
    October 3, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    I have a 7D with a 32 Gb compact flash card (133x) and it works 100% with video. No dropped frames.
    But, this morning the camera completely froze. Switched the camera off, but the LCD was still active. The only way to reset: remove the main battery.

    After that the capability to make flash photo’s does not work anymore. With the internal flash settings it says: Not possible to change because there is a external flash unit on top of the camera’…only thing is: there is nog external flash on top of the camera. After that all menu settings for flash changed in to the same thing. Big problems with the 7D. I’m almost convinced this is a real bad firmware error. Somewhere inside there is a serious bug or two.

    For your info: I have firmware version V 1.07

  6. 6 rymo
    October 4, 2009 at 1:51 am

    300 ISO? try something on a full stop (200 or 400) and get back to us.

  7. 7 marvelsfilm
    October 4, 2009 at 10:55 am

    I can’t see that that has anything to do with it. ISO is a virtual conception; a digital number that controls some (digital?) amplification system.
    But… as said, tried everyting – so also any possible ISO setting…

    Found a few more articles on the subject; no answers, just complaints.

    Btw. Philip Bloom did not respond to my question so far.

  8. 8 marvelsfilm
    October 4, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Wow Gert, that sounds bad! And indeed, the firmware needs a fix or two, but with Canon’s current attitude, that could take some time…
    The only thing we can do, is call Canon, ’til they get fed up with us.
    Do me a favor, when you bring it in for repair, also complain about the stutter of the film mode; tell them that it is totally unusable as a video camera.


  9. 9 roger767
    October 4, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    A real shame, it seems now that every new canon camera has problems. 1D III – focus, 5DII – black spots at high contrast and now the 7D with frame drops. I have no doubt they will be fixed but who wants a camera that will function a 100% 6 months in the future.

  10. October 10, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I wonder if it is the same issue as the “stuck frames” on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II?


  11. 11 marvelsfilm
    October 10, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Mmmm…. yes indeed! Seems like it! Thanks for the link.


  12. October 10, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    This sounds pretty bad! Can we see a sample of what you are talking about?

  13. 13 Lance Bachelder
    October 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    We are currently shooting a feature with 2 7D’s and have not experienced dropped frames on either cam. We are using the latest SanDisk Extreme UDMA cards that do 60MB second. The cards are awesome for stills and video and offloads are very QUICK!

    We love the images we’re getting with these cams with L series glass.


  14. 14 Fred
    October 10, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    The ISO does make a difference. 100,200,400 are fine, anything in between isn’t. Google it.
    Also cards- Ultras are waaaaay slow, check the table on Galbraiths site. http://robgalbraith.com/bins/camera_multi_page.asp?cid=6007-9784
    Get something like an Extreme IV and you should be ok.
    If not then its buggered.

  15. 15 Michael Sutton
    October 11, 2009 at 1:14 am

    Hi Martin the issue is you are using too fast of a card that does not currently meet the specs required by this firmware. I used a Sandisk IV as well and got dropped frames, I then used a slower 133x card as suggested by the specs

    “Recording Media
    CF Card Type I and II, UDMA-compliant CF cards, via external media (USB v.2.0 hard drive, via optional Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E5A)”

    this is per Canon. When I used the type II cards, I never got another dropped frame after that. Its clear it was the cards, as I then again popped in the IV card and it dropped frames. Then went back to the II and again everything was great.

    Hope this helps you.

    Michael Sutton

  16. October 11, 2009 at 8:29 am


    I don’t remember you asking me a question Martin. Anyway the pre-production model I had certainly wasn’t optimised for video! I have a production version now that I bought and not had any of the issues you talked about. So not sure where the problem you are having is coming from.



  17. 17 marvelsfilm
    October 11, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    That is peculiar indeed… I invested in a Sandisk Extreme CF 65mbit card; it costed me dearly.
    I am discussing with Canon now to see if i can compare a few bodies – and pick out the best one. This thread is starting to worry them; and that’s good… 😉


  18. 18 marvelsfilm
    October 11, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Hello philip.

    I am sorry, i should have checked with you first. Information found on the internet is not reliable; specially not for publishing. I have learned that several times before the last half year, and i promis to be a better person in that respect 😉
    I do apologize. I’ll alter the original post.

    It is good of you to respond to rumours like this; people might get the impression that, indeed, you are supplied with optimized camera’s because their gear is not performing as yours. For example, the horrendous pattern noise i see at low ISO in skin colors is NOT workable and it means that i can not use this camera in any way than for photography only. It drives people like me (and a few thousand others) mad, and makes one suspect that there is something fishy going on – after watching all these beautiful movies over again, that don’t show any signs of pattern noise. Et cetera.

    It’s good to hear that you use a production model. I assume that the firmware is standard too. It proves my suspicion that there are differences in production models, as read in the following thread: https://marvelsfilm.wordpress.com/2009/10/10/canon-7d-pattern-noise-at-low-iso-problem/

    Martin Beek

  19. 19 Mike Sutton
    October 11, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Again, its the 09% most likely its card. Use a class I or II. You are using an unsupported card.

    I have tested this on three different cameras on my shoot and they all had dropped frames on class III and IV cards, but did not have the issue with I and II cards.

    I and II is what Canon has spec’d for both the 7D and the 5D MK II

  20. 20 Nitwit
    October 16, 2009 at 8:50 am

    I’ve had exactly the same issue…dropped frames…using a 8gb Sandisk Ultra IV. Something about that card that the Canon cameras don’t like.

    Use a SLOWER card (go figure!) like the Extreme III…works perfectly, beautiful video output!

  21. October 17, 2009 at 6:48 am

    I too just purchased a 7D. I tried my first video tonight. I was using a Sandisk Extreme II and I had horrible basket weave pattern noise at iso 800. I also have about 3 seconds of black video near the end of the clip. The total clips is about 20 seconds. The audio is there throughout, but video turns black, then reappears a few seconds before the video stops.

    I am NOT very happy about this.

  22. 22 mark
    October 19, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    why make a big blog post without checking the obvious – the cf card.. it has clearly terrible performance here https://marvelsfilm.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/canon-calls-for-defects-footage-post/

  23. October 20, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Are you referring to *my* post? If so, I didn’t know I needed your permission to post ANYWHERE? Are you the blog posting police? Do you even OWN a 7D, or a camera for that matter?

  24. 24 marvelsfilm
    October 20, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    Uhm… I have no idea what you are referring to… ?!

  25. October 22, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Hi, Did you format you CF card on the camera or somewhere else?
    I have a Lumix GH1 and most of the problems with drop frames or camera stopping to record is because i formatted the card on my computer or another camera.
    I am doing some tests right now, then I can post something else.

    By the way, you paid a little overprice for you camera, check kameraexpress.nl, I bought mine there, they are pretty cheap.

  26. 26 Sean Callahan
    November 19, 2009 at 5:02 am

    I have a 7D and I cannot record clean video. The video is obviously dropping frames. It jitters and stutters. I just updated to firmware v 1.1.0 hoping to fix the problem, but no luck, it is still dropping frames and it seems to do this completely independent of shooting modes. I am using a Sandisk Extreme III 4 Gb I am emailing cannon about this, but I do not see the quality of video advertised…

  27. 27 marvelsfilm
    November 19, 2009 at 10:11 am


    My stutter problems were solved only after swapping the camera. The shop was very cooperative in that.
    The replacement i have now brought a few new problems that make it unusuable for us, for professional projects. Don’t blame the card or let other people convince you of this; that’s just a load of nonsense. Extreme III cards are great, don’t worry.
    I’d insist on a replacement, or bring the camera in for service at a Canon service center.

    Good luck!

  28. 28 Sean Callahan
    November 20, 2009 at 12:32 am

    Contacted Canon after posting last night and got a standard reply about upgrading my hardware. Basically they tried to blame the card or computer. I build my own PC’s and have tested footage on several modern computers, all of the tests have shown video problems. Even on lower resolution settings the video stutters, although it doesn’t seem to drop as many frames as in 1080 P mode. It seems to look better on the camera than during playback on a computer, however the stutters are apparent either way. I don’t get any buffering display during recording, so I don’t think its a card issue.

    Here is the conversation with a Canon rep so far,


    I have a 7D and I cannot record clean video. The video is
    obviously dropping frames. It jitters and stutters. I just updated to
    firmware v 1.1.0 hoping to fix the problem, but no luck, it is still
    dropping frames and it seems to do this completely independent of
    shooting modes. I am using a Sandisk Extreme III 4 Gb CF. Can you please
    assist me? Thanks.

    Dear Sean Callahan:

    Thank you for your inquiry. We value you as a Canon customer and
    appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

    If this issue is occurring on your camera (in the playback mode), then a
    faster memory card is indicated. We recommend a UDMA-compliant memory
    card for the best results.

    If you’re recording in HD video and getting choppy playback on your
    computer, especially if it isn’t happening on your camera, then we
    recommend updating your computer video and processing hardware.

    We hope this information is helpful to you. Please let us know if we
    can be of any further assistance with your EOS 7D.

    Thank you for choosing Canon.


    Technical Support Representative

    Needless to say I was not very happy about this response. I use this camera professionally and these issues cost me time and money. I emailed them back and I am looking at replacement options…

  29. November 22, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Hi all,
    same problem:
    – 7D, firmware 1.1.0. just upgraded
    – CF lexar 133x 16 GB
    and the video is not fluid on pc, even if on camera playback look fine.
    I’m so disappointed.. I can’t understand, is Canon working on this issue?

  30. 30 Nev
    December 15, 2009 at 7:56 am

    Hi all,
    The issue of the video not playing back properly on a computer when it does on the actual camera is simply because of the data rate of video with the H.264 codec. H.264 is a consumer level codec, it is not for editing and unless you’ve got an extremely fast video card and a screen with a native resolution of at least 1920×1080 and plenty of vram and ram and fast enough hard drives the video out of a 7D won’t play back without ‘stutters’ or more accurately ‘dropped frames’. So, the only remaining thing to do is convert the footage to a usable standard. mpeg streamclip is a great free tool for doing this, although you can suffer gamma shifts. better still is compressor. converting to prores is a good idea if you work on a mac and editing the movies in final cut will give you smooth playback of the clips IF YOUR HARD DRIVES ARE FAST ENOUGH. I work as a film editor for large advertising agency cutting both 2k and 4k film and 1080p HD video for broadcast on HD and SD systems and i can’t stress enough the importance of fast drives. I use an 8 drive external raid setup connected via fiber channel. I’m not saying this is essential for the non-professional but it is a system that can handle massive video throughput. at home i use a macbook pro and a reasonably fast external HD connected via firewire 800. this is not fast enough for 1080p even with the relatively efficient prores codec.
    if you want to watch your movies at home on normal system convert them to 720p with a bit rate not exceeding 2.00 Mbps.

    hope this helps.


  31. December 20, 2009 at 8:42 am

    I’ve been using the 7D for about a month now. As far as video goes (using ntsc settings going to a 4GB UDMA card) I’ve had no problems with drop frame (or playback on my mac). BUT… I have had issues with what I assume is buffering. The video will often stop after a few seconds or stop at random points throughout the recording for no reason I can fathom. It often happens with a graduated bar on the side of the lcd screen that I assume is a buffer indicator. If so – what else if anything can I do to stop this?

  32. 32 Sean K
    December 29, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    I cannot say that everyones problem is computer related. I do know that a test video we shot at 1080p was played back on my friends mac book and panning was smooth with no dropped frames. The same video played on my Sony laptop, which has higher processor specs and comparible video specs, clearly stuttered during the panning scenes. On my desktop, which has far more superior specs than either of the aforementioned laptops, the video also stuttered.

    Now on both my laptop and desktop mentioned above, Bluray movies play without issue directly from the bluray drives installed. They both also can play the bluray movies by opening the movie file itself with compatible software. So to me it seems there is perhaps a compatability issue with video hardware/drivers and the particular format output by the Canon video file as both of my systems play other 1080P video without issue.

    In addition. I took this same video that stuttered on my laptop and desktop, imported it into Movie Maker Live and output to 1080p. The resulting video played without issue on the both my laptop and my desktop. Again this suggests the issue is a combination of hardware/drivers and the Canon file itself.

    If someone can provide me with a short video that they feel has definite stuttering in it, I will gladly test on my systems and on the macbook we found to play the videos without issue.

  33. 33 Sean K
    January 1, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Ok I retract some of my previous comment. I shot some today in 1080p 30fps and noticed even during recording that the image would skip from time to time, particularly during panning. I played it back on the camera and you could see the skip. I also converted it on the computer and the jump was still present. I would not think its my card unless their is a compatibility issue with UDMA cards as someone stated earlier. What is most concerning is Canon seem to not acknowledge the problem, which means a fix for any compatibility issue is probably not currently in the works.

  34. January 5, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Sean – can I send you some footage?
    I’ve got very slight stuttering in things like a train going past – difficult to tell if its on the camera footage – but cant get it to play smoothly on Mac Book Pro, G5 or PC.
    Driving me insane!

    Thanks, J

  35. 35 Stevo
    January 13, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Is anyone out there having a good time with this camera? I’m about to buy one, I actually have my credit card in my hand and have a full shopping cart of stuff on Amazon. Now I’m having second thoughts.

  36. 36 marvelsfilm
    January 14, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Do it! You won’t regret it. For that money you can’t buy anything else w. 1080p., the frame-rates and beautiful depth of field!

    If you really want to do me a BIG favor….?! Buy it from my Amazon store (see link at http://www.martinbeek.net ) 😉

    My interest in the above has not clouded my judgement in any way HAHA. Just buy it anywhere you like, i’m sure you’re gonna love it.


  37. 37 marvelsfilm
    January 14, 2010 at 12:47 am

    Try connecting a HD TV or monitor directly to the camera. While playing, press the Info button to get full 1080 playback. It should play flawless. If not, try to get rid of the camera either by returning it to the store and swap it for another one, or try flogging it to a photographer who doesn’t care about the video part.

  38. 38 marvelsfilm
    January 14, 2010 at 12:50 am

    I know this issue is driving some people crazy. I had the same problem and i was ridiculed by some well-known DSLR gurus on the web and by the Canon tech dept. as well. I swapped the camera for another one that i tested out of the box, in the store before i agreed on the change. That solved it for me, but it is still worrying…


  39. January 15, 2010 at 3:35 am

    With our reading all the comments due to time, I got to say that we have had little issues with the Canon 7D. We shoot with it every weekend and on other shoots. The only time we have issues is using a crappy CF card or forgetting to format a card. We love both the 7D and Mark II for different reasons. Both have their pros and cons. You can see our site and see what the cameras can do. The films on the site aren’t even full quality. Show me a Video camera besides the read that can produce such clarity, color, depth of field, and still be affordable. Thats my opinion.

  40. 40 ryansouthwell
    January 15, 2010 at 7:46 am

    A few thoughts… Make sure you are on M on your dial. Manual mode. Any time your aperture adjusts while filming you will lose 3 frames. (You mentioned it happening when pointing into bright light so that triggered that thought).

    Also, if you are not on a prime lens, for example, the specs on your lens say F4-5.6 then that means the aperture can’t maintain F4 at full zoom. So even if you are in Manual mode on the camera settings, zooming in will force it to stop down and hence, you drop frames.

    This may not be the answer to the problem but something people should know. I own a 5DMkII and a 7D and shoot full time on them. I find that 133x CF cards are barely fast enough. they work, but I dont recommend them.
    Good luck.

  41. 41 Derick
    February 3, 2010 at 10:44 am

    If you’re in need of a high spec video camera I can suggest a few sights.

    Come on guys – this is a camera we’re talking about and a darn great one at that.

    Stop enhancing all the little negative issues and work with the positive ones.

    I promise you that your experience with the Canon 7D (and life) will be improved drastically.


  42. February 18, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    I have not yet experienced this with my Canon 7D. I’m sorry to hear you have this issue. Let us know if/when you find out what the definite problem is.

  43. 43 Sharpshooter
    February 23, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    I’m just jumping in here with no DSLR experience whatsoever. I am about to buy the new Canon Rebel T2i aka EOS 550. Some reviews call it a “Baby 7D.” In reading the online manual for the T2i, I find that you need a Class 6 memory card. Any chance that is the problem with dropped frames? The manual indicates such might be the case when shooting video with other than Class 6 cards.

  44. 44 Ulisse
    February 28, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Hi all,

    I use the 7D for video music and i notice that in Pal 50p mode, for shure M mode, the video playback and view with the camera display are not fluid like in NTSC 60p or 30p, PLS tell me if someone have the same issue.
    I hope this come from the refresh rate of camera monitor, becouse a 50p clip need a 50hz refresh rate and 60p 60hz.


  45. 45 scott
    March 5, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    i cant say enof good things about the 7d, if you dont know how to set your camera to the correct settings speeds and such, you shouldnt post nonsence… have you ever seen those apple commercials 😉

  46. 46 scott
    March 5, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    i ment to say mac haha

  47. 47 jSovey
    April 24, 2010 at 12:15 am

    If you really want to tell if the video is dropping a frame; Open it in QuickTime and select “Play All Frames” it may play slower and with out audio but you will get all frames in playback. You can also do this by pushing K and L at the same time. Hold K and tap L once to move a single frame. If you see it there then you know it’s camera and not the computer!

  48. 48 marvelsfilm
    April 24, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Very sensible suggestion! Thanks.

  49. 49 Roberto
    September 23, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Hello guys!
    I know that there is a long time since all this discussion happend, but could not find better place to post this comment.

    I’ve been testing my 7d for 3 days in the video mode (dial M).
    I’ll start to record a project, but i’m still having problems with 24p videos (full hd).
    In this project i want to use 24p, for a more cinematographic look.
    It’s not a playback problem with my computer once the same problem appears at the camera display.
    I can’t name the problem, so i decided to upload some videos so you can see for yourself.

    This is my first test, filming 24p (full HD) speed at 1/50:

    After i got this result, i started to test with different options, in this second one, I shoot in 24p (1/50) and 60p (1/125):
    24p: http://www.sendspace.com/file/uenkos
    60p: http://www.sendspace.com/file/0mq4sn

    And finally, in this third, I filmed in 60p (1/125) and 30p (1/60), and i made some fast movements:
    30p: http://www.sendspace.com/file/kan4ih
    60p: http://www.sendspace.com/file/730ydi

    As you can see, 24p is worst them 30p that is worst them 60p.
    I have 2 CF, both are giving me very similar results.
    1 – CF Microdia Xtra 52x (came w/ the camera)
    2 – CF Sandisk Ultra 30MB/s

    Would not 30MB/s be enough for videos?
    Is it a CF problem?
    I ordered a Sandisk Extreme Pro 600x (90mb/s) Udma 6
    and a Sandisk Extreme 400x (60mb/s) today,
    but i’m afraid this won’t help.

    Does anyone know what can be happening?

    Thanks for your attention, and sorry 4 my bad english. I’m a brazilian guy. 🙂

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