With the official announcement of the firmware update, the Canon 7d will finally move back into the top position in Canon’s crop sensor lineup.  Sure there are a few new features that the 7d is missing compared to the new t4i body, like the touch screen interface, continues live view auto focus in video mode, and the flip out screen. But the 7d makes up for it with it’s rugged magnesium body, weather sealing, advanced focusing system and 8 fps burst mode. The Canon 7d also has a much more usable HDMI output then every Canon crop sensor camera except the t4i, which puts out a strangely cropped 1527 by 868.

A few months ago you could get the Canon 7d body used on ebay for as low as $900 and as low as a $1000 used on amazon putting it pretty close the price of a new 60d or t4i body. If you’ve ever had the chance to handle a 7d body and rebel body, it’s hard to ignore the difference. The 7d feels very substantial in your hand and provides easy to access buttons for all of the relevant features, while the Rebel bodies feel very plastic and require combinations of buttons and menus to access features.

The 18mp sensor on the Canon 7d has been reused in pretty much all of Canon’s crop sensor lineup, even the t4i appears to have the same image performance. So if the only thing you need is the best crop sensor in Canon’s lineup and you could care less about the build quality, I still think the Canon t2i is the best bang for the buck. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an ultra rugged body with superior auto focus and buttons for everything at a price point bellow the 5d mark II, the Canon 7d is a clear winner.

One downside to this announcement is that it will probably start to drive the used price of Canon 7d bodies back up to last years price point. So if you were considering the Canon 7d body as your next upgrade I would try to hunt one down now before the Firmware is released at the beginning of august.

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