Canon EOS 7D firmware version 2 update (August 2012)

Canon EOS 7D product photograph, courtesy Canon Inc.

If you’ve got a Canon EOS 7D, you might have read Canon’s earlier announcement that they were working on a firmware update that would add quite a few new features to this good old workhorse. The final version of that firmware update is now available, and it’s called version 2.0.0. Download 7D Firmware Update Version 2.0.0 at Canon.com.

After you get to the Drivers and Software page choose from the Operating System and OS Version menus, and then you must click the Firmware heading to expand the listing. There’s no installer; as usual, you simply copy the firmware update to a compact flash card that you formatted with the 7D, and then use the 7D menus to load it from there. Detailed installation instructions are included with the download.

New feature highlights

Looking through the release notes on the Canon page, these new features jump out at me (not a complete list, see the release notes for that):

  • Shoot up to 25 images in raw burst mode, a nice bump up from the old limit of 15.
  • Maximum Auto ISO setting. This means I’ll finally be willing to use Auto ISO, since I thought the existing Auto ISO feature had a tendency to crank up ISO further than I would normally like.
  • Rating function. This could be great for marking images before I get them back to the computer. However, when I tried it, would not let me rate a raw image in camera unless I had captured it as Raw+JPEG. In other words, rating works with JPEG and Raw+JPEG, but not raw alone. This is possibly because it doesn’t want to write the rating directly into the raw file (Adobe has the same philosophy). JPEG is a standard format that can store the rating into an IPTC header. The rating I applied did successfully transfer to Lightroom 4.
  • Audio recording level manual setting. While most who shoot video for serious projects will still record to a separate, higher-quality audio capture device, being able to set a manual recording level will help simplify more casual video productions. I haven’t tried it out yet, but reports are that you can adjust the audio level only before you hit the video record button, not during recording. So make sure the audio level is correct before you start recording. I noticed that there’s also a “Disable” option in case you don’t want the camera to record audio at all.
  • Time zone function. This could be a good feature, although my understanding is that there is no industry metadata standard for recording the time zone. I’m still thinking of just setting all my cameras to UTC…
  • Support for the GP-E2 GPS receiver, if you need to capture location data.
  • In-camera raw processing and JPEG resizing, if you ever need to process images without a computer. Not a big deal to me.

The directions for installation are included with the firmware download. After this firmware update is installed successfully, the 7D will ask you to enter the date, time, time zone, and whether daylight saving time is in effect. This is probably because of the time zone feature.

Canon also recommends that if you’re going to update the 7D firmware, update your other Canon utilities too, from the same Canon EOS 7D download page.

That Canon would provide this level of support for a camera that’s been out for so long is commendable (new features for free!). But it might also be a sign that Canon isn’t going to replace the 7D any time soon.

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