Remember the bad old days of the iPod? Apple would release a new model with a bunch of new features, and the old model – while capable of running the new software – would be left out in the cold. It was obviously a cynical scheme to make you upgrade your perfectly good music player early, but it worked.
So it is with cameras. Firmware upgrade are almost always limited to small bug fixes. The latest 7D update, though, is huge, and almost gives owners a brand new camera.
First up is speed. You can now shoot a 25-image burst of RAW photos before the buffer fills up – up from 15 images in the original. You’ll also get manual audio levels when shooting video, plus support for the external Canon GPS receiver GP-E2.
Also added is the ability to re-process RAW files in-camera and save them out as JPEGs. Thus you can tweak white-balance settings, noise-reduction and even distortion correction without going near a computer.
This is great for iPad users as the iPad uses these JPEG previews even when it imports RAW images. Imagine saving out several versions of an image with different exposure compensation settings applied, and then recombining them in an HDR app on the iPad to get more shadow and highlight details.
And there’s more: Custom file-names, a higher maximum speed for auto-ISO (6400 instead of 3200), and auto clock-setting if using the GPS unit.
How much for this huge update? Nothing. It will be completely free. The only bad news is that you’ll have to wait until August to get it.