Is the new Canon EOS 7D a Nikon D300s killer?

With no real direct competitors, the Nikon D300 has dominated the mid-range digital SLR market for years and its recently released successor, the Nikon D300s looked poised to inherit its older sibling's crown. That is until the Canon EOS 7D was announced yesterday.

With no real direct competitors, the Nikon D300 has dominated the mid-range digital SLR market for years, and its recently released successor, the Nikon D300s, looked poised to inherit its older sibling's crown. That is, until the Canon EOS 7D was announced yesterday. Priced at $1,699 ($100 less than the D300s), the 7D will give the D300s a run for its money when it's released later this month.

Rather than come out with a less expensive full-frame dSLR as Sony did with its Alpha DSLR-A850 a few days ago (say, a 5D Mark II junior), Canon decided to go for a high-end APS-C camera (a full $300 less than the A850), which slips neatly into the EOS line between the 5D Mark II and the 50D -- and is pitted directly against the D300s. So what do you get by spending $100 less?  For starters, the 7D sports an 18-megapixel CMOS sensor (vs. the D300s' 12.3-megapixel sensor) and it records 1,920x1,080 HD video at a full 30 fps, compared to the D300s' 720p video at only 24 fps.

For a further specs comparison between the 7D and the D300s (plus the Pentax K-7, a lower-priced APS-C camera that also shoots HD video):

Canon EOS 7D Nikon D300s Pentax K-7
Price $1,699 (body only), ships end of September $1,799.95 (body only) $1,299.95 (body only)
Sensor 18 megapixels, 22.3x14.9mm CMOS 12.3 megapixels, 23.6x15.8mm CMOS 14.6 megapixels, 23.4x15.6mm CMOS
Continuous Shooting Speed 8 fps 7 fps 5.2 fps
LCD 3-inch, 920,000 pixels (fixed) 3-inch, 920,000 pixels (fixed) 3-inch, 921,000 pixels (fixed)
Autofocus 19-point (all cross-type) 51-point (15 cross-type) 11-point (9 cross-type)
Sensitivity ISO 100-12800 ISO 100-6400 ISO 100-6400
Live View Yes Yes Yes
Storage Media Compact Flash Type I/II Compact Flash Type I/II, SD, SDHC SD, SDHC
Movie Mode 1920x1080 (30 fps)/1280x720 (60 fps)/640x480 (60 fps) 1280x720 (24 fps)/640x424 (24 fps)/320x216 (24 fps) 1536x1024 (30 fps)/1280x720 (30 fps)/640x416 (30 fps)
Dimensions 5.8x4.4x2.9  inches 5.8x4.5x2.9 inches 5.1x3.8x2.9 inches
Weight (body) 28.9 oz 30 oz 22.9 oz

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