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Alessandro Trovati on the EOS 7D Mark II: the real speed advantage

Alessandro Trovati on the EOS 7D Mark II: the real speed advantage

© Alessandro Trovati

September 2014

Alessandro Trovati leads a very busy life. As one of Italy’s top sports photographers he is regularly called upon to shoot sporting events for news and advertising agencies. For him, speed is of the essence. A camera that delivers in terms of fast and accurate focusing, as well as superb image quality, is therefore a clear winner in his race for the perfect picture, as he explains to CPN Editor David Corfield...

Working for The Associated Press and Pentaphoto photo agencies, Alessandro Trovati is widely respected as an innovative and creative sports photographer whose work spans the worlds of news and advertising. A Canon Explorer since 2013, he was recently commissioned to shoot a practice match for a traditional ‘Calcio fiorentino’ game of football in the Italian city of Florence, using the new Canon EOS 7D Mark II. His mission: to demonstrate the impressive focusing abilities of the company’s new flagship APS-C DSLR.

“The first thing I noticed when I picked up the EOS 7D Mark II was a very familiar feel to my EOS 5D Mark III,” Alessandro reveals. “It is one of the reasons I love Canon so much. You can feel the history and the pedigree in every body and there is a family DNA running through them all. The handling of the 7D Mark II is very similar to the 5D [Mark III] and I felt very happy with that straight away. It feels tough, solid, built to take the stress. I knew straight away I was going to enjoy my time with it.”

© Julian Love

Alessandro Trovati gets familiar with the new EOS 7D Mark II DSLR.

He continues: “I wanted to use the EOS 7D Mark II in a very different way to how I would normally work with my usual cameras (Alessandro shoots with an EOS-1D X and an EOS 5D Mark III), and instead of going through the Custom Functions to set it up I used the camera like an amateur would shoot, just to see how well it would take care of focusing and speed right out-of-the-box. I have to tell you, I was so incredibly surprised. This camera shoots at 10fps and it holds focus perfectly, even when shooting subjects that are moving fast in front of you from left to right, or right to left. The sport of ‘Calcio fiorentino’ is like a gladiator match between the players and the action happens so fast you need a very special camera to capture all the atmosphere.”

The APS-C advantage

Shooting with EF70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM, EF300mm f/2.8L IS II USM and EF500mm f/4L IS II USM telephotos, Alessandro was quick to observe another added advantage of the APS-C sensor format with his L-series lenses – the 1.6x crop factor. The APS-C sensor is smaller than Canon’s full-frame DSLRs, which means that when shooting with the EOS 7D Mark II, his favourite 300mm optic was instantly transformed to give a field of view of a 480mm lens, thus extending the reach and getting him even closer to the footballers with no sacrifice in focusing speed. Advantage Alessandro...

“This ‘Calcio fiorentino’ game is full of detail, from the traditional clothing the players wear to the dust and the dirt they kick up when going for the ball. I have never photographed the sport before so I didn’t really know what to expect. So I needed the EOS 7D Mark II to be able to stay with the action all the time. I noticed it could do that immediately which gave me a lot of confidence. I know I could just follow the action through the lens, without worrying about if the shots were going to be in focus or not. Everything was sharp, and with a great sensor of 20.2 Megapixels, I knew that I was going to have fantastic quality files.”

See below for Alessandro Trovati's stunning sequence of images taken on the EOS 7D Mark II, which shows how good Canon's flagship APS-C DSLR is at capturing action.

Alessandro always shoots RAW and JPEG, preferring to import through Canon’s Digital Photo Professional imaging software (supplied free of charge in the box of every Canon DSLR) and performing any post-production tasks in Adobe Photoshop. Another speed advantage is offered here thanks to USB 3.0, enabling high-speed transfer of images and real-time tethered shooting when shooting bursts of images. Talking of speed, Alessandro was quick to mention the EOS 7D Mark II motordrive...

Super fast, super clear

“The speed of the motordrive was amazing,” he recalls. “It was super-fast and sounded like an EOS-1D X when it was in high-burst mode and yet the camera is a lot smaller and lighter, which makes it perfect for shooting challenging sports where you need to be quick on your feet. A perfect example of that is skiing. I shoot a lot of skiing in the winter months for The Associated Press agency and I am often commissioned to shoot advertising images too, for one of my clients, Salomon, so I need very high quality for the big blow-ups for posters and fine detail in brochures. This EOS 7D Mark II sensor is super high-quality and, in combination with the motordrive, I know it will be able to keep up with the action and will work really nice in every lighting conditions. I would be more than happy to take it on an assignment in the mountains. I’m told it can even focus in moonlight, too, although I don’t think there is a sport played at night yet...”

© Julian Love

Alessandro Trovati reviews his images on the new EOS 7D Mark II DSLR.

Back to the action at hand, and Alessandro’s thoughts on the viewfinder. A 100% field-of-view ensures critical accuracy for tricky compositions and an electronic overlay – new for the EOS 7D Mark II – allowed him to see the focus points selected. There are 65 cross-type focus points on the EOS 7D Mark II, compared to 19 found on the EOS 7D it replaces. “But you know, because I am old-fashioned, I like to shoot Manual and with just single-point AF,” he laughs. “However, I can see exactly what is happening in the viewfinder, which is clear and bright just like my [EOS] 5D Mark III and which shows in red the active focus points as I am tracking the subject. I can tell you one thing: this camera is more advanced than me!”

It’s not just the viewfinder that impressed, too. “I really love the LCD screen,” Alessandro reveals. “It is super clear and very detailed, and is the best one that Canon has made so far I think. I could zoom in and review my images easily checking for details, even in the sunlight.”


After a day spent shooting one of the toughest of traditional sports, (‘Calcio fiorentino’ dates back to the 16th century), Alessandro was delighted with how the EOS 7D Mark II stood up to the test, and complimented the camera on its ability to meet his exacting standards.

“I am obsessed with speed and quality,” he laughs. “There used to be a time in DSLRs where you could have one thing but not the other. But not any more. This EOS 7D Mark II is like a small EOS-1D X and it’s got all the performance with half the size, and all of the quality with none of the compromise. It is the king of the APS-C cameras, for sure. It is definitely a camera I would have in my camera bag. Canon engineers have done such a great job. They made a great camera with fantastic speed and it is really a revolution in this type of camera with 10 frames per second and a 20 Megapixel sensor. I think Canon has raised the game again; just when you think they can’t do any better, they go and do this. So, bravo to Canon!”


  • 10fps full resolution continuous shooting with selectable burst speeds and silent shutter mode.
  • 65-point all cross-type AF system1 with iTR, AI Servo AF III, AF Configuration tool and AF area selection lever.1
  • 20.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor with ISO 100-16,000 sensitivity, expandable to ISO 25,600 (H1) and 51,200 (H2).
  • 150k pixel RGB+IR metering sensor with flicker detection.
  • 100% magnification Intelligent Viewfinder II with electronic overlay, customisable information display and electronic level.
  • Full HD 50p (PAL) 60p (NTSC) fps with Dual Pixel CMOS AF (at 30p) with manual adjustment of AF speed and tracking sensitivity.
  • MP4 encoding for quick and easy sharing and file transfer.
  • Uncompressed (4:2:2) HDMI output with sound.
  • Improved weather resistance.
  • CF and SD dual memory card slots.
  • GPS with in-built digital compass.2
  • Peripheral illumination, chromatic aberration, real-time distortion correction during live view shooting.
  • Multiple exposure mode.
  • ‘SuperSpeed’ USB 3.0 for high-speed tethering and image/movie transfer.
  • 200,000 shutter cycle life.
  • Interchangeable focusing screens.
  • Exposure compensation +/- 5 stops.
  • Integrated Speedlite Transmitter.

1 Number of available AF points and cross-type points and dual cross-type points vary depending on the lens.

2 GPS use may be restricted in certain countries or regions. Use of GPS should comply with the laws and regulations of the country and area in which it is being operated including any restriction on the use of electronics.

Biografie: Alessandro Trovati

Alessandro Trovati

Italian sports photographer Alessandro Trovati was ‘born’ into the profession as the son of Armando Trovati – founder of the Pentaphoto agency, which has specialised in sports and advertising photography since 1978. In over 20 years of experience, with Associated Press and Pentaphoto, Alessandro has shot the world’s most important sporting events, including nine Olympics (aged 21, he was the youngest photographer commissioned at Albertville in 1992), every Ski World Cup since 1992, the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and many other global sports events. He has shot advertising campaigns for many prestigious international sports brands and his photography awards include ‘Best Sport Campaign’ at the Grand Prix della Pubblicità (advertising awards) in 2008 and the Ussi award for ‘Best Sporting Photo of the Year’ for his shot of the start of the triathlon at the London 2012 Olympics.

EOS 7D Mark II 360 view