Canon EOS 5D Mark III or Canon EOS 7D mk II prototype discovered? UPDATED

by planetmitch40 Comments

UPDATE: We have an update with a photo that is more clear plus a poll to say what you think it might be

Daniel Freytag alerted me to this blog post with Canon prototype bodies and lenses and has covered it… but there are these snaps from what is reportedly a Canon employee testing some new equipment in the field and the observer posted 6 photos.

In my analysis, it looks like a Canon EOS 7D mk II — most of the buttons on the back and top match the current 7D… the thing that is baffling to most people is the lack of popup flash seen – which is why many are saying this is the Canon EOS 5D Mark III – but I seriously doubt it – unless they've abandoned much of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II setup.

Maybe it is the Canon EOS 7D mk II with a new ‘pro' feel – meaning no silly popup flash!

I'm also a bit surprised with the lack of articulating screen – I indeed thought Canon would be bringing it to the entire line, but the Canon EOS-1D X didn't have it – so maybe the “pro” cameras won't – and the pro-sumer ones will? Again, that may hint that the Canon EOS 7D mark II is moving up to the pro level.

Look for my images showing my analysis below.


See apertureAcademy for all the photos — note that images 1-3 on their site are most likely the Canon EOS-1D X as the top of the camera matches the top of the Canon EOS-1D X images we've seen.

Aperture Academy snaps 5 & 6 - click to see all 6

My comparisons

ApertureAcademy photo (rotated) plus Canon EOS 7D and Canon EOS 5D Mark II backs shown for comparison... click for larger size

Note – I gathered the Canon EOS 7D and Canon EOS 5D Mark II backs from without their permission… tho I will be blogging about them soon.

My analysis of Canon EOS 7D prototype?

Here's the top of the Canon EOS 7D with the photo from Aperture Academy

Camera tops - bottom is Canon EOS 7D

What are your thoughts?

This sure has the look and feel of the Canon EOS 7D to me – what do you think?

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. In the series of 6 photos there are clearly 2 different camera bodies being used. One looks like the 7D, the other looks like the 5DmkII. Maybe he was testing both?

    1. mmm, not really. Take a look at the first three pics, it is a EOS-1D series. The other three are a 5D3, 7D2, or something in-between.

  2. 5d replacement!

    The 7d was announced a year after the 5d. There were improvements as far as the button layout and on/off switch go. The fact there is no flash and the screen is a 16:9 ratio is almost a dead giveaway that this is a 5d replacement.

  3. It is quite obvious to me that it can’t be a 7d replacement. The viewfinder is much bigger on the “mystery camera” than on the 7d. Also, the prism seems to be much bigger which is the sign of a FF camera, thus explaning the absence of a pop-up flash.

    And about the button layout, why wouldn’t Canon keep the 7d ergonomy for their new bodies ?

    1. Author

      I appreciate your input… I don’t care for the 7D layout myself so I’m hoping it is a 7D 🙂

      I still don’t see the prism as being that much bigger… maybe I’m blind because the guy is telling me it is bigger too.

      1. To be fair, i’m looking forward both 7d2 and 5d3.

        The prism housing doesn’t seem to be *that* much bigger but the absence of pop-up flash means they needed more room to fit the prism. It’s difficult to judge on the picture with a weird angle but the viewfinder/prism housing size looks almost similar as the 1Dx on the other pictures.

        Imho the main arguments pointing toward 5d3 rather than 7d2 are viewfinder size (FF viewfinders are bigger than APS-C ones for obvious reasons) and the absence of pop-up flash.

        As for the control layout, 7d layout has been praised by everyone so it seems to be natural for Canon to reuse them. Also, considering many people that owned a 5d2 bought the 7d as a backup it would make sense to unify the control layout on both series so photographers can swap seamlessly from one body to another.

        1. I agree. I’m also looking forward for both models.

          HOWEVER, I would appreciate an articulated LCD screen 🙁 (I know it makes the camera “more fragile”, but well… the articulated screen is so much more versatile)

      2. You must be like the single person in the world who prefers the 5D buttons to the 7D. I have both and 7D ergonomics are better in every way that it is different from the 5DmkII. What don’t you like with the 7D’s buttons?

  4. I’m sorry, but using “button layout” on a 3 year old camera vs one just over a year old to say that this is the new 7D is bizarre.

    Did you think that maybe the 5D III will just change its button layout to match the rest of the line-up?? Not a big conclusion to stretch to .

    1. ZipZapRAp…. I think you are correct… Canon is using the newer 7D button layout for the new 5DIII.

  5. Can we consider that there will be only one replacment for both 7D and 5DMark2. A kind of merge of both best features?

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  7. My vote is for 5D Mk III. Prism area looks bigger to me & there is no pop-up flash.

    One of key features of 7D was ability to wirelessly fire speedlights (first body to have this feature) so why would they just leave that concept and change it to no-po-up-flash body ? That would be strange, if you ask me. Unless there is some build-in radio controller but I guess this is not possible – due to different wireless radio standards across the globe.

    So IF it is a new FF body:
    1.) I like the layout of buttons – 7D like
    2.) It looks like M.Fn button could be for AF selection – maybe finally an improvement.
    3.) And moving the ON/OFF button is fine, better then 5D MK II – I dont like that bottom clumsy switch.

    1. …and ofc when you move ON/OFF switch up next to the mode dial you CAN now put a lock for wheel dial – and that is useful (5D Mk II doesnt have this). And it looks like they finally ged rid of “creative auto”. And camera looks too me more rugged and not so “curvy” like a 7D.

  8. Further similarities are the thumb grip curve on the right side of the body. It matches the 7D, not the 5D mk2 (which has a strange bulge thing).

    Also, the inside edges of the viewfinder are visible in the ‘mystery camera’ body, even at an angle – for the 7D, those edges are indeed visible, but on a 5D, there would not be cut-off edges visible, only corners.

    I think that this is a 7D upgrade. Why there is such a large bulge where the pop-up flash used to be remains unclear. It would indicate a full frame-type viewfinder, yet the viewfinder is narrow like for the 7D. Could this perhaps be a new line APS-H camera, as Canon already announced earlier that they would not be abandoning APS-H (contradictory to the introduction of the 1D X)? Otherwise, I’d really hope that this is just a 7D mk2 with IR AF assist where the flash used to be. Yum yum yum.

    1. I really like the idea of Canon’s APS-H sensor in a sub$2000 line like the 7D. I really hope this is a 7DmkII, not only because it wouldn’t replace my 7D as a new APS-C sport camera but because at this point I’d rather like to have an affordable option to include a new camera to slot between my 5D2 and 7D than to feel like I have to already upgrade either one. I still love my 7D and 5D2, so I welcome a new option!

      Also it would be interesting if Canon made a 16:9 APS-H sensor, since back in the film days APS-H was 16:9 not 3:2. This might be a 16:9 LCD on the back of the “mystery body” to go with a 16:9 sensor plus the HDMI out with a 16:9 sensor wouldn’t have those pillar bars that the current 7D’s HDMI out has due to it’s 3:2 sensor, this could be the “clean” HDMI out camera we’ve been waiting for 🙂 Nikon’s already doing a clean HDMI out with the D4 so you know Canon has to do something and the current 7D almost already has it.

  9. Although, as others say, the first pictures are the Canon 1Dx, the latter ones could be either a 7d Mark ii, or a 5D Mark iii. There is nothing to say that the layout of the new 5d Mark iii will retain the say of the 5d Mark ii. The lack of a popup would seem to indicate a 5d Mark iii but we really don’t know. I think we all should be more interested in what the AF system is going to be like. One Rumor says 5 AF points. Perish the thought!

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  11. hit the brightness and saturation and you get a crazy close up on a pretty bird on that LCD…

  12. Must be 5D Mk. III because 7D Mk. II is due for Photokina, so right there shouldn’t be protoytpes. And the prisma is essentially 5D Mk. II style.

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  14. I don’t know how anyone is not thinking this idea. People are confused that there is no popup flash and that the prism looks to be large enough for full frame, so everyone is confused whether it will be a 5d or 7d based that all of the camera functions look identical to a 7d on the back. well how about this idea..

    Since the 1d and 1ds have been merged into a full frame sensor, who’s going to take over the aps-h 1.3 crop sensor???..hmm how about the 7d!!!! my guess is 7D 1.3 crop sensor. PERIOD! 🙂

    1. APS-H is dead and what would 7D users with EFS lenses want with that? Silly idea!
      Also, the back is not identical, it’s just the basic layout taken over from the 7D.
      And, as I pointed out already, there are surely not 7D Mk. II prototypes around nine months before Photokina when it will be most likely be released. Other turn round would mean 2.5 years lifespan for 7D and 3.5 years for 5D Mk. II.

      1. I agree that the back is the new basic layout and I expect the 5DmkIII to handle very much like the 7D.

    2. I just said that! lol

      “I really like the idea of Canon’s APS-H sensor in a sub$2000 line like the 7D.”

      Nobody listens to me 🙁

      And about the EF-S people, they didn’t buy their Lenses for the 7DmkII, they bought them for the 7D and if 7DmkII goes APS-H then the 70D would be expected to give those 7D owners an upgrade path, giving the x0D line it’s “$1400 Pro-sumers” price point back. If a 7DmkII comes out with APS-H that doesn’t mean my 7D will no longer work or that I have to upgrade to 7DmkII, I’ll just get the next great Canon APS-C which ever it may be called, a 7D by any other name… lol

      1. Start using your brain: you don’t buy lenses for one specific camera. EOS 7D users mostly came from 40/50D, they usually had EFS lenses already.
        What type of standard zoom – two new ones had been introduced with the 7D – would you take for the 7D? Canon developing a zoom for the 7D Mk. II only?
        Or taking an old 22-55mm? This is a big LOL!
        Canon just buried APS-H for a reason.
        And you really think the 70D could then be the way for 7D owners to upgrade, in this case?
        The 70D will noto even be en par with the 7D.
        So maybe it’s time to get real in all this rumour mill; just look at old rumours and compare them with the cameras which came out; Canon will give us a High-res stll/movie EOS 5D MK. II, 70D will climb the ladder (which is very much necessary) and the 7D Mk. II will be their tech monster. Just pray she will stay at 18MP; if we have bad luck, Canon will jump the Sony waggon and go for 24MP even when the opposite would be better, going back o 12MP and two stops better noise bevahiour.
        So get real man!

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