Canon EOS R7 Underwater Photos & Review

Canon EOS R7 Underwater Photos & Review

By Jean Rydberg
Images © Nirupam Nigam


Canon released the largest and most affordable range of mirrorless cameras in 2022-2023. If you watched our breakdown of their camera line-up you already know that the R7 hits a particularly sweet spot for performance and value. 


nirupam nigam canon r7 inside an ikelite underwater housing

1/100 • f/6.3 • ISO 320 • RF100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM © Nirupam Nigam


Sensor Size & Resolution

The Canon EOS R7 is a 33 megapixel APS-C size sensor. Most mirrorless cameras come in one of three sensor sizes: full frame, APS-C, and micro four-thirds. The size of your sensor affects how much light your camera is able to collect, its resolution, and the effective angle of coverage of any lens you attach to it. APS-C is in the middle of the three options in size and performance. We call APS-C and micro four-thirds cameras ‘crop sensor’ cameras because they only represent a fraction of the size of the full sensor.


nirupam nigam canon r7 inside an ikelite underwater housing

1/160 • f/16 • ISO 320 • RF100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM © Nirupam Nigam

One of the most obvious reasons for a smaller sensor size is to keep the camera body smaller. At just over 1/3 the size of a full frame sensor, it allows the camera manufacturer to shrink everything down into a body that’s great for travel - and most importantly, for keeping your underwater system compact. 

Canon’s APS-C sensor is about 35% larger than the micro four-thirds sensors found on Olympus and Panasonic model mirrorless cameras. Your final image quality will heavily more on the quality of the lens you choose, which brings us to lens selection.  


nirupam nigam canon r7 inside an ikelite underwater housing

1/160 • f/14 • ISO 500 • RF100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM © Nirupam Nigam 


RF Lens Choices

Canon has been receiving some flack for their "limited" lens selection. Most of it stems from their reluctance to open up their patented RF-mount technology for development of lenses by third party manufacturers. 

But Canon already has 39 lenses in its RF-mount line-up, not including all of the EF lenses that can be used with an adapter. New lenses at a very quick pace - averaging 7 lenses per year over the past 5 years.

Most importantly, several of the lenses already on the market are excellent for underwater photography. 


nirupam nigam canon r7 inside an ikelite underwater housing

1/80 • f/9 • ISO 500 • Tokina 10-17mm © Nirupam Nigam

RF Macro Lenses for Underwater

If you like to hunt down the small stuff, the APS-C sensor is a big benefit to the underwater macro photographer. Lens focal lengths are all referenced to full frame systems, and this is a place where the sensor’s crop factor will really affect your image. Any lens looks narrower on an  APS-C sensor. Shooting a 60mm lens on an APS-C camera will give you the same image as a 100mm lens on a full frame camera. This can actually improve your underwater shooting, allowing you to get closer to and fill the frame with your macro subject.

The Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens is one of the best on the market right now. It’s the world's first medium telephoto macro lens with a maximum magnification of 1.4x.  

I’ve also really enjoyed shooting the Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM which retails at only US$500 and which I found to be a surprisingly fun diversion from wide angle photography. 


nirupam nigam canon r7 inside an ikelite underwater housing

1/80 • f/9 • ISO 500 • Tokina 10-17mm © Nirupam Nigam


Wide Angle RF Lenses for Underwater

We’re particularly impressed by the performance of the Canon RF 15-30mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM. It’s a really useful zoom range underwater and we’re amazed by the performance of this rectilinear lens behind a dome port. Where we would expect softness and distortion at the corners, the 15-30mm is exceptionally sharp. It’s also compact, lightweight, and retails at only US$550. That combination is hard to beat. 

Canon R7 with 15-30mm Underwater in Ikelite Housing & Strobes Copyright Steve Miller

The edge sharpness of the Canon RF 15-30mm behind a 6" dome port is exceptional. • f/13 • 1/125 • ISO 640 • Canon RF 15-30mm @ 15mm • Photo © 2023 Steve Miller

If you’re lucky enough to already own the incredible (and, sadly, discontinued) Tokina 10-17mm Fisheye, you can continue to enjoy fast autofocus and an exceptionally wide and sharp angle of view by combining it with the Canon EF-to-RF Mount Adapter. 

We're anxiously awaiting the day that Canon opens up the RF technology to third party manufacturers and we hope that an RF version of the 10-17mm is #1 on Tokina's list.  

nirupam nigam canon r7 inside an ikelite underwater housing

1/80 • f/9 • ISO 500 • Tokina 10-17mm © Nirupam Nigam


We also just got our hands on the brand new Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM which retails at only US$330 and could be another great lens to add to our underwater toolkit.  

Check out our run down of the Best Canon RF lenses for DLM Underwater Housings for a deeper dive and sample photos. 


nirupam nigam canon r7 in an ikelite underwater housing

1/80 • f/9 • ISO 500 • Tokina 10-17mm © Nirupam Nigam 

Subject Tracking Autofocus

While some may argue that Sony has the most advanced autofocus tracking system on the market, I prefer Canon for my underwater shooting. While Canon doesn’t specifically market their animal eye AF as working with fish, I have found that it’s the fastest and stickiest that I have used. The Canon R7 easily tracked wrasses and blue chromis that I struggled to nail with the Sony a7C II. 


nirupam nigam canon r7 inside an ikelite underwater housing

1/125 • f/16 • ISO 400 • RF85mm F2 Macro IS STM © Nirupam Nigam


Image Stabilization

One huge point that sets the R7 apart from the rest of Canon’s compact mirrorless line is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). This combines with the image stabilization built into Canon lenses for smooth handheld video shooting and great assistance when shooting slow shutter speed still photography. Canon claims that the R7 delivers up to 7 stops of image stabilization when combined with the 18-150mm kit lens, and up to 8 stops with certain full-frame lenses.


nirupam nigam canon r7 inside an ikelite underwater housing

1/125 • f/16 • ISO 400 • RF85mm F2 Macro IS STM © Nirupam Nigam


Video Quality

You may already know that I often prefer to shoot video, and the R7 is Canon’s best crop sensor camera for video shooters. You can shoot either oversampled 4K 30p or sub-sampled 4K 60p using the full width of the sensor. And the footage is really smooth thanks to the image stabilization engine. 

The R7 offers the option to shoot in the C-Log 3 format which captures a wider dynamics range and gives you a much greater flexibility when color grading your video in post production.

Toggling the camera between ‘On’ and ‘Movie’ allows you to maintain independent settings for video and still shooting to quickly switch back and forth within the same dive. I also recommend setting the shutter button to Start/Stop recording when in the Movie mode.


nirupam nigam canon r7 inside an ikelite underwater housing

1/160 • f/14 • ISO 500 • RF100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM © Nirupam Nigam


Battery Life

The R7 uses the same battery as the brand’s professional R5 and R6 Mark II cameras. This means it has excellent battery life with a CIPA rating of 660 shots per charge. You can get way more than that when you use the cameras power saving mode - which I would recommend on any mirrorless camera you’re shooting. We have consistently found that it gets us through multiple dives a day with battery power to spare. 


nirupam nigam canon r7 inside an ikelite underwater housing

1/80 • f/9 • ISO 500 • Tokina 10-17mm © Nirupam Nigam



I enjoy the ergonomics of the R7 both in and out of the housing. The control placement is comfortable and the camera has a good weight to it without feeling heavy. 

I tend to do all of my framing and settings changes using the big, bright rear LCD screen… which is also better for battery life. The camera has a good electronic viewfinder (EVF) which is usable underwater thanks to the Super-Eye viewfinder that comes standard on the housing. If you rely heavily on shooting with the EVF, I would recommend considering upgrading to the Straight or 45º Magnifying Viewfinder for a larger, brighter view.


nirupam nigam canon r7 inside an ikelite underwater housing

1/30 • f/90 • ISO 500 • Tokina 10-17mm © Nirupam Nigam



If you want the best image quality possible without moving into a large-scale full frame camera, then I don’t think you’ll do better than the Canon R7. It’s a phenomenal amount of camera for the size.

I actually prefer the R7 over Canon’s compact full frame R8 model which is offered at the same price. The R7 leads with IBIS, best-in-class battery life, and even a 2nd SD card slot. When you pair Canon’s incredible subject-tracking autofocus - that works on fish - with our TTL strobe exposure, you’ll never miss a shot.

The 200DLM/D Underwater Housing for the Canon EOS R7 # 69746 is available now with a US Market Retail Price of $1,145 (requires lens port for waterproof operation - sold separately).


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Nirupam Nigam
Nirupam Nigam is a dedicated underwater photographer and fisheries scientist. While growing up in Los Angeles he fell in love with the ocean and pursued underwater photography in the local Channel Islands. He received degrees in Aquatic and Fisheries Science and General Biology, as well as a minor in Arctic Studies, at the University of Washington. Nirupam is the editor-in-chief of the Underwater Photography Guide and Bluewater Photo. He also works as a fisheries observer on boats in the Bering Sea and North Pacific. When he is not at sea, he is traveling with his fiancee and taking photos. Check out more of his photography at!


Jean Rydberg IkeliteJean Rydberg, daughter of Ike Brigham, became President & CEO of Ikelite in 2006. Prior to that, she wisely pursued a degree in Astronomy & Astrophysics to prepare herself for the challenges of running a technology-driven manufacturing business with global distribution. Jean fully embraces the need to travel outside of her hometown of Indianapolis to experience good diving. She believes that any camera is capable of amazing results in the right hands, and anyone can become a great photographer given the right advice. When she's not working she's spending time with her husband, cats, and two daughters (though not necessarily in that order).


Additional Reading

Burst Shooting DS230 Strobes & Canon R7 // Swimming Photography with Kids

Canon R10 vs R7 // Best Crop Sensor for Underwater Photography [VIDEO]

TTL Underwater Strobes for Canon R10 (and R7) // Setting It Up [VIDEO]

The Best Canon RF-Mount Lenses for DLM Underwater Housings

Canon Mirrorless Lineup Explained for Underwater [VIDEO] 

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