I wish Steve Jobs could have been put in charge of Canon's camera division. The cameras are by their nature complex, but the UI is horrendous, and I suspect that they are for all Pro and Prosumer cameras in exactly the same way smartphones used to be... layers of menus, non-intuitive buttons and options that tend to be hidden away.
Suffice to say I was struggling a little my 7D, and a clip of Michael Andrew's training video on Youtube led me to purchase his course.
Let me start with the benefits - early on Michael tells you some configuration settings that should be checked straight away. My main struggle with the camera was around the auto-focus regions and options. The manual was pretty opaque, the video was crystal clear on what settings were appropriate, and in how to use the focus functions.
He also goes through each option in the menus and explains exactly what they are and when they should be used.
However, I was a little disappointed about some aspects:
* The section on video was very small - as pointed out, there wasn't much room, but then all of the informations about editing, backups etc should have been removed, as they are not relevant the 7D per se. For instance, we didn't use up the still photography discussion with backups and editing, so why is video different? I'd like to see a bit more about live view with respect to video. The concepts from photography are transferrable, but then you have to flick around between sections to pull it together
* The look of the instruction video is all over the place. I can only assume that a lot of the fundamentals are common to all cameras and the clips are repeated for each course where the information is generic. Backgrounds change, side burns grow and shrink ... it's the visual equivalent to blinking tags and multi-colour text from 90s web pages.
* Michael goes through what he puts in his camera bag, probably less useful to me than actual 7D info. It's nice to know he puts chewing gum and earbuds in there, but when he pulls out a Canon remote, he lists the cameras that it will and won't work with. Unfortunately, the 7D isn't mentioned at all... I think a lot of viewers may be interested in this, but my preference would be to have more 7D training. Non-professionals won't have need all of his equipment, so it probably doesn't add much practical value.
* There is a preponderance of talking head explanation. I think "show don't tell" would work better at times - either using more diagrams to explain advanced fundamental concepts, or there should be more video of Michael in the field using various camera functions and explaining why he chose them for specific shots. There is some focus on portrait, but I'm really curious to know how to use the 7D for sport ... say football or motor racing (or even kids running around). The challenges of focusing and how to utilise the specific camera capability in such a situation is not mentioned at all
Having said this, Michael is very articulate and explains the concepts clearly. I learnt a lot, and have got beyond some of the areas I was stuck. That's worth the price of the video alone