Adding... Adding item to the basket...

Failed to add item to basket, please try again or contact support

Sunday Read: Cooking with the Canon EOS R7

18 January 2024

Sunday Read: Cooking with the Canon EOS R7

 

Sunday Reads

Alex Parker 

Paint the fence 

Part of my continuing mission to camera-centric enlightenment, earlier this year I set out to dabble with lots of different genres to help better understand the practicalities of shooting. As a keen Amateur chef with a very deliberate capital A, shooting food and cookery seemed an obvious next step on my photographic adventure, as well as a chance to dabble with a little video too. 

The plan 

The aim was to cook a fairly elaborate meal using base ingredients from start to finish and capture it with a selection of handheld and top-down shots. I'd need to juggle the mixing, kneading and cooking with shooting, and probably rope my partner in for the times I didn’t fancy touching the camera whilst covered in flour or ground beef. The meal would also need to taste really, really nice, or said roped-in partner would be distinctly unimpressed about being bothered throughout the day.

With all that in mind, this Sunday Read will be part food shoot, part kit review, part recipe blog. 

The Food

I decided to cook Mediterranean Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Feta Cheese - a lovely rich, sweet dish that goes with pretty much anything. As an accompaniment, I'd bake a nice fresh wholemeal loaf - ideal for mopping up all that delicious sauce.

The location 

The location was my poky flat's poky kitchen. This would provide its own set of challenges, as there is limited space for equipment. Any sizeable lighting was out of the question, as well as tripods or floor stands. Without any large lighting, I would also be racing against the season and the speed at which the sun disappears over the house, making the continuity of my shots a factor to consider too. 

I figured I could make use of the fitted cabinets and shelves in some way to get those lovely overhead shots you see in the magazines, and I could use the not very opaque blind on my kitchen window to diffuse harsh light as necessary, balancing things with LED lights stage left and right. 

See - it's poky

Contents

Kit and setup
Step-by-step bread recipe
Step-by-step meatball recipe
Cooking complete
Video
Kit review
Bread recipe card
Meatball recipe card

 

Kit list 

  •           - Canon EOS R7
  •           - Canon RF 35mm F1.8 Macro
  •           - Canon RF 24-105mm F4
  •           - Aputure Amaran L-F7 
  •           - Aputure Amaran AL-MC
  •           - Manfrotto Magic Arm Kit 

 

The setup

The Canon EOS R7 seemed a fun choice as one of the manufacturer’s newest releases, and with the announcement of Fujifilm’s X-T5, now seemed a great time to give a rival a go. I was excited to use RF lenses despite this being an APS-C camera, and I was also interested to see how the R7 would get on in the low light of my flat.

As I was planning to mount the camera up high facing down at times, I was very conscious of picking something relatively light. Finally, I wanted to test out this camera’s video capabilities, having heard reports that it is surprisingly adept – some even suggesting it can match or even out-perform the full frame EOS R5. 

The lenses

I decided to shoot primarily with the Canon RF 35mm F1.8 IS Macro STM. Coupled with the R7’s cropped APS-C sensor this lens is equivalent to a 56mm – perfect for the height of the shelves I planned to attach the camera to. The lens also offers fantastic stabilisation for my handheld shots, and for video.

I did also take Canon’s RF 24-105mm F4 for versatility, but I found the macro so usable that I only used the zoom to get some establishing shots of my dining table at the end! 

 

The light

For lighting, I picked two small LED panels from Aputure. The Amaran L-F7 is a powerful 7-inch panel offering up to 1500 LUX at one metre. Meanwhile, the Amaran AL-MC is a credit-card sized light with a removable rubber softbox, an internal battery and USB charging, ideal for parking just off-screen for low-level highlights for product work. These, set up in stereo with a combo of my kitchen’s directional spotlights and the large sash window on the back of the worktop, and I felt I should have just enough light to balance my images. 

The support

For my overhead shots, I used the Manfrotto Magic Arm Kit – a combination of a robust arm, a chunky clamp and a stand. I clamped the arm onto my breakfast bowl shelf and found I had just enough reach to get the camera out over my main workspace.  

Pasta bowls, cereal bowls, Canon EOS R7! Taken with my phone, hence the murk... 

 

The Recipes 

Bread – Wholemeal Loaf 

You could happily serve this meatball main with pasta, couscous, even a great big leafy salad would be fine. However as a bread fiend, I don’t think you can go wrong with a big old wholemeal loaf - there's nothing better on earth to mop up all that delicious sauce with. You also won’t regret baking your own bread, because it’s a) easy (I can do it), b) it’s fun and satisfying and c) it makes your entire house smell like some sort of bready heaven. 

To start, get yourself a great big mixing bowl, and fill it with 350g wholemeal bread flour, 150g strong white bread flour, then add 10g salt on one side and 10g dried yeast on the other – keep these apart initially as salt can kill yeast, resulting in an immediate Game Over. 

Next into your bowl goes 45g unsalted softened butter, and 250ml of warm water.

Mix everything in the bowl together, adding extra water as you go if needed, until you’ve rolled everything off the edges of your bowl and you’re left with a sticky, tacky rough dough. Careful not to add too much water, you don’t want it to be soggy.

Once happy with your doughy mess, pour a touch of olive oil onto your worktop, slap your dough down and start kneading.

Cooking sites won’t tell you how to knead properly, but this camera hire site is happy to:  

  • Shape into a rough ball,  
  • Gently press the dough down and away from you 
  • Then lift the edge furthest away from you and fold the whole thing in half. 
  • Press down and away again, and fold again, and so on, adding sprinkles of flour if things start to stick. 

Just do that, for ages. 

Once you have a smooth, silky dough it’s time for a spot of proving. Coat a large bowl in a little oil ready for your dough, and roll it into a ball, trying to make it as smooth as possible. Place your dough in the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and abandon for hours (2-3). 

When you return to your bowl your dough should have at least doubled in size, and be springy and squishy to the touch. Prep a baking tray with parchment/baking paper ready for your glorious creation, and sprinkle some plain flour over your worktop. Slap your dough back down, and work it again to knock all the air out of it. Once smooth and malleable, roll your dough into a big sausage, fatter in the middle and thinner at the ends. 

You’ll need it to be at least 30cm long because next up, we’re tying it up. This doesn’t need to be a proper knot though – just cross the two thin ends of your dough over each other and pop one under the other so it stays put, and there isn’t a visible hole between your ends and the rest of your dough.

Place your loaf on said prepared baking tray, then put the whole tray in a plastic bag and loosely seal. This 2nd proving will take about an hour, by which point your loaf should have grown again and be springy to the touch. 

Time to get your oven warmed up – set it to 220c/200c fan/Gas Mark 7. To help your bread form a light crust during cooking, put a couple of inches of hot water in a roasting tin and position it in the bottom of your oven – the steam will rise, et voila! 

With your oven on the way to temperature, it’s time to coat your bread in flour. Just get some flour in your hands and rub it all over your loaf, and into any crevices too. 

Bake in the oven for half an hour or so, until the dough becomes golden and crusty. Flip your loaf over and tap the bottom – if it sounds hollow then you’re there. Leave to cool on a wire rack, something that allows airflow all around it – I used my grill pan!  

 

Main – Mediterranean Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Feta Cheese 

This thoroughly delicious recipe is also quite simple (I can do it), with limited chopping and faff. 

Before we get onto any real cooking, you’ll need to create your meatballs, and let them chill in the fridge for a while.

For my mixture, I used 400g lamb mince, 200g beef mince, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, one finely chopped red onion, 70 grams of breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp of oregano and 70g plain yoghurt.

Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and mash them thoroughly in your hands. Then start working them into balls, about the size of a golf ball.

You should have enough to make something in the region of 14-18 of them, anything around there and you’ve nailed it.

Put them all on a plate, cover with cling film and put in the fridge for half an hour to set a little. 

Too slow, dog

Get your oven up to 160C and remove your meatballs from the fridge. Put some oil in a frying pan, turn the heat up to medium/high and brown the meatballs all over – you might want to do this in batches, because if you over-crowd the pan they won’t cook properly.  

Once all meatballs are suitably browned, remove them from the pan and lower the heat a little. Add 400g chopped toms and 500g passatta, give it a mix and bring the mixture to the boil, scraping any meatball remnants from the bottom of your pan so they’re added to the sauce. 

Pour your newly created sauce into a deep oven dish – a lasagne dish is ideal for this, as it’s quite deep but also large enough to lay out all the meatballs.

Before you do that though, stir in all your remaining ingredients one by one – 200ml wine, 3 tbsp runny honey, 1 tsp chili flakes, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp fresh thyme, a big pinch of salt and some cracked black pepper. 

Now add the meatballs in lines, leaving space between them. Your mixture should cover them about two thirds of the way up. 

Cover your dish in foil, bung in the oven on the middle shelf and cook for an hour and a half. 

Remove from the oven and turn up the heat to 220C so you can get everything nice and melty for the last bit of baking. Remove the foil to reveal a lovely bubbly concoction. Take your block of feta cheese and roughly tear it into chunks all over your dish, so you get a fairly even spread of cheese between your meatballs.

Return to the oven for 10-15mins to melt the cheese and finish everything off. Remove from the oven, garnish with your toasted nuts, roughly cut parsley and splodges of yoghurt. 

 

The Results

Displaying my creations on the dining table seemed like the perfect opportunity to test the R7's low light capabilities.

Video

Kit Review 

The R7 

I absolutely loved my time with the Canon EOS R7. I found it to be snappy and easy to get to grips with, and it felt great in the hand despite its compact size. It handled all light levels I threw at it, including candle-lit shots after dark. The EVF is vibrant and refreshes quickly enough to mean a DSLR shooter such as myself had no issues with it, and the fully articulating screen was a godsend when taking handheld top-down shots, as well as saving my back when I wanted to shoot low and close to my worktop. 

The R7 excelled in the video department too - I couldn’t believe the quality of the footage I was getting straight out of camera in its simplest MP4 filetype. Naturally, the megapixels vs sensor size here leads to some quite predictable rolling shutter issues, and I don’t think I’d want to be shooting anything high-speed with this camera, but that’s really the nature of the configuration and you’ll find similar troubles with the R7’s rivals. Thankfully, my meatballs weren’t moving especially rapidly, so it didn’t factor in my shoot. 

With full support for Clog3 ready and waiting for someone who knows a bit more than I do, and ultra-smooth handheld footage courtesy of the camera’s powerful image stabilisation (with IBIS and lens IS coordinated control when using RF lenses), the R7 is bafflingly powerful for a body you can pick up for under £1500. 

 

Remote play 

I also made full use of Canon Camera Connect, a mobile and tablet app that lets you take control of your camera remotely. I was really impressed that the app lets you adjust your aperture and focus points, whilst also letting you switch to video and grab footage too, all without going anywhere near the R7. With the camera on the magic arm, I was able to tap my phone on the unit beside me to operate the shutter, while chopping or mixing ingredients with my other hand. At one point I successfully used my elbow, and I don’t mind telling you that I also took several pictures with my nose.  

The lenses 

Canon’s RF lenses are setting new standards in image quality, and I thoroughly enjoyed using them. It was also nice to have a genuine reason to really get stuck in with a macro lens, and the crop factor meant that the 35mm F1.8 was ideal for what I was doing. Shooting with such shallow depth of field when the subject is constantly evolving is something of a challenge, but to its credit, autofocus was surprisingly fast for a macro, and I certainly wouldn’t chuck camera or lens under the bus for focussing on my finger instead of a piece of onion! 

I didn’t use the RF 24-105mm F4 a great deal, but when I did, I found it to be absolutely rapid to focus and extremely sharp out to every corner. Attached to the R7, this is roughly an equivalent 38-168mm, offering some much-needed versatility. It handled extreme low light with aplomb, and I’d definitely use it as my ‘walkaround’ lens if I were taking the R7 out and about in future. 

The Rest 

The Aputure panels offered just enough light for me to highlight ingredients and light up my chopping board, but if I didn’t already have such directional overhead lights in my kitchen already, I feel I'd have been in trouble as the day wore on, and the sun disappeared over the building. It does show what can be achieved when space is at a real premium, though if I were to do this again, I think I’d use a larger diffused key light, and rig it on top of my kitchen cupboards somehow. I would also use more panels so I could handhold some and light up specific areas in each composition, depending on use case. 

The magic arm kit was easy to assemble and position and felt satisfyingly strong and stable despite the fact the camera was attached and removed countless times throughout the day. If you’re shooting with a single body, I would highly recommend a quick release plate - unless you really enjoy screwing and unscrewing your camera from an arm above your head all day. 

 

Recipe Cards 

Wholemeal Loaf Recipe Card

Ingredients: 

  • 350g wholemeal bread flour 
  • 150g strong white bread flour 
  • 10g salt 
  • 10g dried yeast 
  • 45g unsalted softened butter 
  • 300ml warm water 
  • Olive oil and plain flour for kneading 

1. Add both flours to a large mixing bowl, add salt at one end and yeast in at the other.   

2. Add butter and 250ml warm water, and mix everything vigorously with your hands, adding extra water if you need it, until you’ve cleaned the sides of the bowl and have a rough dough.  

3. Rub some olive oil onto your worktop and turn out the dough, kneading for 5-7 minutes until  smooth and silky.  

4. Coat a large bowl in a little oil, roll your dough into a smooth ball and place in your bowl. Cover with a tea towel and abandon for 2-3hrs until your dough has doubled in size and is springy.  

5. Prep a baking tray with parchment/baking paper and sprinkle some flour on your worktop. Turn out your dough and work the air out of it, until it’s smooth and malleable.  

6. Roll your dough into a sausage about 30-40cm long, with ends that are thinner than the middle. Join these ends together and tie/fold them together to shape your bread into a tied circle. Place on prepped baking tray, cover with a plastic bag, seal loosely and ignore for 1hr. 

7. Set your oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas Mark 7 and put a roasting tin of hot water in the bottom of the oven to help form a nice crust during baking. Rub a light coating of flour all over your dough.

8. Bake your bread for half an hour or so, until the dough becomes golden and crusty. Tap the bottom to see if it’s done – it should sound hollow! Rest on a wire rack. 

 

Main – Mediterranean Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Feta Cheese

Ingredients: 

Meatballs 

  • 400g pork mince 
  • 200g beef mince 
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic 
  • 1 chopped red onion 
  • 70g breadcrumbs 
  • 1 tbsp oregano 
  • 70g plain yoghurt 

Sauce 

  • 400g chopped tomatoes 
  • 500g passata 
  • 200ml red wine 
  • 3 tbsp runny honey 
  • 1 tsp chili flakes 
  • 2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 200g feta cheese 
  • 20g roasted pine nuts 
  • 1 tbsp rough cut parsley 
  • Splodges of plain yoghurt 

1. Add all meatball ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands. Roll golf ball-sized meatballs, you should end up with 14-18 total. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for at least half an hour. 

2. Pre-heat your oven to 160C and remove meatballs from fridge. Put some oil in a frying pan and brown meatballs over medium/high heat – do this in batches to avoid over-crowding the pan. 

3. Remove from pan and lower the heat a little. Add chopped tomatoes and passata and bring to the boil, scraping any remaining meatbally bits from the bottom. 

4. Pour sauce into a deep oven dish, and stir in wine, honey, chili flakes, cinnamon, oregano, salt and pepper. Now sit your meatballs in the sauce in lines, leaving space between them. Cover your dish in foil, bung in the oven on the middle shelf and cook for an hour and a half. 

5. Remove from the oven and turn up the heat to 220C. Break the feta into chunks all over your dish, then return to the oven for 10-15mins. 

6. Remove from oven, garnish with nuts, parsley, and spoldges of yoghurt. 

 

Paint the fence 

Part of my continuing mission to camera-centric enlightenment, earlier this year I set out to dabble with lots of different genres to help better understand the practicalities of shooting. As a keen Amateur chef with a very deliberate capital A, shooting food and cookery seemed an obvious next step on my photographic adventure, as well as a chance to dabble with a little video too. 

The plan 

The aim was to cook a fairly elaborate meal using base ingredients from start to finish and capture it with a selection of handheld and top-down shots. I'd need to juggle the mixing, kneading and cooking with shooting, and probably rope my partner in for the times I didn’t fancy touching the camera whilst covered in flour or ground beef. The meal would also need to taste really, really nice, or said roped-in partner would be distinctly unimpressed about being bothered throughout the day.

With all that in mind, this Sunday Read will be part food shoot, part kit review, part recipe blog. 

The Food

I decided to cook Mediterranean Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Feta Cheese - a lovely rich, sweet dish that goes with pretty much anything. As an accompaniment, I'd bake a nice fresh wholemeal loaf - ideal for mopping up all that delicious sauce.

The location 

The location was my poky flat's poky kitchen. This would provide its own set of challenges, as there is limited space for equipment. Any sizeable lighting was out of the question, as well as tripods or floor stands. Without any large lighting, I would also be racing against the season and the speed at which the sun disappears over the house, making the continuity of my shots a factor to consider too. 

See - it's poky

I figured I could make use of the fitted cabinets and shelves in some way to get those lovely overhead shots you see in the magazines, and I could use the not very opaque blind on my kitchen window to diffuse harsh light as necessary, balancing things with LED lights stage left and right. 

Contents

Kit and setup
Step-by-step bread recipe
Step-by-step meatball recipe
Cooking complete
Video
Kit review
Bread recipe card
Meatball recipe card

 

Kit list

  • - Canon EOS R7
  • - Canon RF 35mm F1.8 Macro 
  • - Canon RF 24-105mm F4
  • - Aputure Amaran L-F7
  • - Aputure Amaran AL-MC
  • - Manfrotto Magic Arm Kit 

 

The setup

The Canon EOS R7 seemed a fun choice as one of the manufacturer’s newest releases, and with the announcement of Fujifilm’s X-T5, now seemed a great time to give a rival a go. I was excited to use RF lenses despite this being an APS-C camera, and I was also interested to see how the R7 would get on in the low light of my flat.

As I was planning to mount the camera up high facing down at times, I was very conscious of picking something relatively light. Finally, I wanted to test out this camera’s video capabilities, having heard reports that it is surprisingly adept – some even suggesting it can match or even out-perform the full frame EOS R5. 

The lenses

 

I decided to shoot primarily with the Canon RF 35mm F1.8 IS Macro STM. Coupled with the R7’s cropped APS-C sensor this lens is equivalent to a 56mm – perfect for the height of the shelves I planned to attach the camera to. The lens also offers fantastic stabilisation for my handheld shots, and for video.

I did also take Canon’s RF 24-105mm F4 for versatility, but I found the macro so usable that I only used the zoom to get some establishing shots of my dining table at the end! 

 

The light

For lighting, I picked two small LED panels from Aputure. The Amaran L-F7 is a powerful 7-inch panel offering up to 1500 LUX at one metre. Meanwhile, the Amaran AL-MC is a credit-card sized light with a removable rubber softbox, an internal battery and USB charging, ideal for parking just off-screen for low-level highlights for product work. These, set up in stereo with a combo of my kitchen’s directional spotlights and the large sash window on the back of the worktop, and I felt I should have just enough light to balance my images. 

The support

For my overhead shots, I used the Manfrotto Magic Arm Kit – a combination of a robust arm, a chunky clamp and a stand. I clamped the arm onto my breakfast bowl shelf and found I had just enough reach to get the camera out over my main workspace.  

Pasta bowls, cereal bowls, Canon EOS R7! Taken with my phone, hence the murk... 

The Recipes 

Bread – Wholemeal Loaf 

You could happily serve this meatball main with pasta, couscous, even a great big leafy salad would be fine. However as a bread fiend, I don’t think you can go wrong with a big old wholemeal loaf - there's nothing better on earth to mop up all that delicious sauce with. You also won’t regret baking your own bread, because it’s a) easy (I can do it), b) it’s fun and satisfying and c) it makes your entire house smell like some sort of bready heaven. 

To start, get yourself a great big mixing bowl, and fill it with 350g wholemeal bread flour, 150g strong white bread flour, then add 10g salt on one side and 10g dried yeast on the other – keep these apart initially as salt can kill yeast, resulting in an immediate Game Over. 

Next into your bowl goes 45g unsalted softened butter, and 250ml of warm water.

Mix everything in the bowl together, adding extra water as you go if needed, until you’ve rolled everything off the edges of your bowl and you’re left with a sticky, tacky rough dough. Careful not to add too much water, you don’t want it to be soggy.

Once happy with your doughy mess, pour a touch of olive oil onto your worktop, slap your dough down and start kneading.

Cooking sites won’t tell you how to knead properly, but this camera hire site is happy to:  

  • Shape into a rough ball,  
  • Gently press the dough down and away from you 
  • Then lift the edge furthest away from you and fold the whole thing in half. 
  • Press down and away again, and fold again, and so on, adding sprinkles of flour if things start to stick. 

Just do that, for ages. 

Once you have a smooth, silky dough it’s time for a spot of proving. Coat a large bowl in a little oil ready for your dough, and roll it into a ball, trying to make it as smooth as possible. Place your dough in the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and abandon for hours (2-3). 

When you return to your bowl your dough should have at least doubled in size, and be springy and squishy to the touch. Prep a baking tray with parchment/baking paper ready for your glorious creation, and sprinkle some plain flour over your worktop. Slap your dough back down, and work it again to knock all the air out of it. Once smooth and malleable, roll your dough into a big sausage, fatter in the middle and thinner at the ends. 

You’ll need it to be at least 30cm long because next up, we’re tying it up. This doesn’t need to be a proper knot though – just cross the two thin ends of your dough over each other and pop one under the other so it stays put, and there isn’t a visible hole between your ends and the rest of your dough.

Place your loaf on said prepared baking tray, then put the whole tray in a plastic bag and loosely seal. This 2nd proving will take about an hour, by which point your loaf should have grown again and be springy to the touch. 

Time to get your oven warmed up – set it to 220c/200c fan/Gas Mark 7. To help your bread form a light crust during cooking, put a couple of inches of hot water in a roasting tin and position it in the bottom of your oven – the steam will rise, et voila! 

With your oven on the way to temperature, it’s time to coat your bread in flour. Just get some flour in your hands and rub it all over your loaf, and into any crevices too. 

Bake in the oven for half an hour or so, until the dough becomes golden and crusty. Flip your loaf over and tap the bottom – if it sounds hollow then you’re there. Leave to cool on a wire rack, something that allows airflow all around it – I used my grill pan!  

 

Main – Mediterranean Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Feta Cheese 

This thoroughly delicious recipe is also quite simple (I can do it), with limited chopping and faff. 

Before we get onto any real cooking, you’ll need to create your meatballs, and let them chill in the fridge for a while.

For my mixture, I used 400g lamb mince, 200g beef mince, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, one finely chopped red onion, 70 grams of breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp of oregano and 70g plain yoghurt.

Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and mash them thoroughly in your hands. Then start working them into balls, about the size of a golf ball.

You should have enough to make something in the region of 14-18 of them, anything around there and you’ve nailed it.

Put them all on a plate, cover with cling film and put in the fridge for half an hour to set a little. 

Too slow, dog

Get your oven up to 160C and remove your meatballs from the fridge. Put some oil in a frying pan, turn the heat up to medium/high and brown the meatballs all over – you might want to do this in batches, because if you over-crowd the pan they won’t cook properly.  

Once all meatballs are suitably browned, remove them from the pan and lower the heat a little. Add 400g chopped toms and 500g passatta, give it a mix and bring the mixture to the boil, scraping any meatball remnants from the bottom of your pan so they’re added to the sauce. 

Pour your newly created sauce into a deep oven dish – a lasagne dish is ideal for this, as it’s quite deep but also large enough to lay out all the meatballs.

Before you do that though, stir in all your remaining ingredients one by one – 200ml wine, 3 tbsp runny honey, 1 tsp chili flakes, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp fresh thyme, a big pinch of salt and some cracked black pepper. 

Now add the meatballs in lines, leaving space between them. Your mixture should cover them about two thirds of the way up. 

Cover your dish in foil, bung in the oven and cook for an hour and a half. 

Remove from the oven and turn up the heat to 220C so you can get everything nice and melty for the last bit of baking. Remove the foil to reveal a lovely bubbly concoction. Take your block of feta cheese and roughly tear it into chunks all over your dish, so you get a fairly even spread of cheese between your meatballs.

Return to the oven for 10-15mins to melt the cheese and finish everything off. Remove from the oven, garnish with your toasted nuts, roughly cut parsley and splodges of yoghurt. 

 

The Results

Displaying my creations on the dining table seemed like the perfect opportunity to test the R7's low light capabilities.

Video

Kit Review 

The R7 

I absolutely loved my time with the Canon EOS R7. I found it to be snappy and easy to get to grips with, and it felt great in the hand despite its compact size. It handled all light levels I threw at it, including candle-lit shots after dark. The EVF is vibrant and refreshes quickly enough to mean a DSLR shooter such as myself had no issues with it, and the fully articulating screen was a godsend when taking handheld top-down shots, as well as saving my back when I wanted to shoot low and close to my worktop. 

The R7 excelled in the video department too - I couldn’t believe the quality of the footage I was getting straight out of camera in its simplest MP4 filetype. Naturally, the megapixels vs sensor size here leads to some quite predictable rolling shutter issues, and I don’t think I’d want to be shooting anything high-speed with this camera, but that’s really the nature of the configuration and you’ll find similar troubles with the R7’s rivals. Thankfully, my meatballs weren’t moving especially rapidly, so it didn’t factor in my shoot. 

With full support for Clog3 ready and waiting for someone who knows a bit more than I do, and ultra-smooth handheld footage courtesy of the camera’s powerful image stabilisation (with IBIS and lens IS coordinated control when using RF lenses), the R7 is bafflingly powerful for a body you can pick up for under £1500. 

 

Remote play 

I also made full use of Canon Camera Connect, a mobile and tablet app that lets you take control of your camera remotely. I was really impressed that the app lets you adjust your aperture and focus points, whilst also letting you switch to video and grab footage too, all without going anywhere near the R7. With the camera on the magic arm, I was able to tap my phone on the unit beside me to operate the shutter, while chopping or mixing ingredients with my other hand. At one point I successfully used my elbow, and I don’t mind telling you that I also took several pictures with my nose.  

The lenses 

Canon’s RF lenses are setting new standards in image quality, and I thoroughly enjoyed using them. It was also nice to have a genuine reason to really get stuck in with a macro lens, and the crop factor meant that the 35mm F1.8 was ideal for what I was doing. Shooting with such shallow depth of field when the subject is constantly evolving is something of a challenge, but to its credit, autofocus was surprisingly fast for a macro, and I certainly wouldn’t chuck camera or lens under the bus for focussing on my finger instead of a piece of onion! 

I didn’t use the RF 24-105mm F4 a great deal, but when I did, I found it to be absolutely rapid to focus and extremely sharp out to every corner. Attached to the R7, this is roughly an equivalent 38-168mm, offering some much-needed versatility. It handled extreme low light with aplomb, and I’d definitely use it as my ‘walkaround’ lens if I were taking the R7 out and about in future. 

The Rest 

The Aputure panels offered just enough light for me to highlight ingredients and light up my chopping board, but if I didn’t already have such directional overhead lights in my kitchen already, I feel I'd have been in trouble as the day wore on, and the sun disappeared over the building. It does show what can be achieved when space is at a real premium, though if I were to do this again, I think I’d use a larger diffused key light, and rig it on top of my kitchen cupboards somehow. I would also use more panels so I could handhold some and light up specific areas in each composition, depending on use case. 

The magic arm kit was easy to assemble and position and felt satisfyingly strong and stable despite the fact the camera was attached and removed countless times throughout the day. If you’re shooting with a single body, I would highly recommend a quick release plate - unless you really enjoy screwing and unscrewing your camera from an arm above your head all day. 

 

Recipe Cards 

Wholemeal Loaf Recipe Card

Ingredients: 

  • 350g wholemeal bread flour 
  • 150g strong white bread flour 
  • 10g salt 
  • 10g dried yeast 
  • 45g unsalted softened butter 
  • 300ml warm water 
  • Olive oil and plain flour for kneading 

1. Add both flours to a large mixing bowl, add salt at one end and yeast in at the other.   

2. Add butter and 250ml warm water, and mix everything vigorously with your hands, adding extra water if you need it, until you’ve cleaned the sides of the bowl and have a rough dough.  

3. Rub some olive oil onto your worktop and turn out the dough, kneading for 5-7 minutes until  smooth and silky.  

4. Coat a large bowl in a little oil, roll your dough into a smooth ball and place in your bowl. Cover with a tea towel and abandon for 2-3hrs until your dough has doubled in size and is springy.  

5. Prep a baking tray with parchment/baking paper and sprinkle some flour on your worktop. Turn out your dough and work the air out of it, until it’s smooth and malleable.  

6. Roll your dough into a sausage about 30-40cm long, with ends that are thinner than the middle. Join these ends together and tie/fold them together to shape your bread into a tied circle. Place on prepped baking tray, cover with a plastic bag, seal loosely and ignore for 1hr.

7. Set your oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas Mark 7 and put a roasting tin of hot water in the bottom of the oven to help form a nice crust during baking. Rub a light coating of flour all over your dough.

8. Bake your bread for half an hour or so, until the dough becomes golden and crusty. Tap the bottom to see if it’s done – it should sound hollow! Rest on a wire rack. 

 

Main – Mediterranean Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Feta Cheese

Ingredients:

 

Meatballs 

  • 400g pork mince 
  • 200g beef mince 
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic 
  • 1 chopped red onion 
  • 70g breadcrumbs 
  • 1 tbsp oregano 
  • 70g plain yoghurt 

Sauce 

  • 400g chopped tomatoes 
  • 500g passata 
  • 200ml red wine 
  • 3 tbsp runny honey 
  • 1 tsp chili flakes 
  • 2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 200g feta cheese 
  • 20g roasted pine nuts 
  • 1 tbsp rough cut parsley 
  • Splodges of plain yoghurt 

1. Add all meatball ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands. Roll golf ball-sized meatballs, you should end up with 14-18 total. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for at least half an hour. 

2. Pre-heat your oven to 160C and remove meatballs from fridge. Put some oil in a frying pan and brown meatballs over medium/high heat – do this in batches to avoid over-crowding the pan. 

3. Remove from pan and lower the heat a little. Add chopped tomatoes and passata and bring to the boil, scraping any remaining meatbally bits from the bottom. 

4. Pour sauce into a deep oven dish, and stir in wine, honey, chili flakes, cinnamon, oregano, salt and pepper. Now sit your meatballs in the sauce in lines, leaving space between them. Cover your dish in foil, bung in the oven on the middle shelf, and cook for an hour and a half. 

5. Remove from the oven and turn up the heat to 220C. Break the feta into chunks all over your dish, then return to the oven for 10-15mins. 

6. Remove from oven, garnish with nuts, parsley, and spoldges of yoghurt.