Canon EOS 70D Review

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Canon EOS 70D Review.jpg

It seems such a long time since this camera’s predecessor — Canon EOS 60D — was launched. And it was. About this time, three years ago and lots has happened in the interval. MILCs are here for one thing but there are still plenty of DSLR-coholics craving for an optical view of the world.

I have to admit I am prone to slaver a little when I look through an optical viewfinder. Just like the old days!

The camera was reviewed with the Canon EF-S f3.5/18-35mm IS STM lens. The camera, in Canon’s lineup, is located above the EOS 700D.

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Canon EOS 70D Features

  • This is the first DSLR camera to have all-new Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. Two photodiodes are mounted within each pixel, both of which can be read independently to achieve autofocus or together for image capture.
  • The AF system for stills has 19 cross-type AF points spread across the frame.
  • Effective pixel count is 20.2 megapixels on the APS-C sized CMOS sensor.
  • A 14-bit DIGIC 5+ processor is used.
  • The 70D captures full res images at up to 7 fps for a continuous burst of up to 65 JPEG or 16 RAW images.
  • HDR from three images.
  • Creative filters (grainy, soft focus, fish eye effect etc).
  • ISO range is 100-12800 (expandable to 25600).
  • The 7.7cm LCD touch screen has a 1,040,000 dot resolution.
  • With Wi-Fi connectivity, users can connect to the EOS Remote app as well as remotely use Live View mode.
  • External mic input.
  • The camera captures a maximum image size of 5472×3648 pixels or 46x31cm as a print.

Movies can be shot in MPEG4 up to Full HD at 1920×1080 pixels resolution.

Yes, you can shoot stills in the middle of a video recording but the video is briefly interrupted.

A neat feature is video snapshot: each short clip can be set to last two, four or eight seconds; you can add each clip to the tally as you shoot so you end up with a bunch of short videos, neatly edited together. To be honest, I haven’t found a place for the feature in my style of video making … but give it time!

Handling

The camera gains (or loses!) from the small sensor in that the whole package is less daunting in size and weight than a full frame DSLR.

The speed grip at right is substantial so your right fingers can grasp it securely. Left hand holds left of the body and you could maybe fire away with a single (right) handed grasp — but you’d need practice.

Controls

Tucked away, behind the lens, is the button which kicks up the flash cell; external wireless flash can also be hooked up.

Top: against the usual approach, the power lever is sited to the extreme left, right next to the ten position mode dial. This has a useful locking button so your setting won’t shift.

Canon EOS 70D Review Scene Filters.jpg

On it are positions for auto, PASM plus Bulb, flash off, special scenes (portrait, landscape etc), creative auto (aperture control, single/continuous shooting and flash options) and a custom setting.

Just beneath this dial are the menu and info buttons.

Top, off to the right: dioptric control for the optical finder, status screen (plus its light button) topped by buttons for AF, single/continuous shooting, ISO and metering mode. A little forward is the command dial, aperture/shutter speed button … and of course, the shutter button.

If you’re looking for some way to preview depth of field, then head to the lens barrel and a tiny button in its base.

Rear: off to the right you’ll find a button and lever which takes you from the optical finder view to the Live one, then gives you the option of shooting stills or video. Quite a good arrangement.

Further right is an AF start/stop button, one for auto exposure lock and another for selection of the AF point or zone.

Lower down is the Quick control button that takes you rapidly into such areas as single/continuous shooting, metering modes, image size etc.

If you think the 70D provides multiple access points to camera controls … you’re right!

Canon EOS 70D Review Q button.jpg

Beneath the Q button is replay, trash and the multi controller (plus SET button). Lower still is the lock button which can prevent the main dial, Quick control dial and multi controller from shifting and an accidental alteration of a setting.

If you’re in the habit of passing your camera around to others for a shoot, this will lock in your carefully chosen settings!

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Canon EOS 70D Review Chile tapestry 1.JPG

Get Going

Possibly a measure of this control layout is how easy the camera is to pick up and get going. Or not!

On test sessions my first chore is to shoot the ISO tests. Dealing with the camera’s controls fresh out of the box is usually a good indicator of camera user friendliness.

OK. Go to the mode dial. Set it to aperture priority. Next, select a small, focus friendly aperture. Move to the front command dial; there is no rear dial, so Canon calls this one the ‘main dial’. Wind it down to f16. Cool.

Next, I want to set the ISO number. Move to the tiny button on top, marked ‘ISO’.

I want to use manual focus, so I next headed for the lens barrel and switch it from AF to MF. Nearby also is the stabiliser on/off switch.

Easy peasy. And I was up and away!

The menu arrangement is comprehensive and easy to follow — but it is extensive! I suggest you become familiar with it as there are many options and you could easily find yourself bamboozled.

Canon EOS 70D ISO Tests

Canon ESO 70D ISO 100.JPG

Canon ESO 70D ISO 400.JPG

Canon ESO 70D ISO 800.JPG

Canon ESO 70D ISO 1600.JPG

Canon ESO 70D ISO 3200.JPG

Canon ESO 70D ISO 6400.JPG

Canon ESO 70D ISO 12800.JPG

Noise only became noticeable at ISO 6400. Useable.

There was a substantial increase in noise at ISO 12800. A little dodgy.

Canon EOS 70D Review Verdict

Quality: I was quite blown away by the quality of this camera’s images; not only were they super sharp but the coloration was dead accurate.

The focus was super fast and super accurate. The stabiliser works well, esp in video shooting. Note: three handheld scenes in the video clip were shot without the stabiliser in action.

So I reshot one more video shot (the wall and gate) with the stabiliser in play. Much better!

Why you’d buy the Canon EOS 70D: a DSLR that won’t break your bank or bend your shoulders.

Why you wouldn’t buy the Canon EOS 70D: check your expertise level!

One of the best new models I have seen for a while.

Canon EOS 70D Specifications

Image Sensor: 20.2 million effective pixels.
Metering: 63 zone, centre-weighted, spot, partial.
Lens Mount: Canon EF/EF-S.
Exposure Modes: Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
Effective Sensor Size: APS-C 22.3x15mm CMOS.
35 SLR Lens Factor: 1.6x.
Shutter Speed (stills): 30 to 1/8000 second and Bulb; X-sync at 1/250 sec.
Continuous Shooting: 7 fps.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC cards.
Image Sizes (pixels): Stills: 5472×3648 to 480×480.
Movies: 1920×1080 (30p/25p/24p), 1280×720 (60p/50p), 640×480 (30p/25p).
Viewfinder: Optical plus 7.7cm LCD screen (1,040,000 pixels).
File Formats: JPEG, 14-bit RAW, JPEG+RAW, MPEG4.
Colour Space: sRGB, Adobe RGB.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 12800, 25,600 (expanded).
Interface: USB 2.0, HDMI mini, WiFi, mic, remote.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 139x104x79 WHDmm.
Weight: 855 g (inc battery).
Price: Get a price on the Canon EOS 70D (body only) or Canon EOS 70D with EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM lens.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Canon EOS 70D
Author Rating
4

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Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

  • Tod Davis

    I think the problem that this model will have is that most people will not go to this sort of camera as an entry model and most people who want to upgrade try to go full frame these days.

  • dave

    this is the most non-committal post i’ve read in quite some time.
    “this camera is easy to use… or not!”
    “it gains from this… or loses!”

  • JR

    Pretty lame review……..only thing that caught my attention was the fact that there are good looking women in Australia.

  • ashwins

    LOL

  • jish

    Does SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC 16 GB 95MB/s UHS Speed Class 10 Memory Card suits it?

  • Anonymous

    Jish,

    Yes, this memory card suits it. It will store approx 600 RAWs while giving you a burst of much more than 65 full resolution jpegs.

    JR and Dave

    I agree that this review is far from does justice to this camera. In fact, it hardly really begins to do justice. This camera is one of the most unique kinds amidst the much populated world of DLSR’s. It consists of Dual-Autofocus Technology which is groundbreaking technology not seen in ANY other DSLR in the world (yes – in the world). And did you know that you can touch autofocus using the LCD? Or did you know that the Movie Servo AF mode uses STM (stepping-motor technology) for smooth quiet focusing and that this particular 18-135 IS STM lens comes with it and is not a “KIT lens” but an excellent high quality lens? Did you know that you can change the manual exposure during video by changing aperture, shutter, ISO while movie recording? The list goes on….

    Tod,
    Full-frame is generally for people who get paid for their images. The average person would not want to throw money (which you could have bought a car with) and carry weight on their shoulders all day if they are not getting paid for their sweat and investments in the equipment. What about the hobbyist? The hobbyist who finds paying for the highest end DLSR’s and lenses a waste of his money? The hobbyist who does not want to buy a 2000$ tripod to hold a 5D MK III type of DSLR. The hobbyist who sees himself struggling to carry the fully proessional model with him while hicking uphill because of the weight and says to himself “oh my gosh no that’s not for me”. But the hobbyist who also when he looks at the specs of the entry level’s and says “oh no – that’s not for me either”. This camera is for the hobbyist who does not want to be obsessed in photography by having the bulk of fullframe – yet at the same time – does not want his passion for photography and fun limited by an entry level DSLR.

  • jenifer

    Your defensive remark is a valuable argument and one that has pushed me to get the 70d vs 60d. Have you used the wifi & is it convenient?

  • Anonymous

    Hi Jenifer, Im sorry I have not tested the wifi performance (on this camera) as yet. But if I were wondering how it’s wifi performance compares to other models, considering that the EOS 70D is Canon’s latest product, I personally have no fears 🙂 I’m not sure if you used wifi before or not because you asked “is it convenient”. Yes wifi is VERY convenient. For the tourist, this camera allows you to geotag as well as share your images online social sites, email etc. For the studio photographer you can wirelessly control speedlights and remotely use the viewfinder and some other camera functions. I remember coming accross this in the manual, was excited about these perks that come with prosumer as opposed to entry level, but have not experimented with it as yet. Perhaps check online for reviews on this particular feature…

    I have used wifi on my point and shoot camera (used my blackberry as a hotspot) and being able to instantly email an image is VERY convenient (although it downsized the image to 2MP). Only downside is that wifi will use up battery life and its performance in any camera will never be “as amazing” as one would initally idealize it to be because cameras are first and foremost built to take pictures – they are not built from the ground up to be a wireless communicative device. However these features do work arguabley well and will be convenient and even necessary. 🙂

    Jenifer if you are considering either the 60D or the 70D – get the 70D!!! You will thank me! The extra money is so worth it – especially if you plan on keeping one camera for a long time. The only thing (if I were to be picky) is that when the 18-135 IS STM lens is in manual focus, the lens ring is a bit too “fast” and can be challenging to acquire pin sharp focus as quickly as you would like – this is more noticeable at the telephoto position. When in doubt, I use the LCD to zoom in and check. But as with every thing, there are two sides of the coin – and the advantage is that when you are videoing in manual focus, you are able to shift focus more seamlessy, smoothly and faster between near and far subjects, and this adds to the professionality appearance of the video.

    If you are a wildlife photographer, you will be pleased to know the EOS 70D captures stills at 7fps using 19 crosstype focus points. If you are an HDR photographer, you will be pleased to know that the EOS 70D can automatically capture 7 (not just 3 or 5) frames at different exposures for those times that you are lazy. If you are a “freeze life” photographer, you’ve got a shutter of 1/8000 to play with and an ISO of 256000 to acheive it on not so sunny days. If you are a handheld indoor photographer, the quality of images at higher ISO’s are surprisingly good and you will be confident setting the ISO at automatic for family fun, unless you are selling your images and want absolute minimum noise – then I would suggest don’t go past 6400 and use post processing noise reduction to achieve perfection. If you are macro photographer, this lens has quite an impressive feature – the minimum focus distance between you and subject does not change even when you zoom full out to the telephoto position! So if you’re not a specialist – you will find this lens quite capable of macro if you know how to use it. And this is a general purpose lens – who would have thought? Value for money is what I call it. If you are a “creative angle photographer”, the LCD screen opens up to 180 degrees, can tilt downwards enough to see comfortably when holding the camera above your head, and tilts upwards all the way to face the subject in front (so you can even take pictures of yourself). If you are landscape photograper, your heart can rest from panick because the viewfinder is not 95% but 98% which makes work captured through the viewfinder alot easier than the common 95%. Perhaps I should write a review instead? Lol! Don’t have time for that though.

    No camera is perfect – so perfection is not something you should look for. The question is not is it perfect? (What is???) The question is, Is it perfect for you? Is it best suited for you RELATIVE to what’s out there? The EOS 70D is definately perfect for me. I have a little interest in the most common forms of photography and this camera is a jack of all trades, master of none. But wait, I wouldn’t say jack – more like queen of all trades. We’ll leave the kings to the fully professional models which is not my style anyway and does not suit me or my personality or taste. I put thought and care into my images while at the same time not being crazy serious about it. I’m not looking to sell pictures – but I am looking to WOW you with them. Size and weight matters to me and can really make me either enjoy or not enjoy my holiday. This camera is not a burden to carry, but get the Joby shoulder strap for woman. The camera is a little bit heavy if you use the included Canon neck strap and after 15 minutes or so you’d want to take it off for a while. I don’t have the Joby strap as yet but I hear mostly excellent user reviews about it.

    Take care,

  • Shilo Watts

    Sometimes, my nose bleeds if I pick it to long.

    Just like the 70D.

  • jish

    i have a confusion between canon eos 7d and 70d which one will be better

  • Bill

    Some ugly ones too . . . just like elsewhere.

  • Anonymous

    that’s bcoz the blood from ur nose is falling on it

  • Anonymous

    7d is “professional” while 70d is ‘professional consumer’

  • Anonymous

    It’s true you get sick idiots who are depressed with either life or the camera they have so they want to pass their opression into those who are happy and excited and content and enjoy life. The problem is people like them are foolish in their bias heads, lacking wisdom. I, on the other hand, am not hypnotized. When I was looking to purchase a DSLR, I was looking at ALL brands (Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax etc) to find the camera that suits me best. A wise person looks for the camera THAT SUITS THEM BEST. Since the 70D was the right choice for me, I was informing others WHY it is. I do not work for any camera brand and I’m not a salesperson and I don’t believe in marketing certain items. Every person has their own character and personality and preferences on how they use their camera the most often therefore I believe each human being has a right to purchase what IS RIGHT FOR THEM. So ignore the haters who have no wisdom. Sometimes its hard to distinguish between the haters, the marketers, the ignorant, and the jealous. Yes I said, jeolous, – if you educate yourself on DualPixel Autofocus Technology – you’ll see why.

  • mikedidi

    I upgraded from the 60D because it fills the needs I have at the moment. I did want to move to FF yet. I love the camera, but I also love my 60d. So I have to body’s.

  • efithian

    One thing that was not mentioned was the reason I bought the 70D. The video performance is amazing in its ability to constantly change focus at varying distances with no problems. This is something that is not true in other Canon DSLRs. I took a video and posted it on youtube to show this versatility. Notice the auto focusing that takes place.

    http://youtu.be/Rg_U3ytMKD4

    Some stills are included as well as the video.

    Using an EFS 15-85mm IS AF lens with Canon PL-C B polarized filter

  • Roderick Adin Hamme

    The 70Dactually performs better than the 7D, until the 7D Mark II comes out in March 2014.

  • Askunk

    How do you geotag? Canon doesn’t talk about using wifi to geotag, although I know that with appropriate software you can use base stations to get up to 20m accuracy. The problem is that I don’t know any hack to the firmware or official patches to exploit such a feature.

  • merry

    I disagree. I’m a hobbyist and can’t wait to upgrade to a full frame. 6D is what I’m planning to buy in the next week or so.

  • sveinagronnevik

    Yes. I use the SanDisk Extreme Pro 64 GB. And it works well

  • Anonymous

    Hi Merry, thank u for that. I am aware that the term “hobbyist” is debatable. So try to understand the context that I used it in – try to understand what I meant. I hope everyone is aware that the 6D is 2500$… for the body alone… And also the choice between crop sensor and full-frame is more of a “what is more suitable for your type of photography” matter. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    The reason why I like crop sensor is because I don’t have to worry about softness at the edges of the images and vignetting and other lens corrections as much as if I used a full-frame. Also my preferance in photos are more on the telephoto end so crop sensor gives me the advantage. But I will have a full frame also. I like to have both a crop sensor and a fullframe.

  • I agree. I’m a photojournalism student, who apparently has a natural talent for photo composition. I’ve outgrown that amateur Rebel T3i, and buying a T5i would be a waste for me. I don’t think that I have “earned” buying a full-frame yet. I believe that when I reach a certain point, when I can justify purchasing a full-frame not just on G.A.S. (gear acquisition syndrome), but on my actual work, THEN I will pick up a Miii, or who knows.. it might just be an Miv then 😉 Personally, I just don’t think I’m ready for a full-frame yet.

    I like the in-between feel this particular piece of gear gives. It’s not too heavy, but it’s not amateur, and it’s a great bridge between the entry-level and semi-pro full-frames.

    I’m going to grab the kit lens with this, because I’m trusting some of you guys here. Personally, I HATE HATE HATE the 18-55mm lens. I don’t even use it (I borrow the 70-200mm from the school instead). I’m also only going to buy the 50mm F1.4, and then when I believe I’m ready, I’ll get another. I prefer a prime to a zoom lens.

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