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Canon EOS 70D Review

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!


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.


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.

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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!

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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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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

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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.

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Canon EOS 70D
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Barrie Smith
Barrie Smith

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

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