Canon EOS 70D Review

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Since: March 29, 2017
  • Highest Price: $768.99 - August 27, 2017
  • Lowest Price: $709.99 - March 29, 2017
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  • Canon EOS 70D
  • Canon EOS 70D

“A Fast DSLR For Budding Photographers”

In Canon’s EOS range, the triple-digit DSLRs are aimed towards amateur and advanced-amateur photographers while single-digit models are catered towards professionals. The mid-range double-digit series has been home to some of the company’s best cameras and the EOS 70D should not disappoint.

The Canon EOS 70D is the much awaited successor to the 60D and includes plenty of features from Canon’s existing DSLR line-up. It has the same articulated display seen in the Rebel T5i, the AF module of the 7D and the Wi-Fi feature of the 6D. The biggest addition is the brand new 20.2MP ‘Dual Pixel” CMOS sensor which, in theory, allows for phase-detection AF in both video and live view modes.

Available for $1,549, the 70D offers excellent value-for-money in comparison to similar products. The addition of the DIGIC 5+ image processor, which was first used in the EOS 5D Mk III, should help elevate overall performance, which will help it compete with models by Nikon, Sony, etc.

Let’s take a closer look at the camera to see how it holds up in the real world.

Design

The camera’s design resembles that of its predecessor. The biggest change is in the back where button layout has changed. Like the 700D, the info and menu buttons have been moved to the top-left. There is also a Live View button to the right of the viewfinder.

There is a second LCD on the top plate which shows information about aperture, shutter speed, battery life, etc. It has all the buttons you would expect and many of the settings (including ISO) are near the smaller LCD where they can be easily reached by your fingers.

Controls have been made more streamlined. In fact, the mode dial no longer has special scene modes. Traditional PASM controls have been given priority and this helps give the 70D a high-end feel.

Build Quality

The body is constructed using a combination of polycarbonate resin and conductive fiber. In terms of overall quality, it feels comparable to the 7D but lack that model’s weatherproofing. But it is dust and water resistant, which should let you take photos in slightly inclement weather.

Compared to lower-end Canon models, the 70D is chunkier and has a much better handgrip. This makes the camera easier to hold especially when using large lenses.

Performance

The 70D performs very well in most areas, except low-light focusing where it has plenty of scope for improvement. In well-lit conditions, the camera powers up, focuses and takes a shot in about 0.4 seconds, which is really quick and better than many other Canon DSLRs. Burst speed of 7fps was maintained for the most part. The buffer is large enough to allow around 17 RAW shots to be taken before the camera slows to 2.5fps. Viewfinder coverage of 98% is much better than the older model (96%) but still lower than the Nikon D7200 which offers 100% coverage.

One of the highlights of this camera is its touchscreen performance. The capacitive display is the same one that is used in the 700D and allows you to control every aspect of the camera easily. The display has an excellent viewing angle and good color saturation as well. Its vari-angle hinge allows you to take pictures in a variety of different situations using Live View.

The 19-point AF system is completely cross-type and is able to focus well. The AF has a slight central bias and sometimes objects in the edges need to be refocused before shooting.  Live View is fast and manages to focus quickly no matter which AF mode you have chosen. In fact, taking pictures in Live View is a much better experience than many other cameras.

Overall, performance has improved when compared to its predecessor. But, in some respects, it is not as responsive as the D7200.

Image Quality and Video

The 20.2MP CMOS sensor comes with “Dual Pixel” technology which allows for better phase detection auto-focus. However, even though it manages to capture more detail than the 60D and Rebel T5i, images are not as detailed as the D7200. This could be because the Nikon camera foregoes the anti-aliasing filter.

In lower ISO settings, image quality is comparable to the Nikon. But in higher ISO settings, the competition wins through. Noise starts to creep in at ISO 1600 and images retain overall quality till ISO 6400. If you are willing to shoot in RAW and perform extensive post-production, even photos at ISO 25,600 are useable.

As with many recent Canon DSLRs, the 70D has a 63-zone metering system which is good overall. In some cases, images come out over or under-exposed. But those cases were rare. Color reproduction is pretty accurate, but lacks a bit of vibrancy. Auto white balance is reliable in normal conditions. But it has a tendency to be fooled easily, especially under artificial lights.

Video quality is very good for its class and slightly better than the Rebel T5i. Even though it tends to display artifacts such as moiré and aliasing, it is not an uncommon issue with similar DSLRs. Low-light video has decent dynamic range and tonality, but has a fair amount of color noise.

Features

  • 20.2MP APS-C Dual Pixel CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 5+ processor
  • 7fps burst speed
  • 19-point auto-focus (all cross-type)
  • AF sensitive up to –0.5EV
  • AF settings can be saved for up to 40 lenses
  • 63-point iFCL metering
  • ISO 100 – 12,800 (exp. 25,600)
  • Maximum shutter speed – 1/8000
  • Silent shutter mode
  • 98% viewfinder coverage
  • In-built Wi-Fi
  • Live preview for Creative Filters
  • 3-inch 1.04million dot ClearView II articulated LCD

Final Thoughts

PROS:
  • Well-built
  • Great touchscreen
  • Excellent AF performance even in Live View
CONS:
  • AWB performance can be better
  • Creative filters not easy to use

The Canon EOS 70D is a great choice for photographers who love shooting in Live View or have to capture a lot of video. It is not a perfect camera by any means and has plenty of kinks which need to be ironed out. Beginners who have already bought into Canon’s lens ecosystem would like the improvements made in the 70D.

8 Total Score
Excellent!

Design
8.5
Performance
8.5
Image Quality and Video
9
Features
8.5
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