Canon EOS 70D review : Solid build – offeritems.com

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PROS

  • Great touchscreen performance
  • Impressive 19-point AF system
  • Dual-pixel sensor AF delivers fantastic Live-view AF performance
  • Solid build

CONS

  • Slight issues with AWB performance
  • Limited creative filter implementation

Key Features: 20.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor; 3-inch, 1040k-dot vari-angle LCD touchscreen; Canon EF-S lens mount; ISO 100 – 12,800 (expandable to 25,600); 1920 x 1080 HD video capture @ 30, 25 and 24fps

Manufacturer: Canon

WHAT IS THE CANON EOS 70D?

The 70D is nothing less than the big DSLR release of 2013. The ground between Canon’s single-digit and triple-digit DSLRs has long housed some impressive cameras, catering for those looking to take the step up from entry-level DSLR photography.

Indeed, the double-digit range has boasted some of Canon’s most popular models to date, and the Canon EOS 70D looks to continue this tradition. In many ways its specs places it ahead of it’s more advanced, yet older, sibling – the 7D – including a newly developed sensor that promises some impressive AF performance. It’s a camera every camera enthusiast will be interested in no matter their loyalites.

CANON EOS 70D: FEATURES

Although the Canon EOS 70D breaks new ground for Canon in certain areas, it still borrows extensively from other EOS DSLRs. For example, the 70D features Canon’s DIGIC 5 processor as seen previously in the EOS 5D Mk.III.

But you can see why Canon decided to reuse the processor, as it facilitates some impressive data processing and as a result allows for 7fps continuous shooting and ISO range of 100-12,800, expandable to 25,600.

On the rear of the 70D you’ll find another another familiar feature from the Canon EOS stable. The rear features the same 3-inch, 1,040k-dot vari-angle touchscreen as seen on the EOS 700D. Once again, the touchscreen on the 700D is one of the finest on the market, so the borrowing of such a feature is certainly a good thing.

The Canon EOS 70D also benefits from the EOS range’s HD video heritage. The model supports full HD video capture at 30, 25 and 24p, as well as standard HD at both 60 and 50p, while an external microphone is also supported.

The Full HD video capture is an area that is sure to benefit from the 70D’s headline improvement, namely the model’s sensor. Since 2009 Canon APS-C DSLRs have relied upon a sensor with an 18MP resolution, but the 70D features a completely redesigned unit. The megapixel count has been upped to 20.2MP, with the real development being the addition of Dual Pixel CMOS technology.

This sensor now features on-chip phase-detection AF technology, which utilises two photodiodes on each pixel and therefore does away with the need to use contrast-detection AF technology in video mode and live view. The system also benefits from an advanced 19-point all cross-type AF system, up from the modest 9-point system found in the 60D.

The result? Faster AF performance in general shooting and a complete transformation of AF in live view and movie recording modes. At least, that’s what Canon claims.

The Canon EOS 70D also benefits from the addition of in-camera Wi-Fi technology, as is becoming more common on new DSLRs. This Wi-Fi connectivity allows for wireless transfer of images between the 70D and a smartphone or tablet running the Canon EOS app. Photographers also have the option to remotely control the 70D using the app; a feature which could be of great benefit for those on a studio shoot.

Another impressive feature is the 70D’s in-built flash. It boasts a guide number of 12 and doubles up as an Integrated Wireless Transmitter for off-camera wireless flash control of compatible Canon flashguns.

CANON EOS 70D: DESIGN

Much of the 70D’s design is similar to its predecessor, but there are some notable changes.

The biggest of these changes are found on the rear of the camera, where there’s a revised control layout. Live view activation and video control is now accessed through a refined live view switch complete with start-stop button in the centre. The menu and info buttons have moved, too, towards the top left of the camera’s rear much like the Canon EOS 700D.

If you’re familiar with the triple-digit series of Canon then you’ll notice that the 70D is substantially larger with a more substantial hand grip. As a result, the 70D feels more comfortable in the hand and better balanced, especially when using larger lenses.

As mentioned, the 70D shares a lot of its design characteristics with its predecessor, although it is slightly less wide. The body is constructed from a combination of conductive fibre and polycarbonate resin, and it certainly feels solid. It’s not too far off of the 7D in terms of feel and handling, although it is lacking the weather resistance.

It’s worth noting that the controls have been streamlined somewhat. Dedicated scene modes have been removed from the mode dial, giving the camera a more advanced feel, with the PASM controls taking precedence.

CANON EOS 70D: PERFORMANCE

In general, the Canon EOS 70D delivers the kind of performance you would expect from a double digit Canon DSLR, with certain areas which are particularly impressive.

One such area is the camera’s touchscreen performance. Canon was the first manufacturer to transfer touchscreen technology across to its range of DSLRs, and this heritage is starting to pay off with some impressive performance.

The capacitive screen is the same as found in the 700D and performs similarly well. Only light touches are needed to control the screen, while functionality such as touch focus through live view is welcome.

In fact, you can access almost any camera control through the touchscreen, and in combination with the various controls around the 70D’s body the overall handling experience is pleasing.

In terms of image review and framing, the screen itself is impressive. The vari-angle hinge allows for viewing at a host of different shooting situation, which is damn useful, while the screen also offers a wide viewing angle and pleasing levels of saturation and contrast.

The viewfinder, meanwhile, offers a 98% field of coverage. Although this is more than the 96% of the 60D, it’s unfortunately less than the D7100’s 100% field of view. One nice feature, however, is a useful electronic overlay that displays the model’s AF modes and allows you to toggle through them to select the desired setting.

On the subject of AF performance, it’s worth considering the effectiveness of the new dual-pixel technology. When shooting using live view, the AF performance is a huge improvement on any DSLR that we’ve seen to date.

When the light begins to drop the AF performance does begin to slow, and certain CSCs’ live view AF performance is comparable (if not more impressive) but it is vastly improved on its predecessor.

Canon EOS 70D

As more DSLR photographers are becoming accustomed to shooting in live view the improved performance will no doubt be welcome, although the good news is that the 70D’s general AF performance is also improved.

The new 19-point AF system might appear to be some way behind the Nikon D7100’s 51-point AF system, for example, but it does have the benefit of all points being cross-type. As a result, it offers good focus sensitivity in the centre of the frame, and even in poor lighting conditions.

There is a slight bias towards the centre of the frame, with subjects to the edges sometimes requiring a refocus before shooting. It’s also worth nothing that if you use either Canon’s USM or STM lenses then the focus system as a whole is almost silent.

Canon EOS 70D

There is a slight gripe with the Canon EOS 70D’s performance, and that lays with the camera’s Creative Filters. Unfortunately, the filters can only be applied when shooting just JPEG files, rather than Raw and JPEG, while it’s also the case that you have to be shooting in live view to be able to access the filters.

While the filters themselves are solid, it’s unfortunate that their functionality is limited by these two slight quirks in the 70D’s operation.

CANON EOS 70D: IMAGE QUALITY

Not only is the 70D’s sensor completely redesigned thanks to its Dual Pixel technology, it also features the highest resolution of any Canon APS-C sensor to date. As a result, the 70D should be able to resolve more detail than ever before, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Canon EOS 70D

Throughout the lower end of the ISO range the EOS 70D manages to resolve more detail than it’s main competitor, the Nikon D7100, while even at higher ISO settings it still delivers a good level of detail.

The higher megapixel count does raise some concerns with regards to image noise throughout the ISO range, although on the whole these concerns are generally allayed.

Canon EOS 70D

Performance at lower settings is first class, and it’s not until you approach ISO 1,600 that the first signs of grain-like noise appears. Results remain strong up to ISO 6,400, and although chroma noise is apparent it’s not the to detriment of overall image quality.

If you’re happy shooting Raw then results remain usable right up to the maximum extended setting of ISO 25,600, so long as you’re willing to work on noise reduction in post-production.

Canon EOS 70D

The 70D maintains the 63-zone iFCL metering system as seen in all DSLRs since the 7D. As a result, it offers a pleasingly good level of performance. There are some instances whereby the exposure system can be fooled by particularly light or dark areas in the frame, although on the whole we rarely found the need to use the exposure compensation.

The 70D’s colour system is also reliable, with colours pleasing in the standard colour setting, although they do lack a bit of punch. If you’re looking for a bit more punch then the range of Canon’s Picture Style modes offer plenty of options. The model’s auto white balance is also reliable, delivering good results across a range of different lighting conditions

SHOULD I BUY THE CANON EOS 70D?

There’s no denying that the Canon EOS 70D breaks new ground when it comes to DSLR photography, thanks to the very best AF performance when shooting live view we’ve yet seen in such a camera.

However, when it comes to headline resolution – as well as some other elements of it’s specification – it is still behind the Nikon D7100. It is a big step forward from the 60D however, and it even runs the higher-end EOS 7D close in a host of areas.

So, if you’re a Canon user looking to make the step up from a triple-digit DSLR, or are simply wanting to upgrade your double-digit model, the 70D is an impressive bit of kit and could well be the option.

Canon EOS 70D Wholesale Price: $322.00

VERDICT

The Canon EOS 70D is a real step forward in the world of DSLR photography, and if you shoot a lot of video, or find yourself using live view image capture with any regularity, it’s a great choice. But It’s not without its faults, with a few bugs in the Creative Filter settings proving particularly disappointing, although on the whole it’s an impressive bit of kit that will change the way DSLRs handle AF technology in the future.

SCORES IN DETAIL

Design : 8/10
Features : 9/10
Image Quality : 8/10
Performance : 8/10
Value : 8/10

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