Performance

Overall performance

As is typical of SLRs, the Canon EOS 70D is quite responsive, from startup to autofocus, and now including autofocus in live view. Startup is as fast as it should be, with Canon claiming 0.15 second, which looks about right to us. Autofocus, as we've mentioned, is faster in both live view and traditional phase when the AF area is confined to either a single point or a smaller cluster.

The Canon EOS 70D responds quickly to input, with fast menus that remember where you were for easy readjustment of controls, and the My Menu tab lets you put your oft-used controls in one place for faster access. Especially when using a fast card, the Canon EOS 70D is very responsive, even when shooting action. When special modes like HDR and Handheld Night Scene are active there is more delay for processing, but it's not too bad, again especially with a fast card.

Continuous Shooting and Buffering

The EOS 70D can fire at up to 7 frames per second, an improvement over the 60D's 5.3 fps, and even the 50D's 6.3 fps, but it's still slightly slower than the EOS 7D's 8 fps. Our tests show its fastest rate to be about 7.5 fps, which makes sense when you consider there's less processing involved than when the camera has to compress and save a JPEG. You can capture about 11 Raw images and 17 JPEGs in high-speed mode (see the tables below for more).

Low speed mode is good for when you don't want to capture quite as many frames, but still want to be ready for mild action, as when children are your subjects, without filling the card quite so fast. Averaging about 3 frames per second, the Canon EOS 70D can just keep shooting JPEGs as long as you hold the shutter button down.

When testing the Canon EOS 70D, we used a UHS-1 card with a top write speed of 94MB/s, and shot with the 50mm F1.4 USM lens.

Sequential H

Timing
JPEG Large/Fine
Raw
Raw+JPEG Fine
Frame rate 7.2 fps 7.5 fps 7.0 fps
Number of frames 17

11

7
Buffer full rate* 3.6 fps 1.1 fps 0.9 fps
Write complete 6.8 sec 10.6 sec 11.5 sec
* Frame rate slows down when buffer fills up

Sequential H Live View

Timing
JPEG Large/Fine
Raw
Raw+JPEG Fine
Frame rate 6.9 fps 6.8 fps 7 fps
Number of frames 19 12 6
Buffer full rate 2.6 fps 1.3 fps 0.9 fps
Write complete 8.4 sec 13 secs 11.6 secs

Sequential L

Timing
JPEG Large/Fine
Raw
Raw+JPEG Fine
Frame rate 3.1 fps 3.3 fps 3.5 fps
Number of frames To card capacity 14 shots 7 shots
Buffer full rate N/A 1 fps 0.9 fps
Write complete 4.2 sec 10.5 secs 10.6 secs

Its 7 fps framerate makes the Canon EOS 70D a good choice for action photography. Framerates slow down for Live View mode, and buffers get a little longer as a result, which also makes the write times a little longer. Overall, though, it's a very good performance.

Silent shutter

Silent shutter mode is designed to serve those working in situations where a noisy shutter is not welcome, but it's important to note that it's not really silent. The shutter noise is instead spread out over a longer time period, and reduced by a small amount overall. The high speed frame rate also goes down from seven frames per second to three.

In Live View mode, use of a silent first shutter curtain makes the sound seem even quieter, though the maximum decibel levels are just about the same according to our recording tests. In this mode, the mirror doesn't move, and the first shutter curtain also doesn't move, because the 70D uses an electronic first curtain, technology that dates back to the EOS 40D. In continuous drive mode, the 70D can still capture up to seven frames per second in Mode 1, but Mode 2 is a little different: the main shutter mechanism fires to capture the picture, but the shutter doesn't reset until you release the shutter button. This mode is useful for wildlife photography. The frame rate is therefore limited to the speed at which you want to shoot.

Battery life

The Canon EOS 70D uses the same 7.2V, 1,800mAh lithium-ion LP-E6 battery pack used by the Canon 5D Mark III, and EOS 7D. Canon expects you'll get up to 1000 shots when shooting with the viewfinder, but that drops significantly to a rather disappointing 230 shots when shooting in live view mode.