Camera to satisfy "action" needs: 6D or 70D?

Started Feb 9, 2014 | Discussions
Jonathan Brady
Jonathan Brady Veteran Member • Posts: 6,608
Camera to satisfy "action" needs: 6D or 70D?

First off let me say that I know that the 5D3 is the better choice all around but it's simply NOT in the budget. Additionally, if I'm going to stick with crop, I want the articulating screen and autofocusing for video so the 7D is off the table too. Finally, I have a 430 EXII but I prefer NOT using bounce flash for indoor pics as I like the look of the ambient light much better. So, hopefully that info saves you some time

Next, some background:

I currently have a 60D and as my 18 month old daughter grows, I've found that my focus has shifted (no pun intended) to capturing images of her - often at play. Prior to her being mobile and even as she was crawling and just learning to walk my 15-85, 60mm macro, and 40mm STM did the job well. However, once she picked up speed I found that I often needed something just a touch faster to focus - so I bought the 85 f/1.8. That seemed to do the trick and the focal length works REALLY well as it puts enough space between her and I that her unpredictability isn't much of an issue.

At the time her activities became more erratic and less predicatable, I converted (at the recommendation of forum goers) to shooting via back-button-focusing, in Al Servo mode, and high-speed continuous shooting. This has resulted in numerically more keepers but also numerically more trash-canners as many of the images are duplicitous or not the best "moment" of the burst. All of which is fine with me - it's digital after all!

Onto my quandary:

I've found that the little bit of focusing speed improvement of the 85 f/1.8 has allowed me to capture a few moments that my other lenses might have been just a very small fraction of a second to slow to grab - I'm wondering if upgrading to either a 70D or 6D would provide further improvements.

I'd like to go full frame as I do a fair amount of "in the house" photography and we don't have many well-lit windows - ok... we have NO well-lit windows - and at night with just the lights on, I'm often shooting wide open at the maximum ISO I'm comfortable with just to get 1/125 with the 85 f/1.8. I realize the 6D will gain me several stops in usable ISO indoors which is a huge benefit. The two downsides are that I'm now looking at 3 additional lenses (macro, standard zoom, and 135L) to replace/add to what I already have and I'm not sure the spread of the AF points is large enough to satisfy what I want to shoot (focus and recompose is impossible with a moving subject so I'm limited to those 11 AF points quite often). My question is - is the AF speed of the 6D fast enough - especially the outer points - to keep up with a toddler?

Also, the 70D has me highly intrigued. The improvements in both the OVF AF and DPAF make it seem like an ideal camera for me. Additionally, the improvement in noise characteristic mean I may be able to gain an additional stop of usable ISO indoors. My question here is - is the speed in acquiring focus improved with the 70D over the 7D? Also, are the outer AF points at least as good (or better) than the outer points of the 60D (I assume they're better but want to make sure)? Does Al Servo work any better with the 70D?

Obviously, the 70D is a MUCH less expensive upgrade as my current lens stable all works just fine so I'm leaning towards it being the better option. But I'm really curious about the ability of the 6D to keep up with my daughter as the IQ improvements are also important.

Thanks for any insight you're able to offer! Also, I tried to provide as much insight as possible but if there are questions I can answer to help you provide a better suggestion, ask away! Finally, I'll post this in the XD forum as well

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS 60D Canon EOS 6D Canon EOS 70D Canon EOS 7D
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yomasa Regular Member • Posts: 394
Re: Camera to satisfy "action" needs: 6D or 70D?

The 6D will out perform the 70d in a big way when it comes to noise levels and hi iso.

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TTMartin
TTMartin Veteran Member • Posts: 7,304
Re: Camera to satisfy "action" needs: 6D or 70D?

The 6D will do much better indoors than the 70D will.

As long as you can keep your 60D for when you need more reach or a faster frame rate the 6D is the way to go.

If you need to sell you 60D to afford a new camera, I would go with the 70D as it is a more well rounded camera.

edit: In either case, get the kit lens both the EF 24-105 f/4L and EF-S 18-135 IS STM are great deals when purchased with the cameras. Even if you decide to sell them later, you should at least break even if not make a small profit.

edit 2: If you go with the 6D, I would skip the 135 L lens, and just get the 100mm macro L.

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wazu
wazu Senior Member • Posts: 1,407
Re: Camera to satisfy "action" needs: 6D or 70D?

Unless you feel the smooth pull focus of the 70D is going to be important for video I would say go with a 6D. I have evaluated going from my 60D to a 70D and concluded the IQ improvment would not justify the cost. I feel the 60D has a limitation of around 1600 ISO and perhaps the 70D will get you to 3200 without nasty noise. The 6D or 5Ds have very low noise up to 6400 so that even a 2.8 zoom works well in low light.

Indoors the 50/1.4 or 35/1.4 are my favorites for FF low light. Outdoors the 135/2 works really well.

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Jonathan Brady
OP Jonathan Brady Veteran Member • Posts: 6,608
Re: Camera to satisfy "action" needs: 6D or 70D?

I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on the IQ differences between the two, and especially the ISO advantage of FF and the 6D in general. What I'm really looking to find out is...

Jonathan Brady wrote:

I'm wondering if upgrading to either a 70D or 6D would provide further improvements (in AF acquisition/speed).

My question is - is the AF speed of the 6D fast enough - especially the outer points - to keep up with a toddler?

My question here is - is the speed in acquiring focus improved with the 70D over the 7D (meant to say 60D)? Also, are the outer AF points at least as good (or better) than the outer points of the 60D (I assume they're better but want to make sure)? Does Al Servo work any better with the 70D?

But I'm really curious about the ability of the 6D to keep up with my daughter as the IQ improvements are also important.

Any help with this?

Thanks!

TTMartin
TTMartin Veteran Member • Posts: 7,304
Re: Camera to satisfy "action" needs: 6D or 70D?

Jonathan Brady wrote:

I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on the IQ differences between the two, and especially the ISO advantage of FF and the 6D in general. What I'm really looking to find out is...

Jonathan Brady wrote:

I'm wondering if upgrading to either a 70D or 6D would provide further improvements (in AF acquisition/speed).

Do you have any hunting with your 60D indoors? If so, yes the 6D would be faster. If no, then no I would not expect any difference in focus speed.

My question is - is the AF speed of the 6D fast enough - especially the outer points - to keep up with a toddler?

Yes, I've used the outer focus points with skateboarders and race cars. No issues with tracking.

My question here is - is the speed in acquiring focus improved with the 70D over the 7D (meant to say 60D)? Also, are the outer AF points at least as good (or better) than the outer points of the 60D (I assume they're better but want to make sure)?

Yes

Does Al Servo work any better with the 70D?

Yes, the 70D has a much faster processor than the 60D, this will help improve tracking.

But I'm really curious about the ability of the 6D to keep up with my daughter as the IQ improvements are also important.

The 6D's auto focus should have no issues keeping up with your daughter

Any help with this?

Thanks!

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DVT80111 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,212
70D

The 70D low light performance is not as good as the 6D, but much better than your 60D and should be plenty for you.

I doubt the 6D AF performance is as good as your 60D.  Only the center sensor is low light sensitive, how can it be better?

70D video will blow the 6D out of the water. (AF and swivel LCD)

The 70D combo will be much lighter and cheaper than the 6D.

As your kid are getting older, you will have to lug your gears with you outside. Weight and size will be the next issue (and probably the reason for your future camera needs).

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Myer Senior Member • Posts: 2,834
Re: Camera to satisfy "action" needs: 6D or 70D?

I went from a Rebel T2i (550) to a 70D. So I'm comparing different "from" cameras.

I take almost no video so that's of little consequence. I took some videos a few days ago. They look fantastic. I used my 15-85 lens and I couldn't hear any focus noise. Of course, there was enough noise in the room.

I took a couple of photos during the movie taking and while I could tell there was a one second pause of the movie, it's because I knew it was going to happen. My wife didn't comment on it or notice it.

Still, movies are of little interest to me.

Low light, high ISO performance is partially in your head. What I mean is what I consider good may be garbage to you.

Low light on the 6D is great. Low light on the 70D is way better than the T2i (550). I find that if I properly expose on the 70D even 12,800 is quite good. I took a shot and tried cleaning it in NeatImage. Usually, this program makes noise look a lot worse than it is on the incoming image. I could barely see the noise on the incoming image. After cleaning I compared the images and they both looked the same.

So, depending upon your eyes and expectations, if you properly expose at 12,800 you may be pleasantly surprised.

My first reaction is to under-expose at a lower ISO and clean. That way I thought I could take advantage of better quality at a lower ISO. Not the case. I find that on the 70D exposing properly at a higher ISO results in much better quality than I expected.

Focus and photographing children. People look at photos of my grandchildren and wonder how I get such good results. What I don't tell them is that if you take 1,000 photos you're bound to get a few good ones.

It's like wildlife photography. Take a lot and show the great ones. You have two choices; One-Shot that jumps into focus or AI-Servo that slides into focus and tracks. Depending upon your backgrounds you may either use single-shot center or 9-point center. 9-Point center is easier to pick up the subject (such as birds or planes).

Since your child's motion will change every month, try various combinations of the above and see which results in more in-focus shots.

TTMartin
TTMartin Veteran Member • Posts: 7,304
Re: 70D

6D and 70D weight and size.

6D - 770g, 145 x 111 x 71 mm

70D - 755g, 139 x 104 x 79 mm

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DVT80111 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,212
Re: 70D

I said 70D combo.

EF lenses are much bigger and heavier than EF-S.  60% larger sensor requires 60% larger diameter glass.

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TTMartin
TTMartin Veteran Member • Posts: 7,304
Re: 70D

Weight, Diameter x Length

Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - 575 g (1.27 lb), 82mm (3.2") X 88 mm (3.44″)

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM - 670 g (1.48 lb), 84mm (3.3") X 107 mm (4.21″)

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DVT80111 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,212
Re: 70D

Some additional information

Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - 575 g (1.27 lb), 88 mm (3.44″) - $699

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM - 670 g (1.48 lb), 107 mm (4.21″) - $1149

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TTMartin
TTMartin Veteran Member • Posts: 7,304
Re: 70D

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM - $650 when purchased with the 6D

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sailaway78
sailaway78 Regular Member • Posts: 233
Re: Camera to satisfy "action" needs: 6D or 70D?

Action????   A child that the focus isn't fast enough for.  Please tell me this is a troll.   Unless your shooting in total darkness.   Isn't there an auto focus assist light on your camera.   The reason I find this post questionable is I shoot wildlife, and BIF with an ancient 40D.   And yes I gripe about the focus not being fast enough a lot.  But a flying kingfisher is 1000 times faster than a child.  I shoot my 3yo niece a lot,  and have never, ever, not one time found the focus unable to keep up with her and her puppy, no matter what the activity.  And I don't even have a 2.8 lens of any description.

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R2D2 Forum Pro • Posts: 18,280
Re: Camera to satisfy "action" needs: 6D or 70D?

sailaway78 wrote:

Action????

Hey. Kids are always in motion.

A child that the focus isn't fast enough for.

OOF happens.

Please tell me this is a troll.

You should be able to tell the difference, no?

Unless your shooting in total darkness.

Doubt it.

Isn't there an auto focus assist light on your camera.

Never use the darn thing myself. I find it annoying, and prefer to use good AF technique.

The reason I find this post questionable is I shoot wildlife, and BIF with an ancient 40D.

Some of us like to shoot those subjects too (Myer even posted so).

And yes I gripe about the focus not being fast enough a lot.

Happens no matter what body. It's natural, we'll alwaysbe wishing for a little better. In fact, I think that's exactly what the OP is asking for in this very thread.

But a flying kingfisher is 1000 times faster than a child.

OK, maybe ten times. But it often seems like the kids are moving at 1000 MPH!

I shoot my 3yo niece a lot, and have never, ever, not one time found the focus unable to keep up with her and her puppy, no matter what the activity.

Good for you. It's a first.

And I don't even have a 2.8 lens of any description.

Well there's the answer right there. Many of us do shoot with lenses of f/2.8 or even faster. And focus gets trickier and trickier the larger the aperture you use.

I think if someone is looking to upgrade their body, then they have every right to inquire as to the prospective cameras' capabilities. Especially considering the subjects they intend to shoot.

For instance, if you were to want to upgrade at some point, I'd say the 70D or even the T4i/T5i would net you about double the (BIF) keepers that you get with your venerable 40D (and that's due to the AF alone). I'd give it some consideration.

(and maybe give the OP a little too while you're at it)

R2

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Jonathan Brady
OP Jonathan Brady Veteran Member • Posts: 6,608
Re: Camera to satisfy "action" needs: 6D or 70D?
1

Thanks everyone for the suggestions/info!  Right now, I'm leaning towards the 70D (when finances allow).  While I'd prefer the better image quality and low light performance of the 6D, I'm thinking the AF point spread will be too limiting (I already find my 60D AF point spread limiting and the 6D - from what I can tell - is even MORE concentrated in the center of the frame and I think that would drive me bonkers).  I also think the FPS increase for the 70D would be hugely helpful.  Finally, the cost being lower isn't so much a factor as it is a fantastic side effect!

I don't NEED an upgraded camera, but I definitely would like one and believe it would allow me to capture more keepers.  However, I may just wait to see what the oft-rumored 7D replacement will offer.  I'd prefer the size and weight of an XXD (and cost, obviously) but if the 7D replacement trumps it handily then... well...

Again, I appreciate y'all helping me out and getting my head straight on this!

Flying Fish Veteran Member • Posts: 4,476
Nobody is paying $1145 for the 24-104 f/4L

Google it.  It's around $700.

FF

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DVT80111 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,212
Re: nor pay $699 for the 15-85

actually I paid about $300 for the 18-135 STM.

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elfroggio
MOD elfroggio Senior Member • Posts: 2,900
Re: Camera to satisfy "action" needs: 6D or 70D?

Jonathan Brady wrote:

I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on the IQ differences between the two, and especially the ISO advantage of FF and the 6D in general. What I'm really looking to find out is...

Actually, I will completely disagree with the statement that since the 6D is a full frame it has an ISO advantage.

The 70D has a better noise than the 6D because the noise is more 'natural' and feel less digital. There may be some more noise with the 70D but the 70D noise is more 'rounded' and is less objectionable. Is it due to the different CMOS or to the better algorithm of the CPU? I would think the later.

For action, the 70D will almost always do better than the 6D with the 7 fps and the much better focus system. Yes, I know that the 6d center point is amazing, but try keeping a single point on a running animal, a downhill cyclist/skier... while tracking them... Wish you good luck

On that note, I will switch to the 6D as soon as Canon comes out with a 6DMk2 with the 19 points focus of the 70D.

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Jonathan Brady
OP Jonathan Brady Veteran Member • Posts: 6,608
So - I pulled the trigger on the 70D
2

I search CL on a daily basis for camera equipment and just last week came across a 70D being offered for sale.  It turns out the guy is a bit of a gear junkie (anyone know someone like that?  No?  Didn't think so!  lol).  He just bought the 70D on January 5th and was selling it 2 months later with less than 5k clicks on it.  I found out that he had never registered the camera and had the original receipt so I told him that with the receipt I'd give him $850 and we had a deal!  So, I'm getting 10 months of warranty on an (almost) brand new camera at a great price (I think).

Anyway - today was the first time I was able to get out and shoot anything resembling "action".  I was out trying to help a friend who shoots her D3100 in full auto - all the time - to learn how to understand the differences in changes to the shutter speed and aperture so that she can begin to use SS/A priority modes.  While there, I used my 15-85 and 85/1.8 to show the differences in aperture.  Once the lesson was done she was with her daughter pushing her on the swing and we were chatting about AF and how that was the next lesson.  She already had a good understanding of how that could be limiting so I decided to illustrate the difference in all points AF (her camera) vs mine (single point and then zone).

Let me just tell you; the 70D AF is a revelation compared to the 60D!  I nailed MORE shots without having to work as hard and the accuracy was FANTASTIC!  The improvement in accuracy and speed was just enough to take me from an "action" keeper percentage of roughly 40-75% to 100%.  I'm sure 100% of my shots won't ALWAYS be in focus but in this case they were and under the same circumstances in the past with my 60D they were about 50%.  The only misfocused shot was my fault (didn't manage to keep the AF point over the face upon review in DPP) and even that shot was usable.  The ability to use Zone AF is AWESOME too!  I believe it makes a difference in keepers as you have 4 points (when grouping the points on the top, bottom, left, or right) or 9 points (center) over which your subject can move without you having to move the camera.  Also, the increase in FPS is really nice and I'm sure that too will help me to capture the best moments.  My take: If you think there's room for improvement from your 60D regarding AF speed/accuracy and/or your want more flexibility - you definitely want to consider the 70D.

I've also played around with the DPAF in both stills and video - this is equally if not more impressive than the improvements in OVF AF.  Using "touch shutter" for taking pictures is practically instantaneous for still subjects (haven't tried it for moving subjects) and the subject tracking is GREAT.  In video, the only hiccup I've found is that in :¬) + tracking mode (face detect + tracking) if there's no face to focus on for a brief second the camera will begin searching for something else.  In my case, my 19 month old daughter was spinning in circles and when the back of her head was to the camera for a fraction of a second the camera would focus on my dog in the background.  When about 1/3-1/2 of my daughters face was visible again it would snap focus back on her until her face was no longer visible.  Obviously this is somewhat rare circumstance and there are ways to overcome this (not use face detection for one, I'm guessing).  Also, I didn't realize that when using the 3x-10x zoom feature (offers no IQ degradation) that AF is not available - it's MF only.  Certainly I would like to have AF and I have to assume the lack of it in this mode is likely software and not hardware related, but it's not a huge deal as I don't expect to use it often (ever?) and if I do, I would also expect to be using a tripod and therefore accurate focus would be easier to nail down.  Also, if you were thinking about shooting AF video with the 60mm macro at close-up or macro distances; forget about it - it ain't happening (at least in my first and only attempt).  My take: I'll be selling my HD camcorder as well as this will do all that I want it to and more!

ISO - One of the reasons I wanted to upgrade my 60D was ISO performance.  I wasn't happy with anything beyond 1600 from the 60D.  Then again, I don't do NR in PP (lack of programs and skill) but I know that EXCELLENT results are available from the 18mp sensor if you know what you're doing: thanks to Mailman88 and this tutorial here.  My take: I don't know that I would say that ISO 3200 on the 70D is equal to ISO 1600 on the 60D as I don't have the ability or desire to pixel peep and draw conclusions like that.  What I will say is that I'm equally happy with the results from the 70D at ISO 3200 as I was with the results from the 60D at ISO 1600.  Indoors, that gains me a LOT of usability!

The touch screen for me isn't a big revelation as I owned an EOS M for about 6 months, so I'm used to using it.  I will say though that it does speed things up when working in the menus and it's very resistant to smudges.  My take: a definite improvement over the 60D and you don't HAVE to use it if you're new-technology-averse.

AF microadjustment is a feature I'm happy to have and hope I never have to use.  My take:'nuff said

Lastly; the WiFi.  I'm not sure how often I'll use it (likely never for actual shooting although I did test it out and it works great) but the feature I like the most is being able to browse the images on the SD card.  I think this will come in handy in social situations where someone wants copies of the images I've taken.  I can just allow them to hook up their phone to my camera via WiFi, they can save what they want and we're done.  Something else I didn't realize until playing with it - the images that you can check out on your phone are downsized - also, they're only available in JPG (makes sense as it's going to a mobile device).  They're still PLENTY large for displaying on a phone or tablet or for social networking sites but if you're looking for full-size images, you'll be disappointed.  The resolution it saved the images to was 1920x1280 on my Galaxy S4.  I'm not sure if the resolution of the file on the mobile device is dependent on the device being used or if that's just the standard resolution.  My take: I think the benefit of this feature is user-dependent.  Similar to the AF microadjust; I'm happy to have it but in this case, I know that I'll use it, even if it's sparingly.

Bottom line, I bought the 70D for $850 and sold my 60D for $550.  I'll also be selling my camcorder for whatever I can get for it (hopefully $150?).  Even if I didn't have the camcorder to further offset the cost, I'd be happy with $300 for the upgrade as I think it will substantially improve my keeper rate for stills.  I'd like to be able to put an exact dollar amount on the value difference between the two cameras for everyone; but I can't.  How much are those EXACT moments worth that the 70D will be able to capture that the 60D would have missed?  That's for every person to decide for themselves.  For me?  A $300 difference is a CLEAR no-brainer and I'd likely have gone to $500.

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