Operation and controls

Top of camera controls (right)

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The EOS 70D's right hand top-plate has almost exactly the same control layout as the 60D, the sole addition being the AF area expansion button between the front dial and shutter release. The front dial changes the primary exposure parameter for the selected mode: program shift in P, aperture in Av, and shutter speed in Tv and M. Behind it is a strip of buttons giving direct access to autofocus and drive modes, metering pattern and ISO (the latter being markedly better-placed for operation with the camera to your eye than the Nikon D7100's), along with one that illuminates the top-plate LCD.

Three buttons are placed on the camera's shoulder for operation by your thumb. The AF-ON button activates the camera's autofocus, and the 'Star' button next to it is a customisable autoexposure lock. Beside it is the AF point selector - press this and you can move the focus point around using either the front and rear dials, or the directional pad inside the rear dial. The latter two buttons are also used for playback magnification.

Top of camera controls (left)

On the other side of the pentaprism you'll find the power switch and mode dial. This has the familiar four exposure modes - Program, Aperture priority, Shutter Priority and Manual - plus Bulb shutter mode and a single user-definable Custom position. There's also 'Auto+', 'Flash off' and 'Creative Auto' modes, the latter offering results-orientated creative control, along with a SCN position that consolidates Canon's long-running scene modes (sport, landscape etc.) in one place. The mode dial rotates freely though 360 degrees, with no end-stops.

Below these, there are two buttons to access the camera's menus and change the amount of information displayed on the rear screen.

Rear Controls

The rest of the 70D's major shooting controls are on the back, mainly arranged for operation by your right thumb. The combined live view / movie mode controller is beside the viewfinder; with the switch in the stills position, pressing the central button engages and disengages live view. Flick the switch into the movie position and the camera enters movie live view with a 16:9 preview display. The Start/Stop button then starts and stops recording.

The Q button brings up an interactive control screen while shooting, allowing you to change camera parameters that can't necessarily be accessed directly through external buttons. It also brings overlaid option menus in Live View and Playback modes, offering rapid access to features such as in-camera Raw conversion. The playback button is immediately below, with the delete key towards the bottom of the camera.

The rear dial is used to change exposure compensation in P, Av and Tv modes, and change the aperture in M. Set within it is an 8-way controller that's used for such things as changing the focus point, navigating menus and scrolling around images in playback. The rear dial can be locked against accidental settings changes using the switch that's beneath it.

Front of camera controls

The flash activation button is conventionally placed on the side of the lens throat, and activates a motorised (as opposed to mechanical) release.
The depth of field preview button is on the handgrip side of the lens throat, and designed to be operated by your left hand. It can be customized to access a number of different functions.

We're not huge fans of this position to be honest - it can be awkward to reach when shooting in portrait format, or with the camera on a tripod.