Wi-Fi connectivity

The Canon EOS 70D becomes the latest of the company's cameras to include Wi-Fi capability. It's still an unusual feature to find built into a DSLR, but one we think will be increasingly widely used. 802.11b/g/n standards and, according to Canon, has a transmission range of up to 30m/98.4 ft. Be aware that movie mode is disabled when Wi-Fi is active and any physical connection to a computer or printer will be broken.

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The full list of features offers is as follows:

  • Transfer images between Wi-Fi enabled Canon cameras
  • Connect to smartphone or tablet (via EOS Remote)
  • Remote control from PC (via EOS Utility)
  • Print from Wi-Fi enabled printer
  • Upload to web service (e.g. Canon iMage Gateway)
  • View images on DNLA-enabled devices (e.g. TVs)
With Wi-Fi enabled on the EOS 70D, you can transfer images to a compatible Canon camera, send them to a Wi-Fi enabled printer or media player or upload them to the Canon iMage Gateway web service (free registration required) which provides 10GB of online media storage and sharing options for social media. You can also send 1920 x 1280px images to a smartphone or tablet.

Although we'll mainly concentrate on connecting the EOS 70D to a smart device, it's also possible to use Wi-Fi to connect the camera to a PC and control it using Canon's EOS Utility. This means it's also possible to use a 'tethered' connection to other software that can connect via these means, such as Adobe's Lightroom.

The camera can save up to three presets for the connections you regularly make - with the aim of making re-connection faster.

EOS Remote (Android/iOS)

One of the main uses we find for in-camera Wi-Fi is the ability to get images off the camera, either for showing to other people or sharing on the internet, while away from a computer. Whether it's demonstrating an image to its subject or providing them with a JPEG, or simply documenting a weekend away on a social network, it can be a convenient feature.

The Canon implementation is comprehensive but also overly complicated. For instance, rather than just allowing a smartphone to connect to the camera, it's also possible to connect the 70D to a smartphone by connecting both devices via a common Wi-Fi network (The snappily named 'infrastructure' mode). And it's here that the connection presets both help and hinder - while they make it easier to re-establish connections if you're regularly using multiple connection methods, the need to constantly define a preset every time you make a new connection is slow and frustrating.

You can speed things up a little by adding the Wi-Fi option to the custom 'My Menu' tab, but that's not a huge improvement. Ultimately you can tell a lot about how capable and how complex the EOS 70D's Wi-Fi is by the fact the company produces a 174-page pdf detailing all its features (there's also a 36-page 'Basic Instruction Manual' that explains the key points).

Once connected, the EOS Remote app gives you the choice of either browsing the images on the camera or remotely controlling its shooting.

Remote shooting

The remote shooting section of the app gives a reasonable degree of control over the camera. You can set the camera's focus point and get it to focus. By default the app is set to focus and trigger the shutter at the same time, but there's a menu option to add an AF acquire button to the interface (the smaller circular 'button' in these screen shots).

You're able to control ISO, exposure compensation and whichever primary shooting parameters are available from the exposure mode the camera is set to.

The basic screen shows the focus point and some basic shooting settings. Pressing the 'Info' button at the top of the screen cycles through the levels of shooting details shown.

The smaller of the two circular buttons on the right is optional and performs a focus acquisition.
Pressing the square 'sliders' button on the right of the window brings up icons for the major shooting parameters that can be controlled from the app.
For instance, here we've selected the ISO option, allowing the sensitivity to be controlled (or set to Auto).

Once a value has been selected, you have to press the 'return' arrow on the right, taking you back to the main preview screen. To change another setting, you have to re-press the 'sliders' button.

Once you've shot an image, a thumbnail of it appears in the lower right of the screen. Tapping on this shows a strip of images along the bottom of the screen. From here it's possible to perform a simple review of images, including the ability to zoom-in. There's no way of transfering from this image review mode to the full image review mode covered below.

Tapping on the thumbnail that appears at the bottom right after you shoot an image opens a filmstrip along the bottom of the screen.

Tapping on one of these thumbnails then allows you to review the images you've shot.
It's possible to zoom into these images by the usual two-fingertip pinch and spread touchscreen method.

Image review and transfer

All images and video on the SD card can be reviewed using the EOS Remote app. It supports familiar smartphone gestures such as pinching, swiping and double-tapping to browse through images.

When reviewing images you can display an overlay with filename, capture date and exposure settings. You can also rate images with 1-5 stars (as you can through the camera's menu) that can be read by Canon's Digital Photo Professional software.

From the image review section of the app you can rate images stored on the SD card and email or save 1920 x 1280 S2 JPEG versions to your device's image gallery. These are handy, but not useful for critical image analysis since you can't get an accurate idea of focus accuracy from such small files.

Transferring full resolution JPEG images to the web is possible, but only from the camera itself. To do that you must first use Canon's EOS Utility software (supplied with the 70D) to configure a compatible web service like Canon's iMage Gateway, Facebook or Twitter with the 70D connected to a computer via USB. Once configured, you can then upload single or multiple images via Wi-Fi at either full size, S2 or S3 resolution settings.

Overall impressions, and battery life

Overall, the 70D's Wi-Fi functionality is certainly comprehensive and, at a time when Nikon is providing Wi-Fi via rather awkward external adapters, could be seen as a selling point. The EOS Remote App is effective and provides a reasonable amount of control over the camera. However, in comparison with Olympus and Fujifilm's setup systems, the comprehensive nature of the Canon approach counts against it - adding complexity and extra steps.

Inevitably though, the 70D's connectivity functionality does have an impact on battery life. When Wi-Fi is turned on (likewise GPS) the 70D's battery will drain noticeably over time. This doesn't only apply when you're actively using the camera - it also has an impact on battery life when the 70D enters sleep mode. If you're in the habit of leaving your DSLR to go into sleep mode rather than turning it off (as many photographers are) and Wi-Fi and GPS are turned off, the 70D's power management is the same as every other EOS DSLR. You can grab your camera days after putting it into sleep mode and your battery level will be effectively unchanged from the last time you used it.

If, however, you let the camera go to sleep with Wi-Fi/GPS enabled, the 70D will drain its battery during sleep, to the extent that if you leave the camera for a couple of days, you may well find the battery significantly drained, if not exhausted.