Canon EOS 70D Review
During the early days of digital SLRs, Canon was pretty much the undisputed leader in CMOS image sensor technology. Almost every new EOS model came with an increase in resolution and high ISO range, and when the EOS 7D appeared in late 2009, the company had progressed from 3MP to 18MP, and ISO 1600 to ISO 12800, in just over nine years. But since then Canon's APS-C cameras have all sported variants on the same basic sensor design, to the extent that you could be forgiven for wondering what on earth their engineers were doing all day. Now we know.
The EOS 70D is a mid-range SLR for enthusiast photographers that from the outside looks like a sensible, indeed desirable upgrade to the EOS 60D. It borrows many of the best bits from Canon's existing SLRs, including the autofocus sensor from the EOS 7D, the fully articulated touchscreen from the EOS 700D (Rebel T5i), and built-in Wi-Fi from the EOS 6D. But on the inside it sports an entirely new sensor that is, potentially, revolutionary. It offers 20.2MP resolution, but uses a 'Dual Pixel CMOS AF' design in which every single pixel is split into two separately-readable photodiodes, facing left and right. This means that in principle they are all capable of phase detection autofocus in live view and movie mode.
On-chip phase detection is nothing new - we first saw it in the Fujifilm F300EXR back in 2010. Since then it's been adopted in one form or another by most manufacturers, with arguably its most successful implementation coming in Nikon's 1 System mirrorless models. But because until now it's used relatively few active pixels scattered sparsely across the sensor, it's had practical limitations, often only covering a restricted area of the frame and struggling once the light drops below outdoor daylight levels. Canon says that its Dual Pixel AF system, in contrast, works across an area 80% of the frame width and height, in light levels as low as 0 EV, and at apertures down to F11. This means it could well be the most capable live view autofocus system we've yet seen on any type of camera.
We'll look at the technology behind the EOS 70D's live view AF in more detail later, but let's not forget that it has to work as a conventional SLR too. To this end it uses the same 19-point AF sensor as the EOS 7D for viewfinder shooting, but with slightly simplified control options in firmware. It can rattle shots off at 7fps for up to 65 frames in JPEG or 16 in Raw, and its standard ISO range covers 100-12800, with ISO 25600 as an expanded option. Image processing is via the DIGIC 5+ processor first seen in the EOS 5D Mark III.
In terms of control layout the EOS 70D is a logical evolution of the EOS 60D, adopting many of Canon's intervening updates and improvements. So it offers a full set of external controls to operate most key functions, and Canon's well-designed Quick Control screen to cover pretty much everything else. It also adopts the superb touchscreen interface that debuted on the EOS 650D (Rebel T4i), which we've found to be more useful than you might at first think. The 70D also regains an array of features that disappeared between the EOS 50D and 60D, such as AF microadjustment.
Canon EOS 70D key features
- 20.2MP APS-C 'Dual Pixel CMOS AF' sensor
- DIGIC 5+ image processor
- ISO 100-12800 standard, 25600 expanded
- 7fps continuous shooting, burst depth 65 JPEG / 16 Raw
- 'Silent' shutter mode
- 1080p30 video recording, stereo sound via external mic
- 19-point AF system, all points cross-type, sensitive to -0.5 EV
- 63-zone iFCL metering system
- 98% viewfinder coverage, 0.95x magnification, switchable gridlines and electronic level display
- Fully-articulated touchscreen, 1040k dot 3" ClearView II LCD, 3:2 aspect ratio
- Single SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Single-axis electronic level
- Built-in flash works as off-camera remote flash controller
- AF microadjustment (can be set individually for up to 40 lenses, remembered by lens serial number)
- In-camera High Dynamic Range and Multiple Exposure modes (JPEG-only)
- 'Creative Filter' image processing styles, previewed in live view
Key specs compared
In the table below we see how some of the EOS 70D's key specs measure up against its more expensive big brother, the EOS 7D, and its main rival, the Nikon D7100. What's interesting here is just how close the 70D is to the 7D in terms of spec - in much the same way as Nikon's D7000 made the D300S look almost redundant, it's quite difficult to see why most Canon users would now choose the top-end APS-C model.
Canon EOS 70D
Canon EOS 7D
|Effective Pixels||• 20.2 MP||• 18.0 MP||• 24.1 MP|
|ISO Range|| • 100-12800 standard
• 25600 expanded
| • 100-6400 standard
• 12800 expanded
| • 100-6400 standard
• 50-25600 expanded
|No of AF points||• 19||• 19||• 51|
|AF in live view||• Phase detection||• Contrast detection||• Contrast detection|
|Screen|| • 3.0" 3:2
• 1,040,000 dots
• Touch sensitive
| • 3.0" 4:3
• 920,000 dots
| • 3.2" 4:3
• 1,228,800 dots
|Viewfinder|| • 98% coverage
• 0.95x magnification
| • 100% coverage
• 1.0x magnification
| • 100% coverage
• 0.94x magnification
|Continuous drive||• 7 fps||• 8 fps||• 6 fps|
|Storage||• SD/SDHC/SDXC||• Compact flash|| • SD/SDHC/SDXC
• 2 slots
|• 755g (1.7 lb)||• 860g (1.9 lb)||• 765g (1.7 lb)|
|Dimensions|| • 139 x 104 x 79 mm
(5.5 x 4.1 x 3.1")
| • 148 x 111 x 74 mm
(5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9")
| • 136 x 107 x 76 mm
(5.4 x 4.2 x 3.0")
|Wi-Fi||• Built-in||• Optional||• Optional|
Size and design compared to the EOS 60D
The EOS 70D directly replaces the EOS 60D in Canon's range, and is very similar in terms of size and design. It's a bit smaller though, and has a sensibly-updated control layout. Here we take a more-detailed look at the two cameras side-by-side.
Kit options and pricing
The EOS 70D will be sold body-only for £1079 / $1199 / €1099, as a kit with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM for £1199.99 / $1340 / €1249, or with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens for £1399.99 $1549 / €1499. The BG-E14 battery grip will cost £229.99 / $270 / €215.
Philips' new Momentum 436M6 43-inch Quantum Dot HDR monitor really deserves that designation. In fact, it's the first monitor in the world to earn VESA's DisplayHDR 1000 badge.
Find out how astrophysicis Donald Olson used a combination of topographic maps, astronomical software, and webcam archives to figure out exactly when and where Ansel Adams snapped two of his iconic photographs from Alaska.
Xiaomi claims its latest smartphone, the Mi 6X, competes with rivals such as the iPhone X or OPPO R15 in the camera department. Yet it costs just 1,600 Yuan (approximately $250 USD).
Adobe has put together a video tutorial that shows you how to create custom Creative Profiles in Adobe Camera Raw that can be used in ACR, Lightroom CC, and Lightroom Classic CC.
What do you get when you combine a Lamborghini Huracan with $500,000 dollar gimbal setup? You get "the world’s fastest purpose-built camera car."
The Japanese electronics manufacturer—one of the pioneers in the digital camera segment—is leaving the compact camera market behind after concluding that no market growth or increase in market share can be expected for the future.
You can now download a zip-file, including all images and videos you ever posted on Instagram, plus comments, messages, settings and other data in json-format.
The Pentax K-1 II features a hand-held Pixel Shift mode that creates a 'super resolution' image. Here's how to create a better-looking one in Photoshop using four files.
One of the weirdest copyright cases in the history of photography is finally over. The courts have sided with photographer David Slater and rejected PETA's claim that the monkey who took the infamous selfie has any claim over the photograph's copyright.
In his latest video, Ted Forbes of The Art of Photography shares his thoughts on how equipment nowadays is seen less as a means to an end, and more as the end in and of itself.
The latest update to Lightroom Classic CC brought with it a slew of major bugs, including some that would cause the program to crash. Adobe has now released an update to address these bugs, along with an apology.
The new drives come in the M.2 form factor and with the latest PCIe Gen 3×4 lane interface, offering NVM Express (NVMe) bandwidth. In other words: they're an interesting option for anyone editing large batches of photos or 4K/8K video.
Photographer Alexander Gee has created something pretty cool: the first (to our knowledge) E-Mount film camera. It's called LEX, and when it's finished, Gee intends to make the camera's design files open source so that anybody can built their own from scratch.
Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a low-power HD video streaming method that could eventually allow tiny, maybe even battery-free wearable cameras to stream high definition video.
Nikon Corporation has warned investors that an assessment of its Belgium-based metrology business based is worth much less than expected, and that they should brace themselves for an 'extraordinary loss' of 10,343 million yen.
In 2009, photographer Michael Benanav joined a family from the nomadic Van Gujjar tribe on their annual journey from the lowland jungles of the Shivalik Hills to the alpine meadows of the Himalayas. This is the story behind the images he captured.
NVIDIA's Content-Aware Fill competitor is getting better and better. A new demo from shows how the latest version can fill in entire chunks of a person's face, or pieces of an image that are missing, with incredibly realistic results.
This hacked Polaroid Sonar Autofocus 5000 puts a digital spin on instant photography, but not in the way you're used to seeing. It's one of the most ambitious and well-executed DIY camera projects we've seen.
Chinese smartphone manufacturer Meizu has launched a new high-end model, the Meizu 15 Plus. And based on specs alone, the phone is well-worth a closer look for mobile photographers who are open to buying from a less established brand.
Open source photo editor GIMP is a popular (and free) Photoshop alternative, but can it really be used on a professional edit? In this video, photographer Shane Milton shows you that it most certainly can.
Photographer Jolyon Ralph pit the new Huawei P20 Pro against his beloved Canon 5DS R, and was "somewhat stunned" by how well the 40MP smartphone performed against the 50MP DSLR.
Thanks to a low-res proxy version of the Insta360 Pro 8K footage, stitching times and computer processing requirements are reduced significantly when editing 360° footage from the six-lens system.
DxO Labs has filed the initial proceedings to start the bankruptcy process in France. The company is currently under "judicial administration," which allows it some time to restructure and find a buyer before the liquidation process occurs.
SmugMug has acquired struggling photography site Flickr for an undisclosed sum, with CEO Don MacAskill promising to give the neglected photo sharing service "the resources that it deserves."
YouTube channel Filmmaker IQ has put together a very interesting, technically detailed, and scientifically accurate description of exactly how various image sensors (and photographic film) work. One of the best overview videos we've seen.
In Part 1 of his series on photographing Greenland in winter, landscape photographer Erez Marom shares the freezing details of his arrival on the town of Uummannaq where the temperature was -25°C. Still, he went out shooting.
The APO-Makro-Plasmat 105mm F2.7 is Meyer Optik's latest Kickstarter lens revival, and it promises "natural sharpness, unbelievable color reproduction, and a glowing bokeh united at every step of the aperture" ... whatever that means.
The update also comes with "post-scan cloud processing," which allows you to render 3D models with 4K resolution textures for better detail and realism.
Chinese accessories brand Meike has announced it will introduce an 85mm F1.8 lens for Canon and Nikon full frame DSLRs that will feature autofocus. This will be the company’s first AF lens.