Front viewAll round view (click for larger image)

The design of the Pro 70 is really aimed towards satisfying the SLR owning community, with all the similarities of an SLR, a snub nose, zoom on the barrel and the familiar SLR-like hand grip and shutter release.

The body itself resembles an SLR with its left hand side cut off (which is why when people actually notice you carrying one they get curious.. Where does the film live?).

Flip-out and Twist LCD

At the back we have the excellent flip out and twist LCD. In it's safe configuration it's folded neatly away, screen side in, against the back of the camera, you can easily flip it out and have it in a multitude of different positions including traditional 'screen out' on the back of the camera (see animation) we found this feature one of the best innovations on this camera, aiding difficult shooting and lighting positions no end.

Connectors and Compartments

CF compartment (click for larger image)On the right hand side of the body is the door to the CF card slots, this camera has the unique feature of being able to take TWO CF cards (switchable by hitting the CF button on the top) slot one is also a 'Type II CF slot' which means it should be able to take the new higher capacity (inc. the IBM 340Mb microdrive) CF cards. Once the card(s) are in position you lock them in place with an unusual orange lever (which is admittedly a little difficult to operate at first).

Battery compartment (click for larger image)On the base is the battery compartment (it's inside the hand grip) which takes the supplied Canon NB-4H NiMH batteries or the commonly found 2CR5 camera battery (useful in an emergency). Again the battery is held in by a small orange lever.

Aux connectors (click for larger image)On the left side behind a rubber cover are found the serial, remote control and video out connectors. Serial connectivity was not tested in this review, but is known to operate at 115,200kbps. Video out is only available in playback mode, with the LCD turned OFF.

On the top of the camera is a traditional flash hot-shoe, combined with Canon's excellent 220EX or 380EX SpeedLight (street price US$80 & US$125 respectively) flashes this camera certainly has the advantage over other digicams in the studio. However the lack of a built-in flash is a serious draw back and rather limits the market for this camera to people who are willing to carry a flash around with them.

Control Layout

All the major controls are on top of the camera, CF switches between CF card one and two (on both record and playback). Menu initiates the menu system. LCD/Video switches on the LCD (by default always OFF). The three buttons above the top LCD operate differently depending on whether you are in record or playback, in record they control the image quality, drive / self timer and exposure adjustment. In playback the switch between thumbnail view / page by page and toggling image information.

Top controls (click for larger image)

Only the + / - and set buttons are placed on the back of the body, logically as they are only used in the menu system and to adjust exposure.

You can quickly access the aperture priority mode (when in P mode) by holding SET (on the back) and pressing +/- (INFO). You can cancel it again by half pressing the shutter release.

Record Controls

Major modes are controlled by a rotating switch on the left side of the barrel. There are two record modes on the Pro 70, the fully automatic record mode marked with a green square and programmable mode (P). Everything is taken care of in automatic mode, however you can only choose between Normal and Fine mode, lower resolutions and CCD RAW are only available in programmable mode.

In both modes you can also hit the Macro button which automatically zooms in to full tele (70mm) an instructs the autofocus to focus close, you're also limited to the amount you can zoom back out in macro mode. In automatic the 'drive' button only initiates self-timer mode.

Programmable mode without changing any settings reacts in exactly the same way as automatic mode, however that's not why we're in programmable mode is it?

Exposure adjustments can be made +/-2 EV in 1/3 EV steps, quality can be set between five different modes (two for each resolution and CCD RAW - 1.9Mb). Entering the menu when in programmable mode allows us to adjust the aperture between:

Auto / Full Open (f2.4), f2.8, f4.0, f5.6, f8.0 and f8.0 + ND4

You can quickly access the aperture priority mode (when in P mode) by holding SET (on the back) and pressing +/- (INFO). You can cancel it again by half pressing the shutter release.

This combined with exposure adjustment does allow for a certain amount of creativity whether you're looking for motion blur effects or changing the depth of field.