Canon 70D Digital Camera Review
The EOS 70D is Canon’s latest mid-range DSLR. It uses a new Dual Pixel CMOS AF system which claims dramatically shorter focusing times and outstanding tracking performance during Live View and movie shooting.
Its sensitivity is a little higher than some rival APS-C models too. Reviewers have given it very good marks for image quality, particularly at high ISO sensitivities.
Dual Pixel CMOS AF
Unlike many competing DSLR and mirrorless camera systems that use either contrast detection or traditional phase-detection AF when focusing in Live View mode (including most Canon models prior to 2013) the 70D’s 20.2 megapixel sensor has dual light-sensitive pixels which can act as both imaging pixels and phase-detection sensors. Canon claims that this results in a huge improvement in autofocus speed and tracking performance, especially when shooting video.
This is a huge engineering achievement which is one of the reasons that the 70D has become such an acclaimed camera. The system delivers wide AF coverage and smooth, seamless focus action, and works even when the subject is moving quickly in Live View mode and while recording video. It’s also effective at smaller apertures where contrast-detection AF would struggle to find focus.
Full HD Movie Capture
The 70D has a good choice of shooting modes including seven frame bracketing for HDR. It also has a full range of creative filters and offers a nice articulating touch screen for Live View focusing.
One area where it’s a step up from the 60D is in the resolution of its 20.2-megapixel sensor, which has a great deal more scope for dynamic range and better noise performance at high ISO values.
It also has a 7fps continuous shooting mode to help capture fast-moving subjects, and the 19 cross-type point AF system is highly precise, responsive and accurate. It can also upload images direct to Facebook, YouTube and Flickr via a Canon service called Image Gateway, although it takes a little longer than doing so directly on a laptop.
Face Detection and Tracking
Like other EOS DSLRs, the 70D is weather-sealed against dust and moisture. It also benefits from a reinforced glass cover and clear filler that eliminates the gap between the screen and the LCD, which helps to reduce glare and boost image clarity.
In addition to normal AF modes, the 70D includes Face Detection and Tracking. This mode can be triggered to automatically follow a moving subject (such as a speaking person) for video recording.
Canon has retained its APS-C sensor format, which ensures that the 70D has full compatibility with the vast EF lens catalogue (including EF-S lenses designed for the smaller APS-C sensor). This gives the camera some big advantages over youthful mirrorless formats. The 70D’s Live View magnifications look clean and detailed – even at 5x or 10x.
Fast Continuous Shooting
In Continuous Shooting mode (also called AF-C on Canon cameras) the camera takes frame after frame while you hold down the shutter button. This is a great feature for sports and wildlife photographers who want to be sure that they capture every bit of action.
This mode is also useful when you’re composing a scene with the camera on a tripod and want to be sure that all the elements are in focus before you fire off a burst. Different camera manufacturers call this focus mode different names — Nikon calls it AI Servo AF, and Canon calls it Continuous AF.
Another nice feature is the incredibly clean and detailed magnified Live View previews. This makes manual focusing much easier than on some other DSLRs.
EOS Utility App
Canon’s EOS Utility software usually comes included with their camera models and offers a number of advanced functions. It includes the ability to automatically download images and also to select specific photos to download.
Canon has included a new feature called Creative Auto in the 70D which will allow users to control the camera using a computer via a Wi-Fi connection (the camera must be set up as an access point first). This allows photographers to tweak a range of parameters including aperture, picture style and focus modes.
The EOS Utility app is a very useful feature and can be used in conjunction with other software such as Digital Photo Professional. Another feature that can be controlled with this is remote shooting which will come in handy for anyone who regularly hands the camera to other people.