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Hands on review: Canon EOS 70D

Canon EOS 70D
Canon EOS 70D

I had high expectations for the new Canon EOS 70D, when I received it I could barely contain myself, here was a camera that could make the fusion between photo and video a reality, a machine close to the professional class of the Canon EOS 7D, I even dared to label it a replacement of the former from the specification on paper, it was close enough to call, was I right?

It is not a replacement to the 7D, it has serious limitations that the 7D overcomes easily, the frame rate of 7 fps makes it tantalizing. However, the where the 7D can continue forever at rates above that, the 70D will stall relatively quickly in RAW, in fact, after 7 frames… Disappointing.

That was where the disappointment ended; the body felt rubbery but that was not unexpected, it feels far more robust than the Canon EOS 100D or 700D. The camera was a lot heavier that I expected, not that it was a hindrance. The choice of standard lens surprised me, fitted on my sample was the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 STM IS lens. I expected a higher quality non-L lens, but the STM easily made the cut again. It is a great and versatile lens that feels at home everywhere and in any mode, photography now, video next. This kit lens cannot be compared to it’s predecessor as they have little in common.

The button layout of the camera is classic Canon EOS with the addictive addition of a swivel touch screen, which reacts as fast and accurately as any modern smartphones, making the switch to it from any other EOS simple.

The new style menu is still a little convoluted, since it is not a place you will spend a lot of time this is not an issue besides there is a favourite menu that can be customized. There is also a full custom setting on the dial so you can set your camera to your style and make it accessible at a twist of a dial; the dial has also got a welcomed locking mechanism found on the 5D MkIII and some 7D.

The biggest news and feature on the Canon EOS 70D is it’s live view and video capabilities and in this regard, it did not disappoint, the focusing in live view and video is nothing short of surprising, not other DSLR (I am excluding SLT technology) has ever come as close to being a video camera. The 70D paired with the STM lens is a true hybrid that is very comfortable shooting video or being used with live view.

Video sample will follow, I have issues uploading it.

On the photography front, the 19 focus points 20.1Mp sensor does a very reasonable work at up to ISO6400, I would not push further, this will allow most people to shoot in low light circumstances without the need of a flash getting very usable images without post-processing. The point is that post processing the 70D’s images will not be necessary in most cases as it does a good job of colour reproduction and image quality without interference.

Lastly, the “connectivity”, the Canon EOS 70D has Wi-Fi like it’s bigger brother the 6D. Much like expected, it works well, and downloads are reasonably fast and easily configured. I found that the remote on the iPhone lagged a little; the only problem I found was that the remote app is only built for the iPhone, though it works on the iPad it is not as elegant, Canon should really look into this unfortunate issue.

All in all, it is a fantastic replacement to the Canon EOS 60D and brings new functionality to the table, it might not be a 7D replacement, however it is a strong contender in it’s segment. I enjoyed it a lot.

Test and product photographs can be found here.
Test camera kindly supplied by Canon South Africa.

Pascal Parent

Pascal's day job is as a technologist but you can mostly find him behind a camera after hours. As a passionate photographer he regularly shares his experiences with the world. From how-to to reviews you will find it all in his regularly updated blog and other places.

Comments

Lawrence
Reply

I just had my 7D, 10D and a bag full of lenses redistributed to another unrightfully owner (only in SA!) so its time for a replacement, been out of touch for more than a year. I think I will have a look at the 70D – then again cameras are so expensive in SA! Lawrence V

Grant Atkinson
Reply

Hi Pascal
Nice review, interesting read, thanks for that. I am a bit puzzled by your finding that continuous shooting was limited to 7 frames with your 70D. In my testing, shooting RAW only, with Auto Lighting Optimizer, Highlight Tone priority, High Iso NR, Long Exp NR, Chromatic Aberration, Vignetting all switched off, as they are for jpg creation only, I consistently achieve 16 shots in a burst, which is quite reasonable for a camera in this class…7 would not be 🙂
cheers
Grant

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