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Thread: Canon EOS 70D review

  1. #1
    Member Gary - Fulham's Avatar
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    Default Canon EOS 70D review

    Here's the full review:

    Jan 13 update: EOS 70D enhanced review
    This review update is now based on 3 months use of the 70D. I used the following lenses and accessories with the camera: Canon 600EXC-RT speedlite, Canon EF-S 15-85 f3.5 to f5.6, Canon EF-S 55-250 F3.5 to f5.6 Mk2, EF-S 60mm F2.8 macro, Sigma 10-20 EX DC f3.5 to 5.6, SanDisk ExtPro 32GB SDHC card, class 10 (95mb/s).
    As I suggested earlier, this is probably the best mid-range `prosumer' camera that Canon have produced in the APS-C sensor format and is a snip ahead of the 7D - which is still current and well over 4 years old of course, so still doing very well - and represents an excellent, robust, value for money package. It reminds me in many ways of the 7D - but with a slightly fresher set of features and it is slightly lighter and not as wide or high.
    In summary, the pros and cons are as follows:
    Strengths
    * Well made, compact, sturdy package, ideal for travel and reportage and as a back-up pro camera; weatherproofed body
    * Image quality very good (but see below), 20mp is a good compromise between file size and resolution
    * Excellent handling, controls fall easily to hand, familiar to Canon user
    * Excellent flash system, enhanced ETTL2
    * Used SD cards and LP-E6 batteries
    * Controls fall easily to hand, great for travel, cycling, walking. Foldable screen means that LCD screen can be protected from damage (e.g. whilst inside a rucksack or pannier)
    * SET button, with concentric multi-controller ring and rear control wheel (carried over from the 2012 EOS 6D), work very well, but might be a struggle with large or gloved or cold hands.
    * Excellent metering and focussing
    * Silent shooting mode a real advantage. Very quiet operation (even in non-silent mode) - the shutter release is significantly quieter than the 60D's or full frame Canons.
    * Very good ISO range - 100 to 12800 (H1 boost to 25600) and low light functionality
    * Bright, well-designed viewfinder, excellent grid overlay and viewfinder level option from 7D (actually improved over this)
    * Good range of custom functions and customisable buttons, latest menu system with same multi-controller wheel set-up as on 6D.
    * Well design articulated LCD screen with touch sensitivity (like 60D)
    * Built in wireless flash option
    * Well-designed top plate, large mode selector dial with lock button
    * On chip phase detection system makes video / live view focussing the best yet
    * Commendable battery life. Same LP-E6 battery as most EOS cameras above the 600-series. The first charge with the new battery gave me realistically about 400 exposures before I recharged it. However, this involved the usual experimentation one does with a new camera, so I would expect real world use to give at least 600 shots or more
    * Shutter speed of 7 fps is good enough for me. As a travel photographer, probably 99.5% of the all the images I have ever taken have been `single shot'
    Weaknesses
    * Image quality of a high standard and dynamic range better than many previous Canon APS-C cameras but DR could be improved re; Nikon rivals
    * Focussing not as versatile or customisable as 7D
    * Not a 100% field of view viewfinder unlike the 7D (a criticism of most EOS cameras from me)
    * No built-in viewfinder rear shutter (ditto)
    * Pointless SCENE, Green Square A+ , `night' and CA settings on top dial. Better to have C2/3 (in addition to C1) or another customisable position. I have never accepted the idea that anyone `trading up' to a better camera needs these settings: at ca. 1000 this camera body is beyond the price range of most `dabblers'
    * Lost opportunity to place a true customisable Mf-n button on top of grip (like 7D) - the control in this position is fixed to focussing pattern control on 70D
    * Same criticism as for 6D - parsimonious My Menu customising - why just 6 options - with all the RAM this camera has, I can't believe this couldn't easily be 12 or more
    * Printed user manual supplied is a short version - the full manual is only found on the CD or as a PDf download from the Net. This is common with Canon now and a trend I hate
    Most controls are positioned where we would expect of a modern EOS. The Top Dial has the useful centre lock button and the On / Off switch is now in its usual position below this. There is a good balance of features on the top plate - somewhere between a 7D and a 5D mk3 top plate. It has the larger type LCD, with the usual array of buttons in front of the LCD - AF, Drive, ISO, Metering and panel Illumination. The DOF preview button is now in a much more useful place to the right hand side of the lens throat. The top right hand side of the rear panel has three buttons - all customisable - which will be familiar - AF-On, Metering Lock and AF Points. Below this there are significant changes from the 60d (etc) that came in with the EOS 6D last year. There is the concentric SET, Multi Controller and Rear Dial set up - which actually works very well. This has the associated Lock switch (which, usefully, is customisable) and below the Rear Dial is the Delete (`dustbin') button. Above it are the Play and Magnify buttons and the usual Live View / Video controller button. To the top left of the rear LCD panel is the standard MENU and INFO buttons. I am not a great user of video but it seems to produce fine image quality and I am sure it customisable enough for the enthusiast.
    So, all pretty-much standard stuff on a modern EOS and should be intuitive for any Canon user - you'll be able to use it `straight-from-the-box' - certainly for basic usage.
    Focussing
    The focussing is pretty commendable. It has all the usual focussing `tweakability' of all mid- to high-end EOS cameras these days. Via the C.FnII, you have the option to adjust Tracking Sensitivity, Accel / Decel tracking, AI Servo Priority, AF Assist Beam, AF Microadjust, etc. However, for me the issue is how well does the camera work in real-world situations? I would say the focussing functionality is significantly better than the 5Dmk2 and 6D and probably not quite up there with the 7D or 5Dmk3. For me, that's very good. Not really being a photographer who takes many photographs of moving subjects, I haven't truly used all the focussing abilities of the 7D over the last three years anyway. Probably, if I wanted a `cheaper' EOS for sports or action, I'd go for the 70D regardless (something Canon seemed to have cottoned on to as their 4 year-old EOS 7D camera has been given a new lease of life by `Firmware 2.0' and a big advertising push - one suspects that sports and wildlife photographers actually liked the 1.3 magnification factor of the 1D mk3/4 and there's now a gap as the 1Dx is full frame with no magnification advantages for long lenses).
    Metering and Exposure
    The camera has no problems in this department. Many earlier EOS DSLRs up to the 5D mk2 struggled with the older matrix / evaluative metering. I found that they consistently overexposed in UK conditions and I used spot / partial metering or used Manual more often than not. Blown highlights and featureless, white skies were a problem on overcast days. Since the introduction of the iFCL metering around the time the 7D was launched (I think it might have been with the 1Dm4), things have improved greatly and the 70D is no exception. I found I could use Aperture Priority metering with few problems. I also found the same with the budget 600D in the UK - I have now sold this as the 70D has effectively replaced this. Exposure is now more `Nikon-like' with fewer clipped highlights and better shadow detail - also likely to be a benefit of the dynamic range of the chip. Viewfinder perspective and information readout are commendable. But I still feel Canon have work to do on the dynamic range of their APS-C sized chips.
    Flash
    In a word - superb. The best I have found on a Canon DSLR so far, especially with the 600EX-RT speedlite (see separate review). The new ETTL2 + algorithms used in flash calculations seem to have finally allowed Canon flash system to catch up with Nikon
    Real world use with typical lenses
    Any Canon EF lens made over the last 26 years (or non-Canon EF equivalent) will fit this camera. The Canon EF-S range is optimised for this camera. Most of my first 3 months of shots with the camera were taken with my excellent, workhorse EF-S 15-85 f3.5 to 5.6 which is the premium, latest version of this 24-135 35mm equivalent standard zoom (comparable in quality to the EF 24-105L). I also used the compact, optically superb Canon EF-S 60mm f2.8 macro and the less optically distinguished EF-S 55-250 f3.5 to 5.6 mk 2 lightweight telephoto zoon (a kit lens, that sells at around 110) and the well regarded Sigma EX DC 10-20mm f3.5/5.6 HSM (their equivalent of the Canon EF-S 10-20mm).
    The 15-85 and the 70D make a great lightweight travel set. They work well together giving sharp images across the range and punchy colours. Optical aberrations are well controlled and flatness of field relatively good for such a lens. My only criticism of this lens is that it doesn't have a lens lock so the zoom ring tends to drift when carried or stowed in a camera bag.
    Conclusion
    This is the best prosumer `mid-range' Canon DSLR yet. It rivals the 7D and gives the 6D / 5D mk3 a serious run for its money if you don't want full frame. Great image quality and a very robust, ergonomic package make this camera a fine buy. It can be firmly recommended.
    www.garywhite-photography.com
    Gary White, MPhil
    Travel Photographer

  2. #2
    Member* Les McLean's Avatar
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    Default Re: Canon EOS 70D review

    An excellent review Gary, thanks.
    Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colours and your images will stir the soul. - Jack Dykinga
    Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography- George Eastman

  3. #3

    Default Re: Canon EOS 70D review

    Nice one Gary ... indepth.
    [ Canon 1DX ] [ 70-200 f2.8 L is II ] [ 300 f4 L is usm ] [ 50 mm f1.8 II ] [ 24-105 f4 L is ] [ Speedlite 430 ] [Yongnuo 568 ex II flash ] [ Yongnuo flash triggers ] [ Cokin P filters] [ Giottos Silk Road GYTL8384 carbon tripod ] [ Photoshop CS5 ] ... Wish list Canon EF 500 mm f/4 L IS USM.

    Some nice gear, but not much idea ... https://www.flickr.com/photos/123175589@N03/

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Canon EOS 70D review

    Currently at work at the moment so can't read the full post but will do later as 70D is still possible for me as second body.

    Thanks for the update.
    Canon 5D3, 7D2, 60D, Canon 70-200L f2.8 IS II, Canon 300 f4L IS, Canon 16-35 f4 L, Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, Canon 1.4 MkIII extender, Sigma AF 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM, Sigma 150-600 Contemporary, Tamron SP AF 70-300 F/4-5.6 Di VC USD, Canon EF-S 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/16830751@N03/

  5. #5
    Member tesarver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Canon EOS 70D review

    Great review Gary

    Tom

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    Member* rajjayaraj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Canon EOS 70D review

    Well done Gary, very useful for me at the time of thinking for a backup camera. Raj
    Last edited by rajjayaraj; 30-01-2014 at 12:06.
    Raj
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    Member* JaKS_Foto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Canon EOS 70D review

    Great review Gary. I have a 70D and this is better than the manual
    The camera works just fine, it's the idiot staring through the viewfinder that need's help!

  8. #8
    Member 2Beers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Canon EOS 70D review

    Great Review Gary as I too am looking at the 70D as a slight upgrade from the 60d as I don't have use for full frame or the lenses to fit a full frame
    Alex

    EOS 5D Mk 1V EOS 7D Mk ii Lenses EFS 18-55mm EFS 55-250mm EF 50mm 24-105mm Sigma EX 70-200 Sigma 150-600c

  9. #9
    Member Columbarius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Canon EOS 70D review

    I have to say Gary this is a most unhelpful review! Not, I hasten to add because of the quality of your work - which is excellent, but because having finally reached a firm decision that my next camera would be a 6D - I'm a quivering jelly of uncertainty again!

    In your view, if the 70D with the features it has now were a full frame, would you buy it in preference to the 6D? Or conversely if the 6D were a crop frame would you buy it in preference to the 70D?

    I won't hold you to it, but I'd be interested in your thoughts. Thanks.
    Russell
    Canon 7D MkII, 550D EF 24-105mm f/4.0L IS USM, EF 70-200mm f/4.0L IS USM, EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro, 300mm f/4L IS USM, Extender EF 1.4x III, Speedlite 600 EX-RT Speedlite 320EX
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/photorussell

  10. #10
    Member Gary - Fulham's Avatar
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    Default Re: Canon EOS 70D review

    Thanks for the kind comments, all. Russell, in answer to your question, I would say if you don't want full farme, save yourself some money and get the 70D. The 6D has the edge in having GPS built in and a FF sensor which gives better dynamic range and high ISO operation but maybe this is not important for you. In terms of ergonomics and handling, the 70D is superb
    Gary
    www.garywhite-photography.com
    Gary White, MPhil
    Travel Photographer

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