Top positive review
325 people found this helpful
Probably Canon's best DSLR to date
on 20 October 2013
But with some caution in reference to stills shooters, whilst this is a step up from the 60d in a good number of ways, I think it's really most appealing to people who have a fairly serious interest in video.
I'm by no means a pro level video shooter, but was quite impressed with how Canon have implemented the much talked about phase detect AF off the "sensor". I've used the 7d and 60d bodies on and off for a few years, and the 70d is one of the better Canon offerings for some time.
My pros and cons list
+ Happy with the build quality, no it's not magnesium alloy, but good quality plastics and a strong solid feel
+ On sensor phase detect works really well, it's not "as fast" as using the optical finder but it's heaps faster than the very slow off sensor contrast AF on previous Canon DSLR's. It's quite capable of tracking movements well
+ Buffer is quite decent for this class of camera. I got about 14-15 shots in raw with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s card. Jpeg buffer is really decent too I counted over 35 shots if not a bit more with no signs of slowing
+ Touch screen works well and swivel LCD is handy for stills and video
+ Smooth autofocus with the touch screen (touch to target AF) on video this is a big step forward for serious video shooters
+ 7fps is really quite fast for action shooting and more than enough for most, not quite 8fps Canon 7d but a good improvement on the 5.3fps of the 60d
+ The 70d now has the 7d's 19 point all cross type AF system another nice jump up over the 60d
+ AF adjustments! Finally Canon came to their senses and restored this function sorely missed on the 60d
+ AF performance is very good, speed is fast (easily faster than the D7100 and older 60d) and accuracy is similar to the 7d
+ Now has wifi which allows you to control the camera remotely via iphone/android phone etc
+ Quite happy with the metering Canon's 63 zone system it's mostly on target and consistent
+ Very good battery life around 900 shots with optical finder
+ Mode dial, minor point but they put the scene modes into one area (SCN) position which is much better than before on the 60d with scene modes taking half the dial space
+ Stereo mic v Mono mic on 60d
+ I like the new AF expansion mode button just behind the shutter release, good placement
+ Really well specified camera in most ways excellent customisation, good higher spec 1/8000 sec shutter, 1/250 sec flash sync, crackingly good crisp/ clear swivel rear LCD. You really want for very little on this body it's not quite fully loaded but not far off.
- Viewfinder is a bit larger than the 60d's (very slightly) but still not 100% or quite as big/bright as the 7d's
- In terms of pure image quality you get a few extra megapixels but I don't feel there is much improvement in either high ISO performance or dynamic range v the 18mp CMOS sensor from Canon
- Still only one card slot. I've never had problems with lost images but I have to admit dual cards can be very useful
- Level gauge is good, but just single axis not pitch (front/back angle)
- Live view/video drains battery much quicker than normal finder, not a shock here but if you are doing video/live view a lot carry extra batteries (2 or 3)
- Rear dial is even smaller than the 60d when I'd prefer it to be a bit bigger
- On-board microphone whilst it's now stereo is still pretty poor like most built in mics it has poor tonal range and frequency response. Get an external mic for serious video work
- I did notice some moiré on a few video clips
- Strangely there is no white balance button on the camera. Auto WB performance isn't bad, but it's not amazing either (esp lower light or mixed light sources)
- No dedicated AF assist lamp, I think it's time Canon started offering this on some models
- Yet another battery grip: BG-E14 would have been useful if the 60d's grip fitted this but it won't
- No headphone socket, might annoy video users
I'll split this into 2 camps having spent a good week or so shooting with the camera.
Stills shooters with a strong interest in Video (or primary video shooters):
Get it, the new phase detect off the sensor is very good and will change how you make videos. Touch to focus screen is also very smooth and accurate making filmic scenes for video much easier. This wasn't really possible before, and with the 18-135mm STM focus is quick and effectively silent (lens is quite sharp overall too) Yes it is a revolution for video shooters and a huge upgrade over any previous DSLR's out there for AF.
Stills shooters who don't shoot much video:
If you've a Canon 60d it might be worth a look with some nice upgrades such as faster fps, touch screen, AF micro adjustments, but I'd be tempted to wait for the price to drop.
7d users will like the 70d's performance, but the buffer whilst good isn't as big as the 7d's, nor is the build as meaty due to plastics v mag alloy on the 7d the 70d just isn't as pro like build wise. I can't see many 7d users replacing that body with this (good as a second body though)
If you are thinking about a mid range DSLR then it's this v the D7100. Tricky choice as the Nikon has lots of AF points, dual cards, and better build and a few more features. On the other hand the really small buffer on the D7100 is a real disappointment (way smaller than the 70d's), so I'd recommend the 70d over that model for action/wildlife shooters.
Overall I really like the camera, some niggles as there always is. But it depends a lot on what you do.
Video people, this is it, essential purchase
Stills shooters, well it's a very solid camera and a decent update over previous models, but you gain very little if anything in terms of pure image quality over older models, it's a great buy if you need the new "improved" bits, but don't buy this expecting a revolution in image quality. You might be better to sit it out for a while for a better price. Or pick up a 60d or 7d for a bargain price...or possibly move up to the 6d if full frame appeals.
I've been using the 70d frequently for a good few months now. To date I have no major concerns at all. I did read some an online review comparing the normal phase detect AF to the sensor phase detect showing a big difference in AF accuracy (far more than I would expect to see on any camera, possibly a bad body). I have tested and used quite a few lenses with my 70d and have found that very few require any AF fine tuning, and those that do only very small adjustments. Even faster primes such as the 50mm f1.4, 85mm f1.8 seem spot on for autofocus most of the time.
Like any DSLR no AF system is perfect, but to date it's hard to tell any real world differences between the 70d and the 7d (they use the same AF system)
Minor niggles, I do like the 7d joystick - but it's not a huge downer to not have it. I would prefer a slightly bigger firmer rear dial, but again I'm splitting hairs a bit.
It's still in my view the most rounded Canon DSLR to date, esp for video use (and I've been experimenting more with video as the sensor AF is very good) But also for stills live view where the previous Canon's were pretty slow (really not ideal for anything bar static subjects), the fast phase detect AF is a real and valuable step forward for the EOS system.
Lens choices are huge with Canon, I would suggest as a general purpose lens the 18-135mm STM is a very good offering (and not a bad price) the STM motor is silent for video use a very worthwhile lens. The 15-85mm is a good lens offering a true wide angle on the 1.6x crop sensor (24-136 mm equivalent) it's much better than the 17-85mm it replaced, other lenses worth a look 50mm f1.8 or f1.5, the 85mm's are great for portrait work. Budget glass both Tamron and Sigma have some good offerings too.
Still very pleased, I will update the review further if any issues/concerns/thoughts come to light