Introducing the Canon EOS 70D

The new Canon EOS 70D has just been announced, and based on its specs, it looks to be a superb camera. If fact in many ways, it appears that it will be quite similar to the Canon 7D, albeit with the two current gripes many Canon users have – the thumbpad autofocus Multi-Controller and the single function top buttons of the 6D and 60D, rather than the small thumb-joystick and the dual-function top buttons of the 7D and Canon 5D Mark III. Of course there are also more subtle differences that I will address below.

Canon EOS 70D, image courtesy of Canon USA

The 70D has the 19 point, cross-type autofocus system of the 7D, and a 7 frames per second rapid shooting speed (just slightly slower than the 8fps of the 7D) – features which have both proven to be ideal for action, sports, and wildlife shooting. Plus the 70D adds a new “Dual Pixel CMOS” autofocus system for Live View and movie shooting, which should prove to be much faster at Live View autofocusing and smoother at Movie autofocusing than previous models – effective with any current Canon lens, and especially helpful when paired with one of Canon’s STM stepping motor lens. While this will allow still photographers to focus much faster when using Live View, it will also now allow action photographers to effectively work in Live View and be able to successfully track and retain focus on moving subject. And this should prove to be practically revolutionary to those shooting video, as it will allow then to also retain focus on moving subjects, plus allow them to quickly and automatically pull focus to a different part of the scene, simply by tapping on the rear LCD screen.

However back to the Viewfinder autofocus system: while it seems to share the 7D AF system, the 70D has a limited number of AF Area Selection Modes compared to the 7D. The 70D only offers Single Point AF, Zone AF, and Auto 19-point AF Area Modes (while eliminating Expansion and Spot AF). This could make or break the decision for a sports, action, or wildlife shooter who often make use of these additional modes. For example, Expansion (not on the 70D) allows the photographer much more control over where the camera focuses, as you choose a specific AF point to focus on your subject and the surrounding points assist if needed. While with Zone AF, (included on the 70D), the camera will choose from among the group of AF points and decide which one(s) to use for focusing, thus not allowing you to as accurately choose the exact area of focus.

With 20.2 megapixels, there is even a slight increase in image resolution over the 18 MP of the 7D. While we will have to wait for some lab tests to see about low light performance and dynamic range, I suspect the results will be excellent.

And the 70D adds Wi-Fi capability. As with the recent Canon 6D, this will allow you to:

  • Wirelessly connect the camera to an iPhone, smart phone, iPad, or tablet, using the EOS Remote app, so that you can control the camera remotely. You will then be able to view on your smart-device screen what the camera sees – basically remote Live View shooting where you can autofocus and release the shutter by tapping your tablet/ phone screen. You can then also use your tablet/ phone to view and download the images that are on your camera’s memory card (download smaller versions only).
  • Wirelessly connect the 70D to your computer and perform “untethered” shooting using EOS Utility. This will allow much greater control of the camera than with the remote tablet, enabling you to change additional settings. You can then instantly download and view the full size image on your computer screen.
  • Upload images directly from the camera to Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Share images between cameras, send images directly to a Wi-Fi printer, or view them wirelessly on a compatible TV.

The EOS 70D adds the very useful Touch Screen of the T5i, which allows you to quickly access and change the camera’s functions, settings, and menus. While some may think this is an extraneous feature on a camera of this level, I have find from using the Touch Screen with the T5i that it is as responsive as an iPhone screen, and incredibly handy for quickly changing settings and viewing images. You may soon find yourself in the habit of making use of it regularly.

Canon EOS 70D, image courtesy of Canon USA

The EOS 70D is not quite as strongly constructed and weather-sealed as the 7D, but I can assure you that it will be rugged and durable enough for most every user. And the 70D is certain to lack a few of the advanced Custom Function options of the 7D, though it will have the newer in-camera processing options like we have seen on the 5D3 and 6D – such as chromatic aberration correction, multiple exposures, in-camera HDR, and easy JPEG and RAW image processing of images directly during playback using the Quick Control Screen.

The advanced 19 Point autofocus system necessitates the addition of the M-Fn Button – now simply an AF Area Expansion Control Button – which allows you to quickly choose among the Autofocus AF Area Selection Modes such as Single-Point AF and Zone AF. These AF area modes dictate how many AF points the camera is using to focus on the subject or to track a moving subject, and can come in handy when shooting speed or subject speed doesn’t allow you to align an autofocus point with your subject as precisely as you would normally desire. As I mentioned above, the 70D offers Single-Point, Zone, and 19-Point Auto AF Autofocus Area Modes.

Canon EOS 70D, image courtesy of Canon USA

Those upgrading from a Rebel, 40D, 50D, 60D, etc. will be pleased that the image playback zoom-in and zoom-out buttons will remain the same as always – while those considering the 70D as a second body to their 5DIII or 6D will be frustrated to learn that, (just when they finally retrained their finders to use the new Magnify Button in conjunction with the Main Dial), the 70D still retains the old-style buttons.

Here are the major specs of the Canon EOS 70D:

  • 20.2MP CMOS Sensor
  • DIGIC 5+ processor
  • 19-point AF System (all accurate cross-type points)
  • 7 frames per second for High Speed Continuous Shooting
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • 3″ rotating Touch Screen LCD
  • ISO 12,800 Maximum
  • Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus for Live View and Movie shooting
  • Full HD Video
  • in-camera HDR and Multiple Exposure
  • LP-E6 Battery – same as the 7D and 5DIII
  • single SD memory card slot
  • Wireless flash control
  • 98% Viewfinder coverage with illuminated grid and electronic level

What many reviews leave out is the all important Menu and Custom Functions options, which can really differentiate cameras in terms of the user’s ability to customize the controls and functions of the camera. As cameras move up the model line from entry level through enthusiast to pro, the amount of customization increases significantly. The 70D is certain to have certain features such as autofocus microadjustment for numerous lenses, but it is always interesting to see which options are included and which are left out. Although many photographers never bother to make use of these types of options, they can make a significant difference for a demanding user.

As with all new Canon dSLR cameras, I will be offering an e-book camera guide for the EOS 70D called Canon 70D Experience. My very first guide was for its predecessor, the 60D, and my books have come a long way since then with my Full Stop camera guides being among the bestselling and highest rated guides on Amazon. With Canon 70D Experience you will learn not only how but more importantly when and why to use the features, functions, and controls of the 70D. Learn more about the guide on my Full Stop website here.

Read my hands-on preview of the 70D with some sample images at my Canon 70D Unboxing and Hands-On Preview post.


Order your Canon EOS 70D from Amazon or B and H Photo:


Canon 70D – Body or with choice of kit lenses – $1,199 to $1,549

B and H Photo:

Canon 70D – Body only – $1,199

Canon 70D – with 18-135mm STM lens – $1,549

Canon 70D – with 18-55mm STM lens – $1,349

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