Canon EOS 70D review
A stunningly fast new autofocus system makes the 70D a seriously tempting DSLR
The Canon EOS 70D adds yet more spice to the increasingly competitive mid-range DSLR sector. Whereas last year it was all about the emergence of full-frame cameras in the affordable mid-range, this year Canon has brought an innovative autofocus system into play with its latest 70D.
The Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology splits 80% of the image sensor's pixels in half, creating two independent diodes that are used as phase-detect autofocus points. The upshot is faster, more accurate autofocus in Live View. There's also a separate phase-detection sensor, used when shooting with the viewfinder, which is no slouch either.
The result is remarkably reliable autofocus: there's no hunting back and forth as the camera tries to locate the subject, it simply snaps into focus at breathtaking speed. Previous Canon cameras have struggled with video autofocus, but the 70D has no such problems, and crucially it's all but silent with the EF-S 18-135mm kit lens.
It's further boosted by a face-detection mode that keeps your subject perfectly in focus as they walk towards the camera – down the wedding aisle, for instance. Alternatively, you can tap the 70D's touchscreen to adjust the focus point, with the camera responding quickly and smoothly.
The 70D has 19 cross-type autofocus points, which can be selected individually or in zones. The slightly pricier Nikon D600 has 39 autofocus points (although they're more closely bunched in the centre of the frame than here). Rarely did we find ourselves craving more, though.
Focus isn't the only thing that's bang on: exposure is beautifully judged, too. The camera coped well with a series of tricky situations, including portrait subjects sat in front of bright windows, direct sunlight and areas of high contrast. Colours are accurate, if a little flat on occasion.
Canon has pushed the native maximum ISO limit up to 12800 (and you can also artificially bump this to 25600), which is four times the maximum sensitivity of the 60D it succeeds. This allows you to shoot indoor sports action at frame rates as fast as 1/1,000sec, without needing a flash or tripod. Photos are speckled with noise at ISO 12800, and although they can be saved with aggressive noise reduction in Lightroom, it leaves the images looking a little soft and unnatural. Shooting at ISO 6400 delivers much cleaner results.
|Camera megapixel rating||20.2mp|
|Camera screen size||3.0in|
|Camera maximum resolution||5472 x 3648|
|Camera optical image stabilisation||in kit lens|
Weight and dimensions
|Dimensions||139 x 79 x 104mm (WDH)|
|Battery type included||Li-ion|
|Battery life (CIPA standard)||920 shots|
|Aperture range||fUnknown - fUnknown|
|Minimum (fastest) shutter speed||1/8,000|
|Maximum (slowest) shutter speed||30s|
|Bulb exposure mode?||yes|
|RAW recording mode?||yes|
|Exposure compensation range||+/- 5EV|
|ISO range||100 - 12800|
|Selectable white balance settings?||yes|
|Manual/user preset white balane?||yes|
|Progam auto mode?||yes|
|Shutter priority mode?||yes|
|Aperture priority mode?||yes|
|Fully auto mode?||yes|
|Burst frame rate||7.0fps|
|Secondary LCD display?||yes|
|Tripod mounting thread?||yes|
|Data connector type||USB|
Manual, software and accessories
|Software supplied||ImageBrowser EX, Digital Photo Professional, PhotoStitch, EOS Utility, Picture Style Editor|