Canon EOS 70D Review

The Canon EOS 70D was announced earlier on 2nd July 2013, it received rave reviews and excitement for Canon’s latest DSLR. I shared in an earlier post about the Canon EOS 70D launch announcement and shared some personal thoughts about the Canon EOS 70D based on the technical specifications and my personal user experiences with Canon DLSRs since I used the Canon EOS 30D for 4 years, the double digit Canon EOS DSLR family is a highly rated and trustworthy DSLR, the Canon EOS 30D was my “workhorse” DSLR that went through a lot of shots and adventures! Therefore, even before I was given a golden opportunity to test and review the Canon EOS 70D, I am pretty confident that it will live up to the tradition and “power” of the double digit Canon DLSR family line! The Canon EOS 70D was such highly rated that 2 of my friends bought the Canon EOS 70D within a week of its official availability in the Singapore market (My friend bought it on the day itself!). While I was still waiting for my Canon EOS 70D review unit to arrive, their thoughts/views on the Canon EOS 70D was “It is a very good camera with very fast Auto-Focus (AF) especially the Touch Screen AF!”

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Upon hearing that, I was eagerly waiting for the Canon EOS 70D review unit to arrive. Once I got hold of it, I began my fun adventure of playing a new toy, of course, I am testing and reviewing the capabilities of the Canon EOS 70D too! The Canon EOS 70D will be my 4th DSLR review write-up, I had completed, Canon EOS 1DX, Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Canon EOS 6D. The feel and quality of the Canon EOS 70D body is good and firm, living it up to the semi-professional standards. With the latest Dual Pixel CMOS AF Technology, it is also the first model in the EOS series to showcase the new Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, a phase-difference autofocus (AF) technology, the EOS 70D achieves  approximately 30% faster  focusing speeds and delivers improved Movie Servo AF tracking during Live View shooting.

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With a Digic 5+ sensor and 20.2 megapixels packed inside, the colours were vibrant and accurate, it was close to WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). I love the 19pt AF that is packed inside the Canon EOS 70D, with their 3 different AF Area Selection Modes – Single Point AF, Zone AF, 19 Point Auto Selection AF. These features are excellent for sports, wildlife and events photographers! I brought the Canon EOS 70D out during Singapore Night Festival 2013 and the performance under ISO 12,800 was really good. There is a bit of grain at ISO 12,800 and I personally find it acceptable for my usage. The AF Area Selection Mode Button is a good feature that is found in Canon EOS 70D, right behind the shutter button. This allows the photographer to select and change their AF area selection modes. However, that particular button is a bit small and it is not easy for inexperienced users to press and change, you really need to get the hang of it!

Inside the Canon EOS 70D kit set II is the EF-S 18-135mm IS STM lens, it is a pretty decent lens and the EF-S family of lens have greatly improved over the years since the first EF-S lens was produced. With the new Stepper Motor (STM) technology, the EF-S 18-135mm IS STM is very quiet (I can’t really hear much noise when the lens focus) and AF is fast! The focal length of 18-135mm makes it a versatile lens without being too much of a heavy lens for you to bring out and the Image Stabliser (IS) technology is useful. The picture quality from the EF-S 18-135mm lens is pretty good and if you are getting your first lens along with your Canon EOS 70D, you can definitely consider the EF-S 18-135mm IS STM lens.

The newer age DSLRs have the capability of video recording, a function that can be very powerful (just look at the Canon EOS 5D Mark III) and useful. Being a traditional still photographer, I confess that I don’t use the video recording function a lot or at all and I don’t have a DSLR that has video recording function (older generation DSLRs). When I read that the Canon EOS 70D has HD video recording capability, I decided to venture into DSLR video recording and have fun with it! After my maiden experiences with DSLR video recording, the HD video recording capability of the Canon EOS 70D is a big bonus and that is something that would make me try out more video recording if my next Canon DSLR has the HD recording capability (if I do own a DSLR like the Canon EOS 70D).

Here are some of the Pros and Cons of the Canon EOS 70D that I summarised

Pros

  • Digic 5+ sensor, close to WYSIWYG
  • LCD Monitor – Touch Screen, can zoom in, zoom out, touch and make changes
  • Fast and responsive Touch Screen AF
  • Able to make changes to the Settable Functions on the Quick Control Screen without turning the dial or Multi-Controller
  • Tap, Zoom in, Zoom out, swipe to the next photo on LCD Monitor
  • 19 Point AF
  • 7 fps
  • Able to display the electronic level in viewfinder before shooting
  • Feature Guide and Help
  • 3 different AF Area Selection Modes – Single Point AF, Zone AF, 19 Point Auto Selection AF
  • Zone AF – from Canon EOS 1DX and Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • AF selection point can be also be changed on the LCD Monitor/Touch Screen
  • Copyright Information can be set and entered
  • Multiple Exposures function
  • Live View Function – Tap and Shoot
  • Creative filters in 70D post processing capabilities
  • HDR Shooting availability
  • HD Video recording capability
  • Electronic level on viewfinder
  • Remote Shooting via Wi-Fi and EOS Remote

Cons

  • Quick Control (Wheel dial), Multi-Controller and Set buttons are a bit small
  • AF Area Selection Mode Button is small and not easy for inexperienced users to press and change.
  • At ISO 25,600 (H), noise level is visible.
  • Battery life drains faster when Wi-Fi is enabled.

EF-S 18-135mm STM lens review

  • Built quality is good
  • Quiet when focusing
  • Shots from the lens pretty good
  • No distance scale on the lens (negative point)
  • New lens cap design
  • Lens lock button

Canon EOS 70D Shooting with the Touch Shutter (One Touch AF )

 The One Touch AF on the Canon EOS 70D is amazing! It’s quick, intuitive, fast response and very useful. I produced a very amateurish video (and my very FIRST YouTube video) to demonstrate this excellent feature – Shooting with the Touch Shutter of the Canon EOS 70D!

Built-in Wi-Fi and EOS Remote

The built-in Wi-Fi is an excellent feature that the Canon EOS 70D possesses. Together with the EOS Remote app that can be downloaded into your smartphone or tablet, the combination of the built-in Wi-Fi and the EOS Remote is very useful and handy, for both photography enthusiasts and professional photographers. When you take photographs with the Canon EOS 70D, your photographs can be viewed immediately on your smartphone or tablet with the built-in Wi-Fi and EOS Remote both switched on and paired together. This wonderful combination will be very good for

–       Group Photo taking

–       Self portrait taking

–       With Live View, can check images from remote locations

–       Placing your Canon EOS 70D on a tripod to capture photography (e.g. wildlife, street, people) movements while you are at a short distance away to observe and take photographs via the EOS Remote and Live View shooting.

–       Commercial/Wedding Photographers in their studio or outdoor location shoot can view their photographs immediately and make the necessary adjustments.

The Canon EOS 70D built-in Wi-Fi feature along with the EOS Remote is excellent for viewing, downloading and sharing with friends and on social media platforms. For a social media enthusiast/blogger/reporter/writer attending events, imagine after shooting the photographs, you can choose and select which photographs to show your readers and the social media world in a relatively short time.

For a better understanding on how the EOS Remote works, do check out this link http://www.canon-asia.com/eosremote/ and they have diagrams showing how the steps on how to use EOS Remote.

Which target segment would the Canon EOS 6D be suitable for?

In my humble personal opinion, they would be suitable for the following:

–       Photographers who wish to upgrade to a DSLR at a lower cost (From a digital compact camera to a DSLR or from the entry level series DSLR to the semi-professional series DSLR)

–       Photographers who wish to own a 2nd camera as a back up DSLR.

–       Enthusiasts from the social media/blogging and Press/Writers/Reporters that would like a high quality DSLR with live coverage and updates functions to their respective distribution channels (controlled, selective and high quality photographs)

–       Wildlife and Sports Photographers, with the additional reach due to 1.6x crop factor, high 7fps and 19pt AF.

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The Canon EOS 70D body and kit sets are now available in Singapore with the following Recommended Prices:

  • Body only: S$1,499
  • Kit I (EF S18-55 IS STM): $1,699
  • Kit II (EF S18-135 IS STM): $2,049
  • Kit III (EF S18-200 IS): $2,149

For the above recommended prices and the powerful technical specifications packed inside the Canon EOS 70D, in my personal opinion, it is a very value for money DSLR that you can own. On a personal note, I have different aspirations and needs since I am looking forward to upgrade from Canon EOS 1D Mark III to Canon EOS 1DX in the future, nevertheless, the arrival of the Canon EOS 70D gives me another choice as my potential 2nd DSLR camera (if I have the additional budget!). If you are planning to buy your first DSLR, the Canon EOS 70D is definitely worth considering to buy!

* I would like to thank Canon Singapore for this wonderful opportunity to review the Canon EOS 70D and Ogilvy Public Relations for making the arrangements *


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