This is it people, Canon has finally released a new camera that doesn’t use that 18 megapixel sensor from 2008’s EOS 7D. The EOS 70D uses an all new “Dual Pixel AF” 20 megapixel that uses a new photodiode thingamajig that splits the light at each photosite. This allows each photosite to act as a phase detect sensor. Theoretical benefits include faster AF and phase detect AF capability across almost the entire sensor while in live view.
That exciting news aside, the rest of the EOS 70D is mostly like a Nikon D7100 in execution: Place a new exciting sensor, use as much of the existing camera as possible, and borrow a bits from the upper tier camera. The latter in this case, is the EOS 7D’s 19 point AF module which uses all cross sensors. The EOS 70D also has a 16 raw file buffer, which makes it actually useful, unlike the 6 image buffer in the D7100, and built-in WiFi. The rest of the camera is mostly like a EOS 60D, including that very handy 3″ articulating VGA LCD screen, which is now a touchscreen as well. The viewfinder is a 98% affair, and the camera does 1080p videos at 30, 25 and 24 FPS. Another nice feature is the 1/250th second flash sync speed. Will Canon finally start to reclaim the hearts and minds of the Internet peanut gallery? We shall see.
CK: After seeing that same old 18 megapixel sensor being used on several Canon cameras like the EOS 7D, 60D, 550D, 600D, 650D and even the EOS M, I am glad Canon has finally decided that it has enough mileage off it and used a new sensor on the 70D. About time.
Poor AF performance in live view has always been the bug bear of HDSLRs, so I am glad Canon has moved a step towards improving this. If the claimed improvements are true, this will be a very big improvement over the competition in this area. What remains to be seen will be whether this camera can AF in video mode as quickly as the likes of the Panasonic Lumix GH3, Nikon 1 V1 or even the good old handycams.
David: This is yet another iteration in a long line of iterations that Canon needs to do to make sure the store shelves are filled with new things to buy. Frankly speaking, this update does nothing for the traditional stills photographer – the updated sensor with the fancy Dual Pixel CMOS sensor with phase detect technology on every pixel is an attempt to boost AF in live view, pandering to the burgeoning DSLR-as-video crowd, the market Canon first created en masse with the 5D Mark 2. To me, the most exciting feature is actually the built in WiFi mode – this can be genuinely useful for wire and press photographers who can transmit and share images wirelessly to laptops or cell phones or back to the agency.
Perhaps this might sound a little harsh, as I’m sure we all agree DSLRs have kind of reached the pinnacle of what it can offer to stills photographer – what else can Canon do that will be genuinely new? The EOS 70D is the latest in an extremely long lineage of cameras starting from the venerable EOS D30 (which I owned as my first DSLR), and every subsequent iteration is starting to get a little old.
However, I contend that there are still things that can be improved, or innovate, like, how about interchangeable sensor modules, ala the Ricoh GXR M mount module? Imagine a EOS 80D with a detachable sensor module you could upgrade – after all, the body controls have remained essentially the same. Or making a true bayer-less sensor ala the Foveon one? (Actually I believe Canon patented something like that recently, so we may really see it in a new EOS camera soon…) While we’re dwelling at the sensor level, let’s remove the AA filter as well, so that there’s no artificial blurring and we can all have crisp images like those from the Nikon D7100 or the Ricoh GR. But I’m deviating. For an enthusiast-level camera, the EOS 70D does tick all the right boxes.