Canon EOS 70D review: a DSLR with few faults

The Canon EOS 70D is the younger sister of the 60D geared towards enthusiast users, and it definitely does well in that respect. There are obvious improvements over the Canon EOS 60D, including the live view/video optimized autofocus system that works across all lenses, WiFi support and a slimmer body. And then there are some indistinct differences, like the knob instead of the button that activates the lock.

Speaking of buttons, there is also a slight change with the Canon EOS 70D in terms of the location of some. Canon places the menu button on the left and not the right like on the 60D. This didn’t matter too much as it didn’t hinder operating the camera.

There is nothing new in terms of aesthetics, and it’s indeed a replica of most of the EOS DSLR line. The differences are really small buttons here and there, and this is in no way a complaint. The EOS range’s design has always looked great.

Its specification list is where the Canon EOS 70D differs from the 60D, and creeps quite close to the 7D in terms of specs. To clarify Canon’s pecking order, the EOS 70D sits well within the mid-range enthusiast bracket, but the camera is exceptional and quite advanced in its specs.

Similar to the other DSLRs, the Canon EOS 70D offers all the bells and whistles you’d expect from the average DSLR, but this does not make it an average camera by any means. Its only real short comings source from the lack of a timelapse feature, and a multiple card slot. Though the time-lapse feature can be useful, the card slot, not so much. One can buy simply a card with more space if that need should arise.

Canon 70D1

On the top right of the LCD is the buttons for drive mode, metering, ISO sensitivity, and autofocus setting (single, AI Servo, and AI Focus), plus a top dial and a second AF area select button.

The rest of the buttons are Canon’s standard fare. A thumb-operated Live View/Movie switch with record button, AF-On, second AF-area selection buttons arrayed above the thumb rest, Quick Control panel and review buttons next to the LCD; and the exposure lock all feature around the device.


The 70D boasts an accurate autofocus sensor, a touch screen, and built-in WiFi. It has a maximum resolution of 20.2MP and uses a Dual Pixel CMOS AF design in which every single pixel is split into two separately readable photodiodes, facing left and right. In simple speak, this means the camera is capable of phase detection autofocus in live view and movie mode. The focus also covers about 80% of the frame, which improves off-center focus performance, and allows users to focus on the corner of the frame by simply tapping the position on the screen.

Canon 70D2

Autofocus is often beset with autofocus issues, especially with off-centre objects in frame or those not in the foreground. Shooting with the EOS 70D, with a 100mm prime lens and an 18-55mm lens, the autofocus was precise, executing rack focus without fault. The system is pretty quick but not quite as quick as I would like it to be. Additional issues arise when light is not consistent throughout the frame.

Nevertheless, both video and image recorded and snapped were decent.

Like many of the EOS DSLRs that Canon’s been churning out, there’s nothing else notable in the Canon EOS 70D’s feature set. There’s a reasonable set of still shooting options but no photographer-friendly frills like time-lapse/intervalometer, multiple card slots, or multiple custom-setting slots.


The image quality is rich and good, but not stellar, which was quite a surprise with all its impressive features. The ISO is rather impressive, opening up to 1600 without noise at night allowing as much light as it is needed.

Continuous shooting, which for most cameras is often a problem, worked well on auto mode but struggled terribly on manual. The camera struggled to remain focused when set on manual. The good news is that the continuous shooting was swift, running up 30 shots at a rate of 7.1fps, and also it was highly responsive, shooting at a gentle touch of a finger.

Canon EOS 70D images
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Processed With Vscocam With C3 Preset

Canon 70d1

Processed With Vscocam With C3 Preset

Canon 70d2

Canon Eos 70d Image 11

Rich colours can still be captured, even in the dimmest of light scenarios. This isn't the camera's forte though.

Canon Eos 70d Image 10

Snapping natural surroundings is a cakewalk too. Notice the depth of field captured.

Canon Eos 70d Image 9

Another portrait, this time in bright light.

Canon Eos 70d Image 8

Snapping images into light can be controlled and adjusted well. There's no hint of over or underexposure here.

Canon Eos 70d Image 7

Silhouettes are dispatched with beautiful ease.

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Portraits are well within this camera's reach too.

Canon Eos 70d Image 5

A dimly lit Long Street, Cape Town, is also captured well, with not much noise noticeable.

Canon Eos 70d Image 4

Fancy colourful shots? The Canon EOS 70D is the snapper for you.

Canon Eos 70d Image 3

The depth of field control is also top notch.

Canon Eos 70d Image 2

Taken in the Company Gardens, Cape Town, the camera balances light incredibly well.

Canon Eos 70d Image 1

Here's a close up taken using the 100mm prime lens.

As noted earlier, the camera arrived on out test bench with a 100mm prime lens, unfortunately, this is a terrible lens. It has great depth of field but shooting anything with a wide frame is impossible. As a result, objects were incredibly close and took quite a few steps back each time to fit everything within the shot.

Once I swapped it for the 18-55mm lens, wide framing became possible, though the depth of field is not as great as a 100mm lens. If you’re going for a prime lens, a 35mm prime lens would probably be more utilitarian. The 100mm lens though captured better quality images and allowed for closer shots in situation that warranted them.


The video was great, benefiting from the precise autofocus. For some reason, and this is both on the 100mm lens and 18-55mm lens, the video was not as well-lit indoors.

The LCD is really nice, with a responsive touch screen and good visibility when shooting video too.

Value and Price

At R12 000 for the body, the Canon EOS 70D isn’t cheap but that should be known when purchasing an enthusiast DSLR. It’s an investment, and for the most part, if you’re a photographer looking to take your snapping to a whole new level, the 70D is a good place to start.

Verdict: The Canon EOS 70D is no doubt an impressive camera with useful features. A responsive touch screen, built-in WiFi and the most impressive Dual Pixel CMOS AF design makes video recording a dream. Pointing at its image quality imperfections would be petty, but they should be noted.

Score: 8/10



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