Canon EOS 70D review - Fast, sharp and well built

Canon’s release schedule this past year hasn’t been quite as manic as its competitors, with ‘just’ three DSLR consumer offerings in the EOS 100D, 700D and 70D in ascending order of price and specification. As well as being top dog the 20.2 effective megapixel, 1920x1080 pixels video shooting 70D is also the most recent, so the one we’re looking at here. It’s best pitched as a multi purpose tool for photo enthusiasts, offering a bit of everything as well as looking and feeling like a pro camera at a couple of grand less. That’s for anyone who doesn’t mind an APS-C sensor rather than the larger ‘full frame’ chip. At an aluminium and polycarbonate resin body only price of over £1,000, or just under £1,200 with image stabilised 18-55mm kit lens, this is a long term investment, too.

The 70D ticks our boxes for having both Wi-Fi connectivity option and a tilting 3in rear plate LCD that is also, unexpectedly, a touchscreen. Menu selections can therefore be selected via this monitor, which can additionally be utilised in Live View mode as a means of checking manual focus or as a flexible compositional aid when shooting video in particular. We further get the opportunity to shoot 7fps bursts, or dial in light sensitivity setings ranging from ISO100 to an expanded ISO25600, while a second, smaller top plate LCD provides a short cut to accessing key settings.

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You’d be mad not to snap up this all-singing, all-dancing consumer DSLR that feels like a professional model that’s been engineered to fit a value-added budget

As per usual the main shooting modes are accessed via a top plate mode dial, which offers up 10 options, and unlike on most lower-end consumer DSLRs provides a locking button so it can’t be accidentally jogged. It’s also conveniently encircled by an on/off lever. Whilst the touchscreen is also there for convenience it’s not 100% necessary to use it to operate the camera; in fact you could ignore its virtual controls entirely if you wanted to, and in fact we found it more of a time saver than essential feature. More key is the 900-shot battery life, which is right up there with the power performance of semi-professional competitors.

Thanks in part to the supplied lens we found the 70D performance consistently sharp, though, for us the default colour setting appeared a tad undersaturated. Luckily then the 70D offers a selection of Creative Auto modes from which we were able to select a more colour and contrast heavy ‘vivid’ seting. Should this not quite add enough visual pop, warm and ‘intense’ settings can alternatively be chosen. Whilst this Canon is quick and sharp when it comes to stills, it’s no slouch in the video department either, being one of the quickest DSLR’s we’ve experienced for refinding focus if swapping subjects mid recording.

OUR VERDICT

Fast, sharp and well built, if you can afford the outlay the 70D should last you a good few years of service.

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