Canon DSLR

Canon EOS 70D and Canon EOS 7D, Compared

The recently released EOS 70D appears to be a much improved and direct replacement for the EOS 60D in the Canon range.  The 70D has a high level of specification for a camera at its particular price point, and for a nature and wildlife photographer like myself, completely outclasses the model it replaces (the 60D) when it comes to autofocus, image quality, speed and just about everything else.   In fact, the 70D has such an impressive set of specifications that in some ways it matches or exceeds the next model above it in Canon’s range, which is the the EOS 7D (another camera with high specifications).  For this reason, and because the 70D offers much of what the 7D can do, I have decided to compare the two dslr bodies side by side.


EOS 7D, left and Canon EOS 70D, right. Click for larger view


If you compared these two cameras on specification alone, they seem very similar.  In the hand though, the newly-released 70D and the older but still current 7D are different in some quite important ways.

Both share the APS-C sensor size, (although not resolution or sensors) which makes it easier to compare image quality between them.  My wife and I used three Canon 7D bodies as our primary camera bodies for some time.  Recently, I have been using the EOS 70D as a working camera doing what I do, which is taking wildlife photographs in the outdoors.  I have compared the two camera bodies extensively, feature for feature, and shared my own experience that comes from shooting with both of them.  If you are wondering which one might be best suited for your own purposes, keep on reading, and hopefully my findings will be of use to you.

Build Quality, Controls and Ergonomics

For this comparison, I worked without the optional battery grips on either body.  Adding the battery grips will bulk up the bodies, whilst making them more comfortable to hold for most users, whether shooting vertically or horizontally.  Aside from the benefit of longer shooting time that comes with the addition of the second battery cell in the pack, the battery grips also add vertical shooting controls but this comes at the cost of added weight and bulk.  Both the 70D and 7D can achieve their maximum frame rate without the need for a battery pack, which is different to some other camera brands.


EOS 70D in foreground, with EOS 7D behind. Click for larger view


When it comes to build quality and feel, the 70D feels pretty solid in the hand, with a comfortable, deep grip covered in grippy rubber.  The 70D body is constructed of aluminium and plastic composite material, which make it both light and strong.  It is a very compact body though, and might not suit those with very big hands.


Canon EOS 7D in foreground, EOS70D behind. Click for larger view

EOS 7D in foreground, EOS70D behind. Click for larger view


The 7D feels more substantial, with its overall larger size, and more extensive rubber coating.  The 7D is constructed with a magnesium alloy chassis, and overall, it feels more rugged than the 70D.  It would also appear to me that the rear screen of the 7D sits more flush against the rear of the body, and might thus be a little less likely to incur accidental damage.  Both cameras have plastic and metal storage card doors.

Canon claim similar levels of weather sealing for both bodies.  Again, I have had no moisture issues with either camera body.  I would think that the 7D may have a slight weather sealing advantage with its flush, integrated rear LCD screen as compared to the flip-out screen on the 70D.  This is just my assumption of course.  To date, I have found the 70D to be just as good as the 7D is at staying free of dust, either on it’s mirror, sensor or AF screen.  Both cameras are exceptionally good at staying clean, with both featuring the flourine coating on the sensor, which helps them stay clean.  In more than a month of use, and multiple lens changes, I have yet to find any dust specks on the 70D sensor and I often went months in the field before having to clean the 7D sensor.


Canon EOS 70D with locking mode dial, and EOS 7D mode dial.

EOS 70D with locking mode dial, and EOS 7D mode dial. Click for larger view


The 70D has the new locking mode dial that comes standard on most Canon dslr’s these days.  The 7D has a non-locking mode dial, and it is one that I often accidentally nudge onto a setting other than what I was meaning to use.  It is possible to have Canon tech support fit the new dial at a cost to the 7D.  Both cameras share AV, TV, P, M, Bulb, Auto and Creative Auto settings on their mode dials.  The 7D has three Custom C settings for users to store favoured settings, whilst the 70D has just one Custom setting.  The 70D is alone in having a Flash Off setting, as well as a bunch of presets under the SCN setting, which stands for Scene.  Selecting SCN and pressing the Q button will reveal these presets.  The SCN (Scene) mode is a feature that may be appreciated by users upgrading from entry level and compact cameras.  On/off switches are identical.

Flash mounts are similar, with built-up ridging around the mount to help with keeping water out.  Both cameras have a top lcd screen that shows virtually all the most important settings.


EOS 7D top lcd screen.  Click for larger view

EOS 7D top lcd screen. Click for larger view


Canon EOS 70 top lcd screen.  Click for larger view

EOS 70D top lcd screen. Click for larger view


Information displayed on the top screens is pretty similar, though the 70D includes indicators for HDR and Wi-fi that are not options on the 7D.  The 70D also leaves out White Balance selection from the top panel, though one can easily see what WB setting is selected by looking on the back screen and pressing the Q-button.

There are differences in layout and function of the top row of buttons ahead of the lcd screen.  The 70D buttons have only one function each, and there are 5 buttons laid out in a row.  They control Autofocus mode, Drive, Iso, Metering and Light.  Pushing one of these buttons and then turning either the Main Dial or Quick Control Dial cycles through the options.  On the 7D, there are only 4 buttons.  Each button controls two functions, depending on whether the Main Dial or Quick Control Dial is used to change selections.  The buttons control Metering/WB, then Autofocus/Drive, then Iso/Flash Exp comp, and then the light for the top panel.  Both 70D and 7D have a button just ahead of the shutter release that can be used for changing between the AF point groupings.


EOS 7D and EOS 70D eyepiece side view.  Click for larger view

EOS 7D and EOS 70D eyepiece side view. Click for larger view


The eyepiece on the 7D is larger and deeper.  The viewfinder itself in the 7D has full coverage of the frame, unlike the 70D which has a viewfinder giving 98% coverage.  The 7D also has a deeper grip which is quite chunky in comparison to that of the 70D.  The 7D body should be a better fit for those with larger hands and bigger fingers.  Users of the 70D with bigger fingers should also note that certain lenses which may have wide barrels close to the lens mount, can make the grip area a bit uncomfortable.


Rear view of the Eos 70D.  Click for larger view

Rear view of the EOS 70D. Click for larger view


The back of the 70D has a full set of controls, with a layout roughly similar to the EOS 60D and the EOS 6D.  The swivel LCD means that there are no controls down on the left side of the screen.  The 70D has a dedicated AF-On button, a combined Live View and Video switch, as well as a Q -Quick Control button for accessing menu functions rapidly.  The 70D uses the two buttons high up on right side of the back of the camera for zooming in or out.  The Quick Command Dial is a composite control, with the outer ring a separate piece than the directional pad inside it, and the Set button positioned right in the middle.  You can customize what the different parts of this composite dial do, although the directional pad serves mainly to move the focus point around the grid.

Although both cameras have 3-inch sized LCD screens, of similar non-reflective design, similarities end there.  The 70D screen can flip out and swivel, which allows Live View shooting and video capture from unusual angles with ease.  As well as this, the LCD itself can be used in a multitude of ways to control and operate the camera functions.  The touchscreen design means that it is fast and intuitive to just use finger pressure to move around the menus, make selections from the Q-screen, and even browze images.   Zooming in and out is accomplished by pinching fingertips together.  In Live View, the screen allows the choice of focus point merely by tapping.  The touchscreen can also be turned off entirely.  When it comes to Live View performance the new Dual Pixel AF system (more on that later) combines with the super intuitive touchscreen to make the 70D distinctly faster and more effective than the 7D.


Rear view of EOS 70D with rear touch screen swivelled out.  Click for larger view

Rear view of EOS 70D with rear touch screen swivelled out. Click for larger view


The rear of the 7D is altogether a bit more spacious in its layout.  Both cameras share similar switches for engaging Live View and video, and they also share the same Multi-Function Lock switch.  The 7D also has a 3 inch rear LCD, also of Canon’s Clear View II specification, which means non-scratch glass surface, and non-reflective design.


Rear view of the Canon EOS 7D.  Click for larger view

Rear view of the EOS 7D. Click for larger view


The 7D has a large Quick Command Dial as well as a dedicated AF multi-controller.  Both of these controls are bigger, and easier to operate whilst shooting than the combination dial on the 70D is.  Although the two cameras have almost all the same controls, the layout  is a little different in that the 7D has a set of buttons on the left side of the lcd, while the 70D concentrates most of its controls on the right side.

Size and Weight


EOS 7D on the left, and EOS 70D on the right.

EOS 7D on the left, and EOS 70D on the right. Click for larger view


To put numbers to the physical differences between the two bodies, a comparison of dimensions show that the 70D is significantly smaller than the 7D.  Overall, the 7D is wider (9mm) and  higher (6mm).  The 70D is deeper by 5mm.  The 70D hits the scales at just 755g with battery whilst the 7D is noticeably heavier at 900g, including battery.


Canon 7D left and Canon 70D right.  Click for larger view

EOS 7D left and EOS 70D right. Click for larger view


Both cameras use the LP-E6 Lithium-Ion battery pack, which also simplifies things if you end up owning more than one Canon camera.  Other Canon cameras that use the LP-E6 are the 5Dmk3, 5Dmk2, 6D and  60D.

Compared to the 7D, the 70D is quite compact, and it may be the camera that is best suited to those with smaller hands.  The 70D is also lighter.


The EOS 7D has been available for several years now, and the autofocus system is a proven one.  The 7D’s AF performance is generally considered to be quite good, better perhaps than all other Canon dslr’s except the 5Dmk3, (the 6D?) and the 1D series at the time of writing.  The AF grid is made up of 19 points and they are all cross-type, at f5.6.  Coverage across the frame is good, and although some other cameras might have a higher density of AF points, the 7D’s AF points are quite widely spread which is very useful when composing.  The centre AF point is a high-precision type when used with an f2.8 or brighter maximum aperture lens.


Canon EOS 70D showing the19 point AF grid that it shares with the EOS 7D.

Canon EOS 70D showing the19 point AF grid that it shares with the EOS 7D. Click for larger view


This AF system is shared with the EOS 70D, although in the case of the 70D, a single Digic 5+ processor controls autofocus function.  The 7D is driven by two Digic 4 processors.

Autofocus accuracy seems similar between the two cameras, although I felt that the 70D was just the tiniest bit more stable when it came to fast-moving subjects, perhaps due to the new processor or some other improvement in the AF system.


Canon EOS 70D and EF 500f4L IS lens.  African skimmers 1/4000sec at f5.6, Iso 400.  Click for larger view

EOS 70D and EF 500f4L IS lens. African skimmers 1/4000sec at f5.6, Iso 400. Click for larger view


The 7D has 5 different options for utilizing the AF point area:  Spot, Single Pt, Expanded AF, Zone AF and 19 Pt Auto AF.


Canon EOS 7D showing five different AF point group selection options

EOS 7D showing five different AF point group selection options. Click for larger view


In comparison, the 70D offers 3 of the options:  Single Pt, Zone AF and 19 Pt AF.  Both cameras have a dedicated button ahead of the shutter release for controlling AF area whilst shooting without having to look away from the viewfinder.


Canon EOS 70D showing three AF point grouping options.

EOS 70D showing three AF point group selection options. Click for larger view


As I seldom use Spot AF, Expanded AF or the 19 Pt Auto AF groupings on the 7D, I find myself quite satisfied with the reduced choices on the 70D. Users who favour the expanded AF point and spot AF point options that are missing from the 70D might not feel the same as I do.

Regardless of which of the two cameras I might be using, I almost always shoot them in Single Pt AF.  In my experience, AF accuracy is noticeably better for both cameras with just a single point active, selected by myself.  Again, I come to my conclusions about autofocus performance as a wildlife photographer with a liking for moving subject matter.  For slow-moving or static subjects the multiple AF point options work just fine.  If you want superior and consistent accuracy from the peripheral areas of your focus grid (with fast-moving subjects), away from the centre point, then the 5Dmk 3 and 1D series become the only options in the Canon line-up at the time of writing.  That said, the centre point AF performance from both the 70D and 7D is good enough for my needs.


Bottlenosed dolphins. EOS 7D and EF 300f2.8L IS plus 1.4x extender. 1/500sec at f4, Iso 400. Click for larger view


How the AF points show in the viewfinder is similar between the two cameras, but there are some differences when it comes to the Custom Functions that affect AF performance.

The 70D C.Fn II:1 AF Tracking sensitivity, is very similar to the 7D C.Fn III:1 Ai Servo tracking sensitivity.


EOS 70D Autofocus Tracking sensitivity. Click for larger view



EOS 7D Ai Servo Tracking Sensitivity. Click for larger view


Only the 70D has C.Fn II:2 Accelerate/Decelerate tracking (as found on the 5dmk3 and 1DX, and 6D AF).  This parameter (also present in the 6D, 5Dmk3 and 1DX AF systems) appears to be replacing C.Fn III: 3 in the 7D.

EOS 70D Autofocus tracking sensitivity. Click for larger view


The 70D also has intermediate options in its Ai Servo focus or release priority settings, whereas with the 7D there are two options to choose from when working with these parameters.  70D Users can choose Release, or Focus, or a new setting midway between the two, whereas 7D users only have Release (which stands for speed) or Focus options.  On the 70D, these parameter settings are found in C.Fn II: 3 and C.Fn II: 4.


EOS 7D Ai Servo tracking sensitivity. Click for larger view


On the 7D the parameter settings can be found in C.Fn III: 2.

Overall, I found the two cameras to have very similar autofocus systems.  Even though the 70D has two fewer AF Area options (Spot AF and AF Expansion), I found that it mattered very little in the overall evaluation of what the AF systems can do, and I found its AF performance to be similar to the 7D, at least as good if not a little more stable and accurate with fast-moving subjects.  With Canon’s newest set of AF parameters adjustments as part of its menu set, I found dialing in the 70D easier, too.


Carmine bee-eater in flight. EOS 7D and EF 16-35L f2.8 lens. 1/4000sec at f4.5, Iso 400. Click for larger view


I photographed a very wide variety of wild subjects with both these cameras. From big cats like leopard and lion, to African wild dogs, and marine mammals like humpback whales in all kinds of light.  I also spent many hours photographing birds with both cameras.  I used my 7D bodies with many different Canon L-series lenses, including the Canon EF 70-200L f2.8 IS ii and EF 300L f2.8 IS.  I mostly shot the 70D with the Canon EF 70-300L f4/5.6 IS as well as both version i and ii of the Canon EF 500f4L.  For wide angle work I mounted the cameras mostly with the EF 17-40 Lf4 or the EF 16-35 L f2.8, as well as the EF-S 10-22.

Response, Speed, Storage, Sound and More

The 70D is driven by a single Digic 5+, whilst a pair of Digic 4 processor’s run the 7D.  Response to me is defined by a combination of shutter lag, viewfinder blackout, and frame rate,  In this regard, the 70D is a good performer, with a shutter lag of 65ms, viewfinder blackout of 97ms and continuous frame rate of 7 frames per second.  The 7D is a little bit faster, with shutter lag of 59ms, similar viewfinder blackout, and a faster frame rate of 8 frames per second.


Lesser kestrel. EOS 70D and 500f4L IS. 1/8000 at f.5.0, Iso 800. Click for larger view


Whilst the 70D has a raw buffer of 16 raw images (tested by me) the 7D has a much deeper buffer, rated at 24 images (higher with a fast CF card).  At the time of writing, the fastest SD cards do not transfer data as quickly as do the fastest CF cards.  The 70D has a single SD card slot, compared to the 7D which takes a single CF card.  These numbers may only mean something to you if you shoot bursts or continuous action.  The 7D shoots faster, and can shoot for a lot longer, with it’s deep buffer.  With both cameras, I shoot raw images only, and turn off all in-camera processing options to maximize buffer space.  I have never managed to get close to filling a 7D buffer whilst in the field.  The 70D buffer is not as deep, but it was still big enough for my shooting needs.  I would rate the 7D as excellent in buffer capacity, with the 70D considered decent.

The type of card type may also matter to you if you are already invested in one type only.  Although I prefer CF cards for their speed, I do find it convenient to be able to download directly into the SD slot in the side of my computer when using SD cards.


Canon EOS 70D left, SD card slot, and EOS 7D right, CF card slot. Click for larger view

Canon EOS 70D left, SD card slot, and EOS 7D right, CF card slot. Click for larger view


When it comes to their drives, both cameras are fairly quiet.  They share Single, Continuous Low, Continuous High as well as two timer modes.  Only the 70D has Silent Single, and Silent Continuous (3 frames per second).  The silent mode is a big plus, and I make use of often when shooting wildlife from hides, or from very close.  The noise generated by the 70D in silent mode is so quiet that wild subjects are often not disturbed at all.  The silent modes are also desirable when photographing any kind of event where loud shutter noises might be obtrusive.

The shutter on the 70D is rated for an approximate life cycle of 100 000 cycles whereas the 7D shutter should be more durable, with its rating of 150 000 cycles.

Both cameras have a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000sec, and both have the same flash sync speed of 1/250sec.  Both cameras can remotely trigger Canon speedlights.

Both cameras use the same LP-E6 battery, and it seems to me that the 70D is squeezing a few more shots out of a charge perhaps due to its single processor design.  Shooting stills alone with only a little Live View usage I can get more than 1000 shots easily on a charge with either camera.


Canon EOS7D left, and 70D right. Top LCD screen and controls. Click for larger view

Canon EOS7D left, and 70D right. Top LCD screen and controls. Click for larger view


The two cameras share the same 63-zone metering system, and similar metering modes.  In Spot metering, the 70D reads from 3.0% of the viewfinder whilst the 7D reads from a smaller area of just 2.3%.  This is reversed for Partial metering, where the 70D reads from 7.7% of the viewfinder, and the 7D from 9%.  I typically never shoot in either of these metering modes, preferring evaluative metering.


Male lion. EOS 7D and EF 70-200L f2.8 IS. Shutter speed 1/1000sec at f5.6, Iso 320. Cropped from 18mp to 13mp then downsized for web. Click for larger view

Male lion. EOS 7D and EF 70-200L f2.8 IS. Shutter speed 1/1000sec at f5.6, Iso 320. Cropped from 18mp to 13mp then downsized for web. Click for larger view


They both have the same options for Auto Lighting Optimizer, Auto-Iso, In-camera noise reduction, Highlight Tone priority, AF Microadjustment and Lens Aberration correction.

The 70D is capable of shooting multiple exposures and combining then in camera for a creative effect.  Only the 70D can also merge a series of bracketed images and create an hdr jpg image.

Sensor and Image Quality

The 70D and 7D both have APS-C sized sensors, which are approximately 22mm wide.  Interestingly, the physical dimensions of the 70D sensor reveal that it is 0.2mm wider, and 0.1mm higher than the 7D sensor.  Whether that implies a fractionally larger area for image capture is not clear to me.

The 70D holds a slight resolution advantage at 20 megapixels against the 7D with 18 megapixels.

A vertical crop taken from a horizontal with the 70D, at an aspect ratio of 2:3 produces an image of 8.9 megapixels.  Performing the same crop action with a 7D horizontal frame results in a vertical image of 8.0 megapixels.


Openbilled stork.  Canon EOS 70D and EF 500f4L IS.  Shutter speed 1/250sec at f4, Iso 800. Cropped from 20mp to 5mp, downsized for web.  Noise reduction applied.  Click for larger view

Openbilled stork. EOS 70D and EF 500f4L IS. Shutter speed 1/250sec at f4, Iso 800. Cropped from 20mp to 5mp, downsized for web. Noise reduction applied. Click for larger view


It is not always very easy to see differences in sensor output between the two whilst viewing images that are downsized for the internet, but I am finding that the 70D images superior for my own shooting needs.

Whilst shooting the test images with the two cameras side by side, I noticed that the 70D image tended to be a little brighter in identical lighting and with the same shutter speed, aperture, iso and metering mode selected .  The difference was less than one third of a stop.  For this direct comparison, I adjusted exposure upwards on the 7D images and downwards on those from the 70D in Lightroom.  The total adjusted difference is less than a third of a stop.  I also noticed slight differences in white balance rendering between the two cameras, with the 70D images being a bit cooler.  On my 23″ inch screen that I use for editing at home, raw images from the 70D have a neutral look to them, fractionally lower in contrast than those of the 7D.


Amethyst sunbird.  Canon EOS 7D and EF 300f2.8L IS plus 1.4x ii extender.  Shutter speed 1/250sec at f4, Iso 800.  Cropped from 18mp to 12mp, downsized for web.  No noise reduction. Click for larger view

Amethyst sunbird. EOS 7D and EF 300f2.8L IS plus 1.4x ii extender. Shutter speed 1/250sec at f4, Iso 800. Cropped from 18mp to 12mp, downsized for web. No noise reduction. Click for larger view


I have posted the series of test images from the two cameras, with the same lens, mount and subject.  Between each set of images I increased the iso sensitivity by one stop.  Every second set of images is deeply cropped for comparison and to allow finer inspection of image quality.  I took these images indoors although the light was all natural and indirect.  Each image is captioned with details.

The two images below were downsized from full resolution to web size, iso 100.

Iso 100

Canon 70D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii.  1/3 sec at f6.3. Iso 100.  Click for larger view

EOS70D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1.3 sec at f6.3. Iso 100. Downsized from 20mp for web. Click for larger view


Canon 7D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii.  1.3 sec at f6.3. Iso 100.  Click for larger view

EOS 7D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1.3 sec at f6.3. Iso 100. Downsized from 18mp for web. Click for larger view


Iso 200

Canon 7D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1.3 sec at f6.3. Iso 00. Cropped from 20mp to 1.5mp. Click for larger view

EOS 70D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1.3 sec at f6.3. Iso 200. Cropped from 20mp to 1.5mp. Click for larger view


Canon 7D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1.3 sec at f6.3. Iso 200. Cropped from 18mp to 1.3mp. Click for larger view

EOS 7D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1.3 sec at f6.3. Iso 200. Cropped from 18mp to 1.3mp. Click for larger view


Iso 400

Canon 70D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/4 sec at f6.3. Iso 400. Downsized from 20mp for web. Click for larger view

EOS 70D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/4 sec at f6.3. Iso 400. Downsized from 20mp for web. Click for larger view


EOS 7D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/4 sec at f6.3. Iso 400. Downsized from 18mp for web. Click for larger view


Iso 800

Canon 70D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/6 sec at f6.3. Iso 800. Cropped from 20mp to 1.5mp. Click for larger view

EOS 70D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/6 sec at f6.3. Iso 800. Cropped from 20mp to 1.5mp. Click for larger view


Canon 7D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/6 sec at f6.3. Iso 800. Cropped from 18mp to 1.3mp. Click for larger view

EOS 7D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/6 sec at f6.3. Iso 800. Cropped from 18mp to 1.3mp. Click for larger view


Iso 1600

Canon 70D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/13 sec at f6.3. Iso 1600. Downsized from 20mp for web. Click for larger view

EOS 70D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/13 sec at f6.3. Iso 1600. Downsized from 20mp for web. Click for larger view


Canon 7D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/13 sec at f6.3. Iso 1600. Downsized from 18mp for web. Click for larger view

EOS 7D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/13 sec at f6.3, plus 0.33 exp comp. Iso 1600. Downsized from 18mp for web. Click for larger view


Iso 3200

Canon 70D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/25 sec at f6.3. Iso 3200. Cropped from 20mp to 1.5mp. Click for larger view

EOS 70D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/25 sec at f6.3. Iso 3200. Cropped from 20mp to 1.5mp. Click for larger view


Canon 7D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/25 sec at f6.3. Iso 3200. Plus 0.33 exp comp. Cropped from 18mp to 1.3mp. Click for larger view

EOS 7D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/25 sec at f6.3. Iso 3200. Plus 0.33 exp comp. Cropped from 18mp to 1.3mp. Click for larger view


Iso 6400

Canon 70D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/50 sec at f6.3. Iso 6400. Downsized from 20mp for web. Click for larger view
EOS 70D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/50 sec at f6.3. Iso 6400. Downsized from 20mp for web. Click for larger view


Canon 7D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/50sec at f6.3. Iso 6400. Downsized from 18mp for web. Click for larger view

EOS 7D and EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii. 1/50sec at f6.3. Iso 6400. Downsized from 18mp for web. Click for larger view

In terms of processing the test toy animals in this post,  I shot in raw, and processed in Adobe Camera Raw, applying a low level of sharpening to the high-contrast edges of the subject only.  Sharpening amount was 50.  I applied no noise reduction at all, and I sharpened each image once for website viewing after downsizing to the 800 x 533 web size in Photoshop.  Every image was identically processed.

I found the 70D raw images to be quite neutral, and with slightly less contrast than those from the 7D.  Adding or reducing contrast is part of my normal raw workflow and I was happy with what I was getting from the 70D raw files.

I also experienced a bit of a difference in white balance rendition between the two cameras, and more so than I expected, given that they share metering systems.  Again, white balance is something that I usually adjust in my raw workflow.

The 70D has a resolution advantage, of 2 megapixels.  What this means is that it has slightly smaller individual pixels, 4.1 microns compared to 4.3 microns for the 7D.  The 70D’s resolution advantage, though slight, is a real one.  You can make slightly larger prints from the 70D.  Alternatively, you could crop the 70D’s image of 20mp down to 18mp, which would match the 7D in print size, but would result in a slightly larger subject size.

Despite its slightly smaller photosites, the 70D image shows a little less noise than the 7D, and this even if you compare them at pixel level, or 100 percent view.

Anytime you compare the two sensors output whilst maintaining the 70D’s native resolution advantage, the difference becomes a little greater between the two sensors in favour of the 70D.

My assessment of image quality is subjective, and may be different than yours.  For my needs, I was happy with output from the 7D up to iso 800 although I mostly preferred to try and keep it below that setting.

With the 70D, I am quite comfortable shooting at iso 800 whenever I need to.  It is still worthwhile switching to a lower iso setting for better quality when possible, but I am quite happy to shoot at iso 800 whenever I may need the extra shutter speed or greater depth of field that it may bring.  I also have 70D images taken at iso 1000 that are totally usable for my needs.


African wild dog. Canon EOS 70D and Canon EF 70-300L IS.  Shutter speed 1/320sec at f5.6, Iso 1000. Click for larger view

African wild dog. EOS 70D and EF 70-300L IS. Shutter speed 1/320sec at f5.6, Iso 1000. No noise reduction in processing.  Cropped from 20mp to 19mp in processing, downsized for web. Click for larger view


When it comes to dealing with noise I use Lightroom 5 or Adobe Camera Raw, which have similar noise reduction procedures.  I use selective processing techniques that help to minimize noise and I always try not to enhance noise at any point in my workflow.  It is also important to note that heavy cropping reduces image quality, and may make noise more visible.  My preferred iso limits of 800 with the 7D and 1000-1600 with the 70D are for images that are intended for print quality.  For smaller image output, such as internet usage, I am comfortable using images taken at higher iso settings with both cameras, up to iso 3200 with the 70D.

To sum up image quality, I feel the advantage definitely lies with the 70D.  Lower noise, especially in the range from Iso 200 to Iso 1600, expand the shooting possibilities beyond that of the 7D for my style of shooting, even more so when combined with the resolution increase.  Although the 70D beats the 7D in image quality, neither of these two APS-C camera bodies are a match for the current crop of full-frame Canon bodies when it comes to shooting in very low light or at iso settings above 1000.

Other Features

Both cameras are well equipped  for video and live view shooting.  When it comes to Live View, the 70D has a clear advantage mostly due to the Dual Pixel AF technology.  At the time of writing, the 70D live view autofocus performance is a whole lot quicker than any other Canon dslr, including the 7D.  In the past, I have only been able to make use of live view for wildlife photography when the subjects were virtually dead still.  That was until the arrival of the 70D.  For the first time I was able to photograph animals from a low angle, by holding the camera away from my body.  I found the focus quick and accurate, even good enough to get an image of a bull elephant that was walking slowly right beside the vehicle with me holding the camera down at a full arm’s length.  The 70D flip-out swivel screen also makes Live View shooting easy at the most unusual of angles.

Yet another feature that is present in the 70D and not the 7D is its built-in wi-fi capability.  Using the Canon program, it is possible to control the camera remotely by means of a smartphone or a tablet.  It is also possible to transfer data directly from the camera to a remote device.  The wifi connectivity opens up lots of remote shooting options, and adds extra value to what the 70D offers.


Black-chested snake eagle. EOS 70D and EF 500f4L IS. Shutter speed 1/1600sec at f5.6, Iso 200.  Cropped from 20 to 13mpixels, downsized for web. Click for larger view

Black-chested snake eagle. EOS 70D and EF 500f4L IS. Shutter speed 1/1600sec at f5.6, Iso 200. Cropped from 20 to 13mpixels, downsized for web. Click for larger view



The 70D holds an image quality and resolution advantage, as well as the versatility that comes with effective live view performance, and all that in a very compact package that is easy to use, and lightweight.

The 7D has a rugged, full-sized body, with a complete set of controls that are easy to operate without looking when speed is important, whilst looking through it’s big viewfinder.  It’s frame rate and buffer depth are still impressive, even four years after it was released.

Choosing between these two might not be that easy, but a lot would depend on your own needs.

If image quality is more important than anything else, then the 70D is the best choice.

If the bigger bodied, more robust, and fully external-featured 7D suits you better,  with its slight speed and response advantage, then it may be the best choice, especially as prices may fall a bit as the camera moves toward the end of its product life as a new model.

It is great to have such good choices in this segment of the market.






About the Author:

I am a guide and a photographer, with a deep interest in all things to do with nature. I am based in Cape Town, South Africa, but travel often to wild places whilst leading photographic safaris, and enjoying the outdoors.

255 Responses to “Canon EOS 70D and Canon EOS 7D, Compared”

  1. Johan Says: July 31, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Grant

    I’m interested in getting the 70d. i’m using the 550d now and i’m wondering does the
    550d’s lenses work on the 70d?


    • Grant Atkinson Says: July 31, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Hi Johan
      All the lenses that work on the 550D will also work on the 70D. Both cameras have APS-C size sensors.
      Hope you enjoy the camera, it will be a strong upgrade from the 550D

  2. Johan Says: July 31, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Thanks for getting back so soon.

    Great site by the way….

    • Grant Atkinson Says: July 31, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      Hi Johan, no worries. Glad you enjoyed the site, i need to spend more time getting more gear reviews onto the site, but am currently spending large amounts of time in the field :-). It will only quieten down toward the end of this year 🙂


  3. Mitch Says: July 31, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Good Day Grant,

    It is Mitch the “60D/300 F4 L Guy”. Although this is the 7D vs 70D spot, I have asked all my questions here, so it continues. First off it seems that the sharpness problem is no longer a factor, and I can’t say why, but I am getting sharp pictures now. I have shot over 10,000 images so far. I shoot mostly birds, so I take a lot to make sure I get a good one. On to my question. Are you aware of any settings adjustments I can make to ensure the shutter fires when ever I press the button.

    Shooting birds in flight I have had instances when the picture looked sharp but the camera failed to fire, only to fire a second later when the bird was clearly not in focus.

    Regardless of exposure, focus, or stability, if I press the button I want the camera to fire. I will worry about tossing the poor shots when I edit. I have lost shots several times due to this issue.

    On a second note, the 60D is a pretty decent camera for my first DSLR, but it is not a very good ‘bird in flight’ camera due to having to keep the 1 small focus point on a rapidly moving target.

    What model might I want to lean towards for future upgrade, that would be a much better BIF choice.
    The 1D X looks awesome but is out of my price range for the for seeable future.




    • Grant Atkinson Says: July 31, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      Hi Mitch
      Always good to hear from you, and I am also very happy that you are getting some good sharp shots. Birds in flight are some of the more difficult photo subjects that you can take on. Many of Canon’s newer or higher end dslrs have ways of custom tuning the way that AF works, in order to fire at the maximum speed and with little to no ‘lag’. Unfortunately the 60D is not one of those..the best you can do with that one is to shoot in Ai Servo. On the 60D that Ai Servo focus priority versus speed of release cannot be adjusted and is probably programmed at a balance between those two characteristics, which will produce that ‘lag’ when tracking fast moving subjects and the camera ‘thinks’ it is not in focus.
      As for birds in flight, there are a whole bunch of Canon bodies that will give you superior performance. The most economical would be the 70D, which features strongly upgraded autofocus compared to the 60D, and has a full set of custom tuning parameter options for the AF system.
      Other options would be the 5Dmk3, which has exceptionally good AF, bested only by the 1DX. The 7D could also be an option, though it is pretty much superceded by the 70D which has more accurate AF.
      Older bodies that are good for birds in flight are the 1Dmk4..which is still a brilliant camera in all performance aspects, as well as the older 1Dmk3, also pretty good AF, but lacking somewhat in resolution if you need to crop. My vote would go to the 70D….compared to the 60D much superior AF, faster frame rate, a deep enough buffer at 22 raw shots…and higher resolution with slightly lower noise output…
      Hope that helps

  4. Damian Says: August 11, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Hi Grant, i have been looking at these 2 cameras for a week now and just came across this review. I never normally write comments but i had to on this occasion to say a massive THANKS. If i found this review a week ago it would of saved me a lot of time. I have now ordered the 70D 🙂 and added your website to my bookmarks as you have a really good way of explaining things 🙂

    Keep up the good work

  5. Glyn Johnson Says: August 21, 2014 at 12:59 am

    Thanks for a great review, just what I was looking for. It’s time to upgrade my aging 30D and after reading this, I’m going for the 70D

  6. Giora Vered Says: August 21, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Hey Grant,
    New to your site, and happy I’ve found it!
    Decided to upgrade my beloved 40D to the 70D.

    Thanks a lot for the info and for sharing your experience, it contribited a lot to my decision.

  7. louise harber Says: August 21, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Hi Grant

    I found this site a few days ago, so glad i have. I have been looking at the 7D and 70D, and have been torn between the two. Your site has made me decide on the 70D. Im up grading from the 40D, so very excited and cant wait.

    My only worry is the focus problem some people seem to be having with a wide aperture, do you have any thoughts on it ? as I will be using a canon 24-105 f 1:4 L most of the time.

    Many thanks


    • Grant Atkinson Says: August 26, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      Hi there Louise, sorry for my late response. I have not experienced any wide-open focus issues with the 70D, although the fastest lens I used on it was an f2.8, as well as a number of f4 lenses. I did a lot of shooting with it using the EF 70-300L f4-5.6, and the EF 500L f4 IS lenses, with no focusing problems.

  8. Gwen Says: August 23, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Hi Grant

    I would also like to say thanks for such a great review, detailed, practical and easy to understand. I have also read your 6d v 5dMk3 review (also wonderful).

    I am now hoping you have the patience to offer some further advice. I have only recently gotten into photography joining a camera club a bit over a year ago and discovered the joy of getting my camera out of manual mode during that time. I am doing reasonably well as a beginner photographer and am wanting to take the step to a more advanced camera. I am currently shooting with a canon 1100d a very basic entry level camera (but it has done me well, though so does my little point and shoot in the right conditions) however I have recently done my first paid real estate shoot and my images are definitely not as sharp as the main professional photographer in the area. So I would like a camera with a noticeable improvement in image quality. I also shoot for my local school, mostly children from ages 5-12, they often move fast and are not always in well lit areas plus I often like to take photos of them without them being camera aware. The extra zoom on a crop lens is very helpful there. My own personal photographic choices are still developing I like sunsets/rises, animals, portraiture (mostly my own children) and am hoping to try newborns – two friends are expecting quite soon. In lenses I currently own a tokina 11-16 mm f 2.8 II, cannon 50mm f 1.8 and a rebuilt canon 35-350mm L-series lens (this is my standard lens as it is very flexible in range). What I am finding is that *I struggle in low light a lot, and that I am shooting a reasonable amount in low light, *My autofocus to capture time? does not seem to be quick enough and images are often slightly out of focus – I do not regularly use a tripod but my shutter times should be compensating for this (250 and above) I also have found I can do a good hand hold of a still subject around a 60th or sometimes a 40th of a second, so I am fairly confident the lack of fast focus is in my camera/lens. Lastly I would just like better image quality overall. I do not know wether to buy a 70d and take advantage of the extra zoom it gives me or to step up into a full frame camera like the 6d, my husband thinks I should just bite the bullet and get the 5dmkiii but my budget is very tight and I would need to buy a new ultra wide lens and perhaps an extender, which I just can’t afford right now. The 6d is half the price and so I can afford it and a new lens (just) or the 70d is cheaper again and I already own a wide lens that fits it. So I am wondering how much difference is there in the low light capabilities and IQ of a new Full frame camera compared to the 70d and wether given the information I have provided you feel one of these cameras would better suit my needs. I am sorry for the length of this query but this is a big decision for me and I wanted to give you a decent understanding of where I am and where I might be headed. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    Many Thanks


    • Grant Atkinson Says: August 23, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Hi Gwen, thanks for writing, and glad the reviews have been helpful. The best all-round camera for the varied type of shooting you have described would be the Canon 5Dmk3. Autofocus, low-light capability, silent operation if needed…are all excellent in this model. However, it is going to mean that you have to get a new wide-angle lens, and that adds still more to the costs. The 6D has great low light performance, good autofocus for low light or static kinds of scenes, great image quality, but will need the most cropping to match an APS-C point of view. You wont lose focal length by switching to full frame, the lens is the lens..but you would have to crop a full frame capture to get the same view provided by your 1100D. Cropping the 5d3 image to similar frame would leave you with around 9 megapixels…still fine for most applications.
      The least costly, and most risk free upgrade path would be to go to a 70D. It will offer much improved autofocus over your current camera (and it has versatile AF – good for sport and wildlife too), silent operation option for the shutter, excellent Live View operation for unobtrusive shooting, improved low light performance over hte 1100D but not that much. I do believe that the superior AF of the 70D in comparison to your 1100D will mean you get better image quality much more often, specially in more challenging light or hand-holding situations. The 70D is still a very current model as well, so if you shop around for a good price, and you find it doesnt do the job, you can always sell it on easily and with little loss. You also get a strong resolution boost over the 1100D which is 12mp if I recall.
      Everybody has different needs and differing views on what is acceptable image quality, both in terms of sharpness and high iso noise. In my own take on the cameras we are discussing here, for print use, I would prefer to not go over iso 640 with the 1100D, whereas the 70D I am comfortable up to iso 1000. I am happy in the same situations with the 5d3 and 6D up to iso 3200.
      For web use, and with limited or no cropping, I would be happy to go iso 800 on the 1100D, iso 1600 on the 70D, iso 6400 on the two full frame bodies.
      Getting proper, sharp focus is critical when it comes to maximizing image quality, as properly focused images have the best contrast, and just show well. Poorly focused images tend to have slightly lower contrast, and high iso noise shows up most against low contrast backgrounds.
      I hope that helps

  9. Adnan Nathaniel Says: August 26, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Hey there that’s quite informative thanks for it, buts just a quick suggestion that I am using Canon 60D currently and I am very happy with it but just want to upgrade it and want to move on, Which camera should I but now Canon 7D or Canon 70D honest suggestion required
    I am more in to wedding photography
    waiting for your reply thanks

  10. Sourav Das Says: August 26, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Hi Grant,

    For past few months, I have been doing research to find out which camera I should buy? My choices were limited amongst Canon 7d, Canon 70d and Nikon d7100.

    I have been using Canon EOS 350D (with kit lens only) for about last 8 years and that is why I have been looking for upgrading. I was open either to Canon or Nikon because anyway I have to invest in new lens. I am amature, normally use my camera for landscape or for taking family photographs. Occasionally I go for wildlife shooting.

    I think, your review has done a great job for me; it removed Canon 7d from my consideration. Now, it is either 70d or d7100.

    Any idea which one to go for?

    Kind regards,


    • Grant Atkinson Says: August 26, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      Hi Sourav, glad you found the review helpful. I think that the 70D and the D7100 Nikon are quite similar in many of their capabilities. The Canon holds an advantage with speed and buffer size, as well as video performance. The Nikon has greater resolution and a higher number of focus points.
      If any of those things mentioned above doesn’t stand out as being most important to you, then perhaps just check in a store which camera fits your hand and eye the best…sometimes that can be an important factor in your decision making.

      • Sourav Das Says: August 27, 2014 at 9:00 am

        Hi Grant,

        Thanks for getting time to respond me back. Your suggestion is much helpful. I also am thinking that these two cameras have almost similar qualities and I have to take both the cameras in my hand to finally decide which one should I go for.

        However, there is one small aspect. This is regarding the lens system. I am looking for 70-300 zoom with image stabilisation. In this regard, Canon 70-300 L IS probably the best, but I can not go for that due to budget. However, I do not know how Canon 70-300 IS (without L) performs against Nikon 70-300 VR. Cost-wise both are comparable, but I have no idea about performance-wise. I also am comparing the Canon 15-85 IS with Nikon 15-85 VR performance-wise.

        Will it be kindly possible for you to explain these two comparisons please?

        Kind regards,


        • Grant Atkinson Says: August 27, 2014 at 1:00 pm

          Hi Sourav
          Again, there is not too much of a difference in those lenses that I am aware of. The Canon 70-300 non L is an older design than the Nikon lens. I think that the Nikon 70-300G VR might be a little better performer, although I have seen a few of that particular model get damaged by rough handling…
          Either one will be decent, especially if you put in an effort to look after them.
          I don’t know the performance or longevity of the Nikon 15-85VR but the Canon version is a very good lens for the money, both in terms of design and performance.

          • Sourav Das Says: August 27, 2014 at 4:10 pm

            Hi Grant,

            Thank you so very much for your kindest support and advice. I needed such an advice from an expert like you as I was not getting anywhere after reading the reviews. I have decided now to go for Canon 70d. Thanks you once again for helping me in this regard.

            Best regards,


  11. Frank Bruzzese Says: August 27, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Great side by side Comparison Grant! I actually changed my order from the 7D to the 70D after reading this. I now realize the 70D suits my needs better. Besides, the deal with the 70D included a better lens (IMO) Cannon 18-135mm STM Kit which is an IS lens, whilst the deal on the 7D included a 35 to 105mm also IS. Plus, I picked up a zoom; 55-250mm IS II EF-S f/4-5.6, a shoulder bag, extra battery & SD card… all for a few hundred more. I am not a pro (like most posting here) or even semi-pro, but have wanted a D series Canon for a while since a buddy showed me all they can do. The 6 & 5D are definitely overkill for me, but this is the first time I have seen a 7D or 70D for under 1,000$.

    Your illustrations also sold me on the 70D. The extra speed and more rugged body of the 7D were not enough of an advantage compared to the video auto-focus and higher resolution of the 70D. Thanks!

  12. Mitch Says: August 28, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Good Day Grant. I have outlined previously my frustration with focus on birds flying using my 60D and 300 F4 L with 1.4 TC. Came a cross an article stating the 1D X focuses some lenses faster due to the higher battery capacity. This got me wondering if I would see any improvement in my situation if I added a battery grip to the 60D. Your thoughts?

    In other news: I am approaching 18,000 photos since late February. Over all keeper rate is about 65%. Birds in Flight 15-20%. I know what I will be doing on the long cold winter nights, editing editing editing, sorting sorting sorting!


    • Grant Atkinson Says: August 29, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      Hi Mitch, trying to focus birds in flight will always be a little hard with the EF 300L f4 IS when it has a 1.4x extender attached to it, whichever body you are using. However, it has been my experience that I get better results when using extenders with any of the following bodies: 1Dmk3, 1Dmk4 and 1DX. All of these cameras have batteries with a voltage rating of 11 volts. They also have more sensitive AF systems. The combination of a more powerful battery and more sensitive autofocus systems results in faster AF drive. The 5Dmk3 can also achieve quite good results with a 1.4x extender, even though it only has a 6V batter (same as 60D), it has AF similar to the 1DX.
      The 60D has a battery rated at 6 volts, and even if you attach a battery grip, you will only increase the battery duration, and not increase the voltage beyond 6V. So a battery grip on a 60D, 7D or 5dmk3 will have no effect on AF performance.
      Whilst I rate the bare EF 300L f4 IS as a very good bird in flight lens, the slowdown in AF when an extender is mounted will make the combination a lot more difficult to use.
      The best ways forward for you if birds in flight are important subject matter might be to upgrade the 60D to a 70D (much better autofocus, faster frame rate, greater resolution) being the chief benefits. Or to replace your 300L f4 with an EF 300L f2.8 IS, which takes the 1.4x extender very well. Another option would be a used 1D series body, like the 1Dmk3 (although it has good AF, it is low on resolution), or the excellent 1Dmk4 which has a great combination of very good AF, and good resolution, with fast frame rate.
      Glad to hear that you are getting some shots 🙂

  13. Arindam Says: September 1, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Hi Grant,

    I really like to know in 70D which AF Method is best for wild life and bird photography (including birds in flight).
    The following AF methods are provided:-
    2. [FlexiZone – Multi]
    3.[FlexiZone – Single]
    4.[Quick mode] .
    Note : I am using Single Point AF mode.

    Also one more point I want to mention that which SD card will be the best option for my 70D (to improve the buffer capacity in burst mode)? I selected Scandisk class 10 @ 95 mbps card. But one of my friend suggested that 70D can use @45mbps card at most, so 95mbps will not improve the buffer capacity in burst mode.

    Please help…

    • Grant Atkinson Says: September 13, 2014 at 9:32 pm

      Hi Arindam, I am in-between trips so late on my response. The AF tracking methods you list above are for Live View shooting….from the Red menu tab on the 70D. They are for video or Live View shooting. I usually don’t use Quick Mode when Live View shooting, but prefer to work either with 1. Face plus Tracking, or 3. Flexizone – Single point. Whilst Dual Pixel AF is fast enough that it makes the 70D the most capable Live View Canon dslr at the time of me writing this, it is not fast enough for Birds in flight or wildlife.
      AF settings that relate to the 70D regular AF are Ai Servo or One Shot AF. Also, choosing Single AF Point, manually selected, works the best for me for birds in flight or wildlife.
      I just get the fastest SD cards that I can afford…even if the camera can not write any faster to them, the cards still save me time when I am copying images from card to computer each time I do that. The 95mbps Sandisk cards are also built to higher quality standards than the slower cards, and should last longer and be very reliable. Hope that helps

  14. Aurélio Velho Barreto Says: September 8, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Olá Grant!

    Muito obrigado pelo seu post! Estava numa dúvida de enlouquecer sobre comprar uma 7D ou 70D. Depois de muito ler e ver filmes sobre essas duas câmeras ainda permanecia a dúvida. Sou design gráfico e comecei a fotografar com uma Canon G10 depois uma 550D e agora adquirir a 70D. Até ler seu post havia em mim um enorme arrependimento por ter comprado a 70D, achei não ter feito a coisa certa. Agora esclarecido diante de tanta clareza e conhecimento que é o seu, fico contente com uma sensação de acerto na minha aquisição da 70D.

    muito obrigado e parabéns.

    Aurélio Velho – Brasil

    • Grant Atkinson Says: September 13, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      Hi Aurelio
      Thanks for writing…unfortunately I am not able to fully understand your comment..:-) If there is a question in there I could not pick it up? Sorry..

  15. vineet khanna Says: September 9, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    i had confusion between 70D and 7d ..
    so,help me to find out beter camera..

  16. Mitch Says: September 13, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Good Day Grant, There has been a lot of action here since you first posted. Now the questions might start rolling in 70D vs 7D MKii! Much improved autofocus and 10FPS shooting. Of course the 100% official Canon announcement will be required to confirm the specs.



    • Grant Atkinson Says: September 13, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      Hi Mitch, from the ‘leaked’ specifications, the 7Dmk2 looks like it is going to be a very good wildlife camera. As you mention, new autofocus, full control set, very good frame rate are all great attributes. Image quality should be at least as good as the 70D, perhaps incrementally better…
      I am interested to see what the buffer capacity is, along with lots of other details. I think it should be a refined camera. I will be hoping to get hold of a 7Dmk2 as soon as I can so that I can share findings.

  17. Armand Jonkers Says: September 14, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Thanks for this elaborate report. Must have taken considerable time, so it is much appreciated. At the verge of the Photokina the coming week, the 7D mark II is expected to be released. Since my 30D burned out 2 weeks ago, I am anxious to see the specs as well as the pricing of 7DMkII. My choice may well become the 70D however. Within the coming month I will anyhow have to get aquantained with a new camera.

  18. Karen Says: September 17, 2014 at 9:33 am

    I have a 7d and I’m generally happy with it, except for one problem – the noise! This is particularly apparent in low light shots or blue skies, even using a tripod and low ISO. I had been eagerly anticipating the new 7d mk Il, but I’m not blown away by the specs – only a slight increase in MP, no wifi, increased weight and a killer price! I’m wondering about changing it for a 70d. Does the 70d have any noise issues?

    • Grant Atkinson Says: September 20, 2014 at 3:28 am

      Hi Karen
      I think it quite likely that the 70D and 7Dmk2 will have quite similar performance from their sensors when it comes to noise and image quality, with perhaps the 7Dmk2 very slightly better. For sure the 70D is superior to the original 7D when it comes to image quality, but of course, each person has their own interpretation of what image quality should be like. Perhaps rent a 70D for a few days to make sure you like what it will give you.
      As for the soon to arrive 7Dmk2, from the specifications and early reports, it looks to be a very good upgrade for the wildlife photographers and sports shooters amongst us, as well as those who just like using a fast, responsive and robust camera. I am looking forward to getting hands on one.
      thanks for writing

  19. Sameera Liyan Says: September 22, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Hi Grant!
    Thank you for this well written review. I’m currently having a 7D + 100-400mm L for bird and wildlife photography. I’m having a serious issue with IQ at above 1000 ISO cos IQ seems to be bit noisy than other Cams. I bought the 7D 2nd hand and also when i shoot in high speed there were images which showed broken pixels in lines making them totally unusable I have a fast card also. any comments on this issue? cos of this matter I’m planning to upgrade (or Down grade) to a 400mm prime cos I’m good with hand holding as even I’m using the 100-400 IS off most of the time if the SS is above 400. your thoughts will be much appreciated!

    • Grant Atkinson Says: September 25, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      Hi Sameera
      Images from the original 7D can be quite noisy at higher iso settings, especially when shooting in low light or with low contrast backgrounds. I have not heard of lines of broken pixels, but if this is coming from the sensor itself, it can be remapped. I am assuming you have tried with different CF cards and are having the same issue with more than one kind/type/brand of CF card? Can you see the affected images on the screen on the back of the camera or only when you download to a computer?
      The prime 400mm lens, EF 400L f5.6, is sharper than the EF 100-400L zoom lens, and if you are already shooting your 100-400L with the IS switched off ,then it should not be too difficult to manage the fixed focal length.

  20. Arindam Says: September 23, 2014 at 7:27 am

    Hi Grant,
    Thanks for your suggestions.
    I have 2 others case scenario:-
    1. Birds in perch : I found that if I just change the AF Tracking Sensitivity = -1 (Custom Function in my 70D) and use AI Servo I can get the sharp picture. Is my understanding is correct in this regards?
    2. Birds in flight : I found that if I do not change the AF Tracking Sensitivity = default value as zero (Custom Function in my 70D) and use AI Servo I can get the sharp picture. Is my understanding is correct in this regards?
    Also I need assistance in Custom Functions regarding AF fine tuning. Looking for your help…

    • Grant Atkinson Says: September 25, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Hi Arindam, your understanding seems correct for 1. Birds on perch: Slowing down AF Tracking Sensitivity makes it easier to keep the subject focused even if you accidentally shift the focus point away from the subject for a moment. It maintains the original focus for a longer period before attempting to refocus than if you set Tracking Sensitivity to 0 or Plus 1 or Plus 2..

      2. Using the AF Tracking Sensitivity at default (Zero) will give a ‘balanced’ amount of time before the camera attempts to refocus, once the focus point is moved away from the original subject. You can test this for yourself by setting your camera to Ai Servo, and focusing on a nearby subject. Then, whilst holding down the Shutter button or AF-On button…move the focus point Off of your subject…measure how long it takes for the camera to focus on the background. Now, set the Tracking Sensitivity to -2 and repeat the exercise…it will take much longer to refocus on the background. Set Tracking Sensitivity to +2 and again focus on the subject, then move the lens until the focus point falls off the subject. The camera will refocus very quickly on the background. Choosing the Zero option gives a good balance, for birds in flight. Which one of these settings, -2 to 0 to +2, works best for you can be affected by which lens you are using, how fast your subject is moving, what angle your subject is moving at, what kind of background is behind your subject, and your own skill level…

      I have not written anything about AF fine tuning, I am currently doing a whole lot more photographing than writing at the moment as it is the busy part of my season 🙂

  21. Barry Ambrose Says: October 1, 2014 at 4:43 am

    Great review indeed, now it seems I may plump for the 70D as image quality is upmost in my needs though I do like the sturdiness of the 7D…which I have tried at a nascar race. In my aviation needs shooting through fences is often required so the choice of maybe holding up the camera above a fenceline and using the swivel viewfinder could be a great advantage! Thanks again and love those wildlife shots (especially thos Skimmers!)…something which I do often though the 40D which I currently use is extremely lacking in MP’s!!



  22. sadman sakib Says: October 19, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    i am from bangladesh . i want t buy a dslr . i am new in this line so can you help me which camera i should buy 7d or 70 d … is 7d a full fram camera ?

  23. Paul-Antoine Says: November 5, 2014 at 12:02 am

    Dear Mr. Atkinson,
    Thank you for the review, it was very informative. I am looking at the 70d and 7d. I saw your response in which you recommended the 70d over the 7d for wildlife photography. My photography mainly focuses on birds however the camera needs to be able to shoot all kinds of wildlife. It needs to be quick, robust, and have good weather sealing (desert, rainforest, and extreme cold). Both cameras have an adequate number of megapixels. I also do a fair bit of landscape photography and a bit of macro photography as well. Based on this which camera would you recommend?

    Thanks in advance,


    • Grant Atkinson Says: December 6, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      Hi Paul-Antoine, I am late with my response due to my guiding activities, however, if your camera is going to need to be as tough as possible, then I might choose the 7d over the 70D. Right now, with the recent release of the 7Dmk2, that would definitely be the one I would choose for a Canon crop camera. It is even more robust than the original 7d.

  24. Ed Says: November 9, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Grant – thank you for such a thorough and unbiased review/comparison of these two cameras! The topic happens to be foremost on my mind right now: I bought the 7D last year to replace my 40D, thinking I was getting a camera that would perform better in low light. Boy, was I wrong! I’m shocked at how much noise my 7D produces even at ISOs as low as 400. After finding this article, I’m definitely going to take a close look at the 70D! Thanks again.

    • Grant Atkinson Says: December 6, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      Hi Ed, glad you found the write-up useful. Please excuse my late response, as I am just coming to the end of my busy season which involves guiding and photographing and not much writing 🙂
      If you have not already checked out the 70D, then a new option is out there, which is the new 7dmk2. That camera offers even cleaner image quality, slightly, than the 70D and has lots of other advantages on top of that, if you are a sports or wildlife shooter.
      i am working on a review right now

  25. Chris A Says: November 14, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Hello Grant you write many interesting features.. which are easy to understand keep it up
    BUT I have a question i have recently purchased a 70D for general photography that includes wildlife and landscape.. i had a 7d before… i am horrified at the noise in any photo at iso 100 I thought my 7D was bad at around 400 iso but this takes some beating.. also have many problems with auto focus an example today i was photographing red kites in my area my lens was a canon 400 prime using single point iso was auto the shutter speed was 1600 the kite was no more than 40 feet above me and not a single image was sharp after viewing later
    what setting would you recommend ? I do know its not me as the 7d with the same lens produced really sharp photos.. also this lens and camera have been calibrated i expecting to much from the system or would i be better off with a 5Dmark 3 yes less fps but perhaps better image quality what do you think?

    • Grant Atkinson Says: December 6, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Hi Chris A, I am sorry to hear about your experience with these cameras. I am late in responding as I have been in the field, and with limited time or internet access. The 70D ought to show less noise than the 7D images, and it has a very similar focus system, although I personally found the 70D to be slightly more accurate than the 7D with fast-moving subjects.
      There are a whole number of possible reasons that the camera is not focusing well..whenever I am unsure about whether my camera/lens combination is shooting sharp or not with moving subjects, i will always first set it up on a tripod, with a static subject, and take some test shots just to make sure everything is in alignment. I will take test images in both the focus mode I usually shoot with (Ai Servo) and focusing through the viewfinder, as well as in Live View, to compare and ensure that both are sharp and focusing in the right place. I will also use Single Point AF, and work with the centre point only on those two cameras. If the images are sharp, then i know that the problem might lie elsewhere. There are a number of settings for 70D AF, it might be an idea to match those settings with what works for you on the 7D..those would be Tracking Sensitivity, Ai Servo Focus/Release priority.
      A 5dmk3 has better image quality than both the 7d and the 70D and a superior autofocus system as well. The images are about one stop to two stops cleaner in terms of noise.
      I can only think that you are seeing more noise in the 70D images than the 7D perhaps due to large parts of the image being low contrast and not properly focused?

  26. George McBride Says: December 7, 2014 at 3:10 am

    Hi Grant…….My camera at this time is the 60d and I am looking to upgrade to either the 7D or 70D. I mainly do macro photography and my favourite go to lens is the canon macro 100mm f/2.8 is usm. From reading all the previous discussions, I am leaning towards the 70d because of the quality of the live view AF and the silent operation option for the shutter.
    Would appreciate any opinions you have.
    And may I say this is one heck of a discussion you have going…….

    Thanks for your time…….George……

    • Grant Atkinson Says: December 7, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      Hi George, for macro I believe the 70D would definitely be the superior tool, as you mention the Live View advantage, also the silent shutter in normal shooting, as well as the fact that the 70d has a little more resolution, of which you can never get enough in macro use i believe.
      The slight speed, buffer and build quality advantages of the 7D are less relevant for macro use. I also think the image quality improvements evident in the 70D sensor will result in superior images one way or another.
      There is a third choice now if you need the robust build of the 7d, in the 7dmk2..

  27. Stine Maria Says: December 7, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Hey Grant. I am an amateur photographer who will renew my camera. Currently I have Canon eos 400D but feel this has survived its time. I now want a camera that is fast and can take pictures of children. I have a son who is 7 months. I wonder what best suits my needs. I am now sitting in the situation between 7D and 70D.

    Greetings from Stine Maria

    • Grant Atkinson Says: December 8, 2014 at 10:25 am

      Hi Stine, both of these cameras are big upgrades on a 400D, but i would choose the 70D over the original 7D, in that the better image quality, more accurate focus and the versatility that comes with the swivel screen and super effective DPAF (Live View) focus make it a camera that you can achieve more with? If you prefer the size, weight, feel and control set of the 7D, then another option is the new 7dmk2, which has pretty much the best of both of these two bodies plus lots more to offer!
      Hope that helps

  28. Saša Andrić Says: January 7, 2015 at 12:53 am

    Hi Grant,

    spot on with the comparison review of these two cameras. Thank you very much, this review and your website are great.

    For days now I try to choose upgrade to my 600D, and I can’t decide between the two – since they are at approximately same price range now. My concern is 70D build quality compared to 7D. Yes, 70D has better specs and IQ, but will I be satisfied with the alumin-plastic quality, weather/dust sealing etc.. Is the difference that big? Or should I just go on with the 70D and relax if it rains little 🙂

    Regards from Serbia,

    • Grant Atkinson Says: January 26, 2015 at 10:19 am

      Hi Sasa, sorry for the late response.
      I think if the extra features that make the 70D more versatile, than the 7D, such as the swivel screen, effective Live View focusing are important to you, then choose it for that reason. If they are less important, and you are traditionally rough on your camera gear, then maybe go for the 7D.
      Both are more robust than the 600D that you currently use.

  29. Katalin Says: January 20, 2015 at 4:04 am

    Hi Grant, many thanks for this outstanding review. Based in it I have decided to upgrade my rebel xsi to 70d. I am amateur but enthusiast photographer and prefer shooting landscape and long expo with ND filter. I wish to take colorful and sharp photos. Now here comes my question. I am hesiting between EF 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM and EF 15-85 f3.5-5.6 IS USM. Would you have any advise? I really appreciate your time and answer. Best, Katalin

    • Grant Atkinson Says: January 26, 2015 at 10:21 am

      Hi Katalin
      If it were me, I would go for the EF 17-55 f2.8. Having that extra large aperture can not only allow you to shoot in lower light, but it can also give you more creative control over how much you blur backgrounds. That would be more important for me in a utility lens than the extra 30mm of focal length. The EF-S 17-55 f2.8 IS is also very sharp, and highly regarded. One of my immediate family has one, used on a 7D body, and it is by far the lens he uses the most.

  30. Inge Ingvaldsen Says: February 11, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Hello there!

    Greatings from Norway!

    Im an national park manager in Northern-Norway and I need a good camera for wildlife and landscape photography. I have been looking at those two models, and starting to get more and more convinced that the 70D is the best for my needs? Here in Norway there is also around £100 cheaper for the 70D, im not sure why. After reading this page I have concluded that it isnt worth the extra amount of money to buy the 7D. You agree?

    I’ve got EOS 1100D now, but want a more professional camera.

    • Grant Atkinson Says: February 12, 2015 at 8:29 am

      Hi Inge
      Very unusual that the outgoing model 7D should be that much more expensive than the 70D, but I guess many people see the physical size as an indicator of its market standing.
      I think both cameras offer great value for money, but the 70D definitely holds an image quality advantage, especially noticeable when shooting in natural light, and it is very versatile with its flip-out screen and DPAF. Both cameras will be built more ruggedly than your 1100D, but the 7D is clearly a more strongly built body.
      Those are the main differentiators for me..

  31. Mitch Says: February 12, 2015 at 6:39 pm


    I guess some people are not aware there is a 7D MkII. Where I am the going rate for the original 7D is about $700 for a used body. If I had the money for a brand new 70D, then the real choice is 70D or spend a little more for the 7D MkII. If budget is an issue then a used 7D is still a great camera or depending on the budget and actual use, go 60D for about $400 body only. You may recall that is what I did and 30,000 pictures later pretty happy. Downside is the 60D is not a great Birds In Flight camera IMO, just from it’s focus options.

    I admit I am drooling a little over the 7D MkII, 10FPS, wicked focus options, 30+ Raw buffer…What’s not to like?

    Hurry up and give us the comprehensive 7D MKII review!! (LOL!)

    As always, I appreciate that you take the time to respond and offer your advice and opinions.



    • Grant Atkinson Says: February 12, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      Hey Mitch
      Thanks for your useful input as always :-). In South Africa, used 7D bodies selling for Aprox USD800. I think that there won’t be too many new 7D originals on the shelves for much longer. If the question becomes 70D or 7dmk2, then it is less confusing. The 7Dmk2 holds clear advantages over the 70D that potential buyers can evaluate in terms of their own needs, and base their choice on that. Comparing the 70D to the 7dmk2, the 70D has advantages in price, weight, smaller size, flip-out and touch screen versatility. The 7dmk2 has advantages in autofocus, speed, buffer, physical controls, custom options for setup, weather-sealing, speed, ruggedness of build, shutter life, fps and buffer depth, to list the biggest differences.
      I am busy with the 7Dmk2 review, but have been guiding a lot which hinders my writing output 🙂
      Good thing about new models is that the quality and performance in these crop-sensor Canon bodies is getting better and better, as is the trickle-down of features and performance.
      Cheers for now

  32. Inge Ingvaldsen Says: February 13, 2015 at 6:29 am

    Thank you for answering!

    The costs of the 7D MK-II is twice the price then the 70D.

    I ordered 70D last evening – thank you for a great review, it was very usefull for my choice of camera 🙂



  33. Kelli Says: February 17, 2015 at 12:42 am

    Hi Grant-
    Thank you so much of this side-by -side review of the Canon EOS 7D and 70D.
    By far the best, most comprehensive and easiest to understand, even for intermediates/ new professional photographers like me 🙂
    I haven’t had the opportunity to own a dslr camera as of yet, but have a nice little 16 megapixel travel Sony Cybershot and my iPhone and have owned Pentax, Canon, and Sony in the ‘film’ type 35mm versions in the past and 2 of 3 were stolen and 1 I just got tired of, so Im really excited to manifest my ‘Dream’ Canon EOS DSLR camera which I have narrowed down to either of these 2 you reviewed here.
    I take mainly action shots of animals and birds; in the wild and around town and events like horse show jumping and dog agility& i.e.; people’s pets; dogs, cats, horses, birds and my own and I also take nature landscapes and close-ups of of different plants, etc. Some of my shots will include humans i.e. family and friends but my main interest lies in photographing nature on the whole.
    Several professional photographers have commented on photos I post that Im an artist with an eye for ‘balance’, so I really want to just go for it and try getting and using one of these cameras!!
    Can you tell me when first starting out with one of these for what I plan on using it for which camera body is best and is there 1 kind of all – purpose lens I could start off with?; or perhaps 1 all purpose for the type shots I want Plus another for even better shots?
    *Also, you mentioned both weight and hand-size of those using the cameras, and I am a very small boned woman; 5’5″ 111 lbs on a good day:-) and long delicate fingers/hands, played flute and piano for years and have also been trying to gain back strength after incurring a frozen shoulder on one side and a broken wrist on the other and IM almost there , so…. as an expert photographer based on all of this info which camera and lenses do you think/feel would be most appropriate for me to start out with?
    * Oh, and what grips and lightweight tripod and maybe a cool backpack do you recommend?
    Thank you so so so much for your time and feedback!

    • Grant Atkinson Says: February 20, 2015 at 7:35 am

      Hi Kelli
      Even though the 7D would appear to be better suited perhaps to the kind of action photography that you have described above, with its faster frame rate and bigger buffer, if it were me I would most likely choose the 70D.
      The 70D is lighter and the body is smaller, so it should fit your grip better, and the weight will help when walking around carrying gear all day. I also found the 70D to focus with more stability when using Ai Servo for moving subjects. Make sure to get the very fastest SD card you can for the 70D, to max out the buffer performance. As for lenses, I have no idea of your budget. The EF-S 28-135 f5.6 is a decent all-rounder type of lens, with average performance when it comes to image quality and autofocus speed and accuracy for moving subjects. The 135mm is also a bit on the short side for wildlife.
      Other options I might seriously consider, depending on how much I wished to spend, would be the EF-S 17-55 f2.8 IS, giving you fast autofocus, very good image quality, and the ability to shoot indoor or in very dim lighting situations. The 17-55 focal length is much too short for any kind of wildlife though.
      Such a lens would pair well with one of the following: EF 70-200L f4 IS, or the EF 70-300L f4-5.6 IS or the EF 100-400L f4.5-5.6 IS ii. All three of these lenses focus very fast, and deliver excellent image quality.
      Of those three lenses, the EF 70-200 f4L IS is the lightest by far, and easy to carry around all day.
      The EF 70-300L F4-5.6 IS is a little heavier, but still compact, and adds another 100mm of focal length.
      The EF 100-400L f4-5.6 IS ii is quite a bit heavier again, and less compact, but offers a very wide range of focal lengths.
      I dont know which of those three L series telephoto zoom lenses would be the right one for your kind of work, that would depend on how much weight you are comfortable holding, as well as how close you can get to your favourite type of subject matter. All three can do the job though, so that should help to narrow down your choices. I have reviews on this site for both the EF 70-200L f4 IS as well as the EF 70-300L IS, and am soon to complete the review on the new 100-400.
      For backpacks, Lowepro, Tamrac are favourites of mine. For lightweight tripods, I use a carbon fibre model made by Slik.
      Hope that helps

      • Kelli Says: March 7, 2015 at 12:12 am

        HI Grant!-
        Thank you so much for taking the time to give me all of the info you did on the Canon 70D; my Dream/Reality camera 🙂
        Now I can go out looking for the best deals on everything and get started!

  34. Nizaam Says: February 19, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    I am new to this camera world so,Thanks for a great review. Its made we choosing the 70D so much easier.
    I would need a do all lens for both still and video. I read up on the STM lens and would like to know your thoughts.
    My camera knowledge is limited. My time would be spent doing your family shoots, both still and home video.
    Your advice would be appreciated.

    • Grant Atkinson Says: February 20, 2015 at 7:20 am

      Hi Nizaam, at this stage I only have experience with the EF-S 10-18mm IS STM. I have found that lens to be acceptably sharp, and very good at focusing quietly, especially when paired with the DPAF Live View focus of the 70D or 7Dmk2.
      From what I understand, all of the STM lenses offer similar levels of performance to the 10-18, with respect to their focal lengths. If you have a strong interest in video then I would definitely say to go with the STM lens. I still would not choose the STM lenses over any of the L-series lenses if still photography were my priority.
      If you are going to be doing lots of shooting without flash or lights, in places with low light, remember to also consider a lens with a big maximum aperture like the EF-S 17-55 f2.8 IS. At this stage I dont know of any STM lenses with big maximum apertures.

  35. Leon kant Says: March 5, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    Dear Grant,

    Do you have a review of the 7d mark ii jet? I am in doubt between de 7d mark ii and the 5d mark iii.

    • Grant Atkinson Says: March 15, 2015 at 7:46 am

      HI Leon, sorry for my late response, I am in the field at the moment with limited or no internet. No finished review of the 7dmk2 yet, I hope to get lots of Canon reviews out in April. In a brief summary to your question though, I would choose the 5dmk3 if you shoot a lot in very low light, and if you shoot lots of fast action in low light. The bigger sensor of the 5Dmk3 gives it a low light advantage over the less expensive 7Dmk2. However, the full advantage of the 5dmk3 full-frame sensor will only be to your advantage if you are not cropping too much. If you are having to crop most of your images, to 50 percent of their original size, then the 7Dmk2 makes a better choice.
      If you shoot mostly in good light, using iso settings between 200 and 800, then the smaller sensor of the 7Dmk2 delivers image quality quite close to that of the 5Dmk3.
      I am fortunate in that I use both those camera bodies all the time, and choose each one for its strengths.
      If you have to always crop your images heavily, then the 7Dmk2 might be a better option.
      They are very similar in autofocus performance, and both have deep buffers, both benefit from the fastest CF cards (160 Mb/s) and both are near identical in their controls with the 7Dmk2 having a tiny edge for me in that regard. Battery life is similar, viewfinders fairly similar. The 7Dmk2 holds a clear advantage

      Hope that helps

  36. Luis M Says: March 24, 2015 at 8:43 am

    Hi Grant!
    I have a canon 40D and want a new camera body. I see canon 60D prices are very low. What are your opinion in canon 60D vs canon 40D?, the IQ of the 60D is much better than the 40D?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Grant Atkinson Says: March 26, 2015 at 5:29 am

      Hi Luis
      That is a difficult question to answer in some ways. The 60D has a lot more resolution, so you can crop deeper, or print bigger if you so choose. It should also be perhaps a little bit cleaner at high iso settings, say at iso 800. As image quality perceptions and evaluations are very much subjective, it can be difficult to say whether you will prefer the image quality of the 60D over the 40D.
      The 60D is also a smaller camera body, it has no dedicated AF multicontroller button on the back for moving the AF point, and the 60D is only 5 fps, compared to 6 fps for the 40D.
      The 60D has a nice swivel screen, and good video performance.
      Autofocus between them is similar, with the same 9 point grid, perhaps the 60D a fraction better?
      Resolution and video I found to be the biggest advantages of the 60D over the 40D
      On the other hand the 40D has much better controls (external ones) and ergonomics for my style of shooting, and was also that little bit faster. I also really enjoyed the image quality that the 40D delivered, especially when shot between iso 100-iso 400 or 500.
      Hope that helps

  37. Luis M Says: March 27, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Hi Grant!
    Thanks for your opinion, I really appreciate your advice. I think i’ll upgrade to the canon 70D.

    Happy weekend!!


    • Grant Atkinson Says: March 28, 2015 at 11:02 am

      Hi Luis, I think if you can manage the price difference, that the 70D offers a good upgrade in almost everything except external controls over the 40D, and the DPAF sensor also means that Live View shooting can be maximized easily. I find the 70D to be a great performer and value for money!

  38. Nagaraj Says: April 16, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Mr. Grant Atkinson….
    Thats a great review on the comparison of the 7D and 70D…I would go in for the 70D…

    Nagaraj D N

  39. Pier Rongione Says: April 20, 2015 at 8:11 am

    I have a eos 550D today and i´m very pleased with it. Now it´s time to upgrade and i have a hard time to choose wich one will come to me 🙂
    eos 70D, 7D or 6D? i have a few L-Lenses so IQ is important to me. Will I see a big difference between the models? I´ve tried the 5dm2 and like the IQ, but hate the slow AF. My 550D feels fast to use and I like that part.

    Thanks /Pier

  40. David Winter Says: July 16, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Hi Grant,

    Thanks for this fantastic review.

    I’m torn between a 70D and a 7D MKII.

    My primary use is birding photography – ie. I shoot as I walk or drive whilst birding rather than carrying a tripod, etc for dedicated bird photography. I’m currently using a 40D with a 300mm F4 and sometimes add a 1.4 extender.

    The main differences that I can identify between the two are: better weather proofing, fast FPS (10 vs 7), higher ISO (will I commonly shoot above 3000?), dual processors (more buffer – will I need such a large buffer?), and price with the 7D MKII being 2 x the 70D.

    My thinking is that 90% of my bird images are of stationary birds so do I really need the extra FPS, buffer and ISO? They would be very nice to have, but is it worth twice the money?

    I’m thinking I should save my Rands and go for the 70D, which will be a great improvement on my 40D and maybe one day I can buy a 300mm 2.8 🙂

    Do you agree with my reasoning on the 70D?

    Thanks Grant.
    Kind regards,

    • Grant Atkinson Says: July 22, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      Thanks for writing David, and apologies for my late response, I have been in the field with limited internet and internet time. If you are mostly shooting stationery birds, then there is little reason to choose the 7Dmk2 at a price premium, over the 70D. As it is the 70D will offer a nice upgrade over your current 40D in most everything except some of the control wheels (which are downscaled in the 70D).
      If the difference in price between 70D and 7Dmk2 can get you to a better lens quicker, then your reasoning makes lots of sense

  41. David Winter Says: July 22, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Hi Grant,

    Thanks for responding.

    I was decided on the 70D, but then went for the 7D mkii in the end.

    The additional weather-proofing, shutter speed, shutter life etc convinced me it was a camera I could use for many years without the thought / need that I will need to upgrade my body again when I eventually upgrade my lens.

    The new 100-400 is getting a lot of good press. I’ve always been sold on the idea of the 300mm 2.8 (with 1.4) and see this as a possible future lens.

    Do you think the new 100-400 rivals the 2.8 ito quality?

    Thanks again,

    • Grant Atkinson Says: July 23, 2015 at 11:34 am

      Hi David
      Nothing really rivals the EF 300L f2.8 IS ii, and the 400, 500 and 600 mm versions of the fixed telephoto series, in pure clarity, contrast and sharpness, however, the EF 100-400L IS ii has moved a step closer. I have reviewed the EF 100-400 ii recently, and I own one. I pair it with an EF 500L f4 IS ii to cover most of my wildlife photo needs 🙂
      Amongst Canon L-series telephoto zooms, the new EF 100-400L IS ii is only bested in my opinion, with regard to image quality, by the big EF 200-400L f4 1.4x extender and maybe just by the EF 70-200L f2.8 IS ii.
      Hope that helps

  42. Nico Says: August 11, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Hi Grant,

    In your article you mention that it is possible to have the current mode dial on the 7D replaced with a locking mode dial, as fitted on the 70D, by Canon Tech.

    How do I go about to have it done. Changing the mode dial by mistake has cost me dearly on a recent trip to Botswana when an ideal situation involving a leopard occurred.

    Not sure if you can let me have contact detail for Canon Tech, maybe a phone number or e-mail address. I will really appreciate your help.


  43. Horacio Sottil Says: August 27, 2015 at 1:50 am

    Hi Grant, I own an eos 50D and i wondering if it worth to change it by an eos 7d or eos 70d. Can you give me a piece of advice if justifies the change?. In case of affirmative which model the 7 one or the 70 one? Thanks a lot

    • Grant Atkinson Says: August 28, 2015 at 11:15 am

      Hi Horacio
      It really depends on what you use the camera for, its main purpose. If you shoot landscapes, or studio with lots of bright light, then there is less need to upgrade. If you shoot wildlife, or moving subjects, or when ambient light is low – then the 7D and 70D offer superior autofocus, and better image quality, especially so the 70D, and especially if yuo have to shoot at iso settings above 800 a lot.
      Hope that helps

  44. Arnab Sarkar Says: August 31, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Hi Grant,

    Its another amazing review from you..Your review really helps in deciding lenses and cameras..i need a suggestion from you..please help me..i am a novice but enthusiastic photographer..i own a Canon 1200D with 18-135 IS STM lens and 55-250 IS II..I wanna upgrade my camera to 70D as an all around camera ..mainly i do landscape, architecture and street photography..sometimes if I get a chance then fair bit of bird and wildlife photography..

    1) Is 70D good option for those kind of photography?actually in many reviews on internet all say that canon is not good with Dynamic range like nikon or sony..people say that Canon is not good for landscape 🙁 is it true?

    2) i wanna upgrade my telephoto lens I am confused between 70-200 F4 IS and 70-300 L IS USM..which lens would be right for me..

    Please help me grant…looking forward to your reply…again thank you for all of your reviews and efforts..

    Thanks and regards
    Arnab Sarkar

    • Grant Atkinson Says: September 2, 2015 at 12:22 pm

      Hi Arnab, thanks for your feedback. With regard to your question:

      1. The 70D will be a great choice for the kind of photography you mention. It has good autofocus, decent image quality for a crop sensor camera and the swivel/flip screen combined with the best Live View autofocus around make it extra versatile for easily getting unusual or unobtrusive angles or perspectives. Yes, some Nikon cameras have more dynamic range but this usually only becomes important in situations of extreme contrast, and is not something i find holds me back at all in my photography. For the money, the 70D has really good autofocus, speed, buffer capacity and quick responsiveness, plus its Live View DPAF advantage over the Nikon and Sony competitors. Canon sensors also reproduce colours very well.
      2. Both the lenses you mention are super choices – the 70-200f4 L IS is lighter but does not retract when at 70mm, and will basically give you a half stop advantage, of f4 compared to f5 of the EF 70-300L f4-5.6 IS at 200mm. The EF 70-300L is a bit heavier, but more compact when retracted. The form and size may impact your choice depending on where or how you carry them when shooting people etc. Usually if wildlife is important to you, then the extra 100mm of focal length would make the EF 70-300L the better option.

      Hope that helps

  45. Arnab Sarkar Says: September 6, 2015 at 1:54 am

    Hi Grant.

    Thanks for your reply. I think I’ll go for 70D or I may wait for the 6D Mark II, thought not sure of release date and pricing. Thanks a lot.

  46. Tushar Says: September 27, 2015 at 7:29 am

    Hello Grant,
    Very much impressed by your review..

    M confused between two cameras
    Used 7D vs New 70D

    Used 7D– one of my friend purchased it but very rarely used( only for family functions)
    as good as new, ..(though
    out of warranty)

    Their Indian cost
    a)Used 7D–40,000INR (600$)
    b)70D mumbai price– 63,000 INR(950$)

    My purpose- wildlife exclusively
    My Lens–recently bought new 100-400 IS II
    (Thats why have tight budget)

    My camera-older 550D( which badly need an upgrade)

    Need your opinion on image quality,autofocusing,ISO functioning

    My major confusion is
    Will it be a bad deal to buy older 7D(which is appx 5 years older now) especially when it has been replaced by 7d mark ii (which has got phenomenol reviews)

    My next upgrade would be after 3 years..after I am done with my studies(as I am a student)
    (Touch n tilt screen,WiFi doesnt amuse me much

    • Grant Atkinson Says: September 27, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      Hi Tushar, I would say that the original 7D at a savings of USD 300 would be a good option. You have wisely spent your money on a cutting-edge zoom lens with very good image quality (the EF 100-400 mk2) and the 7D will work well on it. Compared to your 550D, the 7D will give you speed, buffer, AF accuracy upgrades, as well as being much easier to operate with its excellent set of external controls and nice viewfinder.
      In my review above, I think I have compared the 7D with the 70D as best as I can – in summary, the 70D has slightly more accurate autofocus, and is a little bit cleaner at higher iso settings, noticeable from iso 500 upwards – plus it has a slight resolution advantage!
      Hope that helps

  47. Dimitrios Tsagdis Says: June 18, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    Dear Grant,
    I appreciate the effort you put in making the videos, reviews, answering the questions – keep up the good work. I also value immensely your opinion as a real world wild-life photographer.
    Photography is a hobby for me, I have been shooting Canon for 20 years, I am limited in terms of budget and the amount of camera gear I can carry with me when I travel. I do wildlife, among mainly travel photography. My wildlife is from birds to dolphins (i.e. moving animals) usually at good weather and light conditions so I do not care much about low light performance and weather sealing. Nor durability of the equipment is important for me as in a 10 year period I may make 40,000 clicks. I shoot raw but I do not like touching up in photoshop (I’m a purist so to speak, from my slide days :-). I do not care for video and microphone. I do white balance from a grey card, usually shoot AV priority or manual, single point focus and metering.
    Currently for wildlife I have a Canon 6D + 100-400 IS MII combo (DXOMARK 21) and an old 450D (or Rebel XSi in US-speak) as a back up. Of course the 450D quality is not that great (DXOMARK 10 score with the aforementioned lens) but it is OK when I want the extra reach (which is not that often). However, the 450D is small enough to carry around (as a second body) without feeling the weight and occupying much space. So I’ve been thinking that as it is only occasionally that I want the extra reach could I get a Canon 1.4xIII Extender or a better crop body to replace my 450D and which one? I’ve looked at many reviews in these areas and as it is about wildlife, in which you are an expert, I would be obliged for your lights.
    An extender is very small and light, I’ll still have to carry around my 450D as a back up and this solution costs around USD430. For USD430 you can’t get a descent (ideally NEW crop sensor) body — as it is a back up I feel it has to be new so to be reliable. My old 450D is very reliable. So at USD430 (the price of the 1.4 extender) or thereabout can one get any descent Canon wildlife body? For example entry level 1200D/1300/Rebel SL1 DXOMARK 13 for around USD550. I do not mind paying a bit more but I think the price of a new 7DMII for my purposes is unjustifiable. I also think the 7DMII is way too overpriced for what it is (older CMOS in comparison to 80D). I do appreciate that the money goes to the focusing, fps, and wether sealing. But I’m interested more in the IQ that these.

    A new 760D (T6s in US-speak) which the DXOMARK gives a 15 rating for the aforementioned lens (the same as for 7DMII but 70D scores 14, 7D=13, 6D=21) is about USD850. I can find a new 7D for that money, and then the 70 and 80 D NEW are more expensive. What would you do? Go for the 1.4xIII (quality? speed? AF?), still opt for the 70D? The 760D? Or something even cheaper (e.g. D1200)/different?

    I have no idea how much a few extra points in DXOMARK worth or translate in practice? Is a 760D good enough? According to DXOMARK it should be better than the 70D in this combo. Or should I just get the Canon 1.4 extender for now and wait a bit more maybe for 7DM3? Or wait for the D7M2/70/80D prices to fall further down?

    Thank’s in advance for your lights
    Best regs

    • Grant Atkinson Says: June 21, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      HI Dimitris
      Thanks for writing, and sharing your shooting scenarios. Bit of a tough question to answer. The EF 1.4X Extender will get you more focal length, but your 6D will only be able to work with it on your EF 100-400L IS ii using Live View. So that could be problematic for moving subjects I would think.
      In my experience the 70D would be the best choice, and for a few reasons. It has a bigger raw buffer than the 760D, and it has a lower pixel density, which makes it easier to get pixel level sharpness in action shot sequences. I also think it has greater battery capacity, plus a faster frame rate, and it also shares much of its controls and size with your 6D which will make switching between them seamless. It also shares batteries. I realize it will make your bag a bit heavier but that is what I would do?
      I don’t worry too much about a point here and there on DXO, and I would avoid the 1300D range with limited buffer, slow frame rate and fewer controls than your 6D.
      Hope that helps?

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