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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
The 7D has 5 different options for utilizing the AF point area: Spot, Single Pt, Expanded AF, Zone AF and 19 Pt Auto AF.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hi Grant – thanks ! – This is such a good report! I was wondering about the 70D -but for know i’ll stick to by 7D. Love it!
Hi Sandra, glad you enjoyed reading about the new camera. Luckily both the 7D and 70D are pretty good bodies, so it kind of comes down to personal preferences 🙂
Great review, I purchased a 70D last month just before leaving for the Kgalagadi.
Had a difficult time getting to use it myself, as my daughter has taken it over 🙂
Thanks for the feedback, not sure how to go about retrieving your 70D from your daughter 🙂
Best to get two of them I reckon
Wow! Again I must say how much I appreciate your reviews. As long as they are, they always make complicated subjects very readable to me. Your ability to compare all the various aspects gives me confidence in understanding what you have written.
So once again, thanks for writing a review that makes me feel like I actually get it! 🙂
Hi Nancy, thanks for your feedback, and very glad to hear that the review was of interest.
Thanks, a very informative review. I am the worlds worst for researching something thoroughly before I buy it and then research it to death afterwards to confirm my decision. This time I know I have made the right choice from frame one> I got my 70D last week and am super happy with it, I was very happy with the 60D it replaces but its soooo much better, I love it!!
Thanks for the feedback Barrie
I think the 70D is a big upgrade on the 60D, and an exciting camera all-around.
Hey Grant, thanks a lot for the comprehensive review. Very well written indeed. I have had the 7D since 4 years and now also a 5D3. I have been happy with the 7D but the IQ of the 5D3 is in another league. My Q is, since I have the 5D3 should I sell my 7D and get maybe the 70D as a back up body or wait for a 7D replacement? I use it with my 500 II lens for birding and wildlife.
That is a good question that you ask. What would be important to consider is whether you would be comfortable with the smaller layout of the 70D, especially around the back of the camera, which is a different to the 5Dmk3. This is in contrast to the 7D, which has a very similar rear layout to the 5Dmk3.
If you are using your 7D less and less because of the difference you are finding in image quality between it and the 5dmk3, then it becomes more important to get the 70D.
As far as the 7Dmk2 is concerned, I have no idea when or if it will be released. I am as keen as many other wildlife photographers for a new 7D body 🙂
Hope that helps
Thanks Grant for your reply. Will the 6D make a reasonable back-up body for wildlife as its IQ is similar to 5D3? Or would you prefer the 70D in that situation?
Hi Sanjeev, the 6D has image quality as good if not slightly better than the 5Dmk3, so in that regard it makes a great second body. In terms of shooting alongside the 5dmk3, it is again, a little different in layout, especially when it comes to the Quick Command Dial and AF multi-controller. In those aspects, the 70D and 6D are very similar and seamless to move between when shooting.
Comparing the 70D and 6D for wildlife, the 70D is ahead when it comes to frame rate, as well as AF point coverage of the frame. It also has a significantly higher pixel density, which can be useful in situations where the subject may be very small or far away, and the light is good. In good light the 70D image quality is pretty good.
Having a 6D as a backup body to the 5Dmk3 will give you equivalent image quality, whereas the 70D will offer a somewhat different set of options due to its smaller, high pixel density sensor, and greater speed.
Perhaps your decision between those two, 6D and 70D, may be influenced by the conditions you find yourself shooting in most often…if lots of low light, high iso work, 6D may be the way to go. If you find that you are shooting a lot in good light, and sometimes need higher pixel density, then the 70D perhaps better.
Thanks Grant for clarifying my doubts. Appreciate it.
Thanks Grant, excellent review as always!
About six weeks ago, I have opted for the 70D as my 2nd body. I also have a 6D. Firstly, I wanted a Crop Body as an affordable way to get additional reach, especially for birds and birds in flight. I opted in the end for the 70D, mainly due to better higher ISO performance and improved image quality. Although I have been satisfied, for birds in flight strangely enough I found the 6D’s central focus point to cover a larger area and to be more sensistive than the 70D’s. It may be that I have not optimized all the settings on the 70D yet, because in theory the 70D should be more suited to birds in flight photograpgy than the 6D. That said, the additional reach and the greater frame rate of the 70D does make a difference.
Hi Thinus, glad you enjoyed the review. I found the 6D to have an extremely responsive and accurate centre AF point when I was shooting with it. I even managed some head-on shots of approaching birds in flight in low light that were in-focus, which suprized me. The 70D also did very well for me with birds in flight, although I believe that the 6D might hold an advantage in very low light. Also, as you mention, there are also quite a few additional options when it comes to fine-tuning the autofocus of the 70D, especially for Ai Servo focus performance
Thanks for sharing your experience and your feedback
Both are great cameras, the 70D is a great replacement to the 60D for sure but falls short on some promises.
Continuous speed for one but for me it was also very rubbery.
Brilliant image reproduction and video focusing are it’s strength for sure.
Thanks for the review.
Thanks for sharing your feedback here Pascal, and I am always interested to hear your opinions on camera gear, 🙂
Thanks for the great review. I just purchased the 70d and am happy I did
I just wanted to add that I purchased the 70D. so far I am pleased that I did so. I am leaving for Tanzania next week. One of the things I am looking forward to is being able to use the touch screen to adjust settings. It seems like I often feel a bit flustered when I’m trying to take photos while on a safari having to remember which dial does which thing. I’m just not always fast enough. All the electronics just don’t come natural to me. I also like the auto focusing capability. I took it to a local beach to try to catch birds in flight. It did well seeming to know what I was focusing on while moving the camera. Anyway, thanks for the advice, Grant! And I think I’d better reread this blog entry to refresh my memory before I go.
Glad to hear that Larry, and I hope the 70D gets you lots of great shots.
Thanks for sharing your early findings with the new camera. I must say when I first got my hands on the 70D, the touch screen wasn’t something I was thinking would have much use to me. However, I was wrong. Immediately I began using the camera and the touchscreen, I kept finding more ways to use it and now I keep finding myself suprized and slightly frustrated when I am using my other Canon dslr’s that don’t have the touchscreen capability.
Autofocus is pretty good on the 70D, and easily good enough for fast moving action. I look forward to hearing how things work out for you in Tanzania 🙂
Good day, Grant
I love the comparison review on 7D v 70D. I am using 7D now for about 2 years and plan to buy 70D too, because the shutter has done nearly 83,000 shots.
I bought a cheap vertical or battery grip for it for R630. Everything went well at first, but then it started.
At first it could not pick up the left hand battery anymore, then the latch keeping the battery down broke, then the shutter button is sometimes stuck and does not squeeze in to focus or take the shot. I also found that the battery life time is deteriorating quickly.
I have removed the grip and use the batteries in the camera without it now, but something is eating my batteries. Maybe they are already served their life time. The new battery lasted for about 1500 shots after first charge. Thereafter I only got 563 shots before the camera switched off on the same battery after second charge.
My query is: could it be the grip, the lens, the battery quality or the camera? How do I find out this problem?
I spoke to another Canon user. He told me that he had similar problems with his batteries, but found that the Canon 100-400 lens that he borrowed from a friend caused the problem. After he removed his friend’s lens, the batteries lasted much longer.
I am using the Canon 18-200 IS USM lens.
Hope you can guide me with advice.
Hi Tinus, thanks for your feedback on the review. I am afraid that I have never used any third party batteries or battery grips with my Canon dslrs, and as such I am not able to offer any suggestions, apart from getting yourself a new LP-E6 battery and seeing what happens with that in your camera. I would avoid using the third party battery grip.
I use the Lp-E6 batteries in 5Dmk2, 6D, 7D, 70D, and 5Dmk3 camera bodies, on lenses including the EF 70-300L, the EF 100-400L, the EF 70-200f2.8L ISii, the EF 300f2.8L IS, the EF 5004L IS vers I and version II, and I hardly ever get less than 1000 shots per charge. Typically I get between 1100 and 1600 shots. Some of those lenses are quite long, all have IS, some older and some newer generation, and I shoot with IS on all the time.
I even have a couple of LP-E6 batteries that are 4 years old, and only showing two green bars in the RECHARGE PERFORMANCE screen, which indicates that they are past their best, and I am still getting close to 1000 shots from them. Using Live View eats into the battery power quickly and shooting movies is similarly heavy on battery power.
Get yourself a new or nearly-new LP-E6 that hasn’t been near that battery grip, and see what happens with that.
Hope that helps
i am totally confused so you help me,.
in your opinion canon 7d or canon 70d which is best for photography ?
Thanks for review. I will definitely buy the 70d camera as upgrade to my 500d. I am also looking for a all purpose lens and looking at the new sigma 24-105 f4 is that seem to be great glass and well build.
Hi Marius, thanks for your feedback. I have no experience with that new Sigma yet, but it looks good. I look forward to hearing how your results go
I think the 70d will pair well with good lenses. I had good results from the one I was using on several L-series Canon lenses and also on the Tokina AT-X 100mm macro lens
Great review. I have been debating the whole 7D vs 70D for awhile. My main reason for looking at the 7D was budget, I can get a decent used body for $800. Not sure what your shot count on the 7D is, would it be fair to say many 1000’s?
If your budget only afforded a 7D could you remain a happy wild life photographer?
Big question is buy used 7D now and start shooting or save longer and go 70D. If I win the lotto should I just run out and grab the 1D X?? (LOL!!)
Off topic question: Tele advantage of cropped sensor vs smaller image on larger sensor but crop to match the smaller sensor. Is the full frame shot cropped, going to be better than the bigger image on the smaller sensor?
I have seen so much conflicting info, but after reading this review, you seem like the man who would know based on thorough real world experience. Any and all info greatly appreciated.
It really comes down to your own personal priority on absolute image quality, in which case the 70D is superior, or ergonomics (the rear AF multicontroller and larger, full-control set body) of the 7D.
Judging whether the image quality difference between the 70D and 7D is important to you can be made easier by using whatever current dlsr you are shooting with, as a reference?
There are a bunch of Canons dslr bodies using similar 18mp sensors as that found in the 7D, although their output may be slightly refined in later models.
Similarly, your current camera body will give you some idea of whether you will benefit most from the bigger body size and control set of the 7D or whether the 70D will be good enough in this regard.
As to your question regarding image quality comparison between full frame and APS-C sensor cameras, that can be a complex one to answer. In comparing, I have found it important to compare similar age sensors, therefore cropping an image taken with the same lens, same position, same subject, only changing camera bodies, between a 5Dmk3 and a 70D, meant I had roughly 9mp image from the 5dmk3 to compared to a 20mp image from the 70D. On a 23 inch screen, I could not really tell the difference between the images, however, for a really large print, there would have been a definite advantage to the 20mp image from the 70D. Once I went beyond Iso 1000, I found the 9mp image of the 5Dmk3 needed less noise reduction than that of the 70D, and in very low light, the full-frame camera is superior. In good light, at iso 800 and downward, the 70D was about as good. Of course, what I have written here pertains to a 5dmk3 full frame, 22mp image cropped until subject size matched that from an APS-C sensor 70D image, same focal length, 20 mp. If you move closer with the full frame camera or use more focal length until the image is framed the same, there is a clear advantage in virtually all regards to the 5Dmk3 image..
Hope that helps
Mitch, a couple things I missed out in my response. The 70D has a shutter rated at 100 000 cycles, the 7D 150 000 cycles. I owned a pair of 7D bodies and used them as my main wildlife camera bodies for 6 months. Whilst I enjoyed their responsiveness, feel, build, speed and decent AF, I found the low light image quality less than idea l for the kind of shooting that I do, which includes lots of mammal action after sunset and before sunrise. In all other respects the 7D did me well. I did choose to change from the 7D’s to a 5Dmk2 and a used 1Dmk3, for better low light capability.
Thank you so much for you reply. I think I will hold out, and save for the 70D. Image quality is top priority.
When using a crop sensor camera with full fram lenes, is the f stop altered along with the magnification? A 300 2.8, is approx 480, but does the f2.8 remain? Any opinion on an older Tamron SP 300 f2.8. It was a dream lens way back when I shot film with the Canon A1. I never did get one, but see really good deals on used ones.
I would welcome any input on a decent starting lens for wild life. I am thinking only full frame glass, that can be used in the future. I think 300mm is really the bottom end for birds/wild life. Of course budget is a concern, otherwise I would run out for one of Canon dreamboat L series Super tele’s.
P.S: I have to get out on a Safari before I am too old!!
Hi Mitch, nothing changes in terms of f-stop and the actual max focal length when mounting a fixed lens onto a full-frame or APS-C sensor camera. Sometimes I have found the easiest way for me to figure out what kind of pixel density (high, medium or low) a particular camera sensor has is to start making notes of the pixel pitch. That way you can better forgo worrying about crop or not. Therefore the 1DX has pixel pitch of 6.9 microns, approx, whilst the 7D is 4.3microns. Both are 18 mp, so native, uncropped print from both will be the same size, however more 4.3 micron pixels fit inside the subject than do 6.9 micron pixels, therefore the 7D subject will be bigger.
As for lenses, I do not have any experience with the Tamron 300f2.8, although I think it is long discontinued. Canon has a couple of decent options, the EF 300f4L IS is an excellent one if you can get close enough, as is the EF 400 L f5.6, (which doesn’t have IS and hence needs a bit more careful shooting technique). Both of these lenses are very sharp, offer up good contrast and beautiful looking images at a decent price, especially on the used market, they should be around the USD 1000 mark. The 300f4 holds the advantage in low light with its extra f-stop of light gathering, something that may be more important if you are shooting them on a camera with small pixel pitch that is not ultra-good in low light…The EF100-400L IS zoom is also very versatile and capable, if not quite as sharp as either of the aforementioned lenses.
I used a 300f4L IS for some years and was very happy with it, although it is a bit on the short side for birds, unless they are big or very approachable.
Again, than you so much for your replies. Lens wise I am thinking the 300mm f/4 is a good place to start.
Any thoughts on the 60D? Although ultimately I want as much image qualityas possible, I have seen really good prices on used 60D’s ($450US), and thought for a first move into DSLR maybe not to bad.
I currently shoot with the little sx150 and an older sx10, so any DSLR has to be a huge improvement. I can put the bigger money towards the lens, and move to a better body/sensor later.
There is no problem with the 60D, and for that kind of money, what a bargain. It has lots of resolution, decent AF, decent image quality in good to medium light, and is responsive and quite versatile with its high quality lcd flip screen and video capabilities. Another option might also be a used 40D, which has similarly good or better image quality up to and including iso 800 if you don’t crop it heavily, and is a little faster than the 60D. I also prefer the form factor of the 40D, with its larger rear command dial and dedicated AF joystick. The rear LCD on the 40D is not that great for detailed reviewing, and it is only 10 mp, but still a good camera. To a large degree the AF system is shared with the 60D, although the newer processor in the 60D may confer it a very small advantage.
Any of the XXD models will pair very well with the 300f4L IS and this will make for a very light, very easy to use, and very effective, mobile wildlife photography setup…
the 7D focuses at f/8 — eg:400 f/5.6 lens+1.4tc=f/8 or 800 f/5.6 lens +1.4tc=f/8 —the camera focus works fine at f/8
Thanks for sharing that info here Scott,
I seem to never have the combination of 7D, 1.4x extender and a lens with an f5.6 aperture in my hands at the same time to test it 🙂
Grant, a quick question regarding the 300 f/4 and the 300 2.8. There is basically $5000 difference in price for what seems like 1 stop difference. I know a whole stop can be huge under some circumstances, but on a bright day, and cameras improving at higher ISO, $5K is a lot of money.
Is there more to the story than the one stop? (other than the low dof that the 2.8 has)
Also the 300 f4 vs the 400 f5.6. Lose a stop but gain 100mm, or 300 with 1.4 TC gives 400 f5.6, more money over all, but more versatile, but may small loss of sharpness?
Probably going for the 60D body, a friend is giving me an older zoom touse, while I save for one of the above lens.
Hi Mitch, the cost difference between the EF 300f4 L IS and either a used EF 300f2.8L IS (usually sell for around USD3300) and the newer version, EF 300 f2.8 L IS ii (sells around USD6800) does seem very big. For the money, the EF 300f4L IS can do much of what either of the f2.8 lenses can do, quite well. Real-world advantages for me that the f2.8 lenses hold over the f4 lens are much faster, more accurate focus performance, which becomes even more notable as the light gets lower. Cameras with extra sensitive f2.8 sensors in their array of AF points work at their very best with the f2.8 lenses. Viewfinder brighter. Shallower depth of field, both the f2.8 lenses are a little sharper, even wide open. Both the f2.8 lenses can also take 1.4 extenders very well, with AF and image quality only dipping very slightly, whereas AF speed takes more of knock when adding a 1.4x extender to the EF 300f4L IS. Also, both f2.8 lenses combine quite well with the 2x extender (most especially the version ii lens and version iii 2x extender) to give extra versatility. Adding a 2x extender to the 300L f4 IS will make for a very dark viewfinder, non functioning AF except on a 1D or 5D3 body.
Whether these differences are worth the extra money only each user can know. The 300f4L IS is extremely lightweight, easy to use, has decently fast AF, very good image quality, and is one of those lenses that punches way above its weight when it comes to value for money…
You have summed up the main differences between the 300f4L IS plus 1.4x extender when compared to the EF 400 f5.6…two things that are important to think about when choosing between those two would be how close you might be to your subjects. If you are going to need to shoot the 300 with the 1.4x extender attached, then it may be better to go for the pure image quality advantage of the EF 400L f5.6. However, if you suspect that there will be lots of low light shooting, and instances when bare 300mm will be enough focal length, then the extra light gathering, and image stabilization of the 300f4 would place it ahead.
Hope that helps
Good day Grant,
Great info on the lens stuff. Thursday I snapped up a mint, very lightly used 60D body for $450US. It was the whole retail package with manuals , battery, charger, strap etc AND 1 yr full manufacturers warranty.
An old friend dug up an older Canon 70-300 F4-5.6 is USM at zero cost to me. Not a bad way to start.
With the 60D crop sensor I think the 300F4 is what I will start saving for. That puts me at 450ish f4.
The Chobe safari, seems affordable and with larger subjects. 450mm would work OK?
Time for a second job so I can accelerate the budget process!
Thanks for letting me know, and it sounds a great deal. I think you will enjoy the response and image quality of the 60D, and even more so once you get a 300f4L. The EF 300f4L IS was actually my main wildlife long lens for almost 3 years…it can do the job.
The main operator that I work with for the Chobe trips actually supplies Sigma 150-500mm lenses as part of the deal to folk on the boat, and there are also rental options for higher-quality long lens.
Look forward to seeing some images and hearing about your experiences with the lens.
As you know I have 7D and 5D3 bodies. My Q is if I replace my 7D, would you prefer a 70D or should one prefer both full frame bodies like a 5D3 and 6D combo? I have the 70-200 f/2.8 II, 500 f/4 II and 1.4 X TC III.
Also, what’s your impression / opinion on the tamron 150-600 lens? It is making some buzz on the forums.
Having cameras with different sized sensors, and very different pixel sizes (referring here to the actual diameter of the pixels/photosites themselves) like you currently have with the 5Dmk3 (6.2 microns) and the 7D (4.3 microns) certainly can allow you to maximize resolution for subjects that are very small in the frame or far away, by using the 7D in such circumstances. On the other hand, if there is very little ambient light, then the larger pixels and larger sensor area of the 5Dmk3 combine to give you superior image quality. In that way having a full frame and crop sensor kind of gives you the best of both worlds…low light performance and maximum image quality prioritized on the full frame, and the benefits that come with small pixels and fine resolution for distant subjects or big crops on the 7D.
If you find that you are frequently changing camera bodies to get the full frame sensor onto both lenses in field, or wishing that you were, then it might be the best idea to get two full frame cameras.
On the other hand, if you are using both your 7D and 5Dmk3 equally ,and like that versatility, then changing out the 7D for a 70D will bring you some further small pixel high-resolution benefits (it is 4.1microns) and 20mp and a slightly improved image quality overall.
I have not had any chance yet to use the Tamron 150-600 lens, so I don’t really have a real opinion yet. It may be the best of the third party manufacturer super tele zoom options?
Thanks for the reply Grant. I will stick to the FF & Crop combo.
Thanks for the great review. I currently use a 40D and I’m really comfortable with it, I need to add video capabilities to my camera so that makes the 70D the obvious choice. I am however slightly concerned about its smaller size and the accessibility of controls etc. I’m wondering if you could shed some light from first hand experience on how I might find the transition? Although I need the video capability it’s wildlife and landscapes that I really want to be utilizing the camera at its fullest and improving on the 40D if I’m going to be spending the money anyway.
I’m off to the shops now to handle one and see how it feels but I’m also looking forward to your comments. For lenses I have 17-40 f4 L and 70-200 f2.8L (non IS)
As a former user of the 40D myself, I owned 3 of them, as well as the 50D and 7D bodies, I found the 70D body size to be quite comfortable for my medium to smaller-sized hands. Although it is quite compact, the 70D remains quite chunky and the grip is fairly deep. Personally, I do find the missing rear AF joystick quite annoying, as it is a control that I use all the time when shooting with 40D, 50D, 7D and 5D series cameras…aside from that, the rest of the controls were quite comfortable for me.
Your lenses sound pretty good to me and will work just fine on either the 7D or 70D
I look forward to reading about your experiences
Good day, sir
Thanks for sharing all the info on cameras, etc. Its greatly appreciated.
I bought a Canon 70D three weeks ago, and for some reason I can’t get sharp photos.
I photographed a singer, who is rarely moving. My shutter speed was 1/200 up to 1/320 and the photos are blurry or soft focus.
I am using the Canon 18-200mm IS 3.5-5.6 lens.
Maybe I am missing some settings. I used evaluative metering mode and all focus setting.
The lens is in auto focus and the camera is in manual mode. Sport and portrait mode does the same.
Can you please help? I can not use the camera lens combination and deliver bad photos.
There could be a number of reasons for blurry photos. It does sound as if your shutter speed is fast enough, however I would raise the speed slightly, especially if you are handholding, say to 1/640 second and see if that makes a difference?
When you are looking through the viewfinder, is there an active focus point on the part of the singer that you want to be in focus. The active point usually flickers or blinks when it is focused so that you can see. Are you shooting in Ai Servo or One Shot AF mode?
Have you tried to shoot with just a single AF point, and then you place that point on the subject for greater accuracy?
Another test you can do with the 70D is to put it into Live View, and see if the images that you get then are sharply focused.
In very low light focus accuracy suffers a bit, so how much ambient light are you shooting in?
Hope something there may be helpful?
Grant, you are a legend! Thanks for such an in depth review… You have definitely helped me make my decision to go for the 70d.. I was impressed with its review for film work, and now with your review on the stills side, the choice is clear! All the best..
Hey Josh, glad to hear you enjoyed the review.
Hi Grant, Now thats what I call a review!. I am about to jump on the ladder and have had a torrid time choosing between the two cameras but will now go for the 70D. I am new to DSLR but wanted something I can grow with and as it is newer will have a bit more longevity. Now lenses!. I run my own carpentry business and would like a lens for my work projects, also holidays, and family shots, I am lucky enough to be going to the Monaco F1 gp this year so looking to purchase a lens for this but also to keep. My choices are 15-85 IS USM, 70-200 F4 IS USM what do you think? I am hoping to use the 15-85 for general and work but concerned its not wide enough perhaps the 10-22 but that means more expense.
Glad the review helped you with your decision. I think your choice of those two lenses, 15-85 and 70-200 is a good one. Yes, the 10-22 will be wider but it is a more specialised lens, and unless you have specific need for the kind of images it can make, the 15-85 will be more useful in many different scenarios. The EF 70-200f4L IS is a superb lens, and combines very good image quality, fast, accurate AF and light weight in a powerful package. You may also wish to consider the EF 70-300L although I have never photographed F1 and don’t know how close you can get to the action?
Hope that helps
It has been a few weeks since I got the 60D, and the free 70-300 f/4.-5.6
zoom from a friend.
I would love to claim how happy I am, but alas I am sad.
The lens is terribly soft, to the degree I wouldn’t pay $20.00 for it. let alone
the $600+ list price. I am thinking maybe it has been dropped or something.
I realize that it is not ‘L’ glass, but I wonder how people could shoot with this.
I did an in store side by side with another version and I think it was sharper but
conditions were not ideal, so somewhat inconclusive. Have you seen or heard
of this problem with this lens?
I have continued to snap away anyway, just to learn the camera, and I snapped a bald eagle in flight that is the best I have ever shot but is too soft for publication.
You did mention you used the 300 f4 as your lens for a few years, so I am assuming
pro quality shots are attainable. I don’t shoot for a living but who wants soft shots.
I don’t mean a touch that can be handled in post. I am getting sharper shots from a used Canon SX10 is.
Probably not worth considering getting the lens serviced, maybe put the $$$ to the f4 300.
I am enjoying the feel of the camera in my hands and did mange to blow through 450 shots last Sunday. I got about 10 really usable, based on sharpness. I also have a better understanding of the need for file management!! Especially because I shoot RAW + jpg.
Hi Mitch, sorry to hear of your experience with that used 70-300. I have used that lens on a few occasions, and had decent results with it, so I am guessing that perhaps there is some servicing required. Whilst it doesn’t rival any of the L-series lenses in sharpness, it is pretty decent and should be better than an SX10.
I did use the 300f4L IS as my main wildlife lens for several years, and my wife also used one. We had two copies of it over time, and always had very good results. Although it cannot quite compare to the EF 300f2.8 version, it does take very sharp images, gives good background blur, nice contrast and colour, and is super light which makes it effective for tracking moving subjects. I will be working on a full length field review on that lens a bit later in this year ahead.
Maybe try out an EF 300f4L IS from a rental place for a day’s shooting before you buy…always good to feel and see things for yourself.
muchas gracias por la comparación Subvención Atkinson . yo uso mi cámara para vídeo y la afamada 7d es una de las mejores hasta ahora la pregunta es q calidad de imagen y rango dinámico es mejor?
lo otro para grabar de noche .. cual reduce mas el ruido ? por ahora tengo una rebel t5i y estoy a puertas de cambiarme a algo mejor pero estoy muy complicado entre comprar una 7d o una 70d quiero tener la de mejor calidad de imagen y con menos ruido nocturno gracias
Thanks for writing. I hope I understood your question correctly. Although I have not shot comparison videos between the 70D and 7D, I have found in low light that the 70D images come out cleaner, and are more usable for my own needs when it comes to having a little bit less noise than the 7D.
Again, I have not compared video output between the two, but I would strongly believe that the 70D video quality would be superior.
Thanks for such a thorough and thoughtful review. What are your thoughts on using either for underwater photography? Do you think that of these two, one offers significant advantages for underwater photography?
Thanks for your feedback Carol. I would think that they would be fairly similar for underwater photography, especially if used with strobe lights for the main light source. If you were going to be shooting underwater without strobe/artificial lights, then the 70D image quality would be an advantage. With the strobes, there is less difference.
The 70D is a fair bit smaller and lighter, so that would definitely be an advantage, and even more so if it had a smaller housing than that which would fit a 7D. The 7D is definitely more robust, but once in a housing, there shouldn’t be much difference.
Those are the only real differences I can think of right now for underwater use.
I have confused about 2 cameras 70D and 7D would you like to tell me which is best 1 for all rounder actually i wanna buy ASAP..
Just 1 more quick question about lens selection. I have the 60D, was seriously looking at the Canon 300/f4, maybe with 1.4 Teleconverter at some point. A chat with a gentleman at the camera store, now has me wondering about the Canon 70-200 2.8 IS and the 2x Teleconverter. His claim is that the newer 70-200 is significantly sharper than the older tech 300 f/4. It would allow some good versatility and a IS 400 5.6 with converter on the 1.6 crop sensor =640 5.6. Any thoughts on this combo? Any drawbacks that come to mind?
Many thanks again.
Hi Mitch, I have the EF 70-200f2.8L IS ii, and with a 2x extender, it might be marginally better than the 300f4L IS plus 1.4x extender when they are all shot set up like that. It for sure adds the great all-round performance of the 70-200f2.8L IS ii when used bare with no extender, with blazing fast AF and low light performance that is exceptional. That newest 70-200 also has excellent 4 stop IS.
Negatives are cost, as the 70-200 version ii has a fairly hefty price tag, and weight and size. Once you hook up the 2x extender to the 70-200 it gets quite long and quite heavy for prolonged handling for some folk.
The 70-200L f2.8 IS ii is one of the best zoom lenses ever made.
Hope that helps
Hi Grant, as I mentioned before, excellent review.
For some time now I have been considering switching brands, only because Sony support in this country, and Durban in particular, is very poor. I currently shoot an A77 and FF A850. At the Canon Roadshow this weekend I got the opportunity to have a good look at the 70D and 6D (no 5DMk111 or 1Dx on show ????). I know very little about Canon so reviews like this go a long way in “educating” me, but to be brutally honest I found the 70D to be bit “consumerish” compared to the 7D which looks and feels like a pro camera. eg: the view finder is a bit small and only 1 card slot at this level The 70D is a very nice camera and tech wise it is very very good, but I was just expecting something a bit more 7D’ish. Anyway that was just my pre-conception and not a fault of the camera and may be an indication there is still something better to come – 7Dmk11? . Sadly the 70D is not a camera I would switch to at this stage. So that left me with the 6D which I am afraid I was not impressed with at all.
I know I am going to take a huge financial knock by changing brands, but I have got to the stage where my Sony SA frustrations are getting the better of me. You know my style of photography, so would you say I need to seriously look at the 5Dmk111 and look for a good 2nd hand 300 or 400 lens, wait for a better Canon APSC body or re consider the 70D ?
PS; At some stage “soon” I will be swapping brands and so far Canon has the edge.
Glad to hear you found the review helpful, and also a great idea to go along and check out the products at the roadshow. Seems a bit bizarre that the 5Dmk3 and 1DX were not available?
I totally get what you are saying about the 70D, its compact body size mean it is not going to be a perfect fit for those who are used to bigger camera bodies with more external controls. In that regard both Canon and Nikon seem to be frustrating the enthusiast market who have patiently been waiting for similar level bodies to their 7D and D300s models. I am afraid that i have no idea when or even whether there will be a 7Dmk2. I am not sure if you would consider a used dslr body, if so then the Canon 1Dmk4 might make a good choice. It has image quality very close the 5Dmk3 pixel for pixel, has very good autofocus, and has great ergonomics, big bright viewfinder, deep buffer. Used 1Dmk4 bodies seem to be selling between R20K and about R28K on the local market. I have compared it feature by feature, and its performance for wildlife, to the 5dmk3 on this site.
If you would prefer a new camera body, I have no hesitations in recommending the 5Dmk3, I use mine as my main wildlife body and so far it has been totally trouble free, and a great performer and shoot it side by side with a 1Dmk4.
With new prices being what they are for lenses, definitely a good option to get look at good condition used lenses. I am not sure whether you are aiming at fixed focal length lenses, and if so, what f-stop are you looking at?
I have a 7D and a 650 D I bought the 650D because of the pull out screen as I find this so much easier for macro photography at ground level. I do not see great deal of difference in image quality in good light between the two cameras although there is a difference at higher ISO
I was now thinking of changing the 7D for the 70D again to get the pull out screen. However what puts me off is the reports that the 70D has focussing problems with fast prime lenses such as 1.8 and 1.4
also apparently according to the DP review the duel pixel AF does not allow tracking autofocus while shooting continuously
I too have read on the internet of the 70D having focussing problems with large aperture lenses. I didn’t experience any focus problems with the camera and found it to be the best focusing APS-C Canon camera to date that I have used. But, in my line of work I don’t make use of any of the f1.4 or f1.8 Canon lenses, and the fastest lenses I shot on the 70D were f2.8 aperture L series lenses.
I shot the 70D extensively in Live View, using the Dual Pixel AF system. I found it’s Live View AF performance to be ultra-accurate, and by far the fastest focusing Canon camera in Live View I have ever used. For the first time ever, I was able to use a Canon dslr in Live View, with the screen flipped out, held far away from my body to get a lower angle, and focus and photograph wild life. The Dual Pixel AF is able to track slow moving subjects, with some accuracy. I did not try to shoot in Continuous in Live View,with the 70D.
Sorry I cannot confirm or refute the internet reports around the large maximum aperture lenses, but I can say that the Dual Pixel AF works well enough that it is by far the best Canon dslr for Live View work.
Thanks for your reply. I hadn’t considered the 1Dmk4 and should have. I have actually ” briefly ” used one and was extremely impressed so don’t know why I forgot about this option. Will add it to my list. As far as lenses go, I would ideally love a longish prime f2.8, but even 2nd hand they are a fortune. Because of the “pain” I am going to feel when I change, I am initially looking at only 2 lenses – one for wildlife and a wider general purpose zoom (24-105 ?). We are fortunate in that we mainly travel to private reserves so can get fairly close to the animals 90% of the time, but for birds and the other 10% I have to crop or get creative 🙂 The reviews I have had of Canon’s 100-400 haven’t impressed me so I am not considering that lens. I could probably get away with a 70-200 f2.8 + 1.4x or 2x TC, but would be grateful for any advice you could offer on a lens for wildlife. I will also have a read through your lens reviews.
For those folk interested in reading a bit more about how it feels to work with the 70D touchscreen, which I only covered briefly, here is a link to a short review that was posted recently by Simon Cox:
Thank you so much for the great review. This helps us a lot to decide which camera to get for my daughter. She photographs ducks to paint. Could you please tell us the difference between “spot focus” and ” single point focus” though? The 7D having both and the 70D only one of them. Thanks again. Gary
Spot AF, which is only found on the 7D, is a single AF point sensor option, in which the size of the active area or size of that single point is approximately half the size of the active AF sensor point in Single Pt AF. This is not necessarily apparent from the viewfinder, where Spot AF shows as a square with a small circle in the middle. Single Pt AF shows as an empty square of the same external size.
Spot AF is useful when trying to focus on very small parts of a subject, especially when there may be lots of obstructions like reeds, or grasses or bushes. Canon do not recommend the use of Spot AF for moving subjects as the sensor is so small it is easy to move it off the subject.
Single Pt AF functions just the same as Spot AF does, except the active single sensor is twice the size, thus more forgiving and generally easier to use.
For my own shooting needs, I hardly ever use Spot AF, and I have access to it on the 7D, 5Dmk3, 1Dmk4 and the 1DX. I don’t miss it at all on the 70D. Others with different shooting scenarios may like using it.
Hope that helps
I wanted to compare these cameras on behalf of a friend and I’m so glad I discovered your detailed, considered and expert review. It’s extremely kind of you to share your expertise in this way. Thank you!
Thanks for feedback, Bob
and very glad it was useful
Any thoughts or opinions on the EF 70-200f2.8L IS version 1? I might have a chance to score a good deal on a used one through an estate sale. I know the version 2 has better IS, but I am more concerned about sharpness and overall image quality.
There is a 300mm f/2.8 MK 1 as well, but I am not sure if they will go low enough for my budget. Any thought s on what a guy might offer. Pictures show it to be in nice shape.
Hi Mitch, I owned the 70-200L f2.8 IS version i for quite a long time. It is not quite as sharp when shot at f2.8, wide open, across the frame, as the newest version, but I was very happy with mine. I used it on 30D, 40D and 50D bodies, and found its image quality good enough for my needs. I don’t think it pairs quite as well with the 2x extender as the newest lens though, but mine worked well with a 1.4x extender.
Not sure of the price you may get the EF 70-200l f2.8 Vi for, but also consider the EF 70-200L f4 IS, perhaps even sharper than the L2.8 V1? Also works great with a 1.4x extender
The EF 300L f2.8 IS v1 is a phenomenal lens. In southern African conditions that is one of the best wildlife lenses ever made. I have shot more with one of those lenses than any other. I only got rid of my 300L f2.8 V1 in 2013, and used it on 40D, 50D,7D, 5dmk2,1Dmk3,1Dmk4 and 5Dmk3 bodies. Works excellently with the 1.4x extender, and decently with the 2x. Great lens..I am unsure what they might be selling for in the US right now..here is South Africa, where prices are inflated somewhat, mint condition used 300L f2.8 IS v1 selling for about the equivalent of USD3500
This is one of the best reviews I’ve read in a long time.Just Brilliant.I came here for a particular information I got exactly what I needed if not more.I loved how you explained every detail.Exactly what I wanted.Brilliant.After going through your entire article I’ve decided to go for the 70d. I am just too pulled into that flip-out swivel screen.I started of with a Nikon D5000 and that swivel camera has definitely helped me out.I wish the buffer was better like the 7d…but one cant have it all. :).Also i wanted to point out that I loved all your shots displayed above.Each one is just amazing.I am a big fan of yours from this point.I deeply appreciate the time and effort you put into building this article.I am totally inspired by your work.I started Photography in 2009 with my Nikon D5000 starters camera.I had good start but well studies and society got in way.My dream is to become a wildlife Photographer,I am just mad about nature,from the smallest to the biggest.But well Life in my society doesn’t make it easy for me to pursue a wildlife Photographer career.I hope someday I can venture out to the world like you capture beauty at its best.Best of luck to your future endeavors.Keep making beautiful articles like this which is a enormous help to the rest of us.Thank you and TC 🙂
This is one of the best reviews I’ve read in a long time.Just Brilliant.I came here for a particular information I got exactly what I needed if not more.I loved how you explained every detail.Exactly what I wanted.Brilliant.After going through your entire article I’ve decided to go for the 70d. I am just too pulled into that flip-out swivel screen.I started of with a Nikon D5000 and that swivel camera has definitely helped me out.I wish the buffer was better like the 7d…but one cant have it all. :).Also i wanted to point out that I loved all your shots displayed above.Each one is just amazing.I am a big fan of yours from this point.I deeply appreciate the time and effort you put into building this article.I am totally inspired by your work.I started Photography in 2009 with my Nikon D5000 starters camera.I had good start but well studies and society got in way.My dream is to become a wildlife Photographer,I am just mad about nature,from the smallest to the biggest.But well Life in my society doesn’t make it easy for me to pursue a wildlife Photographer career.I hope someday I can venture out to the world like you capture beauty at its best.Best of luck to your future endeavors.Keep making beautiful articles like this which is a enormous help to the rest of us.Thank you and TC 🙂
Glad the article was interesting, and I am sure the 70D will be a good tool for whatever kind of photographic opportunities come your way! 🙂
Grant, again I really appreciate you taking the time to answer questions. So without further ado, welcome to lens dilemma take #65.
As mentioned I was looking at a used 300 2.8 IS v1, I think it might go for $3000US, locally canon has some incentives and I could get the 70-200 IS vii + canon 2x converter viii, for $2650US. Either squeezes my budget, and the few hundred difference is not enough for me to make up my mind. Image quality is my over all #1 concern. The zoom does offer flexibility, but I lose the stops with the TC. Maybe I should have re-taken up photography!!
I welcome your thoughts.
Thanks for the exceptionally detailed review, Grant. I have been on the fence for so long, looking at these two cameras; and also checking out the rumor mill for the 7Dii. Finally, my 40D started misbehaving, and reading through your review got my past my analysis paralysis, and I clicked the “buy” button a few minutes ago. Keep up the excellent work; it is much appreciated.
Glad the write-up was useful. I don’t think you will be disappointed with the 70D, and it represents a decent upgrade over the 40D in a number of ways..
Hi Grant, great review and comparison between 7D and 70D. I currently have had a 60D for 3 years and have taken in the neighborhood of 50,000 pictures. I’ve been a Canon guy since the late 70’s when I bought my F-1, and all my digital cameras have been Canon, except for a several year stint with my Olympus 2100 Ultra Zoom in the early years of digital.
I have been debating for several months whether to step up to a full frame system, but I just can’t seem to justify spending money for a Mark III. I thought about a Mark II, but most people are very proud of their used Mark IIs and have the over priced in my opinion. And all the 6D might be okay for some, Canon missed the mark I think by holding back al lot of features. And of course, the price tag is pretty much up there. So, I’ll be staying with the crop sensor cameras. I have a good selection of glass, 24-105, 100-400, 10-22, 50 1.4, 85 1.8 and 60 macro. I had a 70-300 USM that was great, which I sold in anticipation of getting a 70-300L, just haven’t found one for the the right price point.
Your review has helped me with making the decision to get a 70D to compliment my 60D, which I might sell later this summer. If there seems to be anything that I might have missed in your review and something that I should think about let me know.
Thanks for the good work!
Hi Mark, thanks for your feedback and also your gear list, a nice gathering of lenses there. I would think that a 70D represents a very worthwhile upgrade from the 60D and you will likely be very happy with it. Autofocus, image quality, resolution, speed all move forward significantly, and the Live View and video performance is way better. Ergonomics are fairly similar between the two cameras, so switching will be pretty painless.
Hello, Mr. Grant ,
I’m just confused totally .. I own a 5d Mark iii .. As a backup;secondary body I would like to have another one…. I’m hardly confused on choosing the one from these two – Canon EOS 7D ; Canoon EOS 70D…….If you would say in a word it would be easier me to choose …. Which one do u prefer? ; Which one is the best ? ( just in a word 😛 )
Hi Nanu, the 7D feels more like the 5Dmk3 in your hands, and its controls are very similar. The 70D is a little bit smaller, a different control set, and has a more versatile arrangement with its swivel screen, good Live View focusing and good video. If you shoot mostly in bright light or with flash, then you will hardly notice any difference in image quality between the two cameras. If you shoot in low light then the 70D has a slight image quality advantage over the 7D. Not for me to decide which would be best for your needs 🙂
Which one is better for Wedding Photography & Portrait Photography ?
7D or 70D
Waiting for your reply.
Hi Arghya Deb, I cannot say which of the two would be best for your needs. When it comes to weddings and portraits..the 70D has slightly better image quality, but if you are shooting in bright light or with flash a lot, that image quality difference will be largely equalized. If video is important for your work, then the 70D might be best. If you need the most rugged, and durable camera for heavy workloads of shooting day in and day out, then the 7D might be the better choice, with its magnesium body, and shutter with a longer cycle rating?
Hope that helps
Thanx a lot.
Good Day Grant,
You can now officially dis-regard my previous postings. I decided to shut up and shoot!!
I scaled back the budget and settled on the 300 f4 L with 1.4 TC.
Thank you for your contribution to making us all better photographers.
Hi Mitch, thanks for letting me know :-), I trust you will be happy with the 300f4L IS and look forward to some images from you using it. A 300f4L IS and 60D combination is a strong one, light and with decent resolution, good image quality. I owned two copies of the EF300f4L IS and really enjoyed using it. It is also one of the next lenses that I will be writing up a field review on over the coming months, along with the EF 400L f5.6.
Let us know how it works out for you 🙂
Please excuse the late response, I am still in the field at the moment and internet access a bit spotty
Grant, No excuse needed. I was actually starting to feel guilty about pestering you for the ultimate answer.
I opted for ordering the 300 f/4 brand new. There were some decent deals on ebay but I felt I must be able to look at the glass. The 400 f/5.6 seems like a great deal ( $1120 US ) but I felt the IS was a must for me right now, plus the bit of versatility option with the TC.
Of course I could have opted for the ultimate in versatility, the 200-400 f/4
with built in TC, but it was just slightly over budget (LOL!!)
For future reference in case I decide on a used 2.8, what about comments ” Light internal dust, but doesn’t affect picture quality, or light scratching on the lens coating “. These kind of comments really scared me away from making a used purchase online .
great advice buddy was torn between the 7d or 70d have the 60d nearly 3 years I found it a good dslr especially as I have very bad knees I could use the flip out screen started out taking landscape and general photography found the 60d a good low light dslr but when I bought a canon 400mm f/5.6 non is it is quite limited my original idea was to buy 2nd hand 7d to use primarily with this lens but after reading your very in depth review have decided to trade in the 60d for the 70d which should be very good for my needs
Hi grant, i am deepak sharma from india.. please tell me who is the best camera.. canon 70d or 7d… but why they are best?
I have an option to buy a second hand 1dmk4 or a new 5dmk3 both at same price, I am into portrait and landscapes, which one I should prefer? Pls advice
I am mainly into portraits and landscapes … Torn between a used canon 1dmk4 and a brand new 5dmk3, pls help me make a choice
Hi Ajay, for landscape and portraits, the 5Dmk3 is the superior tool…
Thanks Grant for a prompt response! This was troubling me for some time since I don’t own either of them.
I was really inspired by your review sir buying the 70d. I was a bit confused then between these cameras.
Now i am really happy with my 70d.
Thanks a lot! More power!
Hi Ajay, I do own both of them, the 5d3 and the 1Dmk4, and the 5D3 has superior image quality from its full-frame sensor, better low light autofocus performance, and greater resolution for printing. The 1Dmk4 has a faster frame rate, rapid AF drive with big lenses and slightly smaller pixels, which can be a slight advantage for very small or far-off subjects.
i have compared the two here if it helps: https://www.grantatkinson.com/blog/canon-5dmk3-and-canon-1dmk4-which-one-for-you
Okay! Thanks Grant… Will go thru that blog
Short note to thank you for sending me the link to the 7D 70D comparison .
As you are aware in my wildlife photography my best friend is the 100 x 400 lens simply because of its tele flexibility. in many cases using multi shot as the animals might or the birds do move quickly.
The 7D has been extremely robust for bush work and motor sport usually rains in UK on motor racing day .
Will the 70D with its different body be just as robust in weather and on off safari etc vehicles .?
Also in your comparison which is OUTSTANDING you ment the focus mode single to be the best mode .
Would you suggest that in the bush I should use this mode most times as I have being using the multi mode ..
Also I am at 71 not happy to use RAW particularly as I do not understand the processing process I use an Apple Mac Apeture ..should I on this next trip in June to Etosha use RAW I believe it takes space on the card or stay JPeg .. .? Is their an program for Apple that processes RAW or is it a totally new learning curve?
On the 100 x 400 I usually consistently set ISO on 400 in good day light would the same be OK for 70d speed usually 1000 .. I think that you photos are fantastic as is your passion for helping others thank you .
One day when you have time please explain this dark area of white balamce settings ….;). Thank again
The 70D body is rated as being weather-sealed to a similar degree as the 7D, but I do believe that the 7D is tougher with its magnesium alloy body, as well as having a built-in LCD screen…likely to be more resistant to water and moisture. These are just my guesses though….
By Single Pt focus I mean that I get my best results with fast moving subjects, using Single Point AF…just one focus point…not Spot AF, but Single Pt. I do well with AF Zone (the cluster of points) with slow moving subjects or still subjects.
In the bush I keep the camera in Continuous Drive High…8 frames per sec for the 7D, and 7 frames per sec for the 70D.
No need to switch to RAW unless you are willing to spend lots of time on processing
You have really impress me by answering every question. I went threw the web and find that the 70d has a problem with 2.8 or higher f/stob (using the view finder) and central focus point but also find that canon advise to do micro adjustments to get best results. I am getting the 70d this month after testing it and find how nice its handling. thanks for your review.
Thanks for your feedback, and the information you have mentioned regarding the 70D and its centre AF point. For sure I have not used the 70D with f2.8 lenses wide-open very much in my shooting conditions whilst I had it, so I cannot confirm whether I experienced the problem that is discussed on the internet. When I am next shooting with the camera I will keep your comment in mind…
Hope you enjoy your 70D and it helps you get some great pictures
Thanks Grant as always much appreciated Groete en alles van die beste Rob
Very professional yet easy-to-understand comparison, thanks a lot.
Without loosing the focus of subject, may I have your opinion on canon 70D vs Nikon D7100 in brief – or quick advice without wasting your time.
Tough question 🙂
The Canon 70D and Nikon D7100 are quite closely matched in some aspects, and differentiated in others. In my opinion, the Canon 70D has a real advantage in raw buffer size, frame rate, Live View autofocus, flexibility that comes with swivel rear screen and Live View, and superior video performance. The Nikon D7100 has a resolution advantage, greater AF point density and more AF points, more magnesium alloy in the build. As far as high iso image quality is concerned, I find them fairly similar….
Both cameras have good regular autofocus performance, the 70D has a set of adjustable parameters that allow good fine-tuning, the D7100 has a high density 51 point AF grid with good options on hand. As far as controls in the hand go, the Nikon might be better for shooters with bigger hands, the 70D a little more compact. The only real weak feature in either of these two cameras is the very small buffer depth of the D7100 if you shoot raw..that can be limiting for action photography.
Remember that my evaluation is based on using the cameras for shooting wildlife, moving subjects, and often in low light….
Hi Grant ,
A very interesting article and thanks very much for taking the time to do it.
I am currently using a Canon 550D along with a Canon 100/400 zoom lens. Probably 99% of my photography consists of taking images of birds either perched or in flight. I am looking to upgrade my body and am torn between a 7D and a 70D. I am getting mixed opinions regarding the flight shots as some are saying that the 70D isn’t quite as good as the 7D when it comes to the AF tracking. But .. Sometimes I am in dense woodland where the light is lower and then I’m reading that the 70D performs better in these situations than the 7D does. I’m guessing that either of the 2 bodies will be an improvement on the 550D (or am at least hoping they will) but would you be able to offer any advice for my particular situation please ?
Thanks very much.
Thanks for writing. I shot with a pair of 7Ds on a daily basis, as my main wildlife cameras for over 6 months, whilst working in the field in Botswana. I consider myself quite familiar with its AF system and the kind of results I could expect, with fast moving action like flying birds. I have revisited the 7D in the same scenarios a number of times since then, using different lenses. I have used the 70D for about two actual months of shooting in the same kind of conditions. The very first thing that I noticed when I started shooting birds in flight with the 70D is that the AF felt more ‘stable’ and easier for me to get a visibly focused shot in the viewfinder, than I was used to with the 7D. My results in terms of the number of properly focused bird in flight shots supported my initial impression, in that it was a little bit better than I was used to from the 7D. It is my belief that in the 70D, Canon have either advanced the computing part of the Ai Servo tracking system, or the actual sensitivity of the AF sensor has been improved. Whatever it is, it was a small but significant improvement for me. The 7D has more options when it comes to the configuration of its AF points, as in a minimized point, and different combinations of extra points, but in my own experience, with both cameras, I found that I had to use the regular, single AF point option for best results for fast action. Using more than one point at one time slowed down response and my hit rate of sharp shots tailed right off with both cameras. For moderately-paced subjects all the different configurations will work well. The 7D does have an advantage of 8 frames per sec against 7, but both cameras are pretty quick as far as proper-focusing Ai Servo APS-C cameras go.
The 70D also has deeper Ai Servo fine-tuning tools, with the Accelerate/Decelerate parameter unique to its feature set between the two bodies. I would suspect that anybody who rates the 7D over the 70D hasn’t used both camera’s properly themselves, in the field. There is not a huge difference in AF, but the advantage that is there belongs to the 70D.
As you say, both cameras will be a massive and real upgrade from the 550d you are using, but I would have no hesitation in recommending the 70D for the kind of use you are describing. The superior low light image quality, along with the extra resolution, also add more weight to the plus side of the equation.
Hi Grant and thanks very much for the reply.
It’s looking good for the 70D at this point .. I would need to fit a glass screen protector which I’m hoping wouldn’t interfere with the touch screen operation ? A lot of my time is spent climbing over walls/fences while out and about so it is important that the camera is rugged enough to cope with this kind of environment. I also carry it on a sling so it tends to be bouncing around as I’m walking about ..
I think one of the non-glass screen protectors might be a better choice, like Expert Shield makes, that will affect the touch screen a bit less but I am not sure about this, I have not used a touch screen Canon with a protector on yet.
However, for carrying about the 70D screen can be swivelled and closed, so that the black plastic back of the screen shows outward, and the LCD itself is totally protected, facing in…perfect for fence climbing, and bouncing about kind of use.
Could you suggest an external microphone compatible with Canon EOS 70D for making short film?
Hi Amitava Nag, sorry but I have no experience in that regard…..apologies 🙂
If you can find one in your area, I suggest the RODE PRO Condenser Video Mic.
It was conceived and created for exactly what you are doing, DSLR video. It can mount directly on the flash hot shoe** , or extend the cable and use a stand or boom.
(**Some cameras can transmit focusing and operational sounds through to a hotshoe/body mounted mic,
I would recommend getting it off the camera if possible, but test it with your 70D)
As a ‘video guy ‘ and a bit of a sound fanatic, I can attest to the sound quality: Superb!
This mic is very good quality and very good value. There several reviews online and on youtube.
Hope this helps
Thanks for that help Mitch :-), much appreciated
Your very welcome Grant.(The Rode is a great mic)
I got my 300 F4 + 1.4 TC. Ended up getting a used set for $1000US for both, in mint shape. Guess what?! My problem with the 70-300 zoom was not the lens, it is the 60D.
Have you heard of focus problems with it? I did a test and it focuses much sharper in live view versus regular.
There are 2(?) focusing mechanisms? On another note if I have to send it in I could be 6 weeks with out a camera. Ouch!! I am thinking maybe looking at a 50D for a few hundred while to 60D is in the shop.
Quick opinion on the 50D??, or even a 40D, Rebel T3i? Something not too expensive and a back up when I get the 60D back
Sorry to hear about the focus problems with the 60D, things can always go wrong with a camera at any time I guess. 40D makes a good used body, takes great images up to iso 500. Focus point grid similar to the 60D. The 50D is similar to the 40D, similar AF, but with a superior rear LCD. Both 40D and 50D have 6 fps shooting capability. I preferred the look of the 40D images. I would prefer either of those to any of the older Rebels…and they should be going for not too much money.
Most cameras will focus more accurately and more consistently with Live View. Regular AF should be close to what you get from Live View. If it isn’t, there may be something wrong with the 60D…
Hope you get it sorted out.
I currently use a 50 d and I am considering switching to a 7 d or 70 d. I shoot almost exclusively sports both outside and in gymnasiums. Which camera would you recommend?
Coming from a 50D, both of these cameras are significant upgrades. Compared to the 50D, the 7D has better autofocus, a little higher resolution, faster frame rate, buffer advantage, slightly bigger body and controls. Image quality in low light is only slightly improved.
The 70D has better autofocus (it appears similar to that of the 7D but works more accurately), even more resolution, just a little faster frame rate, buffer slightly bigger, and image quality in low light is significantly improved. It also has all the advantages of its excellent Live View. The 70D body is smaller though, and it combines some controls that are separate in the 50D.
If I were you my choice would depend on how happy I was with the image quality from the 50D and also how important the size and fit of the camera body and its controls were. As a 50D user, you have two great choices to pick from 🙂
By far and away the most useful comparison between these two I have read to date. Its still an incredibly difficult call between the ruggedness and physical, on the fly ease of use of the 7D vs the slightly more techy and up to date 70D…. but comprehensive and sensible real world comparisons like this make it a lot clearer.
So thank you.
Thanks for your feedback, Michael
Also glad you found the comparison useful, and I think your summing-up in your reply above will also help folk trying to make this difficult choice 🙂
Hello sir…like everyone else above i truly enjoyed the in depth review written above. I happened to stumble upon your review in a random search, so I feel blessed to have found it. I am a retired 67 year old guy… On a budget that is stretched thin, but I keep feeling I need to upgrade my camera to better video abilities. While still working, I owned every Rebel up to the one I have now, ..the T2i. What is your evaluation of the T2i, and do you think I could get better results in stills and video with an upgrade, …. And if so, … Which Canon is a smart, yet affordable choice for me? Probably one I would have to “die” with? Do you suggest a camera change, … And what’s your suggestion? Perhaps the 70D … Or just simply a higher T series version? Thanks so much.
I think that the camera you have is a good one, for both stills and video. Is there some specific element of its performance that you would like to improve upon?
The T4i will give you an upgrade in video focusing, with Hybrid AF, as well as an improvement in ‘normal, viewfinder focusing’ due to a superior AF sensor.
The touch screen is also an improvement for video. Faster frame rate for stills…but image quality very similar.
The 70D would offer significantly better performance in virtually every aspect…far superior video focusing, more responsive stills performance, still better AF for viewfinder shooting, lots of opportunities to customize the camera, big buffer, more robust and a slight resolution gain, as well as a bit better image quality especially in low light. There are still more advantages…so the 70D would represent a major upgrade.
Only you will know whether the cost of such an upgrade is worth the money to you?
Hope that helps
Thx a lot for your amazing review!
My 600D was stolen a couple of days ago 🙁 , so I thought it’s a good opportunity to make an upgrade I was thinking about for a while :).
My choices were 7D and 70D, and I heard many good things about both of them and thanks to your great article I’ve decided to go on 70D.
So, I need a couple of new lens for this camera, among them I consider purchasing a fisheye, which is a completely new lens for me. So, I would like to hear your opinion and advice regarding the diagonal fisheyes below.
Which one in your opinion would be the most suitable choice for 70D?
Sigma 10mm F2.8 EX DC or Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L or Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 or Sigma 15mm F2.8 EX DG?
Just a couple of words of my photo style – it’s mostly outdoors, architecture, urban, views, animals (not wild).
I know that Canon 8-15 is the most expensive one, so if this one is your number one choice, please tell me also your second best choice.
Thank you very much again for your cameras comparison and thanks in advance for your answer .
Thanks for the feedback on the 70D and 7D comparison. As far as these specialist lenses go, I can only offer a partial answer, the only lens amongst those that I have used is the EF 8-15 f4L and it was pretty impressive as far as ultra wide zoom lenses go. I did find the fact that it is a zoom lens very useful, and it basically allows you multiple compositions from each location.
So I cannot offer any opinion on the others…sorry about that…
I have used Tokina ultra wide and fish eye lenses, and they were well built for the money, and image quality was decent, again, for this type of lens..
Thank for the info. I’m just a beginner but i’m looking for 7D vs 70D. I think the 70D might suite and comfort me better than 7D.
Hey Grant! Great Review. I’m an Amateur Photographer, i shoot Portraits, Concert with my Canon EOS 550D. I am planning to Buy/Upgrade new one and i want to shoot Sports also. Which of these camera is Suitable for me? need your help 😀 Thanks!
Both of the 70D and 7d will be a big upgrade from the 550D. The 70D images are a little better in low light, and also the camera is more versatile with the superior Live View, and it can shoot sports very well, about as good as the 7D. It is slower but more stable autofocus, even for sports.
The 7D will be good if you have very big hands, or need its more rugged body and controls.
Although I have struggled with image quality issues with my 60D, that hasn’t stopped me from firing the shutter almost 9000 times since I aquired it in late February. How long did it take you to only keep the best of the best?
What about multiple almost identical shots. In life in general I am a guy never throws away anything, a bit of a hoarder, but I am suffering from data overload already and looking for some direction.
If I don’t get a handle on this early on I will be wading through 100,000 photo’s in just a few years.
Any guiding words of wisdom greatly appreciated!!
Hi Mitch, the amount of images generated when shooting cameras that have a fast frame rate can often overwhelm people…
Some things to help make managing the images afterwards as painless as possible are to get Adobe Lightroom, which has a Library module which is extremely user friendly, and is geared towards helping you narrow down and get rid of the non-favourite images as fast as possible. Then, if you are struggling to choose between similar frames, check for sharpness first. Also, depending on what kind of subjects you are shooting, there are basic guidelines for different genres..joining an online forum of like-minded shooters is usually a good way to start learning those guidelines and preferences as there is lots of good information shared on such platforms. Besides the guidelines or ‘rules’ , it is also good to keep the images that you like best…
Hope that helps a bit
Which of these camera is good in Portraits and Wedding Photography?
The 7D or 70D? especially the image quality in low light. Thanks!
Hi Nicole, the 70D has a little better image quality in low light. With flash or artificial, the two sensors offer similar output. Neither the 7D nor the 70D approach the latest Cann full-frame sensors image quality in low light
your review made me clear between 7d and 70d and thanks for that, but im still confused weather to get 70d or still wait for rumered 7d mark ii, so what should i do coz right now im out of camera as well as out of time.
Very tough for me to recommend what you should do…but you cannot take pictures without a camera…so for now the 70D is the better choice compared to the ‘still-rumoured” 7Dmk2 🙂
Hi Grant ,
I own canon 550d with 50mm f1.8 II , 70-200mm f4 L IS ,Sigma 17-70mm f 2.8-4 macro.I do wild life photography,kids indoor and outdoor and some macro work.I need an upgrade ,what do u suggest -a full frame 6d or 70d/7d or to wait for 7d markII.
In order to get the maximum benefit of the 6D’s larger sensor, you will need to move a little closer to your subjects, or zoom in a bit more, as compared to using the same lenses on the 550D or 70D/7D.
All three of the bodies, 7D, 70D and 6D, offer significant upgrades over your current camera….in one way or another. The 70D offers upgrades in all respects, whilst the 7D shares image quality similarities with the 550D.
Only you will know which is the most important aspect of your current photography requirements that is your biggest priority…low light, more accurate autofocus, low-light autofocus, video to name some of them?
Fantastic review! Thanks for that!
I recently sold my Canon 5D (the old classic one) because of it’s AF system. I wanted a more all-round camera.
Basically, I want to learn shooting with advanced AF systems.. From motorcross to boxing matches (indoors). Is the additional AF settings of the 7D (Spot and Expanded AF) really an advantage?
Thank you very much for your reply.
Your question is a good one, and a little complex for me to answer. The 7D is a good camera to help you learn about Canon’s more advanced AF systems. It has a good number of parameters that allow fine-tuning of the AF system, as well as a 19 point AF grid that can be used in several different ways (the AF Area modes). You can also control the timing of focus using the Ai Servo image priority settings. How effective or accurate you might find the 7D AF options will depend to some degree on the amount of ambient light, especially on the subject,, also the subject size, subject speed and the angle of the subject to the camera. The skill of the photographer will also play a role, with regard to your technique. The 7D is much faster than the classic 5D, but may not be a muhc better tool in low light….
Giving some idea of what your typical settings might be when shooing the boxing matches, as in apertrure, shutter speed and lens type, as well as ISO would help me answer further
Your review in really great.
I found in your review you are in favor of 70D. But I feel for 7D is better for wildlife photography due to the following reason:-
1. Better weather sealing and more robust body
2. More control over button which is extremely helpful in field
3. Buffer capacity is better
4. Speed is better (1fps)
5. Images are by default little bit more vibrant and contains more contrast which is extremely helpful in low lights
6. Image quality is same as 70D
7. More durable
8. AF performance is better
I agree with you from point 1 to point 4 and i agree with point 7.
I shoot in RAW, so your preference of 7D colour and contrast is less important to my style of shooting. Slight colour differences are things I am going to edit myself when processing the image. One can also easily just modify the look of the jpg images the camera produces by adjusting parameters in the Pictrure Style menu.
Your point no 6, I would stay with my opinion that the 70D images are superior, especially so in low levels of natural light, and from iso 400 upwards to iso 1000 for my use.
For point 8, most folk who are shooting the cameras side by side are finding that the 70D AF is a little more accurate. It may not be a very big difference, but it is noticeable.
If you are preferring the results that the 7D is giving you, I respect that, and you can continue to enjoy the camera.
I realized that 70D doesn’t have a circular loop while changing ISO. So if I have to change the ISO from 12800 to 100, one needs to go all the way back and turn the dial to 100. Instead the basic entry level DSLR of canon has this circular loop in ISO where i can switch back to 100 ISO right from the 6400 mark.
Thanks for that information Sumeet, not something that I was aware of. I don’t get to shoot very much with the Canon entry level cameras, though I would like to.
I tested both 7D and 70D for a week, IQ of 70D is definitely superior, I totally agree with your review Grant!
Thanks for that feedback. Although the two cameras have many similarities, there are also differences of some significance 🙂
Thanks for your review on my point. I want to add some more point on the same context:-
1. In 7D continuous shoot I can take 25 picture at highest burst rate (8fps) but in 70D I can take 15 at highest burst rate (7fps)
2. The performance of AF is driving better in 7D while shooting at highest burst rate (8fps), maybe for the buffer capacity the camera get ready for the next shot more faster.
3. Buttons in 7D are more smoother than 70D for quick action.
A fellow photography enthusiast turned me on to your review, as she knew I was in the market for an upgrade to my Canon 60D. First, thank you so much for the amazing, detailed review comparing the 7D to the 70D. I primarily photograph wildlife (and running dogs) and while the 60D has been fine, I have been frustrated with the performance in lower light at higher ISOs. I’ve been waiting for the rumored 7D Mark II to come out, but after reading your review, I am strongly considering going with the 70D. Also, I have very small hands, and on a shoot with a friend, we swapped cameras so I was using her 5D Mark II. It was too big for my hands. It seems from your responses to comments (which btw thank you for that too, I learned a lot from reading those!) that the 7D might be comparable to the 5D Mark II in size? If so I have my answer and will go for the 70D. And it does sound as though you feel the 70D is at least somewhat better than the 60D in low light, so that helps, too. Btw love your photography. 🙂
Hi Nicole, you are correct in assuming that the 7D is very similar in size to the 5Dmk2, so you may also find it a bit on the large size for smaller hands. The 70D is virtually identical to the 60D in size, but offers serious improvements over the 60D in virtually every element of performance…small but noticeable improvement in image quality, big improvement in viewfinder autofocus, both accuracy, and coverage. Also the 70D is a more responsive camera than the 60D, with its faster frame rate and bigger buffer, plus all the options available for configuring it to your own shooting style and preference…
Thanks so much, Grant. You’ve helped me to make the final decision to purchase the 70D. You rock!
Should I buy a Nikon D7100 or a Canon 70D? Which one is better if I want a mid- level DSLR but not too expensive? I’ll want a bit of close up shots too, so which one is more cost effective?
Hi Seth, I have no idea of which of the two cameras you mention is more cost effective where you live..in South Africa the Canon costs a little less. The 70D has advantages in raw buffer depth, frame rate, Live View autofocus and video when compared to the Nikon D7100. The Nikon has more resolution. I find them fairly similar in AF performance though the Nikon has more AF points. The 70D has greater options for customizing AF performance than the D7100.
Your choice might be made easier if you handle both cameras and see which ones controls fit your hands best?
So I’m glad i read your review… for the past year or so i’ve been slowly getting more into photography using an old canon rebel xti Dslr… I’ve finally felt i’ve out grown it (though I’m sure there is alot i still don’t use / know about it) anyways I was debating between the 7d and the 70d until i came across your wonderful comparison review of the 2…. now I’m pretty sure I’ll be purchasing the 70D, but your comparison made the choice that much harder lol but in the end helped a great deal. my only wish is that i could find some local camera classes where i could go to learn even more instead of blindly fumbling about in settings. (there is 1 place that does classes but from multiple people who’ve gone they all said it was a waste as it didn’t really explain or show them anything)
Thank you for the time u took to test both cameras and wright this comparison… now i just need to bite the bullit and buy the camera now (hate spending money lol)
oops lol just realized i put XTI instead of XSI….still love my little camera … i just think i’ve outgrown it…
So I’m happy I ran across your review / comparison of the 2 cameras. I currently have an old DSLR (rebel XSI) and I’ve finally decided its time to upgrade to something current…. I was leaning towards the 7D until i discovered it only use’s compact flash (would rather have SD) , but either is fine i just already have 2 64gig high speed SD cards. I’ve yet to make my final decision but i’m hoping to soon as i have 2 Indy car race’s I’m attending as well as a few conventions and i’d like to have the camera b4 then…. my only concern is with the 70D some people were reporting having issues getting it to center focus…. most of the talk / discussion was mumbo jumbo but multiple people had sent there 70D back to cannon to be fixed… was wondering if you had heard this / or experienced any focusing issues …. I’d greatly apprieciate it
I have been out in the field with no internet, hence my slow response here. I have read of the reports on the internet of 70D focus issues, but I cannot say I noticed anything out of the ordinary, not even once. I mostly used the camera with lenses that were f4 to f5.6 apertures though, and I did not use it at all with any of the short focal length primes with very big max apertures which may have had some influence? (Lenses like 50mm f1.4 etc?)
I used the 70D as I would any of my cameras and took it on two working photosafaris in place of a 1D or 5D, and found its focus performance to be the best yet of any APS-C Canon camera I have used…
Hope that helps
oops thought my first post messed up and didn’t post… oops sry for mult posts
I have a question! its been about 5 months since you wrote this review.. and its obvious the 70D has great advantages over the 7D.. however is it safe to say.. even so.. its not like the 7D is a slouch or bad… even if it is old.. is it safe to say, you were very comfortable and satisfied with the 7D before the 70D came out and you enjoyed all of your results?
also.. for wild life now.. I read you and your wife used 3 7D’s… what is your current set up now? do you guys still use the 7D? or fully transitioned to the 70D as your go to camera
thanks! and great review!
Glad you enjoyed the review. As far as our current set up goes, my wife shoots two Canon 1Dmk3 bodies. I shoot with a 5Dmk3 and a 1Dmk4. We used to shoot with APS-C bodies for our wildlife work, including the three 7D bodies I mentioned in the post, but switched to cameras with bigger sensors because of all the wildlife shooting that we do in low light. That said, I used the 70D on two working photographic safaris, and carried it with confidence in place of a 1D or 5D. I found it to be the best Canon APS-C camera that I have used for wildlife, and I would happily carry one with me in the place of a third body…for use in less extreme low light, and for when I need high resolution on small subjects. I may still add a 70D to our current set-up or perhaps a 7Dmk2, if there is such a thing :-). I do find it a bit difficult to shoot a camera like the 70D alongside the 5Dmk3 or 1Dmk4 due to its different control set-up for changing AF points….
Hope that helps
Thanks for your fantastic review & some wonderful images.
I love photographing flowers and only use a rather battered G11 at the moment. I am looking to upgrade and am considering the 70D after reading your comparison. I would ideally prefer a light, discreet camera and the 5D iii, which is universally praised for nature, looks dauntingly massive.
My main question is about colour – it is so hard with my existing camera to get reds, purples, blues and even bright yellows anywhere like what I see with my eye. Often I just drop the camera back down when I see the colour rendition and go over to something pale pink which works fine! I was intrigued by the colour differences in your teddy bear pictures. Which camera do you think would give me the most natural colour rendition across the widest range of colours?
I know this is something you can probably adjust with skill and practice, but in truth I am simply not good enough at the moment to correct it to my satisfaction. My boyfriend has an iphone 5s and the colour seems pretty good, but it isn’t easy to hold that as it’s too small!
What would you suggest?
I think that you might find the 70D a very compact camera, especially for all the features that it packs in, and it should be a great camera for fine detailed macro work like flowers.
When it comes to your own preferences with colour, most DSLRs let you fine tune the colour to your hearts content. On the Canon 70D, simply going into the Picture Style menu will let you choose from a variety of preset colour, contrast and sharpness combinations. If you are finding your images overly saturated, then it is simple to adjust for that in the Picture Style menu. Also, there is a White Balance grid under the WB Shift menu, and it is easy enough there to move the base White Balance toward more or less of any of the main colours.
Any fairly recent Canon dslr has these images, and the 70D should for sure be easy to set up to match your own colour preferences quite easily. It will just take a little time and experimentation.
Ambient light also has a strong effect on colour.
Hope that helps.
Thanks Grant – I very much appreciate your kindness in answering me & so many other people individually this way.
I have 550d at the moment with 100-400 mm. I mainly take wildlife photography. I want to upgrade and was confused. With rumors of 7d mark ii should i wait for it ? Or what do u think will suit 100-400 mm best? I sometimes feel 550d is very small. With 7d might be stopped I am confused whether to wait for mark ii or go for 70d and with prices being slashed for 7d should i just go for it .
Hi Venkat, both the current 7D and the 70D are big upgrades on your 550D, although only the 70D will offer you an image quality upgrade, due to its greater resolution and newer sensor.
I cannot offer opinion on a 7Dmk2, who knows when it may be coming or what its specifications might be like?
I prefer to try and get the gear I need to do the job now 🙂
Thanks for the reply..
Do you think size of the camera will matter? 7d is bigger than 70d. Does it make a difference when mounting a 100-400 mm lens?
Hi Venkat, you are right, the 7D is larger than the 70D, but both of them will ‘balance’ out fairly nicely on a EF 100-400L, and they are both significantly larger and heavier than the 550D. You could also mount a battery grip on the 70D if you wish for a heavier camera end to your combo…
I want buy canon camera for proffesional photography…..which model is best 7d or 70d.
Which model u will choose ?
Hi Ronak, I have tried to describe the differences between the two cameras in the comparison…what type of photography will you be using it for?
I want to do wildlife photography
I would choose the 70D over the 7D for wildlife, according to my own experience and preferences. The 70D is slightly ahead in AF accuracy, image quality, resolution, all of which are important camera attributes for my kind of wildlife shooting. Others may differ in their opinions.
I also like the added versatility that the swivel screen and powerful Live View performance bring to wildlife shooting
Wow and hi from Australia Grant. I’m so glad I came across this page! Fantastic, really. I bought a 70D two days ago and was worried I made a mistake in not getting the 7D but you have totally eased my mind. Thank you for such a great, in depth and easy to understand review! Smiles and waves, Kym-Louise x
As I mentioned earlier I purchased a 70D. And now I am using it. Also I have used 7D (rented) and what I found that in 70D @ 7fps I can take maximum 5 Pictures at a time. Where in 7D @ 8fps I can take 24 Pictures. I am using Class 10 SD in my 70D and I am shooting @ RAW format. This limitation on 70D made me so disappointed. 🙁
Hi Arindam, if you are shooting in RAW, then make sure to switch off all in-camera Noise Reduction settings on the 70D, there are two of them…Hi Iso NR and NR, also turn off Auto Lighting Optimizer, Peripheral Lens Correction as well as Highlight Tone Priority. Using a Sandisk 45mb/s Class 10 SD card, 32Gb capacity, which is nowhere near the fastest card around , I can consistently get 22 raw shots with the 70D before the buffer fills..If you do the same with the 7D you should get over 30 images in a burst.
Hope that helps
Thanks for your reply.
But I consider all these settings in my 70D. And I using that card i.e. Sandisk 45mb/s Class 10 SD card, 32Gb card.
And finally I am getting 5 Image at a time at my 70D and 24 Picture in 7D 🙁
Are you shooting Raw and jpg, or just Raw only? The 70D should show an amount of images remaining in the buffer, in the far right bottom corner of the viewfinder. With those settings that I listed turned off in the 70D, it was showing a number of either 12 or 13, but actually shooting it multiple times until the buffer filled revealed that I was getting 22 images each time..The thing about those settings, ALO, Highlight Tone, Noise Reduction, is that if they are not Disabled, or set to 0 or OFF, they will use up the buffer space on each image you take even if you are shooting RAW only, performing those actions on the small jpg preview that shows up on the rear LCD of the camera.
I have tested this multiple times with the 70D, because buffer space is very important to me when I am shooting wildlife, perhaps even more so than frame rate…
Yes Auto Light Optimization , Highlight Tone, Noise Reduction are set and I am taking Raw Image always. Those settings are also set to 7D as well. In 7D I can get 24 image. 🙁
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?
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
Thanks for getting back so soon.
Great site by the way….
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 🙂
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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!
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 🙂
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.
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
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
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..
i had confusion between 70D and 7d ..
so,help me to find out beter camera..
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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!
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.
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…
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 🙂
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!!
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 ?
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,
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.
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.
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
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 together..am 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?
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?
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……
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..
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
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
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,
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.
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
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.
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.
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..
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.
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
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 🙂
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!
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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
Thanks for your opinion, I really appreciate your advice. I think i’ll upgrade to the canon 70D.
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!
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
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 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 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
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?
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
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.
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
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
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 ..so 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
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
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.
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
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
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
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?
I am waiting for similar type of review between 90D and 7D mark 2 and 80D… Please …