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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Canon 70D - A 3 Month Review of the Canon EOS 70D by Gareth Davies

Photo by Gareth Davies

I upgraded to the Canon 70D from my 600D back in December. Most of the photography I do is of rugby games, so the 70D was the ideal choice - the 5D Mark III was too expensive and the 6D is not ideal for sports.

The biggest difference I found with the 70D was the focusing system.  The 19 point all cross type focusing system is wonderful - a big improvement over the 9 point with single cross type on the 600D.

The build quality of the camera is also very good. It's a lot sturdier than the 600D and it's a nice weight.

Since buying the camera I've photographed about 4 rugby games at my local amateur club where I'm really close to the action and a couple of public training sessions at Racing Metro, one of the leading clubs in the French Top 14. I now rarely have issues with the shots being out of focus - most of them are nice and sharp. I set it to use the centre focusing square which gives me the use of the 9 central focusing points. I use the Canon 70-200 f4 IS lens. The camera is really fast to focus and I rarely have problems tracking the players - in an average game I take maybe 700 photos, out of those maybe 5% having focusing issues, but most of these are when it was focused on the wrong player which is mostly down to myself trying to keep up with the play.

Having 7 fps burst rate is also really nice. The downside is I fill up my SD cards a lot more quickly than I used to!

The other photographer at the club uses a 7D and the same lens as myself. While I haven't done any comparisons between the two cameras, it does seem that the 70D handles itself very well against the 7D. I would say it's better at handling high ISO while my fellow photographer is rather upset that I have the touchscreen on the back.

The battery life on the camera is excellent - after shooting around 700 photos I will still have around 60 to 70% left on the battery.

So are there any drawbacks to the camera? A friend of mine has the Nikon 7100 and I do wish that I had a dual card slot. I understand that the 70D is not a professional camera, but if the 7100 can have 2 slots then why can't the Canon have them? The wifi is a nice feature but I hardly use it. For me the 20.2 megapixel sensor is big enough - some other cameras have more, but I find the quality is good. The ISO performance seems to be good, but I've not had a chance to compare it with the Nikon 7100 which I would like to do sometime.

The other possible issue with the 70D is the central focusing point. I hadn't noticed any issues with it myself, but after seeing the video by Matt I went out and took some portraits with a 50mm f1.8 lens. When shooting at f1.8 maybe 20% of the photos I took were not as sharp as they should be, and I do believe they were all taken at around 30 feet which seems to be the distance that most people say there's an issue. I also used the 70-200 for some shots and the Sigma 17-70 f2.8-f4 OS lens, I had no focusing issues at all on either of those lenses.  All the missed shots were on the 50mm.

Here are 2 RAW samples : and to show the possible focusing issue (but I wouldn't also discount it being me).

To be honest if I hadn't read of the other issues I would have put this down to my own skills and the fact I'm comparing a 100 euro lens to a 500 or 1,100 euro lens. However I will do some more testing to see how bad the issue is.

Overall I'm very happy with the camera and would recommend it to anybody looking for a crop sensor camera.

Score : 9/10

Gareth Davies

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