Accustomed to generational relay of cameras that not only look the same to its predecessors, but largely they are, the Canon EOS 70D can disappoint at first glance. But the similarities with the EOS 60D are limited, because this mid-range SLR premieres a sensor, focusing system and is situated close to an EOS 7D that already seems too veteran to get to compete at this stage. Just announced a few days ago, we had the chance to see in action the new EOS 70D and find out what is the contribution made by those 20 megapixels and the new Dual Pixel CMOS AF focus system.
Despite leaks, we knew about this new Canon EOS 70D days ago, exactly a week, ago when it was still a well kept secret. So secret, that we didn’t know if we were going to find ourselves with a new EOS M that would give a little joy to the system, with the expected release of the EOS 7D or who knows if it was going to be this 3D EOS that has been commented for the longest time.
At the end of all, it was the EOS 70D. Doesn’t sound like much if said like that, but in reality the new canonist reflex brings more improvements to which we are accustomed to seeing in this mid-range SLR segment. Starting with a new sensor, a renewed focus and Wi-Fi system.
From these three pillars is conceived an SLR that has little to do with its predecessor – at least on paper- but it also significantly increases its price. In fact, the 1,100 euros that will cost the body frightens a little, taking into account that the EOS 60D can be found already by less than 700 euros and the price of the EOS 7D, veteran but very capable, round 1,200.
Who needs an EOS 70D? As it often happens with all the models in this range, its asset is its versatility. Acceptably fast, well built and with sufficient resolution to adapt to different photographers. But it is not especially opts for a sector. It is not a camera aimed at the professional, while taking into account how things go, we know that, at the moment of truth, its use could perfectly possible (or at least exercise as a second body). The theory of the catalogue is one, but the reality is another.
In hand, there aren’t changes with respect to the EOS 60D. Well balanced in size, grip and ergonomics, the articulated screen it is now touchscreen. Although there was’t enough time to mess with it, it asserts the good work done by Canon in this field and which has already moved some of its models: touch screen is not an annoyance but it works well and is there only when it is really needed. Or when we want to use it, of course.
After all this sweet talk, now a small – and well-deserved slap. Viewfinder with 98% coverage? In a camera worth more than 1,000 euros that has to compete with models like the Pentax K-50 – significantly cheaper – or Nikon D7100, both with 100% coverage? Seem unacceptable.
About the new APS-C CMOS with 20 megapixels little can be said until we see results. But given the time elapsed since the launch of the captor of 18 million points used in previous generations, we expect a noticeable improvement in level of detail, control of noise and dynamic range. It is not that the results seen so far are bad, but it is true that Canon was not fully submerged in this segment.
Against the current trend to remove the low pass filter in the structure of the sensor to enhance the level of detail, seems that Canon has chosen the traditional way. Ready to redesign their sensor and auto focus.
Focus is one of the keys to this model. Simply places your eye on the viewfinder to discover those 9 focus points of the EOS 60D have now grown to 19. All of them crossed and sensitive to f5.6, and the central to f2.8 with a fairly large cast along the frame.
In addition, the camera features a new command in the upper zone destined to choose the configuration of the focus points. A couple of minutes of use have been enough to discover we love this feature.
Dual AF CMOS Pixel
But the most noticeable change does not affect the traditional approach (19 points system seems to be similar to the EOS 7D), bu it affects the autofocus when working with Live View or recording video sequences.
So far, Canon had opted in some of its latest models (SLRs and mirrorless) with a hybrid system that included some cells dedicated to focusing, thus combining the mode of contrast with the detection of phase.
Now the idea goes a little farther, and each of the 20 millio photodiodes of the CMOS sensor exercise this function of focus. In reality, 40 million, because each cell is made up of two photodiodes capable of performing a double measurement of the reference point, calculate the difference and focus.
Thus, according to what Canon technicians explained to us, the EOS 70D works with 20 megapixels at the moment of capture, but has 40 million sensors to focus with a mechanism that today is the closest to the traditional reflex approach but with raised mirror.
The results? Without enough time or a final model in hand, it is difficult to draw conclusions, but by now what is clear is that the focus of the EOS 70D is winning points regarding what we’ve seen so far working from the screen. Not only a matter of speed – agility is especially noticeable in sudden changes of plane – but decision, avoiding classic doubts up to a point of reference.
In the case of the video, the continuous mode along with STM-powered lens is very fluid, smooth and silent. If the idea to get over the reflex focus when working with Live View, this seems the way.
But, as it is the case whenever a new technology debuts, doubts go beyond the model responsible for the inauguration and are extrapolated to the entire catalog.
Will this pixel settings affect the image quality? How is it that a SLR has a technology intended to focus without mirror and EOS M (which only has this ability) does not? Should I get a brand new APS-C CMOS of a mid-range model rather than doing it with the renewal of the EOS 7D?
Many questions that we hope to be able to respond soon. Some with camera in hand. Others tuned to the next move of Canon.