There’s so much to like about the eagerly awaited alternative to the Canon EOS 60D, the 70D. It includes a completely overhauled, Live View/video-optimized autofocus system it doesn’t require special lenses; a far more streamlined body design with an articulated touchscreen; and Wi-Fi support. And with a couple of exceptions, I love the 70D and revel in shooting with it; it’s fast and fluid. However, pixel peepers is going to be disappointed with the still photography quality, which ought to be better your money can buy.

Image quality
The image quality didn’t change noticeably between my preproduction tests and my final tests, but my judgment has. It’s…fine. Not outstanding your money can buy, however, not bad, either. However, it’s not as effective as the Nikon D7100. Yes, it’s still an advance over the 60D, however, not enormously — I don’t believe you even gain a complete stop of usability, and any advantages seem to be to stem from the slight upsurge in resolution. It’s a lttle bit much better than the Rebel T5i across the complete sensitivity range, if you need to scrutinize them. (The T5i looks better starting at ISO 1600, but that appears to be as the T5i meters a third of an end brighter.)

I’m starting to think Canon really pushes the contrast on its default Picture Style to improve perceived sharpness of the photos, since when you look at details closely they seem to be awfully soft. You lose a whole lot of shadow and highlight detail if you leave the Picture Style on Auto, though. The dynamic range doesn’t seem to be especially wide, with out a large amount of recoverable highlight data in the raw files and shadows that are difficult to talk about without introducing noise. The brand new sensor does appear to get a finer noise pattern at higher ISO sensitivities than previous sensors, though.

JPEG shots look OK up to about ISO 1600; beyond that this will depend after scene content. I was occasionally in a position to produce sharper images at ISO 1600 by shooting raw, however, not always.

Thankfully, the video from the production unit looked much better than the preproduction unit, though it is suffering from the same general softness as stills, compounded by the relatively low resolution of HD. It displays edge artifacts — ringing, aliasing, moire, and crawling edges — which, as is common, worsen as ISO sensitivity rises. It looks just a little much better than the T5i, though not obviously, & most informal users will most likely not see a major difference. Low-light video has nice tonality and an acceptable dynamic range, but there’s still quite somewhat of color noise.

Performance
Apart from focusing speed in dim light, the 70D gives excellent performance. (Looking back within my preproduction report, I believe I misstated that result as 0.3 second instead of 0.7 second.) It powers on, focuses, and shoots in about 0.4 second, nearly Nikon fast, but generally fast enough and much better than many Canons. Time to target, expose, and shoot in good light runs a zippy 0.2 second and in dim light a modest 0.8 second. Two sequential JPEG or raw shots also run about 0.2 second, rising to only half of a second with flash enabled. In Live View mode, that rises to at least one 1.5 seconds.

Continuous shooting operates really fast because of this class, with a sufficiently deep buffer to help make the speed useful. JPEG runs past 30 shots for a price of 7.1fps; raw shooting slowed up to about 2.5fps after about 17 shots during testing, however in field testing I sustained reasonably fast 9-shot bursts of raw+JPEG with Servo AI focus. That’s very good for a prosumer model. (Utilizing a 95MBps SanDisk Extreme Pro Sdcard.)

The brand new Dual Pixel CMOS AF (DPA) autofocus system is a definite update over many previous Canon models, both from a performance and features perspective. Typically, an individual photodiode — the aspect on a sensor that collects light and converts it to a power signal that carries the image information — only passes on image data. DPA splits each photodiode in two, comparing the signals from each half by using a phase-detection algorithm for autofocus, furthermore to using the signal from the complete photodiode for image data. On the other hand, Canon’s Hybrid AF system, employed by the T4i, T5i, SL1, and EOS M, simply supplements its phase-detection AF with contrast AF.

Canon USA
Here are a few theoretical benefits of the brand new architecture. First, it gets the potential to be faster, mostly since it drives the lens right to the focus position; it generally does not need to iterate to fine-tune position like contrast AF does, and it could quicker determine focus because it’s measuring off the sensor instead of having to proceed through another phase-detection sensor cycle. Second, it covers about 80 percent of the frame (just like the SL1’s implementation), which increases off-center focus performance. And third, the lens shouldn’t have to hunt, which makes functions like rack focus smoother when shooting video.

In practice, the machine delivers; employed in Live View is relatively seamless. For stills, it usually locks focus quickly and accurately, irrespective of which AF-area mode it’s in, and Live View is fast aswell — about 0.6 second to target and shoot in good light. It is the first dSLR I’ve found in which Live View is absolutely usable for stills. In dim conditions it isn’t practically as great — 1.5 seconds to target and shoot. While that isn’t optimal for stills, it’s excellent for shooting video in low light where you want the focus to glide in instead of snap. It racks effectively with touch focus.

The only AF accuracy problem I ran into, and it’s really a universal problem, is that Live View tracking AF is generally misled into locking on things that are not faces — you can’t disable face detection because of this mode — and is commonly too easily distracted from its target. I still wish the camera had manual focus peaking in Live View, though.

The 70D accumulates Zone focus from the 7D, but I must say i wish it had focus-point expansion instead. Zone focus — which enables you to select a band of AF points that the camera then automatically selects — helps a whole lot with continuous shooting, where it might be tough to keep carefully the AF area centered over the topic. However, within the zone it still does a fairly poor of automatically selecting the right focus areas.

The LCD is very nice, with a responsive touchscreen and good visibility generally in most conditions. And the viewfinder, while annoyingly providing only 98 percent scene coverage, is big enough and bright enough for manual focusing.

Although it isn’t the most effective camera in its class atlanta divorce attorneys aspect, I gave it extra performance ratings props because of its overall speed and excellent Live View focusing and fluidity.