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  Reviews by: RichardNesdale  

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Canon EOS 70D DSLR Camera

Review Date: Dec 7, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,120.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Touch screen controls, Fast, accurate 19 point focus system. Live View video focus, Good image quality, Battery comparability with 5D2, Articulated hi res screen, Visual audio monitoring, Locking control knob, good value.
Crop sensor, no headphone output. RAW conversion only works with latest version of LR.

I don't consider myself a big techie or pixel peeper, but I know a good camera when I see one.

The Canon 70d debuted a few months ago to much fanfare - especially regarding it's focusing system. I bought into the hype and pre-ordered mine from B+H. Ten days later it arrived - coming the day before I was off to shoot a music festival in the desert. Over the next 4 days I used it to take about 2,500 photos as well as several hours of video. Usage so far is just under 10,000 actuations and 6 hours of video.

The 70d follows in the tradition of the 40D-50D-60D line in terms of layout, style and build. However, it has a few great features that set it apart:

1) Most importantly. an advanced live view focusing system that is fast and accurate. It uses a dual phase CMOS auto-focus design that splits the pixels and performs phase analysis of the scene on the fly. I have a couple of other Canon bodies that shoot video but none of them focus as seamlessly as this one in real time. When I set the camera on a monopod, turned the screen downward and held it over my head to video live dancing, it worked great.
2) A 19 point cross hatch focus system that is fast and accurate - even when shooting sports. When I shot polo recently, it focused well - though not with the finesse and intuitive perfection of my 1ds Mark ii. Under normal shooting conditions, the focus points lock in and pop up on the screen - fast!
3) The new Canon Digic 5+ processor seems to work fine. Exposures in "P for Professional" are accurate under uncomplicated circumstances.
4) It has built in Wi-fi though I haven't tried it yet. Also HDMI and A/V out.
5) I love the touch screen for adjusting settings. It is fast and intuitive. The screen is fully articulated and has a very high quality image for review.
6) Image burst doesn't seem up to claimed specs but it's fast enough for me in most circumstances.
7) This camera uses a new RAW format that cannot be converted using older versions of Lightroom. For this reason I updated to LR 5.2
8) It uses the same batteries as my 5D mark 2 - which is handy. As with most newer cameras, battery life is very good. It takes SD cards which are almost free these days.
9) The body is said to be "weather proofed" but I wouldn't use it in a rainstorm or expect it to survive a tumble onto concrete. It seems pretty rugged given it's position in the Canon line.
10) I occasionally use the on-board flash and find it quick and easy to hold back it's power when I just want a little fill pop. It also has HDR settings.
11) Unfortunately, there is no headphone jack, - though there is an external mic input. In auto mode, it recorded live music with better quality than expected.
12) I like the locking mode control knob. I go crazy when the mode control knob moves "by itself" on the 5D 2.
13) The IQ isn't as good as the on the 5D Mark 2 but that is to be expected as it is an APS-C crop camera.

Overall, I like this camera very much and if I decide to go traveling may get a second one to make a pair for street shooting. This isn't Canon's flagship camera but for the money it is an excellent value - especially if you shoot video.

Note: This a full featured camera and I have gotten benefit from picking up a copy of the "Canon EOS 70D Digital Field Guide," by Charlotte K. Lowery. It's a nice looking and informative book.