Canon 70D: What to Like and Dislike

Cameras

Canon has finally announced their new mid-range APS-C camera, the 70D, successor to the 60D. The camera borrows from the 700D and comes with some new bells and whistles too. It’s got a long list of specs you can read on pretty much every other site, so I’ll give you a quick rundown on what those features actually mean to video professionals.

Canon70D

Pros:
– The new Dual-Pixel CMOS video autofocus system compatible with 103 Canon EOS lenses. This is their big winning addition, I was concerned it was going to be like the EOS-M, but it actually looks pretty smooth and clean in the demos I’ve seen and I look forward to pushing it when I get my hands on one. It’s unclear if it will work at all with Tokina/Sigma/Tamron, but anyone with relatively new Canon lenses, your lens just got autofocus in video. STM lenses will probably perform the best for rack-focus but their pizza tutorial used some USM lenses that worked mighty nice too. The video above is all shot using autofocus and if you watch from 3:15 it labels all the lenses used so you can see how each perform.
– WiFi built-in. This is a growing trend across all cameras. Canon allows live view and remote control over wifi. I’ve yet to use this feature on any Canon DSLRs so I’d bet it’s probably delayed live, good for framing like on the GoPro but not true live view. But you can remote start-stop, shutter, ISO, and aperture (when using an EOS lens). What I’d be interested in seeing is utilizing the iOS or Android app and touchscreen in live view to select and program focus marks for repeatable takes and actions. This would be a killer feature and really fully utilize the potential of the new video autofocus system.

Cons:
– No Uncompressed HDMI out. The fact that this feature isn’t trickling down the Canon line-up starting with the camera is really concerning for anyone looking to shoot with DSLRs on-going. Even an 8-bit 422 option would be adequate as an option.
– Same H264 internal recording options as 5DIII, 6D, and 1DX. It’s too bad Canon is protecting it’s Cinema line-up with such a stranglehold. Would love to see a bump here but really didn’t expect it.
– No major improvement in low-light. PetaPixel believed the ISO performance would be much improved yesterday but so far I’ve seen no sign that it’s anything groundbreaking, the three 3200 ISO shots in the video above were clean but that wasn’t out of the realm of possibility on the 60D. This lack of improvement is likely due to the AF technology in the sensor and the fact that it’s now 20MP, so it’s not the end of the world, but it would have been nice to see an APS-C camera from Canon compete with FF low-light/ISO levels.
– If you are using manual glass, say hello to almost no improvements over the 60D. Wifi is nice, but I’d guess most people won’t be dumping their 60D just for that.

So obviously this camera is all about the autofocus, a big feature for consumers and a potentially awesome tool for professionals, but I highly doubt it’s a total gamechanger like they claim, FS700 has great autofocus also but that’s not it’s big selling point to filmmakers. I could go into the details on the 70D’s autofocus but Imaging Resource has got it down pretty solid, so go check out their write-up. It’s long as hell but explains all 4 of the focus settings and why it’s better than the competitors autofocus implementations.

I think this camera is a tell-tale sign of where Canon is taking the DSLR range, they are trying to make it more user-friendly for consumers, they will build special Cinema models intended to appease the video crowd, and they will keep focusing on their photo abilities first for all other models.

MSRP on the 70D is expected to be $1,199 for body only, $1,349 with the 18-55 STM lens, or $1,549 with the 18-135 STM lens.

Jared Abrams
Jared Abrams is a cinematographer based in Hollywood, California. After many years as a professional camera assistant he switched over to still photography. About two years ago a new Canon camera changed the way the world sees both motion and still photography. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
  • Nez

    Good write up, ta.

  • drao101

    No headphone jack..a con for a camera focused towards amateur filmmakers.

  • natums

    Definitely true. Didn’t mention it because there are ways to monitor audio via the USB pretty easily and I was focused on professional filmmaking, who basically only use the onboard sound/1/8″ input on the camera for reference/sync, not primary sound.

  • Michael Scrip

    What are the ways to monitor audio?

  • Pingback: Canon EOS 70D – Neuigkeiten beim Thema Autofocus | joachimott | journal

  • Amit Zinman

    How do you monitor sound using USB? A lot of field photographers need to do the occasional interview when there is no video team around and make a quick profit out of it.

  • natums

    Magic Lantern + http://natm.us/16kowfd = easy audio monitoring in budget DSLRs. Obviously the 70D isn’t hacked yet, but I expect it will be within the year.

    Dave Dugdale did a tut on it with the 550D a while back.
    http://natm.us/14YAZ9h

  • natums

    Magic Lantern hack + http://natm.us/16kowfd = USB audio monitoring in budget DSLRs. Obviously the 70D isn’t hacked yet, but I expect it will be within the year.

    Dave Dugdale did a tut on it with the 550D a while back.
    http://natm.us/14YAZ9h

  • indieshane

    Can somebody make a hack so it will do a clean 10 bit HDMI out?

  • reactionarts

    Canon 70D has audio levels on the display. To me that’s good enough for monitoring audio. Plus you never just use the on camera/shotgun, always gotta have safety.

  • Gogu

    No

  • lfitzinger

    Great review. I think a lot of people have been wanting to know the truth about low light improvement over the 60D. I found it disappointing to find out there was not much improvement. Hi ISO with little noise is the biggest reason I would want to upgrade from my 60D. Is this anything that could improve with a firmware upgrade later on? If not, I guess I will keep on waiting. I would move to a FF camera but I can’t afford to do that and replace 2 of my favorite EF-S lens to boot.

  • lfitzinger

    High not Hi

  • Phillip Shvartsman
  • diegodg

    I seriously think you should try the camera for a while before reviewing it. Seems only right.