The Canon EOS 70D is available in two variants—the 70D (W) and the 70D (N). The difference is that the70D (W) has built-in WiFi, whereas the 70D (N) does not have Wi-Fi. We received the 70D (W) for our review. The Wi-Fi feature in this camera helps to connect the camera to a Wi-Fi enabled device such as a Smartphone, another camera, printer, computer, or send the images to a Web service. For Smartphone access, you need to download the EOS Remote Control app for Android or iOS, depending on your Smartphone. The app lets you control the camera from your Smartphone after pairing both devices. This neat and professional-looking app allows you to view the images that are on the camera, view the Live View image as seen on the LCD, change the AF point, adjust exposure compensation, set the Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO etc (depending on the shoting mode selected on the camera), autofocus, and trigger the camera. This is very useful for situations such as photographing wildlife. The EOS 70D uses an SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card for external storage. It is compatible with Eye-Fi card and Wireless remote control. The 70D is powered by a Li-ion battery pack LP-E6 (included). The camera weighs approximately 755g with battery and memory card, and has dimensions of approximately 139.0 x 104.3 x 78.5 mm.
The Canon 70D is comfortable to hold and operate. The large and deep grip has a nice and textured rubber finish that enhances the grip even if you have sweaty hands. The back of the camera has a comfortable thumb rest, which is recessed to provide a better grip. The LCD is a pleasure to use with touch screen control. Though I have not been a fan of touch screen, Canon has done it so well that finally I have to accept the utility of this. It is particularly useful when you need to set focus at the exact spot you want without changing the frame. The menus are intuitive, and familiar to Canon users. The AF Area Selection Mode button allows you to change the AF Area while looking through the viewfinder, which I found very convenient. The relevant AF points light up to allow you to focus accurately.
We tested the 70D with the 18-55mm STM kit lens that was provided by Canon. We used the combination with the Peripheral Illumination Correction and Chromatic Aberration Correction kept ‘On’. The lens was not ideal for testing the efficiency of the cross-type Autofocus sensors, which get activated only at apertures of f/2.8 or faster. But it focussed really well even under lowlight conditions with the viewfinder. In Live View, the AF speed has improved considerably, thanks to the dual pixel system. The nagging AF noise sound was not heard in movies. However, the on-sensor Live View AF hunted for focus in some situations. The kit lens produced mild darkening of corners and very slight flare. But we did not observe any chromatic aberration. The kit lens produced sharpest images at f/5.6 at all focal lengths. Peripheral sharpness suffered at the wide-angle end, but improved towards the telephoto side. All the three metering modes worked as expected. The kit lens produced barrel distortion up to 26mm.
The Canon 70D reproduced colours very well. Auto White Balance reproduced images with desirable colours, and pre-set modes performed well under natural light. Though there were colour casts under artificial light sources, these could be easily removed during post-processing. The camera produced native images of 12.16 x 18.24 inches dimension at 300ppi. At 25 percent screen size, images were perfectly usable throughout the sensitivity range, though ISO 12,800 showed slight noise. Viewed at 50 percent, we would still consider all images usable, though we observed slight noise at ISO 1600 and 3200, and slightly more from ISO 6400. Observed at 100 percent, the images remained noise-free up to ISO 400. Even at this enlargement, you can use up to ISO 800 for professional work. Please note that noise characteristics observed on a computer screen can be more than that is reproduced on print.
We tested the camera for Wi-Fi connectivity with a Smartphone. We paired a Sony Xperia Z1 Smartphone (Android) using the EOS Remote app, and were really impressed by the performance. The feature would be very useful if you need to make adjustments to the subject and check the framing and appearance without approaching the camera, or if you need to be in the frame and yet control the framing and time of shutter release
Value for Money
The 70D body is available at an MRP of Rs.79,995 and the EFS 18-55mm IS STM kit at Rs.85,995. The company has not declared separate MRPs for the two variants. This appears to be good value for money for a camera that incorporates many technical improvements from capable siblings. But if you consider this a replacement to the 60D, then this is a huge difference with the 60D currently retailing at Rs.51,995 with the 18-55mm lens. However, as with all photography equipment, prices keep falling considerably a few months after the launch period.
The Canon EOS 70D features many superior features trickled down from the 7D, 6D, and 5D Mark III. So the camera is a significant improvement over the 60D. The new features certainly improve your shooting experience and add more capability to your photography. The improvements in Live View and video recording are quite significant. But if have a 60D and are satisfied with its performance (we do not see a reason why you shouldn’t be), then save the money for a better lens than upgrade to the 70D.