A Well-Rounded DSLR for Stills and Video
the 70D, with controls within easy reach and the top LED panel providing essential info. The big UI improvements come with Live View and the capacitive touch-screen; you can tap on anything in the menu. In addition, the ability to use both the touch-screen and physical controls make it easier to adjust camera settings.
Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF system makes its debut on the 70D. Whereas Hybrid CMOS AF uses a combination of phase- and contrast-detection AF, AF is calculated exclusively using phase-detection AF via Canon’s Dual Pixel technology. On the 70D, Dual Pixel AF is a complementary technology; when you shoot with the optical viewfinder the 70D will default to using conventional phase detection AF, it’s when you switch to using Live View that Dual Pixel AF kicks in.
Dual Pixel AF works to a degree. Auto-focus when shooting movies is faster, and focus racks smoothly. It helps create buttery focus transitions with a simple tap to focus on the Live View screen, and is vastly better than previous DSLRs’ attempts at shooting movies with phase detection AF. When it comes to shooting stills however, there’s still a splitsecond lag in focus acquisition that you don’t see in the best mirrorless cameras today.
Image quality is vivid, with clear ISO performance up to about ISO 1600. It’s ISO 3200 when detail loss starts, but you can probably reach up to ISO 6400 if necessary. There’s more chroma noise than expected, and while ISO 12,800 looks mushy in our lab tests, you can get away if it in the real world if it’s just for sharing at low resolutions. The 18-135mm kit lens is a weak point; serviceable but none too sharp.
While the Canon 70D might not break new ground in terms of imaging quality, it delivers a well-rounded package for shooting both stills and video. Shooting stills in Live View is not as fast to focus as with the best mirrorless cameras, but it makes smooth autofocusing in video as easy as it can be for non-professionals.