final rating

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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Image quality Decent sensor, but cannot compete with full frame. Uses noise reduction to mask noise at high ISO. Color balance is not very good. so-so
  • Video quality Video is solid. Autofocus works well, but will wander and lock onto other things if you're not paying attention. good
  • Battery life Battery seems to last forever on still photos. Also good on video. I've shot 1100 stills in a session & still had plenty of batter. great!
  • Design and form factor Comfortable in hand with excellent control layout. Touch screen is a bonus, and works great. good
  • Durability Have shot about 10,000 photos with it. Holds up well so far. Not as solid as some upper end cameras, but costs half to a third what they cost, too. good
  • Speed (start-up time, lag) Nothing out of ordinary. No noticeable shutter lag, start up is good. Buffer fills very quickly if shooting RAW. good
  • Ease of use It's a good quality DSLR. You can shoot on automatic & it's easy, or get into the settings and get a lot more out of the camera. good
Detailed review
The primary advances of the 70D are in video. It's a decent quality camera that does what you'd expect a DSLR to do. The biggest disappointment is that while Nikon and Sony are advancing sensor technology, Canon hasn't done anything innovative in about four years.
Improvements claimed in noise reduction aren't from sensor improvements, but from tweaking the software program that reduces noise. This is why they coyly state "noise reduction improvements in JPEG." The RAW files produce no less noise than sensors from several years ago, as far as I can tell.
I've taken quite a few photos with it that have been published, and dittos for video. In terms of pure image quality, it still can't touch a full frame sensor like the 5DMII from four years ago. Part of that is the inherent problem of the APS sensor. Small size sensors just can't compete with full frame.
Video is another story. Since HD video is only 1920X1080, the small sensor isn't a problem, and the new focusing is a nice upgrade.
The best thing about the live view focusing is it's much easier to track moving subjects. All you have to do is touch the screen where you want the camera to focus.
It's not a particularly good portrait camera, as the image quality just isn't good enough, but it is good for news coverage when you need both stills and video. Not a bad sports camera, except the buffer fills up after about seven shots if you're shooting RAW.
WIFI takes a little getting used to, but I use it to link to my smart phone and can send a photo to my publisher (as long as there's a cell signal) from the sidelines of a game and they can get it on the web site within minutes.
For a camera that's so attuned to shooting video, it's disappointing that it has a microphone jack but doesn't have an audio out jack so you can monitor audio while recording.
For the price, it does a good job. You need to nearly double the price to get a full frame sensor, and that's the only thing holding this camera back.