In today’s article, we will compare two mid-range digital SLR cameras from Canon, the EOS 60D and EOS 70D. We will asset the key differences between the two models for anyone considering purchasing either camera. And answer the question, is the newer body worthy of an upgrade for existing Canon 60D users? Canon aims the successor as the perfect choice for aspiring filmmakers and videographers, touting the improved autofocusing system revolutionizes shooting video on an SLR camera.
Traditionally, weak autofocus performance is the single greatest drawback when filming with SLR cameras. However, the release of the 70D aims to change that. How true was this original claim? Today we find out.
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Size & Dimensions
In terms of physical dimensions, both cameras measure at 140 x 105 x 79 mm approximately. Though not 100% identical in measurements, their real differences are insignificant in hand. Both cameras also weigh 675g, so no significant differences between the cameras in this regard.
Physical Controls & Ergonomics
The overall button placement and layout between both cameras are mostly identical, only a handful of buttons have moved slightly. The core functionality between both cameras is the same, however.
Both cameras also deliver similar grips, contouring, and comfort in hand. The successor features slightly redesigned buttons, which reduce their clickiness and plastic feel, though not thoroughly eliminating the feeling. But, the new design does provide a somewhat more premium feel to the camera and helps the camera not feel quite as entry-level in its build as the predecessor.
The successor does add, however, an additional button that functions to select autofocusing modes, removing the need of digging through the menus to do so — a nice and helpful addition. Another minor change is the successor has a simplified Mode dial, where it removed the scene selection modes and, instead, places these in the menu. Outside of these small changes, the cameras remain identical. Both have locks on their Mode Dials, and both offer a single Custom Shooting Mode, C, for users to preset shooting parameters for immediate access.
Both cameras deliver optical viewfinders with 0.95x magnification. The subtle difference here, however, is the successor now features a slightly better coverage of the imaging area, now 95% vertically and horizontally compared to 96%. A marginal difference, but the increase in size, provides a more accurate representation of the final image.
Both cameras offer 3.0-inch TFT vari-angle LCDs with 100% coverage and a 1.04 million dot resolution. The immediate difference, however, is the successor now features a capacitive touchscreen display. The touchscreen now supports navigation and touch focus, both of which work incredibly well and are quite responsive. The addition of a touchscreen proves significantly helpful when shooting in Live View. It also dramatically speeds up menu navigation compared to directional keys alone.
Image quality is slightly improved compared to the predecessor, the result of a redesigned CMOS sensor now with 20.2-megapixels instead of 18-megapixels. Know, however, in most circumstances, this increase in 2-megapixels will not be apparent. It’s only visible when zooming into an image or large format printing. An area that’s noticeably improved, instead, comes in the form of low light shooting.
The successor now features Canon’s Digic 5+ image processor, instead of the Digic 4, which allows it to deliver considerable sharper images at higher ISO’s. Comparing the two cameras at ISO 3,200, the successor delivers images with visible less noise. So, if you plan on shooting a lot in low light at higher ISOs, this will be an area to consider.
In terms of video capabilities, both camera support recording at 1080p Full HD up to 30 frames per second. Both cameras also have identical maximum recording times of 29 minutes and 59 seconds, industry standard. The only difference here is that the bit rate of the successor is greatly improved, which supplies smoother overall footage. It now offers upwards of 90 MBps compared to the 50 MBps of the predecessor due to the inclusion of All-I compression. A niche addition, but it will help if video is important to you.
One significant difference between both cameras comes in their autofocusing performance, especially in video. On paper, the successor provides over a 2x improvement in total coverage with its 19-point all cross-type AF system compared to the 9-point system of the predecessor. And not only has the overall coverage increased. But the successor now includes Canon’s acclaimed Dual Pixel CMOS AF (DPAF) technology. Interestingly, this technology is inherited from Canon’s higher-end 7D flagship SLR.
The inclusion of DPAF effectively gives the successor phase-detection autofocusing when in live view mode, which allows it to produce supremely smooth and cinematic transitions during focusing. Now when you couple the inclusion of this system along with the fact the predecessor lacked continuous focusing entirely during video, make the successor the obvious choice in this regard. Hands-down, this is the single largest separator between both cameras.
Both cameras use the identical LP-E6 battery. However, battery longevity does differ between both cameras. In this case, the predecessor, surprisingly, delivers better performance, mostly due to the added drain caused by the capacitive screen. It provides 1,100 shots per charge compared to the 920 shots of the successor.
User Interface & Menus
The main difference here is the successor now features a more expansive, yet easy to navigate, main menu. The menu provides better categorization and grouping than the predecessor. But, both are still extremely user-friendly and easily mastered. Both even offer My Menus with six programmable slots as well. Outside of this, the successor offers more customization of its custom functions, now 23 total options compared to 20: slight improvement, but nothing deal-breaking by any means.
The successor now offers full independent Wi-Fi capabilities, allowing the camera to connect to a smartphone device for remote shooting functionality as well as wireless image transfer. The predecessor lacked wireless connectivity altogether, so it’s good to see this addition here.
The successor boasts better continuous shooting speeds, now at 7.0 frames per second, compared to the 5.3 offered by the predecessor. It also provides a slightly improved buffer depth as well, now upwards of 65 JPEG images compared to 58.
Canon claims both cameras are weather-sealed, though not to the levels of their professional 5D series. Both cameras will do OK in slight rain, but in extreme conditions, take caution.
- Both cameras have microphone inputs.
- Both cameras have built-in pop-up flashes.
- Both cameras only have a single SD card.
- Both cameras lack headphone inputs for monitoring recorded audio.
- Both cameras lack 4K UHD recording capabilities or 1080p up to 120 frames per second.
So which is best?
Well, this comparison is pretty clean cut. The Canon 70D undoubtedly makes the better choice between both cameras. Its only real drawback is slightly reduced battery longevity due to the inclusion of a touch LCD and in-camera Wi-Fi. Outside of that, Canon has improved the camera in nearly every possible area, though slight in some cases.
But, it’s true selling points are the touchscreen LCD and Dual Pixel AF, the two combine to deliver a camera that’s far superior in both still and video applications. Not only does it make navigating the complexities of a digital SLR menu significantly more straightforward, but it also dramatically simplifies focusing. Those alone make it a worthy upgrade and excellent value for money spent.