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PICS: The Canon EOS 70D

July 09, 2013 09:18 IST

PICS: The Canon EOS 70D

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The Dual Pixel and improved auto-focus makes this brand new camera very unique.

Canon has slowly but surely built up a reputation as one of, if not the leading manufacturer of digital single lens reflex or DLSR cameras in the world. Of course, as time goes by, Canon has had to reinvent its EOS camera line. Megapixel count is one thing -- it's not the difficult to increase the number of megapixels in a camera -- but the Canon EOS 70D tries to go a bit further than that by completely revamping the auto-focus system.

The overall device borrows a lot from Canon’s other endeavours in terms of design and features, but it’s really the new Dual Pixel CMOS auto-focus technology which makes up for a lot of the hype.


Image: Canon EOS 70D
Photographs: canon.com

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PICS: The Canon EOS 70D

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Dual Pixel, improved auto-focus

So what is it about the new Dual Pixel CMOS auto-focus?

To understand this, first one must know that DLSRs have been relying on contrast detection, rather than phase-detection which is a hallmark of SLRs.

Contrast detection sensor involves measuring the contrast between pixels. As contrast increases, image focus would also increase. However, this isn't the same as measuring distance and is a bit slower than phase detection.

Phase detection works by taking in an image to the sensor and dividing it in half to compare them (as explained below).

The Canon EOS 70D’s Dual Pixel CMOS takes each pixel, or the entire picture itself, and effectively divides it into two halves. It then compares the level of light between the two pixels, which allows the camera to decide how the camera needs to focus on an object.

So if there is a change in light, the camera will automatically focus on the part which is more important -- in theory of course. This is a more accurate means for measuring distance while focusing, and will result in smoother focus overall. Videos for the same released by Canon showcase how the system can be used to achieve a very professional level of auto-focus hereto only witnessed by manual focusing.

Though the technology is effectively nothing new, it hasn’t had much practical use in cameras till the Canon EOS 70D reinvented it. This is because the technology would only cover a small part of the screen. Now, however, it looks at 80 percent of the total setting, covering 4/5 of the total width and height of the frame. But that’s not all.

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Image: Canon EOS 70D
Photographs: canon.com

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Improvements and other features

One of the problems of phase-detection on a digital SLR is the change in lighting.

If one is indoors, the overall light levels will drop below the levels seen outside, causing which the quality of the photo suffers. However, according to Canon, the EOS 70D’s Dual Pixel CMOS can shoot at apertures of F11 and light levels as low as 0 EV.

Keep in mind that this is for the live view mode. As an SLR, it takes some pretty good pictures and uses a 19-point auto-focus sensor for still images which is sensitive up to -0.5 EV.

The sensor is 20.2 megapixels, and covers an ISO range between 100-12800. One can also use ISO 25600, which is available as an additional option.

The image processing still relies on Canon’s reliable DIGIC 5 CPU, and this helps it to shoot about 7 frames per second in burst mode for up to 65 images in a little over 9 seconds. It’s especially amazing because it can do this with both JPEG and RAW images, thus ensuring high quality shots within seconds.

In terms of video recording, the EOS 70D is capable of 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second with a silent shutter mode. It is also capable of HDR, different creative filters and a built-in flash. The touchscreen viewfinder is capable of full articulation when you need to take some more complex shots or even portraits. It also has 98 per cent coverage and benefits from ClearView II LCD and 0.95x magnification.

Did we mention that the device also has support for Wi-Fi? It’s a far cry from automatically uploading and sharing images via Android on the Samsung Galaxy Camera, but is still a great addition for getting your photos out there.

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Image: Canon EOS 70D
Photographs: canon.com

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Starting a revolution

It may have an excellent new auto focus system, but how does the Canon EOS 70D fare when it comes to build quality and mobility?

It weighs roughly 755 grams, which is pretty mobile given that the Canon EOS 7D weighs about 100 grams more. It’s also significantly slimmer, and easy to handle, with a button layout that has been slightly simplified.

Overall, the Canon EOS 70D is intriguing because it gives consumers a powerful auto-focus solution for everyday use, and also starts a new trend in terms of what DSLRs are capable of in movie mode. Given that it’s still fairly mid-range -- though a bit more expensive than consumers would be used to since it will be priced at $1199 without a lens and retail for up to $1549 with an EF-S 18-135 mm, f/3.5 to 5.6 IS STM lens -- it would be interesting to see how Canon implements this function into its higher level devices.

Keep an eye out for the EOS 70D. It might just be what you’re looking for in terms of auto-focus technology in line with an SLR.

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Image: Canon EOS 70D
Photographs: canon.com

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