Canon 70D Review

 
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Canon 70D Performance


Timing and Performance

Very good to excellent performance for an enthusiast DSLR.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~0.7 second

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

~0.4 second

How long it takes camera to turn off.

Buffer clearing time
6 seconds
after 20 large/fine JPEGs*
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
10 seconds
after 14 RAW files*
9 seconds
after 7 RAW+L/F JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

The Canon 70D turned in a fairly fast startup time of well under a second, however we noticed that if you press the shutter button too soon after powering up, the 70D will take a photo without focusing. (We needed to wait about half a second before pressing the shutter button for the camera to focus before taking a shot, which is included in the above number.) Shutdown is fast, too, when auto sensor cleaning is disabled. The Canon 70D's buffer clearing times were quick with a fast UHS-I card.

Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.1 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~0.7 second

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.3 second

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

The Canon 70D's mode switching times were quite fast; no complaints here.

Shutter Response (Lag Time), Optical Viewfinder, 18-135mm IS STM

Full Autofocus
Single-point AF

0.075 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Full Autofocus
Auto Selection AF

0.093 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Full Autofocus
Single-point AF
TTL flash enabled
0.158 second
Time to capture while forcing flash to fire. Metering pulses from flash often slow shutter response.
Continuous AF
0.121 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual Focus
0.075 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.059 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Shutter Response (Lag Time), Live View, 18-135mm IS STM
Full Autofocus
Live View
"Quick Mode"
(Phase Detect)
Single-point
0.506 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. This is phase-detect autofocus, the camera drops the mirror to focus, then raises it to grab the shot.
Full Autofocus
Live View
FlexiZone AF
Single-point
0.652 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. This is using the new Dual Pixel CMOS AF system.
Prefocused
Live View
0.059 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

In terms of the Canon 70D's ability to determine that it's properly focused when shooting the same target multiple times using the optical viewfinder, its full autofocus shutter response was very fast. In our standard single-point AF test, shutter lag was only 0.075 second, which is pro DSLR performance! (We thought perhaps something was amiss, so we also tested this with the same Sigma 70mm f/2.8 lens we tested the 60D with, and measured the 70D's full AF shutter lag to be 0.094s versus 0.253s for its predecessor, so the bulk of the improvement is not due to the newer lens. Do keep in mind that we don't defocus between trials in this test, though, so these are really best-case autofocus shutter lag numbers.) Switching to Auto Selection AF and allowing the camera to choose the focus point increased shutter lag to 0.093 second, but that's still very fast. Enabling the built-in flash resulted in full AF lag of 0.158 second, which is still quite fast. In Continuous AF mode, shutter lag was a quick 0.121 second, though your subject may be out of focus in this mode. Shutter lag with Manual focus was very good, at 0.075 second. "Prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure resulted in a lag time of only 0.059 second, which is very good for a DSLR.

The Canon 70D's AF lag time in Live View mode was quite a bit longer than when using the optical viewfinder, and slower than most mirrorless cameras, however it was faster than average for Live View on a DSLR. We measured 0.506 seconds using "Quick Mode" (dedicated phase-detect AF). The 70D's new FlexiZone AF mode was a bit slower than "Quick Mode" at 0.652 second, but that's still pretty good. Prefocused shutter lag in Live View mode was surprisingly fast at only 0.059 second, the same short delay we got when using the optical viewfinder.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.

Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.28 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 2 seconds to clear.

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.33 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 10 seconds to clear.

Single Shot mode
RAW + Large/Fine JPEG
0.32 second

Time per shot, averaged over 9 shots, 9 seconds to clear.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.15 second (6.73 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
6 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots with no signs of slowing.

Continuous mode
RAW

0.15 second (6.74 frames per second);
14 frames total;
10 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 14 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 0.79 seconds or 1.27 frames per second when buffer was full.

Continuous mode
RAW + Large/Fine
JPEG

0.15 second (6.74 frames per second);
7 frames total;
9 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 7 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 1.15 seconds or 0.87 frames per second when buffer was full.

Flash recycling

1.2 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times in the Canon 70D's single-shot mode were quite good for a prosumer DSLR, at 0.28 second for large/fine JPEGs, 0.33 second for RAW mode and 0.32 second for RAW + large/fine JPEGs.

Full-resolution continuous mode speeds were very good, at about 6.7 frames-per-second, no matter the file type.

Measured buffer depths in continuous mode were good. We captured 20 large/fine JPEGs frames in a burst with no signs of slowing, 14 RAW frames or 7 RAW + large/fine JPEGs. (Note that in our cycle time testing we shoot a target consisting of a fine-grained digital noise pattern, designed to be very hard to compress. This gives us worst-case buffer capacity numbers for compressed files: You're likely to see greater buffer capacity when shooting more normal subjects.) Buffer clearing was also quite fast with a fast UHS-I card, ranging from 6 seconds for a max-length burst of JPEGs to 10 seconds after a burst of RAW frames.

The Canon 70D's flash took an average of only 1.2 seconds to recharge after a full-power discharge, which is very fast.

Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

10,274 KBytes/sec*

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, the Canon 70D's download speeds were pretty fast.

Bottom line, the Canon 70D offers very good to excellent performance for a prosumer model, with fast power-up, mode switching, autofocus, shutter lag, cycle times and burst speeds. While the new Dual Pixel CMOS AF system in Live View mode isn't as fast as most mirrorless models, it's faster than most DSLRs, and really shines when it comes to smooth operation and focus tracking with an STM lens.

Battery

Battery Life
Very good battery life for a lithium-ion DSLR.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard, Optical Viewfinder)
920
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard, Live View LCD)
210

The Canon 70D uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Battery life is very good when using the optical viewfinder, but of course Live View mode draws more power reducing battery life considerably. We recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings or when using Live View mode a lot.

The table above shows the number of shots the Canon 70D is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 



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