Canon 70D – Dual Pixel AF and Creative Filters for Intermediate and Enthusiast Photographers

Canon 70D – For Intermediate and Enthusiast Photographers

For Intermediate and Enthusiast Photographers

The 70D is close in spec to Canon’s EOS 7D. As with all their DSLRs, Canon have provided plenty of documentation and support to help you get the most out of your camera.

Image quality got top marks from reviewers, especially at higher ISO settings. It also offers a range of creative filters for more artistic images.

Dual Pixel CMOS AF

Introduced with the 70D in 2013, Dual Pixel CMOS AF makes it possible to achieve phase detection autofocus in Live View mode with a DSLR. Unlike contrast detect AF which uses a separate autofocus sensor, every single pixel on the image sensor can play a part in focus detection, delivering both speed and smooth focusing action.

Dual Pixel CMOS AF works within a live-view area covering about 80% of the camera’s CMOS sensor, letting you check focus without having to move the lens zoom in and out or change composition. It’s not as accurate as conventional image-plane phase-difference AF, but for video shooting the difference is often less important than the speed at which it can shift focus from one subject to another.

When Movie Servo AF is active, you can adjust the rate of the camera’s response to changes in what the AF sensor sees by using the AF Speed menu. Choose between slow, moderate or fast to suit the way you work.

Face and Tracking Mode

Like many of Canon’s interchangeable lens DSLR and MILC cameras the 70D offers a wide range of shooting modes which can be used to help achieve specific photographic effects. Some of these can be accessed by using the mode dial (which is fitted with a button in the middle to prevent accidental changes) or via the on-screen menus.

The new Dual Pixel CMOS AF system takes this to a whole new level, replacing the Hybrid AF systems found on the T5i/T4i and EOS-M models. Here 80% of the sensor’s pixels double up as phase-detect AF sensors, rather than having to use contrast detection for fine-tuning as with traditional DSLRs or SLTs.

The 70D also uses this technology for its Face and Tracking mode which automatically focuses on a human subject, or tracks a moving one. This can be incredibly useful, and is a great feature to have for video recording.

HD Video Recording

For video, the Canon 70D uses phase-detect AF throughout recording (it doesn’t switch to contrast AF for video as some DSLRs do). This allows for smooth and quick autofocus with a “cinematic” feel that makes it look more like a professional camcorder. Tap the fold-out touch screen and you can select precise focus points, and if the subject moves the camera will track them and keep them in focus.

Full-HD 1920 x 1080 movies can be recorded to CompactFlash cards using either the MPEG-4 or Motion JPEG codecs, and a four minute sequence at the maximum 3x digital zoom occupies around 1 gigabyte of memory. You can also record a full-resolution crop of the sensor and apply an equivalent digital zoom of up to 10x.

Like all recent Canon DSLRs you get full control over the exposure of videos and can use the manual dials to set shutter speed, aperture and ISO sensitivity. A large, 3-inch capacitive touch screen means that focusing changes can be made quickly and accurately with Movie Servo AF by tapping the display to set the focusing area or adjusting manually on-screen.

Creative Filters

Like many of Canon’s DSLRs the 70D can apply Creative Filters to JPEG or RAW photos as you shoot or in playback, allowing you to experiment with different effects. There are seven filter options to choose from including Grainy B/W, Art Bold, Water painting, Soft focus, Toy camera and Miniature effect as shown above (as applied to a city scene).

Each of the filters can be fine tuned by using the superimposed controls that appear on-screen. The one that might have you stumped is the Miniature effect which blurs everything but a small area of the image. This is a trick that rival contrast-based systems struggle to confirm and can often miss, but the AF on the 70D does a remarkable job as you can see in the lower right variation of this image.

The camera can also post images direct to Facebook, Instagram, Flickr and YouTube through Canon’s Image Gateway service. You can upload a single photo or batch process up to 65 JPEGs or 16 RAW files.

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