The Canon 7D was one of Canon’s flagship APS-C sensor cameras. The newer 70D is a smaller, slightly cheaper model with a few similarities. For the average user, either the 7D or 70D would be a good step up from an entry level DSLR to something more technical. However, choosing between the two could be confusing, as many of the key specs are very similar, and as the 7D is older, the price is similar. This guide will explore some of the differences and similarities between the two cameras, and determine what kind of photographer each one is best suited to.
Both the Canon 7D and 70D are impressive mid-range DSLRs. They each have a base ISO of 100, 1080p video capture, and a 3-inch LCD screen. There are a few significant differences though. The newer 70D has a 20.2-megapixel sensor, whilst the older 7D has an 18-megapixel one. To the untrained eye though, you won’t see a massive difference in image quality. The ISO range on the 70D is bigger as well; 100-12,800 compared to 100-6400 on the 7D. Both have the same 19-point autofocus, although thanks to an articulated touchscreen on the 70D, you can touch to focus whilst shooting. This newer technology is apparent in a few other areas too; the 70D has built-in Wi-Fi, in-camera HDR, and continuous Dual Pixel autofocus when shooting video.
In the table below we’ve listed some of the key specs so you can see the difference:
|Canon 70D||Canon 7D|
|Image processor||Digic 5+||Dual Digic 4|
|Video capture||1080p, 30fps||1080p, 30fps|
|Autofocus sensor||19 Cross Type AF Points||19 Cross Type AF Points|
|Viewfinder||Covers 98%||Covers 100%|
|LCD screen||3-inch, articulated touchscreen||3-inch screen|
|Continuous Video autofocus||Yes||No|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Canon 7D vs 70D: Image Capture
Although there is a difference between the sensors of the two, with the 7D having an 18-megapixel sensor and the 70D having a 20.2-megapixel one, the quality of the images is comparable. Images produced by both cameras are up to Canon’s usual high standard. Even when printed out in larger sizes, it’s unlikely anyone but an expert could tell the difference between them. There is a slight difference when it comes to continuous shooting; the Canon 70D is capable of 7fps, whilst the 7D has 8fps. Again though, unless you’re really scrutinizing performance, you’re unlikely to notice this small difference. In low light situations, the 70D has a slight edge in performance, thanks to its better ISO range.
Canon 7D vs 70D: Video Capture
Both of these cameras are favourites among videographers. They’re consistently good performers and are capable of capturing high quality video in 1080p. The 7D was a firm favourite for a good while, but with the launch of the 70D things have changed. The articulated touchscreen and the improved autofocus made a huge difference to ease with which video can be recorded. It’s the Dual Pixel autofocus sensor that drives the improvements in the 70D, giving autofocus speeds that are up to 5 times faster than on the 7D. The touchscreen folds out and can be adjusted through a range of angles, making it easier to capture shots from a variety of different positions. Overall, the 70D is much the preferred camera for video capture.
Canon 7D vs 70D: Key Differences and Similarities
One of the big indicators of the technology gap between these two cameras is the inclusion of Wi-Fi. The 70D has it, the 7D does not. It’s definitely a convenient feature though; you can offload your files when connected, and control the camera using a smartphone. It’s definitely convenient and more than just a fancy gimmick. One connectivity feature the 70D doesn’t have is built-in GPS, which is a shame as it’s proved to be useful in other Canon cameras.
Lens Micro Adjustment
This useful feature is found in both cameras. It allows the user to make miniscule adjustments to the way the camera autofocuses, either in the front- or back-focusing. Its benefit is seen when using wider apertures and a narrower depth of field.
The inclusion of a touchscreen on the 70D is a definite plus. It’s easy to use, and is particularly useful when combined with the articulated screen. It won’t necessarily help you take better pictures, but it’s certainly convenient.
Built in HDR
Another feature that will be familiar to users with modern devices is built-in HDR. It’s particularly helpful on the 70D as it keeps both the RAW file, and creates an HDR version. This means you can edit in post if you have the time, or have a decent HDR image provided if not. The 7D does not have this feature.
Canon 7D vs 70D: Conclusion
It’s somewhat of a close call between these two cameras. Both are capable of taking very good-quality images and video, and both are well-constructed and feel nice in the hand. It’s the modern touches that put the 70D ahead though. Let’s look at each one separately:
Advantages of the 70D:
- The convenience of the articulated touchscreen makes this camera better for video capture.
- Built-in Wi-Fi and HDR processing are big plusses. These are the modern conveniences that many users would expect.
- The 70D has a better image sensor. In terms of still image capture there’s very little to separate the two, yet the 70D really has the edge when it comes to video.
- Continuous autofocus is another plus point for the 70D, particularly for videographers.
- The ISO range is better on the 70D, giving better performance in low-light.
Advantages of the 7D:
- The 7D has the edge on continuous shooting, capturing 8fps compared to 7fps on the 70D.
- The body of the 7D is bigger and feels sturdier in the hand and has a magnesium coating, making it slightly more resistant.
- A 100% viewfinder has the edge over the 98% field of view the 70D has. What you see through the viewfinder will be captured in your shot.