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If Canon follows its usual pattern we can expect to see the Canon EOS 70D's 20.2 million-pixel Dual Pixel CMOS sensor appearing throughout the range. Many Canon users are likely to be satisfied with this pixel count, but newer photographers without any brand commitment may find themselves being drawn by the 24-million-pixel offerings from Nikon, such as the Nikon D7100 and Nikon D5200.
However, photography is about much more than pixel count, and the Canon 70D is a well-built and capable camera that produces excellent results with plenty of detail - especially in raw files.
Although you need to take care in high-contrast conditions, in many situations the 63-zone Evaluative metering system does a great job, delivering a perfectly exposed subject. The camera's images also have natural colours with pleasant saturation and contrast, but as ever, if it's not to your taste you can tweak the camera's settings to deliver what you want.
Combining the usual array of physical controls with a touchscreen makes the Canon 70D quick and easy to use. The screen is responsive and it provides a very clear view in all but very bright light, although it's a good idea to keep a lens cloth to hand to wipe off fingerprints.
Canon has made great strides with its Live View and Movie mode focusing system, and the Canon 70D's is the best yet. We found it silent with the new EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens mounted.
We have become used to sharing images immediately after capture with smartphones, so it seems like a logical step that we should be able to do this from our DSLRs. While the Canon 70D's Wi-Fi connectivity may not enable such direct image sharing as the Samsung Galaxy NX's, it's the next best thing. The Canon's EOS Remote app also affords extensive control over a camera via an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet, and it could prove a hit with wildlife photographers.
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While some photographers remain skeptical about the benefits of a touchscreen, we would urge them to try one of the modern systems, because they are far more responsive than some of the first touchscreens that appeared on compact cameras.
As on the Canon 650D - the first DSLR to feature a touchscreen - and its replacement the Canon 700D, the manufacturer has backed up the touch controls with the usual array of physical buttons and dials. This means that you can choose how you wish to control the camera, perhaps using touch control for some aspects and physical controls for others.
We suspect that many users will start out using the physical controls, but gradually start using touch control more often. The touch navigation is particularly useful for changing settings via the Quick Menu, and for reviewing images, when you can swipe and pinch-to-zoom to check sharpness.
A vari-angle screen is really helpful when composing images at awkward angles, whether you're shooting landscape or portrait format images. However, to get the best from it you really need a fast autofocusing system, which is something we have seen implemented to great effect with the Panasonic G6 and Panasonic GH3. Canon's new Dual Pixel AF system promises to deliver this kind of performance in a DSLR, and it should help photographers to take more creative photographs.
The Canon 70D's touchscreen provides a quick and easy way of navigating through menus and making selections, as well as reviewing and magnifying images, but it doesn't help with selecting the AF point when shooting through the viewfinder.
Because the Creative Filters can only be used when shooting JPEG images and not raw and JPEG, it's unlikely that many enthusiasts will use them. This is a shame, because they're fun and the Grainy Black and White, Art Bold, Toy Camera effect and Miniature effects produce some nice results that even if not used in the final image can trigger some creative thought on post-processing. The effects can be applied in-camera post capture, but they don't fire your creative thinking while you're shooting.
Since the Canon 70D has an optical viewfinder, the impact of the Creative Filters can't be displayed in it, but it seems a bit strange when they can't be used without Live View mode. After all, the picture styles, including Monochrome, can be used when composing images in the viewfinder, so why not the filters?
Canon has produced a very well rounded camera for enthusiast photographers. It has all the specifications that we expect, along with a few modern niceties in a body that feels well made and comfortable in the hand. It should be serious competition for the Nikon D7100.
The new Dual Pixel AF system for Live View and Movie mode is very impressive. In bright light it's fast and decisive, being quickest in still mode and smoothest in movie mode. In low light, however, there's often some of the backwards and forwards adjustment that is typical of contrast detection systems rather than phase detection.
All things considered, however, the Canon EOS 70D is a very desirable camera that is capable of producing superb results.