Canon announces EOS 70D, successor to 60D (Video autofocus a key feature)

I will be one of the first in line to upgrade my (wonderful) 60D. I've shot a few hundred videos for Stark Insider since buying one in 2010. It's never let me down, and the build quality is top notch.

Canon today announced the EOS 70D, the successor to the well regarded 60D DSLR shooter, popular among video enthusiasts. Based on the APS-C image sensor, the 70D features 20 megapixels (10% more, no surprise there), a 19-point autofocus system (the same as found on the 7D), and wi-fi.

Most notable, though, for those that (like me!) use their DSLRs to shoot video is the addition of video auto-focus. Sweetness and beans, no doubt.

Behold the Beauty: New Canon EOS 70D will hit the market this September and features video auto-focus.
Behold the Beauty: New Canon EOS 70D will hit the market this September and features video auto-focus.

According to Canon a “Dual Pixel” CMOS covers 80% of the surface area that features two photosites. Meanwhile a more powerful DIGIC 5+ will analyse in real-time. To most, these specs won’t mean much on their own. But in practice it means the 70D can automatically focus as a subject moves across the frame. The user can opt to specify a specific focal point–say, a child’s head–or allow the camera to decide. None of this was possible on the 60D, which could only autofocus in video mode when not recording – making it far more difficult than a traditional videocamera to use for real-time videography. For films, it’s less of any issue as scenes are planned and set-up in advance, including lenses, focus and lighting.

Other upgrades over the 60D include:

— ISO range up to 12800 which should improve low light performance

— faster, high-speed continuous shooting; up to 7 frames per second

— 63-zone Dual Layer IFCL (Intelligent Focus, Color & Luminance) AE metering system

The 70D goes for $1,200 for the body only, $1.350 for the kit with an 18-55mm STM lens, and $1,549 for the kit with an 18-135mm STM lens. The STM lenses allow for quiet, fluid auto-focus so if you’re interested in that feature be sure to look for the designation. Canon says the 70D will go on sale in September.

Time to upgrade the 60D

I will be one of the first in line to upgrade my (wonderful) 60D. I’ve shot a few hundred videos for Stark Insider TV since buying one in 2010. It’s never let me down, and the build quality is top notch. Most of what I shoot is sit-down interviews with actors, directors in the Bay Area and also in film. But often we also shoot run ‘n gun style scenes.

I’ve learned to focus the 60D, shoot a scene, and then do it over again when the subject moves. This means post-production becomes essential; I can cut out the parts where the camera is “hunting” for focus. I often use b-roll to hide these parts. With a camcorder, or the new 70D, this will become a non-issue as the lens will be auto-focusing dynamically. Nikon has led in this regard, but now it appears Canon is finally adding the much-desired featured to its line-up.

If you’re contemplating a move into DSLR video, or are looking to upgrade, the 70D should be near the top of your list. If video auto-focus is not important, a used or discounted 60D could also be a good choice.

Get your Canon EOS 70D now on Amazon for only $999 (body).

Here’s an example of a video shot with a 60D and edited in Adobe Premiere Pro.

ON LOCATION: Napa (Shot with Canon EOS 60D)

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