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Canon 70D vs 7D

The Canon EOS 70D and the Canon EOS 7D are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2013 and September 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The 70D has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the 7D provides 17.9 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Canon 70D   Canon 7D
Canon 70D Canon 7D
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
20 MP, APS-C Sensor 17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-12800 (100-25600) ISO 100-6400 (100-12800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 1040k dots 3.0" LCD, 920k dots
Swivel touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
7 shutter flaps per second 8 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
920 shots per battery charge800 shots per battery charge
139 x 104 x 79 mm, 755 g 148 x 111 x 74 mm, 860 g

Body comparison: Canon 70D vs 7D

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 70D and the Canon 7D. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Compare Canon 70D and Canon 7D
Compare 70D versus 7D top
Compare 70D or 7D rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 7D is notably larger (14 percent) than the Canon 70D. Moreover, the 7D is markedly heavier (14 percent) than the 70D. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 70D» 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Canon 7D« 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 30.3 oz 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
Canon 80D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 25.8 oz 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
Canon G3 X« » 4.8 in 3.0 in 4.1 in 25.9 oz 300 Y Jun 2015 999 i i Canon G3 X
Canon 7D II« » 5.9 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 32.1 oz 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon T5« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
Canon 6D« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
Canon 60D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
Canon 5D Mark II« » 6.0 in 4.5 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 850 Y Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 50D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
Nikon D7100« » 5.4 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 950 Y Feb 2013 1,199- i Nikon D7100
Sony RX10« » 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 420 Y Oct 2013 1,299- i Sony RX10

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The 70D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 29 percent) than the 7D, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 70D vs 7D

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the 7D is 2 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 70D and Canon 7D sensor measures

With 20MP, the 70D offers a higher resolution than the 7D (17.9MP), but the 70D has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.11μm versus 4.31μm for the 7D). However, the 70D is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 years and 10 months) than the 7D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The 70D has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during video recording.

The Canon EOS 70D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS 7D are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800..

70D versus 7D MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Canon 70D» APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668Canon 70D
Canon 7D« APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466Canon 7D
Canon 80D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579Canon 80D
Canon G3 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.412.352163Canon G3 X
Canon 7D II« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270Canon 7D II
Canon T5« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463Canon T5
Canon 6D« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082Canon 6D
Canon 60D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366Canon 60D
Canon 5D Mark II« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 50D« » APS-C 15.1 4752 3168-21.811.469663Canon 50D
Nikon D7100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.213.7125683Nikon D7100
Sony RX10« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.912.647469Sony RX10

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).

 

Feature comparison: Canon 70D vs 7D

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 70D and the 7D are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 70D and Canon 7D in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon 70D»optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 70D
Canon 7D«optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n Canon 7D
Canon 80D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 80D
Canon G3 X« »- n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 2000 5.9 Y Y Canon G3 X
Canon 7D II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 8000 10.0 Y n Canon 7D II
Canon T5« »optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon T5
Canon 6D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 4.5 n n Canon 6D
Canon 60D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 8000 5.3 Y n Canon 60D
Canon 5D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 3.9 n n Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 50D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 6.3 Y n Canon 50D
Nikon D7100« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D7100
Sony RX10« »1440 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 3200 10.0 Y Y Sony RX10

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The 70D has a touchscreen, while the 7D has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The 70D has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the 7D does not have a selfie-screen.

The 70D writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the 7D uses Compact Flash cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 70D vs 7D

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 70D and Canon EOS 7D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Canon 70D»YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 70D
Canon 7D«Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 7D
Canon 80D« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon 80D
Canon G3 X« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon G3 X
Canon 7D II« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 7D II
Canon T5« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon T5
Canon 6D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 6D
Canon 60D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 60D
Canon 5D Mark II« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 50D« »Y----mini2.0---Canon 50D
Nikon D7100« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D7100
Sony RX10« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony RX10

It is notable that the 70D offers wifi support, while the 7D does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 7D (unlike the 70D) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the 70D and the 7D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 7D was replaced by the Canon 7D Mark II, while the 70D was followed by the Canon 80D.


Review summary: Canon 70D vs 7D

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 70D and the Canon 7D? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 70D:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (20 vs 17.9MP) with a 6% higher linear resolution.
  • Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie autofocus.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 920k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • More compact: Is smaller (139x104mm vs 148x111mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 105g or 12 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (920 versus 800) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (29 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 10 months of technical progress since the 7D launch.


Advantages of the Canon EOS 7D:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2009).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 70D is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 3 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

70D 12:03 7D

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 70D or the 7D. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews: Canon 70D vs 7D

This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 70D»HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Canon 7D«HiRec84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
Canon 80D« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
Canon G3 X« »Rec-4.5/53.5/54/5 Jun 2015 999 i i Canon G3 X
Canon 7D II« »Rec84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon T5« »Rec-4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
Canon 6D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
Canon 60D« »Rec79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
Canon 5D Mark II« »91/10079/1004/55/5- Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 50D« »HiRecHiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
Nikon D7100« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2013 1,199- i Nikon D7100
Sony RX10« »Rec80/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,299- i Sony RX10

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon 70D:
Check Ebay offers
Canon 7D:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon 70D vs Canon 7D

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 70D Canon 7D
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date July 2013 September 2009
    Launch Price USD 1199 USD 1699
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.5 x 15.0 mm 22.3 x 15.0 mm
    Sensor Area 337.5 mm2 332.27 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27 mm 26.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 20 Megapixels 17.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5472 x 3648 pixels 5184 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.11 μm 4.31 μm
    Pixel Density 5.91 MP/cm2 5.39 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-12800 ISO 100-6400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-25600 ISO 100-12800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 5+ DIGIC 4 (Dual)
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 68 66
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.5 22.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.6 11.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 926 854
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 98% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.59x 0.63x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 7 shutter flaps/s 8 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type LP-E6 power pack LP-E6 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)920 shots per charge800 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 139 x 104 x 79 mm
    (5.5 x 4.1 x 3.1 in)
    148 x 111 x 74 mm
    (5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in)
    Camera Weight 755 g (26.6 oz) 860 g (30.3 oz)

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