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Canon 70D versus Canon 7D

The Canon EOS 70D and the Canon EOS 7D are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, 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 megapixel, whereas the 7D provides 17.9 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Canon 70D vs Canon 7D

The physical size and weight of the Canon 70D and the Canon 7D are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the 70D – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Canon 70D vs Canon 7D
Compare 70D versus 7D top
Compare 70D and 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 find an overview of suitable optics in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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)
Canon 70D» 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199- i
Canon 7D« 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 30.3 oz 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699- i
Canon 80D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 25.8 oz 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i i
Canon G3 X« » 4.8 in 3.0 in 4.1 in 25.9 oz 300 Y Jun 2015 999 i i
Canon 7D II« » 5.9 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 32.1 oz 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i i
Canon T5i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649- i
Canon 6D« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i
Canon 60D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i
Canon 50D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299- i
Nikon D7100« » 5.4 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 950 Y Feb 2013 1,199- i
Sony RX10« » 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 420 Y Oct 2013 1,299- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 70D vs Canon 7D

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras 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.

70D versus 7D MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon 70D» APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
Canon 7D« APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466
Canon 80D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579
Canon G3 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.412.352163
Canon 7D II« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270
Canon T5i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
Canon 6D« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082
Canon 60D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
Canon 50D« » APS-C 15.1 4752 3168-21.811.469663
Nikon D7100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.213.7125683
Sony RX10« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.912.647469

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).

 

Feature comparison: Canon 70D vs Canon 7D

Beyond 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 70D, the Canon 7D, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera 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))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Canon 70D»optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n
Canon 7D«optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n
Canon 80D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n
Canon G3 X« »- n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 2000 5.9 Y Y
Canon 7D II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 8000 10.0 Y n
Canon T5i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon 6D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 4.5 n n
Canon 60D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 8000 5.3 Y n
Canon 50D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 6.3 Y n
Nikon D7100« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n
Sony RX10« »1440 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 3200 10.0 Y Y

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 Canon 7D

So what is the bottom line? 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 7D:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • 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 (9 : 2 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

70D 09:02 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. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. 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). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Canon 70D»HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199- i
Canon 7D«HiRec84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699- i
Canon 80D« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i i
Canon G3 X« »Rec-4.5/53.5/54/5 Jun 2015 999 i i
Canon 7D II« »Rec84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i
Canon T5i« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i
Canon 6D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i
Canon 60D« »Rec79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399- i
Canon 50D« »HiRecHiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i
Nikon D7100« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2013 1,199- i
Sony RX10« »Rec80/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,299- i

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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

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. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, kindly get in touch, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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