|Canon 70D with 300mm f2.8 IS|
In 2011 my main camera was the 7D, which was usually mounted on one of the big telephotos with the 40D being used with the 70-200mm, etc. so that one could cover a variety of situations without changing lenses. Since I am primarily a video shooter, in the spring I decided to replace the 40D with another Canon that shot video. A flip-out LCD is a decided plus for video so I was going to get a 60D, but then I found that the recently introduced T3i (600D) had a 3x crop mode that made extreme long range wildlife video recording possible. Since Canon had discontinued the XL-H1 type of camcorder that excelled at this, I was on the lookout for a technology that would give me the long range ability so there was no difficulty in selecting the T3i over the 60D. The 60D is a more solid feeling camera and I prefer it for still photography, but since video was to be my primary use, there was no regrets.
I thought that Canon would improve on the 3xcrop or 3x-10x digital zoom principle and incorporate it in most if not all future models, but I was disappointed to find it was not in the 5D MK III or either of the two Rebel models that followed, the T4i and the T5i. Although they did introduce auto focus in the T4i this was not of interest to me without the 3X crop mode.
I got the 5D MK III in May of 2012 with its' primaryuse to be as a still camera. I found it had the best video quality of any of the Canon DSLRs I had tried so far, but it was sadly lacking in reach for long range work on whitetail deer, birds, etc. In the meantime I had read many positive reviews of the Panasonic GH2, which was reported to have better video quality than the 7D, 60D, and the Canon Rebels. I found this to be the case and used a GH2 for long range video work from July 2012 until late January of 2013 when I got the Panasonic GH3. This camera had even better quality than the GH2. Another plus for the Panasonics is that they have decent autofocus in video mode when lenses such as the 14-140mm Lumix or 100-300mm Lumix are used. With that being said, I am not sure they have better video quality than the 5D MK III. They are a definite cut above the other Canon models we have mentioned in this respect; however. but in my opinion the Canons win hands down as better choices for still photography..
|Canon 70D Equipped For Video With Canon70-200mm IS II L and Rode VideoMic Pro|
|70D Back View-Note 3.0"vari-angle LCD, video mode selector around record button|
|Whitetail Doe: Autofocus In Live View- Canon 70-200mm f2.8 @200mm-ISO 100-1/320sec. f 5.0|
While autofocus in video mode brings a significant gain in ease of use it does create problems with getting good sound. Only Canon STM lenses are silent focusing. At this point only a few are made and none are large telephotos or L lenses, so the vast majority of Canon lenses make a noise while focusing that is easily picked up by the internal mike or shotgun mikes mounted in the accessory shoe. To date I have tried the camera with the 70-200mm f2.8 II L, 24-105mmf4L, and the 500mmf4 IS L. The 70-200mm is the quietest with the 24-105mm running a close second. The 500mm f4 is very noisy, but still focuses quite well. The bottom line is one needs to get the mike off of the camera for best results in situations where audio quality is critical.
Most readers are likely more interested in how it performs as a still camera so I am posting a few stills. I realize that perhaps I should post comparison shots between different camera models, etc., but at present time constraints prevent me from going into it this deeply and it can be hard to judge quality differences in internet photos and video anyway so here are some photos to give you a general idea of what to expect with this camera.
|Mature Gobbler Late Evening: Canon 300mm f2.8-ISO 400-1/200sec. f2.8|
|Wild Turkey Hen in Morning Sunlight: Canon 300mm f2.8-ISO 400-1/640 sec. f4.0|
The shot below was taken early in the morning and although I could have gotten away with using a lower ISO by going to a lower shutter speed, I wanted to get a general idea of how the camera performed at ISO 1600. The image is also cropped a significant amount. Noise is noticeable on a large monitor.
|Fawns Grooming Before Sunrise: Canon 300mm f2.8-ISO1600-1/500 sec. f2.8|
The bottom line is that based on my limited experience with the 70D I think it is better at handling high ISO settings than the 7D or the T3i, but I never used the 60D so have no opinion on that. It does not do as well as the 5D MK III at high ISOs, but that is to be expected. Over a period of time a much clearer opinion of its' capabilities will emerge, but for now it does seem like a good camera for the price range. It will be interesting to experiment and compare it against the other cameras that I use. At present my favorite still camera is the 5D MK III and the video favorite is the GH3. It will be interesting to see if that is still so a month from now.
Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.