Canon’s New 70D DSLR Beefs Up Autofocus, Could Be An Indie Filmmaker’s Dream Camera

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Canon has just revealed its long-awaited 70D DSLR, the successor to the 60D. The 70D fits above the Rebel line in terms of price and specs in Canon’s interchangeable lens camera catalogue, and this new version focuses on improving one of the 60D’s most considerable strengths: movie making.

Canon has introduced new Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus, which has a sensor with double the pixel count to help improve focus tracing. The result is a fast, smooth autofocus function that especially helps when shooting video using the live view, vari-angle display on the back of the camera. It also helps with still AF to some degree, which is likewise boosted by a new AF system with 19 cross-type points (just like the much-respected, if aging Canon 7D), but the real benefit here is for aspiring filmmakers.

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In a hands-on test of a pre-production unit, Engadget found that the new AF system works as impressively as advertised. Especially paired with Canon’s STM line of lenses, which are designed for smoother autofocus while shooting digital video, the combo should be amazing for videographers; in other words, Canon is looking to arm a whole new generation of Kickstarter filmmakers with the 70D, and has apparently done a very good job.

It also has some improvements in terms of expanded ISO capabilities, touch input via the 3-inch, high-resolution vari-angle display, boosted 7 FPS high-speed shooting modes, and built-in Wi-Fi, which offers live view shooting from smartphone apps, as well as camera-to-device transfers of photos and videos.

The new Dual Pixel CMOS AF works with 103 EF model lenses, including a lot of legacy glass, so it should fit nicely into an existing Canon kit. And the price tag isn’t crazy: $1,199 for body only, or $1,349 bundled with the 18-55mm IS STM kit lens, along with an EF-S 18-135 IS STM kit option for $1,549. All of the above should ship come September, according to Canon, so look to fall as a time when all those intro videos that preface Kickstarter projects start to get a noticeable production quality upgrade.