Many think the biggest decision when buying a camera is between professional or entry-level but that isn’t always the case. There is an entire class of high-end crop sensor cameras out there that will do some jobs as well as, if not better than, their full frame counterparts—and they’ll do it for less money. Canon’s 70D and 7D Mark II are two cameras that straddle the line between beginner and high end.
Canon introduced the 70D in July 2013 as a “prosumer” level DSLR. In 2016 Canon released a new version of this camera, the 80D, but the 70D is still a very good camera. This camera looks and feels like equipment for serious photographers—and it performs that way too. The 70D has a 20.2 MP sensor, 3” flipscreen, and the ability to shoot at 7 frames per second (7 FPS), which is higher than many of Canon’s full frame cameras including the venerable 5D Mark III. The 70D is an excellent performer in all categories and at $1,000, it is very affordable.
The 7D Mark II was released in September 2014 as a follow up to the much loved Canon 7D. Like its predecessor, this camera was designed with serious sports and wildlife photographers in mind. The 7D Mark II can shoot at a staggeringly high 10 FPS and at ISOs up to 51,200. This may be the best camera on the market for shooting sports in dimly lit arenas. The 7D Mark II is an exceptionally good APS-C camera that both enthusiasts and amateurs love.
Canon 7D Mark II vs 70D
|Camera||Canon 7D Mark II||Canon 70D|
|Date Announced||September 15, 2014||July 2, 2013|
|Price in 2016||$1,600 (body only)||$1,000 (body only)|
|Resolution||20.2 MP||20.2 MP|
|Max Resolution||5472 x 3648||5472 x 3648|
|Shutter Speeds||1/8000 to 30 seconds||1/8000 to 30 seconds|
|Storage||1 SD card and 1 CF card||1 SD card|
|LCD||3″ rear screen||3″ flip touchscreen|
|Extended ISO Range||100-51200||100-25600|
|Battery||1x LP-E6N Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery Pack||1x LP-E6 Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery Pack|
|Shots Per Charge||670||920|
|Burst Rate||10 FPS||7 FPS|
|Flash Sync Speed||1/250 second||1/250 second|
|Autofocus Points||65, all cross-type||19, all cross-type|
|AF Modes||Automatic (A)
Continuous-servo AF (C)
Manual Focus (M)
Single-servo AF (S)
|Continuous-servo AF (C)
Manual Focus (M)
Single-servo AF (S)
|Built-In WiFi for both image transfer and remote control||No||Yes|
|Build||Magnesium Alloy||Aluminium and Plastic Composite|
|Size||5.9 x 4.4 x 3.1″||5.5 x 4.1 x 3.1″|
|Weight||2.0 lbs||1.7 lbs|
|Video Resolution||1080p at 60 FPS||1080p at 30 FPS|
|7 Day Rental||$78||$75|
Storage: 7D Mark II Wins
Like the 5D Mark III, the 7D Mark II has the ability to write to two cards at the same time. This is especially useful for photographers who live in fear of losing images in the event of a corrupt card. As with most entry and mid-level cameras, the 70D only has one card slot. Dual card slots are not a big deal for the vast majority of photographers, but those who shoot events like weddings and sporting matches that cannot be redone in the event of lost photos, find this feature indispensable.
LCD Screen: 70D Wins
The 7D Mark II has a standard rear-mounted LCD screen but the 70D ups the ante with a screen that flips and swivels. A flip screen allows you to frame shots at odd angles (such as over your head shooting into a crowd) and put yourself in the picture. The flip screen is one of the main reasons that vloggers and videographers love the 70D so much. Many photographers will never use a flip screen but others find cameras without them a deal breaker.
Burst Rate: 7D Mark II Wins
Burst rate is the maximum number of frames per second that a camera can take and both of these cameras excel in this area. The 70D takes 7 FPS, faster than most any camera in Canon’s lineup—except the 7D Mark II. True to its billing as a sports and wildlife dynamo, the 7D Mark II can shoot at 10 FPS, one of the fastest frame rates in the industry.
GPS: 7D Mark II Wins
GPS is one of those features that most people don’t think much about but it can be valuable to have in a camera. GPS allows you to know exactly where your pictures were taken when you load them onto your computer. It’s especially useful for those who travel and want to remember where each picture was taken and for people who collect location specific photos in the field for work. The 7D Mark II has built in GPS but the 70D does not.
Built-in WiFi: 70D Wins
The Canon 70D is equipped with built-in WiFi so that users can send photos to their phone directly from the camera, allowing pictures to be shared via text, email, or social media instantly. WiFi also allows users to control their camera with their phones, which is useful when trying to take those epic selfies!
Video Resolution: 7D Mark II Wins
Both of these cameras are excellent options for video but the 7D Mark II takes the win here due to its ability to take 1080p video at 60 FPS while the 70D’s max video frame rate is 30 FPS. Shooting at 60 FPS will make for clearer videos, especially when you have a quickly moving subject (like a spinning wheel). The 70D is no slouch when it comes to video though, as is evidenced by the number of vloggers and videographers who use and love this camera.
The Canon 70D and 7D Mark II are excellent DSLRs for photographers looking for a high-quality camera with an APS-C sensor. The 7D Mark II is the better option for professional sports and wildlife photographers due to its dual card slots, super fast burst rate, and exceptional autofocus system. It is also a very good camera for videography but it does lack the flip screen on the Canon 70D.
The 70D is a great choice for people who want a powerful APS-C DSLR for both photography and videography. This camera may not have some of the bells and whistles of the 7D Mark II but make no mistake, this is a very good camera. The 70D is an excellent and reasonably priced all around camera for crop sensor shooters. If you’re not a professional photographer who regularly shoots rapidly moving objects, this may be the best option for you.
These cameras both compete with Nikon’s D7200. The D7200 has fewer autofocus points than the 7D Mark II but more than the 70D. It also features WiFi connectivity which is a feature of the 70D but not the 7D Mark II. The D7200’s burst rate is 6 FPS which is still very good but comes in behind both the 70D and 7D Mark II. The D7200, 7D Mark II, and 70D are all more than capable cameras and the decision between them may come down to whether you like Nikon or Canon more. If you are having a hard time deciding between all of these cameras, remember that renting is a good way to “try before you buy”! It’s also good to be informed about all of your options. You can find more information with our Canon comparison guides for the Canon 6D vs 7D or the Canon 5D Mark II vs 6D.