Advice - worth the jump 550d to 70d?

fragilesi

EOS RP
Sep 2, 2013
468
1
Guys,

This is a genuine request for opinions. For my first couple of years photography I’ve had a 550d and frankly being totally new to the field have been delighted with it. But it’s getting on and I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to realize some of the limitations to my little “magic box”. I’m therefore thinking about the new 70d. What I find almost impossible to gauge from all the informed opinion and debate about ISO charts, sensor IQ and the like is just how much of real-world difference I’d notice and would like the opinions of anyone with greater knowledge than me. To be clear, that’s pretty much anyone who regularly remembers to take the lens cap off for their first shot .

I do understand that these would be just opinions and yes it’s different for everyone but I’d rather listen to a few of those opinions to get an idea of what I might expect to see from such an upgrade. To inform those opinions my photography prime interests are:-

• Nature, most especially birds in flight.
• Sports, especially football and cricket.
• Rock concert photography.
• A smaller amount of landscape / architecture photography and occasional macros.

I’ve got what I think is a decent collection of lenses with the obvious “miss” being something a bit longer for the birds, all Canon:-

10-22, 24-70L (the older version, not the latest one), 100L Macro, 70-300L

All lenses frankly more than adequate for my current level of talent / capability. I took previous advice to concentrate on glass first.

My real expectation of upgrading from a 550d to a 70d is:-

Significant improvements (for me):-

Low light capability for the concerts and indoor or other low-light shots. Seems to me there should be a noticeable improvement?
AF performance and flexibility, especially for the birds in flight and low light situations. I’m thinking this should be the real deal clincher?

I guess there are other things, I do very occasionally video things so the new Live View AF looks like a big jump and of course the touch / vari-angle screen will be a genuine step forwards.

What I’m really after though is opinion on whether the two areas that I point out (AF and low light capability) are genuinely things that I will see a genuine improvement in. I don’t plan to buy just yet, I will let the price run down first but I’m curious to see if my expectations are roughly in line with reality 

Thanks.
 

whothafunk

EOS RP
Apr 17, 2013
268
21
im in the exact same boat as you, but i only shoot sports.

1 - not one review has yet to compare 70D's AF to 7D and how it acts. we dont know, if 70D has a dedicated processor for AF alone like the 7D, we dont know if its as snappy as 7D's.. we only know that 70D was stripped of Spot and Expansion AF modes, which is a bummer, especially Expansion mode for sports is very useful.

2 - ISO performance is about 1/3 - 1/2 stop better than 550D's judging by reviews and jpeg comparisons. not a lot, eh.
 

Strobe the globe

60D | 10-22mm, 18-200mm, 50mm | Speedlite 600EX-RT
May 11, 2012
37
0
www.youtube.com
Yes, I would upgrade! I have just upgraded from the 60D to 70D and loving the new video capabilities! You would love the jump from the 550D to the 70D even more. The touchscreen is very useful. I got it with the 18-55mm STM lens kit. My first impression was that I had bought a junky lens - simply because of how light it was to hold. But after using it a little, I am very happy with the quality of the images - and the speed of focussing while using continuous auto-focussing.

I mush admit though - if I was not in to using my DSLR for video, I would not think the upgrade was worth it - as the 60D was an excellent camera.

I made a youtube video of the unboxing showing some closeups of the camera body (and a little bit of using the touchscreen) if you are interested. Good luck.

Canon EOS 70D (W) EF-S 18-55mm STM lens kit unboxing and first 'hands on' review
 

cervantes

EOS 90D
Sep 22, 2012
191
23
Austria
www.focrates.com
In terms of IQ I wouldn't expect that there is a real visible difference between the two of them. 1/2 a stop is a VERY minor improvement if you take into consideration that there are about 4 years of technology advancement between them.

The 550D is a very stellar performer IQ-wise - even after all those years it's still quite as good as all the other (and newer) Canon APSC models. So if you want improved low light performance you will have to go full frame.

AF performance should be much better I suppose and since your primary interests are action related topics this will make a difference. In this regard take a look at the 7D though (what you most likely already did).
 

sdsr

EOS R
Jul 14, 2012
912
7
I assume that by improved low light performance you mean both greater focus accuracy and less noise. I don't know about the former, but based on all the online high ISO examples I've seen online so far, it seems that while there will be a "noticeable" difference, the improvement in image quality at high ISOs will be minor (as it would be even if you switched to APS-C cameras with the best high ISO performance like Pentax).

The only way you would get a high ISO improvement of the sort that prompted me to make involuntary "wow"-type noises when I made the switch would be if you moved to full frame instead. Based on your references to cricket and football you're presumably not in the US, so I don't know how prices compare, but here in the US at least if you shop around carefully/wait for special deals the difference in price between a new full-price 70D and a discounted 6D is only a few hundred dollars. The 6D's focusing accuracy in extremely low light is pretty remarkable, too - at least if the subject isn't moving. All but one of the lenses you currently own will work on a 6D too, and, what's more, work better; you'll gain at the wide end and although you'll lose reach, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the quality of crops from the 70-300L even at 300mm. Something to think about, perhaps.

But the 70D may well be better than the 6D at focusing on things that move, even something as slow as cricket.... ;) I'll leave it to others to comment on that, as I don't photograph that sort of thing. It could be that the two factors you singled out - low light performance and shooting action - lead to conflicting recommendations (the 5DIII will give you both, but at quite a price), so you'll have to decide which of the two matters more. Any chance of renting in your part of the world so you can find out first hand?
 
P

paul13walnut5

Guest
I don't have the 70D, but I have a digicV EOS M, a 7D (similar AF) a 600D and had a 550D.

The 550D was a great little camera, but there are a few practical differences which I think merit an upgrade:

1. Vari-angle LCD screen. Brilliant for your macro stuff (600D is my go to video and macro body)

2. A stop better ISO/noise trade off. You'll still want to shoot RAW and tweak the luma channel NR in post, but noise a stop less intrusive at any given ISO. 3200 perfectly usable if you are handy with ACR or Lightroom.

3. Wireless E-TTL off camera flash. A real boon for your macro, and perhaps some nature and sports.

4. Better AF. 550D is just about ok if you limit yourself to centre spot only AF and use fast lenses. Fast lenses are still a given, but the 70D will be a massive step up. The new dual pixel live view and touchscreen might be just the ticket for your macros.

5. OVF quality. When you go to a prism finder from a mirror finder you'll be amazed at the clarity, sharpness, brightness.

You aren't going to fall off your chair at the differences in IQ! what you will do is get more keepers, be able to stop down more (by lens or by shutter) to give you more depth of field or freeze the action a bit better in low light.

The 70D will just be easier to get along with, especially for macro.
 

distant.star

EOS 5D Mark IV
Jan 19, 2011
1,813
0
USA
wetracy.smugmug.com
.
I liked, and still like my T2i. After the agonizing wait (for both the camera and the right price) I finally got a 5D3 last December. I always found the T2i to be nearly adequate with compromises. The 5d3 is entirely adequate with no compromises. For some reason I've always seen the T2i sensor as somewhat better (less noise) than most other models using that 18MP APS-C sensor. I'd like to chalk that up to imagination, but I've seen too many other people say the same thing. Anyway, I use my T2i as a backup, and I'm planning to upgrade that. This 70D is certainly in the running. I plan to wait for whatever 7D2 announcement may come or what they might do with a new M before I decide. However the 70D seems like a lot of outstanding technology for not much money, comparatively speaking.

Unless you're willing to go all the way to 5D3, I don't see that you'll get much noticeable improvement in image quality -- through DR, less noise, etc. And that says a lot for the overall quality of the T2i specifically and that particular APS-C sensor. Obviously, the 7D will reduce the amount of compromise you have to do in the AF area. The 70D will too, but probably not as much as the 7D would. Overall, I think the amount of compromises you need to make are significantly reduced with the 70D compared to the T2i. Up to you whether that's enough to base a purchase decision on.

The best little review I've seen of the 70D recently was done by Scott Kelby. He is quite impressed overall and excited given the price:

First Look at the New Canon EOS 70D on-location shooting a BMW 650i
 

EOBeav

Not going anywhere
May 4, 2011
434
20
54
about.me
Here's another thought: If you can afford a 70D, you're not far from a 7D. Sensors are going to be similar, but you get better build quality and more pro-level features on the 7D. I just think you'll be happier with it in the long run. You do have a nice collection of lenses with a wide range of focal lengths.
 

dgatwood

300D, 400D, 6D
May 1, 2013
922
0
EOBeav said:
Here's another thought: If you can afford a 70D, you're not far from a 7D. Sensors are going to be similar, but you get better build quality and more pro-level features on the 7D. I just think you'll be happier with it in the long run. You do have a nice collection of lenses with a wide range of focal lengths.

If I were in the market for a 7D, I'd probably wait a few months for the rumored Mk II.
 

EOBeav

Not going anywhere
May 4, 2011
434
20
54
about.me
dgatwood said:
EOBeav said:
Here's another thought: If you can afford a 70D, you're not far from a 7D. Sensors are going to be similar, but you get better build quality and more pro-level features on the 7D. I just think you'll be happier with it in the long run. You do have a nice collection of lenses with a wide range of focal lengths.

If I were in the market for a 7D, I'd probably wait a few months for the rumored Mk II.

Key word there is 'rumored.' No doubt they're going to come out with a replacement for the 7D, but that doesn't make a 7D any less worthwhile. I don't like to encourage people to get into the "don't get X, the XmkII will be out soon." You spend your time waiting around for something that may or may not come to fruition, instead of getting the images you want with a great camera.
 

dgatwood

300D, 400D, 6D
May 1, 2013
922
0
EOBeav said:
dgatwood said:
EOBeav said:
Here's another thought: If you can afford a 70D, you're not far from a 7D. Sensors are going to be similar, but you get better build quality and more pro-level features on the 7D. I just think you'll be happier with it in the long run. You do have a nice collection of lenses with a wide range of focal lengths.

If I were in the market for a 7D, I'd probably wait a few months for the rumored Mk II.

Key word there is 'rumored.' No doubt they're going to come out with a replacement for the 7D, but that doesn't make a 7D any less worthwhile. I don't like to encourage people to get into the "don't get X, the XmkII will be out soon." You spend your time waiting around for something that may or may not come to fruition, instead of getting the images you want with a great camera.

True, but IMO there's no clear winner between a 7D and a 70D. Each does some things better than the other, and the generally less-functional camera costs $300 more. That's a lot to pay for a metal body and a slightly faster frame rate. As I understand it:

  • The 70D has better picture quality, better live-view/video focusing, a higher resolution LCD, and built-in Wi-Fi.
  • The 7D can take one more picture per second, can take more shots before the buffer fills up, has a slightly more accurate viewfinder (100% versus 98%), and has a metal body.

AFAIK, that's pretty much the extent of the differences. Unless you're shooting sports, the 70D is usually the better choice, and even then, the 7D's benefit is pretty small, IMO. If you strongly care about the advantages of one or the other, buy that one. Otherwise, I'd either buy the cheaper one (the 70D) or wait for the more expensive one to be a clear winner (hence my Mk II suggestion). I really don't think it makes much sense to buy a 7D right now.

Or you could always take the plunge and jump to a 6D or other full-frame, with the caveat that you'll need to budget an extra $1,700 or so for the 16-35 II to replace your 10-22. :)
 

DRR

EOS RP
Jul 2, 2013
253
0
If I were you, I'd wait 6 months.

In 6 months, the 7DII might be announced, or the rumors may be firmer. This will give you a better basis on which to judge, 70D vs 7DII, versus saving a few bucks because I'd expect the 7D probably will fall another $100 or so in the next 6 months (for an extremely capable camera).

Also in 6 months, more real world reports will be in from the 70D. For the most part all we have now are specs and a few limited reports. Wait for the more in-depth reviews. I don't expect any surprises, any bugs, etc. but if there are any, you'll know in 6 months.

If you want to buy now, I'd go for the 70D without much hesitation. When I read about the 70D being released it sounded to me like a 7D Mark 1.5. I don't know what else they're thinking about putting into a 7DII to make it much better than a 70D. A few more FPS, a larger buffer, dual card slots? Maybe wifi and GPS? There's not a lot that could be added to make it head and shoulders better than a 70D in my opinion. Guess we'll see when it's announced/released.
 
Sep 3, 2013
1
0
The difference is smaller than you would expect. You have done very well so far with your decision to spend on lenses rather than bodies - keep it up. :) The 70d is by no means bad, or poor value, if you were looking for a new camera it would be a good choice. If I was in your shoes I would wait, save and get a 6d - it's already under $2k new, or just buy whatever lens would complement my current collection.
 

Dukinald

aloha!
Dec 22, 2012
122
0
Connecticut, USA
Im exactly on the same boat as you. I have decided to wait it out a few more months as things can only get better.......

1) As someone mentioned, there would be more real world feedback on the 70d
2) The 7d is getting cheaper
3) The 6d price is also going down
4) the 7dII is just around the corner

So right now am also looking at expanding my lens stable as there is no model out there the meets my shooting needs (thats within budget). If im going to make a purchase now, i would have to think hard between the 6d and 70d.
 

sarakoth

EOS M50
As a few have said, strongly consider a 6D.. even though the 70D had just been announced at the time I upgraded my 500D to a 6D as I didn't think the 70D would improve much on overall IQ and it seemed there was not going to be a huge difference in price. Now the real world tests are out it seems like I was right as far as IQ goes.

To me the 70D and it's advantages are are around taking video.. if you are doing mainly stills, want to improve the IQ of every shot you take, then have a look at the 6D. Especially low light performance. Otherwise at least wait as the RRP for the 70D will no doubt drop by Christmas and you may get a confirmation of the 7D2 specs by then.

The downside of the 6D is no on camera flash (so allow for a speedlite) and outer AF only works in good lights (but the center is amazing in low light to make up for this).
 

skfla

EOS M6 Mark II
Feb 5, 2013
58
0
fragilesi said:
My real expectation of upgrading from a 550d to a 70d is:-

Significant improvements (for me):-

Low light capability for the concerts and indoor or other low-light shots. Seems to me there should be a noticeable improvement?
AF performance and flexibility, especially for the birds in flight and low light situations. I’m thinking this should be the real deal clincher?

I guess there are other things, I do very occasionally video things so the new Live View AF looks like a big jump and of course the touch / vari-angle screen will be a genuine step forwards.

What I’m really after though is opinion on whether the two areas that I point out (AF and low light capability) are genuinely things that I will see a genuine improvement in. I don’t plan to buy just yet, I will let the price run down first but I’m curious to see if my expectations are roughly in line with reality 

Thanks.

Fyi, I shoot with the 7D (folks keep saying the 70D has the 7D af array) as a back up & I've rented the 6D. My opinion is that w/ the cameras you've mentioned, you can have one but not both of your key specs.

The 6D is incredibly good at focusing in low light. I was incredibly impressed with the camera when I shot in low natural light w/ a prime. But it's focusing ability is not one I would want in a sports camera. I don't think you'll feel that there was a great improvement in that area, certainly not 3-4 years worth.

I haven't shot with the 70D but most folks keep talking about it's af array being similar/the same as the 7D. If thats the case, it will be huge improvement over your T2i for sports photography. Once you're used to it, you'll wonder how you ever got a good shot with your rebel. But as far as low light goes, I had hoped the 70D would have the same capability as the 6D. I was prepared to buy a 70D when it came out because of this. Unfortunately, the -3ev sensitive cross center focus point was not given to the 70D (I decided to just stick w/ my 7D partly because of this). And because of the lack of -3ev focus point, my reading of the spec sheet & experience with the 7D-I don't think you'll see a big improvement in the 70D for your concert/low light shooting. At least not enough to upgrade for. Although, to be honest, I may have been so spoiled by the 6D that even "good" low light focusing now seems just ok. Anyway, once the reviews come out we'll know a good bit more.

You're smart to wait a while, read the various reviews & watch the price drop a little. But unfortunately I just don't see one mid-level camera suiting both your main needs perfectly. Regardless, good luck w/ your selection & kudos on your glass selection. I think you've really managed to squeeze the very best out of your T2i.
 

fragilesi

EOS RP
Sep 2, 2013
468
1
Firstly, to everyone who has taken the time to respond . . . THANKS! This is exactly what I was after and I did wonder what might happen after reading some of the recent 70d threads!

I guess it confirmed some things I already knew, tells me a few things I didn’t and gives me much food for thought:-

Things confirmed:-

- With the 550d I certainly landed on my feet, for its price point it has always felt a hell of a camera.
- With the variety of things I like to shoot I need to spend a lot of cash for the camera that excels in low light and focuses like a demon! It’s not impossible for me to get a 5dMkIII but it would be a fruitless exercise given the severe reduction in life expectancy that would follow my wife seeing the bank statements . . .
- It’s prudent to wait a bit longer (70d price drops, 7d MkII news possibly), I’m just about to hit 100k actuations on the 550d, I’m not sure how long these things last but at my level there’s still a lot it can help me learn, I'm sure of that much.

Still at issue:-

- How much better is the low light performance, ISO thoughts seem to be between a third and one stop. The former is not worth considering for me, the latter would be nice so that needs further investigation! I’m sure the AF would be better regardless of conditions. The ISO improvements puzzle me though. 10% more pixels, better processing power . . . you would have thought that from 550d to 70d there would be a real difference to be had there.

- Full frame via the 6d. It is only currently 30% or so more but I’d envisage that gap widening especially if the 7dMkII gets announced any time soon. I’d pretty much made my mind up to stick with crops and the superior sounding AF on the 7/70ds nicks it. I also have the feeling that while a full frame camera might suffer tighter cropping to get similar results it would be harder to lock focus on something smaller in the frame(??).


Things I really didn’t know

- The difference between the viewfinders, this sounds like a real benefit, 99% of the time I use the viewfinder rather than Liveview.
- I didn’t actually realize quite how close the 7d was in price to the 70d . . . I can pick one up for basically the same price in the UK similar to France (scratches head and wonders if that might not be such a bad idea!). But then I’d miss the screen and a couple of other things set against the advantages it does have.

In summary I’ll wait, I might also be tempted by that 400mm lens and blow the cash on that instead. For those in the same or similar boat it would be interesting to see how you get on should you make the jump!

But once again, thanks this has been really helpful.
 
Sep 3, 2013
1
0
I just upgraded from the 450D to the 70D. I mainly shoot stills, mostly wildlife/nature. I use EF24-105 & EF 100-400. I'm very pleased so far. The biggest improvements have been in autofocus, low light noise and general handling of the camera. Also, the higher speed is nice and 20 MP is quite a jump from 12 on the 450D which lets me crop even more:).
Having the opportunity to shoot an occasional video might prove useful - but you all ready have that of course.
 

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