Announced in mid-March, the EOS 700D replaces the EOS 650D and is positioned at the top of Canon’s entry-level DSLR line-up, beside its lightweight sibling, the EOS 100D, which shares the same image sensor and processor. It’s a relatively minor update to an already successful model so it’s no surprise to find the image sensor and processor chips haven’t changed, which means the same image quality should be delivered.
Build and Ergonomics
Like its predecessor, the 700D’s body has a stainless steel chassis that is clad with polycarbonate resin containing glass fibre to add strength. The body finish has been improved with a textured cladding the looks and feels leather-like.
It also sports the same 3-inch, vari-angle touch-screen monitor and pentamirror viewfinder plus the proprietary ‘Q’ menu button which, when pressed, displays the most frequently-used camera settings on the monitor screen. Any of these functions can be accessed simply by touch.
Being capacitative, the touch screen can be used like a smart-phones and supports gestures like pinch-to-zoom and image-to-image swiping in playback. Like its predecessor’s the touch screen can be used for touch focusing anywhere on the screen and users can trigger the shutter by touch at the same time as focusing.
The 700D uses the same menu system as its predecessor and includes the ‘My Menu’ customisation options provided in all Canon cameras of this type. External buttons are provided for accessing ISO speed, white balance, AF and drive modes, exposure/focus locking, switching to live view and changing between the aperture and shutter values when in manual mode. This gives users a few different ways to adjust camera settings; either through the regular menu, by touch via the Q screen or by pressing the designated button.
The Picture Style settings haven’t been updated to include the new Video Camera X”“series-look, which was announced recently, although that will doubtless be added with the next firmware update. The Monochrome setting in the Picture Style menu provides three options: neutral, cool and warm. We found the warm setting tended to soften the image slightly, while the others retained normal sharpness.
The built-in optical viewfinder is also unchanged, providing 95% frame coverage and 19mm eye relief. The 700D also boasts the same 9-point, all cross-type hybrid CMOS AF system as its predecessor.
Movie recording options haven’t changed. The 700D supports Full HD 1920 x 1080 recording at 30p/25p/24p along with 1280 x 720 (HD) at 60p/50p and VGA (640 x 480 SD) at 30p/25p, all using the popular MOV format withH.264 compression and Linear PCM audio. A pair of stereo microphones is built into the top of the flash housing. Sound levels can be adjusted across 64 steps and the camera provides a wind filter/attenuator with adjustments between 0 and -40dB. Details of all these features can be found in our review of the EOS 650D.
Potential upgraders can look forward to the following improvements over the EOS 650D:
1. The mode dial has been improved with the ability to rotate through a full 360-degrees. Settings icons are now embossed, rather than printed, giving a smarter, more up-market look. The mode dial has also been de-cluttered by shifting the handheld night scene, HDR back light control and night portrait modes into the SCN sub-menu.
2. You can now preview the effects of Creative Filters settings in Live View mode. The effects available haven’t changed and include Grainy B/W, Soft focus, Fish-eye effect, Art bold effect, Water painting effect, Toy camera effect, Miniature effect. But being able to see how they change the JPEG image is useful because when images are saved with a Creative Filter applied, the unfiltered JPEG is lost. (Creative Filters can also be applied post-capture via in-camera adjustments.)
3. The camera body has been given a more up-market finish that is textured and has a rubber-like look and feel. It’s slightly more comfortable and secure to hold.
4. The refresh rate for the monitor screen has been doubled from 30 fps on the 650D to 60 fps on the 700D. This provides smoother live view shooting while panning and improved movie playback on the camera’s monitor screen.
The Kit Lens
The kit lens we received with the EOS 700D extends Canon’s stepper-motor lens range to four: two for the EOS M and two EF-S lenses. We reviewed the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens with the EOS 650D (for which it was developed) in July 2012. A separate review of the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM will be posted on the Photo Review website.
With the same image sensor and processor chip as the EOS 650D, we expected the results of our Imatest tests on the EOS 700D to be similar, even though different lenses were used for the tests. However, the new camera had a slight edge on its predecessor, producing CR2.RAW files that exceeded expectations for the 18-megapixel sensor. JPEG files came in slightly below expectations.
Raw files delivered higher resolution than JPEGs maintained throughout the 700D’s sensitivity range, although the differences between them were reduced slightly at the highest sensitivities.
Image noise at long exposures and with flash shots was similar to the results we obtained with the EOS 650D. Test shots were almost noise-free up to ISO 3200, after which slight noise became visible in long exposures. By ISO 12800, both noise and softening were obvious, although colour saturation remained relatively high.
Flash exposures were almost noise-free throughout the camera’s sensitivity range, although some softening could be seen at ISO 12800. Exposure levels remained relatively constant across the camera’s sensitivity range, an improvement over the EOS 650D.
Auto white balance performance was similar to other Canon DSLRs we’ve reviewed with shots taken under incandescent lighting remaining partly corrected, while shots taken with fluorescent lighting being almost cast-free. For both lighting types, the pre-sets slightly over-corrected but manual measurement delivered a neutral colour balance. Plenty of in-camera adjustments are provided for tweaking images as you shoot and white balance bracketing of +/- three levels in one-step increments is available.
Video quality was as good as we found with the EOS 650D, which isn’t surprising as this feature is barely changed. Differences between the HD 1080p and 720p video clips were largely related to the frame resolution. Clips shot at VGA resolution were very good for their frame sizes.
Audio quality from the built-in microphone was above average, although the stereo presence wasn’t particularly strong. Interestingly, clips retained their stereo soundtracks at all ISO settings up to ISO 6400 (the maximum allowable in movie mode). We didn’t detect any pick-up of operational noises when zooming and re-focusing while shooting movie clips.
Unfortunately, while autofocusing was relatively fast when the viewfinder was used for shot composition, in live view mode it slowed significantly ““ although not quite as much as we found with the EOS 650D and 18-135mm STM lens. However, re-focusing while movies were being recorded produced noticeable blurring as focus was re-set and the AF system tended to hunt a bit in low light levels and with low-contrast subjects. Lags of up to half a second were common in movie clips during panning and when the lens was zoomed in or out.
Our timing tests were conducted with an 8GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-1card. The review camera powered up ready for shooting in 0.8 seconds. We measured an average capture lag of 0.1 seconds when the viewfinder was used for shot composition, and 0.9 seconds in Live View mode, caused by autofocus lag.
This lag was eliminated when shots were pre-focused for viewfinder shooting and reduced to 0.2 seconds in Live View mode. Shot-to-shot times averaged 0.4 seconds without flash and 0.6 seconds with.
High-resolution JPEGs took an average of 0.6 seconds to process, while CR2.RAW files were processed in 1.9 seconds and RAW+JPEG pairs in 2.1 seconds.
In the continuous shooting mode the review camera recorded 10 Large/Fine JPEGs in 1.8 seconds, which is close to specifications. It took 3.7 seconds to process this burst.
With CR2.RAW files, capture rates slowed noticeably after seven frames, which were recorded in 1.3 seconds. It took 7.4 seconds to process this burst. For RAW+JPEG pairs, capture rates slowed after three frames, which were recorded in 1.4 seconds. It took 5.6 seconds to process this burst.
Like its predecessor, the EOS 700D will suit buyers who want a high-resolution DSLR camera that can record both still pictures and Full HD video clips. As an entry-level model, it has a straightforward user interface plus easy-to-use automated shooting modes and user-adjustable controls.
The vari-angle monitor will attract more serious photographers who are interested in live view shooting with the camera held above the head, at waist level or at an angle to the body. This feature will allow some interesting shooting positions to be adopted and the well-implemented touch-screen makes it easy to adjust many functions, focus and trigger the shutter with the touch of a fingertip.
Being able to accept accessories like a battery grip makes it a possible second camera for a more sophisticated system and allows it to be used for trips to places where mains power is not available (or irregular). A wide range of additional accessories is available for this camera, enabling it to be customised to suit many different types of photography and users’ requirements.
RRP: n/a. ASP AU$860; MSRP US$899.99, as reviewed with 18-55mm STM lens