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Nikon D7100 vs. Canon 70D

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August 9, 2013

Nikon D7100 vs. Canon 70D

Nikon D7100 vs. Canon 70D

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When the Canon EOS 70D was announced, it wasn't just as a replacement for the aging 60D, it was also as a direct response to Nikon's D7100. Both cameras use APS-C sensors and are aimed squarely at enthusiasts with better build quality and more features than entry-level models. Let's take a look at how the two cameras stack up against each other.

Size / Weight

Canon 70D vs. Nikon D7100 - Size and Weight

Both cameras are exactly what you'd expect for enthusiast-focused DSLRs. While larger and heavier than entry-level DSLRs, they'll be a lot more comfortable to carry around than professional models. There's so little to call between the two in terms of size or weight, that it's going to be more about how they feel in your hands.

Megapixel Count

Nikon D7100 vs. Canon 70D - Megapixels

With 24.1 megapixels, the Nikon D7100 has the advantage over the Canon 70D. However, its 20.2 megapixel count is more than enough for most photographers, unless they are planning on printing their images very large or cropping heavily.

Autofocus

Nikon D7100 vs. Canon 70D - Auto focus

At first glance the Nikon D7100 appears to have the edge with a 51 point focus system, with 15 cross-type. But the Canon isn't far behind as all of its 19 focus points are cross-type. Then there's the little matter of its Dual Pixel CMOS AF, this makes the 70D much faster and smoother when shooting video with autofocus, and even improves focus speed when shooting stills in live view.

FPS Burst Rate

Nikon D7100 vs. Canon 70D - Burst rate

Both cameras are capable of more than respectable continuous burst rates. The Canon is the slightly quicker of the two with its seven frames per second, but the Nikon isn't far behind with six frames per second.

ISO Range

Nikon D7100 vs. Canon 70D - ISO

While the Canon 70D has the wider ISO range, covering 100-12,800 to the Nikon's 100-6,400, you really need to ask yourself whether your will be using the higher settings anyway. Yes it can be handy to know you can get a shot in dark conditions, but once you get past a certain ISO level, images are always going to suffer from noise levels and loss of colors.

Viewfinder / LCD

Nikon D7100 vs. Canon 70D - Viewfinder

When you look through the optical viewfinder of the Nikon D7100 you are going to see the exact framing of the image you are taking thanks to its 100 percent coverage. Meanwhile, the Canon 70D has 98 percent coverage, meaning your resulting photograph will always be that little bit wider than what you see in the viewfinder.

While the LCD monitor of the 70D is smaller and has a lower resolution than that of the D7100 (3 inches with 1040K dots compared with 3.2 inches and 1229K dots) it more than makes up for this. Its vari-angle ability means it can be easier to compose shots in awkward positions, and it's also a touchscreen, which gives users a different way to navigate menus and take shots.

Storage Media / File Types

Nikon D7100 vs. Canon 70D - Media

SD memory cards are the storage media of choice for both cameras and both are UHS-I compliant, meaning they can work with faster cards. However, the Nikon has the ability to take two cards while the Canon only has one slot. This can be useful not just to know you've got extra storage at your disposal, but to backup shots on the second card, or to shoot RAW files on one and JPEG on the other, or even stills to one and video to the other.

Both cameras shoot both JPEG and RAW stills, but the Canon 70D has the option of shooting different size RAW files which could be useful if you want to reduce storage size and don't mind giving up a little in image quality.

Construction

Nikon D7100 vs. Canon 70D - Build

Though you're not going to be using them to hammer in any nails, both cameras are well constructed and feel a lot more sturdy than entry-level DSLRs in your hands. The Nikon features magnesium alloy covers while the Canon opts for aluminum and polycarbonate.

Nikon says the D7100 offers a level of weather and dust sealing equivalent to that of the professional Nikon D800, which means it can be safely used in a range of weather conditions. Canon is typically a little more coy about the weather sealing of the 70D.

Video Modes

Nikon D7100 vs. Canon 70D - Video modes

On paper the D7100 and 70D are both capable of shooting Full HD video (1080p) at 30/25/24 fps and 720p at 60/50 fps. However, if you're going to be using autofocus when recording video it's worth remembering the Dual Pixel CMOS AF of the Canon as it should vastly improve resulting footage.

Wireless Options

Nikon D7100 vs. Canon 70D - Wireless

More and more cameras are gaining wireless capabilities, for things like copying images to smartphones or tablets and remote shooting, and this pair are no exception. Where they differ is that the Canon has all of this wireless goodness built-in, while the Nikon requires an optional WU-1a wireless adapter. In addition to the extra cost, this also means you have to plug in the adapter whenever you want to use the wireless functions.

Kit Lens

Nikon D7100 vs. Canon 70D - Kit Lens

The Nikon D7100 is frequently bundled with a 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens, while the 70D can come with a 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS. While both lenses offer image stabilization, and variable aperture, the Canon has the advantage with its extra focal length reach making it more versatile.

Lens Mount

Nikon D7100 vs. Canon 70D - Mount

The cameras each take the lenses you'd expect from their respective manufacturers with the D7100 using the standard Nikon F-mount and the Canon the EF mount.

Price

Nikon D7100 vs. Canon 70D - Price

Both cameras come in at US$1,200 body only, with the kit lenses raising the Nikon to $1,600 and the Canon to $1,550.

Wrap-up

While there's no substitute for shooting side by side, this spec comparison provides a good starting point for those tossing-up between these two enthusiast-level DSLRs. Nikon and Canon seem to be taking these models in different directions compared to their predecessors (the Nikon D7000 and Canon 60D).

Nikon is sticking to what it does best, with the D7100 it's produced a quality DSLR which is designed to make it easy to take quality images. For photography purists it arguably has a slight advantage over the 70D because of its higher resolution and better autofocus system.

However, taking photos is only part of what modern DSLRs are called upon for, and the Canon 70D is a more all-round multi-media device. For many people the improved video focusing and built-in wireless capabilities for sharing images will instantly make a compelling argument in favor of the 70D.

About the Author
Simon Crisp Simon is a journalist and photographer who has spent the last ten years working for national UK newspapers - but has never hacked a mobile phone - and specializes in writing about weird products and photography technology. When not writing for Gizmag, Simon is often found playing with LEGO and drinking far too much coffee.   All articles by Simon Crisp
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17 Comments

"this makes the 70D much faster and smoother when shooting video with autofocus, and even improves focus speed when shooting stills in live view." doesn't jive with the conclusion at end of this piece which states that the Nikon has a "better autofocus system."

Tom Arr
9th August, 2013 @ 07:35 am PDT

Very nice comparative review.

Cannon sure came up out of the back of the pack in seeing the future of the digital world first..

Lewis M. Dickens III
9th August, 2013 @ 09:28 am PDT

Hard choice for a first time buyer both are great cameras. For folks with lenses and accessories for Canon or Nikon it's an easier choice.

W John Young
9th August, 2013 @ 09:57 am PDT

@ Tom Arr; he was referring to the 51 point AF for Nikon versus 19 point for Canon. That is a distinct advantage...

Vin Weathermon
9th August, 2013 @ 10:10 am PDT

Excellent article as I'm mulling over the 7000, 7100 and now even the 600. Any way you would do a 600 versus what Canon has to offer also?

Nicolas Zart
9th August, 2013 @ 03:32 pm PDT

WHAT ABOUT AUDIO dude?? Anyone considering either camera for HD movie making (probably a big market segment for these cameras) is going to want to know about audio options and inputs.

Trevor Cousineau
9th August, 2013 @ 09:24 pm PDT

From my understanding the Canon AF is better as it uses contrast detection as well as dual-pixel phase detection.

Making it quite speedy for AF. Vary handy for Sports photos where the Nikon is slow in this respect

Scott Triffett
9th August, 2013 @ 11:12 pm PDT

You forgot to mention that Nikon had removed the optical low pass filter making the image look sharper.

Sandi David
10th August, 2013 @ 12:48 pm PDT

so when is Nikon going to have something like magic Lantern.

Michiel Mitchell
11th August, 2013 @ 01:55 pm PDT

These cameras are the latest in their respective brands and it is no surprise why a lot of buyers are looking for head-to-head comparisons about it.

Jennah Barnes
2nd September, 2013 @ 11:48 pm PDT

I am still struggling with finding an honest comparison between these two cameras. Nobody talks about the plastic guts in the body, plastic bayonet of the lens, and the oil-stained sensor, and the trashy customer service of the d7100 whereas nobody mentions how convenient would better is to go for the 7d instead of the 70d. It is quite frustrating.

Ignacio
9th September, 2013 @ 07:48 pm PDT

I bought a 70d and found the jpegs very soft and handling to be a bit poor. Have since swapped to the d7100 and much prefer the images it produces. The handling and control system in particular the brilliant u1 and U2 modes and i button system push this camera ahead for me.

Michael Dance
19th October, 2013 @ 08:07 am PDT

If you have lenses, its normal and logic to buy the cam for the lenses you have. For the newbie, the are both super. I have Nikon, so i will take the D7100. For the video, you wil think first what you want to do. Is it only video, pls buy a videocam. If you want to make photo's , i don't think you ganna buy a videocam, will you ? . And if you make video, think twice. For good videoresults, you need a heavy good editing program. And the come not cheap. Forget to edit video's in HD 1080 white cheap video editing software. The only one, good, simple and quality for your money is Edius Neo. Very stable en outputs whatever you want without extra costs. Making (good) video is a totaly other working methode and if you want it or not, Video cost alot more at the end. I all did that, thats the reason i don photogr... , its much cheaper. ;-) :-) .

Facebook User
24th October, 2013 @ 06:03 am PDT

I really appreciate this review. I am purchasing the D7100 and have been researching pros and cons. I found your article to be informative and most helpful without bias. Thank you

Krwkyyakthe Cee
30th October, 2013 @ 01:22 am PDT

The Nikon top models are famous for their top image quality, however, I have seen Canon perform amazing iq too and I believe most modern camera deliver more than good enough iq today. Sony have a wide of cameras, small and compact, which deliver stunning iq, Pentax is also one of the best, as with Panasonic and Olympus, not to mention Fujifilm. My point is that the level of iq today is so good that the consumer should look for other features to divide camera's before making an important choice. With that in mind, I think the Canon 70 D is the winner of these two models in the review. I have to admit I have never tried a Canon before, but I have seen a lot of live comparisons on YouTube. Beside that I own a Nikon D7100 myself. So the 4 features I think make the difference and Canon 70D the winner are:

-full manual Aperture control in live view in video Mode

-much better and faster autofocus in videokort

-Touchen

-"moveable" (sorry, poor english) liveview screening

Maybe someone think I am dissapointed with my Nikon D7100 when I am writing like this, I am not. I'm very happy with it, I Just think the 70D is a better one.

Kjetil Pedersen Kjølsø
26th December, 2013 @ 03:57 am PST

Nice article. Now I feel more comfortable making the purchase of my new camera. Thanks!

Brandon Marcus
12th January, 2014 @ 10:44 pm PST

i had Nikon D7100 and recently purchased Canon 70D and i have to say no big difference in Image quality , what i liked most was the STM and video focusing in 70D its outstanding

Alex78
19th July, 2014 @ 03:32 pm PDT
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