Canon 70D vs Nikon D7100: Head To Head Between Two Popular Mid-Range DSLRs

canon 70d vs d7100Both Nikon and Canon have revamped their mid-range DSLRs recently. Nikon replaced the very successful D7000 with the D7100 and Canon, similarly, replaced the 60D with the 70D. Both these cameras promises some exciting upgrades over their older siblings. But are they really that good? Also, how do they stack up against each other in the fight for the mid-ranged DSLR market? Let’s find out.

Choosing a mid-ranged body these days can be a difficult thing. You would literally be swamped with choices. On one hand you have these extremely successful yet older mid-ranged bodies such as the D7000, the D90 and the 60D which have excellent image quality, impeccable handling and durability. Now at the closing stages of their respective careers these cameras (though still formidable photography tools) are available at a much cheaper price tag than they used to in their heydays. On the other hand you have the latest mid-ranges such as the 70D, the D7100 and Pentax K50. For an amateur looking for his first DSLR, buying one of these cameras allow him an instant entry into the world of serious photography. These cameras are still far better options than choosing something like an entry level 1200D or a Rebel T3i. Speaking of the latest mid-range DSLRs, bodies such as the D7100 and 70D are an exciting bundle of features. They have some significant improvements over their older siblings. If you need more inputs on camera gear, check this course on Udemy.com.

Sensor Size, Megapixels and Crop Factor

Both the cameras are powered by crop sensors. The sensor size of the D7100 measures 23.5mm x 15.6mm and that of the 70D 22.5mm x 15mm. The D7100 gets a major upgrade in as much as the sensor resolution is concerned, over the older D7000. It now boasts a 24.1 megapixel CMOS sensor compared to the 16.2 megapixel one that the older sibling was equipped with. Comparatively the 70D gets a modest increase of only 2 megapixels over the older 60D which had 18 megapixels. The Nikon has a 1.5x crop factor, meaning a 50mm lens will give the same field of view that a 75mm lens would when mounted on a full-frame DSLR. The corresponding crop factor of the Canon 70D is 16x. This means a 50mm lens will have the same field of view as an 80mm lens would on a full-frame DSLR. Please also note, a smaller crop sensor will have a bigger Depth of Field compared to a full-frame DSLR. For more inputs on Depth of Field and how to use that creatively in your photos check this course out.

However, what sets the 70D ahead of the D7100 is the dual pixel CMOS AF system that makes it possible to get lightning fast AF performance when shooting in live view mode and when shooting movies. Results are comparable to when one shoots through the viewfinder.

You would expect that now with 24 megapixels the D7100 would produce images with higher resolution compared to the older model. You wouldn’t be wrong to assume that. The D7100 produces large fine jpegs of size 6000 x 4000 pixels. The 70D on the other hand produces images that are only 5184 x 3456 pixels.

Body and Dimension

The dimensions of the two cameras are almost identical. The 70D measures 139mm x 104.3mm x 78.5mm and the D7100 measures 135.5mm x 106.5mm x 76mm. While the 70D has slightly shrunk in size when compared to the older 60D, the D7100 has grown slight bigger than its older sibling. The weight details shared on the respective websites show that they weigh identical sans their kit lenses.

Storage

The D7100 retains the same twin card storage units which the D7000 did and supports SD/SDHC/SDXC cards. The 70D on the other hand retains the single storage unit of the older sibling and is also SD/SDHC/SDXC compliant. Both are UHS-1 compliant as well.

Wireless

The 70D gets a crucial feature that takes it a step ahead of the D7100 in terms of convenience. The 70D has a built-in Wi-Fi feature that allows you to share your images seamlessly on social networking websites or transfer to your smartphone. Additionally, you can also control your camera remotely using a Canon app or choose to print your images via a Wi-Fi compatible printer.

Viewfinder and Frame Coverage

Both the 70D and the D7100 uses a Pentaprism powered viewfinder. However, while the 70D has a 98% frame coverage, the D7100 offers a 100% frame coverage just like the older D7000. Thus, composing with the D7100 is a bit more precise.

The Monitor

The D7100 has a 3.2” monitor with a 1,228,000 dots resolution compared to a 3” monitor with 1,040,000 dots on the 70D. But the Canon boasts an articulated screen and also packs a capacitive touch-screen capability that makes it possible to control almost all the functions of the camera using your fingertips. One of the most loved feature is the ‘touch to focus’ which allows you to focus on an area of the scene in video mode and get comparable results as you would normally get in an expensive cine camera.

Shutter Speed

In still mode both the D7100 and the 70D has the same fastest shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second.

Movie Mode

No DSLR these days is meant to shoot only stills. Both beginners and enthusiast alike, purchase DSLRs to shoot stills as well videos when on vacation or there is a family get together. Canon DSLRs have always been known to be excellent in terms of their video shooting prowess and the 70D raises that bar even higher with the dual-pixel AF sensor that offers exemplary auto-focusing performance in live view and video shooting situations. Additionally, it shoots full-HD in a choice of 30/25/24 fps.

The Nikon on the other hand has a slightly better range of options. It shoots full HD in 30/25/24 fps and as well as 60i and 50i. If you are shooting fast sports then either of 60i or 50i will give you a slightly better result compared to either 30/25/24 fps. However, if you are looking for better quality then shoot in any one of the fps rates. If you are interested to learn how to shoot movies using your DSLR, check this course on udemy.com that will give you some valuable insights. For more inputs and a detailed explanation of the ‘p’s and ‘I’s of video frame rate, check this link out.

AF Points

The 70D uses a 19-point AF system all cross-type. Comparatively the D7100 inherits the 51-point AF system that the D300S had and improved on it. It has a total of 15-cross type AF points compared to that of the Canon.

Continuous Shooting Speed

The D7100 retains the similar burst rate that the older D7000 had, 6 frames per second when in continuous high mode. Comparatively, the 70D has upped the frame rate over what the 60D did. The older camera had 5.3 fps and the newer one has 7 fps. Either way both camera will have only marginal results when shooting high speed action or sports. They are both perfectly fine for every other types of photography.

Closing Up

Both the D7100 and the 70D are excellent mid-range cameras good for both stills and video shooting. Though Canon’s interactive Q-mode is a treat to work with, the new D7100’s higher image resolution, 51 AF system and exceptional build quality will enthrall any first time and enthusiast user. Canon’s newly developed dual-pixel sensor based AF system and built-in Wi-Fi gives the camera a slight edge over the Nikon. Overall, both these cameras are equally good if we strip them down to sensor against sensor. If you pick either one of them for your still shooting requirements you wouldn’t go wrong. You can shoot great photographs using either of them. However, if you specifically have video in mind the 70D might just be the better option. Please remember though it does not have a headphone jack for monitoring the audio in real time. At just about 100 bucks apart price is not a big deal either.