Last night, Canon announced the new 70D, it’s successor to the unloved 60D. Thus far, the 70D has been met with a very positive reception among reviewers. The 70D sports a display with touch functionality, an improved low-light sensitivity of ISO 12,800, and the ability to shoot 7 frames per second, compared to just over 5 with the older model. What bloggers and journalists have been most excited about though is the 70D’s new APS-C sensor that’s been designed to focus faster and much more accurately. Canon calls this “Dual Pixel CMOS AF” because the 20.2 megapixel sensor uses 40.3 photodiodes for focusing.
Now, this all sounds very impressive and I’m glad that Canon finally got a successor to the 60D out of the door. But will buying the new 70D make you a better photographer? Most likely not. And here’s why: because so much of what makes a great shot doesn’t depend on what kind of gear you use. A great photographer will achieve great results with a substandard camera and buying the lastest gear doesn’t mean that you become an Ansel Adams over night.
Here are three things that are far less expensive than Canon’s new 70D ($1,199.00 Body only) and yet more effective for improving your photos:
The Canadian photographer and author David Duchemin is by far one of my favorite authors when it comes to books about digital photography. David is a world & humanitarian assignment photographer and one of the best-selling authors in the business of photography books. Instead of talking about gear and technique, David talks about “photographic vision” and “visual language”. Once you get to a point in your photographic career where you know what “f-stop” and “aperture” means, David’s approach will get you to the next level. Also, his books are beautifully designed and full of amazing example images. I bought them all and I can’t wait for the next one to be published.
2. Alarm clock ($7.88)
If you’re into landscape photography you need to get up early. That’s the only way for you to catch the warm lights of the golden hour, just after sunrise. Getting the lighting right will immediately improve your photos. Promise. Bad lighting is the number one reason for crappy shots and there’s nothing you can do in post processing to fix this. So, get a cheap alarm clock, get up early, and shoot amazing photos without setting your budget back by $1,000 or more.
Scott Kelby is not only one of America’s most prolific photographers, he’s also a great teacher. Every weekend, I watch the newest episode of his talk-show “The Grid”, which is available online for free. What I like best, is “Blind Critique”, a series of The Grid episodes where Scott and Matt Kloskowski review photos that have been sent in by people in the audience. In Blind Critique, Scott and Matt are not only brutally honest, they’re also extremely funny. Now, even my wife – who’s not into photography – likes Blind Critique and says she’s never learned that much about what makes a great image. You might want to give it a try as well…
If you’re still not convinced and consider upgrading your old camera body, here are a few 70D reviews that I liked:
- Zach Honig, engadget: Canon reinvents video focusing with the fiercely fast EOS 70D (hands-on)
- Andy Westlake, dpreview: Canon EOS 70D Hands-on Preview
- Chris Gampat, The Phoblographer: First Impressions: Canon 70D