Canon 70D vs Canon 7D – The Perfect Surf Photography DSLR?

As I mentioned a while ago on the blog, and as I’m sure most Canon shooters are aware, Canon are releasing the 70D, you can now read a full hands on preview from DP review of the camera, and there’s some interesting new spec’s for surf photographers:

Be sure to read through the preview at the link above if you’re interested, but here’s the bits that interested me in terms of surf photography:

  • 20.2MP – Higher resolution than the 60D and 7D
  • 7fps continuous shooting, burst depth 65 JPEG / 16 RAW – just less than the 7D but more than the 60D
  • 19-point AF system – like the 7D but with improved live view AF mode
  • Fully-articulated touchscreen – like the 60D, I find this really useful for shooting video in particular
  • Built-in Wi-Fi – I can think of a few good uses for this in surf photography – imagine sending the photos from the beach to a tablet in the car park so surfers getting out of the water can be shown pic’s of the surf they just had whilst you’re still shooting.


What I really love about DP Review is the comparisons they make, they line it up with the 60D and show you the differences, looking at the photo’s it looks like I’d be able to slip the 70D into my Aquatech CR-60 housing and use all the controls straight away, it uses the same 2.5mm jack plug for the remote so even the pistol grip will plug straight in and just work.

It’s got a touch sensitive screen too, but I can’t think of any really good uses for that within surf photography just yet.

No news on the UK price for it yet.


I’m still on the look out for a second hand 7D.

Anyone who’s buying a new camera for sports shooting, especially surfing, is going to go for the 70D I imagine, the only place it comes off worse is frames per second, but its 7fps vs the 7D’s 8fps isn’t a huge deal to me and it should be cheaper to get one new than the 7D (unless you can get a good deal).

Now this one’s been announced the second hand price of the 7D is going to take a bit of a dip (though not as much as I’d hoped), and I’m hoping to capitalise on that to get a nice used body, then if and when they announce a successor to the 7D at the top end of the APS-C range I’ll think about grabbing one.


  1. Great article, I think you should mention the buffer of the 7D in this article. I have been researching these two cameras for months, I can get them for pretty much the same price but I am leaning towards the 7D because it has a 26 RAW buffer which means you can shoot for 3 full seconds without the buffer kicking in compared the 16 that the 70D has that only allows you to shoot 2 seconds.

    1. Hi Adam,

      Thanks for the comment, the 7D mark II starts shipping tomorrow, so you might find there are some even better deals on the 7D very soon too.

      The buffer isn’t that big a factor for my surf photography, I’ve not hit the buffer limit on my 70D so far, it’s rare to shoot a single burst for longer than a second or so, I used to have this problem with my 60D when I was fist starting to shoot in the water, and missed a couple of good shots because of it, but I learned that well timed and shorter bursts are much better than just holding down the shutter for seconds at a time.

      Everything happens very quickly in surfing, the peak of the action in any move or barrel will be over in less than a second, and you only want to capture the best parts of a wave when shooting stills, with a fast SD card it will usually clear the buffer in between the highlights of action on a wave pretty easily, think about all the sequences you’ve seen in surf magazine, how many were over 5 photo’s? how many over 10? I’d be surprised if you found a sequence over 16 shots without a big gap or two.

      Practice your timing and even the 16 shot buffer of the 70D is plenty for shooting surfing I reckon, so I wouldn’t put too much weight on the buffer size when making your decision.

      If you aren’t committed to Canon I would strongly suggest looking at the Sony a6000, it can shoot 11 fps with a 22 RAW buffer with an extra 6 mega pixels of resolution over the 7D, plus it’s cheaper, smaller and has excellent autofocus and video as well as the most intuitive WiFi that I’ve ever used on a camera (having used Canon, Nikon and Sony), I love mine and can’t wait to get one of my water housings adapted for it.


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