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Canon EOS 80D Review

CANON EOS 80D Review: Should You Buy this camera?

Canon EOS 80D Review

 

Key Features

  • 24 MP APS-C sensor with dual pixel AF
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF for smooth and precise autofocus operation
  • 3-inch vari-angle 1.04M-dot articulating touchscreen
  • Well-designed and weather resistant body
  • 45-point AF system with all cross-type points
  • DIGIC 6 image processor
  • 100% viewfinder frame coverage with a magnification of 0.95x
  • ISO sensitivity 100-16000, expands up to 25600
  • Flicker Detection for artificial lighting
  • 7 fps continuous shooting with AF
  • 1080p full HD video recording at 60p, 30p and 24p
  • 720p HD video recording at 60p and 30p
  • 7560-pixel RGB + IR metering sensor
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC
  • External 3.5mm stereo microphone jack

Introduction

Canon introduced EOS 80D on February 18, 2016, which comes as a successor to EOS 70D with some advanced set of features. The new version is nearly identical to its predecessor in terms of design and majority of the controls. The EOS 80D sports a new 45-point AF system with all points being cross-type. Other improvements include a new mirror vibration control system that helps to reduce the blurring effects of shutter shock. The camera also gains 7560 pixels RGB + IR metering sensor that help the camera for tracking the subject when using the viewfinder. Let us discuss the design, specs, and performance of the camera in detail.
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Design, Build, and Handling

As we said earlier that 80D shares a close resemblance to the EOS 70D. The body is mainly made of black polycarbonate with magnesium alloy chassis which feels quite solid and well-built in hand. Starting from the top, on the left side of the camera sits the mode dial that comes with a lock mechanism to avoid any accidental bumps. On the right, you have a small LCD and above that, there are buttons for AF mode, DRIVE mode, ISO, and Metering. There is also an LCD panel illumination button on the extreme right.

 

Canon EOS 80D Controls

 

The button for AF area selection is placed between the control dial and shutter release. Tapping the button lets you quickly switch between the four AF modes. Only the AF and ISO selection buttons can be used with the finder. The other buttons need to be operated from the top LCD.

On the top left corner of the rear plate, you get the buttons for Menu and Info. There is a button for Live View on the right of the viewfinder for kik online that can be used to switch between photo and video modes. The button for AF-On on the rear can be extremely helpful for those who prefer to separate the focus operation from the shutter release. There is also a button for AF point selection and an exposure lock button that are marked by an asterisk. These buttons can be used to zoom in and out of the images during playback.

 

Canon EOS 80D Screen

 

One of the most important things that are missing in the 80D is an AF selection joystick. However, there are a few ways to move your AF point. One of them is tapping the AF point selection button and then moving up/down or left/right using the control dial and Multi-controller. The multi- controller’s arrow keys can also be reprogrammed to zone around the frame.

Apart from the physical buttons, 80D sports a 3-inch vari-angle articulating LCD touchscreen. The screen is mounted on a hinge and can be folded outward for video and live view mode, can be rotated upwards as well as downside. When the camera is not in use, the screen can be pointed inwards by folding it flat against the back. The display is bright and crisp that packs 1040k-dots of resolution into a 3-inch frame.

Canon has used its latest implementation of the touchscreen interface. The screen offers a wide range of well-positioned icons to navigate through the entire menu. You can adjust most of the settings through the touchscreen interface via the ‘Q’ button. Hitting the Q button gives you a quick access to the menu to change different settings.

You can also use the touchscreen to lock the focus on a particular point or select a subject to track while capturing stills in Live view mode. The interface can be used from within the camera menu and also during playback. You can pinch the image to zoom and swipe through the images. However, it would have been nice if the touchscreen could be used as an AF touchpad.

 

Canon EOS 80D Design

The camera includes the Canon’s new tabbed menu system. You get either three or five menu sections depending on the mode (mode dial) you select. These sections are Shooting, Playback, Setup, Custom Function menus and a My Menu section where you can save your frequently used options for a quick access. The custom function menu has three sub-sections that include Exposure, Autofocus and Operation/Other.

Canon uses a fully programmable Auto ISO for 80D. There are two ways to control your minimum shutter speed. The first method is by choosing a physical shutter speed and the second one is by using the slider to bias the default shutter speed to slower or faster than the default. We recommend you to bias to a faster shutter speed (2-stops) if you wish to use Auto ISO.

The camera includes two stops on the mode dial where all the camera settings can be saved. Once you set up the camera according to your preference, you can save the settings to either C1 or C2. For this, you need to go to the setup menu and choose the option “Custom Shooting Mode (C1, C2)”. This can be really handy if you tend to shoot in the same environment more often.

The camera has only one slot for the memory card that supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards. The connectivity ports include a mini USB, a mini HDMI, microphone input, headphone output and a remote control. All these ports are placed on the left side panel. The slot for the battery and the tripod socket is located on the base of the camera.

 

Canon EOS 80D Connectivity

 

Canon EOS 80D ships with an upgraded LP-E6N rechargeable lithium-ion battery. According to CIPA standard, the camera has the capability of shooting 960 shots using optical viewfinder when fully charged. However, the battery life as usual decreases to CIPA-rated for around 300 shots with live view shooting.

Canon EOS 80D specs

 

Performance and Image Quality

With EOS 80D, Canon has included a new 24.2MP APS-C CMOS imaging sensor which is no doubt quite a bigger improvement over the 20.2MP sensor in 70D. The high-resolution sensor comes with a Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. Moreover, the camera sports a faster DIGIC 6 image processor with a little boost of the maximum ISO from 12,800 to 16,000. However, the expanded ISO is unchanged at 25,600.

Apart from this, 80D gains quite a good number of AF points with all 45 cross-type AF points when shooting through the viewfinder. Also, the coverage area has been expanded both vertically and horizontally to cover more area of the frame. We are surprisingly happy to get 27 AF points capable of autofocusing down at f/8.

The camera also sports an improved 7560-pixel RGB + IR metering sensor that joins hands with the AI Servo AF II autofocusing system. This aims to provide a better color and skin tone detection for facial recognition and tracking of the subject. 80D sports a new anti-flicker system which allows the camera to detect the fluctuations of artificial lights so that it can adjust the timing of shutter release.

The camera performs pretty nice with good levels of detail with much less noise from ISO ranging from 100-1600. After that point, noise starts to peep in which leads to a slight decrease in the level of detail. The camera performs decent and produces some usable shots at ISO3200 and ISO6400. The performance noticeably drops at ISO12800 and goes even bad at ISO25600. However, the noise performance has improved over its predecessor, EOS 70D, with much less chroma noise.

The camera has a new option for auto white balance i.e. when the option is enabled you get a perfect and accurate white balance.  Nowadays, this feature is included in almost every EOS cameras starting from the entry-level to the professional ones. The feature also works under Tungsten, artificial and mixed lighting that makes the users get good results in different lighting environments.

Coming to the image quality, we got a bit less saturated color as compared to 70D while shooting in daylight using the default JPEG settings. The reds came out to be muddy and the white balance showed much warmth from the tungsten lighting. The Raw performance is almost same as 70D.

As we know that the dynamic range of a camera is measured in EV (exposure values) and is the ability to record detail in the brightest and darkest parts of the scene. While the JPEG dynamic range is same as 70D, the Raw dynamic range gets a substantial increase. The extra latitude makes a great difference to the camera’s capability in some of the shooting scenarios.

In terms of video, 80D’s Dual Pixel AF leads to an accurate continuous focus and tracking during the video capture. The built-in stereo microphone has moved a bit closer to the front of the camera’s body that results in an overall better quality. In addition, a headphone port has been included to accompany the microphone input. The camera can record full HD videos at up to 60fps with 50, 30, 25 and 24 fps also available. Both MP4 and MOV video recording is limited to a maximum duration of 29 minutes and 59 seconds.

The video quality has been improved slightly over 70D but still appears soft at times and lacks fine detail. Unfortunately, the camera does not offer options like zebra stripes, C-Log gamma or focus peaking. These video making tools are extremely useful for shooting videos. However, we did not miss the focus peaking feature as the Dual Pixel AF minimizes the need for manual focus to a certain extent.

We would definitely like to make a mention of the camera’s viewfinder. The intelligent viewfinder features an LCD display that can be configured to reveal grid lines, electronic level, and light flicker detection. This can be extremely helpful in avoiding skewed horizons. A dioptre adjustment is also provided to focus the optical viewfinder to your eye. EOS 80D displays 100% frame coverage with 0.95x magnification.

EOS 80D offers a number of silent shooting options through both the viewfinder and live view shooting. While neither of the modes is totally silent but are much quieter than the usual shutter sound. You can enable the silent shooting via the Drive button when shooting through viewfinder. The silent shooting opens allows you to shoot in both AI Servo (burst) and single-shot mode.

The camera offers two silent shooting modes in live view which can be accessed via the option Silent LV shoot in the main menu. Mode 1 is the primary live view option which is capable of firing bursts at 3fps. On the other side, Mode 2 works a bit different. Hitting the shutter release leads the main shutter mechanism to capture the shot. But, you cannot reset the shutter until you physically release the button which means you cannot shoot continuously using this mode. Apart from this, 80D offers a Time-lapse Movie mode that is capable of shooting pictures at set intervals of time and later automatically combines them into a silent video.

The new EOS 80D features a built-in Wi-Fi connectivity for easy sharing of photos and videos as well as remote control capabilities. The camera adds support for NFC (Near Field Communication) for easy and quick pairing with the compatible devices. The EOS Remote app can be used to pair the camera with smartphones for transferring media to their devices for social sharing. The app can also be used for remote shooting that has the ability to control exposure adjustments, shooting modes and tap-to-focus.

Should You Buy the Canon EOS 80D camera?

Canon EOS 80D is priced at $1099 (body only), $1249 (with EF-S 18-55mm IS STM) and $1499 (with Canon EF-S 18-135mm IS USM). The camera is better than its predecessor in a number of territories. The build is well-constructed with resistant to bad weathering conditions. The main highlight is its autofocus system that can accurately focus both in and out of live view and is also more responsive in low-lit conditions. Even though the new sensor is not as good as Nikon D7200, but you will definitely find ample details in the shots up to ISO 6,400.

You might end up finding a lot of chroma noise in JPEGs at high ISO, but the camera offers accurate colors and a pretty nice exposure metering system. The inclusion of a headphone input is a welcome move for the videographers. The camera doesn’t offer 4K video but is equipped with a set of advanced video functionalities. It would certainly be a great buy for those who are looking for DSLRs with fully articulating screen, higher resolution, and a compact body.

Pros                                                    

  • Excellent Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • Fast and continuous AF during movie
  • 45 cross-type AF points
  • f/8 AF support
  • Better RAW performance at high ISO
  • Improved dynamic range and buffer depth
  • Fast cycle times
  • 7fps burst shooting
  • Microphone and headphone port
  • Good battery life
  • Support for Wi-Fi and NFC

Cons

  • Kit lens could be sharper
  • Advanced autofocus system is a bit complex
  • Noncustomizable quick menu
  • No 4K video
  • No clean HDMI output
  • Subject tracking is a bit confusing when shooting via the viewfinder
  • No zebras for evaluating exposure
  • 29min and 59sec continuous video recording limit

About Richard Smith

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