80D vs 70D – What’s new?
The EOS 80D is the latest in a long line of upper entry-level/prosumer camera systems that Canon makes. This line is distinct from the Rebel series APS-C camera line-up which includes cameras such as the T5i and the latest T6i. The EOS 70D was the latest in this prosumer category until the recently launched 80D took over. In this comparison article, we are going to look at the Canon EOS 80D versus the EOS 70D.
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The 70D was already a formidable camera, one which many enthusiasts found considerable joy to shoot with. It was one of two original cameras that came with the revolutionary dual-pixel CMOS auto-focusing system.
For some reason, Canon has always been considerate of amateur film-makers, and a testimony to that fact is their continued pursuit to bring in advanced video making features into their APS-C range of cameras.
The dual-pixel CMOS AF system is a feature that has been tailor-made for videographers. This and other features made the EOS 70D a great camera in many ways. So, when the 80D was launched everybody thought this would be just a subtle marketing effort, a new name, and some tweaked features.
Does the EOS 80D justify the investment? Let’s find out.
Both the EOS 70D and the 80D are APS-C cameras. Meaning, the sensor inside them measures 22mm x 15mm (approx). The resolution, however, is different. 20.2 megapixels against 24 on the new camera.
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The increased resolution results in a larger file size. The 70D could produce RAW and JPEG stills of the size 5472 x 3648 pixels. Compared to it the 80D can produce uncompressed RAW and large fine JPEGs of the size 6000 x 4000 pixels.
The 80D being a prosumer level camera has quite a list of features when compared to an entry-level APS-C camera. A majority of these features are in the design of the camera body.
Additional command dials, programmable buttons and an extra LCD screen at the top. If you are migrating from a Rebel T6i you may not see too many changes, but if you are migrating from something like the T5 there are quite a few changes and extra options.
For example, an entry level camera has a pentamirror viewfinder. Both the 80D and the 70D, however, have pentaprism viewfinders. These are brighter and better to compose with.
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Dual pixel CMOS auto-focusing
A lot has already been written about the dual-pixel CMOS auto-focusing system on this website. I will not make another attempt here. To just put facts to perspective the dual-pixel CMOS auto-focusing present in the EOS 70D is also present in the EOS 80D.
The system is a dream come true for videographers looking for continuous auto-focusing. The best thing yet is that the system is compatible with the latest STM lenses by Canon.
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While the 70D had the DIGIC 5+ image processing engine, the newer 80D has the upgraded DIGIC 6 image processing engine. The faster image processor improves the processing speed of the camera as well as improving the continuous shooting speed.
Advantages of the new 80D vs 70D in a Nutshell
- Higher megapixel (24 MP vs 20 MP)
- Improved processor (better than the EOS 70D, results in faster shooting)
- 44 autofocus points (vs only 19 autofocus points)
- Better low light performance (reduce exposure compensation by up to 3 steps vs 0.5 steps)
- Better autofocus in video and HDR video function
- Headphone jack and a time-lapse function
- Anti-flicker mode for consistent exposure
- Less internal shake during shutter release
- Addition custom mode for your own camera settings
- WIFI and GPS
For more details about the main features click here.
The fastest shutter speed capable on the EOS 80D is 1/8000 of a second, the same as the EOS 70D. Both cameras have the standard electronically controlled focal-plane shutter. When working with Canon speed lights the maximum sync speed that you would get is 1/250 of a second.
This does not take into account high-speed sync techniques. You get the entire range of Canon speed light systems and some compatible systems to work with both the cameras.
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The larger resolution sensor on the 80D produces much larger image sizes – 6000 x 4000 pixels to be exact. The older 70D produced images of the size 5472 x 3648 pixels.
The faster image processing engine produces a slightly better dynamic range. Plus, as we shall read next due to ISO invariance you get a much better detail from shadow areas.
The native ISO range of the 80D is 100-6400, the same as the older 70D. However, what the specs don’t reveal is that the new camera has a significantly better performance when shooting at any ISO level, adding little noise in the process.
In some situations when shooting in low light conditions you are forced to increase the ISO to boost the signal. It also results in an automatic addition of noise into the image. To keep levels low the alternate option is to tinker with the exposure values, mainly shutter speed (to keep the perspective unchanged and therefore keep aperture unchanged).
With the 80D, you can shoot at the lowest ISO on the camera and simply drag the exposure during post-production without a significant jump in noise. This is known as ISO invariance. The 80D has that. Have a look at sample images shot with the new Canon EOS 80D
The number of frames per second remains the same – 7 fps. What changes, however, is the ability to keep firing for a longer duration. The 70D would stall after shooting approximately 20 JPEG frames.
The 80D comparatively, can keep shooting well over a hundred shots before the buffer overruns. This gives you a significant edge when shooting fast action, sports and wildlife photography.
When it comes to RAW shooting, the EOS 70D’s buffer taps out at about 12 consecutive frames. The 80D, on the other hand, can easily shoot two dozen frames before it starts to stall. You would argue that there are better frame rates with other models. I agree, but at this budget and the segment you are looking at the 80D is a good deal.
Shooting Videos with the Canon EOS 80D vs 70D
Video above: A Canon EOS 80D Sample movie shot at 1080p / HDR Movie Enabled
Both the 70D and the 80D has full HD video shooting capabilities.
They can both shoot at 30, 25 and 24 fps frame rate. However, while the 70D can shoot in MOV format only, the 80D can shoot in MP4 format as well as MOV. The addition of the web-ready format plus built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity means you can shoot and share your favorite moments seamlessly.
The biggest USP of the 80D, however, is the dual-pixel CMOS auto-focusing mechanism that we saw debut with the 70D. This system is just fantastic when shooting stills in live view mode. With compatible STM lenses, video work is also very smooth.
Video Above: Short Video Review of the new Canon EOS 80D with Dual Pixel Autofocus Video Test
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The EOS 80D is an improvement over the EOS 70D in terms of AF points.
The 70D had only 19 AF points, all of which were cross-type. The EOS 80D, comparatively, has 45 AF points, all of which are cross-type. The center AF point is a dual cross-type point with lenses that are f/2.8.
Of course, both systems have the dual-pixel CMOS auto-focusing system that works great in live-view as well as in video shooting. Traditional contrast detects auto-focusing is slow and at times that can make all the difference.
Having said that contrast detects auto-focusing is a lot more accurate. The shift it seems is more towards speed these days and for people shooting videos continuous back and forth focus hunting can be disastrous. For them, the dual—pixel CMOS AF system is a better option.
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Viewfinder and LCD screen
The pentamirror viewfinder of the 80D gives a 100% frame coverage. Compared to the 70D which gives only a 98% frame coverage.
The rear 3” TFT LCD screen of both the cameras, however, have a 1.04 million dots resolution. Both LCD screens swivel.
A feature on the 80D, and also on the 70D is touch to focus. I am not a big fan of it as it seems more like a smartphone-style shooting. But I suppose it has its own fan following. You can both touch to focus and to release the shutter.
The EOS 80D weighs 22.03 oz. (650g/1.433 pounds, body only) and is slightly lighter compared to the older 70D model which has a weight of 23.8 oz. (675g /1.48 pounds), as per information on the Canon website.
This is of course not considering the battery and the memory card.
Price: Pay $200 more for better performance
The EOS 80D is priced at $1199 compared to the EOS 70D which is priced at $999. If you have a rebel series camera anything other than the T6i, upgrading to the EOS 80D does make better sense.
You get better image processing, faster more high capacity buffer and of course the advantage of the on-chip auto-focusing and the powerful 45-point all cross-type AF points.
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Conclusion: EOS 80D or 70D?
Simply the ability to shoot at a higher frame rate does not mean anything unless you have the buffer capacity to back it up. Thanks to the new image processing engine the EOS 80D is able to do just that.
Plus it is a better camera for shooting low light photos. The fact that the camera adds very little noise means you can deliberately keep the exposure the way you want it and shoot with a lower than usual ISO and later during post-processing you can bump the exposure without adding too much noise. Plus you have a better video feature.
If you are not sure if instead of the EOS 80D you should get the Canon 7D Mark II you should read this comparison review, but keep in mind that the new 7D Mark II lacks the rotating touch screen & wifi. If those features are important to you, you should buy the Canon EOS 80D.
Rajib is an avid travel photographer and an overall shutterbug. He loves to test and review new photography gear. He has been writing about cameras and lenses for over 10 years now. You can consider him as your “master guide” here at PhotoWorkout.
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