Canon 80D vs. Sony A77 Mark II
Canon's DSLR vs Sony's DSLT System
Their system is known as DSLT, which is an acronym for Digital Single Lens Translucent cameras, compared to the established DSLR or Digital Single Lens Reflex camera systems. The difference is in the mirror technology that drives these cameras.
In DSLR systems the mirror flips out of the path of incoming light at the precise moment when the image is recorded.
In DSLT systems the mirror is made of a semi-transparent material (translucent is an inappropriate name given to these mirrors as these are not translucent in the true sense), which means it does not have to flip out of the path of incoming light for the image to be seen and recorded by the sensor. It can simply allow light to pass through. There are a lot of advantages to the DSLT design, as we shall soon see.
Pro Tip: Watch this video in order understand the difference between SLT and SLR better:
Canon 80D & Sony A77 II Compared
The heart of any camera system is its sensor.
- The EOS 80D is built around a 24.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor.
- The Sony A77 Mark II has been built around a 24.30 MP APS-C EXMOR CMOS sensor.
So far as sensor pixel count is concerned both the Canon EOS 80D and the Sony A77 Mark II are neck and neck in this aspect. Utilizing a 24 MP resolution sensor both cameras produce large fine JPEGs of the size 6000 x 4000 pixels.
Both cameras are capable of capturing 14-bit RAW giving you a lot of information to fine tune your images before making those final prints.
The reality is it is not the number of total AF points, but total cross-type AF points that matter. Having cross-type points is significantly more sensitive than standard line sensors. Thus these sensors are much more reliable in low contrast as well as low light situations.
This is where the EOS 80D scores big. The EOS 80D, features a 45-point, all cross-type, AF system. Additionally, the AF points are scattered across the whole of the frame, allowing you to produce off-center compositions and play around with negative space more freely than with the Sony A77 Mark II.
On the A77 Mark II, the cross-type AF points are clustered towards the center of the frame only. There is nothing on the sides. This makes off-center compositions in low light and or low contrast situations difficult.
The EOS 80D definitely wins the AF point duel here.
Auto Focusing Modes
Apart from the distinctly higher cross-type AF point number, the EOS 80D features Canon’s dual pixel CMOS auto-focusing technology as well.
This technology has raised the benchmark when it comes to live-view auto-focusing. Dual pixel CMOS auto-focusing is about these pixels on the surface of the sensor performing as phase detection sensors.
Each pixel is actually a cluster of two light sensitive photo-diodes. They track light coming in from two sides of the lens. The two images are then aligned and focus is locked. The basic technology is similar to phase detection auto-focusing and uses almost the entire surface area of the sensor.
The Canon Dual pixel CMOS auto-focusing technology is designed primarily for video shooting. However, it is suitable also for doing still photography in live-view mode.
Sony's Eye AF feature
The Sony A77 Mark II does not inherit the on-sensor phase detection auto-focusing mechanism on the A99. Otherwise, this would have made the comparison a bit more interesting. Having said that the Sony A77 Mark II does have a series of auto-focusing goodies implemented to it. This includes an advanced Eye-AF feature. Forget face detection, when you can identify eyes and therefore produce much better AF lock.
Additionally, the camera also gains what is known as the Lock-On AF feature. This feature is all about using an AF point other than the center AF point to start tracking a subject.
Canon's AF Zone Modes
The EOS 80D does have an important feature apart from the standard single shot and 45-point auto selection AF modes. This is the zone mode. There are actually two zone modes – zone and large zone.
In the zone mode, you can select an array of 3 x 3 AF points and move them around the frame (within the array of 45 AF points). In the large zone mode, that selection becomes 3 x 5.
The EOS 80D uses a 750-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor. This technology is not as advanced as the 150,000-pixel RGB+IR metering available on the much vaunted EOS 7D Mark II, a camera that is frequently compared with the EOS 80D. Having said that it is still an improvement over the metering system of the older EOS 70D.
Thus, when it comes to scene recognition and subjective metering the 7D Mark II is a better bet than the 80D.
Let’s see what the Sony A77 Mark II’s metering is capable of. The DSLT’s unique design and underlying technology allows both the sensor on the camera and the phase detection AF sensors to simultaneously receive light (and therefore information).
PhotoWorkout Beginner Tip > To understand metering modes better, watch this Canon Youtube video:
We know what the phase detection AF sensors do. They lock focus. But when you have a design that allows the main imaging sensor to receive light at the precise moment the AF sensors also means you can use that extra bit of information for auto-focusing as well as for metering purposes. The imaging sensor, in this case, works as the primary subject detection as well as metering mechanism. On DSLR cameras the dedicated metering sensor is much slower and unreliable.
The ramifications of such a system are immense. The primary imaging sensor can identify a target, say, a face e.g. The focusing sensor is then given the go-ahead to lock focus on that target. Additionally, the higher resolution imaging sensor is able to meter scenes better than the dedicated lower resolution metering sensors on traditional DSLR systems.
Continuous Shooting Speed
I wrote at the start of this match-up that the DSLT design has some major advantages. Continuous shooting speed is definitely one of those. The mirror inside the camera does not flip out and then reset every time you press the shutter release. That means there is no mechanical delay (and with it vibration) between each shot as the mirror resets. That translates into a much faster frame rate. How fast exactly? The Sony A77 Mark II can shoot at a continuous speed of 12 fps.
In this Sony video you can see 12 fps mode in action:
Comparatively, the Cano EOS 80D shoots at a burst rate of 7 fps only. Between the Sony A77 Mark II and the Canon EOS 80D, the former is definitely the better choice when it comes to continuous shooting speeds. The 80D can shoot an unlimited number of frames at 7 fps when shooting JPEGs. However, when shooting RAW it can shoot a maximum of 24 frames before the buffer overruns.
However, a match-up of only the burst rate can be a misleading assessment of the performance capabilities of these cameras. Speed is nothing without accuracy. When we speak of accuracy we mean auto-focusing and the ability to produce sharp images consistently. The ability to track and maintain a subject and produce meaningful shots cannot be over-stressed. In that regard, the performance of the A77 Mark II is better than the EOS 80D.
Sony’s Lock-on AF can be unreliable at times, especially with moving subjects. You are likely going to get as many shots out of focus as they would be in focus. The 80D also struggles to maintain a lock on a subject when it’s moving. But the EOS 80D fails more often than it nails focus.
Anyways, the 80D isn’t the class leader when it comes to subject tracking and auto-focus. The 7D Mark II that we reviewed earlier is a much better bet.
The A77 Mark II, surprisingly, beats even the 7D Mark II. A neat feature on the A77 Mark II that’s borrowed from the A99 is the focusing distance delimiter. This system basically
This system basically defines the focusing range for the camera so that it does have to rock back and forth each time when focusing on a subject. It works mighty well especially for moving subjects.
To understand the focus modes of the Sony A77 ii better, watch this Youtube video:
- The EOS 80D features a pentaprism powered viewfinder system.
- The A77 Mark II, on the other hand, features an electronic viewfinder with a 2,359,000 dots resolution.
Both offer 100% frame coverage allowing you to frame and compose accurately without having to crop afterward in order to eliminate unwanted elements at the fringe of the frame.
The 80D has a 3” LCD screen with a resolution of 1040,000 dots. Additionally, the 80D’s touchscreen can swivel. That gives you a clear advantage when shooting movies as well as when shooting in live-view from an angle other than your eye level. The A77 Mark II’s 3” LCD screen has a resolution of 1,228,000 dots. So far as resolution is concerned the A77 Mark II has the better screen.
The A77 Mark II’s 3” LCD screen has a resolution of 1,228,000 dots. So far as resolution is concerned the A77 Mark II has the better screen.
- Additionally, the 80D’s LCD screen has touchscreen functionalities. This is something that would have been an excellent addition to the A77 Mark II.
- The A77 Mark II’s LCD screen, on the other hand, features a WhiteMagic TFT design. This technology improves visibility when shooting outdoors and under bright light.
- The native ISO sensitivity on the A77 Mark II is 100 – 25,600 in auto mode. On extended mode, the sensitivity increases from 100-51200.
- On the 80D the native ISO ranges from 100 – 16,000. When extended it can shoot at 100 – 25600.
I wouldn’t put my finger on any as to be the better camera to shoot in low light.
Both systems feature a built-in flash.
The built-in flash, although not a great tool to use and not the preferred choice for pro photographers, is something that is handy to have.
You can use the flash at a lower than full power to create catch light in portrait photos. Or you can use it to trigger slave lights, thus, acting as an optical trigger for a more elaborate off-camera lighting requirement.
You can even use it to freeze subjects in less than optimum lighting conditions.
The flash range on both the cameras is 12.00m at ISO 100.
Both the A77 Mark II and the Canon EOS 80D are capable of shooting full HD videos. Both systems can shoot at 60p. Both come equipped with a stereo microphone and mono speaker. Both cameras come with the option to plug in an external microphone to record better quality sound.
The dual-pixel auto-focusing technology on the EOS 80D is a big advantage when it comes to auto-focusing during video shoots. Traditional contrast detects auto-focusing can be extremely slow. Though I must admit it is more accurate than phase-detection AF. The camera often hunts around for focus going back and forth. The video quality suffers because of this.
Pixel level phase detection auto-focusing is much more reliable. This technology, when combined with the STM (Stepping Motor) AF technology powered Canon lenses, tend to produce a smooth auto-focusing result. It brings a lot of quality into the end product. Having said that the continuous auto-focusing mechanism on the A77 Mark II using the always on phase detection technology is also quite formidable.
You can focus with pinpoint accuracy very easily with the 80D than with the A77 Mark II.
None of the cameras can shoot 4K videos. Which is kind of a shame because going forward that is going to be the new standard in video shooting.
The two cameras obviously were entered at different pricing points.
- So far as pricing is concerned the A77 Mark II retails at $998.00 only.
- Comparatively, the more consumer/enthusiast oriented EOS 80D is priced $1,099.00 .
Conclusion: Which Camera to Buy?
It is difficult to put a finger and tell one is better than the other. There are obvious advantages to both cameras.
Still, the A77 Mark II is a better camera when it comes to sports, outdoor, wildlife and action photography.
The 80D has better video handling, especially the touch to focus feature.
Having said that the A77 Mark II excels in the burst mode. Plus, video shooting on the A77 Mark II is not bad after all.
None of the cameras have the ability to shoot 4K and that is a big concern. 4K is fast becoming a standard for various video sharing platforms and people prefer to watch their vacation recordings in 4K / UHD. Plus none of the cameras have the focus peaking feature in manual focusing or the flat picture control that could have produced more edit-friendly footages.
Overall, both the Canon EOS 80D and the Sony A77 Mark II are both excellent cameras in their own rights and should cater to a specific set of users depending on what they want to do with their camera.
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Wanderlust at heart and a shutterbug who loves to document his travels via his lenses; his two passions compliment each other perfectly.
He has been writing for over 6 years now, which unsurprisingly, revolve mostly around his two favorite pursuits.
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