The 80D is the latest upper-entry-level APS-C sensor powered DSLR from Canon. Powered by a 24.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and DIGIC 6 image processing engine, the camera is capable of producing large and fine JPEGs of the size 6000 x 4000 pixels at 7 fps and full HD videos at 60fps.
Let’s take a closer look at its features and find out whether it makes good buying sense:
The new Canon EOS 80D has a good build quality. When I say good don’t imagine that this upper-entry-level DSLR has weather sealing. This is not the camera you can take to harsh environments and expect it to counter, rain, hail and the grime that nature is likely to throw at it.
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Image Sensor and Image Processor
Every new camera launch is an anticipation in terms of higher resolution and better image quality. The 80D delivers on both counts.
The 70D has a 20.2-megapixel sensor which kind of got dated with the launch of rival Nikon’s upper-entry-level cameras with 24 megapixels. With the 80D, the balance has finally been restored. The sensor inside this camera is a completely new design.
Example of a movie shot with the EOS 80D
Beyond just the higher resolution, each individual pixel on the 80D is a refined design, which Canon claims will produce better results in low light situations and at higher ISO numbers of 16000.
With a higher resolution sensor, a promise of faster frame rate and better image quality, the image processor should also be of a higher caliber. The 80D is equipped with Canon’s DIGIC 6 image processor. The older outgoing camera had DIGIC 5+.
The sensor and the image processing engine work in tandem to give what is the best feature of the 80D – Dual-Pixel CMOS AF in live–view mode. Dual Pixel CMOS AF has been the stand out feature of the 70D.
But it has been improved to provide continuous AF in live-view mode. This sensor – image processing combination is also responsible for producing 60 fps footages as well as HDR full-HD movies.
One of the key improvements with the new Canon EOS 80D is the 45-point all cross-type AF system. This is a significant improvement over the 19-point all cross-type AF system of the 70D. With lenses with a maximum aperture of f/8, you could use up to 27 of the cross-type AF points.
The dual-pixel CMOS AF system that we saw in the 70D has been upgraded. It now offers continuous auto-focusing in live-view mode.
It means better and more accurate AF performance even when shooting stills in live view mode. Consequently, the performance is now comparable and at times better than high-end mirrorless cameras.
This feature significantly improves focusing when shooting moving subjects. Every time you lock focus on a subject and if that subject moves the camera will track it back and relock focus. All you need to do is keep the shutter pressed halfway.
The 80D shares the same 7560-pixel RGB+IR metering that the Canon 750D and the 760D has. While the 70D had the 63-zone dual-layer metering technology this upgrades the metering prowess of the new camera.
It also has a new kind of color tracking mechanism that can detect skin tones and, therefore, track human subjects as they move. In reality, this system is far from being convincing.
The 80D is powered by the new DIGIC 6 image processing engine. This one is rated to be a far better image processor in terms of noise reduction. Auto ISO ranges from 100-16000. Low light shooting at ISO 16000 is thus a reality.
Low light shooting at higher ISO is a requirement when you are photographing subjects like the Milky Way. Improved low noise performance significantly reduces post-processing workload.
Continuous Shooting Speed
The 80D is capable of shooting at 7 fps up to a continuous 25 frames in RAW format. When shooting in JPEG mode it can shoot at up to 110 frames before stalling.
Live-view auto-focusing is one of the biggest boons to shooting videos with a DSLR camera. The 80D makes good use of its dual-pixel CMOS AF system which along with the touch to focus function of its rear LCD screen works like a charm.
On top of that, the 80D shoots at full HD and 60fps. 60 fps video frame rate offers interesting options for slow-mo shooting. There’s also a built-in stereo mic, an upgrade from the older 70D. For better quality sound, it is recommended that you use an external sound recorder. A 1/8” slot for plugging in an external microphone is provided.
Going with the demands of the time the new Canon EOS 80D has both built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity. It can be set up with any available Wi-Fi network or compatible devices with NFC connectivity to transfer images seamlessly.
The 80D supports standard SD, SDCHC, and SDXC (extended capacity) cards.
The 80D has a pentaprism viewfinder much like the older 70D. However, unlike the outgoing model, this one gives a 100% frame coverage.
Rear LCD Screen
The rear LCD screen hasn’t changed from the 70D. This 3” LCD screen gives a bright 1,040,000 dots display and has touch screen display. It is viewable from 170 degrees.
The 80D is powered by an LP-E6N rechargeable Lithium-ion battery pack. This one is rated more powerful than the LP-E6 battery that the 70D was powered by.
The 80D is priced just under $1200. If you are looking for an upper entry-level DSLR and would prefer an APS-C camera, the 80D does make a great buying decision.
Canon EOS 80D Review Conclusion
The new Canon EOS 80D can be safely tagged as a versatile APS-C shooter. It is a good buying decision for both still and video shooters. The stand out feature being the dual-pixel CMOS AF system which now has continuous life-view auto-focusing capability.
The newly designed higher resolution sensor, the faster image processing engine also adds to the overall package. Add to that the increased native ISO capability, the increased AF points, greater AF point availability for even f/8 lenses add to the scores of other subtle improvements.
To top it all Canon has launched a couple of interesting accessories with the 80D, both of them being video specific.
One of them is the PZ E1 Power Zoom adapter. This zoom adapter works very much like a remote control for your lens’ zooming feature.
It snaps on at the bottom of the 18-135mm kit lens. Controlled by a desktop application or smartphone app the power zoom adapter can precisely turn the zoom ring for better control.
The other interesting accessory is a hot shoe mount external stereo microphone.
Named the DM-E1 shotgun microphone allows it to be plugged onto the hot shoe and then connected via the 1/8” slot to record stereo sound.
Overall, the 80D is certainly a great buy. It is a versatile shooter great for stills and great for video work.
However, if you have the older 70D, it may not make too much of a sense to get the new 80D.
If you are looking for a new camera and have a budget of under $1500, the new Canon EOS 80D is worth a look.
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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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