Canon EOS 80D Review: The Best Crop Sensor?

Canon EOS 80D Image-1

The enthusiast end of the DSLR market has to include features which feel like the top end cameras, while also being friendly enough to use. If Canon is your brand, then the Canon EOS 80D is the next-generation upgrade from the EOS 70D. This updated camera body brings further updates, which include a higher ISO range and tweaks across the whole range of functionality.

The 70D was a popular camera for the enthusiast, so let’s see what the 80D brings to the table. Plus, if it’s worth the upgrade and the additional facilities.

Design

The 80D brings a 24MP sensor with a DIGIC 6 processor. A slight increase in megapixels of 25%, from the 70D at 20.2 MP, but it’s also the other upgrades that counts. The burst rate has jumped up to 110 JPEGs or 25 RAW files and there are now 45 AF points which are all cross-type with better subject tracking.

Live view features the Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology from the 70D but is now faster and more sensitive. The speed can also be changed for smooth focusing which should help the video guys. Touch control also comes to the menus which definitely speeds up operation and are there is now 100% coverage through the viewfinder which gives far better coverage of the frame.

Canon EOS 80D image

For general overall specs, the 80D has an ISO range of 100-16,000 which is expandable to 25,600, 45 cross type autofocus points, seven frames per second maximum burst rate, 1080p video, and a weight of 650g.

The body itself is the usual Canon layout of dials and buttons, which means that once you get used to the system, you’ll have no trouble jumping to any other Canon body. The rear of the camera has a fully tilting screen and the familiar Canon layout of buttons. The top plate hosts the mode dial with slots for different creative scenes, a basic LCD readout panel, and a nice array of buttons that cover AF, Drive, ISO, and metering.

In total, the design of the camera follows familiarity with no weird additions to the body. Being familiar with a camera body is important when upgrading, with no big surprises of additional buttons or a complete change in layout. In this regard, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt.

Canon EOS 80D in Use

The increase in pixel count means that the resolution has been increased without the addition of noise. At the default levels of noise reduction, you can step up to ISO 16,000 without a massive hit in noise. At the uppermost limit of ISO, images will become grainy, but still usable if you need to get that high up.

The AF system with the increase in AF points and the various AF modes perform accurately, capturing a wide degree of subjects. Single-point AF, where you manually select each point, is good for static subjects, while Zone AF mode selects groups of points for moving subjects. It’s easy to toggle through the different AF modes with a quick rear button press and back button focusing can easily be set up.

Canon EOS 80D image

The Live view AF system is fast and accurate for both still and moving objects, but it doesn’t feel as efficient as through the viewfinder. The 80D uses a 7,560-pixel RGB+IR (infrared) sensor and 63-zone for light metering which includes spot metering, center-weighted, partial, and evaluative.

The evaluative mode works very well when selecting AF points, but can need exposure compensation with strongly lit backgrounds. This can be easily be changed in an instant with the rear dial. A feature that is very useful on Canon cameras.

The Dual Pixel CMOS AF system works very well with video in Live view, which is probably its best application. The histogram is a needed tool in this situation as you are solely dependent on the brightness of the rear screen. However, Live View is a very convenient way of shooting, especially when your camera is on a tripod and you can tilt the rear screen to your convenience.

As for actual image quality, RAW files, depending on your camera settings, are rendered in a faithful manner with only a slight saturation of colors. Images come out slightly cleaner than from the 70D, with also slightly more dynamic range. JPEGs are nicely saturated with a good degree of contrast and although there aren’t many creative styles to choose from, basic JPEG rendition is very good.

In total, the Canon EOS 80D has all the range of functionality you would expect from this level of DLSR and can produce some great quality images. It gives you the feeling of a top end camera without being too complicated and depending on the lens used, can produce extremely detailed images.

How Does It Compare?

As per usual, Nikon has something to say when it comes to equivalent camera bodies. The Nikon D7200 also features a 24.2 MP sensor with seemingly similar functionality plus an ISO range of 100-51,200. Like the Canon, it’s probably not the best choice for video, but for still images it has excellent AF tracking and image quality. The Nikon also works very well in low light and is fantastic with subject tracking.

If you don’t already own a bunch of Canon lenses, then the Nikon D7200 would be an excellent choice at this price point.

Canon EOS 80DNikon D7200
Pixels24MP24.2MP
Video1080p1080 60p
AF Points45 AF points51 AF points
Burst7fps6fps

Conclusion

Canon has produced a worthy upgrade to the 70D, making the 80D faster and with more functionality. All controls are arranged in a logical manner and can be customized to your own style of shooting.

Most importantly, image quality is extremely good and with a high-quality lens attached there should be no excuses for not getting high-quality images. If you’re thinking of diving into the Canon line of cameras or upgrading from the 70D, the Canon EOS 80D is worthy jump up.

The Review

Canon EOS 80D

8
The Canon EOS 80D comes as a worthy upgrade to the 70D with better AF tracking and functionality. As an enthusiast DSLR, the 80D has everything in the box to produce high-quality images.

Pros

  • Image quality
  • Image tracking
  • Ease-of-use

Cons

  • No 4K video
  • No weather-sealing

Review Breakdown

Design

Performance

Camera

Battery

Price

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