Canon 80D Review

Introduction

The Canon 80D, initially released spring 2016, replaces the previously released 70D. It belongs to Canon’s top line of APS-C sized digital SLRs and one that competes with the Nikon D7200, Sony a6300, and Panasonic G7. This camera is marketed primarily to the multimedia content creator desiring to shoot both stills and video. It comes with a 24.2 megapixel CMOS sensor and the Digic 6 imaging processor. Previous Canon 70D users will find that this camera is nearly identical outside of a handful of software improvements. However, are these improvements worthwhile for current 70D users to upgrade? Is this a camera that is still relevant today, considering what’s available on the market at its price point? Let’s find out. 

Canon-EOS-80D-specs

What are some of the goods, bads, and the uglies of the Canon 80D?

Pros:

Image Quality

Images have fantastic color and contrast. No question in image quality, this camera is still adequate to today’s standards, no complaints there.

 Low light performance is excellent and holds steadfast amongst the competition. Images are usable even to ISO 3,200 with only moderate amounts of noise in the shadows. While it is certainly not better than the competition, the performance is ample considering it’s an entry-level camera.

 Dynamic range has improved significantly. Users can recover information even if the photos are unexposed as much as five stops. This improvement offers superior latitude when recovering critical details in shadows and highlights during post-production. Overall, there’s noticeably less banding, moiré and the results are on par with the 5D Mark II.

Video Quality

It shoots 1080p now at 60 FPS, as opposed to the 720p offered by the predecessor. Finally, one of many features Canon users have begged and pleaded for is here and now on a mid-range camera too. 

 Shutter speed, ISO and Aperture are all adjustable during filming. Thank God, so many cameras lack this ability. 

Recording time is maxed out at 30 minutes, which is the industry standard, and there are no artificial 15-minute limits. 

Low Light Performance

Low light performance for both stills and videos is excellent. It offers a native ISO from ISO 100 to ISO 16,000. According to Cannon specifications, the camera can focus at -3 EV, which is as dark as outdoors during moonlight. Surprisingly, users can film even as high as ISO 6,400 and still have usable footage. 

Focusing Performance

Just like the predecessor, this camera also has Dual Pixel Autofocus (DPAF). This AF system is renowned for great focus that’s incredibly consistent, accurate, and responsive. Not only that, it provides almost cinematic transitions between focus points. No questions here, DPAF is just as excellent in this case. Focusing performance is both fast and decisively accurate; it’s a joy to use. Transitions are smooth. Overall, this is a system that gives users confidence knowing that their selected point will be critically focused and tracked accurately across the frame. Canon even allows users to customize the speed at which it transitions focus (known as focus pulling), in both servo AF and video modes. However, this feature only works with Canon STM lenses. 

As far as conventional autofocusing is concerned, the amount of AF points has increased from 19 to 45. All 45 of these AF points are cross-type, and they cover approximately 60% of the frame as well. Compared to the predecessor, this AF system is a far advanced and much-needed improvement. 

Battery Performance

According to Canon, Battery life is 1,390 shots if the LCD is disabled. Fantastic.

Display & Viewfinder

It has a large comfortable optical viewfinder that has a diopter adjustment dial with an incredibly wide range. The viewfinder has 100% coverage as well. 

The 3″ vari-angle touch LCD showcases changes in camera settings and picture profiles in real-time when shot in Live View. It even supports both touch focus and touch to shoot. Outside of that, it is bright, crisp, and is easily visible, even in bright sunlight. 

It also carries over the same top backlit LCD that functions to display critical settings and status information. 

Overall, the combination of options offered is fantastic and makes the camera well-tailored to a broad demographic of users. 

User Interface

Canon redesigned the user interface; in fact, it’s similar to the 7D Mark II. The fonts are now legible, and menus are compact and color-coordinated. It is now organized based on the particular functions the settings influence in camera. Overall, this was a necessary change, especially for beginning photographers, and it improves the organization of the menu significantly over the predecessor. Not only that, but the addition of the touch LCD means the menus can also be navigated solely via touch, which is both intuitive and works well. 

Physical layout and ergonomics

It has two dedicated adjustment dials. The top is the main dial, and the rear is the control dial. The control dial is also independent of the multi-controller it surrounds. 

The grip has been redesigned and is slightly longer than the predecessor. The thumb rest is also recessed. The combination of both these changes offers a more comfortable grip, depending on the size of your hands.

Niche features offered/Extras

The camera has a headphone input port. Finally, Canon has listened to its users and included one.  

It has a dedicated Depth of Field preview button.

It has an internal digital zoom function, which has a range from 3-10x zoom and can also function as a manual focus assist. However, this feature isn’t available when filming, and it also reduces the sharpness of stills.

It has an anti-flicker mode, useful when shooting under fluorescent lights as it reduces the inconsistencies in color caused when shooting under these conditions.

It has built-in Wi-Fi which allows the camera to connect wireless to a smartphone device via the Camera to Connect app. This app enables users to have full control over the camera in both photo and video modes. Shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and focusing are all adjustable remotely. The app itself is also easy to navigate and straightforward to setup. 

It provides an additional custom mode, C2, which gives users a second custom layout to further tailor the camera to their specific needs. 

It has a continuous burst rate of 7 FPS. Though, when shooting through the viewfinder, a slight blackout occurs. Thankfully, no such blackout occurs when shooting in Live View. 

It has a headphone input jack.

It has live HDMI out. 

Both audio and headphone levels are displayed while filming and their gains are also adjustable as well. You can set both the headphone output gain, which allows you to monitor output at a comfortable level, and microphone input gain.

It has a built-in time-lapse mode that is fully customizable and exports a 1080p MP4 video once completed. Having this in-camera rendered time-lapse thoroughly removes the need for combining images in post. 

Cons:

Video Quality

It lacks 4K video. While video quality in 1080p is good, it falls behind relative to its competition. When compared to equivalent Panasonic, Sony, and even Nikon cameras, the lack of 4K on Canon’s midrange models means they are weak in this area. 

It lacks log profiles, which means there’s little room or latitude to adjust videos in post-production without creating artificial banding and noise in the process.

The LCD is disabled when live streaming via HDMI out. Sadly, this completely removes touch focus, a particularly helpful feature when filming.

User Interface

The redesigned main menu now changes based on the mode selected. While this makes the settings more applicable to that mode readily available, it significantly increases confusion in the process. Some settings are found only in specific modes and not others. 

While the camera offers various display options through the info button, the menus in this mode are not customizable whatsoever. 

Layout and ergonomics

This camera lacks a dedicated white balance button.

The mode dial is crowded and has random selections that could otherwise live in dedicated menus. 

Features removed 

It does not have built-in GPS, which means geotagging occurs solely through the paired smartphone. 

While the camera does have built-in NFC, the NFC tag only prompts users to either download or open the Camera to Connect app. It’s supposed to pair the camera to a device automatically, and since it doesn’t, it makes this particular feature useless.

It cannot take stills from a video. 

It lacks manual focus peaking.

It lacks zebras.

It lacks USB charging.

Is the Canon 80D a good starting camera?

In all, the 80D marks a notable improvement over the predecessor. Canon has made an already superb camera, just that much better. In many respects, it’s a condensed version of the 7D Mark II. It offers similar features, specifications, and performance. All with a price point that won’t have beginning photographers running for the hills. While it’s on the more cumbersome size, when compared to the competition, the articulating screen coupled with a microphone port makes this an ideal choice for those desiring to VLOG. Yes, it lacks 4K and log video profiles. However, in all other respects, it’s a competent video camera. 

If you’re someone who enjoys composing using the LCD over the optical viewfinder, you will love the 80D. The fully articulating touch display, plus touch focus, is really where this camera becomes competitive amongst other cameras in its range. Its touchscreen works well, both for shooting and navigating the complexities of a digital SLR, and when coupled with DPAF they combine to make a superior camera indeed. Hands down, this is still a solid choice for the first time SLR buyer that’s utterly foreign to digital photography but has a deep desire to learn. 

What are the best lenses & bundles for the Canon 80D? 

General Photography: 

 

Specifically for Macro Photography:

 

Specifically for Landscape Photography:

 

Specifically for Portrait Photography:

Best bundles for the Canon 80D

Is the Canon 80D a good camera for you?

Yes, possibly. If you’re a videographer that is OK with shooting in 1080p, then this camera will be sufficient for your needs. It provides DPAF which delivers among the best focusing performance available on the market today and will make your life when focusing easier. Not to mention, the camera has both headphone and microphone inputs, and when coupled with a tripod can unquestionably deliver professional video content. Overall, this camera remains competitive even amongst mirrorless cameras. The distinct advantage, especially over the D7200 and a6300, is DPAF and fully articulating touchscreen. Though the lack of 4K video support will give both of these manufactures the edge as this camera continues to age, it’s only a matter of time. 

Who does this camera best suit? It’s best for Youtube content creators and VLOGgers. However, if you’re a professional level videographer looking to create commercial, cinematic, or documentary work, this camera will not suffice. If 4K is critical to your work, then look elsewhere. Consider the similarly priced and more comprehensive featured Panasonic GH5 or Sony A7 series instead. For a little more money, you can get considerably more competitive video performance. The fact is that most cameras at this price point now offer 4K as a standard in today’s market. However, If 4K and log are not essential components to your craft, the 80D will be a fantastic all-round camera for you; even more so for those that film alone or are beginners. The addition of DPAF allows any new videographers to have complete confidence and simplifies the complexity of focus pulling manually. So you won’t need to be a manual focusing master to deliver compelling cinematic content. 

Should I upgrade from the 70D? Well, possibly, there are notable changes between the two cameras, but depending on your specific needs, it may not be enough to justify upgrading. The primary reasons for updating are the following: slightly better resolution, improved AF performance, dynamic range, updated processor, 1080p 60 FPS, or better ergonomics. If you’re thinking, “these are great!” Then by all means, If you can resell your 70D at a fair price, definitely consider upgrading. 

In all, this camera is ideal for the first time digital SLR owners, especially those desiring to learn or improve in both photography and videography. It is a camera highly targeted at the multimedia content creator and one that brings the top of the line performance into a mid-range price point. If you’re someone who often switches between photography and videography, this is a contender to consider. It is equally appealing to advanced photographers looking for a secondary body or to the content creator looking to upgrade their productions. While it does lack 4K, a feature several other cameras below its price offers, we cannot debate that this is still a relevant camera and a contender in 2019. It’s a reliable jack of all trades and one that remains amongst Canon’s best-valued budget-friendly SLRs. 

 

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Overview
  • Image Quality:
  • Video Quality
  • Focusing Performance
  • Low Light Performance
  • Dynamic Range
  • Battery Performance
  • Display & Viewfinder
  • User Interface
  • Physical Layout & Ergonomics
4

Summary

In all, the 80D marks a notable improvement over the predecessor. Canon has made an already superb camera, just that much better. While it’s on the more cumbersome size, when compared to the competition, the articulating screen coupled with a microphone port makes this an ideal choice for those desiring a VLOGging camera. This camera is perfect for the first time digital SLR owners, especially those wishing to learn or improve in both photography and videography. It is a camera highly targeted at the multimedia content creator and one that brings the top of the line performance into a mid-range price point. While it does lack 4K, a feature several other cameras below its price offers, we cannot debate that this is still a relevant camera and a contender in 2019. It’s a reliable jack of all trades, and again, one that remains amongst Canon’s best-valued budget-friendly SLRs