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In today’s post, we will compare two highly popular, yet very different, upper midrange digital SLRs, Nikon’s D7200, and Canon’s 80D. We will cover the key differences between these two cameras to help you understand which is best suited for your needs. Each camera offers several distinct and tactile advantages over the other, but not all of these advantages will be best suited for your specific needs. So then, of these two cameras, which camera is best overall? Let’s find out.
Size & Dimensions
In size and dimensions, both cameras are eerily similar, though not entirely identical. Both cameras measure approximately 106mm x 135mm and weigh 650 grams body only. In this area, both cameras are virtually indistinguishable.
However, the cameras do offer differing build qualities. In build quality, the Nikon leads by featuring a sturdy magnesium alloy chassis, which provides better weather resistance. The Canon, however, comprises primarily of polycarbonate and, while resistant as well, it just doesn’t feel quite as durable. The Nikon delivers that real premium feeling, something lacking in the Canon.
Physical Controls & Ergonomics
From an ergonomics and control standpoint, both cameras feature deep and comfortable grips.
The Nikon does, however, offer twin adjustment wheels while the Canon only has one. The inclusion of an additional adjustment dial provides more immediate access to exposure adjustments. Considering the customization of the Nikon as well, that second adjustment wheel presents enormous value.
Both cameras feature optical viewfinders that provide 100% coverage of the imaging area as well as deliver a 0.95x magnification, approximately.
However, for their rear LCDs, this is an area both cameras separate. In terms of specifications, sure, the Nikon features a slightly larger display at 3.2-inches with a greater resolution at 1.23 million dots. However, in functionality, the Canon takes the lead by offering a fully articulating touchscreen. While it’s only a 3-inch display with a resolution of 1.04 million dots, the versatility it delivers in shooting at awkward angles is priceless. And in this area, the Canon takes the lead.
Outside of that, both cameras do feature top LCDs, which function to display critical shooting parameters at a glance. There are differences between both screens, though incredibly minimal. But, overall, both work equally well.
Both cameras feature 24.2-megapixel APS-C sized sensors, which give users ample freedom to crop in post. The only difference between them is that the Nikon lacks an Anti-Aliasing (AA) filter, which allows it to deliver sharper images with fine resolving detail. Thus, the images it produces are subtly sharper, though at a greater risk of moiré or aliasing artifacts occurring in the frame.
Both cameras shoot 1080p Full HD video up to 60 frames per second. However, doing so on the Nikon incurs a severe 1.3x crop, something the Canon lacks. To shoot at a full sensor width on the Nikon, the highest you can shoot is 30 frames per second. Overall, because of this crop factor, the Canon is better suited for video than the Nikon.
This is another area the Canon dominates by offering 45 all cross-type AF points, while only 15 points in the Nikon are cross-type compatible. Not only does the Canon offer more points, but it also inherits Canon’s renowned Dual Pixel CMOS AF, a technology typically reserved for their higher-end SLR flagships or their cinema line. Dual Pixel AF (DPAF) is acclaimed as one of the top video-centric focusing systems to date for its smooth, confident, and accurate performance. DPAF is an essential component for anyone seriously considering a Canon SLR, as it completely revolutionizes the way you shoot video, especially when filming alone.
Battery life is a strong point for the Nikon, which provides an excellent battery life of 1,100 shots per single charge. The Canon, however, only deliver 960 per charge. If extended battery life is essential to you, the Nikon reigns king in this regard.
User Interface & Menus
Both cameras deliver excellent and easy to navigate interfaces. Both are fully featured and have ample settings to customize their functionality to your shooting style. Previous users Nikon or Canon users will feel at home with either camera. And each camera orients well towards beginners, foreign to the menus of digital SLRs.
In continuous burst performance, Canon takes the lead by delivering a burst rate of 7 frames per second. The Nikon, however, only offers 6 frames per second natively. If you want to shoot at 7 frames per second, you do so with a 1.3x crop. Ouch. Considering the Canon shoots at this rate at a full sensor readout, it’s undoubtedly the better choice here if fast shooting speeds are crucial to your workflow.
Both cameras can record in-camera time-lapses.
Both cameras include headphone and microphone inputs.
Both cameras include Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, which allows them to connect to smartphones for wireless image transfer and remote shooting. In this area, however, Canon’s Camera to Connect application delivers greater versatility, where it supports remote shooting in both stills and video modes. For the Nikon, the only features its app permits is Live View, focus point repositioning, and remote shutter in the stills shooting only. That’s it, rather primitive. If wireless connectivity is important to you, the Canon is best. However, both applications for this generation of cameras are incredibly cumbersome to use and thoroughly lacking functionality in today’s age.
Both cameras lack 4K recording altogether.
The Nikon features dual SD card slots, which makes it the superior choice for those who require redundancy or extended shooting. You’re stuck with only a single SD card slot with the Canon, though not a deal-breaker by any means.
So which is best?
For photographers, both cameras are more than sufficient for your needs. However, in video is where the cameras severely differentiate, and the Cannon reigns supreme. The mere fact that it offers dual pixel AF makes it a far more capable and confidence-inspiring system to shoot from that’s well suited for cinematic productions. The AF system in the Nikon doesn’t supply the same level of versatility, performance, and consistency, making it a poor choice if video is your primary medium. Both cameras do, however, provide excellent value for the money.
Nonetheless, the Canon is a better camera overall, though slightly larger, lacking the extra SD card slot, and has slightly worse battery life. But, it’s still the more competent camera here. Its fully articulating screen, superior focusing performance, and robust feature set make it a fantastic option.