With EOS 80D, Canon ups its autofocus game – CNET

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After two-plus years, I think I expected a little more from the update to the Canon EOS 70D. The 80D gets a new, moderately higher-resolution version of the company’s Dual Pixel CMOS sensor with a welcome update to its on-sensor autofocus system, plus some feature additions that bring it up-to-date. In addition to targeting the typical action-shooting enthusiast, Canon’s also taking aim at wedding photographers on a budget who have been drawn to the 70D.

Canon plans to ship the 80D in March at $1,200 for the body and $1,800 for a kit with the new EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 USM lens. I don’t have other prices or availability yet, but those directly convert to £840/AU$1,675 and £1,260/AU$2,510. Along with the camera, Canon announced a new directional microphone, the DM-E1, which it expects to ship in June for $250; directly converted, £175 and AU$350.

What’s new

  • Sensor and autofocus. Canon’s Dual-Pixel CMOS has pixels that contain both photosites and phase-detection autofocus, which means that any increase in sensor resolution usually comes with an automatic increase in autofocus points. Canon raises the resolution to 24.2 megapixels from 20.2MP and the number of AF points to 45 from 19. It gains the Large Zone AF mode from the 7D Mark II, which lets it use bigger clumps of focus points, potentially improving autofocus performance when shooting vertically, as well as AF-point auto switching, which defines how it selects focus points within a given focus zone. It also increases the number of points available at f8 for better focus at narrow apertures, and gains improved low-light focusing sensitivity. While the camera gets updated to a more recent version of Canon’s image-processing engine, Digic 6, that seems to only deliver better data transfer during continuous shooting to increase the number of shots you can get before the camera slows or stops.
  • Metering. Canon brings the metering system up-to-date as well, switching to its more recent RGB+IR sensor from the older iFCL. In dSLRs, the RGB metering sensors provide supplemental data to the autofocus system; in this case, it provides color tracking information in continuous autofocus mode to improve speed and accuracy when the scene becomes low contrast.
  • Shutter mechanism. The new shutter mechanism, similar to the one in the 5D Mark III, controls vibration better than the previous one, helping to minimize camera shake.
  • Design and features. The most notable update here is the viewfinder, which increases to 100 percent scene coverage. As well as adding NFC for Wi-Fi connections and a headphone jack, the body has minor but welcome design tweaks to some of the buttons and the addition of a second custom-setting slot on the mode dial. New software features include time-lapse movies and in-camera HDR. While the LCD has the same specs, it’s an updated model that Canon claims will provide better visibility in sunlight. And the camera can now record 1080/60p video.

My take

Like its main competitor, the Nikon D7200, the 80D just feels like the same camera as its predecessor. In the case of the 80D, there’s plenty from the 70D that is smart to retain, and I’m certainly happy about the (hopefully) improved autofocus performance, but there are also missed enhancements that it would have been nice to see, such as dual-card slots. To me, the 70D’s biggest weakness is its solid-but-not-stellar photo quality, and I don’t get any sense that Canon’s really done anything with it in the 80D. I hope I’m wrong.

Comparative specs

Canon EOS 70D Canon EOS 80D Nikon D7200
Sensor effective resolution 20.2MP Dual Pixel CMOS 24.2MP Dual Pixel CMOS 24.2MP CMOS
Sensor size 22.5 x 15 mm 22.5 x 15 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
Focal-length multiplier 1.6x 1.6x 1.5x
OLPF Yes Yes No
Sensitivity range ISO 100 – ISO 12800/ISO 25600 (exp) ISO 100 – ISO 16000/ISO 25600 (exp) ISO 100 – ISO 25600
(up to ISO 102,400 in black and white)
Burst shooting 7fps
40 JPEG/15 raw
110 JPEG/25 raw
(with focus and exposure fixed on the first frame)
100 JPEG (Normal quality)/27 raw (12-bit)
(mag/ effective mag)
98% coverage
100% coverage
100% coverage
0.94x/0.63 x
Hot shoe Yes Yes Yes
Autofocus 19-point phase-detection AF
all cross-type
center dual cross to f2.8
45-point phase-detection
all cross-type
27 points, 9 cross-type to f8
center dual cross to f2.8
51-point phase-detection AF
15 cross-type
center to f8
AF sensitivity -0.5 – 18 EV -3 to 18 EV -3 – 19 EV
Shutter speed 1/8,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/250 sec x-sync 1/8,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/250 sec x-sync 1/8,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/250 sec x-sync, 1/320 sec x-sync at reduced flash output, 1/8,000 sec FP x-sync
Shutter durability 100,000 cycles 100,000 cycles 150,000 cycles
Metering 63 zone 7,560-pixel RGB+IR, 63 zones 2,016-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering II
Metering sensitivity 1 – 20 EV 1 – 20 EV 0 – 20 EV
Best video H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/30p, 25p, 24p; 720/60p
H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/30p, 25p, 24p; MP4: 1080/60p, 30p
H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/60p, 50p @ 1.3x crop; 1080/30p, 25p, 24p
Audio Stereo, mic input Stereo, mic input, headphone jack Stereo, mic input, headphone jack
Manual aperture and shutter in video Yes Yes Yes
Maximum best-quality recording time per clip 4GB 29:59 mins 10 mins
Clean HDMI out No No Yes
IS Optical Optical Optical
Display 3 in/7.7cm
Articulated touchscreen
1.04m dots
3 in/7.7cm
Articulated touchscreen
1.04m dots
3.2 in/8 cm
921,600 dots
(plus extra set of white)
Memory slots 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 2 x SDXC
Wireless connection None Wi-Fi, NFC Wi-Fi, NFC
Flash Yes Yes Yes
Wireless flash Yes Yes Yes
Battery life (CIPA rating) 800 shots
(2,600 mAh)
960 (VF); 300 (LV)
(2,600 mAh)
1,100 shots
(1,900 mAh)
Size (WHD) 5.5 x 4.1 x 3.1 in
139.0 x 104.3 x 78.5 mm
5.5 x 4.1 x 3.1 in
139.0 x 105 x 79 mm
5.3 x 4.2 x 3.0 in
135.5 x 106.5 x 76 mm
Body operating weight 27.2 oz
771.1 g
25.8 oz (est.)
730 g (est.)
26.9 oz
762 g
Mfr. price (body only) $1,000
$1,200 $1,100
Primary kit $1,300 (est.)
(with 18-135mm STM lens)
(with 18-135mm USM lens)
(with 18-140mm lens)
£1,120 (est.)
(with 18-105mm lens)

Release date August 2013 March 2016 April 2015

With EOS 80D, Canon ups its autofocus game – CNET