Steve's Conclusion

Steve's SnapShot

  • 24.2-Megapixel CMOS Imaging Sensor
  • DIGIC 6 image processor
  • Dual-Pixel CMOS AF
  • 3.0-Inch VariAngle Touch LCD Screen
  • 45 point cross-type AF
  • Intelligent Viewfinder
  • Live View shooting
  • iAuto mode
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • Built-in WiFi with NFC
  • 7fps burst shooting
  • HDR, Time Lapse and other creative video settings
  • Still image artistic filters
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card compatible
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion battery
  • The camera is accurate in all shooting modes, providing excellent exposures
  • Canon EF-mount supports one of the best collections of lenses you will ever find
  • 24.2-Megapixel CMOS imaging sensor provides loads of detail and a very high quality image
  • Dual-Pixel AF works wonders for Live View shooting in both still and video capture
  • DIGIC 6 processor provides speed and power to assist in increasing the quality of the image
  • Touch LCD makes shooting at difficult angles a little less challenging
  • Great shooting performance
  • Good Battery Life
  • HDMI output
  • Audio input
  • WiFi allows for easy sharing of images
  • Competitively priced
  • Does not allow video shooting at any time, the camera must be set to capture video
  • Higher ISO settings show very high levels of noise and low detail
  • Custom controls are limited compared to higher level cameras
  • No 4K video capture, which is becoming more popular
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 0.6 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 1/10 to 3/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus Live View = approx. 2/10 to 4/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 0.27 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 0.38 seconds
  • High Speed Burst Single = 6.9fps
  • High Speed Burst Servo = 6.6fps
  • High Speed Burst Servo Live View = 4.1fps
  • All of our tests were completed using a Panasonic UHS-3 16GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO Auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
The Canon EOS 80D is a fantastic mid-level DSLR that also makes a case for a good hybrid camera as well. Excellent performance, quality, and AF capabilities make this a camera that is capable in all situations. It is a fantastic upgrade for anyone that already has an EOS camera, or those looking for a serious tool for their photography or videography needs.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for a quality upgrade for your current EOS camera. This is also great for someone looking for a Hybrid camera thanks to its unique AF system and capabilities.
Canon's EOS 80D is a fully loaded DSLR featuring an APS-C sized, 24.2-Megapixel CMOS imaging sensor with dual-pixel technology. Its large body also houses a DIGIC 6 image processor, a 45-point Cross-Type AF system, 3.0-inch LCD screen, Built-in WiFi, and the ability to capture full 1080p HD videos. These features give the camera a great blend of creative options, performance, and quality that can satisfy a large group of photographers. As a step up from the EOS 70D; the AF system, image sensor, and dual-pixel technology have all been upgraded to give you a boost in functionality, while still providing you with the ease and quality you'd expect from a Canon EOS model.

Canon's dual-pixel CMOS AF technology uses two photodiodes in each pixel, allowing for incredibly smooth tracking and very fast AF in Live View shooting and video capture. Each pixel is able to accomplish Phase-difference detection with each pixel, covering approx. 80% of the image area. This updated version on the 80D works with any EF or EF-S lens, while working faster and smoother than their original technology (found on the 70D). This ultimately gives you faster and more accurate AF when shooting in Live View, allows the camera to track your subjects more accurately, and allows a smooth transition between AF points while capturing video. The AF points can be changed with an adjustable speed transition just by touching a new spot on the Touch LCD screen.

Another great feature that we are very glad to see is the built-in WiFi. While Canon has offered WiFi on their DSLR cameras for a while with an optional adapter, having it built-in means that it is always handy, and you never have to worry about forgetting it. Once a smartphone or tablet has connected to the camera, it allows you to view and copy images from the camera to your device. It also allows you to use the device as a remote to control the camera. As long as the camera is set for AF, you should have no problems. Canon now even has a Power Zoom Adapter that allows the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens to work with the zoom function via that app or with the controls on the side of the adapter itself. This will allow for consistent and accurate zooming while recording video. Hopefully in the near future, more lenses will be available that are compatible.

Just like the other non-Rebel DSLRs and many other brand DSLRs, the EOS 80D is a very large body. Many photographers are very familiar and comfortable with this size of camera, but if you are looking for your first DSLR, or for an upgrade from a Digital Rebel, you may be a little shocked or overwhelmed by the size and weight. Size aside, the camera is comfortable and very easy to handle. The controls are the same (or very close) to the rest of the EOS line, so if you are familiar with a Canon camera, you will be right at home. On-camera controls are well spaced and well labeled, making them easy to operate while in the field. Along with being comfortable, the camera has a very solid and durable feel, leaving you feeling comfortable wielding it in most circumstances.

Performance from the 80D was pleasing, save the burst rate when using AF Servo in Live View mode. Standard shooting with the Optical Viewfinder lived up to expectations, being able to capture its first image in just 6/10 of a second after turning the camera on. Shutter lag is not noticeable when the camera is pre-focused and stays between 1/10 and 3/10 of a second in most lighting conditions when allowing the AF system to work. Live View AF only shows a very small decrease in AF speed, falling between 2/10 and 4/10 of a second. In single shot mode, the 80D's shot-to-shot delay was 0.38 and 0.27 seconds with and without the flash. Our burst shooting tests provided us with a robust 6.9fps (7.0 claimed by Canon) with a set AF and a very surprising 6.6fps with the Servo AF (camera and subject not moving). Shooting with Servo AF in Live View slowed the camera, providing 4.2fps. RAW shooting allows for the same overall performance with exception of the amount of images that can be captured in burst shooting. We were able to capture 18 images at RAW+Large JPEG before filling the buffer. All of our tests were completed using a Panasonic UHS-3 16GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO Auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.

As we have gotten used to with Canon EOS cameras, our outdoor image quality from the EOS 80D is outstanding. Great exposures, colors and tack-sharp AF give us an overall excellent image shooting in both iAuto and Program shooting modes. A few of our standard sample images show a slight difference in color and exposure between iAuto and Program, but both produce pleasing results. This comes down more to personal preference, and whether or not you like the additional customization that iAuto adds to the image. Shooting with the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens, the camera performed very well, giving us an excellent zoom range for everyday shooting. It also kept the images free of all major distortions and aberrations.

Looking closely at our indoor sample images, we get a more controlled look at the overall image quality produced by the 80D. Again our images are incredibly sharp and well exposed with natural color. At lower ISO settings, noise is not noticeable at all within the image and the level of detail is incredibly high. From ISO 100 through ISO 1600, there is very little change in the levels of noise and detail. Once you get to higher ISO settings, the noise levels start to increase showing noise in the color swatches and shadows, but still showing good detail. Once you reach ISO 6400, noise has taken over and you have lost the majority of the fine detail within the image. Anything over 6400 really isn't acceptable unless you have no other options. The 80D does feature a pop-up flash unit, with enough power to cover almost 40ft. at ISO 100 (this also depends on several other shooting factors). For a large increase in power, the hot shoe is ready for any of Canon's EX Speedlite external flash units.

With the fantastic image quality, comes fantastic portraits. The 80D takes things a little further for a DSLR; giving you a functional Face Detection option, thanks to Live View shooting and the speed of the Dual-Pixel CMOS imaging sensor. While DSLRs have had face detection in the past while using Live View, the AF system was incredibly slow, and if your subject was moving, you would really have a hard time. The AF system of the 80D in Live View is much faster, making this a viable shooting option, whether your subject is still or on the move. The camera is quick to detect a face within the frame and follows it with ease as your subject moves, always keeping the focus and exposure set for your subject.

Canon has included several creative shooting effects that you can choose from. This is an easy way to add some creativity to your shooting, or just change things up a bit. If shooting via Live View, you will be able to see the effects on the LCD screen before you capture your images. Some of the effects have some slight adjustments, which can make a big difference to the end result. These effects can be used without Live View as well, but you will not actually know what you are capturing until it has been captured. We have included several examples on our samples page with a standard Program image for comparison to give you an idea of what is available.

As with the EOS 70D, the 80D has some improved video features over the past EOS models that can really enhance your creativity. The biggest feature comes from the Dual-Pixel AF that allows for the AF to jump from one object to the next with a smooth, accurate transition by just touching a spot on the LCD screen. This gives anyone the ability to accurately control the AF between subjects without extra equipment or reshooting multiple times to get it right. Other features include several recording options for Full 1080p HD video capture, including MOV and MP4 formats to meet your needs. Creative filters can be added while recording, in the same fashion as capturing a still image, which can completely change the look of the scene that you are shooting. Another added feature, which we have not been able to get our hands on yet, is the new Power Zoom Adapter (PZ-E1) that gives you control that is similar to that of a camcorder. This will allow for smooth and accurate zooming to go along with the smooth AF, giving you more accurate control over your videos than you will find with most other DSLRs.

Shooting video with the 80D is as easy as it sounds with the great features listed above. Unlike mirrorless cameras, the 80D is not always ready to start recording; making it a little tougher to capture unexpected, candid videos. It can however, be very powerful when your plan is to capture video. Whether handheld or on a tripod, the controls are easy to use, letting you concentrate on the task at hand. The fast, smooth AF allows the camera to keep your subjects in focus as they move or as you change subjects. Audio is captured with the built-in stereo microphone. As with any other built-in microphone, it will capture the sounds that are closest to the camera. Fortunately there is an audio input that allows you to record audio from an outside source, like an external microphone, which can greatly increase the quality of the audio.

Powering the 80D is LP-E6 battery pack; a 7.2V, 1800mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. This is the same battery that is used in several of Canon's EOS cameras. This makes the 80D an easy upgrade, possibly allowing you to use your current collection of batteries. Shooting via the optical viewfinder, this battery is rated to capture approx. 960 images on a single charge. This falls to approx. 300 images when shooting via Live View. Both seem viable as we were able to capture over 300 images and various short videos on a single charge while completing our tests, shooting with both the OVF and in Live View mode. This also allowed us to test the WiFi capabilities and view images and videos on the LCD screen. Canon offers a battery grip that allows for a second battery to be installed in the camera, doubling the battery life, while also giving you vertical or portrait orientated camera controls. The 80D also includes a portable battery charging unit, which makes it easy to keep more than one battery charged and ready to go.

Bottom Line - The Canon EOS 80D is a fantastic mid-level DSLR. Sporting a 24.2-Megapixel, APS-C sized CMOS imaging sensor featuring Dual-Pixel technology; it presents some abilities that are not found on other cameras. It sports fantastic image quality as well as blazing speed while shooting with the optical viewfinder and in Live View (compared to the speeds of other DSLRs with Live View mode). Overall this camera makes an excellent tool for anyone interested in both photography and videography, offering features and quality that will help you get the job done with excellent results. With a MSRP of US $1,199.99 for the body, this is a great upgrade from an older DSLR, but a bit pricey for someone looking for their first DSLR.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.