Australian Review: Canon EOS 80D - One Step Up
Canon’s new midrange EOS 80D is an attempt at bridging the gap between enthusiast gear and pro gear. It’s got several cool features for the average user and a few nice options for more advanced users.
Canon’s cameras usually have great build quality and nice controls, and the EOS 80D is no exception; the dials are nice and clicky, with quite a bit of weight to them so that you don’t accidentally knock to the wrong setting. While they don’t have an extremely satisfying feel like those found on the Canon Powershot G5X, they’re quite nice to play with and will work fine for any user.
Kit lenses aren’t traditionally the most favored option, but the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 lens included with the EOS 80D is better than those of previous years thanks to clear optics, solid build quality, and an ultrasonic motor for very quick autofocus. Other features include inbuilt image stabilisation, and a wide manual focus ring. Most buyers will probably look to upgrade the lens at some point, but it’s good enough to use until you have another option.
I would like to see a wider aperture on the kit lens, but this would probably make for a higher price point or a shorter focal length. For those looking for a cheap partner for the included lens, Canon offers an exceptionally priced 50mm f/1.8 lens (sometimes called a ‘nifty fifty’) which should be available at most retailers for around AUD$150. It’s surprisingly sharp for the price, as well as featuring a wide enough aperture to produce very stylised shots and great night performance.
While a lot of modern DSLRs feature impressive flippy displays, I still prefer using the viewfinder, and the EOS 80D sports quite a nice one. Inside is an easy to read display showing your current settings, focal points and a well thought out crosshair arrangement to help you frame your shots. Of course, the EOS 80D also includes a flip-out screen if you prefer to use it; it does come in handy for videography and selfies.
The screen itself is touch enabled, but the physical controls offer more precise adjustments. It’s also bright enough to see in daylight, meaning you can easily check your images after taking them. The EOS 80D is also Wi-Fi and NFC enabled, meaning you can easily pair it with a smartphone or connect it with your home network to grab images, although admittedly this feature could work a little better - I found I had to dig through several menus (and the manual) to get the camera to connect to my phone.
The Canon’s image quality is very nice, but the included lens lets it down a little - it’s easy to lose detail if your subject is far away. For happy snaps, the lens should perform just fine though, and offers a very nice range of focal lengths for everything from wide shots to portraits.
Night shooting isn’t the easiest with the 80D’s included lens, as the aperture is quite limiting. You can work around this by increasing the ISO, but you’ll get a grainier image as a result. The camera itself performs great though, and you can always get a different lens with a wider aperture for easier night shooting.
For an average user looking for a camera to use for simple photography, the EOS 80D might be a little overkill. It’s not very portable, and a lot of the price comes from the advanced video features and tough build quality. These users might be better off with something like the Canon Powershot G5X, which is a lot more portable and sports similar image quality, without sacrificing nice manual controls; the biggest difference between them is that you don’t get to change lenses on the Powershot.
More advanced users looking to get into DSLR photography ought to be pleased with the EOS 80D; retailing for around AUD$2000 as a package with the 18-135mm lens used for this review, it’s a decently priced package with some great features and very good image quality on the camera side - the only downside is the included lens could be a little better.
Cybershack Score -
|Great image quality||Included lens lets the camera down a little|
|Solidly built||Fiddly to pair with smartphone|
|Easy to use||Not easily portable|