Canon EOS 80D Review: System upgrade

With a 24.2 megapixel sensor and improved auto-focus system, the new Canon EOS 80D replaces its predecessor EOS 70D. Novum in Canon’s lower middle class is a large 100 percent viewfinder and the second display on the housing top.

  1. Canon EOS 80D Review: System upgrade
  2. Image Quality & Conclusion

Nearly three years after the EOS 70D, Canon is introducing the new mid-range DSLR with the EOS 80D, positioned between Canon’s entry-level EOS 750 / 760D and the semiprofessional EOS 7D Mark II. The most important changes include a new APS-C sensor A slightly increased resolution and improved auto-focus. This is to be noticed first and foremost in low-light situations and in video operation.

The body of the Canon EOS 80D has a price of almost 1300 euros to book. In combination, the new zoom lens EF-S 3.5-5.6 / 18-135 mm USM with Nano USM focusing technology is available for around 520 euros.

Sensor and Auto-focus

The core of the Canon EOS 80D is its new CMOS sensor, which is supported by a Digic-6 processor. The plus of 4 megapixels compared to the 70D with 20-megapixel sensor is reserved. Canon follows thus the usual branch center, to increase the number of pixels and instead to work on the image quality.

This also fits the fact that the ISO scale of the EOS 70D has been retained. It continues to range from ISO 100 to 16,000; in Hi mode, ISO 25.600 is included. At the same time, Canon has donated the 80D the new mode of enemy detail from the top models EOS 5DS / 5DS R. This mode leads to visibly better detail preservation and pushes the 80D in the Canon ranking clearly forward.

One of the innovations of the EOS 80D is the modernization of the autofocus system. For the viewfinder operation, the camera offers the typical phase autofocus for SLR cameras with sensor module in the housing, which in the case of the 70D with 19 measuring panels compared to the competition still considered weakness. The 80D now boasts a total of 45 measurement fields and a significantly larger image coverage. All measuring fields have cross sensors, which detect vertical and horizontal structures and work up to the lens light intensity of aperture 5,6. As is usual with SLRs, the middle measuring fields are more light-sensitive, which means that the autofocus is to start at a brightness of -3 EV instead of -0.5 EV.

This makes it possible to achieve focussing in extremely weak light conditions – for example in the case of moonlight – depending on the motif contrast and the lens light intensity. On the other hand, the 80D – like the 70D – uses the “dual-pixel CMOS AF technology” of the sensor. The dual-pixel sensors operate with two photodiodes per pixel which are read out separately for generating image data and separately for the phase autofocus. 80% of the sensor pixels use the 80D for the phase detection. As a result, it is faster than older Canon models like the 70D, but without the top temp of some mirrorless models.

The 3-inch, swivel and foldable monitor with 346 667 RGB pixels resolution convinced already in the 70D: Its presentation is clean and synonymous with panning delay-free. The touch function, which a 7D Mark II does not yet offer, is very useful. In addition, the camera has the LC display, which is not usual in this class, on the upper side with assigned function buttons (AF, Drive, ISO, exposure measurement method).

For the first time in Canon’s medium class, an optical viewfinder with a 100 percent image coverage is installed. This allows the photographer to specify the exact cut-out at the time of shooting. The 80D displays grid lines and an electronic water scale as a recording aid. The magnification has remained at 0.95-fold (effectively 0.58-fold), more offers here only the Profiklasse.


The 80D has a barely modified housing compared to the 70D made of a plastic-aluminum mixture, which due to its rough surface coating is well in the hand. The body is sealed against dust and splash water and is ready to use with 730 g now 25 g lighter. There are basically no changes to the number and arrangement of the controls: the AF button on the right side of the viewfinder is already familiar from the predecessor, as well as the practical changeover lever for live view and video mode with integrated start / stop button.

The left-side 80D program wheel can only be rotated after pressing an unlock button and accesses the available exposure programs, including full, program, time and aperture, manual time / aperture adjustment, 10 scene modes (SCN), 10 creative tools and now New in the 80D also two individual memories (C1, C2). Our measurement is based on the style “enemy detail” introduced with the 5DS / 5DS R, which leads to a better detail presentation.

The successful combination of function buttons, setting wheels, clear main menu and quick info monitor allows intuitive operation. As a central control element, the combined rotary wheel on the rear side of the unit is equipped with a directional rocker and a set button in the middle. The touch control via the monitor complements the unbureaucratic concept. Internally there is now a messtimer, which also supports long-term exposure. In video mode it is possible to create 4-second video snapshots and interval sequences, which can be combined into a time-lapse video.

In addition to WiFi, the EOS 80D also supports NFC connections to establish a simple connection to the data exchange using appropriately equipped Android devices.

The 80D takes video at 60bps in full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels). In addition to a microphone input, there is also a headphone output on the side to check the sound during recording. Unfortunately, no 4K video is offered yet, which is standard among other manufacturers in the middle class. You can record videos not only in the standard MP4 format, but also with up to 30 B / s as MOV file with single image storage, called Canon All-I compression. This is a welcome feature for all filmmakers who want to edit their videos more.

Autofokus and Serial Images

The fact that the 80D benefits from the improved focus technology is demonstrated both in the laboratory and in the Praxistest. The camera operates with a continuous autofocus, both when tracking moving objects and when shooting. After only 0.4 s, the camera starts up, which is considerably faster than the 70D (0.7 s). The tripping delay including auto-focus time is 0.35 s at 300 lux. Even 30 lux master it with 0.38 s (70D: 0.45 s).

The Canon camera has also picked up a live release with a trigger delay including autofocus of 0.55 / 0.56 s at 300/30 lux. This is more than twice as fast as its predecessor at 300 Lux was (1, 17 s). However, some mirrorless models come to values below 0.2 s.

For series shootings, less has done: series shoots the 80D as its predecessor with 7 B / s (RAWs / JPEGs), 48 JPEGs and 25 RAWs in one piece. The shutter provides as fastest time as 1/8000 s or a flash sync time of 1/250 s. There are some further improvements: similar to the 5Ds models, the new Mirror-Vibration-Control-System is also on the 80D Dampen the motor-controlled mirror deflection, thus minimizing vibrations.

The 63-field optimized exposure sensor measures both visible and infrared light and can detect colors and faces. New is a “flicker detection”, which ensures that the exposure remains constant on every image of the series in the case of artificial light, and an additional “priority white balance” optimizes the white in warm light sources.

On page 2, read our test results from the test lab and our test results.

Image Quality & Conclusion

Picture Quality

With 4 megapixels more resolution and the new image style enemy detail, the 80D sets new standards for its sister models with APS-C sensor. If in the past in Canon models were striking, but at the same time emphasized stressed edges, the 80D does not know this problem. The result is a high resolution, which is accompanied by good fine-tuning. The image looks less crisp, but more natural and differentiated when looking at fine, low-contrast details. At least in JPEG shots can not synonymous here the 7D Mark II no longer keep up. From ISO 100 to 400 and to 800, the fine-tuning of the 80D is reduced, but the losses are comparatively moderate.

Especially with ISO 800 the 80D delivers better results than many other APS-C models. This statement, however, applies only to the enemy-set-up. By default, with ISO 400 and 800, the DL values for low-contrast details are reduced by 260 to 270 line pairs. With ISO 1600 they even lose 400 line pairs.

From ISO 1600, however, the losses also become so pronounced in the case of the 80D that it is recommended to work with higher sensitivities only at very unfavorable light conditions. A recommendation, which applies to all APS-CM models. The noise in the relevant range from ISO 100 to 800 remains pleasingly discreet. From ISO 1600 it becomes visible and only from ISO 3200 disturbing.


With the EOS 80D Canon has raised the convincing concept of the 70D to a higher technical level, without the previous top model 7D Mk II the water completely. For the 80D, their 24.2 megapixel sensor, including “enemy detail”, improve the picture quality especially at low ISO levels.

The 80D also offers more in the autofocus, which is working faster at lowlight and in video mode. The touch monitor and the bright, large 100% -tap-break detector – a novelty in this class. 4K video or focus peaking are still missing, which should be many photographers but no preference. Magnesium housing, second card slot, GPS module and more precise exposure metering methods are reserved for the 7D Mk II.

Personal Assessment of Sabine Schneider

All in all, the EOS 80D is a really well-equipped camera with a grippy body, foldable and swiveling touchmonitor, WiFi and a new large 100 percent prism scanner. It is true that the innovations are numerically limited; What is added is, however, useful, especially the fast autofocus, with which the photographing fun in bad light conditions, and the picture style “enemy detail”

He is much nicer in the live view mode, with videos, he draws the sharpness quietly and beautifully precisely. In the Canon middle class, the 80D does not have the equipment, but in terms of image quality, resolution and speed clearly ahead.

Lesetipp: Canon: All EOS DSLRs in the test

This, however, at a rather proud price of around 1.300 euros – for Canons 7D Mark II with magnesium housing, GPS module and better exposure system (but without touch monitor) you have to pay only about 200 euros more. For a cheap entry into the middle class segment, I would still prefer the slightly slower 70D with 4 megapixels less resolution, which costs around 400 euros less – or just wait until the 80D is more affordable.

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