Remember when cameras were solely used for grabbing stills? Not so anymore, as video plays a bigger part, and that seems to be the focus with Canon’s newly announced 80D digital SLR.
Announced this week, the camera is an update of the Canon’s long running mid-range enthusiast series of cameras, providing access to a sensor half the size of a 35mm frame but with a body and design professionals and those in the “semi-pro” category prefer.
We’re not talking about your basic camera at all here, though there’s still an auto mode in case you feel like keeping things simple.
Rather, there’s a fast camera made to work with people who have a passion not just for photography, but videography too, as Canon updates the camera to grab images at a relatively high megapixel value, while also increasing video capture support with more ports and control.
Photographers who stick to static imagery will find 45 focus points to work with on a sensor capable of capturing 24.2 megapixels at a maximum of 7 frames per second.
For this camera, Canon is relying on its slightly older Digic 6 processor partly because any reason to use the Digic 7 in its compacts comes from lens stability, which is less of an issue when so many of Canon’s lenses have image stability (IS) built into them.
So Digic 6 it is, and you’ll find it works with a new metering sensor to pick up on visible and infrared light to provide better and more accurate exposures, while low-light image capture is provided up to ISO 25,600. Canon is even promising autofocus to work under moonlight.
Regardless of what setting you’re working in, you can expect a viewfinder capable of delivering 100 percent of the frame, while the “Intelligent Viewfinder” functionality of the camera displays your current settings, so you don’t have to move that eye from the eyepiece. Handy.
If you decide to, though, there’s a 3 inch vari-angle LCD for you to work with, offering touchscreen control and live view shooting.
Videographers are also being targeted by the Canon 80D because of a change in ports built into the body and a different autofocus technology.
On the port side of things, you’ll find separate plugs for microphone and headphones, which means sound monitoring is now a thing on the enthusiast range of Canon DSLRs, while HDMI support is also provided alongside USB.
Wireless functionality is also here, though that has more to do with stills.
Beyond the connections, videographers will find a technology called “Dual Pixel CMOS Auto Focus” on the Canon 80D, and this is apparently here to keep autofocus speed and tracking on par, making the tracking smooth while assuring the target is in focus.
Video captures will go to Full HD 1080p here, something that we are a touch surprised about, though a representative for Canon did tell GadgetGuy that it was focusing on “advanced functionality” for Full HD video instead of tackling 4K at this time.
While were not sure that will fly for everyone, one thing you can be sure of is that Canon is looking at making camera lenses behave differently for video across the board, because instead of that clunky hard to manage manual zoom you have to deal with on your hand, the company has built a solution.
Providing you grab one of the new Canon EF-S 18-135mm IS lenses — also new alongside the 80D — you’ll be able to make it work with the Power Zoom Adapter also known as the PZ-E1.
This is technically a motorised accessory for a lens, connecting to this specific lens by way of a couple of clips and some contacts, and it allows you to get a smooth zoom going for an otherwise manual lens.
From our brief time with the accessory, we found the PZ-E1 very impressive simply because it brings the power of an motorised lens to a camera system that has yet to support one, though we’d like to see support rolled out to more cameras.
The Canon 80D also feels quite good with a body that feels well designed and a more improved understanding of ergonomics. The power switch hasn’t been changed, which makes for a nice change on a Canon camera, but overall, it’s quite a comfy camera.
We’re delighted to see the LCD touchscreen is super responsive, as was the rest of the camera, and can’t wait to get a proper play with the body.
You’ll get your chance for that too soon enough, with Canon expected to bring the 80D and EF-S 18-135mm to retailers by the end of April, while the Power Zoom PZ-E1 adapter will arrive later in the year in June.