Canon 80D vs 70D vs D7200 vs a6300

Canon 80D camera on a dreamy background

In this article, I’ll compare the new Canon EOS 80D versus three other APS-C cameras, the 70D (80D predecessor), the Nikon D7200 and Sony a6300.  The 70D was and still is a very popular DSLR camera aimed at the enthusiast market. The mirrorless market certainly poses a threat to it, and for an estimated retail price of $1190.00, it will certainly make some photographers think twice before grabbing one. We’ll take a closer look at the key differences between the 80D and its competitors and see whether the new 80D is worth its price tag, or whether you’ll be better with one of the other cameras.

Canon EOS 80D

Announced on February 17, 2015, as a 70D replacement, the Canon EOS 80D brings several updates that aimed to improve image quality,low-light performance, handling and AF performance. At the core of the 80D are a newly developed 24.2 megapixel CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 6 image processor. Canon has improved the ISO range that can be stretched up to ISO 16000 and boosted up to ISO 25600.

Canon 80D and 70D side by side
Canon 80D (left) and 70D (right) side by side

The gapless microlens sensor has an upgraded version of the Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, allowing the camera to quickly and accurately track moving subjects when shooting in Live View or in video mode. In the Dual Pixel CMOS AF design, all the effective pixels of the sensor can perform phase-detection. autofocus This provides the camera with very quick tracking performance no matter where the subject is within the frame.

45 phase-detectoin AF points
45 phase-detectoin AF points, Canon EOS 80D

According to Canon, the new AF sensor features enhanced tracking sensitivity and it’s compatible with the full line of the Canon EF lenses. Speaking of which, the 80D also employs a 45-point (all cross-type) viewfinder AF system, which is a significant upgrade from the 19-points found in the 70D.

This allows the camera to focus on subjects that are off-center and quickly and accurately track the subject as it travels across the frame. The new AF system has improved to provide more reliable performance in low-light situations, including an EV-3 center point and Servo AF II that utilizes color tracking from the 7560-pixel RGB+IR light metering sensor. The new light metering sensor allows more precise detection of different skin tones and provides better subject tracking performance as the subject changes its location.

The new Canon EOS 80D added a 1080p 60fps video recording (in either ALL-I or IPB), but lacks 4K video recording. I’m pretty sure that it disappoints many enthusiasts that actually taking use of this high-resolution mode.

More of the 80D features:

  • 7 fps burst
  • Ambient priority / white priority white balance
  • Built-in HDR mode
  • Flash sync up to 1/250th sec
  • Pentaprism 100% coverage viewfinder
  • Anti-Flicker shooting (same as the one found in the 7D Mark II)
  • 1080p60 fps MP4 (ALL-I or IPB compression modes)
  • Set Upper and lower limit for the Auto ISO
  • Set the Auto ISO low shutter speed limit
  • NEW EOS scene analysis system, using the data from the flicker detection and the metering sensor
    (scene options: characters, moving subject, nature and outdoor, evening view, bright/ dark, high chroma, low-contrast, highlight, backlight, outdoor green, flicker light source). The camera will apply particular settings that fits the particular scene.
  • Time-Lapse and HDR movie modes
  • Video and stills Creative Filters
  • Headphone (audio monitoring) and microphone (external mic) inputs
  • 3.0-inch Vari-angle Touchscreen Clear View LCD II monitor
  • Built-in Wi-Fi/NFC
  • Multi-shot noise reduction function
  • Aufofocus Microadjustment (AFMA)
  • New Intelligent viewfinder with 100% coverage
  • 26 custom function (70D has 23)

The Canon EOS 80D has very good specs all across the board, but Canon didn’t bring anything revolutionary. I’ve been following Canon camera announcement for years and as far as its enthusiast cameras are concerned, we see marginal improvements from each model to the other, but nothing overwhelming. The 80D like its predecessor is a very solid APS-C camera. I have to admit that I was expecting more innovation and $1200 isn’t cheap, but it is a very good hybrid camera all in all.

The EOS 80D main competition will be from the D7200, which is as of the time of writing $100 cheaper than the 80D. We’ll soon take a look and see how well the 80D stands against the 80D for both stills and videos.

The Sony a6300 costs around $200 less than the 80D and $50 less if you buy the 16-50mm kit offering. The a6300 is one of my favorites mirrorless cameras, and it’s interesting to see whether it can give the 80D a good fight in terms of its overall features and performance.

OK, now that you’ve got a good overview of the new Canon EOS 80D key features, let’s jump straight into the comparison.

80D vs 70D vs D7200 vs a6300

In this section we’ll take a closer look at the differences between the new Canon EOS 80D, it’s predecessor the 70D, the Nikon D7200 and the new Sony alpha a6300.

D7200, 80D, 70D and a6300 cameras side by side

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The 80D also has some other new features over the 70D, including a new A new Picture Style “fine detail”, a new mirror vibration control system which is similar to the one found in the 5DS and 7D Mark II. Stereo mic has movies to the front (Was at the top in the 70D). The 80D also featured AI Servo (continuous AF) when shooting stills in live view mode.

We can can clearly see that the 80D has improved in many ways over its predecessor, including better AF system, better light metering sensor, new sensor, better viewfinder coverage, better buffer for burst, 1080p60 video recording, headphone jack and built-in timelapse in most part.  It’s not revolutionary, but it’s still and excellent update over the 70D in my opinion. It improved in areas that I think most enthusiast photographers care about.

The question is whether these updates will really justify an upgrade from the 70D. I think that people will want to see how good is the high ISO performance before making up their mind. For others, the performance difference might be very small and won’t justify the upgrade.  If you are buying a new camera, you should certainly weigh the 80D against the 70D, especially considering that the price difference is around $200 (as of the time of writing). We can obviously expect the 70D to get down even further in the upcoming months now that the 80D is out.

The Canon EOS 80D also competes very well against the D7200 that was announced a year earlier. Both cameras provide very good low-light performance, although the 80D is obviously better in terms of video performance due to its Hybrid AF sensor and vari-angle display.  There are pretty close in terms of their overall features and price. You’ll need to be more picky and spent a bit more time understanding the fine details before making up your mind.

I love the Sony a6300, it’s an amazing mirrorless camera. I think it also offers a better value than the 80D. It has an excellent AF performance, $K video recording,  incredible image quality, lots of video functions, excellent electronic viewfinder and all in a relatively compact size.  This is the camera that I’ll take to my next vacation for sure. Although some E-mount lenses will cancel the size advantage of the body, with a normal zoom lens it’s very comfortable to carry around and enve can fit in a small bag.

The 80D is a very attractive APS-C camera and still stands strong against it’s competitors, but it seems that the mid-range DSLR lost its spark in the past couple of years. Nowadays I feel more attracted to the mirrorless offering than what the mid-range DSLRs has to offer. The Nikon D500 is a different beast, but also costs considerebly more,  and I’ll compare it to the 80D in my next article.

If you are searching for a fully-features mid-range DSLR, not minding not having 4K videos and top of the line build-quality and pro features, I think that the 80D won’t let you down. It won’t stand between you and your creativity, and you can trust this camera to deliver excellent results with little or no compromises. The 70D was and is still is an excellent camera, and the 80D will follow suit. Just don’t forget to consider the alternatives.

What’s your opinion about the new Canon EOS 80D?