Thoughts on the Canon 80D

Some random thoughts and observations regarding the Canon 80D, which became widely available in the United States this past week…

  • Per the instruction manual (pg. 30), “Only battery pack LP-E6N/LP-E6 can be used.”  My 80D came with the E6N; my older 70Ds came with the E6.  The point here is that the batteries are interchangeable between the 70D and the 80D.  (These batteries also work in the 60D, 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 7D, 7D Mark II, 5DS, and 5DS R.)  Depending on your situation, this makes the upgrade path much easier.
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  • The battery doors are interchangeable between the 70D and the 80D.  In my case, I have a 70D which I normally have attached to a battery grip and to which I have lost the door.  The fact that they’re interchangeable makes my life easier.
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  • Speaking of the battery grip, the 70D’s BG-E14 works just fine on the 80D.  Again, depending on your situation, this makes the upgrade a lot easier to swing.
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  • Like its predecessors, the 80D isn’t licensed for sale in the US as a dedicated video camera.  This means that the 80D is limited to 30 minutes of continuous video.  For an official note on this limitation, see pg. 211 of the instruction manual.
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  • Speaking of video, the 80D now defaults to MP4 output (as opposed to .MOV, which the camera can still create).  The MP4 output comes with some technical caveats; see pg. 213 of the instruction manual for more information.
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  • Like the .MOV format, MP4 encodes to H.264.  With that in mind, the licensing restrictions found on pg. 237 of the instruction manual are somewhat alarming.  I need to do further research on CODEC licensing (and you probably do, too).
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  • Navigation with the joystick and thumb wheel on the back of the camera has been tweaked.  Many interface actions which were previously thumb wheel spins are now presses on the joystick and vice versa.  I find myself frustrated on many occasions and frequently resort to using the touch screen.  Fortunately, the touch interface doesn’t suck.  Additionally, I assume that I’ll get used to the new gestures over time…
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  • There’s a new auto white balance setting:  AWB-W.  It apparently tries to do a better job at true white reproduction than the previous algorithm and some very casual testing at church this morning (in a mix of fluorescent, tungsten, and sun lighting) had very promising results.  Interestingly, the legacy algorithm is the default and it’s probably worth your time to change it.  See pg. 140 of the instruction manual for more information.
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  • Speaking of fluorescent lighting, the 80D touts a new anti-flicker function which will attempt to remove flicker effects towards the ends of even exposure and even color tone.  It’s disabled by default, which is probably fortunate, as it appears to be a feature you actually want to use very situationally rather than leaving it on all the time.  See pg. 152 of the instruction guide for more information.
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  • The camera (body only) came with no media for documentation and software.  Instead, pg. 232 of the instruction manual points you to Canon’s web site.  I had trouble getting this page to load on my Mac, regardless of browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox).  I had to download the Mac packages on one of my Windows systems and then sneaker-net the files over.
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  • Speaking of documentation, in the PDF version of the Instruction Manual, the Wi-Fi documentation is at the very end, rather like an appendix.
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  • Very little of my software will yet handle the RAW files coming out of the 80D – and having to use Canon’s DPP to convert to TIF absolutely sucks.  DxO Optics Pro and PhaseOne’s CaptureOne flat-out refuse to open the images while On1’s Photo 10 suite will open the files but colors don’t get rendered correctly once you do anything beyond viewing the thumbnails.  Only Adobe Camera RAW and Canon’s own Digital Photo Pro open these files without issue.  (Other applications, like Photo Mechanic 5 and Window’s own explorer, will correctly display thumbnails, but these are embedded JPGs within the CR2 files, so this is actually expected behavior.)
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  • Neither Lightroom nor CaptureOne can control the 80D tethered.  Reikan’s FoCal will not calibrate the microfocus.
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  • The firmware for the Yongnuo YN-622C-TX transmitter is currently at v1.08 and it doesn’t work well with the 80D.  On most menu settings, the OK confirmation is followed by a message to the effect that the flash is no longer responding or isn’t compatible.  Some quick testing shows that in E-TTL mode the remote flash(es) always fire(s) at full power.
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  • The 70Ds I had before this new camera consistently under-exposed by 2/3 of a stop.  In fact, I almost always left exposure compensation set to counteract this.  The 80D does not appear to suffer this defect.
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  • The 100% view finder is awesome; I’ve never owned a camera that had this feature and I can’t believe the difference.
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  • Finally, and most importantly, the images coming off this camera are absolutely beautiful.

In all, this is a solid upgrade from even the 70D and it blows the doors off the 60D.  Once the software companies add support, the upgrade to the 80D is a no-brainer.

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