Hands on: Canon 77D first impressions and review

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hands on: Canon 77D first impressions and review


Harley reviews the Canon 77D and gives his first impressions after having his hands on it for five months. This includes a brief comparison between the Canon 77D and 80D. This is a subjective review and not an in-depth scientific analysis and comparison of the 77D vs 80D.

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For a written transcript, go to Hands on: Canon 77D first impressions and review

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing" by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com


After five months of owning it, today at the House of Hacks I want to give a quick hands-on review of the Canon 77D and give my first impressions of it.


Hi Makers, Builders and Photographers. Harley here.

As I mentioned in the intro, about five months ago I got a new Canon 77D on the first day that it came out. I did an unboxing of that. If you want to see what it looks like coming out of the box, you can take a look at the card here or link down in the description below.

I won't be actually showing the camera today since I'm using it to record. But I do want to talk about some of the pros and cons that I found with it. Things that I've like and things I didn't like and also do a little bit of comparison between the 77D and the 80D in terms of features, because they're pretty similar in a lot of respects.

There's a lot of similarities between the 77D, the T7i and the 80D. It really does fall right in between the two of them, both price wise and feature wise. So I want to talk a little bit about that today. I don't want to compare it to the T7i, it's really pretty close in a lot of ways. Really the only difference is it has a few more buttons and it has an information panel on the top of the camera rather than completely relying on the LCD on the back. So, it's a little bit more "pro" but not as "pro" as the 80D.

So the real comparison I wanted to do today is with the 80D. All the numbers I'm throwing out here today are as of August 2017 and are for "body only." I'm not including any lens kits because those can kind of change the prices somewhat. So it's just the "body only" I'm going to be using for price comparison on.

The 77D is about $300 less expensive than the 80D. The interesting thing is that both have the same sensor in them. The 77D does have a newer computer in it and with that newer computer come some additional functionality. The 77D's ISO does have one more stop than the 80D and I think this is primarily because the processor in it can do more noise reduction and things of this nature. Like I said, the sensor is the same, so it's purely a difference in the way it can process the information with the faster computer.

That said, the 77D does have one less stop on the shutter speed. It only goes to 1/4000th of a second whereas the 80D goes to 1/8000th of a second. Also, the 80D's sync speed is 1/250th of a second instead of 1/200th of a second for the 77D.

The 77D's viewfinder, that you look through the back on, covers less surface area of the sensor than the 80D. The 80D covers 100% whereas the 77D only covers [95%]. So it works well for focusing and composition, but it doesn't give you the full range all the way out to the outer edges.

On drive mode, the 77D only shoots 6 frames per second as compared to the 80D's 7 frames per second. So it's one frame a second less but on the other hand the faster processor allows it to save that as fast as it shoots it whereas the 80D has a buffer that fills up eventually. So you can shoot all day on drive mode with the 77D whereas the 80D eventually will fill up and will stop taking pictures. This is only if you're shooting JPEG. If you're shooting RAW, they'll both fill up right around 25 frames.

If audio is a concern for you, the 77D does not have a headphone jack to monitor audio with whereas the 80D does.

The 77D also has a lower battery life than the 80D when taking stills. I'm not sure how it compares when shooting video.

The 80D is designed as a lower level pro camera, so it does have some additional features that aren't found on the 77D. Notably, it has an optional battery grip so you can get more battery life out of it. It has weather sealing so you don't have to worry about rain quite so much. It has more buttons to get direct access to certain features and it has more features built into the firmware for finer control of some of the features like auto-focus and micro-adjustments on lenses.

Some of the things I like about the 77D personally, coming from having shot with a 5D mark II previously... It has much better battery life than the 5D did. It does have less battery life than the 80D, but compared to the 5D it's much, much better on batteries. On the 5D I have a system where I can plug the camera into line power so I don't have to run off batteries because it runs through batteries so quickly. The 77D, I haven't had that problem with. I've always run batteries. I am thinking about getting an adapter, just on general principles, but I don't feel like I have a pressing need for it.

Another feature that I really, really like is when you hit the 4 gigabyte maximum file size, the 5D just stops recording. So you have no warning when it's run out of file space and stopped recording. It just stops. Whereas the 77D when it fills up a file, it just automatically creates a new file and continues going. Now it does only do this for 30 minutes. There is a 29 minute, 59 second cut-off that's mandated by some European legal standard somewhere. I'm not quite sure of all the details so this is a common limitation across all DSLR and mirrorless cameras that sell on the international markets. It's not a technical limitation. It's strictly to conform to a certain regulations. And the 77D does give you audible and visual feedback when it hits that limit. It displays a message on the screen and also the mirror pops up so you can actually hear it when it stops recording.

The 77D has an articulating screen and I love this feature. On the 5D mark II, the screen is fixed on the back and it was always a pain to try to focus and frame, particularly shooting solo with my videos. With the articulating screen on the 77D, it's a wonderful, wonderful feature.

And speaking of the screen, it's touch sensitive. This is really cool because you can direct touch on it to activate features and change options on it rather than have to use buttons and scrolling through menus. I really love the touch screen. Also, you can use it to zoom on your photos and move, pan around, as you're reviewing photos. It's awesome.

One cool feature that was kind of a surprise, kind of a sleeper feature, is if you don't have the battery in, the viewfinder as you're looking through it is really dim. It's some sort of mechanical overlay system where if the battery's not physically in and the door's not shut, then the viewfinder display is kind of a grey. You can kind of see through it, but it's very definite that there's a problem there. Just kind of a reminder of "oh, I don't have a battery in," I need to put one in and get the door closed.

Another cool feature about this that's common to I think all new cameras, is the wi-fi connectivity. You can control it from the phone or from a tablet, something like that, as long as you have an app for it, and this is a really cool feature. I need to use it more. I kind of forget about it at times and it would really make things a lot easier I think.

The 77D also has Bluetooth and NFC communications. I've personally never used those yet.

And finally, I want to talk a little bit about the auto-focus. It is really smooth. It works really, really well. I had it out shooting some video, just outside playing around, and as the subject moved through the frame, it would follow it. And if the subject moved out of frame and a new subject came into frame, it would just kind of nicely glide to the new subject and pick it up. Auto-focus worked really well, particularly compared to the old 5D system which was known for not being great on it's auto-focus.

And the other thing about the auto-focus is it has face detection. And that face detection is spot on. It works really, really, really well.

Ok, let's talk about the things I don't like. And this is a much, much smaller list.

The first thing really isn't the fault of the camera so much as the lens. Talking about auto-focus. I'm using a 24-105 L lens and it is really loud when it focuses. It makes the audio that's recorded on the camera completely unusable. You can use it for syncing to, but you definitely wouldn't want to use it in your video if auto focus is being used. Of course, you can put it in manual focus and you wouldn't have that issue.

Another thing that I really don't like about it is the CR2 format for this camera is unique to this camera. And so my older software that I use requires an upgrade and in order to get the upgrade, I have to pay money and you know... it'd be nice if, and this is kind of a pet peeve of mine is... file formats should stay the same. Let's design a file format so that raw files can be saved and not have to have new formats internally every time a new sensor is developed. I'm not quite sure why they can't come up with a file format that's parameterized such that when a new sensor comes out, just the parameters can change but the format can stay the same and that give you backward compatibility on all the old software. I mean I understand from possibly a business standpoint, but from an end user satisfaction standpoint, it's really, really annoying that files are not forwardly compatible.

OK. I'll get off my soapbox now.

OK. And the last thing that is kind of a downer about this, and again this is almost a soapbox kind of issue, is I'm not sure why, in this day and age, Canon can't put 4K video in all their SLRs. I mean we have point and shoots with 4K video. Our phones have 4K video in them. Why can't, on a $1000 camera, we have 4K video?

In fact earlier today I saw and was handling a Panasonic GH5 and the owner had the same lens on it that I have right now on my Canon, the 24-105 L glass. He was using an adapter to use that glass with that body. So, I don't know, I may be looking at other camera systems for my next body. The Fuji X-T20 has adapters that will work with the Canon lenses, so I'm going to be seriously looking at that. One of the reasons I got this camera was because I'm heavily invested in the Canon ecosystem and I didn't want to change systems at this point in time. But given that Canon's reticence about getting into 4K and the extra flexibility you have shooting 4K, my next camera purchase may not be a Canon even though I may still continue to use Canon lenses.

And I want to talk about two other points someone else has brought up in a review that I read.

One is that the LCD screen can be kind of dim if you're out in bright sunlight. Personally, I've never shot out in bright sunlight, so I haven't really run into this problem. But it is a consideration if you're thinking about one of these cameras.

And second, while this sensor was a big step up from some of Canon's previous offerings, it's still not as good as some of the competition. Particularly Sony and Fuji, they're using the same sensor, are just really killing the rest of the competition in terms of dynamic range of the sensor. And Canon just doesn't quite live up to the competition in this regard. So if you're shooting in high-dynamic range situations, where you want to capture a lot of detail over a broad spectrum, this may not necessarily be the camera for you.

One thing that was a big surprise for me was I use highlight alert. And I'm used to going into them menu system and turning this on. And I went through the menu system when I got this camera and I couldn't find it. I was kind of surprised that it wasn't there because my old XTi has highlight alert on it. So I was surprised it wasn't included as an option. But then I started reading through the manual about it and it is an option... well... it's not an option... it's always on. You can't turn it off. Which for me is just fine. I never want it turned off. But if highlight alert is something that you find distracting, just be aware you can't turn it off. It's always on.

And that's pretty much it for this quick review.

Thanks for joining me on this creative journey that we're all on. I hope you enjoyed this and find this review helpful.

Until next time, go make something.

Perfection's not required. Fun is!