The EOS 70D impressed us when it arrived on the scene three years ago. Michael Topham tests the new Canon EOS 80D to find out how it improves on what we’ve seen before
Canon EOS 80D Review – Image Quality
Canon has used a 24-million-pixel sensor before, in the EOS 750D and 760D. However, these two models don’t feature the 80D’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF sensor. The jump to a 24-million-pixel sensor is good news for those who like freedom to crop tightly and, at the same time, preserve a high level of detail. Unlike the Nikon D7200, and some other recent high-resolution APS-C sensors, however, the 80D continues to use an anti-aliasing filter. With this in place, it has its work cut out to achieve the same levels of resolution. At ISO 100, the 80D delivers an impressive 3,400l/ph resolution, much like the Nikon D7200, but at higher sensitivities the D7200 has the edge.
To view more sample images taken on the Canon EOS 80D, visit our sample image gallery.
At ISO 100, the 80D’s dynamic range result measured 12.6EV – a figure that’s almost identical to the 12.7EV recorded by the EOS 7D Mark II at the same sensitivity. As the graph illustrates, the figure drops below 12EV beyond ISO 200, but stays above 10EV up to ISO 800. Results at ISO 1,600, 3,200 and 6,400 drop to 9.2EV, 8.0EV and 7.1EV respectively, with shadowed areas gradually getting nosier as you push closer towards the top two sensitivity settings. It’s only when you push beyond the 80D’s native ISO range and up to the extended setting of ISO 25,600 that the figure drops below 6EV. Although the 80D’s results aren’t as high as those recorded by the EOS 7D Mark II at higher sensitivity settings, this is a better than average dynamic range performance.
The 80D resolves an impressive 3,400l/ph at ISO 100, which is higher than the 2,800l/ph the 70D resolves at the same sensitivity setting. This improvement in resolution continues through the sensitivity range, with the 80D attaining 3,000l/ph at ISO 400 and 2,800l/ph up to ISO 1,600. As you begin to push the sensitivity higher, luminance noise starts to soften the finest details and reduces resolution. The sensor resolves 2,400l/ph at ISO 6400, beyond which point there’s a noticeable drop in resolution to 2,200l/ph at ISO 12,800, ending up at 1,800l/ph at its expanded ISO 25,600 setting.
A close study of our JPEGs between ISO 100 and ISO 400 revealed no signs of noise and a high level of detail. Luminance noise starts to make its presence known at ISO 1,600 and is joined by chroma noise as you push towards ISO 3,200 and 6,400. Users can be confident of producing acceptable images straight out of the camera at ISO 6,400, but it’s worth bearing in mind that fine detail does get lost beyond this point. Inspecting our raw files, having first converted them in Canon’s Digital Photo Professional 4 software, revealed a strong set of results. Chroma noise is absent right up to ISO 6,400 and, although luminance noise is evident at ISO 3,200 and 6,400, it’s well controlled, allowing files to retain a high level of detail. Detail in raw files captured beyond ISO 6,400 takes a hit and the five-digit ISO settings are best avoided if you want to produce the best results.