Canon has always had kind of a lot going on in the middle of its DSLR lineup. The 7D Mark II is geared towards sports photography enthusiasts, while the full-frame 6D handles the more portrait and landscape-oriented crowd. Now, Canon is updating its mid-level APS-C line to include the 80D, which puts a clear focus on hybrid performance across still and video capture.
At the heart of the 80D is a brand new 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor, which is coupled with a Digic 6 imaging processor. That’s a 2-megapixel bump up from the 70D that came before it. The big story in terms of performance, however, is the new autofocus system, which includes Canon’s Dual Pixel AF baked in at the sensor level.
The new AF system has 45 traditional AF points, all of which are cross-type, that can be used when shooting through the viewfinder. The coverage is both wider and taller in the frame than it was on the 70D and low-light performance has been improved. The Dual Pixel CMOS AF covers all of the effective pixels, which means they handle both imaging and focusing. As a result, Canon claims much better AF performance—in terms of both speed and accuracy—when shooting in Live View mode.
While the Dual Pixel is useful for capturing stills, its primary function is to improve AF operation during video capture. The camera has a built-in headphone jack for monitoring audio levels and tops out at 1080p at 60 fps. Sorry, no 4K to be found here, which isn’t necessarily surprising at this level of DSLR, but since UHD is currently rising rather quickly in popularity, it would have been a very solid selling point.
The 80D will be available for $1,199 for the body only or $1,799 as part of a kit packaged with the new EF-S 18–135mm f/3.5–5.6 IS USM Lens.
The lens itself goes a bit beyond a simple refresh of a typical kit lens. The big news is the addition of the new Nano USM focusing motor, which promises to be fast during still shooting and puts an emphasis on smoother focusing when shooting video. Overall, it promises a faster focusing experience as well as four stops of optical image stabilization. It even comes with a hood, which is a nice addition for a lens that’s intended to be used as a day-to-day zoom.
In addition to the lens, there’s also a new accessory called the Power Zoom Adapter PZ-E1. The adapter sits under the lens and allows for electronic zooming at 10 different speeds. It’s very clearly aimed at video shooters who need smooth and silent zooming without jostling the cameras. It will cost $150.
In addition to its new 80D DSLR, Canon is also announcing a the new G7X Mark II Advanced Compact camera.
The new G7X Mark II has just about all the things you’d expect from a high-end compact. It has a 4.2x zoom (24-100mm equivalent field of view) zoom lens with a maximum aperture range of F/1.8-2.8. Behind that is a 20.1-megapixel, 1-inch CMOS sensor paired with Canon’s latest Digic 7 processor.
The back of the camera is equipped with a 3-inch capacitive touchscreen LCD display that tilts and rotates. Despite that brand new and powerful Digic 7 image processor, the video capture still tops out at 1080p video rather than pushing up to 4K.
It’s meant to be an advanced camera, so it has some higher-end features like Raw capture with in-camera conversion so the files can easily be transmitted over the built-in Wifi. There’s even a dedicated Wifi function for quick sharing.
It has a built-in Time Lapse Movie feature as well as a bevy of other scene-specific shooting modes often found in Canon compacts.
So, while it’s not exactly a revolutionary update, Canon should be able to put that extra processing power to work and provide a bump in image quality. We’ll be very interested to see just how much when we get a chance for a full review.
The PowerShot G7X Mark II will be available for $699 when it starts hitting the store shelves in May 2016.
To even out the dark foreground and lighter background in scenes like this, Ericson has learned to expose for the highlights, set relatively high ISOs (i.e., 400 or 600), and then dial up shadow detail when editing.
“One of the things that attracted me to this Yellowstone scene was the trail that wound through it,” says Wayne Ericson, a retired college administrator from Bloomington, Illinois. He noticed it during a Mentor trek last September while shuttling between the Yellowstone’s Upper and Lower Geyser basins. At first the path worried him: It cut through the scene vertically and divided his composition into two. Not good. “I figured if I could reposition myself to get the path to run diagonally, coming in from one of the corners to lead a viewer’s eye, I would have a better picture.”
That did the trick. Not only did the resulting S-curve knit the scene into a unified composition, but the trail’s line now draws the viewer’s eye back to the hillside beyond, where a descending slope mirrors that leading line in the foreground.
As a six-time Mentor Series participant, Ericson has learned a lot about composing landscapes while also keeping them sharp. On one trek, for example, he realized that he couldn’t trust the ancient truism about handholding at shutter speeds no slower than the reciprocal of the lens focal length (e.g., 1/100 sec when using a 100mm focal length). “My pictures would be sharp, but not sharp enough,” says Ericson. Now, taking advantage of today’s cameras’ improved image quality at ISO 400 and 800, he’ll set a shutter speed of 1/200 or even 1/400 sec with his zoom at 100mm and the results are clearly sharper.
“I’ve also learned that I improve my odds of sharpness, when I shoot in my camera’s continuous advance mode, and pop off two or three exposures of every scene. Usually, one of them will be the sharpest,” he says.
Composing landscapes, though, is Ericson’s forte. “It’s about far more than the Rule of Thirds,” he explains. “It’s also about visually coordinating shapes, lines, colors, and fields of light.” All these variables come into play before he reaches for the shutter release.
Crazy about landscapes, this retiree from Illinois will sign on for almost any voyage that has mountains on the itinerary.
The DXO One has a lot going for it, but the $599 price tag has always seemed fairly high. There’s a lot of tech in there, but it’s ultimately still a device that’s dependent on an iPhone, so many people see it as a pricy iPhone accessory rather than the solid camera that it is.
The sale will only be on for today, February 17th, 2016 as part of Amazon’s Gold Box deals, but it will be interesting to see if there’s a more permanent price cut in the works.