You've probably heard it time and again: "cameras are dying". Well, not according to Canon. The Japanese camera maker seems to be investing in a DSLR for every possible user, with the new EOS 77D fitting in beneath its 80D mid-ranger to carve out a new sub-category.
The most obvious benefit being that the 77D is more affordable. Starting at £829 (body only), the slightly smaller and lighter DSLR will appeal to those who don't need every single bell and whistle feature.
Ditch the 80D's weather-sealed body and, roughly speaking, that's what the 77D is all about. So does it make sense?
Canon EOS 77D review: What's different vs 80D?
- Brand new 24.2-megapixel sensor
- Body isn't weather-sealed
- Bluetooth control & file sharing
- 95 per cent field-of-view optical viewfinder
Compared to the 80D the 77D is much the same. There are five core differences: the body isn't weather-sealed; the sensor (while the same resolution) is an updated design; it's slightly smaller and lighter; the viewfinder has a 95 per cent field-of-view (not 100 per cent, as per 80D); and it comes with Bluetooth built-in for file-sharing and, should you buy the additional Bluetooth accessory control (£40), remote control features too.
Canon EOS 77D review: Impressive autofocus
- 45-point Dual Pixel AF autofocus system
- Viewfinder-based and on-screen live preview
The core thing to take-away from the 77D is that it's got the top-notch 45-point Dual Pixel AF system as found in the 80D (and 800D).
Why's that important? It's great for using the camera either through the viewfinder or via the rear LCD screen. Because some phase-detection autofocus pixels are positioned on the imaging sensor itself the camera is far quicker when using the rear screen than many of Canon's older cameras.
It's as good as DSLR cameras get in this department - although, as we said of the 80D, it still can't quite outsmart the likes of Panasonic's Lumix G range of compact system cameras. Nonetheless, Canon's effort it still very impressive. It helps blur the lines between the two camera camps.
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Of those 45-points all of them are cross-type, too, which means each of them is equally sensitive whether you're shooting in portrait or landscape orientation - so no limitations to your shooting preference there.
Canon EOS 77D review: Screen and viewfinder
- 3-inch, 1040k-dot, tilt-angle touchscreen LCD
- 0.82x magnification, 95 per cent FoV optical finder
As we pointed one of the disappointing things about the 77D is its 95 per cent field-of-view optical viewfinder. It's not bad, per se, but that means you won't see the outermost five per cent of what you're going to capture during preview (with the 80D it's what-you-see-is-what-you-get 100 per cent).
The screen perhaps makes up for that. If anything, the 77D is a camera that's going to be used aplenty via its screen anyway. That it's mounted on a vari-angle bracket is great for lower-level work, especially as there's touchscreen control to simply click on the screen for focus.
We do still think that Canon could be more pinpoint specific with its on-screen focus types though. At the moment the subject tracking and crude single point AF options aren't nearly as versatile or rapid as, again, Panasonic's G-series of compact system cameras.
Canon EOS 77D review: Body design
- Top plate LCD
- Settings lock switch
- Top plate LCD
Despite not being weather-sealed, the 77D has plenty of the advanced buttons, knobs and dials that you'd expect of an advanced DSLR. Interestingly, however, Canon has introduced a Guide UI (user interface) which can be activated in the camera to assist with breaking-down the meaning of those various shooting modes. It's switched off by default (it's on by default in the 800D), so most users are unlikely to see it.
Like the 80D there are a number of decent higher-end features on the 77D, such as a light-up top plate LCD which can display the various camera settings. It's useful for a glance and knowing what settings are in play. There's also a lock switch to stop any accidental settings adjustment.
The materials that Canon has come to use in its DSLR cameras don't feel especially robust, however, with a more plasticky sense about them. Such materials are tough, however - heck, some of Canon's high-end kit doesn't feel especially sturdy/heavy - and proven to last well, so we're not worried about that. Just that it could look and feel aesthetically better.
Canon EOS 77D review: New sensor
- 24.2MP APS-C sensor is all new
- Not a back-lit design
- ISO 100-25,600 (51,200 extended)
- Latest Digic 7 processor
- Full HD video to 60fps
On paper the 77D's sensor looks to be the very same 24.2-megapixel one as you'll find in the 80D. That's not precisely the case, however, as it's a new construction, paired with the latest Digic 7 processor.
Will that make a huge difference to imaging potential? We doubt it. After all, despite Digic 7's higher speed as a processor, the 77D's maximum six frames per second (6fps) is one less than the older 80D's 7fps. Each camera has to find its own place in the lineup at the end of the day.
We're reaching a point where sensors of the same size, resolution and era are rendering results much the same as one another. There might be the smallest difference in the 77D's capability versus the 80D, but we suspect people won't know by eye. If you're tossing up which of the two cameras to buy then image quality shouldn't really come into it.
Canon continues its wont-do-4K approach in its DSLR lineup, however, a treat it reserves for its Cinema range. The 77D can muster 1080p at up to 60fps though, which is nothing to shake a stick at.
Want to buy an 80D but don't want the weather-sealed design? Then buy the 77D and save some cash. That's the approximate long and short of it, as these two cameras are mighty similar.
Ok, so the 77D lacks the top-end viewfinder with 100 per cent field-of-view, and it's not quite as fast either, but the differences between the two cameras are relatively marginal.
Which, all-in, makes for an impressive mid-ranger. The responsive 45-point autofocus system, vari-angle touchscreen and (ought to be) great image quality are all the hallmarks that many will be seeking from such a camera. And for less cash than the 80D? Can't argue with that.
However, we do wonder if Canon's burgeoning range is now a little too expansive and, therefore, confusing. With the 80D, 77D, 800D and 760D all rather close in their offerings you'll need to know precisely what you want from your kit to make the considered choice. But having choices in life isn't always a bad thing (and with Nikon's presence rarely apparent of late, Canon is making a shelf-nabbing move here).