(Pocket-lint) - Now here's something we didn't expect: Canon unveiled not one, but two new mid-range DSLR cameras to its EOS lineup. The new EOS 750D and 760D are like the filling in a Canon sandwich, sat above the existing EOS 700D, but below the 70D in terms of rank.
The purpose of two? To give you more choice when it comes to selecting a DSLR design to suit your needs, despite the same core feature set. We got to see both models ahead of the official unveiling to see how they compare.
The first noticeable feature is that the 760D has an LCD top-plate, whereas the 750D does not. This places it as the more advanced and slightly pricier model of the two, making it easy to glance at and adjust key settings, even though to look at the typical Canon coated exterior of the two looks identical. It's not as high calibre as the 70D's weather-sealed construction, but is sturdy and does the job.
Using both cameras delivers the same experience in terms of capability. With a new 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor paired with the same 19-point cross-type autofocus system as found in the 70D, snapping subjects into focus in the dim-lit preview room was no problem at all.
But both cameras do feel very different to use, because of their layouts. The 760D, with its rear rotational d-pad, feels, to us, like the more accessible of the two models. The point isn't supposed to be that exactly, more that the 750D, with a stiff four-button d-pad (no rotational dial here), is the simpler model for less advanced users. We're not sure we buy that, given the feature set on offer, which perhaps brings into question the necessity of two models - that does mean a potentially confusing EOS lineup.
Top-down and other differences are clear between the two too (although the cameras are the same size, which from our shot appears deceptively false). The 760D has a press-to-lock mode dial, which we found very useful, while the 750D's mode dial is on the opposite side of the camera, complete with on-off-movie slide switch. The content of both mode dials is one and the same - with manual, scene, and custom modes available - it's just their positions that differ.
Both models have a vari-angle mounted LCD, complete with touchscreen control, which looks and feels much like the one on the 700D. It's easy to manipulate, pop out from a protective position into a more unusual angle for low-level or overhead capture. Works a treat.
The viewfinders, however, offer a 95 per cent field-of-view, meaning the outermost edge of a capture image won't show in the preview. At this £600+ price point that's no surprise, but it's not to the higher standard of the 70D, so something to keep in mind. Otherwise the optical finder quality is perfectly good, with the autofocus overlay easy to see when in use.
Elsewhere both cameras offer Wi-Fi, 5fps burst shooting, 1080p movie capture (with MP4 format and the usual 30/25/24fps capture options), and high-sensitivity to ISO 12,800 (expandable to 25,600).
Of the two the EOS 760D would get our backing, its £650 body-only asking price being just £50 more than the £600 750D. But take a browse online and the older 70D is a similar body-only price, leading to the question as to whether Canon genuinely needs so many subtle differentiations between its now very similar mid-range DSLR products. We like them both, but do more numbers simply bring more confusion?