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Canon 77D: Camera for taking a step up - with a caveat

The Canon 77D serves its purpose but paying a bit more for the 80D might be a better move.
The Canon 77D serves its purpose but paying a bit more for the 80D might be a better move.PHOTO: CANON

The Canon 77D is a mid-range DSLR camera targeted at enthusiasts who are looking to make the step up from an entry-level camera.

It sits right in the middle between the entry-level 800D and the higher-end 80D, with a price difference of $200 from the two other models, and shares a 24.2-megapixel APS-C image sensor.

It also inherits the 45-point, all- hybrid, Dual-Pixel autofocus system from the 80D that gives great live-view focusing performance.

But the smaller 77D has a newer Digic 7 processor and a larger ISO range of 100 to 25,600 (51,200 expanded), compared with the Digic 6 processor and 100-12,800 (25,600 expanded) range of the Canon 80D.

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So for $200 less, what features are missing from the 77D? Among other features, it has a slower maximum shutter speed, a smaller optical viewfinder and lacks the weather sealing of its elder brother.

But it does have some enthusiast-friendly features, such as the fully-articulating 3-inch touchscreen. There is no 4K, but it can shoot video in full HD up to 60 frames per second (fps).

Handling is very good, with a deep grip and a light body made of composite material that does not feel cheap.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $1,249 (body only); $1,449 (with EF-S 18-55 IS STM kit lens)

    IMAGE SENSOR: 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS

    SCREEN: 3-inch articulating touchscreen LCD with

    1,040,000 dots; optical viewfinder with 95% coverage and 0.51x magnification (35mm equivalent)

    SENSITIVITY: ISO 100 to 25,600 (51,200 expanded)

    SHOOTING SPEED: Up to 6 frames per second

    CONNECTIVITY: Wi-Fi, Near Field Communication and Bluetooth

    WEIGHT: 540g (body only, with battery and memory card)

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 3/5

However, other than the shutter button, it has only two buttons on the top plate for changing settings, compared with five for the 80D, although it has twin control dials which the 800D lacks.

In my shooting with the EF-S 18-55mm IS STM kit lens, I missed having a dedicated button to change the metering mode quickly.

Changing the drive mode also required looking at the back LCD screen, which might slow down some shooters. This is because the top panel LCD shows only main settings, like ISO, shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation, and not drive or AF modes.

In bright sunlight, autofocus was close to instantaneous. In a dark room, grabbing focus took an average of 0.5sec with the help of the AF-assist beam. Focusing using the live view was also a breeze, although using the viewfinder was still noticeably quicker.

Image quality is superb, with typically pleasing Canon colours. The resolution is sharp, with great details.

Noise performance is good. Noise starts to creep in at ISO 1,600, but for Web use, ISO 6,400 is still usable.

Battery life is fair, rated at around 600 shots with the viewfinder. Its closest Nikon rival, the D5600, is rated for 970 shots.

In my tests with a UHS-I SD card rated with a write speed of at least 10MB per second, it was able to capture 22 RAW images in 4.3sec before the buffer was full. This was about five frames per second, less than the advertised six. Better performance can be expected with a faster card.

In my view, those who are upgrading from a more beginner-friendly camera would be better served by paying a bit more for an 80D, with its better build quality and more dedicated controls.

Those buying their first DSLR camera would have to decide if more subtle features like having twin control dials and top LCD panel is worth the small premium from the 800D.

• Verdict: Few people would be disappointed with the 77D as their first serious camera, but more experienced shooters will crave more direct controls and features.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2017, with the headline 'Camera for taking a step up - with a caveat'. Print Edition | Subscribe