Body & design
Control points on the Canon EOS 80D are nearly identical to its predecessor, the EOS 70D. In fact, with the exception of a change in the physical shape of the Q Menu and Playback button, you’d be hard pressed to tell the 80D apart from the 70D, in terms of physical design and button placement.
There are a couple of other subtle differences between the two though, like the addition of a headphone port on the 80D as well as an extra custom spot on the mode dial (‘effects’ has also been added to the mode dial).
Top of camera
From the top, the 80D looks just like the 70D. On the left side of the camera is the mode dial, which has a locking mechanism to avoid accidental bumps. On the right side of the camera, along the LCD, you’ll find direct access to AF mode, Drive, ISO and Metering. None of these buttons can be reassigned, but given how EOS DSLRs have evolved over the past couple of decades we didn’t expect them to be. To the right of the Metering mode button is the LCD panel illumination button.
In-between the control dial and shutter release is the AF area selection button. It is specifically meant to be used with one’s eye to the finder. Tapping it allows users to jump between the four AF area modes quickly (modes are displayed in the top of the finder when the button is hit).
Of the buttons offered along the top right portion of the camera, only the ISO and AF area selection button can be used with one’s eye to the finder. The rest require looking at the top LCD to change.
|The 80D (left) offers quite a few more direct control points than the Rebel T6S (right).|
If you’re considering the 80D as an upgrade to one of Canon’s Rebel-series cameras you’ll get quite a few more physical control points. Even an upgrade from the current flagship Rebel T6s (which has two control wheels) gains you an AF-On button, AF Mode button, Drive button and Metering button. An upgrade from any other Rebel camera will double your number of control wheels.
Back of camera
|The 80D (left) has an articulating touch LCD, but no AF joystick, while the 7D Mark II (right) has an AF joystick but no articulating touchscreen.|
Ergonomically, the major thing that you sacrifice by choosing the 80D over the 7D Mark II is an AF selection joystick. There are, however, several options for moving your point or zone around the frame. The default method involves hitting the AF Point Selection button and then using the control dial and Multi-controller to move up/down and left/right. You can also reprogram the Multi-controller’s arrow keys to move your AF point, but that can be uncomfortable to reach.
When I started this review, I also found the location of the AF-On button to be a little confusing, especially with the other two identically sized buttons next to it. This often resulted in me hitting the wrong button when I meant to hit AF-On. And was especially true with my eye to the finder.
Of course, in addition to physical buttons, the 80D also has a touchscreen where most settings can be adjusted with the press of a finger. You can read more about its functionality here.
In your hand
|The 80D is a very comfortable camera to use either single-handed or with two hands. It is surprisingly light, likely due to its polycarbonate/magnesium body construction. Despite this, it still feels very well-built and solid in hand.|
The majority of control points on the 80D are well-placed and easy to access without much fuss. However, if you opt to set the multi-controller as your AF point selector, it can be very difficult to access with one’s eye to the finder. It requires a fairly large downwards movement of your thumb.