30 second Canon 77D review…
The Canon EOS 77D is the update to Canon’s 760D, the company’s most advanced entry-level DSLR or entry-level enthusiast model depending upon your point of view. It sits above the Canon EOS 800D / Rebel T7i announced at the same time to replace the EOS 750D / Rebel T6i.
Internally the 77D has a lot in common with the Canon 80D above it in the range, but the 24.Mp sensor is new and there’s a Digic 7 processing engine, which means that the new camera is capable of producing slightly higher quality images.
Canon has also updated the 760D’s reflex mode AF system with a 45-point system that’s sensitive down to -3EV. It’s also capable of getting fast moving subjects in focus at the camera’s top continuous shooting rate of 6fps.
The exposure metering system is also good and in the default settings the camera usually delivers attractive images with pleasant colours. There’s plenty of detail visible and noise is controlled well thorough the majority of the native sensitivity (ISO) range.
Canon 77D Review: Key Features
|Camera Name||Canon EOS 77D|
|Date announced||15th Feb 2017|
|Price at launch||£829.99/$TBC (body only), £919.99/$TBC (with EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM), £1,199.99/$TBC (with EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM)|
|Sensor size||APS-C (22.3 x 14.9mm)|
|Effective pixel count||24.2 million|
|Viewfinder||Optical with pentamirror 95% coverage|
|Sensitivity range||ISO 100-25600 expandable to ISO 51,200|
|Reflex AF system||45-cross-type, (45 f/5.6 cross-type AF points, 27 f/8 points (9 cross-type), centre point is f/2.8 and f/5.6 dual cross-type)|
|Live View AF system||Dual Pixel CMOS AF system with 49 points|
|Monitor||Touch sensitive, vari-angle 3.2-inch Clear View LCD II with 1,040,000 dots|
|Max shooting rate||6fps for up to 110 jpegs or 25 raw files|
|Max video resolution||Full HD (1920 x 1080) at up to 60p|
|Dimensions||131.0 x 99.9 x 76.2 mm|
|Weight||540 g (CIPA testing standard, including battery and memory card)|
In February 2015 Canon introduced the Canon 750D and 760D, two DSLRs aimed at beginners looking to take more creative images. While the two models were very similar, the 760D was a little more sophisticated, having a secondary LCD screen on the top-plate and a Quick Control dial on the back. The Canon EOS 77D is the replacement for the Canon 760D while the Canon 800D replaces the 750D. Canon lists the 77D as an enthusiast-level camera.
Canon 77D Review: Sensor
Like the 760D, the Canon 77D (and the Canon 800D and EOS M6 announced at the same time) have APS-C format sensors with 24.2 million pixels. Canon is staying tight-lipped about the differences, but we’re told it’s a new sensor with a new design.
This sensor is coupled with a Digic 7 processor and together the two devices bring a boost in speed, improved noise control in low light and better autofocus performance. Consequently, the Canon 77D has a standard sensitivity range of ISO 100-25600 (higher than the Canon 80D’s), that’s 1EV higher than the Canon 760D’s native range. The 77D’s extended range also goes up to to ISO 51,200, 1EV higher than the ISO 25,600 maximum of the 760D.
The Digic 7 processor also enables a faster frame rate than the 760D, 6fps (frames per second) versus 5fps. The 77D can maintain this rate until the card is full with jpegs or 27 raw files, the increase in the raw file burst depth is particularly attractive.
Canon 77D Review: Autofocus
Canon has improved the 77D’s autofocus systems over the 760D’s. While the 760D has a 19-point (all cross-type) system for use when shooting using the viewfinder, the 77D has a 45-point system. All of these points are cross type with lenses that have a maximum aperture of f/5.6, 27 of them operate with lens and teleconverter combinations that have a maximum aperture of f/8, with 8 being cross type at this aperture. Meanwhile the centre point is dual cross type at f/2.8. This means that as well has having more points than the 760D, the 77D’s AF system is better able to detect subjects and as it’s sensitive down to -3EV, it’s better in low light.
When the viewfinder is in use there are four AF Area Selection modes available, Single-point AF (Manual selection), Zone AF (Manual selection of Zone), Large Zone AF (Manual selection of zone) and Automatic selection AF.
Like other DSLRs, in live view and video mode the 77D uses the imaging sensor for autofocusing. Rather than the Hybrid CMOS III AF system of the 760D, the 77D has a Dual Pixel CMOS AF system with 49 points. That means there’s phase detection focusing in live view and video mode, just as there is with the Canon 5D Mark IV and Canon 1Dx Mark II.
In live view mode the autofocus can be set to Face Detection and Tracking, Smooth zone or Live 1-point AF.
Canon 77D Review: Video and connectivity
At odds with most other manufacturers, Canon hasn’t given the 77D 4K video shooting capability, preferring instead to stick with Full HD (1920 x 1080) at up to 60p. I’m surprised that the company hasn’t felt the need to move with the times a little more in this regard.
However, Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth connectivity is built-in with the latter being ‘always on’ to allow you to browse images on the camera on your smart phone or tablet without having to even touch the camera (provided it’s in sleep mode rather than turned off).
The Bluetooth connectivity is also used with the new optional Remote Controller BR-E1. Again if the camera is in sleep mode, this can be used to bring the camera to life and start shooting.
Meanwhile NFC enables speedy connections to other NFC devices, including the Canon Connect Station, while Wi-Fi is used to transfer images wirelessly.
Canon 77D Review: Build and Handling
The Canon EOS 77D is intended as a smaller, lighter alternative to the Canon 80D and at 540g, it’s 190g lighter. That’s a significant difference, if you hold it without a battery or lens attached it’s surprisingly light.
The chassis is made from aluminium alloy and polycarbonate resin with glass fibre while the exterior is polycarbonate resin with glass fibre. It’s rather plasticky to the touch and lacks the solid feel of a camera like the Canon 5D Mark IV, but there’s a good deep grip to keep it safe and comfortable in your hand. I found I can happily go for a walk with the 77D in my hand while a large lens like the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM II is mounted.
Apart from the addition of a Creative Filters option on the exposure mode dial, the control arrangement of the 77D is the same as the 760D. That means that the mode dial is on the left of the top-plate (as you hold the camera) and there’s a secondary LCD screen on the right three buttons along its top edge to access the autofocus area and sensitivity options and activate the screen light.
Meanwhile on the back of the camera there’s a lockable knurled Quick Control Dial around the navigation pad, which also gives shortcut access to the drive mode, white balance, autofocus and Picture Control options. There are additional buttons activate the Wi-Fi system, start Live View, and open the main or Quick Menus as well as trigger the AF system, lock exposure, access the AF area selection modes, review images and zoom in or out. The usual fare, and everything is within easy reach.
One feature from more advanced Canon cameras that I miss with the 77D is the ability to set AF point directly. Instead you have to press the AF point button then use the navigation buttons or scroll dials to select the point that you want. There’s no customisation option to allow you to do it directly with the navigation controls, the AF point button always has to be pressed first.
Canon 77D Review: Screen
As on the 760D, the Canon 77D has a vari-angle Clear View LCD II screen that is touch sensitive. Although it has the same dot-count (1,040,000), it’s a little bigger at 3.2-inches across the diagonal rather than 3. In live view mode you can tap the screen to select an AF point.
Canon implements touch-control very well in its mid-range cameras and it’s no different with the 77D. You can control just about every feature via the screen if you want as even the main menu responds to a tap. It’s a responsive screen and the vari-angle high ensures as clear view from a range of angles. As there’s also a healthy collection of buttons and dials you can choose how you want to control the camera, using physical controls or the touch-screen.
The Quick Control menu (activated by pressing the Q button) is useful for checking and adjusting key settings quickly – it’s perfectly suited for use with the touch-screen.
Like the 800D, the 77D has two different interface styles, Standard and Guided. As the more advanced model, the Canon 77D is set to the Standard interface by default but it’s easy to change it to the Guided version via the menu.
The Standard menu has the familiar Canon arrangement and is easy to navigate and locate the options you need. The Guided mode, which has a white background rather than the Standard Black, makes it easier for novice photographers to understand what adjustments are being made. In aperture priority, for example, it shows a scale from Blurred (background) to Sharp (background) with the information that a small f/no. will blur a background while a large f/no. will make it sharp. With f/9 selected on the camera, for example, there’s an additional message that the settings would keep the background sharp while avoiding camera shake.
Canon 77D Review: Viewfinder
As it’s a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera rather than a mirrorless model, the 77D has an optical viewfinder. This means that the image in the finder is reflected from a mirror and there’s no digital processing involved. Consequently there’s no lag and it’s easy to follow a fast moving subject, but you can’t see the impact of camera settings such as white balance or Picture Style. That means, for example, if you’re in Monochrome mode you’ll still see a colour image in the viewfinder but you can see a black and white preview on the screen in live view mode.
Canon has opted for a more affordable pentamirror type viewfinder in the 77D rather than a pentaprism. This gives 95% coverage so you may find a few unexpected objects around the edges of your images.
It’s not the brightest viewfinder, but it’s still good.
Canon 77D Review: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
Canon’s Wi-Fi and always-on Bluetooth system is simple and easy to use. Images aren’t transferred automatically in the background like they are with Nikon’s SnapBridge enabled cameras, but it works well and the connection is stable.
Canon 77D Review: Performance
In the majority of situations that I used the Canon 77D it produced attractive look images with little or no intervention on my part. With the possible exception of some shots I took in a heavily shaded conditions, the automatic white balance setting delivered appealing colours and even those images taken in shaded conditions are a good representation for the colours I saw at the time.
On the whole in its default settings the 77D can be relied upon to capture vibrant images.
The Canon EOS 77D has a lot in common with the Canon 80D and we found that camera keeps noise in good check throughout the native sensitivity range, which tops out at ISO 16,000. The maximum expansion setting, ISO 25,600, however is generally best avoided. That setting is the uppermost standard sensitivity setting for the 77D and while it should be used with caution, the results aren’t terrible. The main issue is out of focus details which can become a bit painterly in raw and jpeg files. If light levels are low, however, and you only want to use the image at a relatively small size, then ISO 25,600 is a useful option.
Noise is controlled well throughout the rest of the native sensitivity range. At normal viewing sizes raw files shot at ISO 12,800 have a slight texture of grain-like luminance noise but it’s not objectionable. Simultaneously captured jpegs have only a little noise and there’s a high level of detail visible. Jump down to ISO 6,400 and noise is only really visible when raw files are viewed at 100% on screen.
I took the 77D with me to Northumberland and when it was paired with the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II USM or the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM I found I was able to get sharp images of birds in flight during a trip to the Farne Islands. I also had the Sony A9 with me and the 77D suffered in comparison with Sony’s flagship camera, but then it costs more than £3,600 less.
In Automatic selection AF mode the 77D is able to select any of its 45 phase detection AF points to focus and it should be a good choice with subjects that move unpredictably. However, even when they were flying against a clear blue sky, the puffins were too fast for the camera to recognise and latch on. Switching to Single-point AF narrows the area down and gave the camera a fighting chance of getting birds sharp, but I’m out of practice at tracking birds and it was hard to keep them under the active point.
Zone AF mode made life easier, giving the camera a fairly small area to work with but me a bit more latitude. Between us we suffered many misses, some being my fault and other the camera’s, but there were enough hits for me to consider it a successful mission.
Turning the camera towards my pup narrows down the degree of movement in comparison with birds in flight and I had more success at keeping a single point or a zone over him as he ran across a beach or field. When the AF area was on him, the camera usually (but not always) got him sharp. On a clean sandy beach I found the Automatic selection AF mode put in a better performance with my dog than it did with the puffins, but there quite a few misses as well and there were some where the focus is on his body rather than his face. A meadow proved too distracting a background for Automatic selection AF mode.
Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF system that operates in live view and video mode has proved successful in the past and it’s the same in the 77D. It’s not the right option to use if you’re shooting sport or bounding dogs, but it’s capable of getting still or relatively slow-moving subjects sharp quickly and the face recognition can be useful in social situations.
In reflex mode (ie when the viewfinder is used to compose images), the 77D uses a 7560-pixel RGB+IR sensor to measure exposure. I found the general purpose Evaluative metering option to be very reliable and capable of delivering correctly exposed images in many situations, even when there are quite bright areas within the scene. It was only when shooting against a bright sky or sea that I really needed to dial in some exposure compensation.
While images from the 77D are usually well exposed and have a good range of tones and attractive contrast, they don’t have especially high latitude. Even images taken at ISO 100 can only withstand a relatively modest level of brightening, less than 2EV, before noise becomes noticeable. So while you don’t want to lose the highlights, it’s better to produce bright images that require some darkening than to shoot dark images that need brightening.
It’s disappointing that the 77D can’t capture 4K footage, but the Full HH footage is of high quality with pleasant colours that reflect the stills. As with still shot in live view mode, exposure can be judged by eye on-screen and using the histogram view but the camera generally makes a good assessment.
Canon 77D Review: Verdict
With the odd exception, the days of successive cameras having greater pixel counts are largely over – at least for now. With that in mind, the Canon EOS 77D makes a solid upgrade on the 760D. The sensor has been updated with a new design that delivers better image quality (at least at high ISO values) and there’s a faster processing engine. These elements also combine boost the continuous shooting rate. In addition, the AF systems have been improved, making them more versatile and responsive. Plus NFC, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity make sharing images via your phone, or controlling the camera remotely, very easy.
Canon is billing the 77D as the smaller, more compact alternative to the 80D and it is an attractive option, delivering much of the specification of the larger camera at a slightly lower price. However, with compact system cameras having increasingly better autofocus systems and electronic viewfinders that show the scene with camera settings applied, the 77D is up against some tough competition.