Canon Chases Filmmakers With The Slick New 80D DSLR

Canon’s very happy with all the people clamoring to buy their cameras for filmmaking despite not necessarily knowing what words like “rolling shutter” and “aperture” mean. Their latest DSLR is perhaps more explicitly geared towards filmmakers than any camera it’s released made before.

The Canon EOS 80D follows in the footsteps of the very affordable and very excellent 60D and 70D DSLRs. (And yes, these have mirrors in them — Canon has yet to go all-in on mirrorless shooters.) It’s a crop-sensor camera, which means it shoots less of what is in front of it — it also means it’s a helluva lot cheaper than the professional “full-frame” models like the Canon 5D series. To be precise, it’s a 24.2 megapixel APS-C sensor, for those of you keeping count.

The biggest improvement on this camera is the much improved autofocus system. Utilising the dual pixel sensor first introduced in the 70D, the 80D manages to squeeze in 45 autofocus points. The 70D, by comparison, has a respectable 19 points of focus.

You can't see the 45 points of autofocus, but they're there.

You can’t see the 45 points of autofocus, but they’re there.

The camera also adds another critical detail that’s important for filmmaking: a Headphone jack, so you can monitor the audio that’s being recorded by either built-in or external microphones.

Overall, this is a solid camera, especially if you’re in the market for a midrange shooter with some powerful filmmaking powers. That said, Canon’s hardly reinventing the wheel here. The 80D is merely a solid improvement on an already solid camera. There’s no word on price but the 70D launched at $US1099 ($1,532) and the comparable Nikon D5500 launched at $US849 ($1,184).

While we’re on the topic of things that are solid but unremarkable, let’s turn our attention briefly to the Canon G7 x Mark II that ships in May for $US700 ($976). We dug the hell out of the Mark I back in 2014 and, barring some awful and unforeseen issue with its improved face tracking we’ll probably like the G7x Mark II too.

Which is why we’re pleasantly distracted by the accessories Canon announced. Besides a new kit lens (18-135 f/3.5-5.6 USM), which will be great for people who don’t know anything about lenses, Canon also announced its own shotgun mic (DM-E1) for $US249 ($347) and Power Zoom Adaptor (PZ-E1) for $US119.99 ($167). Both accessories are worthless for budding wedding photographers, but super budget friendly accoutrements a filmmaker might enjoy.

Those same filmmakers could go spend more money: they could get a proper audio set up and hire someone to pull focus for them. Or they could spend $US369 ($514) and be “good enough.” Canon’s banking on that and there are rumours that this is just the first volley in a new war for filmmakers’ money. Get your wallet ready.