Canon 77D Conclusion

by | Posted 03/16/2018

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM at 62mm (96mm eq.), f/5.0, 1/500s, ISO 200.
Click for full-res image.

The Canon 77D is an interesting model for the EOS family, sitting in between the entry-level Rebel series and more advanced consumer models like the 70D and 80D. It seems Canon introduced a little model name confusion back in 2015 with the introduction of both the Rebel T6i and Rebel T6s cameras. For the most part, these two DSLRs were strikingly similar, with the same sensor, processor, performance and image quality. The T6s was aimed at intermediate photographers, though, and featured design changes like a top-deck status LCD and upgraded rear controls more akin to higher-end EOS models. This time around, we get the follow-up to the T6i in the Rebel T7i, and yet the Rebel T6s successor receives a nomenclature change, to 77D.

Despite the plan to separate and perhaps elevate the 77D from more entry-level Rebel models, the change is mostly in name, as the 77D looks, feels and has (or lacks) features more akin to its Rebel siblings than the 80D, for example. Nevertheless, the 77D hits a nice sweet spot for those step-up users who want a more advanced APS-C DSLR at a sub-$1000 price point.

Image Quality

When it comes to image quality, the 77D uses a newer 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor similar to a number of other current Canon APS-C cameras. In addition, the 77D gains an upgrade to its image processor, going from a DIGIC 6 chip in the T6s (and 80D, in fact) to a faster DIGIC 7 processor. The result of this new imaging pipeline is slightly higher-quality photos. We see an improvement in dynamic range at lower ISOs, and also a slight improvement in high ISO performance compared to the T6s. However, the 77D's dynamic range and high ISO capabilities are still not quite as good as competing cameras from some other manufacturers.

The 77D's 24MP sensor is capable of capturing detail-rich images when you pair the camera with a sharp lens. However, straight-from-camera JPEGs appear slightly soft, which is due in part to the optical low-pass filter that's used to reduce moiré and other aliasing artifacts. By default, the 77D uses a somewhat unsophisticated sharpening algorithm which is another reason JPEG images appear a little soft when viewed at 100%, while producing obvious sharpening halos along high-contrast edges. However, thanks to the upgraded processor, the 77D supports Canon's more advanced 'Fine Detail' Picture Style. This gives you more control over in-camera sharpening, offering better fine detail reproduction with fewer artifacts if you don't fancy editing RAW files. For maximum image quality, though, processing the 77D's CR2 files via a good RAW converter still gives you more flexibility and superior results, especially at higher ISOs.

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM at 69mm (107mm eq.), f/5.0, 1/250s, ISO 100.
Click for full-res image.

Performance

Thanks to the new DIGIC 7 processor, the 77D gains some nice performance improvements and new features compared to its predecessor, for both photos and video. For starters, the burst rate gets a moderate increase, from a tested 4.8fps to 6fps, which isn't super-quick, but good for this class of camera. More noticeably, though, we saw a big improvement in buffer depth for RAW files. JPEG buffer depth was pretty much unlimited for both the T6s and 77D with a fast UHS-I card, however RAW buffer depth went from a paltry six shots to a very healthy 23 shots in our tests, despite the faster burst rate.

For video, the newer processor now gives the 77D the ability to shoot Full HD video up to 60fps, which is nice, but the camera still lacks 4K capabilities. The inclusion of Dual Pixel CMOS AF provides excellent, fast autofocus and subject tracking for video as well as live-view stills shooting; a great upgrade over the T6s' less capable Hybrid CMOS AF III autofocus system. The 77D's conventional through-the-viewfinder autofocus system is fast and generally works very well. Here, too, the 77D offers a noticeable upgrade to a 45-point AF system from a 19-point system in the T6s.

Although significantly improved compared to the T6s, the 77D's battery life is still pretty underwhelming for a DSLR at just around 600 shots per charge (with the OVF). It still uses a smaller LP-E17 battery pack like the T6s and most of Canon's mirrorless models.

Miniature Effect: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM at 85mm (132mm eq.), f/6.3, 1/400s, ISO 200.
Click for full-res image.

Summary

As mentioned, the design of the 77D is very similar to the T6s. It's an overall compact design, much like the Rebel T7i, but with the notable addition of a top status LCD, more physical controls and a few extra features. Despite the naming, the 77D still shares more in common with the Rebel line than it does with higher-end models like the 80D. Battery life is noticeably worse than Canon's higher-end DSLRs, the 77D's pentamirror viewfinder is small and not very accurate, the maximum shutter speed tops-out at 1/4000s, there's no AF fine tuning, and the body lacks weather-sealing, just to name a few of the more Rebel-like attributes.

That said, for a consumer-level DSLR, the Canon 77D ticks a lot of boxes, making it a well-rounded, versatile camera. It may not have all the bells and whistles nor the most cutting-edge features and technology, but the 77D is a quality DSLR with the expansive EOS ecosystem behind it and comes at a reasonable price point. For those with a Rebel-series camera from the last couple of years or so, especially the T6s, the 77D may not offer enough new features or performance improvements to warrant an upgrade. But for those with an older Rebel series model, or anyone wanting to advance their skills beyond what a smartphone or compact camera can provide, the 77D makes a great choice.

The T6s earned a Dave's Pick in 2015, and with the improvements made to this model, the Canon 77D gets the nod from us once again.

 

Pros & Cons

  • Improved dynamic range over its predecessor
  • Slightly improved high ISO performance
  • Supports Fine Detail Picture Style for better JPEG sharpening than default settings
  • "White Priority" Auto White Balance options helps avoid overly warm colors in incandescent lighting
  • Quick power-up
  • Swift cycle times
  • Fast AF speeds
  • Low shutter lag
  • Good 6 fps burst speed for its class
  • Decent RAW buffer depths, much improved over its predecessor
  • 45 cross-type AF points
  • Dual Pixel AF provides excellent live view/movie autofocus
  • Tilt-swivel touchscreen LCD
  • Top panel status display
  • Locking mode dial
  • Second control dial
  • AF-ON button for back-button focusing
  • Built-in intervalometer for both stills and in-camera time-lapse movies
  • In-camera HDR modes
  • Pop-up flash can act as remote flash commander
  • Built-in Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth
  • 1080p video up to 60fps
  • Lightweight & easy to handle
  • Dynamic range and high ISO performance still not as good as some competitors
  • Default JPEGs a bit soft
  • Small and inaccurate pentamirror viewfinder
  • Mediocre battery life for a DSLR (but still much improved over T6s)
  • Top shutter speed of 1/4000s
  • Top flash x-sync of 1/200s
  • Auto ISO only offers max setting
  • No AF fine-tuning
  • No 4K video
  • No headphone jack
  • Not weather sealed


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