Canon 77D Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Canon 77D's image quality to its predecessor's, the T6s, as well as against several competing APS-C models -- and one full-frame camera for good measure -- which all sit at similar price points or product categories: the Nikon D5600, Pentax K-3 II, Sony A6300 and Sony A7. (You may be wondering why we included higher-end models like the Pentax K-3 II and full-frame Sony A7 in the mix; the reason is at the time of writing they are priced very similarly to the 77D.)

NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved: click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page: Canon 77D, Canon T6s, Nikon D5600, Pentax K-3 II, Sony A6300 and Sony A7 -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Canon 77D to any camera we've ever tested!

Canon 77D vs Canon T6s at Base ISO

Canon 77D at ISO 100
Canon T6s at ISO 100

Here, we compare the 77D to its true predecessor, the T6s. Both use a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor with optical low-pass filter, although the 77D's sensor appears to be tweaked. The 77D uses a newer processor as well, the DIGIC 7 versus DIGIC 6 for the T6s. As you can see above, image quality at base ISO has changed little, with just slight differences in color and contrast. The T6s appears to do a bit better with our tricky red-leaf fabric, though.

Canon 77D vs Nikon D5600 at Base ISO

Canon 77D at ISO 100
Nikon D5600 at ISO 100

While both cameras here feature 24-megapixel APS-C sensors, the Nikon D5600's sensor lacks an optical low-pass filter, unlike the 77D's. This, along with different approaches to default sharpening and noise reduction, allow the D5600 to produce a much crisper image than the 77D here in this base ISO comparison. Sharpening halos are obvious from both cameras, but the Nikon uses a slightly smaller radius with higher contrast. Noise in flatter areas is a bit higher from the Nikon as well.

Canon 77D vs Pentax K-3 II at Base ISO

Canon 77D at ISO 100
Pentax K-3 II at ISO 100

Above we compare the 77D to another 24-megapixel APS-C DSLR, the Pentax K-3 II. The K-3 II is in a higher class, however it is currently selling for not much more than the 77D, so we decided to include it. The Pentax features an on-demand anti-aliasing filter, which has been turned off for maximum sharpness in these shots. As you can see, like the Nikon, the Pentax produces a sharper, more detailed image with fewer sharpening artifacts, however noise is a little higher, contrast is a little lower, and colors are less accurate than the Canon.

Canon 77D vs Sony A6300 at Base ISO

Canon 77D at ISO 100
Sony A6300 at ISO 100

Although we believe the Sony A6300's 24-megapixel APS-C sensor has an optical low-pass filter, it must be a fairly weak one. Again, the big difference is in processing, as the Sony's default sharpening is so much better than the Canon's, producing a crisper, more detailed image with almost no sharpening artifacts and lower noise. We still prefer the color from the Canon better, though, as it has much less of a yellow to green shift, and is generally more vibrant as well.

Canon 77D vs Sony A7 at Base ISO

Canon 77D at ISO 100
Sony A7 at ISO 100

Some may think a comparison to a full-frame camera really isn't fair, but the 24-megapixel Sony A7 is selling for the exact same price at the time of writing, so we decided to include it anyway. As you can see, the Sony A7 already outperforms the 77D here at base ISO, with better sharpness, more detail, lower noise and fewer artifacts, and the difference will become even more apparent as ISO rises. Moiré patterns in the red-leaf swatch are however more visible from the A7, but that will vary with distance, lens, focus and subject matter so we won't hold that against the Sony here as it has an optical low-pass filter as well.

Canon 77D vs Canon T6s at ISO 1600

Canon 77D at ISO 1600
Canon T6s at ISO 1600

Generally very similar image quality here at ISO 1600 from the two siblings, with just slight improvements to color, contrast and noise from the 77D, however the T6s holds on to noticeably more detail in our tricky red-leaf fabric.

Canon 77D vs Nikon D5600 at ISO 1600

Canon 77D at ISO 1600
Nikon D5600 at ISO 1600

The D5600 continues to deliver a much crisper image with better fine detail and similar noise levels in flatter areas here at ISO 1600, however the 77D does noticeably better in our troublesome red-leaf swatch.

Canon 77D vs Pentax K-3 II at ISO 1600

Canon 77D at ISO 1600
Pentax K-3 II at ISO 1600

Here at ISO 1600, the K-3 II delivers a slightly sharper image with better detail (except in our read-leaf swatch), along with fewer noise reduction artifacts, however noise is a bit higher, particularly in dark areas. Color and contrast continue to be more pleasing from the Canon.

Canon 77D vs Sony A6300 at ISO 1600

Canon 77D at ISO 1600
Sony A6300 at ISO 1600

Apart from color, the A6300 easily comes out ahead here, with a much sharper, crisper image with better detail. Noise is lower as well, though the Sony's noise "grain" isn't quite as regular and film-like as the Canon's.

Canon 77D vs Sony A7 at ISO 1600

Canon 77D at ISO 1600
Sony A7 at ISO 1600

As expected, there's no contest here at ISO 1600 between the APS-C 77D and full-frame A7, though artifacts from the A7's noise reduction do look a bit unnatural in flatter areas.

Canon 77D vs Canon T6s at ISO 3200

Canon 77D at ISO 3200
Canon T6s at ISO 3200

Again, just minor improvements in noise handling, contrast and color here at ISO 3200 over its predecessor.

Canon 77D vs Nikon D5600 at ISO 3200

Canon 77D at ISO 3200
Nikon D5600 at ISO 3200

The D5600 continues to deliver a sharper, crisper image with slightly better detail and contrast in most areas here at ISO 3200 , however sharpening halos are much more visible.

Canon 77D vs Pentax K-3 II at ISO 3200

Canon 77D at ISO 3200
Pentax K-3 II at ISO 3200

Similar to what we saw at ISO 1600, the Pentax K-3 II's image at ISO 3200 contains more detail, but luminance noise is also much more visible and not as uniform as the Canon's. Almost all detail is lost by the Pentax in our red-leaf swatch, while the 77D manages to produce a more reasonable facsimile. Color also remains much better from the Canon.

Canon 77D vs Sony A6300 at ISO 3200

Canon 77D at ISO 3200
Sony A6300 at ISO 3200

The Sony A6300 continues to produce a crisper, more detailed image than the 77D at ISO 3200, however its area-specific noise reduction generates more artifacts in flatter areas and along edges than Canon's more traditional approach to noise reduction. The 77D blurs our tricky red-leaf fabric quite a bit at ISO 3200, but much of the Sony's apparent detail in that fabric is false.

Canon 77D vs Sony A7 at ISO 3200

Canon 77D at ISO 3200
Sony A7 at ISO 3200

Unsurprisingly, still no contest here, with the full-frame A7 producing a much cleaner, crisper, much more detailed image but with a more processed look to flatter areas.

Canon 77D vs. Canon T6s, Nikon D5600, Pentax K-3 II, Sony A6300, Sony A7

Canon
77D
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
T6s
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Nikon
D5600
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Pentax
K-3 II
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
A6300
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
A7
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. High-contrast detail is also important, pushing the camera in different ways, so we like to look at it separately here. As you can see, the 77D starts out with higher contrast than the T6s, but more importantly image quality doesn't drop off as much as the T6s' as ISO climbs. The D5600 is very crisp and detailed across all three ISOs, however sharpening halos are the most intrusive of the bunch. The Pentax K-3 II lags in contrast at base ISO but detail is very good, however image quality does fall off more than most of the others as ISO climbs. The Sony A6300 does very well, offering excellent detail and contrast with few sharpening halos and little drop-off in quality as sensitivity is increased. The full-frame Sony A7 is of course the winner here, offering the best detail and contrast across all three ISOs.

 

Canon 77D Print Quality Analysis

Very nice 30 x 40 inch prints at ISO 100/200/400; a good 16 x 20 inch print at ISO 1600; and a usable 4 x 6 at ISO 25,600.

ISO 100 and 200 images look practically identical with tons of fine detail and vibrant colors that make excellent, large prints up to 30 x 40 inches. At this size, we're pushing the resolving power the 77D's 24MP APS-C sensor. At very close inspection, we can see the faintest hint of pixelation due to the large print size, but from a normal viewing distance for a print this big, the image quality looks great.

ISO 400 prints look very similar to the previous two ISOs. Comparing side-by-side, the ISO 400 image shows just a hint of softening due to a slight increase in noise compared to base ISO. However, the effect is so minimal that it doesn't impact print sizes, and we're happy with 30 x 40 inch prints at this ISO, as well.

ISO 800 images begin to show some visible noise and subsequent softening of fine detail. The overall image quality is still very good, allowing this ISO to make pleasing, high quality prints at up to 20 x 30 inches. A 24 x 36 inch print looks quite good, too, but the noise might be a bit too strong for the most critical applications, so we'll play it safe by calling it at the next size down.

ISO 1600 prints follow a similar pattern to the previous ISO; noise is stronger now, and while a 20 x 30 inch print might work with careful processing, we're putting the check-mark next to 16 x 20 inches. At this size, noise is well-controlled and detail looks crisp, whereas things looks a bit too noisy and soft at the larger size.

ISO 3200 images begin to display rather strong noise, especially in the shadows, and the detail loss from noise and NR processing is noticeable at larger print sizes. At this ISO an 11 x 14 inch print looks nice, although for less critical applications a 13 x 19 might work.

ISO 6400 prints top-out at 8 x 10 inches, which is rather impressive for an intermediate-level APS-C camera. Noise is quite problematic, though, if you attempt larger prints, with noticeable detail loss/softening and visible noise grain. Colors have also taken on a subtle blandness compared to the vibrancy of lower ISOs.

ISO 12,800 images are fairly noisy, but they still allow for a decent 5 x 7 inch print. There is adequate fine detail and okay color remaining at this ISO to most assuredly call it usable.

ISO 25,600 prints are usable at 4 x 6 inches; any larger and the images are very noisy and lacking in fine detail.

ISO 51,200 images, using the 77D's expanded ISO setting, are much too noisy and soft to be useful for printmaking. This ISO is best avoided if at all possible if you plan on printing your photos.

Sporting Canon's DIGIC 7 image processor and a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, the step-up DSLR beyond the entry-level Rebel series offers similar yet pleasing performance in the print quality department. Following other Canon 24MP APS-C models, the Canon 77D is capable of large, wall-sized prints (at least up to 30 x 40 inches) all the way until ISO 400. Visible ISO noise starts to creep in fairly early in the ISO range, but nevertheless, the 77D is capable of large prints as the ISO rises. For instance, you can easily get a great 16 x 20 inch print at ISO 1600 or even a pleasing 8 x 10 at ISO 6400. At the upper ends of the ISO range, prints get rather noisy and color vibrancy drops off slightly, yet it still managed a usable 4 x 6 at the camera's highest native ISO of 25,600. The expanded ISO 51,200 is not recommended for prints, however.

About our print-quality testing: Our "Reference Printer"

Testing hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer, which we named our "Printer of the Year" in our 2015 COTY awards.

The Canon PRO-1000 has a lot of characteristics that make it a natural to use for our "reference printer." When it comes to judging how well a camera's photos print, resolution and precise rendering are paramount. The PRO-1000's more than 18,000 individual nozzles combine with an air feeding system that provides exceptional droplet-placement accuracy. Its 11-color LUCIA PRO ink system delivers a wide color gamut and dense blacks, giving us a true sense of the cameras' image quality. To best see fine details, we've always printed on glossy paper, so the PRO-1000's "Chroma Optimizer" overcoat that minimizes "bronzing" or gloss differential is important to us. (Prior to the PRO-1000, we've always used dye-based printers, in part to avoid the bronzing problems with pigment-based inks.) Finally, we just don't have time to deal with clogged inkjet heads, and the PRO-1000 does better in that respect than any printer we've ever used. If you don't run them every day or two, inkjet printers tend to clog. Canon's thermal-inkjet technology is inherently less clog-prone than other approaches, but the PRO-1000 takes this a step further, with sensors that monitor every inkjet nozzle. If one clogs, it will assign another to take over its duties. In exchange for a tiny amount of print speed, this lets you defer cleaning cycles, which translates into significant ink savings. In our normal workflow, we'll often crank out a hundred or more letter-size prints in a session, but then leave the printer to sit for anywhere from days to weeks before the next camera comes along. In over a year of use, we've never had to run a nozzle-cleaning cycle on our PRO-1000.

See our Canon PRO-1000 review for a full overview of the printer from the viewpoint of a fine-art photographer.

*Disclosure: Canon provided us with the PRO-1000 and a supply of ink to use in our testing, and we receive advertising consideration for including this mention when we talk about camera print quality. Our decision to use the PRO-1000 was driven by the printer itself, though, prior to any discussion with Canon on the topic. (We'd actually been using an old Pixma PRO 9500II dye-based printer for years previously, and paying for our own ink, until we decided that the PRO-1000 was the next-generation printer we'd been waiting for.)

 



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