Canon is keep­ing the D-SLR fires burn­ing with some well-judged mod­els, and the EOS 77D is tar­get­ing both be­gin­ners and bud­get-con­scious en­thu­si­asts.

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Canon is keep­ing the D-SLR fires burn­ing with some well-judged mod­els and the EOS 77D is tar­get­ing both be­gin­ners and bud­get-con­scious en­thu­si­asts. Clever ‘Guided’ dis­plays pro­vide in-cam­era tu­ition.

They’re tread­ing a fine line over at Canon at the mo­ment. They know they need to be in mir­ror­less cam­eras, but their D-SLR busi­ness is still do­ing very well, thanks for ask­ing. So it’s a bal­anc­ing act – keep the D-SLR sales mov­ing along prof­itably while sat­is­fy­ing Canon­istas who want to go mir­ror­less. To be hon­est, it’s all work­ing pretty well right now… the M5 and M6 are ar­guably just enough to sat­isfy the lat­ter while the re­cently-re­leased EOS 800D, 77D, 200D and 6D Mark II are de­signed to ei­ther at­tract new users or, more im­por­tantly, keep ex­ist­ing users in the Canon D-SLR fold. In­ter­est­ingly, these last new D-SLRs ac­tu­ally show that Canon prob­a­bly knows ex­actly what it’s do­ing in mir­ror­less cam­eras.

The EOS 800D and 77D also in­di­cate that Canon knows what it’s do­ing with its D-SLR pro­gram. Un­der the skin they’re es­sen­tially the same cam­era, but the 800D is an en­try-level model while the 77D is what Canon is call­ing “up­per en­try level”. In other words, it’s aimed at first-timers who have plans to be a bit more ad­ven­tur­ous with their pho­tog­ra­phy and also any­body ready to step up from an older en­try-level model. Con­se­quently, in re­al­ity, the 77D could also be con­sid­ered an en­try-level en­thu­si­ast model so it’s be­ing pack­aged with the more ver­sa­tile EF-S 18-135mm sta­bilised zoom (equiv­a­lent to 29-216mm) as an al­ter­na­tive to the new ver­sion of the EF-S 18-55mm stan­dard zoom which, in­ci­den­tally, is quite a lot more com­pact than its pre­de­ces­sor.

The EOS 77D is com­pact by D-SLR stan­dards, but still pretty bulky com­pared to a mir­ror­less

cam­era such as Canon’s own EOS M5… and that’s even be­fore con­sid­er­ing the smaller Mi­cro Four Thirds mod­els, so you’re re­ally go­ing to want to go down the re­flex route if you see this as your next in­ter­change­able lens cam­era. The op­ti­cal finder is a penta-mir­ror type, giv­ing 95 per­cent sub­ject cov­er­age and 0.82x mag­ni­fi­ca­tion and, of course, you can have an EVF via live view and the mon­i­tor screen.


As with all its re­cent D-SLRs, Canon has made live view much more ac­ces­si­ble and use­able, al­though it still in­volves mir­ror lock-up which is – both lit­er­ally and metaphor­i­cally – a bit clunky. Nev­er­the­less, the 77D’s mon­i­tor screen is ad­justable for both tilt and swing so its an­gle can be op­ti­mised for the best view­ing po­si­tion and, per­haps even more im­por­tantly, Canon’s ex­cel­lent ‘Dual Pixel CMOS’ de­liv­ers fast and ac­cu­rate phase-dif­fer­ence de­tec­tion aut­o­fo­cus­ing over a wider frame area with both live view and video record­ing.

The panel it­self has a res­o­lu­tion of 1.04 megadots – so the dis­play is nicely crisp – and pro­vides touch­screen con­trols which are ex­ten­sively im­ple­mented to in­clude very handy func­tions such as touch fo­cus­ing. In­clud­ing touch con­trols is a wise move on a con­tem­po­rary D-SLR – if you’re a tra­di­tion­al­ist, you don’t have to use them, but they’re sec­ond na­ture to the ‘smart­phone gen­er­a­tion’ and, it has to be said, also greatly en­hance op­er­a­tional ef­fi­cien­cies. How­ever, just for the tra­di­tion­al­ists, the EOS 77D sticks with a main mode dial ac­com­pa­nied by a monochrome read-out on the top plate. The lat­ter is left off the 800D, but both mod­els share an all-new, mon­i­tor-based user in­ter­face which re­places the stan­dard info screen with a ‘Guided’ dis­play. This is more graphic-based – rather than sim­ply pre­sent­ing a set of read-outs – and changes with the shoot­ing mode. For ex­am­ple, in shut­ter-pri­or­ity auto, the main el­e­ment of the Guided dis­play is a shut­ter speed scale with two run­ners de­picted at ei­ther end… blurred for the slow speeds (Canon uses the ad­jec­tive “flow­ing”) and frozen for the fast speeds. As you change shut­ter speeds, an in­dex mar­ket moves along the scale while a read-out panel be­low in­di­cates the po­ten­tial ap­pli­ca­tions – for ex­am­ple, “suit­able for pan­ning” when you’re in the range of 1/10 to 1/60 sec­ond. Any warn­ings ap­pear in plain English – for ex­am­ple, “im­ages will be un­der­ex­posed”. If you’re ready to go beyond your D-SLR’s fully au­to­matic con­trols, the Guided dis­plays serve as built-in tu­ition, par­tic­u­larly for con­cepts that can be quite mys­ti­fy­ing such as depth-of-field.

You can also switch the menus to a Guided dis­play, al­though this re­ally only ap­plies to the chap­ter head­ings, which are shown with big­ger graph­ics and a ba­sic de­scrip­tion of what’s cov­ered by these par­tic­u­lar set­tings. The menus them­selves are es­sen­tially un­changed, but with a brighter and breezier colour scheme. Ad­di­tion­ally, set­tings other than the de­faults are shown in a dif­fer­ent colour.

The Guided dis­plays aren’t re­ally any­thing to do with re­flex-ver­sus­mir­ror­less – as all in­ter­change­able lens cam­eras are sim­i­larly com­plex if you’ve sim­ply been point­ing and shoot­ing in the past – but it is a cred­itable at­tempt to make these D-SLRs more ac­ces­si­ble to be­gin­ners… and par­tic­u­larly those re­al­is­ing the lim­i­ta­tions of their smart­phones. And smart­phones are still the great­est chal­lenge for the cam­era in­dus­try right now.


The EOS 77D (and its 800D cousin) are built around a new ‘APS-C’ CMOS sen­sor with a to­tal pixel count of 25.8 mil­lion and an imag­ing area of 22.3x14.9 mm. It re­tains an op­ti­cal low-pass fil­ter and the sen­si­tiv­ity range is equiv­a­lent to ISO 100-25,600, ex­pand­able up to ISO 51,200. JPEGs can be cap­tured in one of four im­age sizes and two com­pres­sion set­tings plus there’s a choice of four as­pect ra­tios – 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 or 1:1. RAW files are cap­tured at the max­i­mum im­age size of 6000x4000 pix­els with 14-bit RGB colour. RAW+JPEG cap­ture is with a max­i­mum qual­ity JPEG file only.

The sen­sor is mated with Canon’s lat­est-gen ‘DiG!C 7’ pro­ces­sor which en­ables con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing at 6.0 fps – with full AF/AE ad­just­ment – and Full HD video record­ing at 50 or 60 fps (see the Mak­ing Movies panel for a full run-down of the 77D’s video ca­pa­bil­i­ties). Burst lengths are gen­er­ous and nudge 200 frames with JPEG cap­ture or up to 21 RAWs, even more with a UHS-I speed SDHC/XC mem­ory card. In­ter­est­ingly, the shoot­ing speed and burst lengths aren’t com­pro­mised by ap­ply­ing ex­tra in-cam­era pro­cess­ing to the JPEGs such as lens cor­rec­tions.


Most of Canon’s JPEG pro­cess­ing op­tions are pro­vided in the EOS 77D, namely the ‘Pic­ture Style’ pre­sets, the ‘Cre­ative Fil­ter’ ef­fects, the ‘Auto Light­ing Op­ti­miser’ and ‘High­light Tone Pri­or­ity’ pro­cess­ing for deal­ing with ex­po­sure and con­trast, both high ISO and long ex­po­sure noise re­duc­tion, and the afore­men­tioned lens cor­rec­tions which are for vi­gnetting, chro­matic aber­ra­tions, dis­tor­tion and dif­frac­tion.

What you don’t get is a stand­alone multi-shot HDR func­tion (it’s only avail­able as a non-ad­justable ‘Cre­ative Fil­ter’ ef­fect) or a mul­ti­ple ex­po­sure fa­cil­ity, but there is an in­ter­val­ome­ter… a fea­ture Canon now en­thu­si­as­ti­cally em­braces, hav­ing omit­ted it on even its higher-end D-SLRs for years.

There’s the cur­rent full suite of eight ‘Pic­ture Style’ pre­sets, in­clud­ing the Auto (which ad­justs each of the pa­ram­e­ters based on scene anal­y­sis) and Fine De­tail op­tions. The lat­ter does ex­actly what it says on the tin and pro­cesses the im­age for in­creased sharp­ness. The ad­justable pic­ture pa­ram­e­ters also in­clude the newer tweaks for more con­trol over sharp­ness, which are la­belled Strength, Fine­ness and Thresh­old. To­gether, these work in a sim­i­lar fash­ion to Pho­to­shop’s Un­sharp Mask­ing. There are also ad­just­ments for colour sat­u­ra­tion, hue and con­trast while the Monochrome pre­set re­places the first two with B&W con­trast fil­ters and ton­ing ef­fects. Up to three user-de­fined ‘Pic­ture Styles’ can be cre­ated and stored in-cam­era.

Ten ‘Cre­ative Fil­ter’ ef­fects are pro­vided and these in­clude the usual sus­pects such as Toy Cam­era, Minia­ture and Fish-Eye – with var­i­ous ad­just­ments – plus a se­lec­tion of four multi-shot HDR cap­ture set­tings. In lieu of any man­ual ad­just­ment, these vary the HDR ef­fect and the op­tions are called Art Stan­dard, Art Vivid, Art Bold and Art Em­bossed. With the ex­cep­tion of these HDR ef­fects, the ‘Cre­ative Fil­ters’ are avail­able post-cap­ture as in-cam­era edit­ing func­tions which is prob­a­bly where they’re more useful as you re­tain an orig­i­nal im­age.

Multi-shot cap­ture is also avail­able as an HDR Back­lit scene mode (three frames) and a Hand­held Night Scene mode which records four frames at a lower ISO and then com­bines them to build up the ex­po­sure, but with­out as much noise. As is the case on all its non-pro D-SLRs, Canon di­vides the 77D’s op­er­a­tions be­tween ‘Ba­sic Zone’ modes – which com­prises all the auto-only con­trol op­tions – and ‘Cre­ative Zone’ modes – which com­prises the ‘PASM’ modes for man­ual/semi­man­ual con­trol. The cross­over is a ‘Cre­ative Auto’ (CA) mode which is still es­sen­tially fully au­to­matic, but pro­vides for some ba­sic over­rides, in­clud­ing two called Am­bi­ence and Background Blur. There are nine Am­bi­ence set­tings; in­clud­ing Vivid, Soft, Warm, Cool, In­tense, Brighter, Darker and Monochrome. They’re all ad­justable too which, in the case of Monochrome, is a choice of sepia, neu­tral or blue ton­ing. Background Blur is ad­justable be­tween Blurred and Sharp over a short scale and is ob­vi­ously chang­ing aper­tures to al­ter the depth-of-field, but keep­ing things very sim­ple as far as the mon­i­tor dis­play is con­cerned.

Canon’s fully au­to­matic shoot­ing mode is known as ‘Scene In­tel­li­gent Auto’ these days and ex­tends to au­to­matic sub­ject mode se­lec­tion – es­sen­tially di­vided be­tween por­trait and non-por­trait – based on anal­y­sis from the aut­o­fo­cus­ing, me­ter­ing and white bal­ance mea­sure­ments. Of course, the stan­dard sub­ject modes are also man­u­ally se­lectable plus a few more spe­cialised sit­u­a­tions can be ac­cessed via the ‘Spe­cial Scene Mode’ po­si­tion on the main mode dial. These com­prise Group Photo, Kids, Food, Can­dle­light and Night Por­trait plus the HDR Back­lit and Hand­held Night Scene multi-shot modes men­tioned ear­lier.


Ex­po­sure con­trol is based on a ded­i­cated 7560 pix­els ‘RGB+IR’ sen­sor which pro­vides 63-seg­ment multi-zone me­ter­ing with the op­tion of se­lec­tive area, spot or cen­treweighted av­er­age mea­sure­ments. The pro­gram and semi-auto con­trol modes are sup­ple­mented by an AE lock, up to +/-5.0 EV of com­pen­sa­tion and auto brack­et­ing over three frames with an ad­just­ment of up to +/-2.0 EV. The shut­ter speed range is 30-1/4000 sec­ond with flash sync up to 1/200 sec­ond. The built-in flash has a met­ric guide num­ber of 12 (at ISO 100) with up to +/-2.0 EV of flash com­pen­sa­tion and man­ual out­put con­trol down to 1/128 of full power.

Aut­o­fo­cus­ing when us­ing the op­ti­cal viewfinder is via a 45 points sys­tem (all cross-type ar­rays) with low-light sen­si­tiv­ity down to -3.0 EV and the choice of man­ual or au­to­matic switch­ing be­tween the sin­gle-shot and con­tin­u­ous op­er­a­tions. The cen­tral point is a dual cross-type ar­ray for lenses with a max­i­mum aper­ture of f2.8 or faster while se­lected hor­i­zon­tal and ver­ti­cal ar­rays will still work with lens speeds as slow as f8.0 (for when a tele­con­verter is be­ing used).

The area modes com­prise sin­gle point se­lec­tion, Zone (a nine points clus­ter), Large Zone (15 points clus­ters) or the fully ar­ray (i.e. au­to­matic point se­lec­tion). As noted ear­lier, in live view – or when shoot­ing video – aut­o­fo­cus­ing is via Canon’s ‘Dual Pixel CMOS AF’ which main­tains phase-dif­fer­ence de­tec­tion mea­sure­ment, al­beit with a small drop in the max­i­mum con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing speed. As the ti­tle sug­gests, Canon’s ‘Dual Pixel CMOS’ sen­sors em­ploy a pair of pho­to­di­odes at each pixel point which are read sep­a­rately for phase-de­tec­tion aut­o­fo­cus­ing and to­gether for imag­ing. Frame cov­er­age is 80 per­cent and both face-de­tec­tion and auto track­ing modes be­come avail­able, along with Smooth Zone and Live 1-Point area modes. The Smooth Zone area again em­ploys a nine points clus­ter with the cam­era de­cid­ing ex­actly which of these points it needs to use.

The big plusses with live AF are the ca­pac­ity to se­lect the fo­cus­ing point or zone freely by tap­ping the touch screen which also achieves fo­cus­ing and, if ac­ti­vated, then au­to­mat­i­cally re­leases the shut­ter. Ad­di­tion­ally, with auto track­ing, you can tap to se­lect the sub­ject and then the cam­era ad­justs the fo­cus­ing zone’s size au­to­mat­i­cally as is re­quired when the sub­ject moves (like­wise with face recog­ni­tion).

A mag­ni­fied im­age – at ei­ther 5x or 10x – is avail­able to as­sist with both the au­to­matic and man­ual fo­cus­ing in live view, but there isn’t the op­tion of a fo­cus peak­ing dis­play which is a bit of a pity. How­ever, as we’ve noted with Canon’s lat­est mir­ror­less cam­eras, ‘Dual Pixel CMOS AF’ works bril­liantly… it’s fast, ac­cu­rate and very re­li­able when track­ing even fast­mov­ing sub­jects. Con­se­quently, iron­i­cally, the EOS 77D of­fers more flex­i­ble AF op­er­a­tions in its ‘mir­ror­less’ con­fig­u­ra­tion (i.e. when the re­flex mir­ror is locked up) than it does when us­ing the op­ti­cal viewfinder.

Me­ter­ing in live view is off the imag­ing sen­sor and pro­vides 315 mea­sur­ing zones, again with the choice of eval­u­a­tive, se­lec­tive area, spot and cen­tre-weighted av­er­age modes.

The white bal­ance con­trols in­clude the choice of ‘Am­bi­ence Pri­or­ity’ or ‘White Pri­or­ity’ modes for the au­to­matic cor­rec­tion. The lat­ter is the stan­dard way of do­ing things while the for­mer is a de­vel­op­ment of ‘keep warm colours’, but works with what­ever colour is pre­dom­i­nant in a scene. There are six light­ing pre­sets, fine-tun­ing and auto brack­et­ing (over three frames), but no man­ual colour tem­per­a­ture set­tings and only one cus­tom pre­set.

In The hand

The 77D’s poly­car­bon­ate body is not weather sealed, which is pre­sum­ably to avoid en­croach­ing too much into the pricier EOS 80D’s ter­ri­tory (be­cause, oth­er­wise, there’s a bit in com­mon on the in­side). There’s an alu­minium chas­sis un­der­neath so the cam­era still feels pretty solid over­all.

The hand­grip is a good size and is com­fort­able to hold. The ex­ter­nal con­trol lay­out cen­tres around a lock­ing main mode dial with a front in­put wheel nd Canon’s rear-mounted ‘Quick Con­trol’ dial which also serves as the nav­i­ga­tor pad for the menus.

All the key cap­ture-re­lated func­tions – such as sen­si­tiv­ity, white bal­ance, drive modes and AF area se­lec­tion – have ded­i­cated ex­ter­nal con­trols, which is just as well be­cause there’s only lim­ited scope for any cus­tomi­sa­tion.

The top LCD read-out panel is com­par­a­tively small, but still in­cludes all the im­por­tant stuff and has built-in il­lu­mi­na­tion. The mon­i­tor-based ‘Quick Con­trol Screen’ is much more extensive, but ob­vi­ously also much more power-hun­gry. How­ever, it’s also a con­trol screen so it’s much more useful too, pro­vid­ing di­rect ac­cess to a wide se­lec­tion of func­tions via the nav­i­ga­tional con­trols or, even more ef­fi­ciently, the touch screen. The menus can also be nav­i­gated by touch so Canon pro­vides users with var­i­ous ways of fly­ing the 77D… and which can be mixed and matched as de­sired.

The op­ti­cal viewfinder doesn’t have the ‘In­tel­li­gent Viewfinder’ over­lays of Canon’s higher-end D-SLRs, but you still get a fo­cus points dis­play, a grid guide, a sin­gleaxis level in­di­ca­tor and a ba­sic set of LCD read-outs. A level in­di­ca­tor can also be shown in the mon­i­tor screen, but de­spite a fairly elab­o­rate graphic, it’s still only sin­gle-axis too. The live view screen’s com­po­nents in­clude a level in­di­ca­tor (sin­gle-axis again), real-time his­togram, grid guide (se­lected from a choice of three) and var­i­ous sta­tus in­di­ca­tors.

Burst lengths are gen­er­ous and nudge 200 frames with JPeg caP­ture or uP to 21 raws, even more with a uhs-i sPeed mem­ory card.

LCD mon­i­tor screen has both tilt and swing move­ments. Panel it­self has a res­o­lu­tion of 1.04 megadots and touch screen con­trols. Stan­dard info dis­play also serves as the ‘Quick Con­trol Screen’ for quick ac­cess to many func­tions. Touch screen con­trols make for even more ef­fi­cient op­er­a­tions Sin­gle card slot for SD de­vices has UHS-I speed support. Rear con­trol lay­out is pretty much stan­dard Canon EOS D-SLR fare with the ‘Quick Con­trol Dial’ serv­ing as both the nav­i­ga­tor and four-way func­tion se­lec­tor.

Main mode dial locks at all its po­si­tions and is re­leased by de­press­ing the cen­tre but­ton. Top deck dis­play has built-in il­lu­mi­na­tion and re­lays key ex­po­sure set­tings plus the bat­tery power level.

Guided dis­plays are an al­ter­na­tive to the stan­dard info screen and pro­vide a more graphic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of ex­po­sure modes. Ad­vice pan­els and warn­ings change as aper­ture and/or speed set­tings are changed.

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