Like in football, the photo has its classico, in this case, the confrontation of the two famous DSLR brands, Canon and Nikon. The recent release of the Canon 80D of Canon is the perfect opportunity to organize a duel with the latest Nikon D7200 (released almost a year ago…).
With the 80D, Canon didn’t revolutionize the mid-range APS – C DSLR market and just add it to a logical but a required evolution from the brand. Certainly, the sensor increased to 24 Mpx and the Dual Pixel AF autofocus system is much more sensitive, but for the rest, not much transformation. The ergonomic practically does not evolve and the touch screen is identical to the one in the 70D.
Technical data sheets
As in any good duel, we begin with the opposition of technical data sheets. However beforehand: the Nikon being older, it is logically cheaper. It is sold around 999$, against 1099$ for the Canon 80D.
On paper, none of the two DSLR is better than the other. The confrontation is therefore balanced, with a Nikon more comfortable in high ISO settings, and a Canon much more effective in screen sight or video.
|Canon 80D||Nikon D7200|
|Sensor||24,2 Mpx||24,2 Mpx|
|Size of sensor||22,3 x 14,9 mm||23,5 x 15,6 mm|
|Density per cm2 / photosite size||7,4 Mpx / 3,7 µm||6,5 Mpx / 3,9 µm|
|Sensitivity||100-16 000 ISO (ext. 25 600 ISO)||100-25 600 ISO (ext. à 102 400 ISO)|
|RAW||14 bits||14 bits|
|Autofocus||par corrélation de phase (visée optique / visée écran)||par corrélation de phase (visée optique) et détection de contraste (visée sur écran)|
|Detection range||-3 to 18 IL||-3 to 19 IL|
|Exposure Metering||7,560-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor||TTL exposure metering using 2016-pixel RGB sensor|
|Exposure compensation||±5 EV||±5 EV|
|Spot metering linked to the selected AF point||No||Yes|
|Max Shutter||1/8 000 s (mechanical)||1/8 000 s (mechanical)|
|Flash sync speed||1/250 s||1/250 s|
|Continuous drive||7 fps||6 fps|
|Continuous shooting With AF||7 fps||6 fps|
|Nb max. RAW en rafale||/||/|
|Viewfinder||Optical (pentaprism)||Optical (pentaprism)|
|Coverage||100 %||100 %|
|Screen size||7,7 cm||8 cm|
|Screen dots||1,036,800 points||1,228,800 points|
|HDMI Output||Yes(type C)||Yes(type C)|
|Built-in Flash||Yes, pop-up||Yes, pop-up|
|NG||12 (100 ISO, m)||12|
|External flash control||Yes||Yes|
|Video Format||.MOV (H264) / MP4||.MOV|
|Max Resolution||1 920 x 1 080 px||1 920 x 1 080 px|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||960 photos||1 110 photos|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||730 g||765g|
|Dimensions||139 x 105 x 79 mm (5.47 x 4.13 x 3.11″)||136 x 107 x 76 mm (5.35 x 4.21 x 2.99″)|
We always repeat it: the handling is very important and we cannot rely completely on the costumer. It’s a both objective and subjective feeling that depends, for many, on the morphology of your hands. Take the devices in your hand, look at them: an enclosure must be suitable for you and in this matter, you are the only one to decide.
The two enclosure have fairly similar proportions – the evidence is in images.
No originality at the design level for our two competitors. It is to reassure the customer who wants a DSLR, a real one. The codes are all there: a black enclosure, a wide handle for a comfortable handling, an optical viewfinder, a big wheel for the exposure mode, a monochrome LCD reminder screen on the right shoulder, a double wheel for adjustment. Nothing is missing, but nothing differentiate between the two models. No risk-taking from the builders of both sides.
At the level of the handling, the two cameras are once again very similar with a wide handle that allows a solid prehension.
Ergonomic / Menu: Canon
Canon 80D: an adjustable touchscreen for more comfort. The new Canon DSLR is almost a copycat from the 70D; we do not change a team that wins apparently. The enclosure is rather pleasant to use. The rubberized coating ensures a good handling and the barrel for the exposure mode has a safety catch to prevent inappropriate movements when taking it out from the bag. We regret, however, that certain changes are barely remarkable, as the Q key (yet often requested), the reading or trash key. The rear dial (encoder) is also a bit small and contains a joypad sometimes tricky to manipulate.
The LCD swivel screen of the 80D, is tactile, which simplifies the access to menus and to the enclosure settings.
The Q Key gives access to a dashboard that allows (the finger or the dial) to change the camera main settings: white balance, exposure, ISO, image quality, autofocus mode… It’s simple and fast: a real treat.
The Canon menus, without being perfect, are quite clear and easy to understand. Too bad that there is no context-sensitive help to handle some obscure indices. We appreciate the presence of a customizable menu that lists the most frequently used features.
Nikon D7200: more customization. About the handling, the D7200 seems a little more massive, but the dimensions of the two enclosures are pretty close. The reason lies elsewhere: in the handle. Larger, it is more pleasant to handle. The coating is smoother than that of Canon, but it is more adherent. The keys are salient enough to be easily accessible and manipulated and are well sized.
The barrel for the exposure modes is connected to a padlock. You have many shortcuts: exposure metering, motorization, exposure compensation, white balance, image quality… Unlike the Canon, you can customize a few commands, including those placed at the front of the enclosure around the lens. It remains far enough away from the freedom afforded by the hybrids on this point. As on the Canon 80D, you will also find a monochrome LCD reminder screen on the shoulder of the DSLR. Same thing about the joypad: it is too small to be easily manipulated.
The good point, the D7200 has two slots for memory cards. To make an auto save or to separate pictures from videos.
About the menu, it’s a little too dense. You can set up your enclosure in details, if you take the time… The indications are relatively clear, and if you get lost, it is possible to activate a help on many functions. Like the Canon, the Nikon D7200 also offers to customize a menu to group the most frequently used features. The i key provides access to some settings (image format, Picture Control, HDR…), but it is unfortunately not possible to choose them.
Not easy to decide between the two DSLRs on this point. The enclosures offer an optical sight with a roof prism, a magnification of about 0.63 x and a 100% accurate framing.
Both models involve a LCD panel for a superimposed display of information. With Canon, you can display a help grid composed from, an electronic level and a light flicker signal. The active AF points are also displayed, as well as the spot metering circle. With Nikon, you can also display a help grid composed as well as the AF points.
LCD screen: Canon advantage
Canon 80D: tactile, adjustable. Canon has understood everything since the 70D by offering a nice swivel touch screen (ratio 3/2, indications while overprinting the sighting). It turns in almost all directions and the tactile features are well established, both to navigate through the menus and to point directly an object. In the optical sight, the screen turns into a touchscreen to quickly move the AF points to the inch. Well seen!
Nikon D7200: Classic, so classic. Certainly the screen of the Nikon is a bit bigger and a little more accurate (ratio 4/3 that allows to display information in a black headband to not nibble the viewing space), but remains desperately fixed and not tactile. Until the recent D500 Nikon reserved on swivel screens (and again: the D500’s on hinges) in the entry. The brand should quickly review its judgment.
Reactivity and autofocus: Canon advantage (view on screen)
Canon 80D: An amazing Dual AF Pixel. The sledgehammer argument of the new 80D is the integration of the Dual Pixel AF technology in the 24 Mpx sensor. In addition to the increase in the number of pixels, algorithms have also been reviewed, and the development is largely improved. In a screen view or on video, the Dual Pixel AF is very sensitive and allows a formidable track of objects. The 80D is probably the first DSLR to be perfectly usable in screen view and video. A true hybrid, somehow! However a time of power, is a bit too long for a DSLR.
In optical sight, the 45 crossed collimators offer a little less important autofocus area than Nikon, but the autofocus module works perfectly and the sensitivity increased in low light is really appreciable. The follow-up of an object is also relevant and allows to try out the action shot by combining the sensitivity of the autofocus to the burst mode at 7 fps.
Nikon D7200: A disadvantageous contrast detection. In optical sight, the AF module has more collimators than the 80D. Even with less crossed AF points, the D7200 is as reactive as its competitor Canon. In low light, the performances are also substantially equivalent and it is not easy to choose between the two protagonists. The D7200 is also a bit slower in burst mode with a cadence of 6 FPS only… against 7 for the Canon. Once more, the difference is not really discriminating in general.
On the screen sight, the gap is immediately recognizable and the D7200 is barely usable on screen sight or video. The pumping effects are permanent and the adjustment is too slow to be really usable in a situation. Without ignoring that the D7200 is faster to power up and its latency of trigger is shorter.
Noise of trigger: draw
A tie game again! In optical sight, the two DSLRs have a silent shutter-release mode. Due to noise, the system allows to amortize the mirror movements to be quieter, but less reactivity. In the screen view, it is not possible to trigger without noise, sensors don’t have apparently any electronic shutter for a totally silent shooting.
Battery / autonomy: Nikon (by a tiny margin)
Switching from a hybrid to a DSLR is a real relief! We’ll almost forget to recharge the batteries of the 80D and the D7200. If a hybrid can shoot beyond 300 views, we triggered during our tests more than 900 times with the two DSLRs. On paper, the Nikon D7200 offers 150 additional triggers. On the ground, the difference is not really concrete. In fact, Canon is "disadvantageous" by its swivel touchscreen and its responsive auto focus: indeed, using the screen sight or the video mode, is consuming too much energy than the optical viewfinder. A regret? Yes: none of the two DSLR offers a virtually universal microUSB plug charging. Too bad.
Other features: Draw
The two DSLRs are once again tied. We must admit that neither Canon nor Nikon tried to incorporate original features to stand out. We’re far away from the many shooting modes found on most hybrids, like the panorama function by scanning, 4K shooting, the peaking focus mode or zebra mode on video, sensors stabilization… The two DSLRs are so "basic". There are of course many filters and other images styles, but these functions existed for a long time already.
Optical lenses: Nikon (tiny) advantage
The Nikon F-mount is certainly older and mechanically compatible with more lenses, but if we focus on autofocus lenses, optics are also provided on both sides, the two optical settings: 24×36 and APS-C, are available in the two DSLRs. Macro objective, shift lenses, long focal length lenses, bright optics: you will not be restricted in your creativity by the lack of optics of the two brands.
For only the optics compatible with the APS-C sensors, Nikon has however a cash advantage: currently, 23 optical DX are presented at the Nikon catalog, against 16 for Canon. In addition, Nikon offers a more "interesting" range with 5 optical opening less than or equal to f/2.8, against only 3 for Canon (including an ancient 17-55 mm f/2.8).
Management of the electrical noise: Nikon advantage
Canon 80D: up to 3200 ISO. The two cameras are equipped with a 24 Mpx (APS-C) equivalent sensor. The Canon sensor being slightly smaller than Nikon, photodiodes are also. The 80D delivers a nice image quality up to 1 600 ISO, and you can easily push it up to 3 200 ISO. Beyond that, grain and the degradation of the image are a little more visible, but you can use your images up to 12,800 ISO with a minimum of precautions.
Nikon D7200: up to 3200 ISO and beyond. Yet older, the sensor of the Nikon is a little more comfortable in high sensitivities. Once more, the difference is visible while remaining subtle. With 3 200 ISO, the D7200 is more accurate than the Canon and the difference is up to 6 400 ISO. In all cases like Canon, you must not exceed 12,800 ISO. Beyond that, the images are really too noisy. Notice that the extreme sensitivities of Nikon are available only in… Black & white!
To simplify the comparison, we offer below two excerpts to 100% of our test scene of an image resized in 60 x 40 cm (180 dpi) to 3 200 ISO. The best management of the electronic noise to this sensitivity is clearly visible.
Canon EOS 80D:
Video mode: Canon advantage
Canon 80D: the DSLR camcorder. The Canon is particularly comfortable in video. Even if it does not give possibility to UHD formats / 4K, it offers a beautiful panoply of HDTV 1080 formats with a pace between 60 and 24 p and an intra compression (images compressed independently from each other) or inter. The DSLR incorporates a microphone input and a headphone output to control sounds, and an HDMI output to connect a monitor, opening doors to a few assistants such as the focus peaking or the zebra mode.
Canon however takes totally advantage on its competitor thanks to its autofocus module to phase correlation on the main sensor. The adjustment is fast, silent and smooth. The touchscreen also allows to set exposure without any noise and choose the area to focus directly using the finger. A real camcorder.
Nikon D7200: too limited. On the video feature, the D7200 is far away from being compared to the 80D. The number of record formats is more limited, and by default, you don’t have access to the highest rates (60/50 p). If you wish to film in the 60/50 p, you must necessarily pass to the 1,3x mode. Unfortunately, we have noted a visible decline in the quality of the image in this case. The D7200 does not have focus peaking in video, but the zebra mode can be activated. The HDMI output is not compressed (unlike that of the 80D) and allows a better quality in external recording. You have also a stereo microphone input and a headphone output.
However the D7200 can’t be compared to Canon at the level of the autofocus. It is slower and more hesitant, it will be difficult to use for a shooting or even a family video.
Conclusion: Canon 80D is winner (narrowly)
|Canon 80D||Nikon D7200|
|Ergonomics / menus||+|
|Reactivity / Autofocus||+|
|Noise at trigger||=||=|
|Battery / autonomy||+|
|Electronic noise management||+|
From the confrontation of their technical data sheets, we knew that this duel would be tight. Two cameras that are similar on many points and our measures in the studio also show a very close performance.
If we limit the spectrum of the comparative to just images quality, the Nikon D7200 wins, by a tiny margin. The management of electronic noise is thinner and dynamic, a little higher. But can we really rely on photo quality?
In our duels, we refuse to play a tie game; so we must decide between the two competitors. Finally and for its largest "versatility", our choice would be the Canon 80D which offers a swivel touchscreen, an autofocus mode in screen sight / video very efficient and menus very simple to understand. Canon 80 d, recent, is more open to experimentation. But beware, it is also more expensive. A difference in price which, if we opt for the Nikon you can buy an additional lens. Not to be overlooked, so…