Review: Canon T7i vs Canon 80D

A guide to buying an entry-level DSLR camera for video

Buying an entry level DSLR camera is a great way to get into videography due to it’s low cost and many features. There are many things to consider when shopping around for the perfect model. You are looking for a product that will suit your budget and have just the right amount of features. Here, we will consider two of Canon’s entry-level models: the Canon T7i and Canon 80D. All of the points made regarding low light and crop sensors apply to other brands like Nikon and Sony.

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The Canon T7i

Canon T7i DSLR
Canon T7i DSLR (link to Amazon.com)

Price: $749 (Amazon.com)

The video features you need to know

  • Full HD recording at 24fps (real time cinematic look) and 60fps (slow motion)
  • Rear 3” touchscreen swivel LCD
  • External audio 1/8″ plugin jack for better sound quality
  • Maximum recording time of 29 min. 59 sec.
  • Memory card types: SD, SDHC, SDXC

My first DSLR camera was the Canon T3i, which Canon has continuously improved upon up until the current version, the Canon T7i. The Canon T7i is a great beginners camera for someone who enjoys video and photo as a hobby. I even know some folks who use these cameras on paid jobs with no complaints, however, I don’t recommend that.

Crop sensor cameras

Just about all entry-level and some mid-range DSLR cameras come with APS-C crop sensors with a crop factor of 1.6x. What this means is that the size of the sensor, and therefore the field of view that you are able to see and capture with a crop sensor camera, is smaller than the more expensive “full frame” cameras like the Canon 5D or Nikon D750.

This graphics illustrates the size differences in the various types of sensors.

A guide to buying an entry-level DSLR camera for video

The low light sacrifice

The T7i camera is great in situations with a lot of light. A common drawback to entry-level DSLRs like the T7i is that performance in low light and night shooting situations, the CMOS sensor will struggle, producing noisy (or “grainy”) footage. This isn’t a deal breaker by any means. It is always good to shoot with some type of light source, especially for indoor interviews with no natural lighting source. If you are smart and resourceful, the low light short-comings of the T7i will rarely be an issue.

Canon T7i Low Light Test via Youtube

You cannot just look at a camera’s specs on paper; you have to see what other people are actually out there doing with it. If you’ve read our first article, The Elements of a Good Video, you’ll know that if you want to make good videos, you need to watch other people’s videos – the good ones and the bad ones! The same goes for a camera that you will be satisfied with – you need to watch video reviews and judge the footage from that camera too. What do you think about the below video?

Watch for yourself: Canon T7i Test Footage

Need more options? Consider the Canon 80D

If you’ve got a slightly bigger budget for your first DSLR, the Canon 80D is the next viable option after the T7i. For $250 more, the 80D has a lot of the same features as the T7i but is meant for professional use and therefore comes with a few upgrades inside and outside of the camera.

Canon 80D DSLR
Canon 80D DSLR (link to Amazon.com)

Price: $999 (Amazon.com)

The video features you need to know

  • Full HD recording at 24fps (real time cinematic look) and 60fps (slow motion)
  • Rear 3” touchscreen swivel LCD
  • External audio 1/8″ plugin jack for better sound quality
  • Maximum recording time of 29 min. 59 sec.
  • Memory card types: SD, SDHC, SDXC

Upgrades from the T7i

  • More ISO selection options
  • Ergonomic design
  • Top LCD screen (displays exposure meter, remaining space, battery life)
  • Weather-sealed body

Ergonomically-designed

When picking up the 80D you’ll find that it really fits in all the right places of the palm due to it’s ergonomic design. The smaller T7i, on the other hand, always feels like it might slip out of your hands if you’re not careful. The 80D is a heavier camera than the T7i, but when you add a big lens, the weight feels more evenly distributed across the camera than the T7i.

Weather-sealed body

The 80D is an adventure camera due to it’s weather-sealed body. You can take it on hikes and pull it out in light rainy weather and don’t have to worry about moisture getting inside and ruining the electronics.

A cautionary note about “weather-sealed” cameras

Although things can be marketed as “weather-sealed” it’s still advisable to try as much as possible NOT to expose any of your gear to rainy, humid, or sketchy weather conditions just in case. Also, keep in mind that while camera bodies can be weather-sealed, not all lenses are weather-sealed, so it’s important to know your gear before bringing it out in the world or risk voiding your warranty.

The 80D – a strong contender for a first DSLR

The 80D may be a crop sensor camera but it’s full of more features than the T7i making it a worthwhile competitor with a few upgrades inside and outside of the camera. Definitely something to consider when purchasing your first DSLR camera.

BONUS ITEM: The Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 Art Lens

Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 Art Lens
Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 Art Lens (link to Amazon.com)

 

Price: $799 (Amazon.com)

I’m not here to suggest you do something crazy like purchase a lens that costs more than the camera it’s going on, but I’m going to anyway because this is an amazing lens for the cameras we covered on this page. The Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens was designed for crop sensor cameras, and it’s low aperture makes it an excellent lens to pair with the Canon T7i and the Canon 80D. The Sigma is a heavy lens, but it produces the sharpest images you’ll get out of these entry-level cameras in addition to having beautiful, vibrant yet true-to-life colors in your footage. If you aren’t looking to go the Canon route, Sigma also produces this lens for Nikon and Sony cameras as well. Check out the test footage below.

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 with Canon 80D Footage

We also have a guide on what features to look for when buying an entry-level camera. Did we miss any points? Leave a comment below.

Valerie

Valerie is a freelance filmmaker, video editor, and photographer based in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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