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Field Testing the EOS 77D

The EOS 77D boasts amazing AF features such as the 45-point all cross-type AF system and Dual Pixel CMOS AF. In this article, we put the camera through a field test to check out not just the image quality, but also how much upgraded specifications such as the AF have improved the camera’s fundamental performance. (Reported by: Noboru Sonehara)

EOS 77D

 

1. Dynamic range

The example below is of a scene comprising the morning sun floating in a thin layer of clouds above a riverside. Take note of the contrast between the sun, which is the brightest object in the photo, and the land and boat, which appear dark due to being cast in shadow. These are areas prone to blowout and black crush respectively. How, then, does the EOS 77D fare? 

Decently, it seems. Although the sun has led to some blowout around it, in the centre of the image, this does not appear unnatural by any means, given that the gradations are maintained as the sunlight spreads toward the periphery of the photo. Meanwhile, the areas in shadow are not affected by black crush, with the fine details of the subject being reproduced in the midst of the dark areas. The overall effect of the sky covered by a thin layer of clouds is excellent too, expressing subtle contrasts.

EOS 77D high dynamic range example

EOS 77D/ EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM/ FL: 35mm (56mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/8, 1/320 sec., EV±0/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto

With the evolution in performance of the image sensor and image processor, it can be said that the camera has sufficient dynamic range to produce photographic masterpieces. It is this level of imaging capability that makes DSLRs stand out from compact digital cameras and smartphones, and gives them a clear advantage.

 

2. High ISO speed

As with the excellent dynamic range, the ability to shoot at high ISO speeds is another remarkable characteristic in the evolution of digital camera performance. Naturally, the EOS 77D has high ISO speed characteristics befitting its position as the latest DSLR in the series.

The example photo below was taken using an ISO speed of ISO 1600 in the faint light remaining from the afterglow of twilight, yet the buildings had a quality that, together with the faint light in the sky, did not feel out of place. Although some luminance noise is visible, colour noise is hardly noticeable, so it can be said that this level of high ISO speed is completely within the range of practical use.

EOS 77D night photograph

EOS 77D/ EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM/ FL: 42mm (67mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/5, 1/8 sec., EV-1)/ ISO 1600/ WB: Auto

For the photo below, I further increased the ISO speed, using an ISO speed of ISO 12800. While it is undeniable that the loss of texture is obvious compared to ISO 1600, there is hardly any colour noise. You should be able to obtain image quality that is sufficiently usable for 5R-size prints or smaller.

 

EOS 77D night photograph (ISO 12800)

EOS 77D/ EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM/ FL: 19mm (30mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/8, 1/50 sec., EV+1)/ ISO 12800 / WB: Auto

Even at the maximum ISO speed of ISO 25600, it is possible to take beautiful shots suitable for sharing online. That said, it is ultimately the standard ISO speed of ISO 100 that provides the optimal balance (best image quality) between gradation and noise. No matter how excellent the ISO speed characteristics of your camera, it is always a good idea to use the ISO speed in moderation. (Here's a recap on ISO speed basics)

 

3. AF performance

A big feature of the EOS 77D is that it is equipped with a 45-point all cross-type AF system for use in viewfinder shooting. With such high AF specifications, it is clear that the EOS 77D, which is geared towards enthusiast users, can compete with even the high-end models that came before it.

The cross-type sensors, which can achieve accurate ranging whether you are shooting your subject horizontally or vertically, is highly accurate and covers a wide range, so the camera can continue to focus accurately using AI Servo AF, even when shooting a bird such as a seagull flying at high speed as shown in the example photo. Furthermore, as long as the subject is captured within the frame, the camera quickly focuses on your subject and stays locked on it, ensuring that your subject stays in focus.

Click here to read more about the different AF modes and when to use which


 

Seagull photographed with the EOS 77D

EOS 77D/ EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM/ FL: 135mm (216mm equivalent)/ Shutter-priority AE (f/9, 1/1,000 sec., EV+1)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto
One shot from a series of continuous shots.

An important thing to consider for a DSLR is whether you can comfortably perform AF operations using the optical viewfinder. In this regard, the EOS 77D (depending on the performance of the lens attached) is able to achieve advanced AF performance on par with high-end models.

 

Photographic Works

I opened the vari-angle LCD monitor in the horizontal position and took a shot of a cat at a low angle. Thanks to the Dual Pixel CMOS AF (which covers 80% of the sensor area, both horizontally and vertically, with each sensor pixel carrying out phase-detection AF) and touch panel, all I had to do was touch the LCD monitor while crouched down to focus on the position I was aiming for, and release the shutter.

Cat, photographed with the EOS 77D (Vari-angle LCD monitor)

EOS 77D/ EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM/ FL: 69mm (110mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/5, 1/250 sec., EV+0.7)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto

I wanted to capture the rich textures of pansies, so I photographed the flowers using the 'Fine Detail' Picture Style. Take note that the default setting for Picture Style is 'Auto'. Another advantage of the latest model is that the EOS 77D also comes with the 'Fine Detail' Picture Style, which was first available on the EOS 5DS/5DS R.

 

Flowers photographed with the EOS 77D (Picture Style- Fine Detail)

EOS 77D/ EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM/ FL: 69mm (110mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/5, 1/250 sec., EV+0.7)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto

The shot below was taken using AI Servo AF to track a seagull. Even if you inadvertently place the sun in the frame, the camera stays locked on the seagull, and does not go out of focus. It is easy to see that AF performance as a whole has evolved, not only in terms of the sensor specifications, but also the high analysis and processing capabilities.

 

Seagull photographed with the EOS 77D (AI Servo AF)

EOS 77D/ EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM/ FL: 69mm (110mm equivalent)/ Shutter-priority AE (f/22, 1/1,000 sec., EV±0)/ ISO 800/ WB: Auto

I took continuous shots of a flock of snowy plovers flying over a tideland. The EOS 77D is capable of continuous shooting of up to 6 fps. While it might not compare with high-end models that can achieve 10 fps or higher, it should be more than sufficient unless you are shooting moving subjects under extreme conditions.

 

Birds photographed with the EOS 77D (continuous shooting)

EOS 77D/ EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM/ FL: 135mm (216mm equivalent)/ Shutter-priority AE (f/7, 1/1,600sec., EV+1)/ ISO 800/ WB: Auto

 

Summary

The EOS 77D is a DSLR that boasts high AF performance for a camera that caters to enthusiast users, and is equipped with a 45-point all cross-type AF system for viewfinder shooting, and Dual Pixel CMOS AF for Live View shooting. In fact, such AF performance guarantees that the camera can operate accurately in any scene and can always focus as intended.

Its AF performance is the same as that on models such as the EOS 800D, but what makes the EOS 77D different from the latter are features as the LCD panel on top of the camera, and the Quick Control Dial. These two features can be said to be defining features of more advanced EOS cameras, and enable users to have more direct control of camera functions, especially when using modes such as Aperture-priority AE (Av), Shutter Priority AE (Tv), Manual Exposure (M). Many of the examples we used in this article involved continuous shooting. However, even in such cases, I was able to use the Quick Control Dial to quickly change camera settings, and then use the LCD panel to check the setting values at a glance.

The EOS 77D is truly a versatile camera that can satisfy different users, whether they are beginners looking for a camera that they can grow into, or even existing users of high-end EOS cameras who intend to use this as their sub-camera.


For more sample images, check out:
EOS 77D Review with Sample Images

For more details on features, check out:
EOS 77D: A Closer Look at 7 Key External Design Features
EOS 77D: 4 Key Technologies That Aspiring Enthusiasts Will Love


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EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

Click here for more details

Digital Camera Watch

Delivers daily news related to topics such as digital cameras and peripheral devices, and imaging software. Also publishes articles such as reviews on the use of actual digital camera models and photo samples taken using new models.

http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/

Noboru Sonehara

After graduating from Shinshu University, he worked for a video production company and then became independent as a photographer. He moved to Kanto in 2010, focusing on photography for various magazines and he also writes for camera magazines, and so on.

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