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Photos or videos, Canon’s new midrange 80D DSLR caters to both

Targeting what it calls the advanced amateur and semi-pro markets, the EOS 80D is Canon’s latest midrange, enthusiast DSLR, succeeding the EOS 70D. Ideal for hobbyists and part-time working photographers, the 80D uses a new 45-point autofocus system and 24.4-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, and an optical viewfinder with 100-percent coverage. And with videographers also in mind, the 80D has features for this user, such as an improved Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus system (technology introduced in its predecessor, the EOS 70D) and headphone and microphone jacks. The camera will hit stores in March, and sell for $1,199 body only; it will also be available with a brand-new 18-135mm lens, for $1,799.

Besides the new aforementioned features, the 80D uses the newer Digic 6 processor. ISO range has increased to 16,000 from 12,800 (expandable to 25,600), while video resolution is now at Full HD 1080 at 60p (up from 30p). Continuous shooting speed remains the same at 7 frames per second, but Canon says the 45-point AF system focuses on moving objects more accurately.

Related: Canon’s G7 X Mark II unveils improved processor, 40x zoom in compact SX720 HS

The 45-point cross-type viewfinder AF system has wider focus area, whether shooting horizontally or vertically. It also performs better in low light, down to -3 exposure value. With select lenses, 27 of those points are available all the way down to f/8 aperture. (It’s not as impressive sounding as Sony’s 425-point system, at least on paper.)

Per Canon: “The camera’s AI (Artificial Intelligence) Servo AF II autofocusing system utilizes color tracking with a 7,560-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor that automatically detects skin tone and colors to enhance tracking sensitivity, even with moving subjects that are rapidly changing pace or direction. Enhancing the ease-of-use of the new AF system is the 80D’s new Intelligent Viewfinder which features approximately 100-percent viewfinder coverage. The full coverage helps prevent photographers from missing objects that are in the corners of the scene, which can reduce the need to crop images later on.

The Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology in the 80D, which provides more accurate focusing while in live view mode, has been enhanced for racking sensitivity and is compatible with all Canon lenses.

As for the design, the 80D looks identical to the 70D – including the vari-angle 3-inch touchscreen LCD (1.04-million dots). The 70D’s Wi-Fi was clunky, but Canon has improved wireless connectivity since the 70D’s 2013 introduction; the 80D also supports NFC.

EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens and PZ-E1 Power Zoom Adapter

The 80D is available as a kit that includes Canon’s new EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens, which costs $600 on its own. It is the first Canon lens to use a new type of USM, or ultrasonic motor, called Nano USM, which we will most likely see in future lenses. According to Canon, Nano USM “combines the benefits of a ring USM for high-speed AF during still photo shooting and lead-screw type STM (stepping motor) for smooth and quiet movie AF, and improved AF speeds up to 4.3x (tele) and 2.5x (wide) faster than the previous model. It also provides up to four stops of optical image stabilization.”

Canon EOS 80D with 18-135mm IS USM kit lens and optional PZ-E1 Power Zoom Adapter.

Canon EOS 80D with 18-135mm IS USM kit lens and optional PZ-E1 Power Zoom Adapter.

The lens is also the first to support a new Power Zoom Adapter, “the world’s first detachable zoom adapter that provides silent and smooth zoom,” and can be adjusted incrementally to 10 different levels of zoom speed, from 2.4 seconds to 14. Ideal for filmmaking, the device can be controlled via Canon’s Camera Connect smartphone app. It’s powered by four AAA batteries, The adapter will be available in June, for $150.

DM-E1 Microphone

Canon also introduced its first directional stereo microphone for EOS cameras. Slotting neatly into the camera’s hot shoe, the DM-E1 can be angled between 90 to 120 degrees, while its “shock mount construction” reduces noise from the camera and lens.

Canon EOS 80D with DM-E1 Directional Stereo Microphone.

Canon EOS 80D with DM-E1 Directional Stereo Microphone.

“Featuring a frequency response range of 50Hz to 16kHz, the DM-E1 comes with a wind screen to help limit peripheral sound from wind and other outside factors, allowing shooters to utilize the microphone in a broad amount of shooting situations.”

The microphone will go on sale in June, for $250.