A couple of weeks ago, I made the most impulsive purchase of 2020 and bought myself a new DSLR. After literally weeks of research and agonising over which camera would be perfect for what I needed and wanted from a new DSLR, I found a website selling the Canon EOS 80D at a really affordable price so I hit buy and laughed nervously as my bank actually approved a £600+ transaction. I’ve had a few weeks with my new camera now and these are my first impressions of the Canon 80D.
My history with cameras
Nearly 6 years ago on Christmas Day 2014, I opened a present that would fuel the most expensive hobby I could ever pick but a hobby that would stick with me for the next few years.
I’d begged my parents to buy me a DSLR – my dad had a Canon (700D I think) and I wanted to branch out from using my smartphone and start using a proper camera. I’ll be honest, I didn’t think they’d actually buy me a camera or would buy me a digital camera (which obviously was not enough for 14 year old me) but sure enough, I received a Canon 1200D.
My 1200D has lasted me well. It has been my baby – following me to 2 different countries and visiting multiple locations around the UK. It has photographed me, people I no longer speak to, my cat, churches, flowers and pretty much anything I saw and wanted a photo of.
But the time has come to retire my first camera and level up to something a bit more advanced. Not having a remote shutter was bugging me and as someone who takes self portraits, having a back facing screen meant I couldn’t see what I was shooting until afterwards.
See some of my favourite photos taken on my Canon 1200D: Casual Affair – The Story Behind The Photos
Why the Canon EOS 80D?
Originally, I’d been looking at the EOS 250D as it had the WiFi connectivity, remote shutter and flip out screen. It was within my budget and I almost bought it. It was sat in my Amazon cart ready to go. But at the last minute, I had a change of heart and did a bit more research.
Ideally, I’d wanted a big enough step up from my 1200D to justify dropping the best part of a grand on a camera. It’s a hefty investment and I just didn’t think the 250D offered me much more than my existing model.
The EOS 90D is one of Canon’s more recent mid-range models but way out of my price range at around £1,300 and while I treat my camera like a child and always insure it on holidays, for that price I’d be terrified to take it anywhere. So I went back to a model previous and did some digging.
This left me with the Canon 80D and trying to find it from a reputable supplier was difficult, let me tell you. But I found a small camera company in Cheltenham (very close to where I live) and did a second round of research.
The 80D gave me everything I needed and wanted – the flip out screen, the NFC for live view on my phone, remote shutter compatibility and a bigger body that would allow me to have a slightly better grip.
The first proper test
Of course I took random photos in the first couple of days of owning the camera. I was itching to from the second it came out the box but due to it being an import from outside the UK (actually think it’s a Japanese import), the battery charger wasn’t compatible with the UK plug outlets so I had to wait a couple of days to get a new charger. I was not best impressed with having to pay an extra £50 for a genuine Canon charger, let me tell you.
I’ve been off work with my mental health recently and one night I got inspired, ordered some feathers and fake leaves from Amazon and formulated an idea to keep me entertained and test my new camera. Photography is very much my therapy so hitting two birds with one stone sounded fantastic.
I set up my 80D with my Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 prime lens which I have grown to love for portrait photography but I’ve always found it difficult to use without seeing what it’s focussing on when taking photos of myself. I used my cheap studio light I got on Amazon, a roll of pink wrapping paper from the pound shop and did my makeup. It was nothing fancy but in just a couple of snaps, I was beaming with pride at the quality of photo I was producing.
First impressions of the Canon EOS 80D
In the setting of my bedroom taking self portraits, I cannot fault it really. Well, there is one major problem that I will discuss in a second but for now let’s talk pros.
First major pro? The flip out screen. Oh my gosh! Life saver. My room is small and my tripod is quite large so manoeuvring around to change settings is a total bitch. The screen is touch screen. I can see the screen. I can change the settings. So easy I could cry. Not only that, I could see myself on live view and get a sense of what was in focus. I could also see the auto focus box following me and adjust as needed.
There’s also a spirit level type function where I can see if my camera is actually level. Again, a life saver. I hate having to mess about in Lightroom adjusting the angle of my photos so this cuts out some work and we all know that I love a shortcut.
Little niggly issues? Yeah, I have a couple. Mainly things that I will just need to adjust to such as the power switch being on a different side. I am used to my power switch being on the right hand side (I am right handed) but now it’s on the left and I keep getting confused. I am also not used to having to press a button to change the dial that controls what mode my camera is in. In the long run, this will be fantastic so I don’t accidentally change the shooting mode while taking photos but it’s still something I need to get used to.
The main issue I have that I’m hoping can be easily resolved is that my camera connect app, that allows me to control my camera with my phone, doesn’t seem to like me shooting manual which means I have to make do with other shooting modes. This isn’t too much of a problem as I tend to shoot on ISO 100 (or as close to 100) in most circumstances so I can use Program mode but it could pose a problem if I want more control over a photo. It’s not a major issue but definitely one I hope can be corrected.
The quality of the Canon 80D seems a touch sharper than my 1200D and the overall ease of use has made me incredibly glad I took the plunge and invested in this camera. I ended up with some photos that I still can’t believe I took. I am absurdly proud of the photos I got.
The first proper test in the wild will be in October when I (hopefully!) head off to Iceland and can try out some landscape photography. I will be interested to see if the colours process a bit better in non-sunlight as I could find the 1200D a bit dull at times and also if the low light capabilities are up to scratch especially if the Northern Lights make an appearance.