Canon EOS 760D: A Significant Upgrade

 
Canon EOS 760D

Canon EOS 760D

The Canon EOS 760D brings a new level of usability into its entry-level lineup. K Madhavan Pillai finds out what’s under the hood.

India is one of the very few countries with an APS-C DSLR market that is divided into at least four distinct segments—basic, advanced basic, semi-professional, and professional. The latest launch by Canon is actually a dual launch, the EOS 750D and the EOS 760D. What makes it a bold move is that both cameras are nearly identical in technology, feature sets and performance, but designed very differently. The 750D is meant for a basic user, with simple controls and the mode dial on the right of the camera (following in the lines of earlier entry-level models).

In a significant move by Canon, the EOS 760D inherits the design functionality of the semi-pro and pro bodies (including a secondary top LCD panel, and the rotatable command wheel at the back), giving entry level users the benefit of the handling of higher-end cameras. However, it remains to be seen if handling differences alone will influence buying decisions in a segment where features and cost are the defining factors, more than design. That said, the two cameras are a leap ahead over the preceding models in every way that matters, and do form a big upgrade. It is in immediate competition with the similarly priced Nikon D5500, vying for space in the same segment. In this issue, we put the EOS 760D through its paces to see if the camera lives up to the challenge.

The Canon 760D retains excellent colour information even at higher ISOs. The RAWs have a lot of latent detail that can be worked on during postprocess. Exposure: 1/200sec at f/5.6 (ISO 3200) Photograph/K Madhavan Pillai

The Canon 760D retains excellent colour information even at higher ISOs. The RAWs have a lot of latent detail that can be worked on during postprocess. Exposure: 1/200sec at f/5.6 (ISO 3200) Photograph/K Madhavan Pillai

Features
The 760D features Canon’s new APS-C 24.2MP sensor that is backed up by the new Digic 6 processing engine and a 19 cross-type point phase detection AF system (when using the viewfinder). The sensor also features the new Hybrid CMOS AF III system (with Face Detection, Tracking AF, FlexiZone-Multi and FlexiZone-Single modes) for use when images or video are composed on the LCD in Live View mode. Canon claims that this new system is about four times faster than the version II (used in the EOS 100D) and it is two generations ahead of the Hybrid CMOS AF system in the EOS 700D.

In another first for Canon DSLRs, the 760D features WiFi and NFC (Near Field Communication) technology to enable them to be connected to a smartphone or tablet using Canon’s free smartphone app, for remote control and image sharing. You can even connect two cameras by touching them together to transfer files. The 760D has an ISO range 100–12,800, with an expanded setting of ISO 25,600.

The 760D ensures that the colours are nicely saturated, even if they are a little more so. The Neutral colour setting, is more natural and this can be controlled

The 760D ensures that the colours are nicely saturated, even if they are a little more so. The Neutral colour setting, is more natural and this can be controlled

In movie shooting, the maximum setting is ISO 6400, expanded to ISO 12,800. It can shoot continuously up to 5fps. While it isn’t as good as other similarly priced cameras, the buffer is 940 JPEGs or 8 RAW files. Interestingly, the metering system uses a 7560-pixel RGB and Infra Red metering sensor. In the Evaluative mode, the metering is linked to the AF points, so the brightness of the subject in focus will have an impact upon overall exposure. The camera also features a swiveling 3-inch touch-sensitive 1040k Clear View II TFT screen, with an aspect ratio of 3:2, to match the ratio of the imaging sensor.

Handling
The 760D is solidly built for a camera in its class, with a chassis made from aluminium alloy, polycarbonate resin and glass fiber. The swiveling LCD felt wellconstructed too. In terms of its ergonomics, the camera reflects plenty of the handling capability of its high-end cousins, making it quite a pleasure to use.

For instance, the inclusion of a secondary LCD on the top made confirming key settings at a glance a lot easier. While plenty of setting can be directly accessed through dedicated buttons on the top and rear of the camera, pressing the ‘Q’ button put up settings on the LCD. You can adjust settings either by touching the screen directly, or using the navigation buttons. Despite a general lack of faith in touchscreen LCDs, I quite enjoyed the functionality and speed provided by that of the 760D.

My only source of irritation on the 760D happens to be the power switch that also extends to the movie mode. I inadvertently would keep overswitching to the movie shooting mode, realising that a few seconds later, and bringing the switch into the regular ‘on’, that allows you to shoot stills. I also wish I could set a minimum shutterspeed for Auto ISO.

The 19-point AF system rarely hunts and locks precisely. The speed of AF, while slightly lagging with the 18–135mm STM lens, performs faster with other EF-S lenses. Photograph/ K Madhavan Pillai

The 19-point AF system rarely hunts and locks precisely. The speed of AF, while slightly
lagging with the 18–135mm STM lens, performs faster with other EF-S lenses. Photograph/ K Madhavan Pillai

Performance
As a precursor to the conclusion of whether the EOS 760D is better than the Nikon D5500, it is a bit of a toss-up. Into the fray, between the two, the advantages and lacunae weigh against each other. I have both cameras with me at this point. In terms of pure sensor quality, the 760D does quite well for just what an entry-level audience requires, with a tendency towards nicely saturated colours. However, the D5500 delivers a noticeably sharper image (owing to the lack of an anti-aliasing filter) with slightly better dynamic range, but this will necessitate the use of more expensive lenses that can resolve this sharpness. Canon’s touchscreen LCD is faster, more responsive and the controls are better organised.

While the AF system of Nikon has a definite edge in terms number of focus points, extreme low light focusing and slightly more intelligent subject selection, Canon’s AF system is slightly better with its beautifully conclusive AF locking and speed. In terms of metering, while the accuracy of both cameras were excellent, I found that the 760D handled difficult situations more intelligently.

The EF-S 18–135mm STM kit lens is reasonably good and makes a lot of sense for this camera, especially because of its live view, stills and video capabilities. The lens provides a reasonably good zoom range, but optically this is not the most spectacular STM lens in the lineup. In terms of video, while Full HD at 30fps is available, by today’s standards, I expected the camera to include a 50fps option.

Conclusion
The Canon EOS 760D is priced at Rs. 54,995 (body only, and exactly Rs. 5000 more than the EOS 750D). As a kit with the EF-S 18–135mm IS STM lens, the price is 77,995, a significant saving of Rs. 12,995 over buying the camera and lens separately. At the moment, the 760D easily stands as the most versatile in Canon’s entry-level lineup. Yet, except for the STM capabilities of the kit lens that will give video users a definite advantage, there isn’t any feature that is particularly class-leading.

The 760D also cannot be considered as a serious back-up body to its high-end brethren. But as they say, the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts. And on the whole, the camera does rather well for the audience it is intended for. Both, as a first camera, or as an upgrade to an earlier entry-level DSLR, the 760D makes a worthwhile investment.

FINAL RATINGS
Features
Underwater shooting, several shooting modes, RAW capture at 60fps
25/30
Performance
Great RAW quality, punchy colours, disappointing battery life
21/30
Build Quality
Sturdy and rugged enough
18/20
Ergonomics
No mode dial, manual controls placement could be better
12/15
Warranty & Support
Two-year warranty, wide service facilities                  
4/5
MRP Rs. 39,950 (with 11–27.5mm f/3.5–5.6 lens)
OVERALL 80%
VALUE FOR MONEY 3/5
Who should buy it? Beginners looking for a rugged underwater camera with manual controls.
Why? Its autofocus speed is great, and it offers shooting at
60fps along with great colour.

 

 

Tags: aluminium alloy, APS-C DSLR, Bettter Photography, Canon, EOS 760D, Face detection, FlexiZone-Multi, FlexiZone-Single, glass fiber, Hybrid CMOS AF III system, Hybrid CMOS AF system, July 2015, K Madhavan Pillai, NFC, polycarbonate resin, Tracking AF, wifi