Canon EOS 800D - Viewfinder, Autofocus and Performance

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Canon EOS 800D – Viewfinder and screen

The 800D’s optical viewfinder employs a pentamirror design that provides 95% scene coverage at 0.82x magnification – exactly the same as the 750D/760D. The viewfinder itself isn’t overly large but it does provide a pin-sharp view through the lens.

Below the main viewfinder window, the 800D displays a range of key settings including shutter speed, aperture, ISO and a metering/exposure compensation bar.

Canon EOS 800D

Below the viewfinder, the 800D’s 3-inch, 1040k-dot vari-angle touchscreen LCD panel is also carried over from the 750D/760D models. The Clear View II TFT screen is of very good quality and displays captured images with great clarity, showing vivid colours and good levels of contrast while the camera is being used in Playback mode.

The touchscreen is nice and responsive, too, never missing a beat when it comes to inputting commands through the screen with your fingers. As with previous models, the screen is side-hinged to allow it to be extracted fully 180 degrees from the camera body, from where it also rotates through 270 degrees. This enables the screen to be positioned so that it faces the rear of the camera for regular shooting as well as the front for self-portraits and suchlike.

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Canon EOS 800D

Naturally, you can also rotate the screen to accommodate overhead and hip-level shooting. One small improvement the 800D does enjoy over the 750D/760D is the addition of an electronic level that can be used to get perfectly straight horizons when using a tripod. This is activated via the Info button that sits just to the left of the viewfinder.

Canon EOS 800D – Autofocus

While the introduction of Canon’s Dual Pixel AF technology represents a significant step forward for those who like to work in Live View mode, the D800’s viewfinder-based phase-detection AF system also sees notable improvement from previous triple-digit EOS models.

More specifically, whereas the 750D/760D both used 19 cross-type AF points, the 800D inherits the same AF system used inside the 80D, which benefits from 45 cross-type AF points across the central portion of the viewfinder. While there’s still a sizeable gap around the edges that isn’t covered, focusing remains speedy and precise, with a working range of -3 to 18EV at ISO 100.

Canon EOS 800D

Switching to the 49-point Dual Pixel AF Live View system, the working range drops slightly from -2EV to 18EV. Either way, that’s still pretty good and enables the camera to attain focus even in dim conditions. My only minor gripe is that the new 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens can be quite noisy while focus is being adjusted. If you’re shooting video in a quiet environment then you can expect the 800D’s built-in microphones to pick up on this.

When used in Live View mode you can set the active AF point via the rear touchscreen, simply by tapping on the subject on which you want to focus. Canon also provides a Touch Shutter function that takes things one step further by automatically capturing an image once the camera has attained focus on the chosen subject.

Servo AF is also available in Live View mode for shooting moving subjects alongside One Shot AF for stationary subjects.

Canon EOS 800D – Performance

The addition of the newer DIGIC 7 image processor certainly makes a difference as far as burst shooting performance goes. With a 16GB SanDisk Extreme Pro Class 10/U3 SDHC card inserted into the camera, I was able to record approximately 25 consecutive Raw images at the maximum 6fps with AF-S employed. By way of comparison, the 750D could manage only eight frames at 5fps before slowing down.

Canon EOS 800D

Switching to Raw+JPEG capture, the number drops to around 22 images. In JPEG capture there appears to be no upper limit, aside from the size of your memory card and the amount of battery charge remaining of course.

JPEG image quality is, as we’ve come to expect from Canon DSLRs, very good indeed. Even with the camera set to its “Standard” Picture Style setting, colours are deep and vivid, with good levels of contrast. Of course, if you want to boost saturation then there’s a “Vivid” Picture Style to choose from, whereas if you’re looking for something flatter, the “Neutral” option will give you precisely this.

Canon EOS 800D

Matrix metering from the 7560-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor proves consistently accurate in all but the most extreme high-contrast situations, resulting in evenly lit images that are neither too dark nor too bright. Likewise, Automatic White Balance also serves up consistently accurate colour.

Canon EOS 800D – Guided User Interface

Another new feature for the 800D is the addition of a Guided User Interface. This is a purely optional feature that can be accessed and switched on/off via the Display Level tab in the main in-camera menu.

Once the Guided UI is activated, the rear LCD panel will change from a standard display of key camera settings to a more animated one that also provides some basic information and practical advice specific to the exposure mode selected.

Canon EOS 800D

For example, with  aperture priority mode selected, the rear LCD shows an intuitive slider graphic that displays whereabouts in the aperture range the aperture is currently set to, along with a brief description of what kind of photo the chosen aperture value would best suit – and with how much it will blur or bring into focus the background behind the main subject.

The information and advice supplied by the GUI doesn’t go into any great detail, but should nonetheless prove useful to those users just starting out with a DSLR who may be unsure of how changing key camera settings will affect their images, and on that level it’s certainly a welcome addition.

In addition to using the Guided UI for shooting duties, it can also be applied to the in-camera menu. Here it essentially just simplifies the standard in-camera menu, by grouping all four sub-menu tabs – Shooting, Playback, Function and Display Level – together on a single introductory screen, with a brief description of what you can expect to find within each.