Reviews |Canon 800D / Rebel T7i review

Canon 800D / Rebel T7i review

Canon EOS 800D

30 second Canon EOS 800D / Rebel T7i review…

The Canon EOS 800D (also known as the Canon Rebel T7i) replaces the EOS 750D / Rebel T6i in Canon’s entry-level DSLR line-up. While it has the same pixel count (24.2Mp) as the camera it replaces the sensor is new and the processing engines has been updated from Digic 6 to Digic 7.

Canon has also improved the autofocus systems and included a nippy 45-point phase detection system for when images are composed in the viewfinder.

In addition, there’s a new style interface which is designed to help new photographers take control over their camera and become more familiar with the controls.

The focusing is fast, the exposure metering reliable, the detail levels high and noise is control extremely well. It all adds up to make a very good entry-level camera that delivers the type of images that will keep photographers of all levels happy.

Canon EOS 800D / Rebel T7i Key features

Camera NameCanon EOS 800D / Canon EOS Rebel T7i
Camera typeDSLR
Date announced15th Feb 2017
Price at launch£779.99/$TBC (body only), £869.99/$TBC (with EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM)
Sensor sizeAPS-C (22.3 x 14.9mm)
Effective pixel count24.2 million
ProcessorDigic 7
ViewfinderOptical with pentamirror 95% coverage
Sensitivity rangeISO 100-25600 expandable to ISO 51,200
Reflex AF system45-cross-type, (45 f/5.6 cross-type AF points, 27 f/8 points (9 cross-type), centre point is f/2.8 and f/5.6 dual cross-type)
Live View AF systemDual Pixel CMOS AF system with 49 points
MonitorTouch sensitive, vari-angle 3.2-inch Clear View LCD II with 1,040,000 dots
Max shooting rate6fps until the card is full with jpegs or 27 raw files.
Max video resolutionFull HD (1920 x 1080) at up to 60p
Dimensions131.0 x 99.9 x 76.2mm
Weight532g (CIPA testing standard, including battery and memory card)

The Canon 800D (known as the EOS Rebel T7i in the US) is an upgrade to the Canon 750D (Rebel T6i). It sits in Canon’s entry-level range of SLRs, offering a more sophisticated collection of features than the 100D and 1300D beneath it. It has a lot in common with the more advanced 77D introduced at the same time, but is designed with newer photographers in mind.

Like the Canon 77D and Canon EOS M6, the Canon 800D has an APS-C sized sensor with 24.2 million pixels. And while this may be the same resolution as the Canon 750D and 760D, we’re told that the sensors have not been seen before and they have a new, top-secret design.

This sensor is paired with a Digic 7 processor, which according to Canon, can handle up to 14x more data than the Digic 6 engine found in the EOS 750D / Rebel 6Ti. Consequently this allows a more complex noise reduction algorithm to be used and with this in mind Canon has given the 800D / Rebel T7i a standard sensitivity range of ISO 100-25,600, 1EV higher than the ISO 12,800 standard maximum of the 750D. If you select the option via the customisation menu, the 800D / Rebel T7i’s ISO range can be expanded to the equivalent of 51,200.

Canon 800D / Rebel T7i review: Canon EOS 800D and 77D
Canon EOS 800D (left) and Canon 77D (right)

Canon 800D / Rebel T7i Continuous Shooting

Another benefit of the Digic 7 processor in the EOS 800D / Rebel T7i (and 77D) is that it enables a maximum continuous shooting rate of 6fps (frames per second). This can be maintained until the card is full with jpegs or up to 27 raw files – provided a UHS-I card is used.

The Canon EOS 750D / Rebel T6i has a maximum continuous shooting rate of 5fps for up to 940 jpegs or 8 raw files. A 1fps increase in shooting rate may not sound much, but it can make a big difference when you’re shooting action. And while the ‘limitation’ of 920 jpegs is hardly a concern, being able to shoot 27 raw files rather than just 8 is a significant improvement.

Canon EOS 800D guided mode

Canon 800D / Rebel T7i Autofocus

In comparison with the 750D / Rebel T6i, the EOS 800D / Rebel T7i has a much improved focusing system for use when composing in the viewfinder. For a start the point count has increased from 19-points (all cross-type) to 45, and they’re all cross-type with lenses with a maximum aperture of f/5.6. Cross-type points are better at detecting subjects than standard linear points because they can look for contrast across two planes.

Further good news is that 27 of the points function with lens and teleconverter combinations with a maximum aperture of f/8, and 8 of them are cross type at this aperture. In addition, the centre point is dual cross type at f/2.8. What’s more, the system is sensitive down to -3EV, 2.5EV darker than the 750D.

It all adds up to make the 800D / Rebel T7i’s viewfinder-centric AF system more sensitive than the 750D / Rebel T6i’s so it performs better in low light and when shooting sport and action.

As Canon has opted for a Dual Pixel CMOS AF sensor for the 800D / Rebel T7i, 80% of the imaging area is covered by phase detection pixels. These are arranged in a grid of 7×7 areas ready for action when using the screen to compose images in live view and video mode.

Canon 800D / Rebel T7i review: front of camera

Canon 800D / Rebel T7i Video

As with the 77D and EOS M6, Canon has stuck with Full HD (1920 x 1080) recording for the 800D / Rebel T7i and it’s not possible to shoot 4K video. This is disappointing as it should be well within the capability of the Digic 7 processing engine.
Better news is that Full HD footage can be recorded at up to 60fps for 2x slow motion playback and, just for video, there’s digital 5-axis image stabilisation built-in.

While there’s no headphone port, there’s a 3.5mm jack for connecting an external mic to give better sound quality than can be achieved using the internal stereo mic.

As usual, the maximum duration of a single clip is 29min 59sec (or 4GB).

Canon 800D / Rebel T7i Connectivity

Canon hasn’t skimped on the wireless connectivity options as Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth technology is on board. The Bluetooth system is ‘always on’, making it possible to wake the camera from sleep mode using a paired smartphone or the new optional Remote Controlled BR-E1, which uses a Bluetooth connection.
As well as enabling swift and simple connections to Android smartphones and tablets, the NFC chip allows you to connect quickly to the Canon Connect Station. Meanwhile the Wi-Fi system is used to transfer images wirelessly.

Canon 800D / Rebel T7i review: top

Canon 800D / Rebel T7i Build and Handling

Like the Canon 77D, the EOS 800D / Rebel T7i has a chassis made from aluminium alloy and polycarbonate resin with glass fibre while its exterior is made from polycarbonate resin with glass fibre.
According to the spec sheet the EOS 800D / Rebel T7i is 8g lighter than the 77D, but that’s too small a difference to feel in your hand. It has a similar build, with nice quality buttons and dials and there are no obvious squeaks when you grip it tightly. However, it lacks the solid feeling of the similarly priced Fuji X-T20 or even the far more affordable (and smaller) Olympus OM-D E-M10 II.

It’s also 33g lighter and a little smaller in each dimension than the EOS 750D / Rebel T6i it replaces, but it has an identical control layout. This is simpler than the Canon 77D’s control arrangement as it’s aimed at a more entry-level market.

The 800D / Rebel T7i top-plate lacks a secondary LCD screen and the mode dial (complete with a Creative Filters option) sits on the right, within easy reach on your fingers and thumb on the deep, secure grip.

There’s no dial on the back of the camera so you need to press the Av/+/- button and use the dial at the front of the top-plate to adjust aperture in manual mode or exposure compensation in the semi-automatic exposure modes.

Rather than a pad, the navigation control is split across four curved buttons around a central ‘Set’ button. These buttons also act as shortcuts to key features; white balance, drive mode, Picture Style and Autofocus mode.

Unlike the 77D, the EOS 800D / Rebel T7i doesn’t have a AF-on button so it’s not possible to use back-button focusing, but that won’t be an issue for most novice photographers.

Changing autofocus point is a two step process, you have the press AF point selection button in the top right corner of the back of the camera and use the navigation keys to locate the point that you want. Alternatively, after pressing the selection button you can use top-plate control dial to select the AF point. Turning the dial moves the point horizontally while turning it with the exposure compensation or Q button depressed moves the point vertically.

At first the AF point selection button seems a little awkward to reach with your thumb when the camera is held to your eye, but it’s something your get used to quite quickly. It would be nice if it were possible to set AF point using the screen while you look through the viewfinder.

Canon 800D / Rebel T7i Viewfinder

As it’s a DSLR the 800D has an optical viewfinder. This is capable of showing 95% of the field of view so it’s important to bear in mind that objects outside of the view could appear at the edges of the image.

All the most important shooting information, including the AF points, focus confirmation,  AF area selection mode and exposure details are visible by default. In addition, there’s an electronic level which can be made to appear in the bottom left corner of the finder to help keep horizons level.

Being an APS-C format camera, the 800D’s viewfinder isn’t the largest, but it’s bright and clear. Given the choice, if it was necessary to focus manually, I would opt to use the screen as this provides a bigger view with the ability to magnify the most important section.

Canon 800D / Rebel T7i Screen

Like the camera it replaces, the EOS 800D / Rebel T7i has a touch sensitive, vari-angle Clear View LCD II screen with 1,040,000 dots, however it’s a 3.2-inch unit rather than a 3-inch one. This gives just a little more room for assessing the scene and reviewing images.

The screen is very responsive to touch and the touch-control is very well implemented so you can choose how you prefer to use the camera – with buttons and dials or using the screen. It’s especially useful to be able to use touch-control with the Quick menu and when reviewing images, but it doesn’t take long before you find yourself using it with the main menu as well.

Canon EOS 800D guided mode

As with the 77D, Canon has give the 800D two user interface styles, Guided and Standard. As the more entry-level camera, the EOS 800D / Rebel T7i has the Guided interface by default, but this can be changed very easily to the standard one.

The Guided interface has a white background and takes a simpler approach to controlling the camera, explaining what features do in non-photographic terms. In aperture priority mode, for example, there’s a scale with an icon with a blurred background at one end and a sharp background at the other. It also spells out that larger f/no.s produce sharper backgrounds.

Follow this link to read about the Canon 800D Guided vs Standard mode and find out how to switch between them.

Canon 800D / Rebel T7i review: Canon EOS 800D back

Canon 800D / Rebel T7i Performance

My first shoot with the Canon 800D / Rebel T7i was at the now closed Aldwych tube station in London. This gave me the perfect opportunity to test the camera’s low-light capability. The first thing I noticed was that with the EF-S18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM kit lens mounted, the 800D’s 45-point autofocus system copes very well with low light, only struggling in very low light conditions or when there’s next to no contrast in the subject.

Furthermore, I discovered that at the 18mm point on the lens I was able to get sharp images using a shutter speed of just 1/5sec.

Noise is also controlled very well throughout the sensitivity range. The results at ISO 3200 are particularly impressive with just a hint of texture being visible when images are viewed at 100%. Naturally pushing up further through the sensitivity range increases the level of noise visible, but even at the top native setting (ISO 25,600) it’s acceptable.

I found ISO 6400 produced high quality images in the depths of the underground. There’s some noise visible at normal viewing sizes, but it’s not disagreeable. Raw files have the ability to reveal just a tiny bit more detail than simultaneously captured jpegs and while there’s not much in it, at 100% on-screen, fine details or repeating patterns look ever so slightly more natural in the raw files.

As an entry-level camera the 800D is likely to be used in its automatic white balance (AWB) setting much of the time and judging by the images I’ve shot during this test, that’s going to be fine in the vast majority of situations. On the whole the AWB setting produces attractive images that look natural. It manages to capture the warm glow of a sunbathed evening superbly and images shot in the depths of a shady woodland look appropriately cool.

Like the 750D / Rebel T6i it replaces, the EOS 800D / Rebel T7i has a 7560-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor and the metering area is divided into 63 zones. I found that in evaluative mode it can be relied upon in a wide range of situations and it isn’t easily distracted by large bright or dark areas around the subject. There were only a few occasions when I needed to use the exposure compensation to adjust the brightness of an image.

Canon 800D / Rebel T7i review: being held

When the screen is used for composition exposure is read from the sensor and this system seems a bit more sensitive to the brightness of the subject under the active AF point. If the target is dark, the image may be a little overexposed. It’s not a huge issue as the on-screen exposure simulation alerts you to the fact so you can make an adjustment.

In the event that things go badly wrong, for whatever reason, the 800D’s raw files are quite elastic and it’s possible to recover a good level of detail from areas that look almost black. I successfully brightened an image from a tunnel at Aldwych tube station by over 3EV. And provided large areas of a highlight aren’t lost, it’s possible to make very bright looking images look just fine – but that’s not unexpected.

When shooting using the screen to compose images the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system puts in a good performance and is able to get subjects sharp quickly even in gloomy conditions with little contrast. Good news for budding videographers is that it can even cope well with moving subjects, though it’s more up to walking pace than a bounding puppy.

Switch to using the viewfinder and the 45-point autofocus system and you’re in with a fighting chance of getting that speeding puppy sharp. In automatic selection mode the 800D does a good job of working out where the subject is in the frame and getting it sharp, but Zone AF mode helps it home in provided you can keep the active area over the target. The AF points within the zone flicker as you shoot to let you know they’re in play. Using Single Point AF mode allows you to target the subject more precisely, but you have a harder task keeping the active point in the right location.

Video quality is very good, matching the stills for colour and exposure.

Canon 800D / Rebel T7i Verdict

While it is a big jump up in street price from the Canon EOS 1300D / Rebel T6 and Canon EOS 100D/ Rebel SL1, the EOS 800D / Rebel T7i brings a newer sensor with 6 million more pixels, more advanced autofocus systems and a vari-angle touch-screen. The latter makes it more useful for creative photography while the Dual Pixel CMOS AF makes keeping video subjects sharp easier.

Having the choice two interfaces, one to suit beginners wanting to learn about photography and the other to keep enthusiasts happy is a good move that should broaden the 800D’s appeal. The touch-control is also extremely well implemented, helping to make the camera much more user-friendly.

It may not have many surprises or tricks up it leave, but the 800D puts in a very solid performance, delivering high quality images with very well controlled noise is a wide range of conditions. In short, it makes an excellent entry-level camera.

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