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Canon 90D vs 80D (2020): Time for an Upgrade?

In 2016, Canon previewed to the market one of their best cameras, the Canon 80D. With fans of the 80D anticipating upgrades to its newer model, the Canon 90D, three years was definitely worth the wait with improvements such as a sensor with a higher resolution. Both the 80D and 90D are considered to be midrange products but are packed with features beloved by professionals. Let’s find out whether upgrading to the 90D is worth it.

Canon 90D vs 80D Comparison Chart

ModelCanon 90DCanon 80D
Canon DSLR Camera [EOS 90D] with Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DIGIC 8 Image Processor, 4K Video, Dual...Canon Digital SLR Camera Body [EOS 80D] with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Image Stabilization STM Lens...
PriceCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on Amazon
ColorBlackBlack
Continuous Shooting Speed10 frames per second7
Screen Size3″3″
Focus TypeAutofocusManual and Auto
Image StabilizationN/AOptical
Wireless Communication TechnologyBluetooth, Wi-FiWi-Fi
Item Dimensions3.00 x 5.50 x 4.10 inches7.00 x 9.60 x 5.30 inches
Item Weight1.32 pounds1.61 pounds
Max Resolution32.5 Megapixels24.2 Megapixels
Optical Sensor Resolution32.5 Megapixels1850 Megapixels
Optical Zoom0 multiplier_x1 multiplier_x
Video Capture Resolution4K UHD 2160pFHD 1080p

Sensor

The 90D boasts Canon’s newest sensor with an additional 8 Megapixels.

The 90D (left) has 8 additional megapixels increasing its predecessor, the 80D (right), up to 32.5 Megapixels .

One of the features that are highlighted in the 90D is the sensor that has been improved when compared side by side with its older brother. The two have an APS-C sensor system, but the 90D possesses an additional 8 megapixels, moving it up to 32.5. With such resolution, it is now the highest resolution APS-C camera available for purchase. Not that everyone will appreciate the additional pixels, but for those working with large prints that require super-crisp detail, then it is a worthy-upgrade.

The image processor of the 90D is also faster because of the new Digic 8, a huge upgrade from the Digic 6 on the 80D.

The new sensor packs a lot of benefits but one of the best aside from resolution would be the ISO range. With this new ISO range, the 90D is capable of reaching an expandable ISO of 51,200 that is perfect to capture a subject under low light situations. Despite the 80D being able to capture good enough photos under such lighting conditions, it still would look worse when compared to the 90D. Accurate exposures can also be expected because of the metering sensor on the 90D being increased. The metering sensor is packed with 220,000-pixel, RGB+IR. A huge leap when compared to the 80D having only 7,560-pixel RGB+IR.

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Speed

The Canon 90D triumphs with a shooting rate of 10 frames per second in both RAW and JPEG formats.

The 90D is able to continuously shoot at 10 frames per second with the viewfinder

There is no doubt that the champion when it comes to speed goes to the 90D. The 80D only uses 7 fps but the 90D is capable of endlessly shooting 10 frames per second (fps) in both RAW and JPEG formats with the viewfinder, and 11 fps during live-view.

The new electronic shutter is a feature on the 90D that is occasionally seen in a DSLR because it is more commonly used with mirrorless cameras. This implies that when you take a photo, the shutter speed can reach 1/16,000 second, beating the speed of a mechanical shutter, hence, twice the speed of the 80D.

Autofocus

The Canon 90D and 80D shares some similar features when it comes to autofocus

The Canon 80D shares the same Dual Pixel Autofocus used by the newer 90D model

Canon’s Dual Pixel Autofocus (DPAF) is used by the two cameras when doing quick focusing with the live view and also uses a 45-point autofocus (AF) system when the user chooses the viewfinder for taking photos. Because the accuracy and speed of the 80D were on top of its game, it was pointless for Canon to fix something that was not broken.

The EOS iTR technology was brought by Canon to the 90D which is short for Intelligent Tracking and Recognition. This brings autofocus to a whole new level. iTR maximizes the higher-resolution metering sensor not just to detect brightness, but colors from the subject and its background as well. This feature immediately focuses on the subjects and locks them into place. Another exciting feature is the capability of the 90D for autofocus with face-detection using the optical viewfinder. If you are a portrait photographer, having face detection, which is a common feature on mirrorless cameras or DSLRs in live-view mode, is one benefit you could not look away from.

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Design

Aesthetically similar until you give bearing on the weight

When comparing the 90D and 80D together, aesthetics was kept pretty similar on both cameras. Weight plays a huge difference with the 24.7-ounce 90D because it is one ounce lighter than the 80D. It is noticeably a great feature that both kits are weather-sealed which protects the cameras from extreme elements.

If there is one aspect that cannot be left undiscussed, it would be the LCD screen for this specific series, especially for the newer generation of vloggers. Viewing perspective provides more options to the user because the two cameras use a three-inch vari-angle touch screen. This provides the vlogger with sharper stills and video. Technically, both cameras can do without a touch screen because of the many physical controls on the exterior, but it is an interesting selling point for those who want a digital experience.

One physical control that was missing on the 80D was the joystick, a feature implemented by Canon on the back of the 90D. A smoother focusing experience is an effect of this joystick. Because of the joystick, the “Q” button is a little bit lower on the 90D, while the delete button rests at the bottom of the backside of the camera. Other than that, no other changes were made making the learning experience to those who will upgrade very easily.

Battery

1,300 shots on the 90D make it perfect for wedding photographers

 

Canon’s 90D has the battery life capable of taking 1,300 photos

It is not fair to compare battery life between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Regardless if it is the 80D or the 90D, they perform way better than any premium mirrorless camera. However, when it is these two that are compared, the 90D is the clear winner having more power in its LP-E6N battery. For a normal user, this simply means that the 90D offers 1,300 shots from one full charge, while the 80D can only give you 960. Although both can last you a whole day of shooting without needing to do a recharge.

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It depends though on who the user is. A perfect example would be a wedding photographer who takes thousands of shots of their clients just for one event. The lesser times they would stop shooting just so they could swap on a new battery on their device, the more they could capture the precious moments unfolding before them that cannot be relived again. With this example, 90D is the one we would highly recommend.

Video

Slower slow-motion videos with a resolution of 60fps can be captured with the Canon 80D

 

Full HD in 60 fps can be captured using the Canon 80D

Videographers have always chosen Canon when doing video shoots. One reason for this is Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II which has set the standards so high that it is the king for such usage for both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras combined. With demands coming from several videographers in the industry, 4K/30p recording has been a feature added on the 90D. This 4k recording takes advantage of the full width of the sensor, unlike previous 4k Canon models where the cameras cropped the sensor in 4K mode. This results in a more narrow-angle of view.

The 80D can only shoot Full HD in 60 fps, so the 90D doubled that. What does this mean to the average user – slower slow-motion videos. When it comes to time limit though, both cameras share the same limit of 29.59 minutes.

Verdict

The Canon 90D is a highly recommended upgrade for consumers shooting videos, sports, and portraits

If you’re buying your very first DSLR or your first Canon, price is not going to be an issue because of how closely they are priced. However, we would highly suggest going to Canon 90D instead. For the body only, the 90D is only $200 more than what you would pay for the Canon 80D.

For the existing users of the 80D however, the 90D packs a lot of noticeable features that are enough to justify the upgrade. Features such as the upgrades in metering and subject tracking, face-detection AF, 4K video, and better battery life, are ones you cannot ignore. Despite the 90D possessing the new sensor, you will barely notice the difference at all – even more for the average user. The 80D is a camera worth keeping, but if shooting videos, sports, or portraits are your thing, then go all out with the 90D.

Last update on 2020-08-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Abraham Viloria
Abraham Viloria