Body, handling and features

Created using Iconasys 360 Photography Solutions

Anyone who's picked up or seen a Rebel over the last few iterations will find that there's no surprises on the EOS 77D. It's light and very plasticky, but doesn't feel overly cheap. As we'd expect from a Canon DSLR, the controls are well-sorted and you can operate just about anything with your eye to the viewfinder. Weather sealing would have been nice, but that's neither here nor there at this price point.

So there's not much new to talk about in terms of design with the EOS 77D; it's just another small DSLR. But this camera (alongside the Rebel T7i) brings Canon's Dual Pixel AF down a price point, and this has the potential to significantly impact how you use the camera.

Handling - optical viewfinder shooting

But before we get to that, let's cover the basics. Canon's EOS ergonomic design is here in full force, with a shutter button and front command dial that could have been lifted off an EOS 650, the first EOS film camera (in fact, the EOS system as a whole is celebrating is 30th anniversary this year). So is it new and exciting? It depends on who you ask, but once you spend some time with it, you will find the EOS 77D is a very well-sorted camera.

Just about everything you need is at your fingertips, and it's easy to manipulate any settings with your eye to the viewfinder. The dual control dials in particular make settings manipulation fast, though it would be nice to have more control over button customization (I don't change my 'Picture Style' very often, and would assign that button to something else). Thankfully, the touchscreen-operated Q menu works very well, though you necessarily have to take your eye away from the viewfinder for that.

This crooked horizon and strange distracting stick in the top left are brought to you courtesy an imperfect electronic level and sub-100% viewfinder coverage.
Exposure adjusted in Adobe Camera Raw. ISO 100 | 1/500 sec | F8
Photo by Carey Rose

With regards to the optical viewfinder, this is through-and-through a consumer-level APS-C DSLR. The OVF is fairly dim, relatively small and comes with limited information display, though the eye-sensor above the screen is a nice touch in that it keeps you from being distracted by the main display when you raise the camera to your eye. The electronic level is also nice to have in a pinch, but it's too small and not very precise. Additionally, with less than 100% viewfinder frame coverage, you may find unexpected surprises creeping into the edges of your carefully framed shots.

On a positive note, the 45-point autofocus system from the EOS 80D is a huge step up from previous Rebels, covering a large portion of the small-ish viewfinder. It makes it that much easier to frame your shots up by moving your AF point around, as opposed to having to focus and recompose, and all of those cross-type points should help ensure greater autofocus accuracy than older Rebels.

Handling - Live View

In Live View, the EOS 77D handles much the same as a large-ish mirrorless camera, with good refresh rates and a responsive touchscreen interface. But why would you want to even shoot this way if you have the optical viewfinder? Well, because Dual Pixel AF is that good, and full 100% coverage of the scene you're shooting comes as an added bonus.

The articulating screen on the EOS 77D makes urban still life shooting at odd angles easy.
ISO 100 | 1/320 sec | F8
Photo by Carey Rose

Not only do you get greater autofocus coverage in Live View than through the viewfinder, but it's also even more accurate much the time (and you'll never need AF microadjustment in Live View, since focus is measured at the imaging plane). It even subject tracks better than Canon's through-the-viewfinder iTR tracking by a wide margin - see more on our Autofocus page.

Overall handling is pleasantly competent in this mode as well. You still have most of the controls you need accessible with just your right hand, and then you can cradle the flip-out screen with your left hand and manipulate autofocus with your thumb. It's great for everyday shooting, and working at odd angles is a breeze.

But for times when you want the optical viewfinder experience, well, it's just there waiting for you. Users that find an electronic viewfinder a necessity aren't likely to care since this won't be a camera they're considering, but for those that want the option of an optical viewfinder as well as a polished Live View experience, the 77D has it covered.

If you are one to swap between both methods of shooting regularly, you'll be pleased to note that the experience is fairly consistent. The Q menus between them are broadly similar even down to the autofocus settings vernacular, so long as you just think of 'Face + Tracking' to be analogous to Auto AF point selection.

Features

Features-wise, the EOS 77D is a mixed bag. There are guided shooting screens and menus, there's plenty of scene shooting modes on the top dial, and should you feel somehow uninspired, there's an array of 'creative' filters such as 'miniature effect' and 'toy camera effect.'

You can shoot Raw in auto mode, and you can apply all of the 'creative' filters to Raw files after the fact. Unfortunately, you can't perform more traditional in-camera Raw processing, such as white balance and exposure adjustments that would be of benefit for perfecting an image for Wi-Fi transfer - you'll have to pony up for the EOS 80D for that.

Edited to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. ISO 100 | 1/125 sec | F4
Photo by Carey Rose

The EOS 77D inherits a very basic version of Canon's Auto ISO control, only allowing you to specify an ISO range and the camera will automatically try to keep your shutter speed at around 1/(2 x focal length). There are no options to manually select a minimum shutter speed or bias the camera's selected shutter speed.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth implementation are robust through Canon's Camera Connect app, which is available for both iOS and Android. Initial setup takes a couple minutes if you're on iOS, but with NFC, pairing is very fast with Android phones. But for those of you on iOS, the option for a constant Bluetooth connection means that subsequent pairings will go far more quickly. You can view and download images from the camera, as well as use your phone to tag images with precise time and GPS measurements. You can also control the camera remotely, manipulate settings and even set the autofocus tracking, which will be great for vloggers.