Operation and Controls

The 80D's menu contains no surprises. Those upgrading from older generations of EOS cameras should feel right at home.

The 80D incorporates Canon's latest tabbed menu system. Depending which mode you've selected via the Mode dial, you'll have either five menu sections or three (when using P, TV, AV, M, B, C1, or C2, you'll have all five). Those five sections, (shown above) include the Shooting, Playback, Setup, and Custom Function menus and a My Menu option in which you can save your favorite options for quick access. Those last two sections are not available in what Canon refers to as the 'Basic Zone Modes,' AKA, the beginner modes.

For more control offer the nitty gritty operation, head to the Custom Function Menu. There you'll find three sub-sections including Exposure, Autofocus and Operation/Other. The Autofocus sub-section in particular has a lot of useful options, which we look at closer on the AF page. Unlike it's big brother, the 7D Mark II, the 80D does not have a dedicated AF menu.

Touchscreen operation

The bottom left corner of the screen has a nifty toggle to switch between touch-to-shoot and touch-to-focus. You can also access the Quick Menu via the 'Q" in the upper right. 

The Canon 80D uses the latest implementation of Canon's touchscreen interface - basically the same found in the EOS Rebel T6s.  All of the functions and settings you can access via physical buttons, you can also change through the touchscreen interface via the Q menu (simply tap the 'Q' in the upper right of the screen). When shooting stills in Live view mode, the touchscreen can be used to select a subject to track or to lock focus on a specific point. You can also set the camera to focus and fire the shutter with a single tap of a finger.

For users worried about using the touchscreen when shooting in the cold while wearing gloves, there is an option on page four of the Setup Menu called 'Touch control.' Here you can switch the touchscreen to sensitive mode (or turn the touchscreen off all together). I tried using the 80D on sensitive mode wearing a pair of relatively thin gloves and found it still was quite responsive.  

Unfortunately, the touchscreen can not be used as an AF touchpad when one's eye is to the finder. We've seen this feature offered by other manufacturers, and it would be a nice way to get around the fact that the 80D does not have a physical AF joystick for selecting autofocus points.

The touchscreen interface can also be used from within the camera menu and during playback. Users can pinch-to-zoom and swipe to quickly flip through images. For more on using the touchscreen's operation and best practices in both stills and video mode, head to our live view & touchscreen page

Q Menu

The Q menu can be interacted with by touch, which makes accessing controls very easy.

When shooting through the viewfinder, hitting the 'Q' button on back of the camera calls up the Quick Menu. It looks identical to the Q Menu found in all current Canon DSLRs, and is not customizable. The touchscreen is especially handy for quickly changing settings from the Q menu. You can also use the Multi-controller to access the various settings.

Auto ISO

There are a couple of ways to bias the default Auto ISO shutter speed, including the slider shown above.

The 80D uses Canon's most recent iteration of Auto ISO, which is fully programmable. You have two ways to control your minimum shutter speed: either by picking a physical shutter speed, ranging in full stops, or by using a slider to bias the default shutter speed to faster or slower than the default.

The default shutter speed tends to be near one over the focal length, which in real world shooting, is often too slow, certainly for anything other than static scenes or landscapes. If you intend on using Auto ISO, we recommend biasing to a faster speed. I personally biased it 2-stops over the focal length.

Customization

The function of many of the buttons and dials on the 80D can be customized to a modest extent from within the Custom Function Menu. To do this, head to page four of the Operation/Other sub-section, where you'll find a list of control points with re-assignable functions.

Functions that can be assigned when the shutter is half pressed:
• Metering and AF start*
• Metering Start
• AE lock (while button is pressed)
Functions that can be assigned to the AF-on button:
• Metering and AF start*
• AE lock/FE lock
• AF stop
• AE lock (hold)
• AE lock
• FE lock
• Off
Functions that can be assigned to the AE-lock button:
• AE lock/FE lock*
• Metering and AF start
• AF stop
• AE lock (hold)
• AE Lock
• FE Lock
• Off
Functions that can be assigned to DOF Preview button:
• Preview Depth of Field*
• AF stop
• AE lock/FE lock
• One Shot/AI Servo toggle
• IS start
• AE lock (hold)
• AE lock
• FE lock
• Off
Functions that can be assigned to the Lens AF Stop button:
• AF stop*
• Metering and AF start
• AE lock/FE lock
• One Shot/AI Servo toggle
• IS start
• AE lock (hold)
• AE lock
• FE lock
• Off
Functions that can be assigned to the Set button:
• Off*
• Image quality
• Picture style
• White Balance
• Menu
• ISO speed
• Flash Exp. Comp.
• Exp. Comp.
• Flash function setting

            *Indicates the default function

In addition to the above, you can also determine whether the front and rear dial control your shutter speed or aperture.  

Custom Shooting Menu

The 80D has two spots on the mode dial where camera settings can be saved. Once you have the camera set up to your liking, you can register and save its settings to either C1 or C2. To do that, simply head to the Setup menu, and select the option "Custom shooting mode (C1, C2)," found on page four. From within that option, click "Register settings," and your done. 

This can be extremely handy if you need to frequently shoot in the same environment. For instance, there's a local music venue by my apartment I like to shoot at. Using the C settings banks I can just dial in the correct settings for the lighting in that venue, and for the kind of bands I shoot. This way, I can simply roll into the venue and hit the ground shooting with the right camera settings, without having to fumble with controls in the dark.