Video

The Canon EOS 80D is a capable video capture device. It can shoot up to 1080/60p when using MP4 with Standard IPB compression. For higher quality video, the EOS 80D can also record MOV files at either 1080/30p or 1080/24p using All-I compression.

While the lack of 4K capture may be a turn off to some, the video output offered by the 80D is decent. For most casual shooters and enthusiasts, it should be more than enough in terms of quality.

.MOV
  • 1080/29.97p, 1080/23.98p (All-I compression)
MP4
  • 1080/59.94p, 1080/29.97p, 1080/23.98p, 720/59.94p (Standard IPB compression)
  • 1080/29.97p, 720/29.97p (Light IPB compression)

The body offers a built-in stereo microphone, which has been moved closer to the front of the camera for better out-of-camera audio, compared to its predecessor. It also offers both a built-in microphone and headphone port as well as an HDMI port (unfortunately, 'clean' video cannot be output to an external recorder).

Basic Controls

Using the 80D to capture video is fairly easy and intuitive. To start movie recording, simply flip the Still/Video capture switch to the lower position. From there use the Start/Stop button to begin shooting.

Unlike the more pro-level 7D Mark II and 1D X Mark II, program exposure modes such as Aperture or Shutter Priority are not offered. Instead, you have either fully Auto, or fully Manual exposure modes (if you want to relinquish all control, there's an 'Auto+' mode engaged by turning the mode dial to the green square). Thankfully, Manual shooting does offer Auto ISO, so you can set the aperture and shutter speed and let the camera auto-expose by choosing the appropriate ISO. You can even apply exposure compensation by turning the rear dial in Auto mode, or by tapping on the exposure comp icon and then turning the rear dial in Manual.

The video Q menu.

The majority of core video settings can be accessed from within the video Q menu. There you can choose your AF mode, recording size, white balance and picture style. You can also choose to add a creative filter, employ digital zoom, turn on the Auto Lighting Optimizer, adjust audio levels, or take a video snapshot.

Video AF

Pulling focus during video capture is as simple as tapping the screen.

One of the 80D's standout video features is its Dual Pixel AF system, which results in excellent continuous AF functionality during capture. And thanks to the touchscreen, pulling focus from one point to another is as simple as tapping the screen. 

By default, the camera is always in continuous (Servo) mode. You can temporarily disengage Movie Servo AF by half-pressing the shutter button, which forces the camera into 'One Shot AF' mode, acquiring and then locking focus. Let go of the shutter button, and the focus system picks up right where it left off, even remembering your initial subject in tracking modes (this is a great way of momentarily pausing AF during video). You can disable Movie Servo AF entirely via the shooting menu, or by tapping the Servo AF icon on-screen, which acts as a toggle.

This clip was shot on the default AF speed sensitivity, using the center-most point.  Click to download this clip (13 secs, 43.7MB).

The three AF modes offered during video capture, Face+Tracking, FlexiZone-Multi and FlexiZone-Single, are identical to those offered during still live view capture. The first mode is useful for locking focus at the beginning of capture, on a person or subject moving within the frame. To lock focus, simply tap on your subject in the screen, and the camera will attempt to track that subject, with a fairly good degree of success. This mode also prioritizes focus on faces if no subject is selected. The other two modes work in a similar way, without the tracking: tap the screen to identify your area of focus and the camera will honor that area, regardless of how the scene changes.

While I found the default Servo AF speed during video capture to be excellent for most scenarios, users can change that speed of focus via a slider in the menus (page 4 of the shooting menu). Users can also adjust the Movie Servo AF tracking sensitivity via a similar menu option and slider. But there's a catch - these options are only available for FlexiZone-Single AF, and are greyed out in Face+Tracking and FlexiZone-Multi AF area modes.

Quality

Video quality from the 80D is slightly improved over that of its predecessor. The symmetrical moire pattern in the siemens star indicates that the 80D is likely not line skipping, as we suspect the 70D does. The 80D also shows less false color than both 70D and 7D Mark II, and footage appears slightly sharper.

And while the 80D offers better video quality than both its predecessor, and its closest competitor, the Nikon D7200, detail is still not as good as we've seen from other cameras at 1080p like the Sony a7S.

1080/24p. ISO 6400, 1/50 sec F5.6. For occasional video shooters, video quality from the 80D is perfectly acceptable.

Shortcomings

While the EOS 80D centers around easy-to-shoot video, various video making tools, many of which we consider to be industry standards in enthusiast camera market, are absent. For instance, the 80D does not offer focus peaking or zebra stripes. The former may not be a problem for some because the 80D's continuous AF during video capture is excellent. But there is also no clean HDMI output option, nor is there a C-Log gamma option (a very flat tone curve useful for color grading).

This lack of standard video making tools has the potential to limits users' ability to grow with the 80D and use it for more professional-level projects. Furthermore, video quality is by no measure class leading and with 4K becoming near-standard on mirrorless competitors, HD is starting to look a little low. Also, I would have loved to see the inclusion of some faster frame rate video options, like 120p, for super slow motion. 

Accessories

Canon announced two accessories at the same time it launched the 80D, both for video and both priced under $250. The more unique of the two is the PZ-E1 clip on zoom motor (shown above). It attaches to the bottom of the new 18-135mm kit zoom,and can operate the zoom in a smooth and controlled manner. There are two different zoom speeds and the zoom and users can control the unit via Wi-Fi app or the desktop-based Smart Utility, as well  as via the on-body controls. It sells for $150 and is powered by four AAA batteries. Canon says it will be releasing other lenses compatible with the PZ-E1 in the future. 

The other accessory is the DM-E1 shotgun microphone (shown above, with 'dead cat' baffle attached), which is compatible with all cameras with a 3.5mm socket. It sells for $250.