Canon EOS 77D Review

Canon EOS 77D Review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The EOS 77D features a 24.2-megapixel sensor and 45 autofocus points
  • ISO performance is very good and the Dual Pixel AF works well
  • The Canon EOS 77D is priced at Rs. 59,995 for the body only

Earlier this year, Canon refreshed its mirrorless and enthusiast-level DSLR lineup with the introduction of the EOS M6, EOS 77D, and EOS 800D. Going by Canon’s numbering scheme, the new 77D and 800D DSLRs are aimed at beginners with some enthusiast-level features for when they master the craft over time. The new models also make some higher-end features, like the Dual Pixel autofocus system, more accessible to users.

Today, we’ll be testing the EOS 77D, which slots in just below the EOS 80D and above the 800D. The EOS 77D and EOS 800D are priced within Rs. 10,000 of each other and are very similar in terms of features, except that the 800D lacks a secondary LCD and a few shortcut buttons, which is one of the reasons it costs less.

Let’s see if the Canon EOS 77D makes a strong case for itself as a value-minded semi-enthusiast DSLR.

 

Canon EOS 77D design and build quality

The 77D has a plastic body which, at 540 grams, is lighter than that of the 80D. There are rubber grips on either side for your palms and another at the back for your thumb. This model lacks any form of weather sealing but we found that it can handle a light drizzle without any fuss.

On the left side, we have flaps covering the remote control terminal, external mic socket, Micro-HDMI port, and an old-styled Mini-USB port. The NFC contact point for pairing is also placed here. The mode dial is placed on the top left of the camera with a locking system, and a power switch that lets you jump straight to video mode. The optical viewfinder uses a pentamirror to reflect light from the lens to the viewfinder rather than a pentaprism, which is generally heavier and more expensive to implement. We also have a hot shoe terminal and a built-in pop-up flash above the viewfinder. An infrared sensor turns the LCD off when you bring the camera up to your eye.

Canon 77D flip lcd ndtv canon 77d

To the right of the viewfinder, we have another cluster of buttons for live view, AF-On, and magnification. A second control dial lower down also doubles up as a four-way navigation pad. The multi-function lock switch at the bottom can be used to lock the primary or secondary dials or the touchscreen. The secondary LCD lets you check settings like ISO, aperture, shutter speed, battery level, and the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth status at a quick glance. The articulating 3-inch LCD has a 1,040k dot resolution and supports two-finger multi touch input. The touchscreen can be used for changing settings in the menu and viewing pictures.

We received an 18-135mm EFS lens with the body, which can be bought as a bundle from Canon. The lens features a built-in image stabiliser, aperture of f/3.5-5.6, and a switch to lock the lens when not in use.

Canon EOS 77D features and specifications

The Canon 77D features a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor with Canon’s new DIGIC 7 image processor. Light sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 to 25,600, shutter speed ranges from 30 to 1/4,000 seconds, and the burst shooting tops out at 6fps. The camera has 45 autofocus points, all of which are cross-type, along with phase detection pixels on the sensor for video and live view. The latter is what enables the 77D to seamlessly switch focus between subjects when shooting video, which is a big advantage compared to most DSLRs which rely on the contrast detection AF system alone. Unfortunately, video recording maxes out at 1080p at 60fps, which is a bit disappointing.

Canon 77D top LCD ndtv canon 77d

Some of the notable improvements however lie in the firmware. The Canon 77D has something called ‘Guided Mode’, which can be enabled for the shooting screen, menus, and the mode guide. This gives you a visual representation of what you can expect from shots based on which way you adjust the slider. So for instance, say you’re shooting in aperture priority mode, the graphical representation on the screen shows you what sort of effect you can expect by decreasing or increasing the aperture. This encourages you to use the touchscreen, by making the icons larger and easier to use.

Hitting the ‘Q’ button at the back gives you quick access to toggles including white balance, drive mode, picture size, metering, type of focus, etc. You can either use the touchscreen or either of the two dials to manipulate the settings.

The Creative Filters option on the mode dial lets you add effects such as soft focus, fish-eye, etc to your photos. You even get special filters for video like a film-grain effect, miniature, black and white, and more. The Custom Functions option in the menu lets you access features like the expanded ISO mode, which bumps up the maximum ISO to 51,200; adjust the level of exposure increments (one-third or half); toggle the state of the AF assist beam; and more.

Canon 77D dial ndtv canon 77d

Canon EOS 77D performance and battery life

We begin with the ISO test to gauge how this camera handles noise when the ISO level is pushed upwards. It’s also a good indicator of how the camera performs in low light. One thing to keep in mind is that the Canon 77D only allows ISO jumps at full stops, and you cannot make adjustments by one-third or half a stop. We start at ISO 800 as there’s no discernible difference in image quality between ISO 100 and that level. Sharpness goes down a notch at ISO 3200 but the image is still noise-free. At ISO 6400, we begin seeing a small amount of noise in the shadows. At the highest ISO level, details start to deteriorate but there’s still no visible chroma noise, which is quite impressive.

Canon EOS 77D ISO test – tap to see full-sized image

The EOS 77D works with the Canon Connect app for Android and iOS, for remote shooting and transferring files to your smartphone. Even when paired using Bluetooth, the camera will need a Wi-Fi connection to your device, even if you want to simply view the photos on the camera. With the dedicated Wi-Fi button, you can jump to a list of previously paired devices or set up connections to a Wi-Fi printer, a desktop PC (through the EOS utility), or a cloud service through the Canon iMAGE Gateway. This is the same as we saw when reviewing the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II .

The buttons on the Canon 77D have good tactile feedback and fall in place under your fingers nicely. The power lever felt a bit stiff and rough, but other than this, we didn’t have any issues with usability. The fact that there’s no headphone socket might frustrate those who want to use this camera for professional recording.

Canon EOS 77D sample: ISO 640, f/4.56, 1/60sec, 35mm (tap to see full-sized image)

Canon EOS 77D sample: ISO 1250, f/5.66, 1/128sec, 93mm (tap to see full-sized image)

In daylight, the 77D does a good job of capturing accurate colours and good detail. We found that the 18-135mm lens isn’t all that sharp, and this is evident in the slightly soft macro shots we got. There is very mild chromatic aberration in some scenes but it’s mostly kept in check. Thankfully, we didn’t have trouble with other artifacts like barrel distortion in our pictures.

Canon EOS 77D ‘Grainy B/W’ sample: ISO 6400, f/5.6, 1/80sec, 135mm (tap to see full-sized image)

The Creative filters are where you can really have some fun. ‘HDR art standard’ combines three consecutive exposures to give you an HDR photo, while ‘HDR art bold’ boosts colours to give you an oil painting effect. ‘Grainy B/W’ is another effect (seen above) which we found quite useful. There are similar effects for videos too, which add a fun element to shooting. Burst mode works well although 6fps isn’t ideal for fast-moving animals or birds. The camera’s high ISO prowess can be seen in low-light shots. Details were maintained fairly well and noise was kept to a minimum even when we had the ISO set to Auto.

Canon EOS 77D sample: ISO 800, f/4.5, 1/25sec, 35mm (tap to see full-sized image)

Canon EOS 77D sample: ISO 100, f/18.2, 16sec, 24mm (tap to see full-sized image)

The 77D has good video capabilities thanks to the Dual Pixel AF system. Autofocus mode includes subject tracking, smooth zone AF, and 1-point AF. Subject tracking works decently, but if your subject’s motion is too erratic then the camera has a tough time keeping up. The phase detection system shifts focus between subjects smoothly, without any focus hunting lag, or the irritating motor sound that plagues most DSLRs. You can use the touchscreen to shift focus too. Another neat feature is electronic image stabilisation, which has two levels. With it enabled, frames are cropped a bit but the end result is more stable footage.

The 77D is rated at 600 shots per charge and we managed to come close to this number during our review period, but features like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth do have an impact here. Your mileage will vary drastically depending on if you have these features on or not.

Canon 77D hand ndtv canon

Verdict

The Canon EOS 77D is a feature-packed DSLR that’s positioned just below the EOS 80D in Canon’s lineup. If you don’t need the secondary display on the top or the second control dial at the back, then the slightly less expensive 800D could serve you just as well, as its features are pretty much identical to those of the 77D. New additions like the guided mode and Dual Pixel autofocus are great to have, but we also wish that this camera supported more current-day features like 4K video recording and maybe finer controls over the ISO level.

The Canon 77D gives you all the flexibility of a DSLR plus good battery life and a variety of inexpensive lenses to choose from, and video performance is also much better now.  If you buy this camera with the 18-135mm kit lens, the price shoots up to Rs. 89,995, which feels a bit too expensive. While the lens is versatile enough for close-up and long-range shooting, we would have liked more sharpness in our images. If video is what you’re after then you should consider a mirrorless camera like the Sony A6300, which retails for around Rs. 67,000. It doesn’t have the best battery life or a very user-friendly interface like the 77D, but you do get much better video capabilities like 4K recording, much faster autofocus, and burst mode.

Price: Rs. 59,995 (body only)

Pros

  • Very good high-ISO performance
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Fast autofocus for video
  • Decent battery life
  • Novice-friendly interface

Cons

  • No 4K video recording
  • Basic ISO adjustments
  • Burst shooting isn’t impressive

Ratings (Out of 5)

  • Build/Design: 4
  • Image Quality: 4
  • Video quality: 4
  • Performance: 3.5
  • Value For money: 3.5
  • Overall: 3.5

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Review

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Instax Mini 9 features a selfie mirror on the front
  • The camera is available in different colour options
  • The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is priced at Rs. 5,999

Instant film cameras are fun little toys to have around. They’re easy to use and you get a printed photo on the spot with that iconic retro look that we try to recreate in our social apps. However, this trend hasn’t really caught on in India despite Fujifilm’s range of instant cameras being available here for a while now.

The company hopes to turn things around with its latest model, called the Instax Mini 9. It has an improved design, and what better way to target millennials and the teenagers of today than with the addition of a selfie mirror? Let’s put it to the test to see how good it really is.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 design and build quality

For Rs. 5,999, you get the Instax Mini 9 camera, a matching strap, a set of batteries, and a close-up lens attachment. You’ll have to buy the instant film separately. It retails for about Rs. 1,020 for a pack of two cartridges, with 10 film sheets in each cartridge. The new camera is available in funky pastel shades, and what we have the Lime Green one with us today.

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is built entirely of plastic, but the fit and finish is good with no crude edges or misaligned joints. Around the back, we have a little compartment for the film cartridge, an optical viewfinder, and a counter which shows you the number of unused film sheets remaining. The batteries slot in on the side, and there’s a loop for the wrist strap on either side of the camera.

Fujifilm Instax mini 9 lights ndtv fujifilm

The slot from where the processed film is ejected is on the top. In the front, we have the flash and light metering sensors which automatically adjust the exposure. There’s a shutter button here and a power button beside the lens. The ring around the lens can be used to switch between different exposure modes, but the only one you can actually force the camera to use is Hi-Key, which sets the flash to go off at its maximum intensity for low-light situations. The rest of the time, the camera will automatically determine the best exposure and switch to it, which is indicated by the different LEDs around the dial lighting up.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 specifications and features

The Instax Mini 9’s instant film sheets give you 62 x 46cm photos. The way this works is that each film sheet contains chemicals in little pouch at the bottom, and when it is exposed to light, the chemicals are pushed into the frame with the help of rollers, as it is ejected from the camera. The film pops out only a few seconds after you press the shutter button, but it then takes about two minutes for it to develop fully. Just like with traditional Polaroids, you can personalise the white frames with messages, drawings, etc.

Fujifilm Instax mini 9 back ndtv fujifim

The camera features a two-element lens with a fixed shutter speed of 1/60th of a second. The aperture varies depending on which exposure mode is selected, and can range from f/12.7 to f/32. The flash always fires, no matter the light conditions. The close-up lens clips onto the front of the main lens and lets you shoot objects as close as a foot away from the lens. There’s really isn’t much to this camera other than turning it on and shooting.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 performance and battery life

Since this isn’t a digital camera, there are no files to display for quality to be judged by. The final output is printed onto the film sheets, and that’s that. The credit-card sized photographs make for fun mementos, but the output quality isn’t always predictable.

The camera is comfortable to hold and light enough for one-handed use. Since the viewfinder is placed to the left of the body and you don’t see through the lens, the position of your subject will always be offset a little unless you know exactly how to compensate. It’s best to leave some space around your subjects in order to avoid cutting them off. With each new cartridge, the first tune you press the shutter button, the protective sheet will be ejected, after which actual film sheets will be used.

We found many overexposed areas in outdoor shots taken in daylight, resulting in washed-out details. The Instax Mini film that we used has an ISO 800 rating so it’s up to the camera’s light sensor to adjust the aperture, but even at the narrowest setting, it’s tough to get a detailed shot in sunlight. Things are better indoors when lighting is more controlled. In a well-lit room, we managed to get fairly detailed close-ups with the attached lens. Colours weren’t too bad, although all pictures have that slightly hazy look, which some would call “retro”. It’s also important to note that the Instax Mini 9 works best for close-ups and doesn’t fare too well with subjects at a distance.

Fujifilm Instax mini 9 photos review ndtv fujifilm

Just like the overexposure issue when shooting in bright daylight, some of the shots we took indoors had a soft focus. In low light, it’s best to use the Hi-Key mode as it results in a well-lit picture, eliminating most shadows around your subject. However, it isn’t suitable for close-ups as the bright flash will overexpose your subject. You have to learn the balance, but that means you wind up wasting quite a lot of film sheets, which are not exactly cheap.

A pack of 20 film sheets costs around Rs. 1,000. which translates to about Rs. 50 per photo. If you want slightly better value, you can pick up packs of 100 sheets which retail for a little under Rs. 4,000, which works out to roughly Rs. 40 per photograph. Do remember that these films have an expiry date.

The company says that each set of two AA batteries should last for about 100 shots, but this will vary depending on which exposure modes you end up using more often.

Verdict

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is a functional upgrade over the Mini 8, with its useful close-up lens and selfie mirror that a lot of people will relate to. Rs. 5,999 isn’t too much for a camera that spits out printed photographs nearly instantly. It’s a reminder of a simpler time when we didn’t have the luxury of taking hundreds of shots in one go, since every one has to count. The Mini 9 is a camera you break out for parties or other social gatherings where these instant photos make for fun and personal, mementos of the good times. Plus, the ability to have these physical photographs in your wallet with you has its appeal.

Using it on a daily basis won’t be very economical, as we’re looking at a cost of at least Rs. 40 per photo, and that is if you opt for the value pack of film sheets. Also, details, clarity and exposure in photos are always a bit hit-or-miss. This comes with the territory of instant cameras, so if you like the idea of photos having varied Instagram-like filters to them, then you’ll be happy with it.

Price: Rs. 5,999

Pros

  • Built well and simple to use
  • Instant printed photos
  • Selfie lens is a thoughtful addition

Cons

  • Cost per photo isn’t very economical
  • Pictures lack clarity
  • Exposure isn’t always accurate

Ratings (Out of 5)

  • Design: 4
  • Image Quality: 3
  • Performance: 3
  • Value For money: 3
  • Overall: 3

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

LinkedIn Connected Review: Annoying Emails Become Pretty Cards

LinkedIn Connected Review: Annoying Emails Become Pretty Cards

LinkedIn, the professional social network, has recently launched a new app for iPhone – LinkedIn Connected. This app, which replaces the old LinkedIn Contacts app on iOS, is LinkedIn’s attempt at changing how you connect with professionals in your network. It is only available in a few countries including the US at the moment.

LinkedIn Connected essentially lets you view all your LinkedIn contacts, and syncs them to your phone’s address book. Inside the app, your contacts are displayed as cards that show LinkedIn profiles, location and your notes on that person. For instance, if you have an interview with a person, you can add a note like, “Remember to ask about her upcoming concert”, and then when you check their card before the meeting, you have all the information you need at hand.

LinkedIn_Connected_Kunal.jpg

We tried the app for a few days and here’s what we thought about it.

LinkedIn Connected does a great job in terms of design. It uses a card-based design, and each card has a picture of your contact, details of upcoming events (meetings, birthdays, work anniversaries, etc.) and a button for an action (congratulate, connect, etc.) below. You can sort through the day’s events by swiping sideways and tap any card to quickly check a person’s background. Since you can sync it to your phone’s calendar, you can see upcoming meetings in the app, and can send you reminders as well. It’s hard to justify using this as your primary calendar, as other apps serve that purpose much better.

LinkedIn Connected might appeal to those who do all their networking on LinkedIn, but if you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile, then this feature might not be so useful. On our account, most of the updates we got were people joining a new company or someone’s birthday.

Swiping down from the top shows you three options – Keep in touch, Find a contact and Accounts and settings. The first option takes you back to LinkedIn Connected’s cards, while Find a contact does what the name suggests. Accounts and settings lets you configure which services (contacts, calendars, etc.) you want to sync with LinkedIn Connected, and is also where you can sign out.

If you go back to the cards, when you keep swiping to the right, you’ll soon reach the last of the day’s most important events. If you swipe to the right here, you’ll see contact suggestions, which is just an endless stream of people LinkedIn wants you to connect with. Getting back to your most important events from there is difficult – you’ll have to swipe back all the way. For an app that is so design-driven, not having an easy way to return to the first card is a big problem.

LinkedIn_Connected_updates.jpg

LinkedIn Connected is essentially a prettier, less annoying way to get notifications from the network, when compared to the several emails that it tends to send every day. If you use email for networking, then you might want to try LinkedIn-owned Rapportive, which is a Gmail extension that shows you background details about the person you are having conversations with.

(Also see: Seven Extensions That Make Gmail Better)

LinkedIn’s main app has a lot more features such as status updates, links to articles, news, photos, comments, etc. If you want to do away with all of that and only focus on connecting with other professionals, then LinkedIn Connected might be what you seek. If you’re looking for a killer contacts app though, then this doesn’t quite cut it

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Facebook Lite for Android Review: Made for India

Facebook Lite for Android Review: Made for India

While phone makers are now launching 4G handsets and companies like Airtel and Reliance working towards bringing the networks in India, you might think that there’s no need for apps that minimise data use. The fact of the matter though is that even in a metro like Delhi, 3G access depends greatly on which part of the city you’re in at the time.

That’s where Facebook Lite for Android comes into the picture. The app was launched in Asia earlier this month, and on Monday, Facebook Lite became available in India.

Facebook Lite is available on Google Play and it is just 435KB in size, runs on Android 2.2 and above, so even if you’re using an older phone, you can probably take advantage of the application. According to Shankar, Facebook Lite was designed to solve two challenges – 2G Internet and low-end smartphones – and based on our experience with the app, it seems to have accomplished those goals.

What is Facebook Lite?
As the name suggests, Facebook Lite is a light version of Facebook. It looks like an old version of the Facebook app, with blocky looks and limited features. The full-fledged Facebook app has large cards with neat gutters, expands all pictures and fills up your screen, supports gestures to move between the different Facebook functions.

Facebook Lite on the other hand shows all these previews at a much smaller size, and when we were using it on a 2G network, images took forever to show up. The difference between how posts are displayed between the two versions of Facebook is dramatic, and it’s definitely much more appealing to use Facebook on the full application.

facebook_lite_example.jpg

One other thing we noticed as soon as we started the application is that the Facebook logo is absolutely tiny, and this continued as we used the app too – images attached to posts are tiny thumbnails, filling the width of the screen, and they load after you tap on them. On the full Facebook application, images are much bigger, and they’re likely being preloaded, because they popped up in full size as soon as we tapped on the thumbs. The catch is that you’re pre-loading a lot of images you might not want to click on, using a lot of your mobile data along the way.

facebook_example.jpg

Shankar also points out that in the Facebook Lite settings, you can also choose the image quality, between low, medium and high. Facebook uses proprietary compression algorithms to deliver the images at the desired size, without losing too much visible quality.

Overall, the experience of using Facebook Lite is a lot less refined than the full version, but you’re able to see posts and links more quickly while on the road, and you’re using less mobile data to do so as well. All the features you’d expect – the news feed, friend requests, messages, notifications, and search, all show up. You can easily post status updates, or photos, just like you can on the full application. Messenger is built right into Facebook Lite, so you don’t need to have Facebook Messenger installed to chat anymore.

How well did it perform on 2G?
While it’s less refined, Facebook Lite loaded up posts much more quickly than the full version of the app when we switched to Edge connectivity. Usually, when we’re on the road in remote areas, we give up on Facebook because it’s almost certainly not going to load more posts.

The experience with Facebook Lite was a lot closer to using that other social network – Twitter. There are still problems, and posts still take some time to load. Images don’t pop up right away, and take even more time to load. But it does show you new posts and you can at least read what people are saying while you wait for a picture to load, which is a step forward.

Doing all this required some sacrifices. For one thing, the app does not support videos yet, though that is on the roadmap, according to Shankar. It also doesn’t support advanced location features – basically anything that requires the GPS. And while you can post comments on updates and pictures, you can’t reply to comments for now. And while the main Facebook app allows you to work offline, and make post updates when it connects to a network, Facebook Lite does not have this feature.

facebook_lite_settings.jpg

Who should use this?
If you’re using an older Android phone, or if you bought a budget Android device, then the amount of storage available will can often be quite limited.

In such a case, the small size of Facebook Lite might actually be a big plus point, and you might be willing to sacrifice a little bit of the polish of Facebook, but an app that actually works smoothly and loads quickly on your phone which also frees up a lot of space. While Facebook Lite takes less than 1MB, Facebook can be a lot bigger – a few random checks all turned up usage of over 150MB. Smaller footprint also means that app updates take less data.

But the most important thing was that Facebook Lite uses less data. Facebook says that the app gives a reliable experience, even when bandwidth is at a minimum.

That means that if you’ve already started using an LTE connection on your flagship Android phone with a quad-HD screen, then you should will probably find this app boring and pointless. If you spend most of your time at home or in office, with a steady Wi-Fi connection, then you can probably give this app a miss.

On the other hand, if you’re on the move a lot and travel in areas where getting a 3G signal is still a rare thing, or if you’re trying to reduce the data usage you see for Facebook, then this app will be appealing.

On a smaller, lower resolution screen, the difference between the two versions of Facebook wasn’t so pronounced, so you might prefer it if you have an older device, or if you bought a budget phone. And as we mentioned, it will probably be a good idea if you’re using a phone with limited storage space as well.

The app isn’t for everybody, but frankly, the number of people with good connectivity and high-end devices is definitely smaller than people with spotty Internet access and entry-level devices. Based on that, launching Facebook Lite seems like a great move, and will likely find plenty of takers in India.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]