Canon EOS 760D digital SLR camera
An above-average entry-level camera for those migrating to manual photography
When hopping from a compact camera (or a phone) to a more serious kit for your photography, your best choices are a small, mirrorless camera, or an entry-level digital SLR. Both of these types of cameras give you scope to use different lenses and manual settings, allowing you to more easily learn the ropes when it comes to controlling the way your photos look, giving you creative freedom. For Canon, its EOS 760D digital SLR represents such an entry level camera, and a little more.
Canon actually calls it a ‘premium entry level’ digital SLR, because it features a more extensive array of manual controls and dedicated buttons than its pure entry-level digital SLRs, such as the EOS 750D. On the 760D, you get two dedicated dials that can be used to quickly change the aperture and shutter values, a dedicated settings screen on the top of the body to check your settings, as well as more readily available buttons for accessing focus, ISO, white balance, and drive options. It’s more a camera body for the enthusiast (and aspiring enthusiast) than a body for a total novice who might be struck with anxiety by all the extra controls.
But even if you are a total novice, the controls on this camera are less intimidating than meets the eye. All you have to do is learn the relationship between the aperture, shutter, and ISO values. Keep in mind the controls that change these values, and then start experimenting. For those of you with a bit more nous, it will be a straightforward camera to operate. The rear dial changes the aperture; the top dial changes the shutter and controls other values, such as ISO, when that function is active.
The body feels good in the hand, with a deep handgrip and a solid skin, the mode dial has a spring-loaded release so that it can't move inadvertently, and the SD card is located in a slot on the side, rather than in the battery compartment, which gives quicker access to your photos, especially when using a tripod. Like most modern cameras, there is a Wi-Fi mode that allows for photos to be transferred to a phone via an app. It's predominantly useful for sharing photos from the DSLR when you are out and about.
Either the optical viewfinder or hinged LCD screen can be used to frame your photos. To use the LCD screen, you must switch the camera to 'live view' mode manually, and note that it will switch off after a short period of idle time. It's shows you the immediate effects of your exposure changes, and it can be used capably for manual focus operations due to its crisp definition. It supports touch, so you can just tap on the screen to select a focus point, rather than press the focus point button on the body.
We're not all that keen on the hinge placement of the screen, as we think it can be awkward to get desired angles in certain situations, but it adds to the versatility of the camera when you want to take low-down or high-up angles and can't see through the viewfinder. Outdoors on bright days, you'll have to shade the screen or angle it for easier viewing.
You can attach any EF-mount lens to the EOS 760D's body, and it will sit in front of a sensor that has 24.2 megapixels. It has the capability to capture highly detailed images, and there is plenty of scope to usefully crop images closely due to its high quality, and the large number of megapixels that are available. If you use JPEG mode, the colours captured by default will be vibrant, yet not overdone, though you can make the photos look more vivid within the camera if you wish.
Focusing is aided by 19 auto-focus points, and there are modes for selecting one-point or one-zone of points manually, or for letting the camera select focus zones on its own. We found the focusing performance to be quick overall, but often had to adjust our aim or the focus mode to get the target we intended. For focusing on small objects, and especially in dark environments, we found manual focus to be the way to go.
We used a Canon EF 24-105mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS STM lens for our tests, which is one of the kit lenses that is available. You can see the camera's image quality with this lens in the sample images below. We stuck with ISO 100 where possible, but increased it as needed when shooting in overcast and indoor conditions to ensure we could use a fast enough shutter speed to counter blurriness. Using an ISO up to 800 was fine, but noise was noticeable in the shots after that, especially when they were cropped.
In terms of speed, the camera can rattle off up to 5 frames per second, and this comes in handy when you want to capture moving objects.
All up, this is an intuitive camera with some neat controls for manual shooting, and feels good to hold. It's a solid camera to consider if you're after an entry-level DSLR that offers more flexibility than cheaper models in this market segment.
All images are unedited, straight out of the camera. They have been re-sized to fit this page, and cropped where noted ('100 per cent crop' indicates that you are viewing the picture fully zoomed in).
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