Canon EOS 750D Review – Rebel Evolution

Overview

Every year, Canon updates its Rebel lineup with a similar but improved model. And it seems like the improvements have been getting smaller over time. The 650D Mk II 700D’s upgrades were almost frivolous; a slightly different case, and a mode dial that rotates 360 degrees, along with slightly improved firmware. Released just after the 24MP Nikon D5200 which sported 14 stops of dynamic range, the 700D struggled with its 5 year old sensor (with barely 11 stops or dynamic range).

Cover

But that wakeup call seems to have done Canon good, and this year it’s back with not one, but 2 successors to the 700D – the 750D and 760D. The internals of both are exactly the same, but the ergonomics of the 760D isn’t what you’d expect of a Rebel with an LCD top plate and revamped controls (more on this later).

So, what’s new?

Sensor and chip

The sensors in the 760D and 750D | Cameradecision
The sensors in the 760D and 750D | Cameradecision

For starters, the sensor has received its long-needed upgrade. The ageing 18MP sensor (which was introduced way back on the 550D) has been given a 24.2MP replacement of the same APS-C size. This brings with it not only improved resolution, but has also bumped up the plateauing image quality of the Rebel series.

It’s nice to see that image noise has been reduced despite it having more pixels crammed into the same area. Logically, each pixel would have less space on the sensor, and so would collect less light. So signals would have to be amplified more, resulting in more noise. Thankfully, however, the improvements in sensor technology has offset this. Although the ISO range remains the same, there has been substantial improvement at all ISOs, especially at the higher end. We now have relatively clean pictures up to ISO 3200 and even ISO 6400 is no longer unusable. Take a look at the photo samples below. The dynamic range had also improved to , but still cannot compete with Nikon’s 13.9 stop offerings which use Sony sensors.

As for continuous shooting, the speed is still capped at 5fps, but now you can shoot 940 JPEGs on a UHS-I SD card before the buffer fills. Yes, that was no typo. Funnily enough, despite increasing the capacity for JPEGs 30-fold, the buffer can only store 8 RAWs, an increase of 2 from the 6 RAWs in the 700D.

Autofocus

The autofocus system has been inherited from its more advanced brethren, the 70D. The exact same system. On the one hand, the 2 year old 19 point all cross-type system isn’t cutting-edge. On the other hand, it’s a marked improvement for the Rebel series; no more do we look at the 9 dots in boxes that give a flash when in focus. In fact, the viewfinder itself is similar to that of the 70D (and the other more expensive Canons – think 5DIII), so that the boxes only appear at points which are in focus. It also lets you overlay a grid on the viewfinder, and in the case of the 760D, display an electronic level.

760d_06
The 750D viewfinder

Just like the 70D, you can choose between Single Point AF, Zone AF and 19-point Area AF. To make this process easier, both Rebels feature a handy AF selection button on the top plate, to the left of the ISO button, for quick access. When out shooting, we found this button to be a great time saver, allowing us to cycle between AF modes without having to take our eye off the viewfinder.

IMG_4365.JPG
That wonderful button to the left of ISO made shooting much easier.

For live view, there is Hybrid CMOS AF III, which is definitely snappy and tracks well, but sometimes hunts for focus at the last moment in dimmer light. For lightning fast, reliable focus you’d need the Dual Pixel technology currently only found on the 70D and 7D Mk II.

Metering

metering-system1
The iFCL 63-zone Dual-layer Metering System

The metering system has been revamped, too. Although it still follows a 63-zone metering system, it now utilises a 7560 pixel sensor, making use of red, green, blue and even (near) infrared light to determine exposure and white balance. For all the technology poured in, though, there wasn’t much on an improvement over the old system in the 600D we compared it to. It did meter differently, but both cameras suggested exposures that were equally good (or bad), although it did (very occasionally) clearly outdo the 600D.

It also features Canon’s latest feature; flicker detection. (Lights run on AC power will flicker at 60Hz, which causes problems for shutter speeds higher than that. On point and shoots (and mobile phones) this causes alternating bright and dark bands in your photo. On DSLRs your photo could end up being underexposed.) Canon’s latest offers to sync the camera with the brightest part of the light’s cycle when it detects flicker, so that all your shots are properly exposed, and notifies you of it in the viewfinder.

WiFi and NFC

20151209_162154_HDR.jpg
The WiFi indicator blinks light blue when WiFi is in use.

As another first for the Rebel line, WiFi and NFC have been incorporated, presenting a myriad of features which includes remote shooting from your smartphone.

Screenshot_2015-12-09-16-21-13
Canons remote app interface. Basic functions can be adjusted from the app.

Remote shooting works surprisingly well, similar to the implementation we’ve had for years in Lightroom (and Canon’s EOS Utility), except it is now wireless, and also possible through your smartphone. Besides that, you can also upload photos to social media sites using Canon Image Gateway, share it on DLNA devices (eg smart TVs) or transfer photos on the camera wirelessly to another camera or your phone.

It is also worth mentioning that the camera and phone can connect directly, so there is no need for an external network (the camera creates its own SSID and your phone connects to that) which would be a huge boon when there is no network around (or worse, if the nearest wireless network is painfully slow).

Ergonomics

81ddlnptscl-_sl1500_
760D’s top plate featuring an LCD and locking dial on the left.

The last major change is exclusive to the 760D. In fact it is the raison d’être for the 760D. The 760D gets an LCD top plate and the controls layout (the Quick Control dial) only seen on the more expensive models. Its mode dial is to the left of the viewfinder and features the locking button to prevent the dial accidentally turning.

Canon-EOS-760D-black-back-screen
The quick control dial at the bottom right on the 760D

Alas, the quick control dial is much smaller than the semi-pro and pro models’, and according to some who have tried it (we only got our hands on the 750D) those with large hands might find its placement a tad awkward. But in mimicking the layout of higher-end models, the 760D should be much easier to use. Take this with a pinch of salt, however, as we haven’t actually tried it for ourselves.

The tiny grip of the Rebel series is perpetuated in these 2 cameras, though, and both feel rather unsatisfactory to hold. It could be argued that the grip can’t be made much bigger on such a small camera, but the competition (Sony, Nikon) have been able to implement rather comfortable grips on their equally tiny, entry level cameras.

The body of both the 750D and 760D are made of an aluminium alloy, compared to the stainless steel chassis of the 700D. The reason for this is weight savings, but the 750D weighs in at 555g, a mere 25g reduction from the 580g 700D.

Truth to be told, the 750D looks (apart from the AF selection button mentioned earlier and a WiFi indicator) and feels identical to its predecessor, and you’d be hard pressed to differentiate them unless you had both in hand.

Video

Still no 4K, we’re afraid.

For that you’ll have to get a 1D-C. Or a Nikon. Or a Sony. Or even an iPhone. But not the 750D. You can’t even shoot 1080p video at 60 fps.

IMG_4374 copy.jpg
The long-awaited mic jack.

With that out of the way, there have been some modest improvements to the video capabilities of the Rebel series. Most notably, we now have a 3.5mm external mic input, with controllable sound volumes, so that an external recorder is not necessary. The improved image quality from the sensor also translates to cleaner video, especially at high ISO. Overall, however, we expected more video improvements from a camera that made such big leaps to its still image quality.

Photo samples

To get an idea of the improvement in high ISO noise, here are 100% crops at ISO 6400 (top row) and 12800 (bottom row). On the right is the 750D and on the left the 600D (which uses the old 18MP sensor).

Without noise reduction

After processing in ACR

Although the unprocessed RAWs (first set) look equally bad, the 750D seems to have significantly more detail left after denoising in Adobe Camera Raw. The 600D shots on the left are much blurrier after the colour and luminance noise has been reduced. The in-camera noise reduction for JPEGs (not shown) has also been improved, with the 750D managing to remove most of the colour noise present in JPEGs.

Just to get an idea of the dynamic range of the 750D, here is a picture of a bulb which we pushed to the extreme in Adobe Camera Raw.

Here are some other pictures.

Conclusion

If you could call the past few generations of Rebels evolution, then the 750 and especially the 760D could be seen more as a revolution. It is a welcome change after nearly half a decade of cameras largely rehashed from an ageing sensor. Coupled with a higher end autofocus and improved metering, it finally is a Rebel that is truly worth buying. If you are looking for an upgrade from an older Rebel, or even from a 60D, it is worth it. At S$949 for the 750D, or S$1049 for the 760D, you’d enjoy features that were previously confined to the higher tiers of cameras.

But if you’re looking primarily into video, then the 750D isn’t going to tantalise. It’s the same as its predecessors, just an external input jack added.

The 70D with the pop-up flash deployed
The 70D with the pop-up flash deployed

Perhaps a question you’d be asking is whether the 70D is worth it anymore. At S$1499, it has the same autofocus system, similar image quality; in fact it has a slightly lower resolution than these Rebels. Even the top plate LCD and convenient layout are offered by the 760D.

For most of us, no. But there are a few features that some can’t do without – faster max shutter speeds, higher burst speed and larger buffers for high speed photography, Dual Pixel AF for smooth continuous focus (eg for video), and faster flash sync times. The grip and controls are also more comfortable compared to the 760D. If you need any of these, then you’d have to upgrade to the 70D, or maybe wait for the 80D to come out. If the progress made by the 750/760D is anything to go by, we’d say that the 80D would be pretty good value too.

Leave a Reply