Canon has a wide range of DSLRs for many different price points, from the lower-end Rebel series all the way to the professional 1D X Mark II. The 90D is their newest entry into this lineup, refreshing the very popular 80D with some new features and giving their high end, crop sensor 7D Mark II a run for its money.
Canon 90D Sensor vs 80D, 7D Mark II
The biggest improvement in the 90D is its new 32.5MP CMOS sensor with Canon’s industry-leading Dual Pixel Auto Focus. That’s a lot of resolution for a mid-range DSLR. The main reason we are comparing these three cameras is their price point. An 80D can be had for around $1,000 (at the time of this writing), while the new 90D comes in at around $1200, and the higher-end 7D Mark II is now selling for around $1400. With only a 200 dollar jump from one camera to the next, we want to know which one will give you the most value.
All 3 cameras have an APS-C cropped sensor, so we tested them with the crop-sensor-compatible Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens. The first huge difference here is resolution: the 90D’s 32MP sensor is a huge upgrade to the 80D’s 24MP sensor and also beats out the 7D’s 20MP sensor. Cameras with a megapixel count in the 30+ range have a distinct advantage – you get a lot of resolution for cropping and re-framing without having to deal with massive files. The 90D hits this sweet spot really well and easily beats out the other two in this particular area.
Autofocus Performance Compared
The Canon 90D, 80D, and 7D Mark II all have Dual-Pixel autofocus for video and perform similarly. But the 7D’s 65-point all cross-type autofocus system is more robust and snappier than the other two cameras, which top out at 45 cross-type focus points. Sports and wildlife photographer have historically loved the 7D Mark II’s autofocus system. However, the continuous shooting on the 90D is a great improvement over the 80D, jumping up from 7 FPS to 10 FPS. This puts the 90D on par with the 7D’s shooting speed. A frames-per-second shooting speed of 10 is the floor needed for very comfortable “spray and pray” style shooting when photographing action.
Video Advantages of the Canon 90D
When it comes to shooting video, the 90D blows the other two out of the water. Following in the steps of their flagship 5D mark IV, the 90D can now shoot 4K video up to 30 frames per second and HD video up to 120 frames per second. The 7D mark II and 80D, on the other hand, will only shoot HD video up to 60 FPS. While many will say that Canon is only playing catch-up here (since their competitors have had 4K video in their entry-level cameras for years), it is nice to see Canon taking videographers seriously and really making the 90D a solid and affordable upgrade to the 80D for shooting video.
Canon 90D Features
The 90D keeps the previous model’s touch-capable tilting screen, which the 7D Mark II lacks. It also maintains the smaller form factor – making it even lighter than the 80D. Canon also added an in-camera time-lapse feature that is missing in the other two models.
Looking at the specs and performance, it’s easy to crown a winner here. The 90D, with its higher pixel count and improved video features, is a worthwhile upgrade to the 80D and, with the exception of overall autofocus points, even beats the 7D Mark II.
To be clear, the 7D Mark II is simply an older model, having been released in 2014. Even the 80D is starting to show its age. Camera and sensor technology has been evolving at such a fast pace that a 6-year gap is going to be very noticeable. It makes sense why the newer 90D is the solid choice here. If you were considering a mid-range, crop-sensor DSLR, you can’t go wrong with the 90D.