Canon has been rumored to be working on an EOS 90D for some time, and now that marketing materials for the model appear to have been released ahead of its announcement we’re starting to get a better idea of exactly how the model improves on the previous EOS 80D.
We say ‘starting to’ as none of this information has been confirmed by Canon itself, so we’ll have to wait for the official launch to know for sure – although judging by the leaked spec sheet and promotional video for the model, we’re putting our money on these being genuine details of what’s in store.
So, from what we can tell right now, here are all the main upgrades the newer model is getting over the three-year-old EOS 80D.
Canon EOS 90D vs Canon EOS 80D: resolution
As has been rumored for some time, the EOS 90D appears to make use of a fresh 32.5MP APS-C format sensor, which is quite a step up from the 24.2MP sensor in the EOS 80D.
This gives the newer model the potential for capturing noticeably more detail, although one thing we don’t know is whether the sensor will have an anti-aliasing filter. This was something that was fitted to the EOS 80D’s sensor, although the specs of the EOS 90D we have right now don’t mention this.
Once again, the sensor is sized to the standard 3:2 aspect ratio, and it has a standard Bayer RGB color filter array in front of it.
Canon EOS 90D vs Canon EOS 80D: processor
The EOS 90D makes use of a DIGIC 8 processing engine, the same one that stars in a slew of recent models from Canon like the EOS R, PowerShot G7 X Mark III and the EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D. This gives the camera a handful of performance boosts over the EOS 80D, which employed the older DIGIC 6 engine, and we’ll be running through these individually below.
Canon EOS 90D vs Canon EOS 80D: 4K video
Canon has only blessed three of its DSLRs with 4K video recording to date, namely the EOS 5D Mark IV, EOS 1D X Mark II, and the most recent EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D, although it has also incorporated it into its mirrorless models like the EOS M50 and EOS RP.
The EOS 80D has Full HD capture at 60p as its top setting, although now that we have a model as affordable as the EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D toting 4K capabilities, it’s no surprise to see 4K being included here.
The EOS 90D is capable of outputting 4K UHD footage to 30/25p, and the leaked spec sheet states that Full HD recording to 120p is also on hand.
Canon EOS 90D vs Canon EOS 80D: burst rate
The EOS 80D captures images at a respectable 7fps, but the extra processing muscle inside the EOS 90D means the newer model ramps things up to a speedier 10fps when using the viewfinder.
From the promotional video, it appears that this 10fps mode will also allow the user to track subjects, or keep the focus fixed on that of the first frame.
The spec sheet states that when using live view the maximum burst rate can be as high as 11fps, again in either One Shot or AI Servo modes.
Canon EOS 90D vs Canon EOS 80D: multi controller
Manufacturers release new cameras without this kind of joystick-type control at their peril, and as autofocus systems have become more advanced it’s become expected on cameras of all kinds, with its capabilities now extending beyond simple focus-point adjustment. The EOS 80D missed out on this feature – but it seems the EOS 90D will be furnished with it.
Canon EOS 90D vs Canon EOS 80D: metering sensor
The EOS 90D appears to be the first Canon EOS DSLR to make use of a 220,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor. The spec sheet goes into more details on this, saying that it takes its readings from 216 zones to calculate correct exposure and also help with things like autofocus tracking.
This may well prove to be more accurate than the sensor inside the EOS 80D, which uses 7,560 pixels and splits the scene into 63 segments to do the same thing. Incidentally, this isn’t quite as fancy as it gets for Canon: the EOS-1D X Mark II employs a 360,000-pixel RGB+IR sensor to do the same.
What hasn’t changed?
While it looks like we’ll see lots that’s new on the EOS 90D, much also appears to be shared between the two models, from the Intelligent Viewfinder with approx. 100% coverage and a 45-point all-cross-type AF system through to the 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen with 1.04 million dots. The camera also uses the same EF-S lens mount, which accepts both EF and EF-S lenses and means there’s a 1.6x crop factor to consider, and it also appears to be compatible with the same BG-E14 battery grip that works with the EOS 80D.
Canon EOS 90D vs Canon EOS 80D: face detection
Will the EOS 90D allow for face detection when using the viewfinder? It’s not possible on the EOS 80D, but the above still from the video certainly seems to suggest the new metering sensor makes it an option on the EOS 90D.
Canon EOS 90D vs Canon EOS 80D: Eye Detection AF
While the EOS 90D’s 45-point all-cross-type AF system appears to be the same as on the 80D, eye detection with continuous focus looks set to feature on the EOS 90D. This is one area where manufacturers are putting in a lot of effort right now, so it’s no big surprise to see this mentioned in the video too.
Canon EOS 90D vs Canon EOS 80D: wireless connectivity
The EOS 80D arrived with Wi-Fi and NFC built in, and this allows users to control the camera remotely, and download images and videos over a cable-free connection.
It appears, as we’d expect, that Wi-Fi has been maintained for the new model, and it’s now joined by Bluetooth, something the EOS 80D doesn’t have. We can’t be sure, but it appears that NFC has been dropped from the EOS 90D, as this is nowhere to be seen in the leaked spec sheet. Such a move is consistent with the actions made by other manufacturers such as Panasonic, who has also dropped it from more recent models.
Canon EOS 90D vs Canon EOS 80D: battery life
Despite the fact that both the EOS 90D and EOS 80D make use of the same LP-E6N battery, there’s been a considerable jump in battery life with the newer model.
Whereas the EOS 80D can fire around 960 frames per charge, the promotional video states that the EOS 90D can manage 1,300 frames per charge, which is potentially at least partly down to a more efficient processing engine.
How does that compare? The camera’s closest rival is likely to be the Nikon D7500, which promises 950 frames per charge. Even the Nikon D500, which is likely to be far pricer than the EOS 90D, can only manage 1,240 shots.
There is, however, some confusion here, as the spec sheet states that the EOS 90D is actually capable of 1,860 frames per charge. The video makes it clear that 1,300 is the CIPA rating, so it’s possible that 1,860 can only be achieved by using some sort of power-saving mode.
Canon EOS 90D vs Canon EOS 80D: build quality
One thing that might not be as easily appreciated is build quality, specifically the changes Canon appears to have made for the newer model to ensure solidity and better protection against the elements.
The EOS 80D was designed with a casing that blended polycarbonate resin and glass fibers, whereas the EOS 90D appears to make use of aluminum alloy in addition to these. This is often used on models of this kind, and may well provide better protection.
The EOS 80D already provided resistance to dust and moisture, and it appears that this continues in the EOS 90D, partly through seals around areas like the battery compartment, lens mount and viewfinder, but also through the use of high-precision parts to minimize any gaps between components.
Canon EOS 90D vs Canon EOS 80D: UHS-II support
This was one detail we noticed in the leaked spec sheet rather than the video. Both the EOS 80D and EOS 90D accept the same kinds of SD cards, from the older vanilla SD types through to the current SDHC and SDXC examples.
One key advantage of the EOS 90D, however, is that it supports both UHS-I and UHS-II formats of the SDHC and SDXC cards, rather than just the UHS-I cards supported by the EOS 80D. This gives it a theoretical advantage with regards to data transfer rates.
Canon EOS 90D vs Canon EOS 80D: weight
There’s barely any difference in size between the two models, with the EOS 80D measuring 139.0 x 105.2 x 78.5mm, and the EOS 90D, according to the leak, measuring 140.7 x 104.8 x 76.8mm.
The EOS 90D is, however, a touch lighter. With its battery and memory card in place, the camera weighs around 701g, compared to the 730g of the EOS 80D.