Way back in 2003, Canon launched the 300D. It was the first camera in this now well-established series, but more importantly it marked a milestone for another reason. It was the first DSLR to retail for under £1000, making digital photography more accessible to the enthusiast. Now, ten generations later, we have the 750D, and it sits alongside four others in Canon’s entry-level line-up. It has a launch price of £689 – demonstrating how prices have continued to tumble for consumers – and a spec sheet that would be baffling to those early-adopters. We put one to the test to see how far we’ve come...
Features & Build
Despite being an entry-level DSLR, the 750D has the second highest resolution sensor in the entire Canon line-up. The 22.3x14.9mm APS-C CMOS chip boasts an impressive 24.2Mp, with a resolution of 6000x 4000px. Interestingly, it bucks recent trends by retaining an Anti-Aliasing filter. This slightly softens images to protect against the effects of moiré patterns. In Canon’s EOS range it’s only trumped for detail by the remarkable 5Ds, which has a huge 50.2Mp chip, and costs five times more than the 750D.
The 750D’s sensor has a 1.6x crop factor, meaning that the supplied 18-55mmf/3.5-5.6 lens has a film-equivalent focal length of 28.8-88mm. This makes it ideal for everyday use. The lens also features built-in Image Stabilisation, providing a four-stop safety net to guard against the blur of camera shake.
Paired with the sizeable sensor is the DIGIC 6 processor – an engine previously found in Canon’s Powershot series, as well as the 7D MkII and aforementioned 5Ds. The partnership between chip and processor provides the 750D with an ISO range of 100-12,800, which can be expanded to 25,600. The power of the processor also means you can capture images at up to 5fps in the Continuous shooting mode, so you don’t miss out on the action.
For focusing there are 19 AF points, and they’re all the more advanced cross-type sensors which provide greater speed and accuracy for locking on to subjects. They can be set to work individually, as part of a group or assigned to Auto where the camera intelligently decides which area should be held sharpest. You won’t always agree with its decision though, so it’s best to take control yourself.
The optical viewfinder offers 95% frame coverage and includes a host of overlaid shooting information, beyond the usual exposure settings. This makes it easier to stay in control and adjust settings on the fly, without taking your eye off the scene.
If you need to compose from a more creative angle, then you have the option of using the 1040k-dot 3in vari-angle touchscreen, which offers 100% frame coverage. When using Live View, the 750D uses Canon’s new Hybrid CMOS AF III system, which includes features like Face Detection and Tracking AF.
For the first time on a Canon model, the camera is both Wi-Fi and NFC enabled, so it can be paired with a smartphone or tablet allowing for remote operation or instant image sharing to upload to the web.
Performance & Handling
The 750D is very comfortable in the hand. The front grip is ample to clasp your fingers around and the rear, rubberised thumbpad helps to anchor it. It’s reasonably lightweight, too. The body is constructed from a combination of aluminium alloy and polycarbonate resin with glass fibre, meaning it’s tough, but not heavy around your neck.
All of the shooting controls are situated on the right-hand-side of the body, so you can adjust everything with just your finger and thumb, making operation ergonomic. The top-plate is dominated by a rotating mode dial, where you’ll find the usual M,A,S,P modes, full Auto, Creative Auto and a number of Scene modes.
The Quick Menu button brings up a host of extra parameters on the rear LCD, such as burst mode, metering and image format. These can all be quickly adjusted by tapping on the touchscreen itself. This saves time by not having to dive into the main menus – which themselves are well laid out – and makes the entire handling process much more enjoyable with its efficiency.
The 3in 1040k-dot monitor flips out from the body and rotates through 270º, allowing you to compose from almost any conceivable angle, as well as take selfies, if you feel the urge.
When using Live View, the AF point can be set by simply tapping the screen with your finger. It focuses faster than you’d expect too, considering most DSLRs are a little sluggish when it comes to working with Live View. Setting up Face Detection is easy, and means the people in your shots are always sharp.
Focusing through the viewfinder is even quicker. We found the 750D performed admirably in a range of challenging lighting situations, and switching between the AF grouping modes is easy with the overlaid Viewfinder Information.
The DIGIC 6 processor also impressed. When shooting JPEG at a top speed of 5fps, we could fire off hundreds of frames without any lag from the camera. It simply didn’t slow down. Single JPEGs were saved to our 95MB/s PNY SDHC test card instantaneously. Switching to RAW, we rattled off a burst of 11 shots before the pace stuttered, and these were written in 1.7secs. A single RAW took just 0.7secs to save to the card.
Value for Money
The 750D with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens has an RRP of £689, or it can be purchased for £599 body-only. This places it firmly on a par with its rivals in the entry-level arena, though we expect the price to drop a little in the coming months. Its key competitor is the Nikon D5500, priced at £626 with an 18-55mm kit lens. This features a 24.2Mp sensor, shoots at 5fps, also has Wi-Fi and sports a Vari-angle touchscreen.
Alternatively, the Pentax K-S2 is worth considering. It’s currently priced at £599 with an 18-50mm f/4-5.6 lens. It has a 20.1Mp sensor, an ISO range of 100-51,200 and will fire at 5.4fps.
If you’re looking for an entry-level DSLR, and want one of the latest models packed with up-to-date technology, then the Canon 750D is a very worthy option. The new sensor is the second largest in Canon’s entire line-up, outsizing even the highly-prized 5D MkIII, and it delivers fantastic image quality to boot. The speedy processor makes operation pretty seamless, and gives the camera great low-light capability too. The vari-angle touchscreen is much more than a gimmick – it makes handling the camera truly streamlined, and the ability to compose shots away from your eyeline gives you a far greater creative scope.
While there are currently more affordable options out there, if this camera falls within your budget then you should definitely pay it serious attention. As far as enthusiast DSLRs go, it’s a very capable bit of kit.
- Street price: £469 (Body only as of June 2016)
- Resolution: 24.2Mp (6000x4000px)
- Format: RAW & JPEG
- Sensor: APS-C CMOS (22.3x14.9)
- ISO: 100-12,800 (25,600 expanded)
- Shutter: 30-1/4000sec & Bulb
- AF system: TTL-CT-SIR AF system with 19 cross-type AF points
- Focusing modes: Auto (AI Focus), Continuous (AI Servo), Single (One Shot), and Manual focus (MF)
- Metering: Evaluative, Partial, Center-weighted and Spot
- Burst rate: 5fps
- Monitor: 3in 1040k-dot Vari-angle touchscreen LCD
- Viewfinder: Optical 95% coverage
- Pop-up flash: Yes
- Hotshoe: Yes
- Video: Full HD 1080p @30fps
- Write speeds: 0.7secs RAW, 0sec Extra Fine JPEG
- Storage: SD, SDHC and SDXC
- Weight: 555g (body only)
- Dimensions: (WxHxD) 131.9x100.7x77.8mm
- Visit: www.canon.co.uk
This review was first published in the August 2015 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.