Canon EOS R8 Review: Does it all

Canon EOS R8
Tech Week score: Tech Week Score

The Canon EOS R8 is a compact full frame mirrorless camera aimed at anyone upgrading from an EOS R and RP or perhaps an older DSLR like the 6D or APS-C model. Announced in February 2023, the EOS R8 becomes the most affordable new model in Canon’s full-frame camera lineup.

The camera can serve as a great addition for professionals and can even work as a mainstay for many wedding and event photographers. It takes the best features of the R6 Mark II and packs them into an affordable, comfortable and functional package, albeit with some sacrifice to keep the price and size down. In the Canon EOS R8 review, we will describe the main features of the new product.

Canon R8 review

Design

Canon R8 review

 

Visually, the Canon EOS R8 is similar to the EOS RP . The main changes are that the power switch is moved to a lock switch and the old power switch becomes a photo/video mode selector. The mode dial options change slightly. The rear camera capabilities of the R8 are somewhat limited compared to more expensive models.

Advanced photographers would love to have a joystick and a rear control dial surrounding the cross buttons. However, the 4-way controller is easy to use. The “SET” button located in the center acts as a quick control “Q” button, making frequently used functions available.

On the top of the Canon EOS R8, there is a mode dial to the right of the viewfinder. This dial is easy to access with your right thumb, and the lockless design allows you to quickly change modes even when the camera is off. The mode dial and other dials on the top of the camera are flush mounted and protected from impact.

Display and viewfinder

The electronic viewfinder on the R8 has a refresh rate of 120 fps. It supports Canon’s OVF option, designed to mimic the look of optical viewfinders to make the transition from DSLR cameras a bit easier. The EVF specification also matches the RP with a base 2.36M-dot OLED panel with 0.7x magnification.

The screen is the same as the R6 II . It is a 3-inch panel with 1.62 million dots and a side hinge mechanism. It allows the display to pivot forward for vlogging and selfies, up and down for framing at unusual angles, and flip back for protection. Again, if you don’t have a joystick, you can use the screen as a touchpad to control the autofocus position.

Canon R8 - lbpfqy

Sensor and image quality

With the R6 II, Canon introduced an impressive new CMOS sensor, and the EOS R8 gets the same sensor. Thanks to the DIGIC X processor, R8 and R6 II provide the same image quality. 24 megapixel resolution remains relatively low for full-frame MILC cameras, but not everyone needs ultra-high resolution. On a positive note, the sensor’s large photocells produce very low noise at high ISOs.

As with all EOS cameras, the Canon R8’s image sensor has a 3:2 aspect ratio. Optionally (mandatory when using an EF-S lens on an adapter) you can select a 1.6x crop. Other available aspect ratios are 1:1, 4:3 and 16:9. The R8 has ISO 100…102400 in 1/3 stop increments, expandable to 50 and up to 204800.

 

All Canon EOS cameras provide a wide range of noise reduction settings. The fact that these settings can be adjusted in-camera is especially important for those who require quality JPEG images. Multi Frame Noise Reduction (MSNR) is one of the additional options available in the R8. MSNR can be a good option when shooting handheld in very low light.

Like many recent Canon cameras, the EOS R8 supports 10-bit HDR PQ HEIF recording. HEIF stands for High Efficiency Image File Format. It is a standard created by the MPEG group. While JPEG files use lossy 8-bit YCbCr 4:2:2 compression scheme, HEIF uses 10-bit YCbCr 4:2:2 HEVC compression algorithm (also lossy) conforming to ITU-R BT.2100 HDR standard.

HEIF provides 4 times more gradation accuracy in image data and a wider color gamut than sRGB and Adobe RGB. Overall, like the R6 Mark II, the R8 delivers the outstanding full-frame image quality we’ve come to expect. As a final note, while the Canon EOS R8 doesn’t have IBIS, many RF mount lenses have OIS.

Canon R8 - control

Performance

The Canon R8 can shoot at up to 6fps with an electronic first-curtain shutter (no full mechanical shutter available). Considering some of the cameras introduced today, 6 fps seems to be commonplace. However, the EOS 5D IV can only shoot 1 frame/sec faster. Switch to a fully electronic shutter and the R8 will shoot up to 40fps while maintaining full autofocus and autoexposure functionality.

Like the R7 and R10 , the R8 supports RAW burst mode (30 fps, up to 158 frames) and, even better, pre-shooting. In this case, 30 fps image capture is available for 0.5 seconds until the shutter button is pressed completely. Those. up to 15 frames are recorded before the button is pressed completely. RAW batch shots are contained in a single image. Thus, it takes a long time to write to the memory card.

RAW and C-RAW files are 14-bit with 1st curtain electronic shutter and 12-bit with full electronic shutter. While there is a psychological difference, the difference in image quality will rarely be noticeable in perfectly exposed frames. The drop in quality will show up first on smooth gradients, such as the sky, when the contrast is adjusted.

Autofocus

With Canon’s latest Dual Pixel CMOS AF autofocus system, the photographer can often focus on composition and shutter timing by letting the camera take control of the autofocus. The EOS R8 inherits the autofocus technology of the more expensive EOS R-series cameras, including software algorithms. Added automatic object tracking.

 

Canon R8’s AF system includes Spot AF (AF can be selected from 4897 available points for stills and 4067 for video), 1-point AF, 4-point AF point expansion (up, down, left, right), Ambient expansion (all surrounding points), Flexible Zone AF 1-3, and All-Area AF (entire focus area with a maximum of 1053 focus areas).

Canon R8 can autofocus at EV from -6.5 to 21 (ISO 100). EV-6.5 is insanely dark. It’s not Canon’s best camera for focusing in low light (the R3 hits -7.5 EV), but it’s close to the best, and this performance is achieved without the aid of an AF assist lamp.

For those choosing between Sony and Canon, we advise you to note that Canon will not defocus the lens before focusing in One Shot AF mode. It is because of this difference in design that Canon’s One Shot AF lock time is faster than Sony’s current camera models. Focus bracketing is a very useful feature, first introduced in the Canon EOS RP, R5, now available in the R8.

Canon R8 - switching

Video

The EOS R8 can record video up to 4K 60p (6K oversampled) or up to 180fps in FullHD using Canon C-Log3 or HDR PQ and 4:2:2 10-bit recording. The camera uses the full width of the sensor for recording. And Canon also claims that any 4K recording time limits are a thing of the past.

Connections and battery

The R8 offers the same ports as the R6 II but presented in a different location. You get Micro HDMI and USB-C. The latter supports Power Delivery for charging as well as data transfer. There are 3.5mm jacks for microphones and headphones, as well as a port for wired remote control, but there is no option to output RAW video via HDMI.

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, Apple MFI, image.canon, UVC and a multifunction jack are also on board. The LP-E17 battery is used, which is smaller and has a lower capacity than the regular LP-E6NH battery commonly found in full-frame cameras. But it helps to make the overall body smaller and lighter.

EOS R8 price
At the moment (March 2023), pre-order for the camera is open some stores. The Canon EOS R8 is priced at $1,500 for the body alone. The kit with the RF 24-50mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM lens will be available for $1,700. The start of sales is tentatively marked April 18, 2023.

Conclusion

The Canon EOS R8 does it all. There is no specific target audience for which it would be suitable in the first place. If you’re thrilled with the features of the R6 Mark II, but your budget can’t afford a more expensive model, then the R8 is worth considering. Of course, there are several compromises. You’ll have to make do with just one SD card and its inconvenient location under the battery cover.

And if you’re used to a joystick or control wheel, it may take some time to get used to their absence. But for online content creators looking for hybrid cameras for stills and videos, enthusiastic photographers looking to try out full-frame sensors, the Canon EOS R8 fits the bill.