Canon EOS R8

      Photo Review 8.9

      In summary

      The Canon EOS R8’s compact size and light weight make it very competitive in the enthusiast camera category, although the lack of adequate weatherproofing will be a disincentive to outdoor photographers.

      Existing EOS RP owners who want better video capabilities should consider upgrading to the R8 since this is one area where significant improvements are available. Downsampled (6K to 4K) full frame width video at 50 fps with Canon Log3 and HDR support is significantly better than the RP offered.

      Full review

      Announced on 8 February, a couple of weeks before the opening of the annual CP+ trade show in Yokohama, the EOS R8 claims to be Canon’s lightest full frame EOS R System camera.  At 461 grams for the camera body with battery and single SD card, it’s only 24 grams lighter than the EOS RP (which is effectively negligible) and almost identical in size (although a millimetre taller). Its 24.2-megapixel sensor is the same as in the EOS R6 Mark II and slightly lower in resolution. We tested the R8 with the new RF 24-50mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens, which is reviewed separately.

      Angled front view of the EOS R8 with the RF 24-50mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens. (Source: Canon.)

      Although Canon doesn’t provide construction details for the R8, it looks and feels very similar to the EOS RP and is probably made from the same, mostly plastic, materials. The body is claimed to be ‘dust- and moisture-resistant’ but although the assembly of the review unit appeared tight, it’s not as solidly-built as the EOS R6 II and lacks its more comprehensive sealing.

      The table below compares the EOS R8 with the EOS RP and the EOS R6 II, which is a more expensive, enthusiast-focused model.

        EOS R8 EOS RP EOS R6 II
      RRP on release $2499 $2099 $4499
      Effective megapixels 24.2 26.2 24.2
      Processor DIGIC X DIGIC 8 DIGIC X
      Stabilisation Lens based Lens-based Sensor shift up to 5 stops
      Shutter and speed range Full e-shutter


      Full e-shutter

      30-1/4000 sec

      30-1/16000 with e-shutter
      Burst speed
      6 fps (40 fps) 5 fps 12 fps (40 fps)
      Viewfinder res
      / magnification ‘ eyepoint
      2,360,000 dots
      / 0.7x / 22 mm
      2,360,000 dots
      / 0.7x / 22 mm
      3,680,000 dots
      / 0.76x / 23 mm
      Rear screen 1,620,000-dot vari-angle touchscreen 1,040,000-dot
      vari-angle touchscreen
      1,620.000-dot vari-angle touchscreen
      AF joystick? No No Yes
      Card slots 1x UHS-II 1x UHS II 2x UHS II
      Video options 4K up to 50p
      downsampled from 6K; 10-bit HDR mode, Canon Log 3 support
      4K up to 25p
      1.76x frame crop; doesn’t support Dual Pixel AF
      4K up to 50p downsampled from 6K; 10-bit HDR mode, Canon Log 3 support, Raw video out
      Battery LP-E17 LP-E17 LPE-6NH
      Battery life
      LCD / EVF
      290 / 150 250 / 210 580 / 320
      Dimensions 132.5 x 86.1 x 70.0 mm 132.5 x 85.0 x 70.0 mm 138.4 x 98.4 x 88.4 mm
      Weight with battery & card 461g 485g 670g

      The EOS RP is still available in many stores and online resellers’ sites and its street price has come down to between about AU$1550 and $1820 for the body alone, so it’s worth shopping around. How long it’ll remain available once the R8 reaches the majority of re-sellers is anyone’s guess.

      Who’s it For?
      With an RRP of AU$2499 for the camera body and $2899 with the RF 24-50mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens, the EOS R8 is not a cheap camera. However, it’s competitive with similar models from Nikon and Sony and offers some worthwhile improvements on the EOS RP.

      The price alone will put it into the enthusiast camera category, where its compact size and light weight will make it very competitive. The lack of adequate weatherproofing will be a disincentive to bushwalkers, though, unless they have a waterproof container to carry it in, because it won’t withstand a shower of rain or fine, blown dust.

      Existing EOS RP owners who want better video capabilities should consider upgrading to the R8 since this is one area where significant improvements are available. Downsampled (6K to 4K) full frame width video at 50 fps with Canon Log3 and HDR support is significantly better than the RP offered.

      Build and Ergonomics
      As noted above, the body of the EOS R8 is almost identical to the EOS RP, with the same generous hand grip and a similar (though not identical) control layout on the front, rear and side panels. Most button shifting has taken place on the top panel, which is almost identical to the EOS R6 II’s.

      The top panels of the EOS RP (top) and EOS R8 (below) showing the revised control layout on the new camera. (Source: Canon.)

      The R8 gains the Stills/Video switch, introduced in the R6 II, which sits left of the EVF as well as the three-position On/lock/Off power switch on the right hand side of the camera. The mode dial is similar to the R6 II’s, although with one less Custom memory position. The remaining buttons and dials are unchanged from the EOS RP.

      The front panel of the EOS R8 with no lens fitted, showing the R8 branding. (Source: Canon.)

      The rear panel layout is the same as the RP’s, although its fully articulated LCD monitor has the same 1,620.000-dot resolution as the R6 II’s, an improvement on the 1,040,000-dot screen on the EOS RP. Similarly, the resolution of the EVF, which protrudes above the monitor, has been increased to 3.69 million dots, the same as the R6 II’s, and its refresh rate extends up to 120 fps.

      The rear panel of the EOS R8.
      (Source: Canon.)

      Three compartments on the left hand side panel protect the interface ports for the wired remote controller, HDMI out, external microphone, USB C connection and headphone jack. Each has a lift-up rubber-like cover. There are no ports on the right hand side of the camera.

      Side views of the EOS R8 with no lens fitted. (Source: Canon.)

      The battery and single memory card slot share a compartment in the base of the hand grip moulding. The battery is the same LP-E17 rechargeable unit as was used in the EOS RP. It’s small for a full-frame camera and relatively low in capacity, although the R8 appears to have slightly better power management, as shown in the comparison table above.

      The single card slot accepts UHS-I and UHS II SD/SDHC/SDXC cards. The camera supports USB charging and Canon provides a separate battery charger and cable. Canon’s Camera Connect app plus built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity provide easy pairing of the camera with nearby smart devices.

      Sensor and Image Processing
      The 36 x 24mm sensor in the R8 appears to be the same as in the EOS R6 II – and so is the DIGIC X image processor. Designed and manufactured by Canon, it’s a regular front-illuminated CMOS chip with a standard Bayer RGB primary colour array and fixed low-pass filter.

      Image sizes are the same as those in the EOS R6 II and the same file formats are supported. Like the R6 II, the R8 can record bursts of shots at 40 fps with the electronic shutter but this drops to 6 fps with the electronic first-curtain shutter (whereas the R6 II could record at 12 fps). Buffer capacities are also slightly smaller in the EOS R8.

      Users can select HEIF (High Efficiency Image File) capture as an alternative to the default JPEG compressed image file format and also record either of the compressed formats simultaneously with CR3.RAW or C-RAW (compressed). HEIF files can also be produced by in-camera conversion from JPEGs.

      The R8 also provides a Digital Teleconverter function – although it won’t work if the camera is set for raw file capture, which seems illogical if the user wants optimal image quality. Two Digital Teleconverter settings are provided: 2x and 4x but they have some important limitations. Only one AF point is used, fixed at the centre of the frame, which can make it difficult to focus on a small subject like a bird, which you want to enlarge.

      Dual Pixel auto focus photodiodes are embedded in the EOS R8’s sensor chip providing an extension to the regular PDAF technology. The R8 features the latest version of the system – Dual Pixel CMOS AF II – which is also used in the EOS R5 and EOS R6 Mark II.

      Canon claims the system can focus within as little as 0.03 seconds, including at 40fps with the electronic shutter. It can also detect and track a range of subjects including animals, vehicles and people, offering head, face and eye detection for precision focus, as well as the ability of the photographer to select which eye to prioritise. It can operate in light levels down to -6.5 EV.

      The R8 also shares many video capabilities with the R6 II, including being limited to IPB compression for all but the time-lapse movie modes, which uses ALL-I  compression. It can also use the full width of the sensor for 4K 60/50p recording (downsampled from 6K) and can record Full HD (1080p) video at up to 180 fps for slow motion playback.

      Users can take advantage of the Canon Log 3 shooting mode to record video at 10-bit YCbCr 4:2:2 H.265 internally to capture a greater dynamic range and provide more flexibility post- production. Alternatively, HDR PQ and HDR Movie modes can be selected to suit those with a HDR workflow. The R8 can also deliver a clean HDMI output to compatible devices.

      Other video-related features include a function for minimising focus breathing that compensates for changes to the angle of view when adjusting the focus distance. Users can set the camera to start pre-recording for up to 5 seconds when the record button is half-pressed. The camera will also pre-record automatically when it’s in standby mode.

      Playback and Software
      Playback modes have been largely standardised across the EOS range and include all the settings you need to view and manage recorded images. You can also process CR3.RAW and C-RAW images in the camera and save them in JPEG or HEIF format. Multiple variations of individual files can also be created and saved in-camera.

      You can specify up to 998 images for printing in a photobook or select a group of images for printing or displaying as a slideshow. Individual images can also be rated to assist with subsequent organisation.

      As usual, the software bundle must be downloaded from Canon’s website. It includes the following applications: EOS Utility, Digital Photo Professional and Picture Style Editor for computer use plus the Camera Connect and Digital Photo Professional Express apps for smartphones, the last one requiring a paid subscription.

      Our Imatest tests showed the review camera turned in a respectable, although not outstanding, performance with the bundled RF 24-50mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens. (INSERT LINK) Interestingly, there was less discrepancy between near-centre and edge resolution than we usually find, which is probably due to the relatively slow speed and short zoom range of the lens.

      CR3.RAW files recorded simultaneously with the JPEGs and converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw (our preferred raw file processor) yielded resolutions that were well above the JPEG figures at all ISO settings, as shown in the graph of our test results below. This suggests Adobe has tuned ACR to make the most of Canon’s latest raw files.

      Colour accuracy was reasonably good – although not perfect as we found small drifts in greens and slightly larger drifts in reds and cyans, which were similar in both JPEGs and raw files. (Interestingly, similar drifts were found in our tests on other recent EOS cameras.)

      Excellent low light performance was confirmed by our test shots at night, with the first signs of deterioration occurring at ISO 12800 where shadows had begun to block up but otherwise the image remained relatively sharp.

      By ISO 25600, shadow details had been almost completely lost, although some modelling was retained in highlights. Shots taken at ISO 51200 showed noticeable softening, although highlights retained most of their details but by ISO 102400, light areas were noticeably soft and the deepest shadows were completely lost.

      Auto white balance performance was generally good and similar to the results we obtained from previous EOS R cameras with similar settings (Auto and White-priority). The auto setting retained the warm cast of incandescent lighting and also preserved an orange cast in shots taken under warm-toned LED lights. But the white priority setting went some way towards removing these warm casts, removing more orange with the LED lights, which was expected.

      Shots taken under fluorescent lighting showed a slight warm cast with the auto WB setting, which was eliminated with the White-priority setting. As usual, the manual pre-sets over-corrected very slightly and it was easy to pull colours back into line with the in-camera adjustments provided.

      Autofocusing performance was good for a camera at this level, particularly with respect to subject identification and tracking. However, we found problems with the supplied kit lens when using the Digital Tele-Converter function.

      Because only one focus point is used, it was difficult to achieve sharp images of small subjects, such as birds, even when they were in the centre of the frame. Since that was our only reason to use this setting, we found it disappointing. Aside from that, we found very few instances where the camera failed to find focus, even with our night shots.

      Video quality was much as we expected, based on previous EOS camera reviews. Although its capabilities are fairly limits, the R8 supports 4K/50p recording with both regular and ‘light’ settings, which should suit most potential buyers. Aside from that, we found its performance was similar to that of the EOS RP when were recorded similar scenes with the 24-240mm lens we purchased with the RP.

      Autofocusing while shooting movie clips wasn’t quite as fast and accurate as it was for stills when we used the kit lens. Subject tracking was a bit patchy at times, particularly in scenes with multiple moving subjects, where the system often had difficulties picking which one to focus upon, particularly when they were close to the camera. An example is provided below.

      Two frames from the same six-second 4K 25p video clip showing the lag in tracking a subject moving towards the camera.

      Focusing was faster and more accurate overall with the RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3 lens, including when longer focal lengths were used. This lens also appeared better able to let the camera’s AF system determine where to position the sharpest focus in the frame. Fortunately, exposure accuracy was consistently good with both lenses, indicating fast responses to changes in subject brightness and contrast.

      Soundtracks recorded with the camera’s built-in microphones were generally clear and relatively immune to external noises when the wind filter/attenuator was enabled – although not in strong and gusty conditions or when ambient noises were very loud and intrusive. No interference was recorded from lens adjustments during autofocusing or zooming.

      For our timing tests we used a 32GB SanDisk SDHC II U3 card with a read/write speed of 300 MB/second. Once the kit lens had been extended, the review camera powered-up almost instantly, taking less than half a second before the first shot could be captured.

      Capture lag was effectively negligible, even when moving from severely out-of-focus to sharp focus. In addition, it took roughly a second to process a single JPEG file and 0.13 seconds for  a raw file or a RAW+JPEG pair. Shot-to-shot times were as fast as the camera user can keep pressing the shutter.

      In the high-speed plus continuous shooting mode with the electronic shutter and silent recording, we recorded 74 Large/Fine JPEGs in 1.8 seconds, which comes very close to the specified 40 fps frame rate. It took approximately 7.2 seconds to process this burst. The same frame rate applied with HEIF files, which took much the same time to process.

      Similar results were obtained when using the same settings for raw file capture, where we recorded 73 CR3.RAW files in 1.5 seconds. It took 7.1 seconds to process this burst. When recording RAW+JPEG pairs, the camera paused after 46 frames, which were captured in one second. Processing this burst took 10.2 seconds.

      With the electronic first curtain shutter, we recorded 63 JPEG frames in 10.2 seconds without the camera pausing. Processing appeared to be at least partly on-the-fly as it was completed within 2.2 seconds of the last frame recorded. With CR3.RAW files, the camera recorded 62 frames, which were captured in 9.1 seconds and completed the processing within 2.3 seconds.


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      Image sensor: 36 x 24 mm CMOS sensor with 25.6 million photosites (24.2 megapixels effective), Bayer RGB primary colour filters and fixed low-pass filter; compatible with Dual Pixel CMOS AF
      Image processor:  DIGIC X
      Lens mount:  Canon RF mount
      Aspect ratios: 3:2, 4:3, 16:9, 1:1 (1.6x crop also available)
      Digital teleconverter: Yes  – but not for raw files
      Image formats: Stills: JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver. 2.31), HEIF (10-bit), CR3.RAW, C-RAW 14 bit , RAW+JPEG, RAW/C-RAW and JPEG/HEIF simultaneous recording; Movies: MP4 H.264/H.265, IPB/ IPB (Light) compression; Canon Log and HDR PQ recording supported
      Audio: Stereo AAC
      Image Sizes: Stills – 3:2 ratio: 6000 x 4000, 3984 x 2656, 2976 x 1984, 2400 x 1600; Movies: 4K UHD (downsampled from 6K) at 50/25/24p for PAL system; Full HD at 50/25/24p; IPB (Standard) / IPB (Light) compression; Canon Log 3; Colour sampling for 4K/ Full HD – YCbCr4:2:0 8-bit or YCbCr4:2:2 10-bit; FHD High Frame Rate video at up to 180p; continuous recording of 4K/30p video for up to 6 hours
      Image Stabilisation: Lens based plus Movie digital IS
      Dust control: Self-cleaning sensor unit plus Dust Delete Data acquisition and appending
      Shutter (speed range): Electronically controlled focal-plane shutter with electronic first curtain; rated for 100,000 cycles (with electronic 1st curtain); Speeds: Electronic1st-curtain shutter: 30-1/4000 seconds plus Bulb; Electronic shutter range: 30-1/8000 (1/2 or 1/3 stop increments up to 1/8000 then 1 stop to 1/16000); X-sync elec. 1st-curtain 1/200 sec.; Moveies – 1.8 to 1.8000 sec.
      Exposure Compensation: +/-3EV in 1/3EV steps (+/-EV for movies)
      Exposure bracketing:  +/-3EV in 1/3EV steps, 2/3/5 or 7 frames selectable via C.Fn.1
      Other bracketing options: Focus (with In-camera depth compositing / Cropped depth compositing),
      Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds delay
      Interval recording: Yes, for time-lapse; 4K / Full HD /  with ALL-I  compression; Retention of settings in case of auto power off before recording
      Focus system: Dual Pixel CMOS AF with 1053 AF zones or up to 4897 points selectable; 100% frame coverage with Face + Tracking and Auto Selection modes; range EV -6.5 – 21
      AF  selection: AF detection and tracking for people, animals (dogs, cats, birds and horses) with head, face and eye detection plus eye priority settings and vehicles (cars, motor bikes, aircraft and trains)
      Focus modes: One-shot AF / AI Focus AF / Servo AF (Continuous) / MF
      Exposure metering: 384-zone metering using signals from image sensor; Evaluative, Partial (approx. 5.9% of viewfinder at centre), Centre-weighted and spo t(approx. 3% viewfinder at centre) metering patterns; brightness range -3 to 20 EV
      Shooting modes: Stills – Scene Intelligent Auto, Flexible-priority AE (Fv), Program AE (P), Shutter-priority AE (Tv), Aperture-priority AE Av), Manual exposure (M), Bulb, Custom shooting mode C1, C2, C3 (Safety shift possible in Tv and Av modes); Movies – Auto, Tv, Av, Manual and Custom (x3)
      Picture Style modes: Auto, Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Fine Detail, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User Defined 1–3
      Internal processing: Highlight Tone Priority (2 settings), Auto Lighting Optimizer (3 settings), Long exposure noise reduction, Clarity, High ISO speed noise reduction (4 settings) (stills and video), Lens optical correction, – Peripheral illumination correction, Chromatic aberration correction Distortion correction (during/after still photo shooting, during video only), Diffraction correction, Digital Lens Optimizer (during/after still photo shooting only), Focus Bracketing including image compositing, Resize to M, S1, S2, Cropping of images (JPEG/HEIF), RAW image processing: Dual Pixel RAW – Portrait Relighting, Background Clarity ( in camera), Raw Cloud processing, Multiple exposure, HDR – with moving subject suppression, HEIF to JPEG conversion (single or batch)
      Colour space options: sRGB and Adobe RGB
      ISO range: Auto, ISO 100 to 102400 with expansion to ISO 50 and ISO 204800 in 1-stop increments; Movies – ISO 100 to ISO 25600
      White balance: AWB, AWBc, AWBw, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Incandescent, Flash, White Set (x 4), Colour temperature setting (x 4)
      Flash: External flashguns only (requires use of Electronic1st-curtain shutter)
      Flash modes: E-TTL balance / Evaluative (Face Priority) / Continuous flash control /  Continuous shooting priority mode (CSP) / Speedlite menu direct button / Quick flash group control
      Flash exposure adjustment: +/- 3EV in 1/3 or 1/2EV steps
      Sequence shooting: Max.40 frames/sec. with electronic shutter or 6 fps with electronic first curtain shutter
      Buffer capacity: Max. 120 Large/Fine JPEGs, 56 RAW files with electronic shutter, 1000 or more all file formats with electronic 1st curtain shutter
      Storage Media: Single slot for SD, SDHC, SDXC cards (UHS-II compatible)
      Viewfinder:  0.39-inch EVF with 2,360,000 dots, up to 120 fps refresh rate, 100% frame coverage, 0.7x magnification, 22 mm eyepoint, -4 to +1 dioptre adjustment; brightness & colour tone adjustable
      LCD monitor: 3-inch vari-angle TFT LCD touchscreen with 1,620,000 dots; brightness & colour tone adjustable
      Weather sealing: Dust- and moisture-resistant
      Interface terminals: USB Type C Gen.2 (10Gbits/sec), HDMI micro OUT terminal Type D, 3.5mm microphone and headphone terminals, remote terminal (E3 type), multi-function shoe
      Wi-Fi function: Built-in Wi-Fi (Equivalent to IEEE 802.11b/g/n); Bluetooth v4.2 (Bluetooth Low Energy)
      Power supply: LP-E17rechargeable Li-ion battery; CIPA rated for approx. 370 shots/charge with monitor, 290 shots/charge with EVF
      Dimensions (wxhxd): Approx. 132.5 x 86.1 x 70.0 mm (excluding protrusions)
      Weight: Approx. 461 grams with battery and card

      Distributor: Canon Australia; 1800 021 167



      Based upon JPEG files recorded with the RF 24-50mm f/4.5-6.3 IS USM lens.

      Based on CR3.RAW files recorded simultaneously and converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw.



      The images and video clips below were captured with the RF 24-50mm f/4.5-6.3 IS USM lens.

      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.

      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting, white priority.

      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.

      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting, white priority

      Auto white balance with warm-toned LED lighting.

      Auto white balance with warm-toned LED lighting, white priority.

      30-second exposure at ISO 100, f/5.6, 42mm focal length.

      15-second exposure at ISO 1600, f/8, 42mm focal length.

      6-second exposure at ISO 6400, f/10, 42mm focal length.

      4-second exposure at ISO 12800, f/11, 42mm focal length.

      2-second exposure at ISO 25600, f/11, 42mm focal length.

      2-second exposure at ISO 51200, f/16, 42mm focal length.

      1-second exposure at ISO 102400, f/16, 42mm focal length.

      From CR3.RAW file; 50mm focal length, ISO 400, 1/60 second at f/8.

      From JPEG file with 2x Digital Teleconverter; 50mm focal length, ISO 800, 1/60 second at f/8.

      From JPEG file with 4x Digital Teleconverter; 50mm focal length, ISO 2500, 1/250 second at f/8.

      Close-up at 24mm focal length ISO 200, 1/80 second at f/4.5.

      Close-up at 50mm focal length ISO 400, 1/80 second at f/6.3.

      24mm focal length ISO 100, 1/80 second at f/5.

      50mm focal length ISO 160, 1/60 second at f/8.

      From CR3.RAW file; 24mm focal length ISO 400, 1/60 second at f/5.

      35mm focal length ISO 800, 1/60 second at f/5.6.

      35mm focal length ISO 800, 1/40 second at f/5.6.

      HDR Backlight Control setting; 24mm focal length ISO 25600, 1/400 second at f/4.5.

      24mm focal length, ISO 51200, 1/200 second at f/8.

      24mm focal length, ISO 2500, 1/60 second at f/5.

      24mm focal length, ISO 25600, 1/100 second at f/5.6.

      24mm focal length, ISO 102400, 1/200 second at f/9.

      Still frame from 4K 50p video clip.

      Still frame from 4K 50p Lite video clip.

      Still frame from Full HD 50p video clip.

      Still frame from Full HD 50p Lite video clip.

      Still frame from Full HD 25p video clip.

      Still frame from Full HD 25p Lite video clip.

      The images below and video frames below were captured with the RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3 IS USM lens

      27mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/7.1.

      240mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/320 second at f/6.3.

      222mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/400 second at f/9.

      183mm focal length, ISO 400, 1/200 second at f/6.3.

      Still frame from UHD-4K 50p video clip.

      Still frame from Full HD 50p video clip.

      Still frame from Full HD 25p video clip.

      Additional image samples can be found with our review of the Canon EF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM lens.



      RRP: AU$2499 (body only); $2899 (with kit lens)

      • Build: 8.9
      • Features: 8.9
      • Ease of use: 8.9
      • Autofocusing: 9.0
      • Still image quality JPEG: 8.9
      • Still image quality RAW: 9.0
      • Video quality: 8.8