The Canon EOS R8 is Canon’s newest full-frame camera for video enthusiasts. Canon has positioned this camera as the entry-level choice for those ready to graduate to a full-frame sensor. It offers many great features at a very attractive price of just $1,500. In this comprehensive review, we’ll go through our hands-on tests of the features, as well as give you an overview of the specs with pros and cons.
Let’s see what the Canon EOS R8 has to offer and how it stacks up to the competition.
Getting to know the Canon EOS R8
The R8 offers the best value for a full-frame camera that shoots 4K 60 frames per second and uses the same sensor found in the Canon R6 Mark II. It also uses the same Dual-Pixel autofocus with smart eye tracking. But the standout feature of the Canon EOS R8 is its ability to record full-frame 4K with no cropping.
The EOS R8 weighs less than a pound, making it appealing to creators who don’t want to lug around a hefty camera. For lens, the EOS R8 uses the Canon RF lens mount.
However, the low price and lightweight design do come with some trade-offs. Most apparent is the EOS R8’s lack of in-body stabilization. You will have to rely on the lens and or electronic stabilization to keep your video steady. The R8 also has a shorter battery life than competing cameras and only features one SD card slot. Finally, the Canon EOS R8 does not have the option to output RAW via HDMI. For many, leaving these features out is worth saving $1,000 to invest elsewhere.
Now that we have a general idea of what this camera can do, let’s take a closer look at some of the standout features of the Canon EOS R8.
4K 60 fps with no cropping
One of the R8’s biggest strengths is that it can shoot video at 4K 60 fps. In fact, it’s the cheapest full-frame camera that can do that. To achieve this, it uses a 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor and DIGIC X image processor. Again, that’s the same sensor used in the more expensive Canon R6 Mark II. Like the R6 Mark II, the R8 uses the full sensor resolution of 6K to produce an oversampled UHD 4K image.
In addition to recording up to 60 fps in 4K, the Canon EOS R8 can also capture video up to 180 fps in 1080p. We love that there’s no cropping of the frame, even at the most extreme resolutions and frame rates.
10-bit log shooting
In addition to 4K 60 fps video capture, the Canon EOS R8 also offers 10-bit 4:2:2 video recording with C-log 3. With a 10-bit log file, you’ll have more flexibility in recovering highlights and shadows in post-production. It will also give you more control over your creative color grades. In our tests, we recorded footage of some bright pink flowers fresh after a rainstorm using the C-Log 3 color space. With a quick Rec. 709 LUT, the resulting footage was vibrant with clear detail in both bright and dark areas of the frame.
If you don’t want to spend extra time color grading, the EOS R8 also offers HDR PQ recording. This captures a 10-bit color file that’s immediately ready to be displayed on HDR devices like TVs, monitors and smartphones.
Dual-pixel autofocus with Subject Detection
This new camera uses Canon’s updated Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system with automatic subject detection and tracking. 1,053 automatic autofocus points cover 100 percent of the frame, meaning autofocus will work even at the far edges. The AF system also promises good performance in lower light levels with a low-luminance limit of -6.5 EV.
While Canon’s Dual Pixel autofocus is known to be fast and accurate, it’s enhanced in the R8 with a deep-learning-powered Subject Detection system. With this system, the R8 can recognize a wide array of common subjects. The camera can find and focus on people, vehicles and animals — including birds.
When Subject Detection is set to People, focus can be refined to the head, face or eye of the subject, with the option to focus on either the left or right eye. For animals, you can choose to focus on the whole body, face or eye of cats, dogs, birds, and horses — a new addition to the system’s detection options.
If you’re shooting a variety of subjects or just don’t want to adjust the detection mode between shoots, the R8 includes an Auto mode that selects the type of subject to detect based on information in the image. There’s also a setting that locks focus in place when the subject leaves the frame. That means the camera won’t shift the focus to the background, as many autofocus systems do.
Overall, Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with Subject Detection is a great feature for wildlife and sports enthusiasts, solo vloggers or anyone who needs fast, reliable focusing capabilities.
Vari-angle touchscreen LCD
For monitoring your shot, the Canon EOS R8 is equipped with a 3.0-inch 1.62 million dot vari-angle touchscreen LCD. This display can be turned completely around so that you can monitor the shot during selfie-style shooting.
For a more traditional shooting experience, the R8 also features a 2.36-m-dot EVF with a 120 fps refresh rate.
More features for creators
Making it even more appealing to content creators, the EOS R8 features Vertical Movie Mode and Aspect Markers. These options both come in handy if you are capturing footage for multiple uses and destinations. Also appealing for creators, the R8 can be used as a webcam, so you can benefit from its full-frame image quality while streaming.
The Canon EOS R8 offers an ISO range of 100-102400, expandable to ISO 204800. While not necessarily a “standout” feature, the camera performs reasonably well in low light. However, it’s not a selling point for the camera. For our tests, we recorded a statue surrounded by some foliage. The scene provided a good range of highlights and shadows. Then, we ramped up the ISO while simultaneously stopping down with the shutter. This allows us to see how high we could boost the ISO before the noise started to cloud the image.
Overall, the R8’s low-light performance is good. Peering into the shadows of the leaves, we can see that noise starts at ISO 3,200. However, the footage is still usable up to ISO 12,800.
We’ve talked a lot about the perks of this camera so far, but don’t get us wrong. This camera has some pretty serious quirks. Let’s take a look.
No in-body image stabilization
A major weakness of the EOS R8 is that it doesn’t have in-body image stabilization. While electronic stabilization is better than nothing, you end up with a cropped image and, thus, a tighter framing. That’s not ideal for walk-and-talk vlogging unless you have a sufficiently wide lens. Unfortunately, the camera needs to crop your image when electronic stabilization is turned on; it uses the edges of the frame as a buffer as it stabilizes the visible part of the frame. Canon calls this compromise Movie Digital IS five-axis image stabilization.
There is another option if you’re unwilling to sacrifice your frame’s outer edges to accommodate digital stabilization. You can pair the camera with a lens that offers optical image stabilization. And, of course, handheld gimbals can be used to keep the entire camera system even more stable. In the end, it’s a disappointment, but there are workarounds.
Single card slot
In another disappointment, the R8 sadly only has one media slot. This one is harder to remedy and could be a deal-breaker for many professionals. More than providing additional recording capacity, a second card slot would offer the option for redundancy. When you are hired to record a once-in-a-lifetime event, you want to be sure your media doesn’t fail. Having a second card recording simultaneously is a good way to protect your data from card failure.
For enthusiasts, a failed card will be upsetting, but it won’t affect your bottom line. Still, a high-capacity SD card is a must. With only one card slot, using a smaller card will just mean opening up the camera to change cards more frequently. For this camera, you’ll need a USH-II V60 SD card or better.
Bummer battery life
Actually, you may need to open up the camera annoyingly often anyway. The R8’s short battery life is also a big issue for pros and enthusiasts alike. Since its battery is smaller, the camera doesn’t stay charged as long as its predecessors. Canon touts a maximum record time of two hours at 29.97 fps, but the camera is unlikely to reach that limit without an external power source.
It is generally recommended to save room in your budget for an extra battery or two, and it’s even more crucial with this camera.
No RAW over HDMI out
The last missing feature we want to mention is the R8’s lack of RAW video output over HDMI. This is a relatively minor gripe since it only affects a small portion of the R8’s target user base. Although RAW HDMI output is a wonderful feature, many won’t use it, so it’s excusable for it to be absent from a camera at this level.
Speaking of output options, let’s look at what the EOS R8 offers in terms of connectivity. Besides micro-HDMI out, the camera offers a remote port, a USB-C port, a microphone input and a headphone jack for monitoring sound.
For wireless connectivity, the R8 has built-in Bluetooth pairing. This lets you connect to the Canon Camera Connect app to take remote control of the camera. Connecting to your camera with the Camera Connect app also enables continuously updated GPS location data from your phone for geotagging.
The camera also features Wi-Fi connectivity, which enables remote live view as well as file viewing and transfer. Using the Canon Camera Connect app, you can transfer files to your mobile device to browse and share on social media. However, this is known to be painfully slow. Other reviewers had issues with failing wireless image transfers when moving files from camera to phone. Though we didn’t test this for our review, it’s something to look into if that feature is important to you.
Fortunately, the camera also offers file transfer over USB-C to a smartphone or computer, so you don’t have to rely on a wireless connection with limited bandwidth. All of the same features will be available in the Canon Camera Connect app, no matter which connection type you use.
Finally, this camera also features a Multi-Function Shoe, which allows for more accessory functionality and supplies power to some accessories that would normally need a separate battery.
While the EOS R8 offers plenty of features geared toward video shooters, it’s also a capable photography camera. Here are some of the highlights for those interested in photography and hybrid shooting.
Easy toggle between photo and video
The first handy photo feature is the R8’s dedicated photo-video toggle switch. This small feature allows you to quickly switch between modes depending on what you want to capture.
Burst shooting with pre-shooting support
Next up is the EOS R8’s continuous shooting capabilities. With up to 40 fps continuous shooting, it’s especially well-equipped for sports and wildlife photography.
Even more appealing for those capturing fast-moving, unpredictable subjects, the camera offers pre-shooting support. This feature allows the camera to start recording images 0.5 seconds prior to pressing the shutter release button.
In-camera compositing and timelapse
Another boon to photographers is the R8’s in-camera compositing, with options for Moving Subject HDR, Depth Compositing, Panoramic Shot, HDR Night Scene and HDR Backlight. With this, effects that would typically require post-process can be achieved without moving the images off of the camera. Finally, the R8 features a built-in intervalometer for timelapse photography.
In the marketplace
Now we know what the camera can do — and what it can’t. However, to determine whether or not this camera is worth buying, we need to look at the competition. Comparable cameras include the Panasonic Lumix S5 II, Sony a7 IV, Nikon Z6 II and Canon R6 Mark II. Many have also pointed to the R8 as the logical next step for someone currently shooting on the Canon EOS RP. Let’s explore each of these alternative cameras and see how it stacks up to the Canon EOS R8.
Panasonic Lumix S5 II
The Panasonic Lumix S5 II is also quite similar to the Canon EOS R8. They both offer a 24.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor and 10-bit 4:2:2 4K recording at up to 60 fps. The S5 II, however, also offers 6K video recording in 10-bit 4:2:0 at up to 30 fps — impressive. Another big upgrade is in-body image stabilization in the S5 II. These two features may make up for the larger price tag depending on your goals and use case. The Panasonic Lumix S5 II is priced at just under $2,000.
Sony a7 IV
Bumping up a little more in price, we have the Sony a7 IV at around $2,500. This slim camera features a 33 MP full-frame sensor along with 4K 60 fps 10-bit recording. Likewise, Sony’s AI-based autofocus system answers Canon’s Subject Detection. The a7 IV also includes IBIS. However, the a7 IV can’t compete with the R8’s 40 fps continuous shooting. The Sony camera can only capture up to 10 fps. Again, the choice comes down to aesthetic preference and shooting needs.
Nikon Z6 II
The Nikon Z6 II is a few hundred dollars more than the EOS R8, but it offers a similar feature set. This camera also shoots 10-bit 4K video but tops out at 30 fps (an upcoming firmware update should remedy this). The Z6 II also struggles to compete in terms of autofocus coverage, monitor design and continuous shooting rate. It does, however, feature in-body five-axis image stabilization. The Nikon Z6 II is priced at around $1,700.
Canon EOS R6 Mark II
Finally, we return to Canon to compare the EOS R8 and the EOS R6 Mark II. Priced at $2,500, the R6 Mark II is $1,000 more than the R8, yet the two cameras share the same 24.2-MP full-frame CMOS sensor. Likewise, both cameras capture 10-bit 4K at up to 60 fps and both offer Dual Pixel autofocus with subject detection.
So what justifies the R6 Mark II’s higher price? First of all, it offers in-body five-axis image stabilization — a feature we sorely missed on the R8. The R6 Mark II also features two memory card slots, allowing for the redundant recording functionality pros demand. Plus, it can output the full 6K sensor resolution as 6K ProRes RAW to an external recorder.
From this short comparison, we can see that the R6 Mark II offers some key features video shooters might miss in the R8. If you intend to shoot photos and videos in a professional setting, and you know you want to stay in the Canon ecosystem, the Canon EOS R6 Mark II is likely worth the additional cost.
Canon EOS RP: Should you upgrade?
Canon has positioned the R8 just above their EOS RP in the full-frame R-mount lineup. The EOS RP, now priced at just under $1,000, boasts a 26.2-MP full-frame CMOS sensor. With that, the camera records up to 4K at 24 fps and 1080p at up to 60 fps. Like the R8, the RP is a compact camera with a flip-out monitor, making it appealing to vloggers. The RP also includes Canon’s Dual Pixel autofocus with eye detection, but it’s missing the advanced Subject Detection modes. And there’s no in-body image stabilization on the RP, but no surprise there.
With all this in mind, we can say the R8 is worth the upgrade if you just need the additional 4K recording functionality or the enhanced autofocus. If you want in-body image stabilization, too, it may be worth it to wait and save up for the Canon EOS R6 Mark II or another camera, like the Panasonic Lumix S5 II.
Final thoughts and recommendation
The Canon EOS R8 is a great value with loads of features. We really liked the camera and would recommend it to those looking for a capable 4K camera with great autofocus. The limited battery life, the single memory card slot and the lack of in-body image stabilization hold this camera back from being truly great. However, if you can look past these issues, the Canon EOS R8 will deliver gorgeous 4K at 60 frames per second, and it’s all in a lightweight and budget-friendly package.
- Can shoot video in 4K at 60 fps
- Wide dynamic range in 10-bit 4:2:2 C-Log 3
- No cropping at any resolution or frame rate
- No in-body image stabilization
- Only one media card slot
- Battery life
|Effective: 24.2 megapixel
|35.9 x 23.9 mm (full-frame) CMOS
|Sensor-shift, five-axis (video only)
|Built-in ND filter
|Stills and video
1/16000 up to 30 seconds in Manual Mode
1/16000 up to 30 seconds in Time Mode
1/8000 up to 30 seconds
Electronic front curtain shutter
1/4000 up to 30 seconds
|Bulb Mode, Time Mode
100 to 102,400 (Extended: 50 to 204,800)
|Center-weighted Average, Evaluative, Partial, Spot
|Aperture Priority, Manual, Program, Shutter Priority
|-3 to +3 EV (1/3, 1/2 EV steps)
|-3 to 20 EV
|Presets: Auto, Cloudy, Custom, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent (White), Kelvin, Shade, Tungsten
Up to 40 fps for up to 120 Frames (JPEG) / 56 Frames (RAW)
Up to 6 fps for up to 1000 Frames (JPEG) / 1000 Frames (RAW)
|Image file format
|C-RAW, HEIF, JPEG, RAW
|Internal recording modes
|H.264/H.265/MP4 4:2:2 10-bit
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) up to 23.98/25/29.97/50/59.94 fps
1920 x 1080 up to 23.98/25/29.97/50/59.94/100/120/150/180 fps
|External recording modes
|C-Log 3, HDR-PQ
|Up to 120 minutes in 4K
Up to 120 minutes in 1080p HFR
|Built-in microphone type
|Media/memory card slot
|Single slot: SD/SDHC/SDXC
|1 x Micro-HDMI output
|1 x 1/8-inch / 3.5 mm TRS stereo microphone input on camera body
1 x 1/8-inch / 3.5 mm TRRS headphone/mic headphone output on camera body
|1 x USB-C (USB 3.2 / 3.1 Gen 2)
|2.4 / 5 GHz Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.2 control
|Mobile app compatible
|Global positioning (GPS, GLONASS, etc.)
|Articulating touchscreen LCD
|Built-in electronic (OLED)
|Viewfinder eye point
|Viewfinder diopter adjustment
|-4 to +1
|Auto and manual focus
|Continuous-Servo AF, manual focus, Single-Servo AF
Phase detection: 4,897
Phase detection: 4,067
|-6.5 to +21 EV
|Maximum sync speed
|-3 to +3 EV (1/3, 1/2 EV steps)
|Dedicated flash system
|External flash connection
|Intelligent hot shoe
|32 to 104 degrees F / 0 to 40 degrees C
|0 to 85%
|1 x LP-E17 rechargeable lithium polymer
|Tripod mounting thread
|1 x 1/4-inch-20 female
|Dimensions (W x H x D)
|5.22 x 3.39 x 2.76 inches / 132.59 x 86.11 x 70.1 mm
|1.0 lb / 461 g (with battery, recording media)
0.9 lb / 414 g (body only)