Canon has today officially announced the new Canon EOS R8 full-frame mirrorless camera. In appearance, it looks virtually identical to the Canon EOS RP with the lower profile EVF and the same button layout. Internally, however, it’s seen some significant changes. It’s received a very slight drop in resolution, going from 26 to 24 megapixels, but shoots uncropped 4K oversampled video at up to 60 frames per second.
It appears to use the same viewfinder (or at least a viewfinder with the same specs), although the flippy-out LCD has seen a resolution increase from 1.04m-dot to 1.62m-dot. The EOS R8 also sports Canon’s new multifunction hotshoe, allowing you to use it with a broader range of accessories than just speedlights powered directly by the camera. Unfortunately, the EOS R8 does have a tiny battery.
At $1,499, the Canon EOS R8 does present a significant price increase over the $999 EOS RP. But it also boasts a nice array of features better suited to most shooters needs in 2023. It offers full-width, uncropped 4K video at up to 69.94fps with 6K oversampling, 1080p at up to 180fps, Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus with subject detection, up to two hours of continuous recording and Canon’s new focus breathing correction features to keep your composition as you rack focus when shooting video.
While this is a camera that will attract both photo and video shooters alike, there is a clear focus on the video features of the EOS R8. It provides vertical video metadata, aspect markers, a movie self-timer mode, built-in audio noise reduction and UVC/UAC support for live streaming over USB. It also supports 10-Bit HDR PQ and Canon Log 3 for those with slightly more advanced video needs.
When it comes to the look and feel of the camera, those coming from the Canon EOS RP are going to feel right at home. Its outward size and design is extremely similar, with a pretty much identical button layout. It has had those tweaks and curves added to bring it in line with the rest of the EOS R mirrorless lineup, but everything is still essentially where it was – albeit with a higher resolution flippy-out LCD.
As one would expect from a modern mirrorless camera, it features wireless connection to your smartphone for remote control. It can also connect to “compatible cameras” (I’m assuming this means Android until Apple makes Type-C USB standard) over USB. USB streaming is also possible to your desktop for use when live streaming through OBS or just video chatting through Zoom or Skype.
The Canon EOS R8 features a “state-of-the-art machine-learning algorithm” for tracking subjects as they move around the frame, with both subject and eye detection – for subjects with eyes. And for those that do, it can track people, cats (including big ones), dogs, horses, birds, cars, motorcycles, trains and aircraft. You also get the usual array of overlays to help, too, including focus peaking, zebra stripes and false colour exposure – and you can configure the colours yourself.
One slight downside of the Canon EOS R8, which might annoy some people is the battery. Well, for photographers specifically, this might be two downsides. The battery used in the EOS R8 is the Canon LP-E17. This is the same battery used in the EOS RP (as well as many EOS M and EOS Rebel cameras) and has less than half the capacity of the Canon LP-E6 used in cameras like the EOS R5. So, you’ll probably need more of them and you’ll be swapping out more often.
The smaller battery is understandable to keep the size of the camera down to that of the original EOS RP, but it’s definitely something to think about if you’re a heavy user. Underneath the cover for the battery is also where we find the UHS-II SD card slot. For those who need to switch cards out regularly, this will potentially become quite frustrating.
What also may become frustrating is that the Canon EOS R8 doesn’t feature any kind of in-body image stabilisation. Not mechanical, anyway. Sure, it does seem to have some digital stabilisation, but if you want optical, you’ll need to use IS lenses in order to get it.
Overall, the Canon EOS R8 truly does appear to be an upgrade over the original Canon EOS RP and not just an incremental update. It sets a new standard for full-frame entry-level in Canon’s range, and while it looks like the EOS RP, it’s probably the successor to the EOS R, too, replacing both cameras with a single model.
The Canon EOS R8 is available to pre-order now for $1,499. Shipping is expected to begin at some point during Spring 2023.
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