The Canon EOS R8 is an entry-level mirrorless camera with a full-frame sensor. Priced at $1,299, it could be a very attractive option for beginner photographers and content creators who want to advantages of a full-frame sensor. However, in this Canon EOS R8 review, I am going to tell you why it might not be the perfect choice for everybody.

It’s a great camera at a very good price; let me make that clear before I continue! I would be happy to own one! With that being said, there are quite a few drawbacks to be aware of, especially if you aspiring to get very serious about certain types of photography.

If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly camera, but are serious about capturing beautiful imagery, then the Canon EOS R8 might be right for you. Even with a lens added to your kit, you can be out capturing images on this excellent full-frame sensor for under $1,500!

Just make sure you read through this review first, and pay special attention to the types of photo/video that it is optimal for, as well as what it might not be so good for. With that said, let’s dive in!

Canon EOS R8 Specifications

Canon EOS R8 Front

  • SENSOR: 24.2 Megapixel Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • LENS MOUNT: Canon RF (mirrorless)
  • STILL IMAGES: 6000×4000
  • VIDEO: 4K 60p, 10-bit
  • ISO: 100-102400 (50-204800 expanded range)
  • AUTOFOCUS: 1053-point, Dual Pixel CMOS AF II
  • SHOOTING SPEED: 40 FPS (120 frames JPG, 56 frames RAW = 3 sec JPG, 1.25 sec RAW) …6 FPS (sustained up to 1000 frames JPG / RAW)
  • SHUTTER SPEEDS: 30 sec. – 1/16000 sec, bulb (programmable up to 900 sec)
  • STABILIZATION: No (digital stabilizer available for video, with cropping)
  • VIEWFINDER: 2.36M dot OLED, 0.7X magnification
  • LCD: 3-in. 1.62M dot LCD touchscreen, articulated 
  • STORAGE: (single slot) SD XC, UHS-II
  • BATTERY: LP-E17, 1040 mAh
  • BODY CONSTRUCTION: plastic & metal, weather sealed
  • CONNECTIVITY: USB-C (PD) 3.2, microphone & headphone, micro HDMI, wifi & bluetooth
  • SIZE: 5.22 x 3.39 x 2.76 in. (132.59 x 86.11 x 70.1 mm)
  • WEIGHT: 1.0 lb (461g)
  • PRICE: $1,299 (no lens)
    ($1,499 w/ 24-50mm lens, $1,699 w/ lens & content creator kit)

Canon EOS R8 Review | Who Should Buy It?

The Canon EOS R8 is one of the most affordable current-generation full-frame mirrorless cameras on the market. Much closer to $1,000 than $2,000, it allows aspiring photographers and videographers to also get a lens (or two) without breaking above $2,000. (See the VALUE section below!)

If you aren’t quite sure what exact type of photography you’re interested in, but you know that you want very high-quality imagery, Canon makes it as easy as possible to try a little of everything. There are excellent RF mount full-frame mirrorless lenses for everything from vlogging and everyday life, to dramatic landscapes, or even wildlife photography.

Everyday Candid Photography

When I look at all the photos I was able to capture with the Canon EOS R8 for this review, the thing that stands out to me is this: I had SO MUCH FUN carrying this camera around everywhere, and snapping beautiful pictures with some really cool lenses!

I specifically paired the R8 with a few excellent everyday, all-around lenses, and that really helped give me a generally delightful experience. I’ll talk more about lenses later, but the Canon RF 24mm f/1.8 and the Canon RF 15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 were perfect for my style of candid, environmental portraiture and general photography.

Aside from relatively short battery life and the omission of an AF point joystick, I can’t think of anything to complain about; the R8 is a great little full-frame camera.

Travel & Vacation Photography

If you are looking for the “ultimate” travel camera that delivers gorgeous images yet weighs next-to-nothing, (including lenses!) …the Canon R8 is once again an excellent choice.

Especially with at least one specialized yet affordable (non-L) Canon RF lens, such as the 15-30mm for dramatic scenery, or the 100-400mm for distant wildlife, the R8 makes an excellent travel camera for almost any subject, whether you are on a family vacation or an epic solo adventure in the wilderness.

Alternatively, I should note that Canon has one of the only 10X super-zoom lenses on the market for full-frame sensors, the Canon RF 24-240mm, ($899) and it is a truly exceptional choice for any content creator who is looking for a one-lens solution for almost all types of subjects and situations.

Vlogging & Content Creation

If you do any of the above, yet focus mainly on video more than photo, then all of my same sentiments still apply, and some of them get even better! I really like the Canon R8’s ergonomics for doing selfie-style vlog recording, and of course, whenever you’re holding a camera at arms’ length, instead of holding it to your face, weight becomes even more important!

The video features and specs are quite good, with 4K 60p 10-bit capture, and a Log 3 option for those who want to get deep into color grading with the beautiful highlight and shadow detail that are possible with the R8 sensor.

The face/eye autofocus is truly impressive, as it should be since the sensor design is “borrowed” from a semi-flagship Canon camera, the EOS R6 II.

The only thing that I can consider a drawback is, of course, the lack of IBIS, and the fact that I kind of wish Canon had both the 24mm f/1.8  IS STM, and also a 20mm f/1.8 STM. However, since the Canon 24mm f/1.8 is indeed stabilized, just like so many other affordable Canon RF lenses, it’s not a big issue.

Portrait & Wedding Photography

Considering everything I mentioned about how much I love the Canon EOS R8 for general photography, travel, and vlogging/video, I have to change my tune when it comes to professional work, especially certain types of demanding work.

Specifically, if you are photographing weddings, the EOS R8 isn’t the best investment for you; the R6 II is absolutely worth saving up for. Not only does the R8 leave you missing having the safety of dual card slots, but also, the lack of IBIS is notable, plus the tiny little battery is not able to last more than a few hours when you’re working non-stop.

Lastly, (and this was a real deal-breaker for weddings in particular) …the feature that protects the camera from overheating, a forced “cool-down” period, kicked in for a few minutes during a hot day. I wasn’t even recording video, just photos, and yet the camera was not happy about me also trying to charge the battery with a USB-PD power bank.

I could see the R8 being an acceptable backup camera for professional work, in a pinch. Maybe you already own a Canon EOS R5 or R6 series, and are looking for an affordable backup solution.

However, if you’re just starting out in portrait etc. photography and looking to buy your first full-frame mirrorless camera, keep in mind that as soon as you start consistently accepting paid work, the R8 should be retired to backup duty as soon as possible, and replaced by one of the aforementioned alternatives.

Wildlife & Action Sports Photography

If you’re a hobbyist or serious amateur, the Canon R8 is a fantastic choice, especially when paired with an affordable telephoto lens such as the Canon RF 100-400mm, or the unique super-telephoto Canon RF 600mm f/11 and 800mm f/11. These kits offer some of the most ultralight options for reaching such focal lengths as 400mm or 600mm. In fact, as far as I know, this is the only lightweight option in existence that can reach 800mm!

All in all, if any type of wildlife is your favorite subject, then the R8 really stands above all the competition in its price range, for anyone who is looking to achieve the beautiful results that a full-frame Canon sensor has to offer.

Having said that, the same thing applies if you are a serious professional: The R8 may have excellent image quality, and autofocus that nails all different types of subjects from birds and mammals to even insects, amphibians and reptiles, I do think that the body itself is, again, a bit of a “backup option” for professional work. The reasons are obvious, of course, and I’ve already mentioned them. For action sports and wildlife, I will only add that the R8’s listed burst shooting speed of 30 only lasts for, literally, approximately one second. After that, the buffer is quite slow, and sustained FPS are clocked at a meager 6…

Landscape & Nightscape Photography

Landscape photographers, whether hobbyist or professional, are a little less demanding when it comes to camera performance. Indeed, it is all about the sensor’s image quality; everything else hinges upon that!

With that being said, I can happily report that the R8’s sensor produces vibrant, gorgeous images, with excellent dynamic range. (Highlight & shadow detail, that is.)

Canon EOS R8, Canon RF 24mm f/1.8 | ISO 6400, f/2.8, 10 sec
100% Crop, ISO 6400, f/2.8, 10 sec

The sensor is “only” 24 megapixels, of course, in a time when many landscape photographers are demanding 40, 50, or even 60 megapixels. Personally, I would rather have beautiful colors and good dynamic range, in an ultralight, portable package, so the R8 would suit my style of adventurous landscape photography quite well.

Time-Lapse Video / Photography

One thing in landscape & nightscape photography that I love to do is, to create a time-lapse. In addition to all of the above benefits; the R8 does make an excellent time-lapse camera, with its effective 6K sensor when capturing raw stills. The above image is a layering of 30 different images pulled from a 30-minute time-lapse on the 4th of July here in Southern California!

Last but not least, for those who might be working outdoors in harsh conditions, let alone leaving their camera outside overnight or for hours, here is some good news: weather sealing is present on the R8 as well, even though it is not as robust as a professional flagship camera.

All in all, the excellent sensor delivers beautiful image quality at extremely high ISOs, not just at its base ISO. Therefore, anyone who is looking for a good balance between landscapes, astro-landscapes, cityscapes, and time-lapse,  the R8 is a great  choice.

Canon EOS R8 Review | Pros & Cons

Basically, Canon decided to compete on price first and foremost with this camera. You are getting the Canon EOS R6 II sensor at a ~$1,000 discount, in an entry-level camera body. As I described above, that can be an advantage for some, but a deal-breaker for others.

With that in mind, let’s discuss the technical aspects of the R8’s performance.

Image Quality

Canon EOS R8, Canon RF 15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS, ISO 100, f/14, 1/200 sec
Canon EOS R8, Canon RF 15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS, ISO 100, f/14, 1/200 sec (un-edited)
100% Crop, +100 Shadows raw adjustment applied

Whether you are working at ISO 100 or ISO 12800, the images look beautiful. At the low ISOs, dynamic range is excellent. At the extremely high ISOs, noise levels are impressively low, and colors maintain beautiful, vibrant saturation.

Canon EOS R8, Canon RF 24mm f/1.8, 1/100 sec, f/1.8
100% Crop, ISO 12800 (faint sharpening and noise reduction applied)

Simply put, this is one of the main reasons why folks buy Canon cameras. (And lenses!) The images just look beautiful, right out of the box. Especially now with Adobe Lightroom recognizing the extra punchy in-camera profiles such as “Camera Landscape”, even less editing of raw files is now required!

Build Quality / Durability

Canon EOS R8 top

Physically, the Canon EOS R8 does not feel like a cheap camera. It feels strong, sturdy, and almost professional in terms of its overall design. The sheer number of buttons and dials is not as many as, say, the Canon EOS R5 or R6 II. However, with my minimum requirement of at least two command dials and a few customizaable Fn buttons, I’m happy with it.

Having said that, it does have weather sealing, but it’s not as extensive as a flagship pro camera. There is some “composite plastic” (whatever that is) in the frame of the body, too. Honestly, I actually prefer these things in a camera that I want to be lightweight for travel or hiking. I think high-grade plastics tend to absorb shocks and bumps just fine compared to all-metal alloy bodies, and I’ve never had a problem with any beginner camera when there is a bit of rain or other bad weather.

Autofocus Performance

Here is one area where the Canon EOS R8 really shines. The AF is handed down from the impressive, semi-professional Canon EOS R6 II, and it is very good. There are AF modes for all different types of subjects; human face/eye detection, of course, but also body, face, and sometimes even eye AF for everything from dogs & cats to birds, insects, and even reptiles & amphibians!

As I mentioned earlier when talking about wildlife photography, the AF system just works beautifully. It’s fast, precise, and consistent. (And you need all three of those things for a good autofocus performance ranking, not just one or two!)

Overall Performance | Speed & Responsiveness

On the spec sheet, the Canon EOS R8 lists a blazing fast 40 FPS as its maximum burst rate. However, if you look more closely, that burst rate only lasts for 56 frames, (when shooting RAW) so that’s barely more than 1 second.

Then, after that, shooting speed reduces to a painfully slow 6 FPS! This is perfectly fine for many types of photography, but it’s not very competitive at all against most current-generation cameras that boast at least 10 FPS sustained FPS, and many offer 20-30 FPS.

In my honest opinion, I think this is just one of the ways Canon saved a little money making the R8; they gave it a downright tiny buffer (remember, these image files are only 24 MP!) …which basically means, if you want just a little more speed, you’ll have to step up to the Canon EOS R6 II. However, even that camera only offers 75 frames at 40 FPS, though the sustained speed is a lot more manageable at 12 FPS.

All that is to say, this is often how Canon entices users to upgrade as they get more serious about an advanced, more challenging photography subject: only the ($4999) Canon EOS R3 is truly unhindered, offering nearly unencumbered 30 FPS continuous shooting, and a burst of 195 FPS.

What this means is that the R8 is “fast enough” for any type of photography, but only if you’re doing it as a relatively casual hobbyist. Serious pros will quickly find the camera to be sub-optimal for demanding work.

Features & Customizations

Canon EOS R8 rear LCD

All in all, the camera’s overall feature set, and customizations, make its intended purpose quite clear: This is a “content creator” camera. It is easy to operate whether you are in front of the camera or behind it.

For those who really want to customize their cameras as much as possible, the R8 thankfully offers quite extensive customization; you can easily put important settings such as ISO and AF mode/point controls where you may already be accustomed to having them on a camera.

Battery Life

Unfortunately, in order to save weight, Canon used a very tiny battery in the R8. It only has about 1,000 mAh, and that’s not nearly enough for any all-day activity, photography or videography.

You will definitely have to either buy 2-3 spare batteries and keep them with you almost everywhere except shorter, more casual outings. Alternatively, the Canon R8 does accept USB-PD power, so you can charge your camera battery (while the camera is off) during, say, an extended family vacation or hiking adventure.

NOTE: The Canon EOS R8, like some of its Canon siblings, can only operate directly from USB-PD power if you have the highest-power type of USB-PD; there are multiple levels of Power Delivery, and the R8 requires the maximum voltage. Otherwise, even with “regular” USB-PD, you can only charge the camera while it is off; you cannot operate the camera via USB power.

Ergonomics & Comfort

This is another area where I cannot say enough good things about the R8. The one other thing that Canon is known for, aside from the beautiful images, is just how user-friendly their camera ergonomics are. Both physically, and when you need to dive into the various menus, the R8 just makes for a delightful experience.

Especially as someone who does a lot of travel and hiking/backpacking, I’m a big fan of this camera, plus any of the excellent ultra-lightweight lenses Canon offers. (More on that below!)


For the price, the EOS R8 offers an excellent value. Especially for all-around content creators, but most specifically, for anyone who is looking to create beautiful imagery of any sort of animal or human subject. Thanks to its professional sensor and autofocus, this camera really sets a high standard for all “beginner” (or any similarly priced) cameras.

It’s not just about the camera body itself, however. When considering value, you must also think about lens selection, and how those lenses can fit into your budget. Quite honestly, Canon is mostly known for its highly exotic and very pricey “L-series” lenses, which often range from well over $1,000 to more than $2000, or even $3,000.

So, I am very happy to add some good news to this Canon EOS R8 review: Canon’s been working very hard lately to deliver a complete range of affordable, compact, non-L lenses! The following options are still truly excellent performers with gorgeous image quality, and yet they are all under $500, and highly portable as well:

  • Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM ($169)
  • Canon RF 24mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM ($499)
  • Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM ($399)
  • Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM ($449)
  • Canon RF 15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM ($499)
  • Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM ($249)
  • Canon RF 28mm f/2.8 STM ($299)

Clearly, whether you are a “wanderlust influencer” or a hobbyist wildlife photographer, or an everyday candid portrait photographer, …you can get started creating gorgeous results on a very tight budget.

Of course, keep in mind that once you get “bit by the bug”, there is a good chance you’ll want something better. Canon is very good at doing this; getting new users “hooked” by offering an incredibly affordable option, and then eventually convincing them to upgrade to a much more expensive option.

With that in mind, just know that the R8 falls into that category: keep things fun and simple, and you’ll be thrilled with the camera and any of these lenses.

Canon EOS R8 Review | Compared To The Competition

So far, below $2,000, there aren’t many competing full-frame mirrorless cameras. The 24-megapixel Nikon Z5 is $996, but only when the “instant savings” $400 off is available. (Making its normal price $1,396, although it is likely to never cost that much again if you are just a little patient.) The Nikon Z5 has both dual card slots and sensor-based stabilization, but a much older AF system.

The Sony A7C (original; also 24 megapixels) is $1,598, and that camera is also getting a bit old, though it does have truly excellent AF. Both the Canon R8 and the Sony A7C only have a single SD card slot, however, the A7C does have IBIS.

Sony’s newer A7C II, unfortunately, saw the line’s price tag get bumped up to $2,198, making it $900 more than the R8. The Sony A7C II has an impressive 33-megapixel BSI sensor, and IBIS, and one of the best AF systems around, but again lacks dual card slots.

Simply put, in this price range around $1,000, there are a few reasons you might choose a different option, such as if you need IBIS and/or dual card slots. These things shouldn’t cause any problems for most beginners and hobbyists, but they certainly will if you have more demanding needs (action, low-light) or any professional aspirations.

There is also the drawbacks I mentioned about the battery life, USB power demands, and overheating. (By comparison, both the Nikon Z5 and Sony A7C series have full-sized, pro-series batteries that last “forever”…)

All in all, you need to actually value the things that the R8 is good for, otherwise it might not suit you very well. So, ask yourself: how important is weight savings? How important is sticking to your lenses-included budget? How important is a user-friendly, intuitive experience? Do you expect to simply “let the camera figure things out”, so that you can just create content, and not have to worry about

Otherwise, if price alone is your main priority, then it’s hard not to recommend the Nikon Z5 to aspiring portrait & wedding photographers, or the Sony A7C (original) for almost any type of serious professional aspiration.

Of course, I should say that if you are at all familiar with Canon, then the best alternative is to simply save up for a Canon EOS R6 II at $1,999. That’s with a holiday savings of $500, of course, but you can pick one up for at least a little less than its original MSRP almost all year ’round.

Canon EOS R8 Review | Conclusion

All things considered, the Canon EOS R8 delivers the imagery Canon is known for. With its semi-professional sensor and autofocus system, you’ll love the results! Also, you’ll probably love just using the camera, too, especially if you’re a beginner who does a little bit of everything.

If you have professional aspirations, however, or if you’re expecting a robust, durable, powerful camera, then the R8 might leave a lot to be desired. Personally, I would be happy to have a Canon EOS R8 and a handful of the excellent RF lenses; even if my total budget was around $2,000 or under $2,500, I could create a truly incredible kit that is ready for almost anything! I say that as a hobbyist who would want to keep things simple for the foreseeable future, though; as I mentioned, professional aspirations would dictate that I save up for the R6II, indeed. With this in mind, I highly recommend the R8.

Check Pricing & Availability

The Canon EOS R8 is available by itself for$1,299  if you already have a Canon RF lens, or an EF lens with the EF-RF adapter. Alternatively, you can pick up the R8 with the 24-50mm kit lens for just $1,499.

However, quite honestly, I prefer the much more versatile Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1, ($399) or the truly impressive Canon RF 24-240mm f/4.6.3. ($899) if you want a one-lens solution.



  • Excellent full-frame sensor & image quality
  • Excellent video image quality & specs
  • Highly portable, compact camera body
  • Intuitive interface for both beginners & advanced users
  • Durable build quality
  • Substantial customization
  • Excellent overall value


  • Mediocre battery life
  • Underwhelming high-FPS buffer & sustained speed
  • No IBIS
  • No dual card slots
  • Overheat potential (both photo and video)
  • Slightly fewer physical controls VS R6 & R5
Image Quality (Stills)
Video Quality & Specs
Build Quality
Speed & Responsiveness
Autofocus Performance
Features & Customizations
Menu Layout
Battery Life
Ergonomics & Portability

Final Verdict

The Canon EOS R8 delivers the imagery Canon is known for. With its professional sensor and AF system, you'll love the results! Also, you'll probably love simply using the camera, too.