New Canon EOS R8 Offers Speed & Portability For Wildlife Photographers

Compact full-frame camera uses same fast autofocus system as premium EOS R3

Photo of Canon R8

Wildlife photographers looking for something small, light and fast to bring on their photo travels might want to consider the just announced 24.2-megapixel Canon EOS R8. This full-frame mirrorless camera uses the same image sensor and imaging pipeline as the Canon R6 Mark II, which we thought was one of the best cameras of last year.

The Canon EOS R8, which was unveiled last night, is more compact and lighter weight than the R6 II and at $1499 (body only), it’s about $1000 cheaper. The Canon R8, however, doesn’t have In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS) and includes less sophisticated video features as the R6 II. However, it does use the same fast and accurate autofocus system as the R6 II and the premium EOS R3, Canon’s speedy Dual Pixel CMOS AF II.

Our colleagues at Imaging Resource, Outdoor Photographer‘s sibling site, got a chance to test a pre-production version of the Canon EOS R8 on a press trip to Charleston, SC last week and liked what they saw so far. Read their thoughts and see some of their images in this hands-on preview. (We’ve included two R8 test photos from that preview in this story.)

Photo shot with Canon R8

Shot with the Canon EOS R8 and Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM lens at 400mm, F8, 1/400s, ISO 640.

“Whether shooting in dreary, dark overcast conditions surrounded by old, ivy-laden trees or walking around picturesque and historic Charleston, the Canon EOS R8 was a joy to use,” Jeremy Gray, Reviews Editor for Imaging Resource, wrote.  

“The lightweight body and intuitive menus made it easy to pick up and shoot, no matter the subject. Better still, the 24.2-megapixel image sensor delivers impressive image quality and the autofocus system is intelligent and reliable.”

While the R8 might not have all the features of the R6 II, it felt like a an “R6 II-lite,” according to Gray.

Photo shot with Canon R8

Photo shot with Canon EOS R8 and Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM lens at 240mm, F9, 1/320s, ISO 12800.

“And coming in at $1,499 body only, it’s hard to complain too much about the missing features,” he wrote. “For someone’s first full-frame mirrorless camera, especially someone looking for something for travel photography or all-around content creation, the R8 seems like a promising option.”

Below is a rundown of the key specs and features of the just announced EOS R8, which Canon is calling “a spiritual successor” to the Canon EOS R from 2018.

Photo of Canon R8 from side

  • Full-frame interchangeable lens camera
  • Canon EOS RF mount
  • 24.2-megapixel full-frame CMOS image sensor (not backside-illuminated or stacked)
  • ISO range: 100-102,400 (50-204,800 expanded)
  • DIGIC X processor
  • Continuous shooting at up to 40 frames per second with electronic shutter
  • Doesn’t include a typical mechanical shutter, only electronic first curtain and electronic
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF with approximately 100% AF area coverage
  • Includes Face Detect and Tracking AF
  • AI-powered subject detection AF like the R6 Mark II
  • No in-body image stabilization
  • 4K/60p video oversampled from 6K
  • 10-bit Canon Log 3 and HDR PQ
  • High Frame Rate video at Full HD up to 180p
  • Body only $1,499
  • Goes on sale spring 2023

Canon also announced the entry-level EOS R50 last night. That compact entry-level mirrorless camera uses a 24.2MP APS-C sensor and is designed to compete against cameras like the Sony ZV-E1, Nikon Z30 and Panasonic G7, which are popular with vloggers and the YouTube crowd.

The Canon EOS R50 is optimized for full-auto operation and designed for smartphone users. The Canon EOS R50 can shoot 4K/30p video and full HD at 60p. It has Dual Pixel CMOS AF with subject detection but no IBIS. The R50 will sell for $680 (body only) when it goes on sale this spring.

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