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Full-frame, full-featured: 6 ways the Canon EOS R8 can widen your creative horizons

Serious about photography and video? Discover how making the leap to the full-frame hybrid EOS R8 can open up new territory and enhance your creative output.
Fotoaparát Canon EOS R8 s nasazeným objektivem Canon RF 24-50MM F4.5-6.3 IS STM, ležící na roli barevné látky. Za fotoaparátem leží nůžky a křivítko.

Bezzrcadlový fotoaparát Canon EOS R8 otevírá nový rozměr plnoformátové fotografie, jelikož nabízí vynikající automatické zaostřování a výkon za slabého osvětlení, kontinuální snímání rychlostí až 40 sn./s, profesionální funkce pro nahrávání včetně převzorkovaného rozlišení 4K 60p a další.

At the time of its release, the Canon EOS R8 is the lightest full-frame camera that Canon has ever produced, yet it is a true heavyweight when it comes to image quality, autofocus and video performance. It's positioned in the mid-range in Canon's mirrorless EOS R System lineup, yet it's packed with creative features and intelligent controls that make it simpler to achieve professional-quality results.

The Canon EOS R8 is the perfect all-rounder for creative photo and video enthusiasts, excellent for portraits, landscapes, events and more. Here, sports and action photographer Martin Bissig, whose primary camera is the Canon EOS R5, and photography enthusiast Alexandra Andreeva, who tested the EOS R8 on a shoot in Paris, explore some of the key features of the EOS R8, with technical insights from Canon Europe Product Specialist Tibor Szövetes.

Full-frame image quality
Advanced video capabilities
Next-level features
Smart but lightweight and easy to use
Intelligent focusing
Seamlessly connected

A picture taken on a Canon EOS R8 of a woman crossing the road at night, with the distant lights of the city visible in the background.

With its full-frame sensor, advanced DIGIC X image processor and amazing low-light performance, the Canon EOS R8 can deliver stunning stills and videos even at night. Taken on a Canon EOS R8 with a Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM lens at 1/125 sec, f/2 and ISO6400. © Alexandra Andreeva

A woman photographed from the side using a Canon EOS R8 in low-light conditions, with out-of-focus lights blurred in the background.

The remarkable autofocus in the Canon EOS R8 is effective at light levels as low as -6.5 EV, and automatic flicker detection helps ensure consistent exposures when shooting under artificial light. Taken on a Canon EOS R8 with a Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM lens at 1/160 sec, f/2 and ISO12800. © Alexandra Andreeva

1. Full-frame image quality

It's widely recognised that a full-frame sensor has certain advantages over an APS-C sensor with the same megapixel count. First, a full-frame sensor gives a wider field of view than you'd achieve using a lens of the same focal length on an APS-C camera, which makes the full-frame Canon EOS R8 a great choice for landscape photography.

"One of the biggest advantages is the very shallow depth of field that you can get with the combination of a fast lens and the full-frame sensor," Martin adds. "It immediately gives photos a very professional look and makes them stand out compared to shots taken on a mobile phone or an APS-C camera." This makes the EOS R8 an excellent camera for portrait photography where you want strong separation between your subject and the background.

More generally, "with the full-frame sensor, overall image quality is richer, with wider dynamic range and improved low-light performance," Tibor explains. The combination of a full-frame sensor, 24.2MP resolution, native ISO range up to 102,400 and powerful DIGIC X image processor makes the EOS R8 a highly practical camera for shooting in low-light conditions.

"When I was shooting with the EOS R8 on the streets of Paris at night," says Alexandra, "I was using ISO8000 to get some shots of a girl crossing the street, and the profile of her face is so clean in the images."

A user's hands holding a Canon EOS R8, with the rear screen displaying the video Focus Assist feature in use.

Pro video features in the Canon EOS R8 include Focus Assist, Canon Log 3, and Movie Digital IS for smooth and stable video recording.

2. Advanced video capabilities

The Canon EOS R8's full-frame sensor also brings benefits for shooting video. "The shallow depth of field and low-light performance provide a more cinematic look and professional feel," Tibor notes. In addition, the EOS R8 is packed with pro-level video features and advanced filmmaking tools.

The EOS R8 can record 4K video at up to 60p oversampled from the camera sensor's 6K data. Oversampling creates higher quality 4K video compared with movies recorded natively at 4K resolution. The EOS R8 also supports HDR PQ movie recording and Canon Log 3, which gives you extra-wide dynamic range and the ability to colour grade to the same extent as footage shot on other Canon Log 3-capable Canon cameras, including Cinema EOS pro video cameras – see the sample footage below.

"The most important aspect for me when I'm shooting video is the dynamic range I get out of the footage," says Martin. "With Canon Log 3, I can get close to what I have in photography when I'm shooting RAW. So I have a huge dynamic range that really helps me to do a lot in post-production."

The Canon EOS R8 has a pre-recording feature that captures 3-5 seconds of footage before you press the record button, which can save the day when you're filming unpredictable action. The camera can also shoot Full HD up to 180fps, which enables ultra-slow-motion playback (see sample footage below), and it has a host of high-end video assistance functions, including a false colour display to guide you to the best exposure. It also offers focus peaking, manual focus assistance, focus guide and zebras.

For content creators, there's even more. "The Aspect Marker option is also a really useful addition," Tibor adds. "You can display an aspect ratio on the screen during recording so that you can frame your scene correctly for the end use. There's a wide variety to choose from, including 1:1 and 9:16 for social media videos."

A technician wearing white gloves cleans the sensor of a Canon camera.

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A woman in a colourful poncho, filmed on a Canon EOS R8, with half the image bright and colourful after colour grading and the other half duller.
A woman in a colourful poncho swirling around, filmed on a Canon EOS R8.

3. Next-level features

It is not only in video that the Canon EOS R8 excels. One of its standout features is its blistering burst speed – up to an astounding 40fps using its electronic shutter.

"When I moved from the Canon EOS R, which could do up to 8fps, to the EOS R5's 20fps, it was amazing," Martin says. "But 40fps is incredible. If you're in a situation where there's a lot of action going on in a short space of time, such as at a sporting event, then shooting at 40fps really is an advantage. You'll end up with a lot of shots to look through at the end of the day, though!"

In addition, the EOS R8's 30fps RAW Burst mode improves the chances of catching the decisive moment, thanks to its pre-shooting option. Half-press the shutter release, and the camera starts capturing RAW files, with full AF tracking. Then, when you fully press the shutter button, it will save the images in the buffer at that moment – up to half a second's worth of shots before you fully pressed the button – to the memory card. You can then decide which image is best and extract it individually.

Pre-shooting is a great option for action photography. "Often, by the time you press the shutter button, the subject might already be out of the frame," Martin explains. Pre-shooting makes it possible to capture moments you'd very likely have missed before.

The Canon EOS R8 also includes innovations such as HDR Moving Subject mode, which Tibor explains "delivers a wide dynamic range for moving subjects similar to traditional HDR mode yet without the ghosting that's caused by subject motion."

There's also a digital tele-converter that gives your lenses more reach. It's ideal for punching in when you're unable to get close to a subject. "We introduced the digital tele-converter on the Canon EOS R6 Mark II," Tibor says. "It gives you approximately 2x or 4x magnification, but it can also be combined with the EOS R8's 1.6x crop mode to provide 3.2x or 6.4x magnification. It's a potential option when you don't have a longer lens but you need the extra reach to get a better framed shot."

A Canon EOS R8 sitting on green leaves rich in colour and captured from above.

EOS R8 vs EOS R7 vs EOS RP: which is right for you?

How does the full-frame mirrorless Canon EOS R8 compare with the closest mid-range EOS R System models?
Pár rukou drží fotoaparát Canon EOS R8. Na obrazovce displeje je zobrazeno vysvětlení, jak nastavit ruční expozici.

Fotoaparát Canon EOS R8 je vybaven režimem uživatelského rozhraní s průvodcem, který usnadňuje ovládání a funkce začátečníkům a těm, kteří právě přecházejí na plnoformátové fotografování.

Informace

4. Smart but lightweight and easy to use

Equally impressive is the way the Canon EOS R8 packs everything into such a small body, weighing just 461g with battery and memory card, making it ideal for anyone shooting events on location. "The freedom that comes from the camera being so lightweight," says Alexandra, "means that you can take it everywhere, and you're able to shoot whatever you want – which is exactly how it should be!"

Even with all its advanced features, the EOS R8 is designed to be easy to use. For example, a dedicated switch within easy reach not only makes it quick and simple to toggle between photo and video modes, but the camera retains your settings and customisations for each separate mode.

The 2.36 million dot electronic viewfinder has a refresh rate of up to 120fps, to give a blackout-free shooting experience and a clear view of your scene even in low light conditions. The 1.6 million dot vari-angle LCD enables shooting from a variety of angles and offers ease of use when shooting video.

A Guided User Interface mode helps you familiarise yourself with the EOS R8's controls and features, and the camera offers a selection of Scene Modes to help you achieve great shots with different subject-specific presets, from Portrait and Group Photo to Food, Handheld Night Scene and HDR Backlight.

A view of the rear screen of a Canon EOS R8 being used to photograph a woman in a colourful dress standing next to a flowery bush.

The Canon EOS R8 features Canon's advanced Dual Pixel CMOS AF II autofocus system, which can automatically recognise and track people, animals and vehicles. With Eye AF enabled, the system will always look for a person's eyes, and you can even choose which eye you want the camera to focus on.

5. Intelligent focusing

With its next-generation autofocus powered by deep learning AI, the Canon EOS R8 makes it easier than ever to capture sharp photos and videos.

"Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with deep learning is incredibly advanced," Tibor says, "and for the EOS R8 we've included the latest intelligent subject detection and tracking, with body, head, face and eye detection working in all modes for both stills and video. Deep learning subject detection has been expanded to include more subjects – Animals now includes horses along with cats, dogs and birds, and Vehicles includes planes and trains along with cars and bikes. An Auto option enables the camera to switch detection algorithm automatically when it detects a subject."

The EOS R8 can automatically recognise subjects and track them as they move, wherever they are in the frame. It can even be set to stay focused instead of hunting around if a subject steps behind an obstruction or out of the frame briefly, reacquiring the subject more quickly. All this enables you to concentrate on the framing and composition instead of worrying about focusing.

"The autofocus performance is incredible," Martin comments. "With the improvements to the deep learning, the EOS R8 can recognise more subjects, including horses, planes and trains. Also, if I'm shooting a mixed scene, the Auto setting will automatically pick up the right subject."

Tibor adds that the EOS R8's AF "works impressively in light as low as -6.5 EV when used with f/1.2 lenses, a real boost to shooting sharp images in very low light."

The screen of a Canon EOS R8 showing a man walking towards the camera between rows of plants, with an autofocus square overlaid on one eye.

6. Seamlessly connected

Built-in 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and low-energy Bluetooth BLE 4.2 connectivity in the Canon EOS R8 enable you to transfer images and control the camera remotely via the Canon Camera Connect app on your smartphone or tablet. You can upload your images direct to the cloud using the image.canon service, and optionally configure the service to transfer them on to your computer at home or cloud storage services.

If you're shooting RAW, you can subscribe to the Cloud RAW image processing service in image.canon, which uses advanced neural network image processing to analyse each image individually and apply the optimum adjustments in different areas to make the best of the shot.

Alternatively, you can connect the EOS R8 directly to your computer using a USB-C cable to transfer files or use the camera as a webcam – support for UVC/UAC protocols is built-in, meaning that the EOS R8 can work with most popular streaming and conferencing software without needing any extra drivers.

A hand holding a smartphone running the Canon Camera Connect app, with a Canon EOS R8 sitting alongside on a wooden table.

Always-on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity in the Canon EOS R8 make it possible to adjust camera settings and trigger the shutter remotely using the Canon Camera Connect app on your smartphone or tablet. This is very useful whether you're shooting selfies or just wanting to avoid any risk of jolting the camera when you press the shutter button. The app also makes it easy to review and transfer your images wherever you are.

With each new generation of the EOS R System, Tibor observes, "Canon has made incredible improvements in autofocus, subject tracking, high-speed shooting, image processing and low-light performance. The Canon EOS R8 puts all these improvements into a true hybrid with a lightweight, compact body. It opens up new territory for photographers and video shooters."

With its 24.2MP full-frame sensor, up to 40fps burst shooting speed with electronic shutter, oversampled 4K 60p movie quality, and 180fps high frame rate recording, the EOS R8 is a camera with immense creative potential for photographers, filmmakers and hybrid content creators alike.

Marcus Hawkins and Sarah Bakkland

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