Canon EOS R50 and R8 compact ILCs target creators and smartphone upgraders (Price Update)
Canon EOS R8 and R50
Note: This article was first published on 9 February 2023, and has been updated with price and launch promo information for the EOS R50.
Canon just announced the EOS R50 and EOS R8, two new mirrorless ILCs (Interchangeable Lens Cameras) designed for content creators who are looking for their first serious upgrade from a smartphone. And I'm sure once you see the phrase 'content creator' these days, you can pretty much guess that the main features are video related, with a heavy slant towards vlogging creature comforts such as expanded auto modes and direct live streaming. We don't yet know of their pricing and availability details at the time of publishing, but we do have a detailed hands-on of both cameras to whet your appetite.
EOS R50 - The new entry-level vlogger
First up, we have the EOS R50. It has a 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, DIGIC X image processor, and Dual Pixel CMOS AF II auto focus engine. It can be considered the successor to the EOS M50 II, and indeed will replace both the EOS M50 II and ageing EOS 77D. As Canon's new entry-level vlogging camera, the R50 will compete with the likes of the Sony ZV-E10.
Body-wise, the R50 has similar size and dimensions as the M50 II, and is actually about 12g lighter at 375g (with battery and SD card) compared to the M50 II's 387g. The R50 is definitely very easy to carry around, but the more compact body also means a smaller grip and thumb rest. In my limited hands-on with the camera, I had to hold it with a sort of finger crimp, which I can imagine will get tiring after a while. Definitely invest in a tripod, grip, or gimbal if you're serious about shooting for long durations.
Of course, the meat of the R50 is video and Canon has beefed up its specs greatly compared to the M50 II, which had limited 4K shooting capabilities. The R50 oversamples 6K input into cropless 4K 30p output with support for HDR PQ video. Dual Pixel AF also continues to work in 4K now, enabling a new Close-up Demo mode for quick and smooth focus transitions, plus support for focus breathing. The R50 will also feature three Movie IS modes: On, Enhanced, and Auto-level. These are all digital IS though, so it will involve various degrees of cropping, but according to Canon, provides 5-axis shake correction, and can work in tandem with RF lenses with optical IS.
In terms of photography, Canon really wants the R50 to be as seamless to a smartphone experience as you can get. There are two new enhanced auto modes just a few taps away on the touchscreen UI without having to dig into the menu. Advanced A+ is used in difficult lighting or for backlit subjects. It will blend multiple exposure-bracketed frames into one final photo. Creative Bracket will give you three additional stills with various applied filters in addition to the original photo. According to Canon, these three effects are random and will change from shot to shot. The idea is for beginner photographers to 'find' their style.
EOS R8 - The 'entry-level' full-frame 'video camera'
Next, we have the EOS R8. You can think of it as a trimmed-down EOS R6 II in the size of the EOS RP. Again, this camera was designed for videography first, so Canon brought most of the advanced video capabilities from the R6 II into the R8, but left out some of the photography features. For example, the R6 II has 5-axis In-Body Image Stabilisation (IBIS). The R8 (and R50) do not have IBIS, and only relies on Movie Digital IS for video.
In terms of size, it is actually around 20g lighter than the RP at just 461g (with battery and memory cards), so it feels in the hands. Unlike the R50 above, it has a deeper grip, which also affords it more room for extra dials on the top panel.
Also, a point to note is that the R8 does not actually replace any current camera in Canon's stable, and sits between the RP and R6 II. So the RP remains Canon's true entry-level full-frame camera, while the R8 becomes their entry-level full-frame 'video camera'. The R6 II continues on as the full-frame prosumer all-rounder.
The R8 is a mirrorless ILC with a 24.2-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, DIGIC X image processor, and Dual Pixel CMOS AF II auto focus system. It boasts of the EOS iTR AF X system with expanded subject detection (horses, trains and planes), and ultra-quick focus acquisition of 0.03 seconds with 100% tracking across the entire image frame. You can even quick-toggle between Auto, Left and Right Eye detection, and it works pretty well. The guts of the camera as you can see is very much similar to the EOS R6 II.
Like the R6 II, it supports continuous shooting of up to 40fps (electronic shutter), though only up to 6fps (electronic 1st curtain). Video-wise, it also does 6K oversampling to 4K like the R50, but the R8 can shoot up to 4K 60p for 30 minutes, and unlimited 4K 30p.
The camera supports USB-C PD charging while recording, so you can literally go till you run out of space on your memory card. As a more capable pro-level camera, the R8 supports 10-bit 4:2:2 video with Canon Log 3 and HDR PQ. It also supports high-framerate video capture of up to 180p in Full HD with 6x slow mo (check out the video embedded below). Other improved features include reduced rolling shutter distortion (compared to the EOS RP), false colour and zebra visual aids, aspect marker displays, UVC and UAC support for direct USB live-streaming.
And two new lenses too
The EOS R50 will ship with an RF-S18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 IS as its default kit lens, but we're told it will get an optional bundle that comes with the new RF-S55-210mm f/5-7.1 IS STM telephoto as well. The RF-S55-210mm is a compact, lightweight zoom (270g) that will provide a full-frame equivalent of 88mm to 336mm on the APS-C R50. It features 4.5 stops of Optical IS (and can go up to 7.0 stops when used in conjunction with a camera body with IBIS). It has a minimum focusing distance of 0.73m at the telephoto end.
The other new lens is the RF24-50mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM, which will make up the kit lens for the EOS R8. This is also a compact and lightweight lens (210g), and seems to cover a good middle ground for focal length. This lens also features 4.5 stops of Optical IS (and 7.0 stops with IBIS).
As both R50 and R8 are RF mount cameras, these new lenses would work across the range. At the time of writing, price and availability have not been released yet. We will update this article when we know more.
Availability and pricing (EOS R50)
The Canon EOS R50 will be priced at S$979 (body only), S$1,139 (with RF-S18-45mm IS STM), and S$1,509 (with RF-S18-45mm IS STM and RF-S55-210mm). You can get it in Black or White, and will be available at all Canon authorised dealers.
Every EOS R50 purchased will come with a free 32GB SD card, plus additional exclusive launch gifts of S$100 Capitaland Vouchers, Premium USB-C Cable, and PIXMA E3370 Printer (worth S$149) if you made your purchases between 16th to 31st March 2023.