Canon EOS R6, R8, and R10

I wrote about why I chose the Canon EOS R6 over the R8.

Like me you might think of the R8 as a travel camera alternative to the R6 for when you want to leave the heavier camera at home.

Now here are a couple of extra bits of information about the limitations of the R8 which I learned from trying the camera. Of course, the sensor should be great and the images should be wonderful (more about that below), so this is first of all about the limits of its usability.

The R8 doesn’t have in-body image stabilisation. So I would want to put an image-stabilised lens on it. I tried the Canon RF 35mm f1.8 IS Macro STM lens, which is image stabilised – but the R8 doesn’t balance well with it. The camera is front heavy and tips forward. It’s not horrible, but it just feels like you are trying to pull it back level and horizontal all the time.

And then there’s the weight. With the RF 35mm f1.8 IS Macro STM lens on the camera it is too heavy to be light and yet too small to be satisfying for its weight.

A Canon RF 50mm f1.8 STM Lens is half the weight of the 35mm, but it is not image stabilised.

Something else to think about is that to adjust ISO on the R6, you just spin the rear top dial. To adjust exposure compensation, you spin the rear wheel – both very quick and easy.

Not on the R8. I found the way (or a way) to adjust ISO on the R8, which is to use the Fn button that’s close to the shutter button. It works, but finding that button would take a bit of getting used to. Of course, there is AUTO ISO, but that’s not my preferred way to work.

OK, but now I realise that the button arrangement on the camera requires a bit of learning – and it starts to cannibalise the muscle memory of the button arrangement on the R6. In other words, the cameras are too near to one another to be different but too different to allow one to swap easily from using one to the other and back again – and again.

Another choice for a travel camera is the Canon EOS R10 crop sensor camera. Pair that with the Canon RF 50mm f1.8 STM lens and the effective 75mm equivalent focal length might complement the 28mm on the GR III and do the job in good light. Maybe. But the R10 is not in-body image stabilised and the viewfinder magnification is 0.6x compared to the 0.76x of the R8.

I looked through viewfinders of both cameras, and the image in the viewfinder of the R8 is noticeably bigger. That’s not to say that the viewfinder of the R10 is terrible, because it is not. But the R8 is brighter and the image in the viewfinder of the R8 is much steadier as you move the camera around.

In terms of weight of both cameras with the 50mm f1.8 lens attached, there is hardly anything in it. The Canon EOS R8 weighs 460g, which is only 30g (one ounce) heavier than the R10. Of course either camera is much lighter than the Canon EOS R6, which weigh 680g.

Camera, Lens, and Camera Plus Lens

R6 – 680g
R6 plus 35mm lens – 980g
R6 plus 50mm lens – 840g

R8 – 400g
R8 plus 35mm lens – 760g
R8 plus 50mm lens – 620g

R10 – 430g
R10 plus 35mm lens – 730g
R10 plus 50mm lens – 590g

Image Quality

As I said above – the sensor should be great and the images should be wonderful – but I was not impressed. I tried the R8 with the RF 50mm 1.8 lens and I didn’t think it was very good. I thought it might be the pairing of that lens with this particular camera, so I tried the RF 35mm f1.8 IS Macro STM lens. In my experience the R8 does not match the image quality of the R6 by a good margin.

What Are Full Frame Sensors

In digital cameras, full frame sensors are sensors that measure 36mm x 24mm.

The size is based on 35mm film cameras. But how?

I hope this diagram makes it clear. The top to bottom height of 35mm film is 35mm. That’s the standard, and it has been the standard for over a century.

But the film has to move along so that with each wind-on of the film advance, a new frame is in front of the lens ready to be exposed.

The manufacturers stamp sprocket holes at regular intervals along the film. The film advance sprockets catch in those holes and move the film along.

If the image that the lens casts onto the film covered all the 35mm depth of the film, then the finished photographs that we look at would have holes at regular intervals across them, corresponding to the sprocket holes.

So the camera manufacturers put a frame in front of the film to mask off any light that might fall beyond the rectangle. And the size of the frame is a rectangle that’s 36mm x 24mm.

And that’s why ‘full frame’ digital sensors are 36mm x 24mm

Not all digital sensors are full frame. Here are the relative sizes of some of them, from full frame down to the sensor found in the iPhone 15 Pro. There are bigger sensors than full frame but they are pretty uncommon.

Why I Chose The Canon EOS R6

After looking at thousands of photographs, I have developed a capacity to see a photo and know something about the camera that took the photo.

I am not claiming some special capability – rather it is open to anyone who spends enough time looking at photographs.

After testing full frame cameras from Canon, Nikon, and Panasonic and comparing them with APS-C cameras I have had, I concluded that full frame really is better than APS-C for clean images with lots of detail.

The only manufacturer that currently has heavier full frame models and lighter weight full frame models is Canon..

The R6 II is out of my budget but the R6 gets positive, even glowing reviews from everyone and it is tumbling in price. The only question mark hanging over it is that it is ‘only’ 20MP.

And Canon also has the lighter weight R8.

There is only one reason to get the Canon R8 over the Canon R6 and that is that it is lighter. It weighs 460g compared to the R6’s 680g – a difference of 220g.

The little Ricoh GR III weighs 257g, so how significant can that extra 220g be?

After picking up both and handling the two cameras for a while I can say that the added weight is noticeable. After handling the R8 for a while, the R6 feels heavy.

So what are the reasons to get the Canon R6 over the Canon R8

  • Bigger battery
  • Two SD UHS-II memory Card slots
  • A joystick to move autofocus points
  • In-body image stabilisation of up to 8 stops
  • 0.5-inch OLED colour EVF 3.69 Million dots 1280 × 960 pixels
  • Balances with longer lenses.

Reasons not to get the Canon R6 over the Canon R8

  • 220g heavier

Reasons not to get the Canon R8 over the Canon R6

  • Smaller battery
  • One card slot
  • No autofocus joystick to move autofocus points
  • No in-body image stabilisation
  • 0.39 inch OLED colour EVF 2.36 Million dots 1024 x 768 pixels

After hesitating for a while and testing other cameras I decided on an R6. If it feels too heavy and I can’t get used to it as an ‘all day carry around’ camera, then I can get an R8 as a travel camera – not ideal because of the lack of a second card slot, but doable. And because the two cameras are from the same manufacturer I can transfer the handling (where the buttons are, etc) to the other camera.

Here are a couple of shots I took today in the Botanic Garden in Cambridge with the R6 and the 35mm f1.8 STM lens. The second one is a 3:2 crop of the portrait orientation shot that I took, so it is 45% of the full frame.