It finally seems to be going the right way for Canon again after being late to the mirrorless camera party, with only entry level Canon EF-M system cameras for many years, while Sony and even Fujifilm was dominating. But it seems like the Canon R lineup has become popular even though being late, at least that is what I hear.

I have often bought (and sold again) many Canon cameras though the years, they do have something interesting about them, but they also feel a bit average or boring. When I think of Canon I often think of cameras in the 00’s, when Canon was king. Most of the famous press photos from back then was shot on digital Canon, and I loved the look back then. But to me Canon still feel a bit stuck in time.

So I didn’t have high hopes but I did end up picking up a Canon EOS R8 on Black Friday, plus a Canon RF 35mm f1.8 Macro IS STM + Canon RF 50mm f1.8 STM. The Canon EOS R8 is an entry level full frame camera, but it shares the same sensor with the Canon EOS R6 Mark II, minus the IBIS and minus the dual card slot, but both are features I can live without for just testing out the R system.

Shot on Canon EOS R8 + Canon RF 35mm f1.8 Macro IS STM

The lens problem

The two lenses I bought, the Canon RF 35mm f1.8 Macro IS STM + Canon RF 50mm f1.8 STM, are also entry level lenses, but this is also one of the R systems biggest flaws, there are very limited selection of affordable lenses. Sure Canon lunched the R system with high end f1.2 lenses, but they are insanely expensive and also very big and heavy. Even if I really did buy into the Canon R system, I don’t know if I would want to put so much money into one focal length. And the size, to me if lenses are too big I never bring them.

So that’s why I went with these cheaper lenses. The problem is that these lenses are only slightly updated from the EF equivalent lenses, a bit sharper but not something to really wow you. The 35mm f1.8 is an ok lens, I would keep it if I kept my R8 camera. The 50mm f1.8 seems to be almost identital to the EF version which is a bit disappointing.

To make things even worse Canon banned 3rd party auto focus lenses a few years ago. So we are suck with what Canon makes. The only plus when it comes to lenses is the older Canon EF lenses adopted, they perform almost natively with the Canon adopter, so that EF to R adapter is a must own. There are many great old EF lenses, maybe they are not as sharp as the newer RF lenses, but they are cheap and for some lenses sharpness is not everything. I.e. the Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM is actually pretty good adopted for portraits, not the sharpest but I had a lot of fun with it. I also adopted my Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art lens, image quality from that is very good but with the lens and adapter it is a really heavy setup.

Shot on Canon EOS R8 + Canon RF 35mm f1.8 Macro IS STM

The flip out screen nightmare

Why make a flip out screen and not a standart flip screen on a photo camera? I wrote about it before on my blog post here, but in short: I think camera producers put a flip out screen on photo cameras because the Youtube camera influencers of today love flip screens since they are vloggers themselves, not because the user wants it. Since I wrote my blog post about it, Fujfilm have back track and now only uses the flip out screen on the video focused cameras, bravo Fujifilm. But Canon, why? For me it almost ruins the entire experience of shooting with the camera. Fiddling around with that stupid screen when trying to take a sneaky street shot. It just emphasizes the impression I get of this camera, of a very dull camera not really aimed at anybody.

Shot on Canon EOS R8 + Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM – Scooter driving by but even with this old EF lens auto focus works great.

Mediocre image quality

First of all, how can I judge the cameras image quality when I only used entry level lenses on this camera? The expensive lenses for this camera are so expensive that I would never buy them, and the other camera competitors have many cheap lens options, i.e. many of Sony’s best performing lenses are very affordable i.e. the Sony 85mm f1.8 or the Zeiss 55mm f1.8.

If I have to put the image quality compared to other cameras, I would probably put it somewhere between an aps-c Fujifilm camera and a Sony full frame camera. Compared to the Fuji, it has a bit better iso performance and a tiny bit of that full frame pop, compared to the Sony it’s nothing close to it when it comes to iso performance, dynamic range or that full frame pop.

Color wise, I personally prefer Fujifilms colors (out of the mainstream cameras of today), Sony’s colors are ugly in daylight (but fine in artificial lighting like night street photography), Canon colors are in between, not ugly but not that pretty either. It does the job, but doesn’t inspire you much.

But it’s a great all around camera for image quality and colors, and down the line the updated new Canon R cameras will probably improve this and bring better and cheaper lenses.

Shot on Canon EOS R8 + Canon RF 35mm f1.8 Macro IS STM


Autofocus is probably Canons biggest strength these days. The focus point stick to what you point it at, better than Sony and better than Fujifilm. If you really like to shoot moving subjects, this is a big plus. For me it doesn’t matter so much. The auto focus I got from other cameras 4-ish years ago was already fine for me, but for the Youtube reviewers autofocus is so important and always take up at least 30% of their review.

Shot on Canon EOS R8 + Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM – Chinese sugarcane street seller.

Sample Raw Files

Think of buying this camera? I always recommend people to download sample raw files for the camera you want to buy, to get a better idea of how the camera perform. So here is the raw files of the photos in this blog post for you to download:

ยป Download Sample Raw Files


Is it better to be average or is it better to stand out even if there are some flaws? A few years ago I wrote about the Sony A7R III, and I said that camera was not something for me. But that camera has some things it is really good at, something it’s the best at. The Canon EOS R8 (and I suspect all other Canon EOS R cameras) don’t have something they are really the best at (yes maybe autofocus but who cares about that). It’s a good average camera but also forgettable. Maybe if you are a professional photographer that needs a camera that does the job, it could work. For me, a hardcore photography nerd that has tried most camera systems, this is not very interesting and I’m gonna go ahead and sell mine.

Shot on Canon EOS R8 + Canon RF 35mm f1.8 Macro IS STM – Great lighting in this scene but the results are meh, colors a bit ugly


Video that mentions most of the things in this blog post, if you like to watch it as a video instead