Canon EOS R10 initial review
Canon has announced the R10, a 24MP entry-level APS-C mirrorless camera for the RF mount. It arrives alongside a more expensive R7 sister model and looks a lot like a replacement for parts of the company’s classic ‘Rebel/XX0D’ DSLRs.
- 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor with Dual Pixel AF
- Up to 23fps shooting (15 with mech shutter)
- Oversampled 4K up to 30p, 4K/60p with crop
- True HDR video as 10-bit ‘PQ’ footage
- 2.36M dot OLED viewfinder
- 1.04M dot fully-articulating rear touchscreen
- Single UHS-II SD slot
- Built-in pop-up flash
The EOS R10 will be available, body-only, for a recommended selling price of $979. Kit options include a bundle with the compact, collapsible 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM for $1099 or with the 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM for around $1379.
|It’s in there somewhere: the EOS R10 fits one of Canon’s smaller-than-usual 1.6x crop APS-C sensors into the vast RF mount.|
Canon says the sensor is a new chip it’s never used before, but has not given any details of how it’s changed. We know of instances in the past where Canon has squeezed a bit more out of an existing design by moving to a new production line that uses a finer process scale (higher precision fabrication of the circuitry), but we’ll have to wait to see how the sensor works in practice.
The R10 offers faster video than before, though, which suggests faster readout, greater processing power or, more likely, a combination of both. This, in turn, will help towards autofocus performance.
|Any of the AF areas modes can now be used to initiate AF tracking.
If more than one eye (or recognized subject) is identified in the frame, you can nudge left or right to select the subject you wish the camera to focus on.
The EOS R10 gets a completely revised AF system with algorithms derived from those in the EOS R3. Specifically, that means it gains subject recognition modes allowing it to reliably identify and track humans, animals or vehicles. In the case of humans and animals, the camera has been trained to focus on the eye, and in vehicle mode there’s a ‘spot focus’ option that lets you prioritize the rider of a motorbike or the helmet of a driver in open-wheel racing cars.
|You can set the camera to recognize humans, animals or vehicles. The human-recognition mode is distinct from the face/eye detection that remains available, even if the recognition mode is turned off.|
The way the autofocus interface has been reworked as well: instead of having a series of AF area modes and a separate AF tracking mode, the R10 has a choice of AF area modes, any of which can be used to select a subject to initiate tracking.
The R10 gains a series of scene modes to support the photographer. These include a mixture or original ideas and options we’ve seen on other brands’ cameras.
For instance, there’s a focus stacking mode, which shoots a series of images with slight focus shifts between each one, then combines them to form a single image with everything in focus (especially valuable for close-up work). The camera lets you shoot Raw files for the individual shots but, as you might expect, only provides a JPEG version of the merged image.
There’s also a panorama mode, that shoots multiple images as you pan the camera, then merges them into a single, long image.
Beyond the multi-shot modes are interesting options such as a panning mode, for giving a blurred background as you pan the camera to match a moving subject. Canon’s panning mode detects how quickly you’re panning the camera and automatically chooses a shutter speed that will give you a motion-blurred background while also giving you a good chance of keeping your moving subject nice and sharp.
|Movie shooting has a dedicated position on the R10’s mode dial.|
The EOS R10’s video is a fair step up from existing Canon models that used a 24MP sensor. It can shoot UHD 4K footage at up to 30p using the full width of its sensor to deliver oversampled 4K footage taken from 6K capture. Alternatively, you can crop in to what appears to be a native 3840 x 2160 pixel region of the sensor to shoot 60p footage.
In both instances, the rolling shutter appears to be reasonably well controlled, but our initial impressions are that the 60p footage doesn’t appear especially sharp or detailed. We also found the autofocus was less reliable in video mode than when shooting stills.
The R10 can capture 10-bit video in the HDR PQ mode, which captures a wider dynamic range for playback on HDR displays and TVs. The footage can be played back over the camera’s micro HDMI ports.
True HDR stills
As we’ve seen on the EOS R6 and R5, the R7 and R10 can shoot 10-bit HEIF files using the HDR ‘PQ’ curve. These shoot wider dynamic range images in a way that allows them to show that wider dynamic range in a realistic manner if you connect the camera to a high dynamic range display or TV.
How it compares
We’re going to look at how the R10 compares it its sister model, the R7, but also how it compares with two similarly-priced, APS-C cameras. The Nikon Z fc is another comparable model we’ve not had room to include.
|Canon EOS R10||Canon EOS R7||Sony a6400||Fujifilm X-S10|
|MSRP (at launch)||$979||$1499||$900||$1000|
|Sensor tech||FSI-CMOS (Dual Pixel)||FSI-CMOS (Dual Pixel)||BSI-CMOS||BSI-CMOS|
(Rated up to 7EV)
|No||Yes (Rated up to 6EV)|
|Max frame rate||
|Viewfinder res / mag||2.36M dot /
|2.36M dot /
|2.36M dot /
2.36M dot /
|Rear screen res / type||3.0″ 1.04M dot fully-articulated||3.0″ 1.62M dot fully-articulated||3.0″ 0.92M dot tilt up/down||3.0″ 1.04M dot fully-articulated|
|Video||4K/30p full-width oversampled, 4K/60p from 1.56x crop||
4K/30p full-width oversampled,
|4K/24p full-width oversampled, 4K/30p with slight crop||DCI or UHD 4K up to 30p full-width, oversampled|
|10-bit video options||HDR PQ||HDR PQ
|None||Output over HDMI|
|Mic / Headphone sockets?||Yes / No||Yes / Yes||Yes / No||Yes / via adapter|
|Battery rating (LCD / EVF)||340 / 210||660 / 380||410 / 360||325 / unspecified|
|Weight||426g (15oz)||612g (21.6oz)||403g (14.3oz)||465g (16.4oz)|
|Dimensions||126 x 88 x 83 mm||132 x 90 x 92 mm||120 x 67 x 60 mm||118 x 83 x 47 mm|
The R10 doesn’t exactly crush its opposition, but there are certainly areas in which it’s competitive. The 15 fps mechanical shutter means it’ll be a more adept at capturing short bursts of action than its peers (and without any of the concerns about rolling shutter distortion that come from using the relatively slow electronic shutters on all these models). Equally, even though it comes with a heavy crop, the R10 is the only model in its class to shoot 4K/60p.
However, the R10 isn’t out on its own. The Fujfilm X-S10 offers image stabilization which can be valuable for both stills and video capture, and the ability to connect headphones, which are pretty-much essential for videography. We’d also expect the Fujifilm to offer slightly better image quality.
The R7 offers better specs in a number of significant places, but then it has a list price around 50% more than the other cameras compared here (and the cost differential will be even greater for a while after launch, given its rivals have been around long enough to see their street prices fall).
Body & handling
The body layout is one of the biggest differences between the R10 and the more expensive R7. Although they’re very similar in size, the R10 sees its corners get cut in all the areas you might expect: it uses a single UHS-II SD slot and a smaller battery.
What hasn’t been cut is the number of control points: with the R10 featuring two large, prominent dials on the camera’s top-plate. There’s an upward facing one, just behind the shutter button and a horizontally-placed one on the rear shoulder of the camera, just above the on/off switch. This is a level of direct exposure control Canon has traditionally reserved for higher-end models, so it’s good to see on the more basic of the two new models.
There’s also a new MF/AF switch on the front of the camera, with a button at its center that, by default, brings up your AF options. Its the sort of control we’ve liked on other brands’ cameras but that seems to be falling out of favor, so again it’s nice to see here.
On the plus-side, it gets the same viewfinder panel as the R7, along with a fully-articulated touchscreen (albeit with lower magnification on the finder and a lower res rear panel). The handgrip is narrower than that of the R7, and seems to protrude slightly further forward, meaning your knuckles are more likely to encounter the wider part of some lenses. It’s not dissimilar to the smaller Rebel SL models.
Tripod shooters will note that the R10’s single UHS-II card slot sits next to the battery and is accessed through a door on the bottom of the camera.
Viewfinder and screen
The R10 has a 3.0″ fully-articulated rear touchscreen. It’s 1.04M dot unit, meaning it offers a resolution of 720 x 480 pixels.
The viewfinder is a 2.36M dot OLED panel, which is still a common spec on sub-$1000 mirrorless cameras. This one has a rather small 0.95x magnification (0.59x in equivalent terms). Canon tends not to give information about refresh rates. Neither is a particularly high-end panel, but both are comparable, for now, with the camera’s (rather elderly) peers.
The R10 uses the LP-E17 battery that’s been used in Rebel DSLRs and several M-series mirrorless cameras before. It’s a compact, 7.5Wh unit, which is not good news in a mirrorless camera. It delivers a reasonable 350 shots per charge when using the rear screen and a rather low 210 shot rating when using the viewfinder. These figures are for smoothness priority mode: dropping to power saving mode sees these numbers jump to 430 and 260, respectively.
CIPA ratings can tend to under-represent the number of shots that you’ll get in a lot of shooting situations, but we typically find a 300+ rating is good for a weekend of occasional photography.
Canon says that both its EF mount and the M-series of APS-C mirrorless cameras will continue alongside the R10, but it’s hard to imagine that either is likely to persist in the long-run. Everything about the R10 screams that it’s designed to be a Rebel T8i (EOS 850D) camera in the RF range, and it’s hard to believe Canon plans to put as much weight behind maintaining its legacy lens mounts as into the one its pinning its future on.
So how does it look? Perfectly fine would be our first impression. And, historically, that’s often been the bar that Canon’s had to reach, to sell a load of cameras. The Digital Rebel series represented a breakthrough in bringing DSLRs to a comparatively accessible price point, but its progress has tended to be somewhat incremental since then. They’ve rarely been the most capable or the best-specced cameras, but they’ve worked well and build up enough goodwill to continually sell well.
But that’s talking about the camera market looking back ten to twenty years. Times have changed, fewer people are buying dedicated cameras and through good design and powerful processing, smartphones are delivering image quality that competes with some ILCs but with little of the bulk and none of the effort. Having the name ‘Canon’ on the front will still help sell R10s but only to those people still going out to buy a dedicated camera.
The R10 certainly has a few spec points in its favor: it’s the only model in its class to offer 4K/60 capture (though there’s a significant crop and the footage is a touch soft), and the only one that can shoot at an impressive 15 fps using its mechanical shutter. The buffer isn’t huge, so it’s not going to be your first choice for sports, but for brief moments of action, it’ll be a stronger offering than you can currently get from Fujifilm, Nikon or Sony.
|The EOS R10 is pretty compact, especially when combined with the collapsible 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 zoom. Its 29-72mm equiv range is pretty handy but that F7.2-10 equivalent aperture range isn’t especially inviting.|
Looking beyond the spec sheet, the autofocus system seems to bring a lot of the power and (perhaps more importantly) simplicity that we’re becoming familiar with, further up the price brackets. Sony’s a6100 and a6400 had done some of this legwork already, but the R10 adds some subject recognition options on top of an easy-to-use interface.
Moving across to the RF mount gives a degree of future-proofing that’s been ebbing away from the EF and EF-M series, which is likely to make would-be buyers more confident. And the arrival of price-conscious APS-C buyers into the system is only likely to provide more reason for Canon to expand the more affordable end of the RF lens lineup, even if the priority is likely to be focal lengths that work well for full-frame shooters, first and foremost.
The R10 looks like a pretty competitive camera, and an entirely plausible successor to the Rebel series. It’s hard to see it as ground-breaking, though.
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