Canon R10 Review: 4K and fast shutter speeds for under $ 1,000

Image credit: Steve Dent / Engadget

The best feature of this camera is the AI-based Dual Pixel autofocus, similar to what you find on the R7 and even the professional EOS R3. It allowed me to keep fast-moving subjects in focus, either by keeping the AF point on them or by using face and eye detection. You can track people, animals and vehicles, but it doesn’t really support tap-to-track like other Canon models.

With people or animals it will smoothly follow your head or eyes and do a great job of switching between them smoothly. For racing vehicles, try to focus on the driver’s helmet. The system is responsive, reliable, and near-idiot-proof, as it seamlessly follows subjects whether you’re in point or wide-area AF mode. This makes it great for beginners who may not want to delve into the manual to understand complex settings for subject tracking.

Image quality

Gallery: Canon EOS R10 image gallery | 31 photos


The R10 delivers accurate color with warm skin tones that most photographers want. JPEG files strike a good balance between sharpness and noise reduction, while RAW files offer decent but unspectacular dynamic range. This allows for a good amount of space to edit the images.

However, low-light performance is a weak point. You can think of ISO 6400 as a hard limit, and again, you’ll get a lot of noise if you try to boost blacks in underexposed shots. ISO 12,800 is possible in a pinch, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you need a sharp photo. The lack of internal stabilization also means you’ll risk getting blurry photos at shutter speeds below 1/100, unless your hands are remarkably still.

As I have often forgotten though, the R10 has a built-in flash that will at least allow you to get a sharp albeit not very artistic photo if you don’t have enough light. Just be sure to reduce the flash output in the settings to avoid making the subject explode.

video

Steve Dent / Engadget

The R10 is one of the best APS-C cameras for video. You get crisp 4K, downsampled to 30fps or less, and cropped video at 60fps that isn’t quite as sharp but definitely still usable. If you want super slow, it can shoot at 120fps at 1080p, but the video is obviously even smoother.

It’s also the only APS-C camera under $ 1,000 I can think of that offers 10-bit video via HDR PQ mode. However, unlike most log videos, you won’t find a standard lookup table (LUT) for this in Adobe Premiere or other editing systems. So unless you play the video directly on an HDR TV, it can be difficult to work with.

Autofocus isn’t as good for videos as it is for photos, as the system occasionally focuses on the background rather than the subject. However, this doesn’t happen often, so the video I shot was usually sharp except in a few cases.

The lack of built-in IS means you’ll need to use stabilized lenses for handheld video. And for anything like vlogging, you’ll also want to turn on electronic stabilization or even use advanced IS. The electronic IS adds significant crop, in addition to the 1.6X APS-C crop, so the two lenses in the kit are just wide enough on the 18mm end of the zoom.

Canon EOS R10 Image Gallery
Steve Dent / Engadget

Vlogging at 60fps adds another degree of difficulty, as you get an additional 1.56x crop, so the 18mm lens almost becomes a 50mm lens. During the vlog, I found that I could barely fit my head into the frame, even while using a Joby Gorillapod to add some extra arm length.

Rolling shutter can also be an issue, particularly for oversampled 4K 30p video, although it’s far less severe than Sony’s APS-C cameras. It improves in 4K 60p mode because there’s less sensor to read, but again, you’re facing serious cropping and smoother footage.

As with the photos, the video quality is excellent with a dynamic range equal to that of rival cameras, albeit a bit lower than that offered by Sony. The oversampled video is very sharp, and again, the colors are accurate and skin-friendly. You can get extra dynamic range footage in HDR mode for sunsets and the like, but again, beware that it takes some work to look good.

Wrap

Canon EOS R10 review
Steve Dent / Engadget

The $ 980 EOS R10 is a good start for Canon’s crop sensor RF cameras. It has blazing shutter speeds, excellent autofocus, good image quality, good handling, a flip-up display, and solid video capabilities.

There is room for improvement, though. It’s not as big a leap as I was hoping from Sony’s two-year $ 900 A6400. And while it has 10-bit capabilities and better autofocus than Fujfilm’s $ 900 X-T30 II, the latter is better overall for video and has a slightly higher resolution. It’s also a little too expensive to qualify as a true budget camera.

However, this camera is bound to appeal to users who want to switch between smartphones and are tempted by Canon’s solid reputation. They won’t be disappointed with the R10, because it’s easy to use and delivers where it counts with crisp, beautiful photos and videos.

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