Canon R10 review: 4K and fast shooting speeds for less than $1,000

Canon R10 review: 4K and fast shooting speeds for under $1000 | Engadget

Image Credit: Steve Dent/Engadget

The best feature of this camera is the AI-powered Dual Pixel autofocus, similar to what you find on the R7 and even the professional EOS R3. This allowed me to keep fast-moving subjects in focus, either by keeping the focus point on them or using face and eye tracking. 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 fluidly follow the head or eyes, and do a great job of switching between the two seamlessly. For racing vehicles, it attempts to focus on the driver’s helmet. The system is responsive, reliable and almost idiot-proof, tracking subjects smoothly whether you’re in single or extended AF mode. This makes it ideal for beginners who may not want to delve into the manual to understand complex subject tracking settings.

Image quality

Gallery: Canon EOS R10 Image Gallery | 31 Pictures


The R10 delivers accurate color with warm skin tones as most photographers desire. JPEGs offer a good balance between sharpness and noise reduction, while RAW files offer decent but unspectacular dynamic range. This allows a good amount of space to tweak the images.

Low-light performance is a weak point, however. You can consider ISO 6400 as a hard limit, and even then you’ll get a lot of noise if you try to boost blacks in underexposed photos. ISO 12,800 is possible in a pinch, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you need a clear shot. The lack of in-body stabilization also means you’re likely to get blurry photos at shutter speeds below 1/100th, unless your hands are incredibly steady.

As I’ve often forgotten, however, the R10 has a built-in flash that will at least get you a clear but not very artistic shot if you don’t have enough light. Just be sure to reduce the flash output in the settings to avoid blowing on your subject.

Video

Steve Dent/Engadget

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

It’s also the only APS-C camera under $1000 I can think of that offers 10-bit video via HDR PQ mode. However, unlike most log videos, you won’t find a standard LUT for it in Adobe Premiere or other editing systems. So unless you’re playing the video directly on an HDR TV, it can be tricky to work with.

Autofocus isn’t as good for video as it is for stills, as the system sometimes focuses on the background instead of the subject. This doesn’t happen often, so the video I shot was generally sharp except for a few instances.

The lack of IS in the body means you’ll need to use stabilized lenses for handheld video. And for something like vlogging, you’ll also want to enable electronic stabilization or even use the enhanced IS. Electronic IS adds a significant crop, on top of the 1.6X APS-C crop, so both kit lenses are barely wide enough at 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. While vlogging I found I could barely fit my head into the frame, even using a Joby Gorillapod to add extra arm length.

Rolling shutter can also be an issue, especially for oversampled 4K 30p video, although it’s much less of a problem than in Sony’s APS-C cameras. It improves in 4K 60p mode as there’s less sensor to read, but again you’re faced with some serious cropping and softer images.

As with stills, video quality is excellent with dynamic range on par with rival cameras, although a little less than what Sony offers. The oversampled video is very crisp and again the colors are accurate and skin friendly. You can get extra dynamic range shooting in HDR mode for sunsets and the like, but again, beware that it takes a bit of work to look good.

Wrap

Canon EOS R10 review

Steve Dent/Engadget

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

There is room for improvement, however. That’s not as huge a jump as I’d hoped over Sony’s two-year-old $900 A6400. And while it has 10-bit capability and better autofocus than Fujifilm’s $900 X-T30 II, the latter is better for video overall and has slightly higher resolution. It’s also a bit too expensive to be considered a true budget camera.

Still, this camera is sure to appeal to users who want to upgrade from a smartphone and are tempted by Canon’s solid reputation. They won’t be disappointed with the R10, as it’s easy to use and delivers where it counts with crisp, beautiful photos and videos.

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