Mirrorless might be getting all the attention these days, but there’s still a place in the photo world for the classic, tried-and-true DSLR. For those beginners- to intermediate-level photographers, the new Canon Rebel T8i offers reliable image quality and efficiency features for both stills and video in a lightweight and easy-to-use camera body.
Coming in as a successor to the Rebel T7i from 2017, the brand new T8i provides an altogether familiar compact DSLR form factor and a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor. However, it does offer some good upgrades thanks to its faster image processor and updated metering system. There are faster burst shooting, better video platforms, and upgraded autofocus, with Face Detection even in viewfinder shooting, along with Eye Detection in Live View.
Check Out: Best Lenses for Canon Rebel T8i
Canon EOS Rebel T8i / EOS 850D: Price
As with previous models, the Rebel T8i actually serves as Canon’s most advanced model within its Rebel series of entry-level DSLRs. Priced at $750 body-only, the Canon T8i isn’t the most basic or bare-bones Rebel camera, but rather it packs a healthy dose of advanced features and functionality for a generally affordable price point.
Canon may be teasing a high-end full-frame mirrorless, but the company isn’t about to start neglecting DSLRs. The new Canon EOS Rebel T8i upgrades the processor chip and autofocus in Canon’s popular budget DSLR, resulting in a $750 camera that’s equipped with 4K and enhanced performance for stills.
The Canon EOS Rebel T8 still houses the same sensor as the Canon T7i actually, a 24-megapixel APS-C design that’s been around for a while, but isn’t bad considering the price point. While the autofocus has been updated to include face and eye detection when using the screen instead of the viewfinder, the focus still uses a 45-point Dual Pixel system.
What’s new is the DIGIC 8 Processor, the computer chip that processes all those images. It allows for a slightly faster 7 fps burst speed (over the T7i’s 6 fps), but more importantly, upgrades the video to 4K at 24 fps. The video also has a 4K HDMI output option, and, for the first time for Canon DSLRs, supports vertical video for footage destined for smartphone viewing.
Besides the vertical video, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is designed for social sharing. The camera also homes a new auto-exposure sensor as a DSLR designed for both novices on auto and beginners swapping to manual or semi-manual modes.
The exterior feels much in the same tradition as previous Canon spending budget DSLRs and, while still a DSLR, is designed to be compact and lightweight. The design includes AF-On and quick control for more advanced users.
Canon EOS Rebel T8i / EOS 850D: Key Features
Canon is keen to give photographers better ways to share images online, so the EOS 850D features 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy so that you can edit and share high-quality photographs using the Canon Camera Attach software to connect to your iOS or Android smartphone. From there, it is possible to import content to a mobile screen, check and upload it on social media, or share it with friends and family.
A lightweight, portable and wired DSLR, powered by the fast DIGIC 8 processor from Canon, the Canon EOS 850D is capable of 7fps continuous shooting. It has the tried-and-tested 24.1-megapixel Dual Pixel CMOS APS-C sensor from Canon, but what sets the 850D apart from the old 800D is its autofocus Intelligent Tracking (iTR) system, and its new 4K movie functionality, of course. It is worth noting, however, that while 4K might be new to Canon DSLRs at this price point, for at least one camera generation, mirrorless cameras in the sector have already been 4K-capable.
In order to help you take better portraits with sharper eyes to bring your subjects to life, iTR AF helps to enhance focusing by using Face Monitoring AF and the latest Eye Recognition AF in Live View.
The autofocus tracking on the 850D benefits from 45-point all cross-type AF, as well as Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF, when shooting ‘conventionally’ using the optical viewfinder (that shows 95 percent coverage).
The body style of the 850D is compact, but comes with top and rear dials for both shutter speed and aperture dual control. You can use either EF or EF-S lens as part of Canon’s EOS system, and a Speedlite flashgun can be installed for more innovative illumination than the built-in pop-up flash can offer.
Of course, you will shoot uncompressed RAW files for a camera in this market, to allow you more flexibility when editing the images, but there is also a C-RAW format that will generate smaller file sizes, almost doubling the continuous shooting buffer from 40 images to 75.
The camera can film in Full HD at up to 60 fps or 4K UHD resolution at up to 25 fps, as far as movie recording is concerned. For time-lapse movies and automated scene selection, there’s even a thorough set-up. The 850D features 5-Axis Movie Digital IS, for smooth, managed video capturing, to overcome the ‘jittery shaking’ associated with handheld movie shooting.
The 850D is body-only available, or with the Canon’s respectable EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM kit lens, which offers you a sufficiently flexible focal range for shooting everything from wide-angle landscapes to portraits.
Canon EOS Rebel T8i / EOS 850D: Build and Handling
The 850D definitely feels light for a DSLR at 515g body-only, and it’s easy to carry and shoot even with the larger EF-S 18-135mm lens attached, with no chance of hand or arm ache, even as opposed to larger Canon DSLRs such as the Canon EOS 90D with an attached EF 24-105mm lens.
The 850D features a 3-inch Vari-Angle touchscreen, which we find can be mounted at almost any angle for more artistic compositions, to allow you added flexibility to shoot from difficult angles.
A particularly easy-to-use directed menu interface is also set up for the 850D, which describes features such as how aperture priority mode can be used to blur a backdrop behind the subject or keep an entire landscape in view. But if you would like to have more precise control of settings, there is still Canon’s standard menu structure.
Canon EOS Rebel T8i / EOS 850D: Performance
A rapid and accurate autofocus system is one thing that the EOS Rebel T8i / EOS 850D has in its favour. It’s the famous Dual Pixel phase detection AF from Canon that works very well for both photography and film.
It’s still a 45-point AF array in the viewfinder mode of the EOS Rebel T8i/EOS 850D, and all of those points are the more sensitive ‘cross-type’. Turn to live view mode and, much as in the Canon EOS M50, it is a 143-point spread occupying a larger region of the frame with eye AF chucked in.
There is an option of single shot, mixed action and full action AF modes, including single point, zone (small or large), plus auto, with an additional choice of the AF area. The tiny zone AF mode was found to be a treat for general operation and the zone region can be easily picked in the viewfinder mode using either dial or contact in the live view mode.
In the 4K video mode, autofocus behaviour varies from Full HD video and that’s because you lose AF detection for dual pixel phase. Rather, it is the less powerful AF contrast detection that is more likely to rely on shooting. This is another sour point in the 4K video here.
Smooth-looking handhold panning shots are simple to get with the five-axis optical image stabilization active in its normal mode. Stabilization works impressively well in the ‘Enhanced’ mode while walking with the camera in-hand, though it is not a gimbal.
Note, with stabilization active, there is an essential crop factor added, so 4K selfie vlogging is not really a choice.
Many of Canon’s lenses provide optical stabilization for shooting, like the 18-55mm kit lens. At different focal lengths, we tested this kit lens and usually considered stabilization to be successful at about 3.5EV. Stabilization efficacy depends on the glass, so you may have a different experience.
We checked the continuous high-speed shooting mode that, using the mechanical shutter, has a rate of 7fps and 7.5fps when using the electronic shutter, as already stated.
Using a UHS-I U3 card, we managed about 55 raw and JPEG shots in either shutter mode until the camera stopped, with a wait time of about 15 seconds to buffer all those images for the camera to work completely again. That’s a decent score, making the EOS Rebel T8i / EOS 850D a nice action shooting sidekick.
Canon EOS Rebel T8i / EOS 850D: Conclusion
For Canon users looking to upgrade from their entry-level cameras, the Canon EOS Rebel T8i is a lightweight and powerful DSLR. The T8i takes a lot of pleasure to deal with, from the 18-55mm package lens. It has several auto scene modes to allow both beginners and experienced photographers a lot of creative control.
But while the Rebel T8i is a decent camera, it has some intense competition. It is positioned as an upper entry-level DSLR, but it is significantly more costly than its primary DSLR competitor, the Nikon D5600. If you’re happy to go mirrorless, Fujifilm X-T200 promises superior 4K uncropped capture and a 24Mp camera, with an outstanding 35mm ƒ/2.0 lens for even less money than Canon Rebel T8i.
You need a decent
camera for sports, but good isn’t enough. DSLR camera technology is in decline, and creativity is needed to remain alive. The Rebel T8i is an example of evolution that is disappointingly gradual. If the Rebel T8i is the best Canon could come up with to battle off APS-C mirrorless rivalry, then the DSLR’s death could be quicker than anticipated.