Canon’s first APS-C mirrorless cameras are here, three and a half years after its first full-frame RF mount option. After a brief period with what is effectively the Rebel replacement, there’s a lot of camera here for $1,000.
Build quality and design
As with the Canon EOS R7 which was also announced today, the R10 is a quirky body design and it weighs less than a pound with a battery and SD card inserted. The layout includes a nice angled shutter button typical of Canon cameras, a front and rear wheel to control two different exposure methods, a multi-controller joystick to quickly move focus points, and a four-way D-pad programmable by the user. . There is a dedicated AF/MF switch on the front along with another programmable button.
One thing this design lacks is a third wheel to complement the three aspects of direct exposure control: shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Instead of a third watch face, we get a D-pad which offers more customization options, so at least there’s a trade-off.
The body style is familiar in the hands of Canon users overall, but it’s been squashed to the point where there’s very little room between the grip and the lens. I developed a blister on one of my fingers from rubbing it against the lenses while using this camera, and my hands are only medium sized. If the camera were larger or came with an optional grip extension like the EOS RP, I think my fingers could navigate the tight space better.
The door at the bottom of the handle houses the LP-E17 battery and a single UHS-II SD card slot. These are the smaller sized batteries that are used in the Canon Rebel and EOS RP series. In a day of shooting around 700 photos, I had the battery almost halfway through. It’s better than I expected due to battery size and mirrorless camera performance.
The Canon EOS R10 features a new 24.2MP APS-C sensor and the DIGIC X Image Processor. Canon continues the tradition by ensuring that its APS-C mirrorless cameras feature a 1:1 crop. .6x compared to the more common 1.5x crop. This model does not have image stabilization in the body, so the stabilization should come from the lens used or the electronic stabilization offered in the video recording.
Looking at image files, the R10 produces reasonably decent results. To my eyes, I see a bit of crunchiness in the way it renders the tone of a scene. That said, I only had minimal hands-on time with the camera and not much good light to work with.
Speaking of which, looking at test shots taken at its ISO 100-32,000 range, it seems like around ISO 3,200 is when images really start to break down. These days I see most full-frame cameras showing this around ISO 6400 or 8000, so this little APS-C sensor is what I expected.
With a whopping 15fps mechanical shutter, the EOS R10 far exceeds what others have done in this price range. I asked a Canon representative if there were any downsides to using the fastest mechanical shutter, and I was assured that it retained the full experience and full image quality while doing everything its possible. The camera can also shoot 23fps with the electronic shutter, but since it’s not a stacked sensor, there’s a pronounced rolling shutter effect with fast action.
I learned that even though it does 23 fps max, it can only fire 11 JPEG+RAW frames before it hits the end of the buffer. It’s also essential to use a UHS-II card with the fastest write speed you can get your hands on. With a Delkin SD card which has a write speed of 250MB/s, it took 10 seconds to clear a full buffer compared to 2.9 seconds with a Sony TOUGH G card which has a write speed of 299MB/s. s.
One of the most impressive aspects of the EOS R10 is the autofocus system. Canon says it inherited its smarts from the $6,000 EOS R3, but not necessarily the speed. Again, this is not a back-illuminated stacked sensor. This also means it features the same subject recognition for humans, animals (including birds) and vehicles and can start tracking from anywhere in frame.
I’ve been using the EOS R3 for six months now, and for someone familiar with the camera’s autofocus capabilities, switching to the R10 was easy. Probably my favorite aspect of these cameras is how little I need to consider focus areas and my focus point position now. When my subject enters the frame, it is already traceable simply by launching the autofocus. You don’t waste time repositioning the focus point or changing focus-area coverage—the camera does the work. When there are multiple subjects in the frame, arrows appear outside the tracking area and I can jump to the desired target.
The knock on the R10 with all of this is reliability. It’s a smart camera, but the autofocus speed and lock-on tracking aren’t always going to get the job done. This may involve fine-tuning the autofocus characteristics, which can be done in the menu. I basically set it up like I have my EOS R3, but the consistency in tracking a tracked subject wasn’t perfect.
The lowest cost of entry into RF and the future of Canon
The $980 Canon EOS R10 has arrived to claim the space where the Rebels and M50s once stood. To be clear, Canon said it has no plans to discontinue them at this time. However, the R10 is so far ahead of those slow, dated cameras that the writing is on the wall.
Canon has had a lot of success with this version, including a very fast continuous shooting speed, the multi-controller joystick, reasonably good ISO performance and a smart autofocus system. Much of my time with the R10 was using it as a tool to try and get good shots out of my experienced hand and find out if there was really anything that was getting in the way. Besides the cramped handling, most of my other issues are things that can still be tweaked, like autofocus reliability, worked around, like the lack of three dials, or ignored, like the electronic shutter.
In short, the R10 seems well worth its asking price.