Canon’s first APS-C mirrorless camera is here, three and a half years after its first full-frame RF mount option. After a brief stint with what effectively replaces the Rebel, there are plenty of cameras here for $1,000 when it comes to the new Canon EOS R10.
Quality build and design
As with the Canon EOS R7 also announced today, the R10 is an original body design and it weighs less than a pound with the battery and SD card inserted. The layout features a beautifully tilted shutter button typical of Canon cameras, front and back to control several different exposure methods, multi-controller joystick for quick focus point movement, and D- user-programmable four-way pad. There’s a dedicated AF/MF switch on the front panel with another programmable button.
One thing missing from this design is a third wheel to complete all three aspects of direct exposure control: shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Instead of a third dial, we get a D-pad that offers more customization options, so there is at least a trade-off.
Overall, the body style is familiar to Canon users, but it has shrunk to the point where there is very little space between the grip and the lens. I developed a blister on one of my fingers from rubbing against the lens while using this camera, and my hand is just the right size. If the camera were taller or came with an optional grip extension like the EOS RP, I think my fingers would be able to get into the narrow slot much better.
The door at the bottom of the grip holds the LP-E17 battery and a single UHS-II SD card slot. These are the smaller sized batteries used in the Canon Rebel and EOS RP series. In a day of taking about 700 photos, I drained the battery by almost half. That’s better than I expected based on the size of the battery and the performance of the mirrorless camera.
The Canon EOS R10 features a newly developed 24.2MP APS-C sensor and DIGIC X image processor. Canon remains traditional in equipping its mirrorless APS-C camera with a 1.6x crop feature. compared to the more common 1.5x crop. This model does not have in-body image stabilization, so stabilization will need to come from the lens used or the electronic stabilization provided in video recording.
Looking at the image files, the R10 produces pretty good results. In my eyes, I see some roughness in regards to how it renders the tones of a scene. That said, I only had minimal hands-on time with the camera and didn’t have much good light to work with.
Speaking of which, considering the test shots taken over its ISO range of 100 to 32,000, it seems like around ISO 3,200 is when the images start to really break down. These days, I see most full-frame cameras showing this at around ISO 6,400 or 8,000, so this smaller APS-C sensor matches my expectations.
With a massive 15 fps mechanical shutter, the EOS R10 goes beyond what others have done in this price range. I asked a Canon representative if there are any limitations to using the fastest mechanical shutter and I was assured that it retains the full experience and full image quality while complete. The camera can also do 23fps with the electronic shutter, but since this is not a stacked sensor there is a pronounced rolling shutter effect with fast-moving action.
I learned that even though it maxed out at 23 fps, it could only shoot out 11 JPEG + RAW frames before reaching the end of the buffer. You also need to use a UHS-II card with the fastest write speed you can use. With a Delkin SD card with 250 MB/s write speed, it took 10 seconds to clear the full buffer compared to 2.9 seconds with the Sony TOUGH G card with 299 MB/s write speed.
One of the most impressive aspects of the EOS R10 is the autofocus system. Canon claims that it has inherited smart features from the $6,000 EOS R3 but not necessarily speed. Again, this is not an illuminated stacked sensor on the back. This also means that it has the same subject recognition for people, animals (including birds) and vehicles, and can start tracking from anywhere in the frame.
I’ve been using the EOS R3 for half a year now, and for someone familiar with the camera’s autofocus, it was an easy transition to the R10. Probably my favorite aspect about these cameras is how I don’t need to consider the focus areas and location of the focus point now. Once my subject was in the frame, it was already trackable just by starting the autofocus. No time is wasted in repositioning the focus point or changing the coverage of the focus area: the camera does the job. When there are multiple objects in the frame, the arrows show up outside the tracking box and I can switch to the target I want.
The highlight of the R10 with all of this is reliability. It’s a smart camera, but autofocus speed and lock tracking don’t always get the job done. This can be a matter of fine-tuning the autofocus characteristics, which can be done in the menu. I’ve basically set it up the way I have my EOS R3, but the consistency in tracked subject tracking isn’t perfect.
Lowest RF Entry Costs and Canon’s Future
The $980 Canon EOS R10 has appeared to claim the space where the Rebels and M50 once stood. To be clear, Canon states that it has no plans to discontinue those products at this time. However, the R10 goes beyond slow, dated cameras whose writing is on the wall.
With this release, Canon got a lot of things right, including a very fast continuous shooting speed, multi-controller joystick, reasonably good ISO performance, and an intelligent autofocus system. Much of the time spent on the R10 is used as a tool to try and get good shots from my experienced hands and find out if there’s anything really standing in the way of this. Aside from the cramped handling, most of my other issues are that things that can still be tweaked, like autofocus reliability, have worked around, like missing three dials or being omitted, like an electronic shutter.
All in all, the Canon EOS R10 feels well worth its asking price.