Canon EOS R10 Review: The Rebel Killer the World Needs?

The Canon EOS R10 may not have Rebel in the name, but the $1,099 kit feels very much like a mirrorless reincarnation of an old Rebel DSLR. While Canon’s new crop sensor mirrorless feels in tune with the company’s DSLRs, there’s plenty of new technology to be had for Rebels making the transition to mirrorless. The most exciting change from Canon’s entry-level DSLRs? The Animal Eye AF of Canon’s pricier R cameras trickles down to the R10. The electronic viewfinder, which shows an accurate preview of the image about to be taken, will also be welcomed by many beginners.

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But, other mirrorless perks were left out in the name of price. The camera lacks in-body stabilization. There’s no weather-sealing. And there are smaller APS-C cameras on the market. Yet, fans of Canon’s ergonomics, colors, and lens may be able to easily forgive those shortcomings in order to pick up a mirrorless kit for a little over a grand.

The Big Picture

The Canon EOS R10 delivers a set of controls that’s simultaneously beginner-friendly and still enough for serious hobbyists. The design is comfortable and easy to navigate. The process of taking pictures of people and animals is also much improved over a Rebel with a very smart eye detection autofocus. Even the 15 fps burst speed feels better than most budget cameras. Images feel similar to a Rebel, with good colors and sharpness.

However, there are several things missing from the R10 and many photographers will be better off going with the R7. The R7 has the stabilization and weather-sealing the R10 lacks. The R7 also has better image quality in low light. The R10 also can struggle to lock focus in limited light. 

Looking at other brands, the Sony a6400 and the Nikon Z50 did a bit better in low light. While I’d love to see stabilization and weather-sealing, at this price point the Z30, a6400, and Fujifilm X-T30 also lack those things. What the R10 does really well is animal eye AF, 15 fps of burst speed, and a big grip that still has two control wheels and a joystick.

While it’s missing several features, the R10 is also priced accordingly. I’m giving the Canon EOS R10 four out of five stars. Want one? Check them out on Amazon or Adorama.

Pros

  • Beginner-friendly controls, yet also still has two control dials and a joystick
  • Compact, yet has a comfortable grip
  • Smart autofocus system with great animal and human eye AF
  • Fast burst speeds
  • Solid image quality in good light

Cons

  • No weather-sealing
  • No in-body stabilization
  • Autofocus struggles in low light and uneven light with exposure preview on
  • ISOs above 3200 are pretty noisy

Gear Used

I used the Canon EOS R10 on loan from Canon with the:

Innovations

With the R10, Canon is bringing its Rebel DSLRs into mirrorless. However, as Canon’s most budget-friendly of the two APS-C sensor mirrorless options announced, there’s little brand new tech to be had. Some of the autofocus smarts from Canon’s pricier cameras trickle down to this model, which is great. But the R10 is essentially a pared down model of Canon’s existing mirrorless options.

Ergonomics

Canon’s mirrorless bodies feel most reminiscent of DSLRs to me. And, to that extent, the R10 maintains a definite Rebel aura. There are scene and auto modes on the mode dial, and there’s even still a pop-up flash built-in. But, other features, like the joystick and front control wheel are welcomed upgrades typically not found on cheap DSLRs.

The R10 is more compact because of the crop sensor, yet it’s still got a good size to it. The grip is comfortable and the viewfinder sticks out enough from the body to be uses comfortably with glasses. It weighs just under a pound.

The top of the R10 feels almost like the T7i with its control wheel at the top of the grip and big mode dial. However, there’s a second control wheel towards the back of the camera, around the on-off toggle. That leaves no room for an ISO button, which is instead relegated to a shortcut on the menu arrows at the back. There’s a record, M-Fn, and lock button on the top.

Few beginner DSLRs had a joystick, but Canon decided to buck that trend in the move to mirrorless, and it’s a great move. The joystick makes adjusting the focal point much more seamless. The back also houses an AF on, autoexposure lock, and redundant AF area selector button as well as the usual info, playback, and menu buttons. The arrow keys double as shortcuts for ISO, flash, a quick menu, and burst mode settings.

The large LCD screen flips out to the side to view from a wide range of angles.

The side of the grip doesn’t house any controls at all, while the opposite side has the HDMI, USB, remote trigger, and microphone ports. A single SD card slot sits in the bottom of the camera in the battery port.

Canon has really got a happy medium going on the R10. It’s small, but the grip is large. It’s got simple beginner-friendly controls, but there are also two control wheels and a joystick. The only real disappointment here is the build quality.

Build Quality

The Canon EOS R10 lacks weather-sealing. While some don’t like shooting in the rain, even fair-weather shooters can appreciate not getting dust and dirt inside the sensor. Yes, weather-sealing increases the cost of production just a bit. But, I think beginners who don’t know how to clean a camera sensor are going to want that protection. Of course, this is kind of a moot point; Canon doesn’t have any weather-sealed lenses under $1,000, so there aren’t any lenses likely to be paired with this budget camera to get full weather-sealing. And, to be clear, other cameras at this price point are also lacking weather-sealing, so it’s unsurprising.

What’s more, the Canon EOS R10 doesn’t even have the shutter come down over the sensor to protect it when the camera is turned off.

The R10 has more of a plasticky feel than Canon’s higher-end options. But, I don’t think it’s a bad feeling. There’s a soft texture to it that, for the price, isn’t bad. It also makes the camera feel pretty lightweight and comfortable to carry around for hours.

Focusing

When Canon said at the launch that the R10 would have some of the autofocus smarts of the R3, I got pretty excited. The Canon R3 is my favorite camera for wildlife photography because the animal eye AF is so great. It actually makes wildlife photography much easier. But making wildlife photography much easier inside a beginner-friendly camera? That’s a big game changer right there.

For a beginner’s camera, the R10 did quite well at picking up the eyes of people and animals. The R10 could pick through branches and capture sharp images of birds on branches without me attempting to quickly move the autofocus point over with the joystick. It even managed to pick up a few sharp shots of birds in flight. I photographed this turkey out of the passenger seat of a truck, and I had milliseconds before I scared it off into the foliage. The R10 impressively managed to pick up the bird’s head in all that green.

But, while the autofocus system is incredibly smart, it doesn’t have the high hit rate of the R3 when it comes to wildlife. Uneven lighting throws it, and the camera is likelier to miss the focus in deep shadows or strong highlights. There’s still some patience required and the need to overshoot a bit. The AF system is quite smart for a beginner’s camera, but it’s not as skilled as Canon’s pro-level cameras.

With action, the R10 does good at about a jogger’s pace, but faster speeds like a bird in flight will get you several softer images mixed in. It’s pretty good keeping up at a walking pace. But, for the fastest subjects, use burst and expect some of them to be soft.

Tracking works on occasion, but the first time the subject turns a bit so the face looks different, the R10 often loses its spot. Photographing my dog at play, it would regularly switch from his face to his shoulder, chest, or back.

The R10 shows its price the most when shooting in low light. Canon’s R series has long impressed me with low light autofocus, even focusing on a glass jar of fireflies at dusk. But, that’s not the case here. The camera struggles to lock on in limited lighting and has a lower hit rate when it does lock. Unlike the other R series cameras I tested, the viewfinder doesn’t automatically turn off exposure preview, lock focus, and then return the viewfinder to normal. That really shows in the autofocus performance. Turn the exposure preview off and the R10 does much better in limited lighting. But, how often are beginners going to turn off the one feature that makes it possible to see exactly what they are shooting as they are shooting it? In the default settings, the camera struggles with dark lighting conditions, dark-colored subjects, and underexposed images.

For eye detection, including wildlife, the R10 is quite impressive. It’s going to simplify portraits and wildlife photography for beginners. However, focusing indoors and in dark scenes is a struggle for this camera and lags behind Canon’s other cameras. If low light is a concern, the R7 is a better choice.

Ease of Use

The R10 has a really great mix of beginner-friendly choices yet enough physical controls to appease many enthusiasts. There’s the scene and auto modes on the mode dial yes, but there’s also the joystick and dual control wheels not typically found on the Rebel series. Once newbies get off of auto, it’s very easy to change all three elements of the exposure triangle, though ISO takes an extra tap on the top arrow button on the back. It’s a camera beginners can grow into.

The decision to include a flash is a fascinating one. Many of the pro-level cameras ditch the pop-up because pros will use an off-camera or on on-camera hot shoe anyway. Most mirrorless cameras have followed suit, but the R10, like the Z 50, has a built-in flash. While built-in flashes are limited, they can be handy as fill light. Or, embracing that direct flash style for indoors and low light.

The menu system on the R10 is similar to other Canon mirrorless cameras. Previous Canon users will likely be comfortable with it, while the organized tabs aren’t too difficult for newbies to navigate and locate settings.

What would have really helped make the R10 the ideal beginner’s camera is image stabilization. There’s none built into the body. If you don’t yet know what shutter speed is, you may be frustrated with blurry images before learning how to fully use the camera.

Thankfully, the speed doesn’t feel like a beginner’s camera. The camera can shoot 15 fps with the mechanical shutter or 23 fps with electronic. That’s a pretty respectable speed for a budget camera.

Metering

Exposure from the R10 is generally fairly accurate. Occasionally, it errs on the side of being a little too dark. The more uneven the lighting is, the more exposure compensation is going to be needed to get a good exposure on the subject.

For the record, The Phoblographer’s metering tests abide by Sunny 16, the same thing photographers have used to work with film for decades.

Image Quality

Images from the Canon EOS R10 feel very much like images from a Rebel DSLR. Colors are good and subjects are sharp. There’s a reasonable amount of give and take to the RAW files. But, the 24.2 megapixel sensor wasn’t as good at high ISOs as I expected.

JPEG Quality

I like the colors the R10 offers without retouching the photos. The JPEGs feel like the colors are accurate, without being over or under saturation. Colors only occasionally skewed a bit green when the sunlight was filtered through tree leaves. The JPEGs were also reasonably sharp even with using just the kit lens.

High ISO Output

ISO 12,800

I’m a bit disappointed by the high ISO images from the R10. Editor in Chief Chris Gampat shot with the R7 at the same time I shot with the R10. He showed me some images taken at ISO 12,800 and I was impressed with how clean they were. With fewer megapixels, the R10 should in theory have cleaner images at higher ISOs, but I don’t find that to be the case.

ISO 3200 feels a bit fuzzy, but I would still shoot that high if I needed to. ISO 6400 noise is pretty noticeable; I would avoid going this high if at all possible. I printed a 13 by 9 inch print at ISO 12,800 and the background was so noisy it looked like a speckled painting. That’s not unexpected for a budget camera but, with fewer megapixels, the R10 should have looked a bit less noisy.

RAW File Versatility

Original
Edited

Neither Capture One or Adobe Lightroom support the R10 just yet, but I converted the RAW files into DNG so I could do a bit of editing. The images from the R10 are surprisingly flexible. The image above was backlit; the duck was pretty dark. I pulled the shadows all the way up in Capture One. I needed to re-add saturation to correct such an extreme exposure change, but it’s impressive that I could use the full length of the shadows slider. If there are some details there and the subject isn’t completely black, shadow recovery is certainly possible.

We’ll update this review when the RAW files are able to be worked with on Capture One.

Highlights are notoriously harder to recover from any camera, but there’s still some flexibility here as well. In the image of the white flowers, I pulled the exposure down by one and a third stops and brought the highlights down a bit as well.

Extra Image Samples

From day one, The Phoblographer has been huge on transparency with our audience. Nothing from this review is sponsored. Further, lots of folks will post reviews and show lots of editing in the photos. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. They’re not showing what the camera can do. So we have a section in our Extra Image Samples area to show edited and unedited photos. From this, you can make a decision for yourself.

Unedited

Edited

Who Should Buy It? 

The Canon EOS R10 is for the new photographer on a budget. In particular, the animal eye AF and 15 fps burst speed makes it a decent choice for brand-new wildlife photographers. With an adapter, it’s also a good option for Canon Rebel shooters who have accumulated a few DSLR lenses already.

But, the EOS R10 isn’t for photographers that spend a lot of time shooting in low light. Indoors, images are noisy, and the autofocus doesn’t work quite as well. Saving for the R7 is the better choice for those photographers. The R7 is also the better choice for stabilization and weather-sealing.

Canon EOS R10 Tech Specs

Lensrentals lists the following specifications for the Canon EOS R10:

  • Brand: Canon
  • Camera Type: Mirrorless
  • Environmental
    • Operating Temperature: 32 to 104°F
    • Operating Humidity: 0 to 85%
  • Exposure Control
    • Shutter Type: Electronic Shutter, Mechanical Focal Plane Shutter
    • Mechanical Shutter Speed: 1/4000 to 30 Seconds
    • Electronic Shutter Speed: 1/4000 to 30 Seconds
    • Bulb/Time Mode: Bulb Mode
    • ISO Sensitivity (Photo): 100 to 32,000 in Manual, Auto Mode (Extended: 100 to 51,200)
    • Metering Method: Center-Weighted Average, Evaluative, Partial, Spot
    • Exposure Modes: Aperture Priority, Manual, Program, Shutter Priority
    • Exposure Compensation: -3 to +3 EV (1/3, 1/2 EV Steps)
    • Metering Range: -2 to 20 EV
    • White Balance: Presets: Auto, Cloudy, Color Temperature, Custom, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent (White), Shade, Tungsten
    • Continuous Shooting (Electronic Shutter): Up to 23 fps at 24.2 MP for up to 70 Frames (JPEG) / 21 Frames (RAW)
    • Continuous Shooting (Mechanical Shutter): Up to 15 fps at 24.2 MP for up to 460 Frames (JPEG) / 29 Frames (RAW)
    • Interval Recording: Yes
    • Self-Timer: 2/10-Second Delay
    • External Video Capture: IP Streaming Yes
  • Flash
    • Built-In Flash: Yes
    • Guide Number: 19.7’ / 6m at ISO 100
    • Maximum Sync Speed: 1/250 Second
    • Flash Compensation: -3 to +3 EV (1/3, 1/2 EV Steps)
    • Dedicated Flash System: eTTL
    • External Flash Connection: Hot Shoe
  • Focusing
    • Focus Type: Auto and Manual Focus
    • Focus Mode: Continuous-Servo AF, Manual Focus, Single-Servo AF
    • Autofocus Points (Photo, Video): Phase Detection: 651
    • Autofocus Sensitivity: -4 to +20 EV
  • Battery Type: 1x LP-E17 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion
  • Tripod Mounting Thread: 1x 1/4″-20 Female (Bottom)
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 4.8 × 3.5 × 3.3″
  • Weight: 0.8 lb. (Body Only); 0.9 lb. (Body with Battery and Memory Card)
  • Imaging
    • Lens Mount: Canon RF
    • Sensor Resolution
      • Actual: 25.5 Megapixel
      • Effective: 24.2 Megapixel
    • Sensor Type: 22.3 × 14.9 mm (APS-C) CMOS
    • Crop Factor: 1.6x
    • Image Stabilization: Digital (Video Only)
    • Built-In ND Filter: None
  • Capture Type: Stills & Video
  • Interface
    • Memory Card Slot: Single Slot: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II)
    • Video I/O: 1x Micro-HDMI Output
    • Audio I/O: 1x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm TRS Stereo Microphone Output
    • Other I/O: 1x USB Type-C (USB 2.0) Input/Output
    • Wireless: 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi (802.11b/g); Bluetooth
    • Global Positioning (GPS, GLONASS, etc.): None
    • Internal Video Capture H.264/MP4 4:2:0 8-Bit Recording Modes
    • UHD 4K (3840 × 2160) at 23.98p/25p/29.97p/59.94p
    • Full HD (1920 × 1080) at 23.98p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p
    • H.265/MP4 4:2:2 10-Bit Recording Modes
    • UHD 4K (3840 × 2160) at 23.98p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p
    • Full HD (1920 × 1080) at 23.98p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p
    • Gamma Curve: HDR-PQ
    • Video System: NTSC/PAL
    • Built-In Microphone Type: Stereo
    • Audio Recording: MP4: 2-Channel AAC Audio
  • Monitor: 3.0”, 1,040,000 Dot,Free-Angle Tilting Touchscreen LCD
  • Mount: Canon RF
  • Still Image Capture
    • Aspect Ratio: 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9
    • Image File Format: C-RAW, HEIF, JPEG, RAW
  • Viewfinder: Built-In Electronic (OLED), 2,360,000 Dot, 22mm eye point with 100 percent coverage and .95x magnification

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Hillary Grigonis

Hillary K. Grigonis is a photographer and tech writer based in Michigan. She shoots weddings and portraits at Hillary K Photography. A mother of three, she enjoys hiking, camping, crafting, and reading.