Canon EOS Insurgent T8i Review: There’s Nothing to See Right here

Canon EOS Insurgent T8i review: Nothing to see right here

MSRP $749.00

“Small modifications push the T8i towards fans, nevertheless it stays a ho-hum DSLR in a mirrorless world.”


  • Nice live-view autofocus
  • 4K video is accessible
  • AF-ON button, rear management dial
  • 800-shot battery ranking


  • 4K is cropped, 24p solely
  • No excessive body fee 1080p
  • Small, darkish viewfinder

In 2017, I reviewed the Canon EOS Insurgent T8i’s predecessor, the Insurgent T7i, and stated it was a refreshing exception to the rule that entry-level DSLRs aren’t thrilling. An “EOS 80D in disguise,” I known as it, referring to Canon’s upmarket DSLR that gained a Digital Development’s Editor’s Selection award the 12 months earlier than.

Sadly, the magic of the T7i has vanished from the T8i. At the same time as Canon’s latest newbie camera provides some enthusiast-friendly updates, its upmarket counterpart is now the EOS 90D — and a 90D in disguise the T8i will not be.

As an alternative of choosing the 90D’s 32-megapixel sensor, Canon caught with the 24MP sensor of the T7i. The place the 90D jumped up by 4 frames per second (fps) over the 80D — from 7 to 11 fps — the T8i ekes out simply 0.5 fps greater than the T7i, topping out at 7.5.

Product photo of Canon EOS Rebel T8i, frontDaven Mathies/Digital Traits

The pragmatist in me says, who cares? In any case, these specs are completely high-quality for a mid-entry-level camera, and the 90D’s additional megapixels don’t make an vital real-world distinction, anyway. However whereas all that’s true, the T8i simply doesn’t have a lot to get enthusiastic about. There’s little motive for T7i homeowners to improve, and within the three years since that camera launched, DSLRs have grown much less fascinating as mirrorless cameras proceed to get higher and dominate the market. I suppose the T8i is completely enough if a compact DSLR is what you need, nevertheless it actually does nothing to make the case that such a camera nonetheless deserves to exist.

Obtainable for $749 for the physique solely or with the 18-55mm f/4-5.6 equipment lens for $899 (examined), the T8i is pushing up in opposition to some robust mirrorless cameras just like the Sony A6100. That leaves the T8i in an unlucky place. It’s an OK camera that can provide you nice outcomes, nevertheless it’s almost inconceivable to advocate given the presence of higher alternate options.

Fanatic-friendly design modifications

From most angles, the Canon Insurgent T8i seems equivalent to the T7i. I like the massive, easy mode dial and the ability swap that additionally toggles film mode. Having the autofocus mode and ISO buttons proper there subsequent to your index finger can also be nice.

Product photo of Canon EOS Rebel T8i being taken out of camera bag.Daven Mathies/Digital Traits

You’ll discover the only real SD card slot on the fitting facet and all the connectivity ports on the left, together with mini-HDMI (bleh), USB, distant, and microphone. Frustratingly, the camera nonetheless makes use of a Micro USB Kind B port relatively than USB-C, which has been the usual for a few years now.

A management dial has been added across the four-way button cluster, bringing twin dial management to a Insurgent for the primary time since 2015’s T6s.

However issues get extra attention-grabbing on the again. A management dial has been added across the four-way button cluster, bringing dual-dial management to a Insurgent for the primary time since 2015’s T6s. That grants the power to alter the aperture instantly with out utilizing a modifier key, a function that’s vital to photographers who prefer to shoot in guide mode. Because the dial additionally takes over the publicity compensation duties, the publicity compensation button on the T7i has been eliminated.

Product photo of Canon EOS Rebel T8i, back with screen hiddenDaven Mathies/Digital Traits

Product photo of Canon EOS Rebel T8i, topDaven Mathies/Digital Traits

Product photo of Canon EOS Rebel T8i, left sideDaven Mathies/Digital Traits

Product photo of Canon EOS Rebel T8i, back with screen revealedDaven Mathies/Digital Traits

Canon additionally added an AF ON button for back-button autofocus, a taking pictures approach most well-liked by many fans and professionals. It appears virtually misplaced on a camera oriented towards a extra novice buyer, however I suppose it’s a pleasant function to have and offers the T8i a little bit extra room to develop in comparison with earlier fashions.

Battery life has been barely improved to 800 exposures with the identical LP-E17 battery. In follow, you must be capable of get far more than that (I shot almost 2,000 images on a single battery cost in my T7i review, so the T8i definitely shouldn’t do any worse).

Product photo of Canon EOS Rebel T8i in handDaven Mathies/Digital Traits

In any other case, the T8i is each bit the Insurgent that you understand and love (or hate). It has a light-weight, plastic physique that isn’t weather-sealed, the optical viewfinder is simply as uncomfortably small and nonetheless solely reveals 95% of the body, and the LCD display screen is similar at 3 inches and 1.04 million pixels, though it’s a touchscreen that totally articulates.

Video goes 4K, barely

The few remaining upgrades on the T8i concern film taking pictures, beginning with the soar to 4K decision. Within the 12 months 2020, 4K is mainly a requirement on all however essentially the most fundamental cameras, and Canon hasn’t carried out a lot with it right here past checking that field on the spec sheet. For many makes use of, you’re going to be higher off sticking with 1080p. The T8i offers you 4K/24p — and that’s it.

As a cinematographer, I recognize the choice for 24p — personally, I not often use the rest — however most informal shooters would possible want 30p for residence films and the like. Does the T8i merely lack the processing energy for these additional six frames per second? Possibly. However in a time when our telephones are simply taking pictures 4K/30, it feels odd when a devoted camera can’t.

It’s perplexing that Canon continues to drive only one body fee in its cameras in relation to 4K. Earlier our bodies solely gave the choice for 30p, and now the T8i solely offers the choice for 24p. It’s irritating.

Product photo of Canon EOS Rebel T8i being used in selfie mode.Daven Mathies/Digital Traits

Switching to 4K additionally crops the sensor fairly considerably, which isn’t nice contemplating that is already an APS-C camera. It’s particularly irritating if you wish to attempt vlogging with the T8i, since you possibly can’t get a large sufficient shot, a minimum of not with the 18-55mm equipment lens. Now, I don’t assume any vlog-style shoot must be in 4K, however the mode simply looks like an afterthought.

The issues don’t finish there. Whereas 4K produces noticeably extra detailed footage than 1080, rolling shutter distortion (or “jello cam”) is way worse. That is exacerbated by the truth that the picture is cropped, which implies the lens’s optical stabilization is much less efficient. You may activate further digital picture stabilization, however this simply crops the footage much more.

1080p video frame grab from Canon EOS Rebel T8iFull HD 1080p, lens at 18mm.

4K video frame grab from Canon EOS Rebel T8i showing the effect of cropped 4KCropped 4K, lens at 18mm.

And whilst you would possibly assume the transfer to 4K has opened up some processing room at decrease resolutions, you’d be mistaken. In Full HD 1080p, the T8i nonetheless tops out at 60 fps, identical to the T7i. This looks like a synthetic limitation, relatively than a technical one. I don’t wish to knock Canon too arduous right here since I feel the camera nonetheless meets most individuals’s expectations for this worth, however even the cheaper Fujifilm X-T200 can shoot 4K/30p and 1080/120p.

The T8i has one trick remaining: Vertical video. Sure, you possibly can shoot in-camera vertical video now. Wow. Lastly. This isn’t a separate mode — the camera merely detects if you’re holding it in vertical orientation and routinely rotates the video file afterward. That’s no totally different than manually rotating the video throughout enhancing, however I suppose for the busy influencer who can’t spare even a second for post-production, it may very well be a helpful function.

The T8i has one trick remaining: Vertical video. Sure, you possibly can shoot in-camera vertical video now.

What’s odd is that whilst you’re taking pictures a vertical video, not one of the info overlays reorient themselves to show upright — and if you play the video again on the camera, the clip nonetheless shows horizontally. There’s no indication, neither whereas taking pictures nor throughout playback, that the camera appropriately recorded a vertical video. It isn’t till you switch the file to your laptop or cellphone that you just’ll see it displayed vertically.

A insurgent no extra

For a camera line with such an audacious identify, the Canon Insurgent has grown drained and previous. Now not a daring, risk-taking, adventurous maverick, the Insurgent T8i has misplaced its youthful vigor. Now, it’s a stodgy has-been, content material to reminisce in regards to the “good old-days” relatively than attempt to sustain with the occasions.

And that’s high-quality. All the pieces’s high-quality. The 24MP sensor is okay. A burst fee of seven.5 fps is okay. The 45-point viewfinder autofocus system is completely high-quality. Canon’s Twin Pixel Autofocus in reside view is even higher than high-quality — it makes taking pictures sharp movies a breeze. (After all, the disconnect between how a DSLR performs by means of the viewfinder versus in reside view nonetheless very a lot exists, and may make for a irritating expertise for brand spanking new photographers.)

There may be nothing mistaken with the T8i, per se. It’s practical sufficient, and picture high quality is mainly pretty much as good as you’re going to get from the APS-C format, as long as your aim is something aside from profitable the DPReview take a look at chart. Plus, I genuinely recognize the management enhancements.

The T8i is completely enough … nevertheless it actually does nothing to make the case that such a camera nonetheless deserves to exist.

However it’s simply so boring. Canon hasn’t actually up to date the Insurgent’s core DSLR element — the optical viewfinder — for the reason that authentic Digital Insurgent. There has all the time been room for enchancment there, and with Canon’s new concentrate on skilled mirrorless cameras, it doesn’t appear to be it’s nonetheless vital to keep up this spec imbalance between its low- and high-end DSLRs, the latter of which supply bigger, brighter, full-coverage finders. In the event you’re going to maintain making DSLRs in 2020 and past, then the precise DSLR components must be pretty much as good as they are often, even on entry-level fashions.

Our take

When it comes right down to it, the Canon EOS Insurgent T8i remains to be the perfect Insurgent but — however simply. The brand new controls make for one worthy enchancment, however the half-hearted 4K video mode doesn’t do sufficient to maintain the camera present. This can be a T7i with minor tweaks, and after three years, that’s not sufficient.

In the event you actually desire a DSLR and your finances is below $1,000, then the T8i is, nicely, the best choice — nevertheless it isn’t something attention-grabbing. The small, comparatively darkish optical viewfinder doesn’t ship the true DSLR expertise, and you could find higher specs in equally priced, smaller mirrorless cameras. You get higher battery life on the T8i in comparison with mirrorless, however that’s about it.

Is there a greater various?

Undoubtedly. You may cowl your eyes, throw a rock, and hit a mirrorless camera within the $700 to $1,000 worth vary that outdoes the T8i in almost each class. I’d have a look at the Sony A6100, Fujifilm X-T200, and Fujifilm X-T30, the final of which pushes the worth over $1,000 if you add a lens, however is a way more succesful camera.

When it comes to a direct DSLR competitor, the Nikon D5600 is the closest factor. It’s now below $600 for the physique solely, however the T8i has the higher specs.

How lengthy will it final?

Regardless of the plastic construct, Insurgent cameras don’t have any downside surviving for years of use. However the T8i is arriving on the scene already outclassed by rivals, which signifies that even when it doesn’t break, the technology that powers it’s removed from the highest of the road.

Do you have to purchase it?

No. I can solely advocate shopping for the T8i to individuals who actually know that is what they need and all they want, which could embody homeowners of pre-T7i Rebels who’re informal photographers and don’t wish to be taught a brand new camera, or just those that have a bias in opposition to mirrorless. Most newbie photographers and first-time camera consumers will probably be extra comfy with a mirrorless camera.

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