A long-standing and trusted camera model for the beginner and intermediate photographer and videographer alike, the Canon Rebel has endured the test of time. Canon has taken some of the right steps with the release of the newest Rebel the T8i. Inheriting some higher-end features, utilizing beginner-friendly settings and providing a balance between quality and affordability, the Canon T8i will become a trusted companion for many who are starting on their journey.    

Features of the Canon T8i

The Canon Rebel T8i has some impressive specs—not at all what you might expect from an entry-level DSLR. The 24.2 megapixel APS-C imaging sensor captures stunning photography in either RAW or C-RAW format. The T8i can also capture 4K UHD video at 23.98 frames per second(fps) in 4:2:0 8 bit color space and records in .MP4 format—either Standard IPB or Light IPB. In Full HD, the frame rate options expand up to 60 frames per second. At its max capacity, it supports a bit rate of up to 120 Mbps. 

The DIGIC 8 image processor combines nicely with the impressive Dual Pixel Auto Focus to capture sharp photos at 7 fps in continuous shooting mode. A fully articulating touchscreen is a very welcome feature and one that is expected on higher-end cameras. The T8i also has a microphone jack, so you could add an upgraded microphone for vlogs and other close-ranged audio needs. However, you will need to choose a higher priced Canon for a camera with a headphone jack if audio.  

Video modes

There are six available recording options to choose from, including 4K at 24 frames per second and Full HD from 24fps up to 60fps in various data rates. Inside the menu, choosing among the resolutions is quick and easy. Each recording mode is allocated its own little tile in a mosaic of options. Each tile displays the resolution and frame rate. 

A new feature, not found on the T8i’s predecessor, is the built-in intervalometer. An intervalometer is what is used to capture timelapse. There are some presets for time-lapse movies that are designed in a user-friendly manner. Three distinct scene options are available. Scene one is designed for moving subjects, such as people walking. Scene two is meant for slow-changing subjects such as clouds and scene three is for slowly changing scenes. There is also a fully customizable option so you can produce your own unique time-lapse sequences. 

Image

Canon didn’t do any big sensor upgrades with the T8i. That said, the sensor found in this camera is great. The image quality that comes out of the 24-megapixel APS-C sensor is crisp and provides adequate detail—more than sufficient if you find yourself posting your content on social media or the web. The same size APS-C sensor can be found in other Canon models such as the 7D II and the 90D.    

Ergonomics

Whether you’re familiar with Canon DSLRs or not, you will quickly find yourself comfortable with the ergonomics of the T8i. The camera feels secure in your hand thanks to a well-designed handgrip and its well thought out proportions. Almost every button is within reach of either your thumb or index finger without sacrificing your grip on the camera. This form factor lends itself perfectly to run and gun type shooting situations. Even with the kit lens installed and the battery inserted, the camera is well balanced and lightweight. We are extremely fond of the ruggedness of Canon cameras and the T8i is no expectation.

The screen

LCD Screen

One of our favorite features of this camera is the fully articulating flip out touchscreen. Why doesn’t every camera have this feature? Fully articulating means you can have a viewable screen no matter the angle. Whether in a tight space, high overhead or on the ground, even forward facing for easy selfies and vlogging—this screen can handle the task. Even while filming on a sunny day, the screen is still bright enough to be clearly visible.     

Touch

These days, almost everyone is already acclimated to using touch screens thanks to cell phones and tablets. It’s no wonder we feel right at home using a touch screen on our cameras too. This makes navigating Canon’s already logical and user-friendly menu system even more intuitive. However, the true potential of the Rebel T8i’s touchscreen is that it allows for Touch Focus both during photo and video recording. Touch Focus is rather effortless and quite effective. With a quick tap on the screen, the T8i will smoothly grab focus on your subject. While in playback, use pinch to zoom and also cycle among your images or clips.     

Menu

Somehow, Canon made their already user-friendly menu system even easier to understand and navigate. You can now choose between two menu viewing options—Standard or Guided. While in the guided display mode, the menu is displayed more like an interactive tutorial. There is a brief description along with images or icons of what you can adjust within a given setting. Additional description and exposure controls are displayed on the LCD depending upon which capture mode you’re using. In conjunction with the touchscreen functionality, this becomes a powerful and extremely user-friendly combo. This camera would be great for people still learning the ropes, and even experienced users may find this menu style beneficial in some way.  

Shooting

Shoot assists

It comes as no surprise that the T8i lacks many of the higher end shoot assist features found on cinema, professional DSLR and mirrorless cameras. However, it does come equipped with a handy histogram. Unlike the T7i, the T8i has been given manual focus peaking, which is a great feature to have for video shooters—especially at this price point. While the T8i is missing a headphone jack, there are audio meters while filming video, so you can at least monitor your audio to make sure the levels are within an acceptable range.   

Stabilization

Because the T8i is a DSLR, it can not have IBIS, because the mirror for the viewfinder is in the way. However, a lot of Canon lenses have built-in stabilization—and they do a fantastic job. Even when using the 18-55mm kit lens, we were impressed at how well our handheld footage looked right out of the camera. It’s by no means gimbal like, but stationary shots can almost look tripod-like, even when zoomed in using a telephoto lens. There are some supplemental electronic stabilization options, but not without a trade-off in the form of some additional crop factor. The stabilization provided by the lens is adequate enough, and the electronic stabilization is not worth the trade-off.    

Lenses

One area in which the T8i thrives is from the plethora of lens options available for its mount. Canon has an incredible lineage when it comes to lenses. When you purchase this camera, you’re buying into an amazing family of lenses.  You’ll have access to and the option to choose from among all of Canon’s EF-S and EF lenses. However, being an APS-C sensor means a smaller image circle; EF-S lenses are considered native for this camera. Our tests on the T8i were done using the kit 18-55mm F/4-5.6 STM lens. However, there is a near-endless amount of possibilities when it comes to lens options available for the T8i. Remember to consider the 1.6X crop factor of the APS-C sensor when choosing the right focal length.

Auto focus

The Rebel T8i has inherited the spectacular Dual Pixel Auto Focus system. We are impressed with the Face Detection tracking technology as well as the Eye-detection AF. Even when the subject was backlit or had a harsh glare on their glasses, the Eye-AF still managed to track the person’s eyes. The camera prioritizes the nearest eye, or you can cycle between the left and right eye using the rear control dial, ensuring you will have exactly what you want in focus. One of the biggest drawbacks is that the Dual Pixel AF doesn’t work in 4k.         

Battery life

The Canon T8i uses the same LP-E17 battery as its predecessor the T7i. Surprisingly, the T8i managed to increase performance, lasting a marketed 800 shots versus the 600 shots on the T7i. Of course, all this is highly dependent upon several factors not limited to: use of the built-in flash, weather, use of display vs EVF, power saving options and more. A nice bonus is the camera comes with an included wall charger that is both simple yet practical.  

Creative filters

The T8i has a handful of “Creative Filters” to shoot with.  It offers filters like old tyme look, sepia, B&W, dream and a sudo stop-motion animation type look. These are mostly a gimmick unless you have a specific need for them. We’d recommend avoiding these and achieve your desired look during the edit. If you shoot with them, the effects are burned into the video clip.   

Perks and quirks

4K Video capture

Arguably, the most touted feature on the Canon T8i is the addition of 4K video. In the past, canon has reserved 4K video for their more expensive cameras. While filming in 4K, the detail is excellent—a noticeable improvement over Full HD; however, 4K does not come without a slew of caveats.     

APS-C crop, rolling shutter and Dual Pixel AF

One of those caveats being a significant crop factor—1.6x crop to be exact. Employing wider angle lenses is one way to work around it. The crop factor makes vlogging in 4K challenging if not impossible without the right lens. Whether or not the cropped 4K is a deal-breaker—well, that’s something dependent upon your own individual preference. Then there’s the rolling shutter. While filming 4k, the rolling shutter effect is well pronounced. Shots not on a tripod or with quickly moving subject matter in the scene may not yield an ideal result.  Lastly, while filming 4K video Dual Pixel AF is unfortunately not supported. 

The touch LCD screen

Possibly our favorite thing about the T8i is the LCD screen. It has tons of touchscreen functionality, such as: touch to focus, exposure controls and menu navigation—plus it’s fully articulating and super bright.       

Fingerprints all over the place

We found ourselves using the touchscreen a lot. An unperceived side effect of this was we found our screen was quickly covered with finger smudges. If your current camera doesn’t have a touch screen or not nearly the amount of touchability the T8i’s screen has, then you may want to keep some extra microfiber cloths and cleaning solution handy. 

Large lens selection

Canon is well known for its quality lenses, and has a massive family to choose from for your Rebel T8i. You’re sure to find a lens or lenses that fit your needs and your budget. 

Marketplace

Fujifilm X-T200

In our experience, we determined the Fujifilm X-T200 to be the stiffest competition the Canon T8i may face. Both cameras were released within a month of each other. At the time we wrote this article, we were able to find the X-T200 with kit lens for $300 less which is absolutely incredible considering their already lower-end price range. The X-T200 also has a few better features such as a headphone jack for monitoring audio while recording, a slightly larger LCD screen but with much more resolution. It’s lighter weight and more compact because it’s a mirrorless camera, some like this, other do not. Both cameras offer 4K video, 24MP APS-C sensors, touchscreens, intervalometer, similar burst photo speed, and focus peaking. The T8i does lead significantly as far as battery life is considered.  

Nikon D5600

Although much older than the Canon T8i, the D5600 is still in the same ballpark as the T8i regarding price. There are also more similarities in their features than you might expect. Both possess 24MP APS-C sensors, 1080/60p video, touchscreen, articulating screens, similar battery life, as well as built-in intervalometer. The T8i does distinguish itself from the D5600 thanks to some features such as: 4K video, faster burst photo, focus peaking and the fact it’s more modern being 4 years younger than the D5600.     

Sony RX100 IV

Another great point and shoot option within a similar price range is the Sony RX100 IV.  While the Sony outdoes the T8i in a few areas, those being: better image stabilization, higher resolution LCD screen, faster burst photo, electronic shutter, comes with a built-in lens, and is much more compact.  Both cameras can shoot 4K video and have a similar megapixel count.  

But the T8i leads in a few big features such as: much bigger sensor, touch screen, fully articulating screen, better autofocus, better battery life, a built-in intervalometer and you can choose what lens you wan to use.         

Canon Rebel T7i

If you’re in the market for the Canon T8i, then an obvious competitor is the T7i. The big difference being the T8i has the capability of filming 4K footage. Better battery life and overall incremental improvements also begin to add up making the T8i the obvious winner. No longer the latest model, you may see nicer deals on the T7i, so that could be something worth considering.  

Conclusion

The Rebel series has stood the test of time and Canon continues to add features to the lineup. With a competitive price tag and its slew of features, we’re sure you’ll be able to find the Canon T8i on the list of top sellers.   

Strengths

  • Vari-angle touchscreen
  • Dual-Pixel CMOS AF
  • Balanced quality and affordability

Weaknesses

  • No Dual Pixel AF in 4K video
  • No headphone jack

The Canon T8i is a great option for photographers and videographers that are just starting out and are cultivating their skills. We would recommend the T8i for casual video production as well as online video production.

Tech specs:

Imaging

  • Lens Mount:  Canon EF-S
  • Camera Format:  APS-C (1.6x Crop Factor)
  • Sensor Resolution:  Actual: 25.8 Megapixel
  • Effective:  24.1 Megapixel
  • Maximum Resolution:  6000 x 4000
  • Aspect Ratio:  1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9
  • Sensor Type:  CMOS
  • Sensor Size:  22.3 x 14.9 mm
  • Image File Format:  JPEG, Raw
  • Bit Depth:  14-Bit
  • Image Stabilization:  Digital, 5-Axis (Video Only)

Exposure control

  • ISO Sensitivity:  Auto, 100 to 25600 (Extended: 100 to 51200)
  • Shutter Speed:  Mechanical Shutter, 1/4000 to 30 Second, Bulb Mode
  • Metering Method:  Center-Weighted Average, Evaluative, Partial, Spot
  • Exposure Modes:  Aperture Priority, Manual, Program, Shutter Priority
  • Exposure Compensation:  -5 to +5 EV (1/3, 1/2 EV Steps)
  • Metering Range:  -2 to 20 EV
  • White Balance:  Auto, Cloudy, Custom, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent (White), Shade, Tungsten
  • Continuous Shooting
  • Mechanical Shutter
  • Up to 7 fps at 24.1 MP for up to 40 Frames (Raw) / 170 Frames (JPEG),
  • Up to 3 fps at 24.1 MP for up to 40 Frames (Raw) / 170 Frames (JPEG),
  • Electronic Shutter
  • Up to 7.5 fps at 24.1 MP for up to 40 Frames (Raw) / 170 Frames (JPEG)
  • Interval Recording: Yes
  • Self-Timer: 2/10-Second Delay

Video

Recording Modes: 

  • MP4/H.264 4:2:0 8-Bit
  • UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.976p [120 Mb/s]
  • Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 23.976p/29.97p/59.94p [12 to 60 Mb/s]
  • HD (1280 x 720) at 59.94p [26 Mb/s]

External Recording Modes: 

  • UHD 4K (3840 x 2160)
  • Full HD (1920 x 1080)
  • HD (1280 x 720)
  • Recording Limit: Up to 29 Minutes, 59 Seconds

Audio Recording:

  • Built-In Microphone (Stereo)
  • External Microphone Input (Stereo)
  • Audio File Format: AAC

Focus

  • Focus Type: Auto and Manual Focus
  • Focus Mode: Automatic (A), Continuous-Servo AF (C), Manual Focus (M), Single-Servo AF (S)
  • Autofocus Points: Phase Detection: 45 (45 Cross-Type)
  • Autofocus Sensitivity: -3 to +18 EV

Viewfinder and monitor

  • Viewfinder Type: Optical (Pentamirror)
  • Viewfinder Eye Point: 19 mm
  • Viewfinder Coverage: 95%
  • Viewfinder Magnification: Approx. 0.82x
  • Diopter Adjustment: -3 to +1
  • Size: 3″
  • Resolution: 1,040,000 Dot
  • Display Type:” Articulating Touchscreen LCD

Flash

  • Built-In Flash: Yes
  • Flash Modes: Auto, Manual, Red-Eye Reduction
  • Maximum Sync Speed: 1/200 Second
  • Flash Compensation: -2 to +2 EV (1/3, 1/2 EV Steps)
  • Dedicated Flash System: eTTL
  • External Flash Connection: Hot Shoe

Interface

  • Media/Memory Card Slot: Single Slot: SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm Microphone, USB Micro-B (USB 2.0), HDMI C (Mini)
  • Wireless: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  • GPS: No

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Devin Hujdic
A self-employed video producer, Devin has created content viewed across the country and internationally.