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Canon EOS Rebel T8i review

The Canon EOS Rebel T8i is a good DSLR for newbies and records 4K video

Canon EOS Rebel T8i review
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Our Verdict

The Canon EOS Rebel T8i is a solid entry-level DSLR that can capture 4K video.

For

  • Records 4K video
  • Easy to use
  • Good guides for newbies

Against

  • No USB charging
Canon EOS Rebel T8i: Specs

Size: 5.16 x 4 x 3 inches
Weight: 18.2 ounces
Sensor: 24.1-megapixel APS-C
ISO: 100 - 256,000 ISO
AF: 45-point phase detection
Shooting speed: 7 fps
Max video resolution: 4K/24 fps
Ports: microUSB, mini HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack
Card slots: One SD
Screen: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen LCD
Battery life: 1240 (viewfinder), 360 shots (live view)

Time for an upgrade? The Canon EOS Rebel T8i is touted as an entry-level camera for beginners, hobbyists, and content creators, but it’s got a few features found in higher-end Canon cameras.

The most noteworthy is its ability to record video in 4K—including vertical video—which will appeal to the vlogging set. Combined with easy-to-use controls and guides, it’s one of the best DSLRs for novice photographers. 

Keep on reading the rest of our Canon EOS Rebel T8i review to see if it’s the right camera for you or someone you know.

Canon EOS Rebel T8i: Price and availability

The T8i is the most advanced camera in the EOS Rebel line. Released in February 2020, the Canon T8i is priced at $799 with an 18-55M STM kit lens. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

There aren't too many meaty differences between the T7i and the T8i other than a slight weight difference and the upgraded image processor. The most significant difference is that the T8i is powered by Canon's DIGIC 8 processor, which enables 4K video capture and 7fps continuous shooting, a feature the T7i (6fps) didn't have.

Canon EOS Rebel T8i: Design

The T8i was small enough to fit perfectly in my hands, and its buttons were placed so that I could make quick and easy changes without disrupting my flow. The 3-inch LCD touch screen gave greater visual control when setting my focus points, navigating menu settings and reviewing images. Its vari-angle design—it can flip out to the side and up and down— made capturing my go-to low angle shots much easier than with my Canon Mark 5D IV. 

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Canon EOS Rebel T8i

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Canon EOS Rebel T8i

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Canon EOS Rebel T8i

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Measuring  5.16 x 4 x 3 inches and 18.2 ounces (with battery pack and SD card), it’s light and compact enough that I could put it in my bookbag and forget it was even there. The downside is there are no illuminated buttons: Even for the most experienced photographers, illuminated buttons are a perk when shooting in low lighting conditions. Popping out the LCD screen might be a slight fix but not ideal when you need to be discreet. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The T8i doesn't have environmental weather sealings to protect from water and dust, unlike pricier cameras such as the Sony Alpha a7 II.

Canon EOS Rebel T8i: Interface

If you're a visual learner or hate going through equipment manuals, the T8i’s 3-inch LCD screen will walk you through different camera functions and settings so you'll be ready to take sharp, crisp photos and videos in no time. These screens will prove especially helpful for novices as they learn the ins and outs of the T8i.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Creative filters will always be a win, especially for beginners who want creative shots without using photo editing software. The T8i filters include: Grainy B/W, Soft Focus, Fish-eye Effect (my favorite), Water painting, Toy camera, HDR Art Vivid, HDR Art Bold, and HDR Embossed. 

Canon EOS Rebel T8i: Image quality

The T8i is packed with a 24.1-megapixel sensor, 100 - 25600 ISO, 45-point all cross-type AF system and DIGIC 8 image processors. Capturing fine details and true-to-life rich colors with each shot won't be a problem. Portraits, sports, landscape, dorm life — this camera will tackle it all. 

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Canon EOS Rebel T8i

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Canon EOS Rebel T8i

(Image credit: Laptop Mag/ Dee Williams)

I brought the camera on set with me to shoot behind-the-scenes footage during one of my photoshoots. We started shooting in the morning when the light settings were a bit extreme. The Scene Intelligent Auto Mode (A+) was able to quickly adjust between areas of shade and bright sun. I had no problem capturing rich colors and details created by our makeup artist. Makeup gurus, you won’t have to worry about losing fine details or discoloration in your beauty shots. 

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Canon EOS Rebel T8i

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Canon EOS Rebel T8i

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Canon EOS Rebel T8i

(Image credit: Laptop Mag/ Dee Williams)

Like many cameras, the T8i struggled with minimal lighting situations, especially when using the standard kit lens. I took a few images of my friends during a night skating session, but the T8i had trouble maintaining focus on the skaters that were zipping past my lens under the fluorescent park lights. I also came across the same problem at a dinner outing and photographing my friend’s new nail designs. Again, the T8i wasn’t able to produce rich colors and focus on subjects clearly. My iPhone was able to create better results. 

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Canon EOS Rebel T8i

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Canon EOS Rebel T8i

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High grain, slight discoloration and blur will seep into your imagery when the ISO is pushed to the max, but that is nothing to fret over when you can easily pop open the flash or use a better lens suitable for low-light situations. 

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Canon EOS Rebel T8i

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Canon EOS Rebel T8i

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You won't miss a shot with the T8i's 45-point All Cross-Type AutoFocus paired with Dual Pixel CMOS AF Systems. The 45-point phase-detection AF made it easy to shoot stills via the viewfinder. Even in average-to-mixed lighting conditions, it was swift and accurate when tracking of fast-moving subjects. Eye Detection AF is a feature that significantly helps maintain focus on a subject's eye if there is movement in the foreground and background or multiple people within your shot. 

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Canon EOS Rebel T8i

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Canon EOS Rebel T8i

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Canon EOS Rebel T8i

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When shooting Live view with the LCD screen or recording video, the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system was fast and smooth. The T8i makes it easy to record your socially distanced school and sports events, your crew’s #OOTD, or your quick getaway vacation. 

However, there’s no Auto ISO minimum speed; the T8i chooses the speed as you zoom and no there’s no image stabilization for still photography, only in video. 

Canon EOS Rebel T8i: Video quality

Not only does the T8i record video in crisp UHD 4K at up to 24fps, but a significant win is the support of 16:9 vertical video output, perfect for vloggers and content creators who use popular social media platforms like Instagram’s IGTV or Facebook’s Stories. The T8i’s vari-angle touchscreen LCD made it easy to compose shots from odd angles, and I especially liked the camera’s digital image stabilization, which minimizes camera shake for smoother footage.

The T8i captured smooth shots of my crew’s day time rollerblading adventure and gave even and fluid pans for a more cinematic image. 

Canon EOS Rebel T8i: Wireless

As a content creator, it is imperative to have consistent, timely, and relevant imagery to beat social algorithms and make sure your posts are seen. T8i’s has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth sharing capabilities. After wrapping a shoot with an influencer, I was able to share the photos with her on the spot with the Canon Connect App. With this app, you are able to store and edit RAW and JPEG photos, making on-the-fly editing quick and easy. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The time it usually takes to upload to my computer and send off images was drastically reduced. 

Canon EOS Rebel T8i: Battery life

When I’m shooting with my Canon cameras, I never have to worry about battery life. Unlike my Sony mirrorless cameras, one Canon battery will last me a whole day. The same is true for the T8i. According to Canon, its battery will last for up to 1240 shots when using the viewfinder alone. However, that figure drops to just 360 shots when using live view. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

One downside is there is no USB charging, so you’ll have to remove its battery to juice it back up.

Canon EOS Rebel T8i: Verdict

Overall, the T8i passes the test of being a newbie-friendly camera for novice photographers or content creators. Its ability to record 4K video with 16:9 support makes it a much-needed upgrade from the T7i, and places it in a class all its own. At the moment, the closest Nikon competitor is the Nikon D5600, which costs about $100-$200 less, but lacks 4K video. However, we expect its successor, the D5700, to arrive sometime in 2021.  

All in all, the Canon T8i delivers polished and crisp imagery in a camera that is easy to use and won’t break the bank.