Canon EOS R Review

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Canon EOS R Review

The EOS R is Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera, and it is intended to entice you away from competing products such as Nikon’s brand-new Z6 and Sony’s outstanding Alpha A7 III.

The EOS R is the first model in Canon’s new line of full-frame mirrorless cameras, which will be based on a new lens mount that will be known as the RF mount. Although Canon has already begun dabbling in the world of mirrorless photography with its modest lines of APS-C sensor-based EOS M cameras, such as the EOS M6 and EOS M5, the EOS R is the first model in this new line.

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In spite of the fact that there are many Canon EOS R variants that were released more recently, the original EOS R is still one of the greatest Canon cameras and can be purchased for a reasonable price.

A full-frame sensor with 30.3 megapixels and no optical low-pass filter are utilised in the EOS R. Although Canon emphasises that this is not the same sensor, the EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR shares the same pixel count, so if it sounds familiar, the reason is that it is because Canon shares the same pixel count. However, we have a strong suspicion that it is very closely connected to the chip that is used in the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. This is not a terrible thing, considering that this chip is one of Canon’s sensors that performs the best.

Additionally, there is a new DIGIC 8 processing engine and a robust native ISO range of 100-40,000, which can be enlarged to settings similar to ISO50 and 102,400 – precisely matching the capabilities of the EOS 5D Mark IV.

Canon has chosen for a new lens mount for its R series (we’re assuming there will be more) of mirrorless cameras, much like Nikon did with its new Z range of full-frame mirrorless cameras.

The new RF mount features a substantially lower flange distance than the EF lens mount but has the same throat diameter of 54 millimetres as the EF lens mount (the distance from the rear of the lens to the sensor). This has decreased from 44 millimetres to 20 millimetres, although it is still a little bit longer than the flange distance of Nikon’s Z mount, which is 16 millimetres.

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Alongside the release of the EOS R, Canon is also introducing four brand-new RF lenses: the RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, the RF 28-70mm f/2L USM, the RF 50mm f/1.2L USM, and the RF 35mm f/1.8 IS STM Macro.

As you might anticipate, you will be able to utilise your Canon EF lenses on the EOS R by means of an adapter; but, rather than releasing just one kind of adapter, Canon will be releasing four distinct models.

There is the basic (and more affordable) EF-EOS R mount adapter, the EF-EOS R mount adapter with a control ring (which will be discussed in more detail shortly), the EF-EOS R mount adapter with a built-in circular polarising filter, and the EF-EOS R mount adapter with a built-in variable neutral density filter.

It is interesting to note that Canon has decided not to include in-body image stabilisation in their full-frame mirrorless cameras, whilst competitors Sony and Nikon do include this feature in their cameras. Instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach, which would result in a bigger camera footprint, Canon contends that it is preferable to adapt the IS to each individual lens in order to get the best possible results. In spite of this, two of those brand-new RF lenses do not have any type of image stabilisation in any way, shape, or form.

Surprisingly, the EOS R is only the third EOS camera to support 4K, following in the footsteps of the EOS 5D Mark IV and the EOS M50. However, whereas competitors provide full recording across the sensor, the EOS R has a crop factor of 1.7x, which will make it harder to frame wide-angle shots. Competitors also provide full recording throughout the sensor. However, you have the option of shooting at either 30p or 24p, and Full HD video may also be captured at up to 60p.

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) that comes with the EOS R has a resolution of 3.69 million dots and a magnification of 0.76x. This means that while it is on par with the EVF that comes with the Nikon Z7 and Z6 in terms of resolution, it is not quite able to compete with the 0.80x magnification that its competitors from Nikon offer.

While Nikon’s use of a single XQD card on the Z7 and Z6 provoked some criticism, Canon’s decision to continue with SD cards for the EOS R, with a single UHS-II capable slot available, has caused the company to avoid controversy.

If you are already an owner of Canon equipment and you intend to use the EOS R in conjunction with your current setup, you will be pleased to learn that the EOS R is compatible with Canon’s LP-E6 battery, which is utilised by a variety of EOS DSLRs. If you are interested in purchasing the EOS R, click here. The LP-E6N battery, which enables charging directly within the camera, is included with the EOS R camera body itself.

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Design And Handling

  • Magnesium alloy body
  • Resistance to the elements
  • A brand new control bar

The EOS R has a design aesthetic that falls between that of a traditional EOS DSLR and that of Samsung’s NX1 mirrorless camera.

The outside of the EOS R features a nice matte finish, while its internal components are made of magnesium alloy and magnesium. When you combine this sturdy construction with a handgrip that is suitable for a DSLR, you can be sure that it is very well crafted. In contrast, a side-by-side comparison with the similarly sized EOS 5D Mark IV reveals that the EOS R, although thinner, is not significantly smaller. Instead, it feels very much like something like an EOS 6D Mark II when held in the hand.

This may be seen to be excellent news for many Canon customers, as they will undoubtedly be pleased with the familiarity of the EOS R. This implies that Canon users will continue to enjoy the same fantastic handling, in addition to receiving improved support for longer and/or heavier lenses. Having said that, if you like the smaller size of a mirrorless camera over that of a DSLR, you might not notice as significant of a difference as you might think there would be.

Because Canon has made an effort to keep the button arrangement and user interface of the EOS M5 consistent with that of its previous line of DSLRs, users who are already accustomed to the EOS environment should find the M5 to be an easy transition. However, there are a few minor variations, some of which are advantageous while others are not.

The new top-plate LCD screen is a feature that has quickly become one of our favourites. This isn’t simply due to the fact that it provides essential information at a glance; rather, it exceeds our expectations in terms of the amount of data it displays and the amount of planning that went into its design.

For instance, pushing the light button causes the screen to become illuminated; however, you need to maintain pressure on the button for a bit longer than is customary. What is the cause? Quickly pressing it brings up a screen that gives more shooting possibilities (the primary ones shown at default being aperture, shutter speed and so on). Even though the light button is a bit small and not prominent enough for the most comfortable usage, it is still a creative use of controls that are already there and are known to the user.

On the other side, you’ll find the brand-new M-Fn control bar, which has a catchy moniker.

The new M-Fn control bar, which is positioned just below the top-plate screen on the back of the camera and has a snappily called, but less spectacular, moniker, is located just below the screen on the top plate of the camera. How does it work?

The control bar on the EOS R can be programmed to provide access to a variety of different settings, and it reacts to swipes as well as taps. For example, if you drag your thumb over the control bar, you can quickly navigate the ISO range, scroll through the white balance settings, or do something else.

We didn’t really get accustomed to this control, and we guess that many users would rather that Canon had utilised the area the control bar takes up for a joystick-type AF lever instead. However, Canon should be commended for attempting something new. Despite this, we didn’t really get used to this control.

Autofocus

  • 5,655 phase-detect AF points
  • -6 to 18EV operating range
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF

When we’ve used it on recent EOS DSLRs (as well as on Canon’s EOS M mirrorless line) for Live View focusing, Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology has pleased us, and the improved version of this system that’s available on the EOS R is one of the camera’s primary selling points.

This has a phase-detection autofocus system with an astounding 5,655 points (that’s not a mistake, there are actually 5,655 possible spots), with 88% vertical and 100% horizontal coverage, and a working range that goes as low as -6EV (with an f/1.2 lens).

When the EOS R was used in conjunction with the brand new RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens, the camera was able to power through its focusing range at a rapid pace, which made focusing at varying distances simple and quick.

Even when the subject was looking down or side-on, the autofocus system did an outstanding job of recognising eyes when it was programmed to track faces. This was the case even if the subject was gazing directly at the camera.

This functioned a bit less impressively under sub-par lighting settings; nonetheless, we expect that people will be impressed with how effectively the AF manages to pick up and lock onto eyes while taking ordinary portraiture; this is something that we think will wow people.

When we tested the camera at a racing racetrack, it did an excellent job of keeping up with the fast-moving vehicles, which is a testament to the effectiveness of the focus tracking feature. Our primary complaint, though, is that the AF lever that is included on Canon’s more advanced DSLRs is missing from the EOS R. In its place, you must rely on the touchscreen located on the back of the camera to set the AF point that you desire.

Performance

  • rapid fire at 8 frames per second
  • Touchscreen with a variable degree of responsiveness
  • EVF that is both detailed and steady

The EOS R has a maximum frame rate of 8 fps, making it quicker than Canon’s own EOS 5D Mark IV, which is only capable of 7 fps, but slower than both Sony’s Alpha A7 III (10 fps) and Nikon’s Z6 (12 fps) (11fps). This slows down to 5 frames per second with focus tracking and even further to a pedestrian 3 frames per second if you wish to utilise the ‘tracking priority’ setting on the EOS R.

However, the buffer on the EOS R is fairly good, allowing the user to record up to 100 JPEGs or 47 raw files before having to take a break to process the data.

The touchscreen capability of Canon’s products, on the other hand, is quite well developed. In contrast to the restricted touchscreen functionality found on Sony’s mirrorless cameras, the technology found in the EOS R enables you to operate a wide variety of the camera’s functionalities. This not only covers shooting and reviewing images (including utilising the back screen to touch and drag the AF point), but it also covers navigating the menu system and Quick menu of the EOS R. The touchscreen interface provides a pleasant and responsive experience overall when used.

Even though the viewfinders found within the Nikon Z6 and Z7 offer a slightly higher magnification, it’s unlikely that you’d notice a significant difference between them unless you were actively comparing them to one another side-by-side. The viewfinder found within the EOS R also doesn’t let you down in this regard. It has a wide surface area, and a high level of detail, and performs exceptionally well in low light.

The responsiveness of the camera’s touchscreen is carried through to a significant portion of its function. You can navigate through menus as well as photographs that have been shot without any lag, and zooming in on and moving around images is just as quick and seamless. It would appear that there is very little latency involved when it comes to the camera recording adjustments as you make them.

The EOS R has a smaller control dial that wraps around the mode button on the top plate of the camera rather than the rear scroll wheel that is found on high-end EOS DSLRs. This dial is located on the top plate of the camera. It seems like something that would be more at home on a PowerShot small camera, and the only place you can see what the current shooting mode is is on one of the screens rather than on a physical control. This mode button is an oddity indeed.

However, the huge on/off switch that is located to the left of the viewfinder seems to take up unnecessary real estate; a mode dial that incorporates an on/off switch collar would be a more effective use of this area. To be fair, though, Nikon’s high-end DSLRs have depended on a single mode button for many years, and there has never been a problem with this design choice.

The incorporation of a control ring on the new RF lenses is a welcome innovation. This ring is analogous to those seen on a variety of high-end fixed-lens compact cameras (for example, Canon’s own PowerShot G1 X Mark III). The function of this can be changed to suit your needs, with options including ISO and exposure compensation. In addition, the fact that this is a clickable ring (the operation can be changed to smooth in the menu), which provides you with that helpful immediate feedback, is sure to please many people.

Depending on how you intend to use the camera, the battery can last anywhere from 330 to 560 shots. For example, if you anticipate spending the majority of your time looking via the electronic viewfinder, you can anticipate that the battery will last fewer than 560 shots. Although this does not match the endurance of the battery in the Sony Alpha A7 III (710 shots), as we discovered with the Nikon Z7 (another new mirrorless camera with a modest ‘rated’ battery life), you can expect to get more shots under the real-world shooting conditions that you will be encountering.

Image Quality

  • Results that are extremely comparable to those of the EOS 5D Mark IV
  • Noise in the image is effectively managed.
  • Good dynamic range

It should not come as a surprise that the Canon EOS R delivers image quality that is equivalent to that of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV given that the two cameras share a sensor. This is very encouraging news because, despite the fact that it may not quite reach the same heights in terms of resolution and dynamic range as the more expensive 42MP and 45MP sensor competitors from Sony and Nikon, it is unquestionably the most capable sensor that Canon currently has in its arsenal.

What exactly does it mean when applied to the outside world? If you have the right post-production tools, you shouldn’t rule out the possibility of printing an A2 size document, and making a Super A3 print with a high level of detail shouldn’t be too difficult either.

Moving on to the sensitivity performance, we find that the EOS R has good control over picture noise. The results indicate no evidence of noise up to an ISO of 800, with only a hint of luminance noise (grain-like appearance) showing at an ISO of 2000. When the sensitivity is increased to ISO 10,000, chroma noise, which is colour noise, and luminance noise, which is light noise, become more evident.

The dynamic range is really good, but the EOS R does not provide you with the same level of freedom as the full-frame megapixel monsters produced by Sony and Nikon. Having said that, it is still feasible, through post-processing, to restore a respectable degree of information in the shadows while still preserving detail in the highlights.

We have come to expect very good colour reproduction from Canon cameras, and the EOS R delivers nice, natural tones, with skin tones faithfully reproduced as well; in addition, there is a wide variety of Picture Styles to select from if you are going to be shooting JPEGs, and there is also a tilting touchscreen.

The metering system of the EOS R works effectively, resulting in exposures that are well-balanced. On the other hand, the automatic white balance system of the camera does not throw any unpleasant shocks into the mix.

White priority auto settings provide neutral pictures even when working with tungsten lighting, but the Ambience priority auto settings have a tendency to keep some warmth in the image. White priority is one of the two automatic settings that may be selected by the user.

Conclusion

First things first: the Canon EOS R is not a mirrorless version of the EOS 5D Mark IV. Instead, it is better to think of the new camera as being more comparable to the EOS 6D Mark II, which is geared more at enthusiast photographers.

To offer a camera that would appeal not just to the EOS faithful but also to those lured by Sony’s Alpha full-frame mirrorless cameras (and now by Nikon’s Z series as well), Canon had to accomplish a delicate balancing act. This is something that we cannot ignore.

Is there something wrong with it? Yes, in a lot of different ways. Canon did an excellent job of bringing over everything its user base already knows and loves about Canon’s DSLRs, while also adding a few more layers to make the EOS R a more powerful camera that is also more pleasurable to use.

The surface is beautiful (although it is slightly susceptible to the same scuffing as some other matte-finish models), and the focusing technology is reassuringly quick and smart, while the image quality is likewise difficult to fault.

Although the handling as a whole is pretty decent, there is most definitely some potential for advancement here. Frustratingly, there is neither a mode dial nor an AF joystick on the camera. Additionally, the M-Fn control seems to be a bit iffy.

In addition, there is the somewhat undercooked 4K video, as well as the absence of in-body image stabilisation, both of which are likely to irritate some users while others won’t notice this limitation nearly as much.

In addition to that, the camera is somewhat cumbersome. Even though we’ve seen mirrorless cameras get heavier and heavier over the past few years, the EOS R doesn’t seem all that much more compact than one of its DSLR stablemates, and the lenses themselves are pretty hefty in size.

The EOS R is a very powerful camera that ought to satiate the needs of a good number of Canon DSLR users who are searching for a reliable mirrorless option. If we weren’t tied down to a particular system, however, it would be difficult for us to recommend the EOS R over its competitors. This is especially true when taking into account the significant price premium that the EOS R carries in comparison to other excellent cameras such as the Nikon Z6 and the Sony Alpha A7 III.

However, after the rough edges of this first-generation model have been smoothed down, it is possible that the EOS R II will tell a totally different narrative altogether.

Canon EOS R Specs

Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Max resolution6720 x 4480
Other resolutions4176 x 2784 (1.6x crop)
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels30 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors32 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (36 x 24 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ISOAuto, 100-40000 (expands to 50-102400)
Boosted ISO (minimum)50
Boosted ISO (maximum)102400
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, normal
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points5655
Lens mountCanon RF
Focal length multiplier
Articulated LCDFully articulated
Screen size3.2″
Screen dots2,100,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.76×
Viewfinder resolution3,690,000
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
Subject / scene modesNo
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe)
Continuous drive8.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 secs)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpotPartial
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Modes3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 480 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 120 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 480 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 120 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC3840 x 2160 @ 23.98p / 480 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 23.98p / 120 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 180 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 60 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 90 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 30 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 90 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 30 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 23.98p / 90 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 23.98p / 30 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1280 x 720 @ 120p / 160 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage typesSD card (UHS-II supported)
USBUSB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)
USB chargingYes (With some chargers)
HDMIYes (Mini-HDMI)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.1 LE
Remote controlYes (via smartphone)
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLP-E6N lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)370
Weight (inc. batteries)660 g (1.46 lb / 23.28 oz)
Dimensions136 x 98 x 84 mm (5.35 x 3.86 x 3.31″)
Orientation sensorYes
GPSNone

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