The only visible difference between the EOS Ra and a standard Canon EOS R is the Ra emblem on the EOS Ra, whereas the internal components are where the majority of the changes can be found. Infrared filters are present on all camera sensors; their purpose is to limit the spectrum of light captured by the sensor to visible wavelengths. However, the infrared filter present on the sensor of the EOS Ra has been specially modified to allow for the transmission of four times as much HA (Hydrogen Alpha) light.
This improved red sensitivity means that the EOS Ra is capable of capturing the distinctive reddish hue of nebulae, for instance, and will display a larger number of celestial objects, resulting in a significantly richer night sky.
That’s pretty much all that has to be done to convert a conventional camera into one that can be used for astrophotography, but Canon has added one more change: the capability to zoom in to a full 30x magnification of collected photographs in order to verify for perfect focus accuracy.
The autofocus technology of the EOS Ra is sensitive down to -6EV, but this may not be sufficient with a really dark sky. If you are going to commit to long exposures or exposure stacking methods, you are going to want to be completely certain of the focus before you begin.
It includes a full-frame 30.3MP CMOS sensor and a phase-detection AF system with 5,655 focus points covering 88% of the frame horizontally and 100% of the frame vertically. The primary difference between the EOS Ra and the EOS R is that the EOS Ra is designed specifically for use in astrophotography.
In contrast to competing for full-frame mirrorless cameras from Sony, Nikon, and Panasonic, the EOS Ra does not come equipped with an in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system. This is a problem with the standard EOS R, but it won’t be with this model because it will most definitely be used on a tripod or an equatorial mount.
In the past, we have voiced our displeasure with the severe cropping that occurs with 4K video, but this limitation will only impact astrophotography if you require an extremely broad field of view of the sky. Because of the 1.7x crop factor, the diagonal coverage provided by your RF and EF lenses will be significantly reduced (a 24mm lens becomes 40.8mm equivalent).
Engineers at Canon have been able to manufacture lenses with bigger rear elements and improved performance, such as the remarkable RF 50mm f/1.2L USM, thanks to the company’s newly developed RF lens mount. Astrophotography is a discipline that will benefit greatly from fast lenses such as this one and the incredible RF 28-70mm f/2.
Although the 30MP sensor in the EOS R has received some backlash for its lower resolution in comparison to that of competitors such as the Sony A7R Mark IV, Nikon Z 7, and Panasonic Lumix S1R, it does provide a good compromise between resolution and low noise levels, with an ISO range of 100 to 40,000. (expandable to 50 to 102,400).
Design And Handling
The EOS Ra has a magnesium alloy body, which we appreciate because it is both maneuverable and sturdy. This tiny size does imply that bigger lenses, such as the RF 50mm f/1.2L USM and notably the RF 28-70mm f/2L USM, start to be imbalanced; nevertheless, this does not affect the usage of a tripod in any way.
The control ring that comes standard on RF lenses is a really helpful feature. This may be readily detected by touch in the dark and can be set to modify aperture, shutter speed, white balance, or ISO. Just be careful not to change the focus by accident.
The contentious M-Fn Bar found on this camera is a favorite of ours, despite its many detractors. You can configure it such that a touch, tap, or swipe can modify the ISO, giving you control over the complete exposure triangle without requiring you to remove your eye from the EVF. This is possible since you can set it up to do any of those things.
This electronic viewfinder (EVF) is among the best ones that we have tried since it has a large viewing area, a quick response time, and a high level of clarity. Even better, the back screen can be completely articulated, making it considerably simpler to use even when the camera is positioned at an inconvenient height on a telescopic adaptor.
You may check out our standard evaluation of the Canon EOS R to see what we think of that camera for daytime photography. For this test, however, we focused (obviously) on taking pictures of the night sky.
For the sake of this critique, the astrophotography expert Chris Grimmer took a single exposure of the Orion Nebula and displayed it above. Chris was blown away by the vibrant colors and the crystal clear visibility of the photos on the screen, even at high ISO settings. It made it quite simple to concentrate on the foreground or the stars despite the fact that you could effectively see in complete darkness. The 30x zoom was a huge help when it came to focussing as well.
The second image is a composite made up of 15 separate shots that were stacked using some free software. Senator. This technique of stacking images helps build up the colors and depth of nebulae and galaxies, while also reducing noise in the images.
On a tripod, an equatorial mount consisting of a Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Pro was used to support the EOS Ra camera. When using an angled equatorial mount, the angle of rotation of the Earth will be followed, which will cause the stars to appear as pinpoints of light rather than as curving trails.
Since the Canon EOS Ra and the Canon EOS R are physically indistinguishable from one another, we had the same range of feelings regarding the cameras’ handling. However, this camera was developed for an extremely specialized sector, and some of these peculiarities are scarcely noticeable in this context.
The limited 4K footage is of considerably less importance, and the lack of in-body image stabilization is irrelevant with a camera that is likely to be used on a tripod. The lens Control ring is a good feature, being simpler to find in darkness than buttons and knobs.
When compared to other types of cameras, the EOS Ra stands out due to the expanded infrared sensitivity of its sensor as well as the enlarged 30x magnification that allows for more accurate confirmation of focus.
Due to the fact that this is one of just a few commercially available cameras that have been modified specifically for astronomical photography, it does not have a great deal of competition. In spite of the fact that we have certain reservations regarding some features of the ordinary EOS R’s design and handling, we find that these reservations are of far less significance in this arena, and the camera’s capabilities begin to become more apparent.
Canon EOS Ra Specs
|Body type||SLR-style mirrorless|
|Max resolution||6720 x 4480|
|Other resolutions||4176 x 2784 (1.6x crop)|
|Image ratio w:h||1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9|
|Effective pixels||30 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors||32 megapixels|
|Sensor size||Full frame (36 x 24 mm)|
|ISO||Auto, 100-40000 (expands to 50-102400)|
|Boosted ISO (minimum)||50|
|Boosted ISO (maximum)||102400|
|White balance presets||6|
|Custom white balance||Yes|
|JPEG quality levels||Fine, normal|
|Autofocus||Contrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View|
|Number of focus points||5655|
|Lens mount||Canon RF|
|Focal length multiplier||1×|
|Articulated LCD||Fully articulated|
|Screen type||TFT LCD|
|Minimum shutter speed||30 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/8000 sec|
|Manual exposure mode||Yes|
|Subject / scene modes||No|
|External flash||Yes (via hot shoe)|
|Continuous drive||8.0 fps|
|Self-timer||Yes (2 or 10 secs)|
|Exposure compensation||±3 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|AE Bracketing||±3 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|Modes||3840 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|
|Storage types||SD card (UHS-II supported)|
|USB||USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)|
|USB charging||Yes (With some chargers)|
|Wireless notes||802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.1 LE|
|Remote control||Yes (via smartphone)|
|Battery description||LP-E6N lithium-ion battery & charger|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||660 g (1.46 lb / 23.28 oz)|
|Dimensions||136 x 98 x 84 mm (5.35 x 3.86 x 3.31″)|