A review on Canon’s latest full-frame mirrorless camera.
Canon EOS R is Canon’s latest release. A mirrorless camera suitable for all Canon EOS users. The photography world is gradually shifting to mirrorless cameras and canon has followed suit after the likes of Sony, Nikon, and FujiFilm. On close comparison with the Sony Alpha A7III, one wonders why this camera is kept at a high price level than its fellow rivals. But if you love Canon, you’d be happy to check out their new camera.
Finally, after a long wait by Canon users, Canon has queued into the idea of manufacturing a full-frame mirrorless camera. Canon EOS R is Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera with an RF mount. As an added incentive, two lenses have been added to the EOS R package: RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM and the RF 50mm f/1.2L USM. We hope to see more of that from Canon. Actually, the EOS M5 and 6 are fellow mirrorless cameras with an APS-C sensor, the EOS R is the first of its kind from Canon, a camera that looks more like a DSLR especially in terms of specifications than a mirrorless camera.
Similar to the 5D Mark IV with the same 30MP Dual Pixel CMOS and rated at a similar price with the 6D Mark II, it hoped that the Canon EOS R will provide a healthy competition among its rivals like the Sony Alpha A7 III and the recently released Nikon Z6.
Related: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review
Thankfully, its 30.3MP full frame sensor gives the user the luxury of an excellent image and video quality much like other EOS series. There has been added a control ring and an electronic viewfinder to name but a few. Considering the fact it lacks an in-body image stabilization and only limited to 60 and 120fps, will it really put up a fight to it well developed and excellent rivals?
• Quality images
• Excellent EVF
• Sharp touchscreen
• AF performance is very good
• Lots of add-ons and customization.
• Lacks an in-body image stabilization
• Looks more like a DSLR than a mirrorless camera
• Cropped 4K video
• Just one SD card slot
• Limited to 60 and 120fps.
• 30.3MP full-frame sensor
• 3.69m dot OLED EVF with 100% coverage
• ISO 100-40,000 expanded to ISO50 and 102,400
• 4k video record
• Digic 8 image processor
• 5,655 Dual Pixel AF positions
• 8fps max. burst shooting
• 3.15-inch 2.1 million-dot articulated touchscreen
• Magnesium alloy body
• Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC connectivity.
As earlier noted, Canon EOS R comes with a 30.3MP resolution just like another EOS the 5D Mark IV, but what sets it apart is the Dual Pixel CMOS AF and 5,655 AF positions, a similar phase-difference detection system similar with the 1D X Mark II. Other common features include the DIGIC 8 image processor which helps to analyze more detailed data and an ISO range of 100-40,000 which is further expanded to ISO50 and ISO 102,400.
RF Lens Mount:
The Canon EOS R comes with a new lens mount, the RF lens mount. The RF lens mount has a similar diameter as the EF lens mount; 54mm while the flange-back distance is reduced to 20mm. Canon has added four new RF lenses; RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM, and the RF 50mm f/1.2L USM, RF 28-70mm f/2L USM, and RF 35mm f/1.8 IS STM Macro.
Related: Nikon D3400 Review
Also, the RF mount comes with a 12-pin connection which aids communication between the camera and the lens. This has eliminated the common limitation with EF lenses. Like we heard from Canon manufacturers, these lenses are unique with better optical performance, compact size, and better-operating specifications.
There is also the addition of a control ring on the RF lenses similar to that seen on the PowerShot G1 X Mark III. It is made to works with ISO and exposure compensation.
Unlike other mirrorless cameras, this camera features no in-body image stabilization something we have always seen on other mirrorless cameras.
Other features include 4k video making it one of a few EOS with 4k video recording. There is a little problem though as it has a 1.7x crop factor. There are other options obviously, the 24p and 30p while shooting Full HD however, you could shoot up to 60p.
Canon EOS R is supported with the 3.15-inch 2.1 million-dot resolution articulated touchscreen and 3.69m dot OLED EVF with 100% coverage and has a 0.76x magnification. This is similar to that on the Z6 and Z7 series.
On the SD card slot, Canon EOS is limited to a single SD card slot; UHS-II compatible slot, thankfully you could use the Canon’s compatible LP-E6 battery used on most EOS DSLRs to support the LP-E6N battery on Canon EOS R.
Body and Handling:
The Canon EOS R has the body of a DSLR, unlike fellow mirrorless cameras. It is built to look like a DSLR, having larger and grips, unlike most mirrorless cameras which have lighter bodies and grips. Whatever is the motive of Canon, having a lighter and more portable gear nowadays is an added advantage. I believe Canon prefers to stick to their normal design style and pattern.
Related: Sony Alpha A7R III Review
However, Canon EOS is well built to be strong, with a magnesium alloy body protection. Its handgrips are built large to feel safe in the hand like that of a DSLR. On the whole, the camera is built to resist tension, pressure, and hits.
Thankfully is weather protected with weather sealing like that of EOS 6D Mark II. On comparison with the Mark IV, shows that it is a bit smaller than the Mark IV, while at the same time, it is not as thick as the Mark IV. Of all said about weather sealing and protection, it is the same with other DSLR; no tangible notation and specification on that. On the whole, we feel it is well protected against moisture, cold and dust.
The Canon EOS R has a single SD card slot; the UHS-II compatible slot, unlike the 5D Mark IV which has a CF slot and supports UHS-I. Most connections and port are all located on one side of the camera. There is the ext. mic port and 3.5mm for audio. The USB-C port is for transferring files and in-camera charging. There are also Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC connectivity, GPS features included in this camera for remotely controlling the camera and shooting with your phone.
There are some little concerns concerning some of the dials and buttons as they don’t look easy to use while at the same time trying to hold the camera especially the rear dial. It is difficult to handle and at the same time use the rear dial at the same time. The front dials are just like the one on other DSLRs. I managed to hold the camera on my left while using the right to use the buttons and dials.
The M-Fn Bar, a new addition to the Canon EOS R and similar to the touch functionality button on DSLRs. It is located below the top-plate screen on the camera rear. The M-Fn Bar, is customized to control certain camera settings like the ISO range and white balance, aperture and shutter speed. It has three controls, two arrows, and a slide. Although it seems important especially when using the viewfinder, there is virtually no much use for it.
Touchscreen and EVF:
The 3.15-inch 2.1 million-dot articulated touchscreen is a huge advantage as it is very sensitive and responsive with your finger, hence easing operation of the camera. It is very flexible and forms out in front of the camera. You could easily scroll through the menu options, review images, zoom in and out and it displays lots more information.
The EVF is a 3.69m dot OLED EVF, with 100% coverage, it is large and well detailed and equating to 1280 x 960 pixel. Thankfully there is no OLED saturation, you don’t get to experience blackout when shooting, rather it goes back to live view whenever you press the shutter button. On the other hand, Sony has a better EVF with 5.6-million dots.
Related: Nikon D5 review
The EVF is used to focus at low light. Unlike an optical, it helps to brighten your image when shooting in low light. The 24-105mm lens has a smooth manual focus wheel along its barrel. The Canon EOS R switches quickly between the rear screen and EVF with the help of a very close sensor.
On the autofocus, although there is no AF joystick or AF lever, we were expecting to see that seeing that Canon wanted to make it look like a DSLR. The D-pad is used to move focus around the EVF.
AF and AF Performance:
The Canon EOS R has 5,655 AF positions and all are selectable, a great number when you consider these positions use phase detection with 88% vertical and 100% horizontal coverage. On testing the Canon EOS R with the 24-105mm, it could focus on anything and track eyes in the background and foreground as small as it is. It has no problem locking onto focus and keeping track of the fast-moving object. Even on close-up portrait and as the subject approached closer to the camera, it was still able to track focus after a bit. It is a Dual Pixel CMOS AF system which is very good for Live View focusing.
On AF performance, the Canon EOS R focuses as low as -6EV, a very dark situation. This is even better than the Mark IV (-3EV) which is an excellent performance. It is very suitable for low light situations and night photography. The D-pad and touchscreen are used to move and select focus around the EVF. With the D-pad, you could select focus any area of the frame and is more accurate than the touchscreen. The EVF makes adds more light to the image and scene.
In terms of burst shooting, it shoots at max. 8fps, and can even perform better than that when shooting JPEG files. For continuous autofocus, that is reduced to 5fps On the whole, this improvement on AF performance better than the 5D Mark IV is thanks to the DIGIC 8 processor. The Sony Alpha A7 III shoots better at 10fps.
The buffer system records an impressive 47 raw files and 100 JPEGs on first round before reprocessing. Canon EOS R uses LP-E6N batteries. Thankfully you could use the Canon’s compatible LP-E6 battery used on most EOS DSLRs to support the LP-E6N battery on Canon EOS R. The battery is rechargeable with the USB port for in-camera charging. It shoots between 330 to 560 shots especially when the EVF is not always in use. When compared with other mirrorless cameras, we found out the A7 III is better with up to 710 shots.
Canon EOS R has a 30.3-megapixel full-frame sensor which makes it able to shoot quality images just like the Sony mirrorless camera. The A7 III gets better at image quality as it shoots with 42MP. Speaking of image quality, it is capable of producing well-detailed A2 and A3 print.
ISO sensitivities are set at ISO 100-40,000 expandable to ISO50 and 102,400 at extreme situations with 100 being the base ISO. It does excellently well at noise control as at ISO 800-1600 there is really no effect of noise reflected on images. At ISOs above this, up to 2000, there seems to be grain-like noise. Canon definitely has the edge in this area against the likes the Sony and Nikon.
We could definitely manage images at ISO 10,000 even there now is obvious chroma and luminance noise. The EOS R does excellently well in trying to extract good details from shadows at the same time with much control over noise and at the same time, preserve highlight details in the post-processing. At up to ISO 40,000, the amount of detail it resolves reduces drastically but is still visible and manageable.
Often its advisable to avoid ISO 40,000 and extended ISO especially as you would be editing and cropping. It is best to not go above ISO 20,000 if you are going to edit.
The EOS R is very good also at color production as seen in skin and natural tones produced at the time of field test. The white balance system and metering system is rated excellent. The White priority and Ambience are options you could choose from when you need warmth and some neutral images.
The EOS R has better video quality than the Mark IV. This is credited to the new RF lens mount. Unfortunately, it shoots only 4k (UHD) video capture at 30fps max. and 1080p (FullHD) at 60fps max. You could also shoot at 120fps but that is for 720p (HD).
Unfortunately, also it is cropped with a 1.7x crop factor just as with the Mark IV. Hence it is difficult to shoot wide-angle shots as the frame size is smaller than APS-C that is RF lens 24mm lens becomes 40.8mm. The only way to eliminate this is to adapt one of Canon’s APS-C-specific EF-S lenses attached to this camera such as 10mm-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM which becomes 17-30.6mm.
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There is been added C-Log feature and the10-bit. Together they guarantee better video performance than other Canon. The C-Log especially offers a flat color profile to maintain maximum dynamic range for better grading. It can also do internal recording at 4:2:0 8-bit Rec. 709 and externally at 4:2:2 10-bit with Rec. 2020. This is just as we have seen in Sony. It is hoped that more video features would be attached to subsequent EOS R and that Canon would raise the video quality standards.
Canon surprised many with the coming of the first full-frame mirrorless camera similar in almost everything to a DSLR. Unfortunately, while it matches the Mark IV and other mirrorless cameras, the Sony A7 III seems to be ahead. It is not surprising considering that Sony has been master in the manufacture of mirrorless cameras.
We did not expect to see a 4k cropped video and a camera with no in-body stabilization, that is a big limitation, let us rather dwell on the good features, the handlings, grips and features, the autofocus is second to none. There is the addition of a new EVF.
In spite of its limitations, photographers are impressed with the innovations and additions and customization. I believe it is an entirely new experience with the RF lenses.
Related: Nikon D850 Review
This is Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera, Canon users who want a mirror option should definitely go for it as expect Canon to get better at subsequent ones. I believe Canon took their time to get this camera ready, it was worth the wait.
The photography world is rapidly taking up a new trend, it is now mirrorless cameras. Every camera manufacturer now boasts a mirrorless camera and more. Fujifilm X-T3, Sony Alpha A7 III, the Z6 and Z7 mirrorless series to name but a few rivals. Of all these, the Sony Alpha A7 III with 693-point AF system and 10fps burst shooting plus the in-camera 5-axis image stabilization is the best pick, there is the Nikon Z7, but I believe camera choice should be by the user’s specification and need also these are priced higher than the EOS R.
Related: Sony Alpha A7 III Review
The Canon EOS R is valued at $2299 at Amazon (body only) and $3399 (complete).
Below is a video review:
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