The Canon EOS R is a full-frame mirrorless camera with 30 Megapixels, Dual Pixel CMOS AF, fps burst shooting (5fps with continuous AF), one SD card slot, 4k video with 10-bit output over HDMI, 5655 AF points, -6EV autofocus, a 3.69 Million dot electronic viewfinder with 0.76x magnification, and a fully-articulated 3.1in touchscreen. Announced in September 2018, it’s the first full frame mirrorless camera from Canon and launches the new RF lens mount.
The sensor shares a number of specifications with the EOS 5D Mark IV, but Canon stresses there are some differences, most notably new micro-lenses optimised for the shorter flange-back distance of the new RF lens mount. Sadly one aspect inherited from the EOS 5D Mark IV is the 1.74x crop when filming 4k video, but on the upside the compression is no longer Motion JPEG and the crop means you can use adapted lenses designed for APS-C sensors like the EF-S 10-18mm. Meanwhile, 1080p is available up to 60p and 720p up to 120p.
The new RF lens mount employs a 54mm diameter and 20mm flange to sensor distance, allowing Canon greater freedom in optical design, and a new 12-pin communications system. Every RF lens has a Control Ring that can be customised to adjust aperture, shutter speed, ISO or exposure compensation. The EOS R launches with four native RF lenses: the RF 24-105mm f4L IS USM (smaller than the existing EF 24-105mm f4L but with Nano USM focusing and claims of higher quality too), the RF 28-70mm f2L USM (the first f2 full frame standard lens, but no IS). the RF 35mm f1.8 Macro IS USM (and affordable model for street and close-up photography), and the RF 50mm f1.2L USM (the fastest full-frame AF lens in its class and claiming better quality than the existing EF 50mm f1.2L USM, albeit again without IS). Canon didn’t release a detailed lens roadmap but commented it was already working on a series of f2.8 zooms.
With 130 million EF lenses sold, Canon realises compatibility with existing lenses is critical to the EOS R’s success, so has developed not one but three EF-EOS R adapters: a basic model that’s included with the body, one that includes the customisable function ring of RF lenses, and a third which supports drop-in filters with either a circular polariser or a variable ND. I’m really pleased to see Canon exploit the space in an adapter to provide additional functionality. I had the chance to shoot with a final production Canon EOS R all day, and have put together a first-looks video review with all the highlights below! After this, check out my sample images and quality pages!
Canon EOS R verdict so-far
The EOS R is a strong start to Canon’s full-frame mirrorless series. The body design gives a respectful nod to the EOS 650 film SLR which launched the EF system almost 30 years earlier, but the transition to the new RF mount will be much less traumatic thanks to decent backwards compatibility thanks to not one but three adapters. I really like how Canon offers two enhanced adapters to equip older EF lenses with the new control ring or top allow drop-in filters, and the ability to mount EF-S lenses is also appreciated and lest we forget something that wasn’t possible with its full-frame DSLRs. I’m delighted Canon’s launched the system with two exotic lenses with the RF 50mm f1.2 bringing an important overhaul to this model and the RF 24-70mm f2 offering something truly unique. Meanwhile Dual Pixel CMOS does a great job at focusing both for stills and movies, and I was impressed by its low light capability, at least when fitted with the 50mm f1.2.
The three major disappointments though are the lack of built-in stabilisation, the single card slot and that severe crop when filming 4k, any of which could be deal-breakers for some of you, and it’s also unfortunate EF-M owners won’t be able to adapt their native lenses. I also personally missed an AF joystick and found face and especially eye-detection felt much less confident than Sony’s Mark III bodies. Speaking of which the Mark III Sony’s also shoot faster and have longer battery life, and also do a respectable job with adapted EF lenses too.
Price wise it’s difficult to compare the EOS R directly against its rival full-framers as it sits between the Nikon Z6 and Z7 as well as between the Sony A7 III and A7r III in both money and resolution. But I will say it’s considerably cheaper than Canon’s own EOS 5D Mark IV while matching its image and movie quality. I think this first model is aimed at converting existing Canon DSLR owners, but those who are happy to switch systems have a great deal of other choices to weigh up. Either way, it’s great to see another full-frame mirrorless system on the market and I look forward to seeing where Canon takes it.Check prices on the Canon EOS R at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!