Quick Thoughts on the New Canon EOS R System

Author: Alan Baldi

As you may have heard, Canon just recently released its newest line of mirrorless camera systems known as the EOS R. I wanted to list my initial thoughts on the release and what it means for professionals and enthusiasts everywhere.

First off, if you are unfamiliar with the differences between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera, do some research to find out the key differences. They do not have a physical mirror that blocks the sensor from recording information until you press the shutter release button as you do in traditional DSLR systems. I won’t get into the details in this post but I encourage you to check them out to see what kind of system works best for your needs.

Within the past ten plus years, the most major players in the photography world have been Canon and Nikon and just recently Sony stepped up their game with their various “a” series mirrorless cameras. It is no secret that Sony got a lot of things right with their cameras which have caused long-time users of Nikon, Canon, and other companies to jump ship and switch to Sony. Both Canon and Nikon didn’t have a whole lot to offer in the means of mirrorless systems, especially not at a comparable level to what Sony could offer. Naturally, they had to do something or else they were going to fall behind–fast. 

Nikon and Canon both released new mirrorless systems which are now capable of competing with what Sony has been doing for years. Since we primarily shoot with Canon cameras in house and rent higher-end cameras with the EF mount, I will be discussing my thoughts on Canon’s EOS R system. With it being so new and unavailable to most of the public right now, it is hard to really say how it performs using a hands-on test. On paper, however, it appears that there is a lot to love.

For starters, let’s just talk about the price. The body alone is listed at $2,299 USD. Compared to another one of Canon’s recent and great cameras, the 5D Mark IV, it’s nearly a thousand dollars less. That’s also less than one some of Sony’s flagship cameras such as the Alpha a7R III ($2,998) and also their a9 (+$4,000). They all share similarities but again, not to deviate far from the subject, I want to focus on Canon here. 

 Boasting a 30.3MP sensor, the EOS R is small and mighty. One huge feature is that it is full-frame where one of Canon’s predecessor mirrorless cameras, the EOS M, has a cropped sensor. The sensor technology is more advanced too, giving more processing speed and power, allowing for more burst photos without reaching the buffer. Another huge improvement over its predecessors is that it shoots at a 4K resolution at various frame rates between 23.98 to 29.97 fps, and can also shoot up to 120 fps but at a 720p resolution. Similar to the 

Video shooters can rejoice that it now offers internal stabilization, something that Sony’s cameras have been doing for quite some time already. Additional features that look good on paper is that it now supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and has a ton (5655 to be exact) of autofocus points. Covering 88% of the viewing area, you will be hard pressed to miss focus very much. I like that it has a flip out screen which has been seen on other models like the 80D. That helps with shooting above or below your head and also for recording yourself if you do podcasts or the like. It also shoots stills faster than some of its DSLR brothers and sisters, shooting at 8 fps. The 5D Mark IV, for example, shoots slightly slower at 7 fps. Also similar to the 5D IV, you can record video in the C-Log color space for more dynamic range and color grading versatility. 

What might sell people on staying with Canon instead of switching to Nikon or Sony could very well lie in one factor: their lenses. Canon has long been the king of glass and although the new system has a new mount (RF instead of EF), they include optional adapters so you can use your fabled lenses on your new body. They are, of course, still going to create high-quality glass with the native RF mount, but at least with the adapters you won’t need to completely overhaul your gear to compensate. Another thing I like about the mounts (three announced at this time) is that it gives additional features and functionality to the body which otherwise wouldn’t be possible. For example, one of their mounts includes slots for filters such as neutral density.

As with just about everything in life, there are some things not to love about this new camera, but the list is rather small for me at this time. First of all, there is only one slot for a memory card where the 5D series offer two. However, it supports UHS-II SDXC cards with extremely high read/write speeds. The only tradeoff here is if you need more storage and don’t have time to swap out cards but rather change which card, that is already inserted, you want to record to. In most cases, this will not be an issue, but there’s always a first for everything. Also, according to other sources online, the lenses are huge in comparison to the body. This might not be so bad if you enjoy having that weight in your hands but it just might look a little silly.

It’s a good thing Canon is trying to compete with Sony and also that Nikon is doing the same. One of the biggest criticisms I’ve heard about Canon and Nikon is that they haven’t really done anything too revolutionary in a long time. They also weren’t doing much to compete with Sony and if that trend continued, I would see no reason to continue shooting on anything but Sony since they were making so many technical advancements so quickly. For now, I am just excited to see some real-world use with the new EOS R system and am looking forward to Canon’s future.

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