Canon EOS R Review – The full-frame powerhouse offered by Canon

This evaluation has been revised to reflect the functionality and performance of firmware version 1.6, which was made available in the latter half of 2019.

The new RF mount was initially implemented on the Canon EOS R, which is the world’s first full-frame mirrorless camera. It utilizes the same 30-megapixel Dual Pixel CMOS sensor that was utilized in the EOS 5D Mark IV that was released in 2016, however it is developed for a new line of RF lenses. Canon claims that the new RF lens mount will enable them to develop lenses that are either better or smaller than those they are now capable of designing for the old EF system.

You are, in essence, getting the image and video quality of the 5D Mark IV with the price point of the 6D Mark II, along with a healthy dose of control philosophy from both of those cameras as well as the EOS M series, when you purchase an EOS R. This is because the EOS R combines the image and video quality of the 5D Mark IV with the control philosophy of the EOS M series.

Handling and ergonomics are inconsistent, and the EOS R’s video capabilities are much below those of the leading competitors, despite the fact that the camera is capable of producing images of high quality.

Key Characteristics

  • sensor with a full-frame resolution of 30 megapixels and dual pixel autofocus
  • 3.69M dot OLED viewfinder
  • LCD on the back that is fully articulating
  • Autofocus with a rating as low as -6 EV (with F1.2 lens)
  • You may shoot at up to 8 frames per second (5 fps with continuous AF and 3 fps in ‘Tracking Priority mode).
  • UHD video in 4K at 30 frames per second, resulting from a 1.8x cut of the sensor
  • Canon Log (10-bit 4:2:2 over HDMI or 8-bit 4:2:0 internal)
  • Charging through USB (with some chargers)

Less than two weeks separated the announcements of the EOS R and the Nikon Z7, both of which are designed around new mounts. The Z7 is Nikon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera, and the EOS R is likewise based around a new mount.

Whereas Nikon makes a big deal about how immediately familiar the Z7 will be to existing Nikon shooters, Canon is incorporating some more radical ergonomic innovations on the EOS R; it handles, unlike any existing Canon camera. Nikon makes a big deal about how immediately familiar the Z7 will be to existing Nikon shooters. Let’s take a more in-depth look at just what those innovations are, as well as how they function.

What’s New?

It’s possible that the EOS R doesn’t have the most impressive list of specifications, but it’s still an important camera because it’s Canon’s first camera to use its new RF mount. In addition to this, it offers a novel arrangement of capabilities and features inside Canon’s product spectrum, in addition to a few innovative control points.

Key takeaways

  • The depth of the new RF mount is significantly shorter than that of the EF mount, although sharing the same width.
  • A new connection with 12 pins makes it possible to send data more quickly.
  • Canon asserts that the RF mount is every bit as robust as the EF mount.
  • The current assortment of RF lenses appears to have good optical quality.
  • The M-Fn Bar is an entirely novel control point introduced by Canon into their cameras.
  • The file sizes of images saved in C-Raw can be reduced by up to forty percent without a discernible decrease in image quality unless the image is pushed over several stops.
  • While you are shooting a 4K video, you have access to Dual Pixel AF, however, the image will be severely cropped.

The flange-back distance of the EF mount has been reduced from 44 millimeters to 20 millimeters thanks to Canon’s new RF mount, which also maintains the original 54-millimeter diameter of the EF mount. Canon asserts, according to what we’ve heard from other manufacturers, that the combination of “short and wide” in a lens mount paves the way for new creative opportunities when it comes to the design of lenses (particularly with regard to faster maximum apertures or wide-angle options).

Additionally, the new attachment features a 12-pin connection that enables speedier communication between the camera and the lens. This new mount is available now.

According to Canon, the new RF mount was also developed with durability in mind throughout the design process. The RF mount ought should be able to withstand the same kinds of punishment that the EF mount has over the past few decades. They have also said that there is no facility for attaching EF-M lenses on any RF-mount bodies. This information was provided in a separate statement.

Lenses

The fact that Canon has introduced brand new lens designs alongside the EOS R is proof of the potential benefits that are provided by the RF mount. All four of these lenses, the 28-70mm F2 L USM, the 24-105mm F4 L IS USM, the 50mm F1.2 L USM, and the 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM, deliver outstanding performance.

According to Canon, there are three main considerations that go into the creation of each new RF lens: a more compact size, improved optical performance, and improved operating parameters. Canon gave more weight to the latter two considerations while developing the 28-70mm F2 L USM, which is intended for more professional users.

Canon took a more minimalist approach to lens design with the 35mm F1.8 Macro, which is a more general-purpose lens. As more and more lenses are added to the system, we anticipate seeing a growing selection of lenses designed to accommodate a diverse range of users and applications.

Making the switch to full-frame mirrorless isn’t only about making smaller camera systems, though that is one benefit.

In other words, Canon does not regard a change to full-frame mirrorless as a method of generating overall smaller systems as its primary motivation for making the switch. It is more important to consider what the system can provide in terms of optics, functionality, and operation, as well as how different combinations may be matched to a variety of applications and users.

Other things to take into account

When Canon was conceptualizing the RF mount, it took into consideration a number of additional restrictions that were inherent in the EF system, which has been around for thirty years. To be more specific, there are restrictions placed on the rate at which information may be transmitted between the lens and the camera, as well as a restricted number of channels via which such information can be transmitted.

Image stabilization processing that is more sophisticated is possible thanks to the increased bandwidth that the RF mount provides for data. In order to more effectively adjust for vibrations, the integrated Digic 8 processor of the EOS R is now able to read more specific information from a lens gyro and compare it in real-time against blur observed on the image sensor.

The EOS R features a Digital Lens Optimizer (DLO) engine that helps to digitally battle lens aberrations and diffraction. The increased speed of the mount helps the DLO engine in this regard as well. In addition, the camera body no longer needs to search for DLO data in a database because it is now provided by the lens.

M-Fn Bar

The M-Fn Bar is a completely novel control point that was introduced for Canon cameras. It is possible to operate a set of customizable functions by swiping and/or tapping, but it does not give any sort of tactile input to the user.

Although we are not quite sold on the idea, which is very similar to Apple’s Touchbar, it is possible that certain users may find it to be helpful. On the next page, we will go into the specifics of its functions and how they are used.

C-Raw

The C-Raw format was initially introduced on Canon’s entry-level EOS M50 camera, and it has since made its way into the EOS R. The C-Raw files are around 40 percent smaller than conventional Canon Raw files, and you won’t notice any deterioration in quality unless you push your files by many stops. C-Raw files may be downloaded here. We recommend that you keep C-Raw enabled to conserve space on both your hard drive and memory card unless you are working on something that is of the utmost importance.

Updated video

The EOS R is capable of recording video in 4K resolution, which is something that users might anticipate from a camera that was introduced in 2018. However, if you look into it more, you will see that it is not the most intriguing implementation.

It has a maximum frame rate of 30 frames per second and a crop factor of 1.83, which makes it difficult to record wide-angle film. Additionally, it exhibits very significant rolling shutter aberrations. During recording, the Dual Pixel AF may be utilized, which is a definite benefit.

Body and Handling

When you first pick up the EOS R, you are greeted with a favorable initial impression. The grip is pleasant to hold, and the camera as a whole has an incredibly robust feel. After having it in our hands and putting it through its paces for a while, the results of our shooting with it have been all over the place.

Key takeaways

  • The body seems to be in good shape.
  • Concerns with dials, buttons, and the M-Fn Bar in general in terms of its ergonomics
  • Supposedly weather-sealed to the same specifications as the EOS 6D Mark II
  • Battery life comparable to that of Canon’s earlier full-frame DSLRs
  • You will incur an extra cost of $190 to purchase the necessary adaptor for USB charging.
  • One-handed and two-handed operations are also possible.

Although the placement of the front dial appears to be quite similar to that of the dial on existing DSLRs, some of the photographers working in the office found it to be more difficult to access. There was also a significant divide regarding how easy it was to use the camera’s rear dial. The difference in opinion appears to be based on whether the user-supported the weight of the camera with their left hand, freeing up the right hand to operate the controls, or whether they tried to both grip the camera and operate it with their right hand.

It does not appear that a strategy that is right-hand dominant will be successful (you can either operate the dials or grip the camera firmly, but not both). However, if you choose to utilize the other way, which involves cradling the lens with your left hand, it will be tough to place the AF point using your left thumb on the back screen.

Sealing Off the Weather

Canon claims that the body has the same level of weather sealing as their 6D Mark II. Weather sealing is always more of a marketing promise than a trustworthy quality. Manufacturers don’t specify ingress protection criteria, and warranties often don’t cover moisture damage, so it’s difficult to believe this claim beyond anecdotal confirmation.

Our contribution to those tales is the fact that we had viewfinder fogging when shooting with a camera in an area that included a lot of moisture.

AF point placement

The EOS R utilizes its two control dials in order to place the AF point by default. To do so, you must first click the AF point button located on the rear of the camera, and then spin the front dial in order to scroll left and right, and the rear dial in order to scroll up and down. When you adjust the camera, though, you open up the possibility of using various approaches.

There are two quicker techniques to set the AF point available in the settings of the camera. You can move your chosen AF point or region around by using the cardinal points of the rear controller if you set the four-way controller to ‘Direct AF point selection’ under ‘Customize Buttons’ (Tab 5 of the Custom Fn menu). This is possible if you set the four-way controller to ‘Direct AF point selection’ Due to the fact that it passes through each unique AF position, this method of operation is laborious yet accurate.

The other option is to activate the “Touch & drag AF settings” feature, which can be found in Tab 1 of the AF menu. While keeping one eye on the viewfinder, this feature enables you to tap or drag the autofocus (AF) point using the touchscreen, depending on whether you have selected the ‘absolute’ or relative placement option. In order to avoid the inadvertent operation of the device, you can deactivate a portion of the rear screen.

M-Fn Bar

The M-Fn Bar, which is located directly next to the viewfinder on the EOS R, is one of the most distinguishing aspects of this camera. This touch bar may be configured to perform the functions of two buttons and control that can be swiped, allowing you to scroll through the options that you select.

The ‘Safety Lock’ function, which renders the pad inoperable until you hold it continuously for two seconds, is the behavior that is enabled by default. The ability to disable this lock is contingent on whether you have assigned a function to which you require continuous access or only occasional access.

Battery

Batteries of the LP-E6N kind were utilized in the EOS R, just as they were in other recent high-end Canon cameras. The earlier LP-E6 batteries that do not have the N suffix can still be used, however, doing so will result in shorter battery life and remove the option to charge the batteries while they are still in the camera.

The battery in the EOS R may be charged through the USB C connector that is built into the camera. It is not compatible with all chargers, and Canon suggests that you make use of its very own PD-E1 USB adapter rather than any other charger; nonetheless, the list price for this accessory is $190.

If you have previously linked the camera to a charger that is not compatible with it, the camera will not charge when connected to a computer through USB because it looks to have a security function, or it might be a fault. Before putting a USB C charger through its paces, it is imperative that you first reset the device by removing the battery and then replacing it.

Controls and Customization

Anyone who has used a Canon DSLR or EOS M camera within the past few years will find that the majority of the menus and many parts of the EOS R’s UI are instantly recognizable to them. There is a good degree of customization accessible as well; but, as compared to the offers of rivals, the available customization possibilities appear to be increasingly limited.

In contrast to the familiarity of the user interface, there are features of the physical controls that are a departure for Canon, and some users on staff weren’t too pleased with them. The user interface is quite straightforward and easy to use.

Key takeaways

  • There are a lot of programmable buttons on the EOS R, however, some of those buttons’ customization possibilities are really limiting, which may be very aggravating.
  • No more adjustments may be made to the Q menu.
  • The option to register and remember custom shooting settings is not provided, which makes it more difficult to swap focusing lenses quickly.
  • The M.Fn bar is very modifiable, but the vast majority of users won’t find much use for it.

The majority of the buttons on the camera, including REC, M-Fn, the LCD Illumination button, Mode, AF-ON, AEL, and Lens, are programmable to perform one of 38 different purposes. If the dial is rotated while the AF-ON, AEL, and Lens buttons are kept down, it is also possible to configure the buttons to alter the ISO or the exposure compensation. Additionally, two new settings that pertain to the top plate LCD have been added to the Illumination button.

Other control options

The directional points, the AF point button, and the Set button on the four-way controller each have the potential to be programmed with 24 different purposes (generally losing the options you might need to press while also pressing the shutter).

In addition to this, the depth-of-field preview and button+dial Exposure Comp settings have been added to the Set button.

Personalization of the Dial Function

The ‘Dial Function’ option may be set to pretty much any of the buttons on the camera. This brings up a menu with many options, which may be navigated through by scrolling the rear dial; the front dial allows you to go through the values that are available for each parameter.

The Dial Function list may be personalized to contain up to five options that the user wants to have rapid access to, and each of these options can be organized in whatever order the user chooses.

Auto ISO and various displays on the screen

You have the ability to select both the maximum and minimum ISO values for the EOS R to utilize when operating in Auto ISO mode. You also have the option to specify the minimum shutter speed at which the camera will operate before it starts to increase the ISO.

This can be automatically tied to the shutter speed, and depending on whether you’re more concerned about overcoming handshake or you’re attempting to prevent blurring from subject movement, you may be prejudiced to choose a faster or slower shutter speed than 1/focal length. Alternately, you have the option of manually setting the shutter speed.

You have the option of using auto ISO when shooting in manual exposure mode, which allows you to select a shutter speed and aperture value and then have the camera utilize ISO to maintain the appropriate level of brightness. Altering the target brightness can also be accomplished through the use of exposure compensation. This is something that applies to both still photographs and videos.

If you set ISO to a dial or lens control ring, or assign Auto ISO to the M-Fn Bar, the ‘Auto’ option won’t be available until the metering timer has run out of its allotted time. This was an unanticipated bug in the system.

This waiting game is comparable to the behavior that is set as the default for Auto Exposure Lock on Canon cameras; however, the fact that you may still select it from the touchscreen results in an uncomfortably inconsistent experience.

When you are shooting with the EOS R, you have access to a wide variety of display options, such as information about the exposure, a histogram, an electronic level, and the option for a ‘clutter-free’ display of only the live feed. This is helpful when you are trying to be careful with your composition. However, you should be aware that it is not possible to display both the electronic level and the histogram at the same time.

Image quality

The actual world is full of a wide variety of textures, colors, and sorts of details, which our test scene attempts to replicate. In addition to that, it features two modes of illumination, so you can witness the effect of various lighting circumstances.

Key takeaways

  • Raw performance is very equivalent to that of the EOS 5D Mark IV, which also has a 30MP sensor and is otherwise extremely similar.
  • Performance in terms of high ISO noise in Raw remains around one-stop below that of the Sony a7 III.
  • The ‘Standard’ JPEG profile has been modified by increasing the sharpening strength, boosting the reds, and making the yellows a little less appealing.
  • The Canon RF 50mm F1.2L will serve as our primary studio lens for Canon RF cameras until a native 85mm prime Raw lens with comparable performance is made available.

There is no disputing that the EOS R appears to have a “crisper” appearance compared to the 5D Mark IV; nevertheless, this is solely attributable to the utilization of Canon’s newest RF 50mm F1.2L lens for this evaluation. We were able to confirm, with the assistance of DPR member Jack Hogan, that the anti-aliasing filter found in the EOS R is of a strength comparable to that found in the 5D Mark IV. Aliasing occurs more often across the scene as a direct result of the employment of this sharper lens.

Once the ISO values begin to increase, the EOS R exhibits noise levels that are comparable to those of the other Canons, but its performance is still roughly a full stop below that of the Sony a7 III and the higher resolution a7R III. This remains true even at higher ISO settings, such as 25600 and beyond. The ‘dual gain design’ found in newer Sony sensors is at least partially responsible for this phenomenon.

The performance of JPEG

Canon’s JPEG colors continue to be one of the company’s strongest points, with richer reds that approach the 6D Mark II more closely than the 5D Mark IV does.

The sharpness that is applied by default in the EOS R has been increased, which is the primary change that has been made. The effect of the sharper RF lens is probably responsible for part of this, but the most important factor is that Canon has made some minor adjustments to the “Standard” image profile.

The 5D IV’s default settings for sharpness, fineness and threshold are respectively 3, 4, and 4, whereas the EOS R’s default settings are correspondingly 4, 2, and 4, for each of those categories. Even though there are fewer haloing aberrations as compared to the 5D IV, they are still apparent. This is an indication of greater radius sharpening and an algorithm that is typically less robust than Sony’s.

In terms of the preservation of details, the noise reduction on the EOS R does not appear to have significantly improved. In comparison to its stablemates, edges actually start to appear softer, although looking stronger in Raw and low-ISO JPEGs; this leaves it farther behind Sony’s current algorithm.

When contrasted with the EF 85mm F1.8 USM

According to what is written in our studio scene guide, we do all in our power to employ lenses of our own brand that have a focal length of around 85 millimeters. However, the focal length is not an inflexible rule, and when there is a strong reason to do so, we may occasionally employ different lenses with focal lengths ranging from 50mm to 100mm.

In addition, we make every effort to employ lenses that are designed specifically for a certain mount rather than adding an adapter to the system, which introduces an extra possibility of the system not being properly aligned.

Since one of the advantages of the RF mount is the freedom it gives manufacturers to create superior optics, we reasoned that it would be prudent to compare the RF 50mm F1.2L to the EF 85mm F1.8 USM, which has been of great assistance to us in validating EF-mount cameras in the past.

The fact that it is a native lens, in addition to its slightly improved performance and consistent sharpness across the frame, is sufficient to convince us to utilize the 50mm F1.2L as our regular lens for the RF mount until an 85mm becomes available.

In the meanwhile, this comparison should make it possible for you to evaluate which discrepancies may be attributed to different lenses and which represent variances in the performance of different cameras.

Autofocus

Since we initially had a look at the EOS R, Canon has implemented a number of significant improvements to the camera’s focusing mechanism. The functionality and performance of firmware version v1.6 are evaluated on this page.

Key takeaways

  • Even at the fastest burst speeds, the focusing system delivers a remarkable performance overall.
  • Single AF is now the industry leader in terms of its low-light capabilities because of its speed and accuracy.
  • Even with a short depth of field, eye detection works exceptionally well.

When working with faraway targets and telephoto lenses, autofocus tracking in continuous or servo AF performs exceptionally well; nonetheless, unexpected hunting might cause the photographer to miss images.

It takes far too long to move your AF region with the 4-way controller, although using the touchpad AF helps make up for this in certain ways.

The most efficient approach to utilize AF tracking is to set an initial AF point, and the camera will use this to dependably track the face and eyes of the subject you have chosen.

A good buffer, although its maximum burst rate is quite modest in comparison to that of its contemporaries

The EOS R employs Canon’s Dual Pixel AF technology, which is distinguished by the fact that each pixel on the sensor is composed of two photodiodes that are positioned behind a single microlens. This will give you one-half pixel that looks to the left, and one-half pixel that looks to the right.

By contrasting the two distinct perspectives offered by the left- and right-facing photos, the focusing system is given a sense of the distance between itself and the subject.

You have the option of selecting any of the camera’s 5655 autofocus points, which span the entirety of the sensor’s height and the majority of its breadth. This affords a far wider degree of compositional freedom than is immediately attainable with a DSLR.

AF point control

There are primarily four different ways that the point might be positioned. The first method is to click the AF Point button and then scroll the dials, with one dial scrolling vertically and the other dial scrolling horizontally, similar to what you would do with a Canon DSLR.

The second approach involves pressing a direction on the four-way controller after first pressing the AF Point button. This method moves the AF location with higher accuracy than the first method.

The touchscreen is utilized in both of the additional ways that the AF point may be set. You have the option of tapping the area where you wish to put the autofocus point, or you may utilize the rear screen as a trackpad when the camera is brought up to your eye.

This second option referred to as “Touch and drag,” may be configured such that a swipe either moves the point relative to its present location or positions the AF point exactly where you tap on the screen. To prevent accidental actions from being taken, the user can deactivate specific parts of the display screen.

AF area modes

The EOS R features a variety of AF area modes, ranging from the relatively hands-off “Face + Tracking” option to the ability to pick individual points manually. The other modes simply change the dimensions and contours of the AF point in order to accommodate your topic and the degree to which you believe you will be able to maintain the region you have selected over your subject.

When using the 1-point mode, you may move the point to any of the 143 available places by scrolling the dials (a 13 x 11 array). The four-way controller may be nudged to move on a grid that is finer, measuring 87 by 65 positions, so that the entire 5655 points can be accessed. This second technique is, of course, a lot slower than the first one, which is why it could be preferable for fine-tuning that first-point pick.

The Face + Tracking option is far more automatic than the other modes. By default, it will select a face to use if it can locate any suitable candidates. If there isn’t a face in the scene, it will just choose anything else that’s close by and place it towards the middle of the picture to focus on instead. If you tap anywhere on the screen, it will follow whatever you have selected.

After you touch on the screen, there may be a delay of up to two seconds before the first green box is replaced by the white bracketed ‘in focus’ tracking target. This delay may occur even if you have a fast enough device. Even though the camera will already be following the topic, there will be a considerable delay before you are able to capture a picture of it.

This latency may be almost eliminated by using the “Continuous AF” mode of the camera, which tells the device to always try to remain approximately in focus, even when it is not being used to take photographs.

Tracking of the autofocus system

Changing the parameter in the menu labeled “AF 5|Initial Servo AF pt for Face + Tracking” is the approach to subject tracking that we recommend the most. By default, it is set to “Auto,” but altering it enables you to select an initial AF point for tracking mode. This point can be unique to the Tracking mode, or it might be one that is shared with the other single-point AF modes. Because of this, you are able to establish the AF point in advance, as opposed to doing it after the subject has already been captured in the frame.

Again, setting an initial point prevents the camera from delaying the focus by around two seconds and causes it to begin following your subject as soon as you half-press the shutter button. Working in this manner eliminates the requirement to make use of the power-hungry “Continuous AF” feature. In addition, we discovered that the tracking that was initiated using this method was more reliable than the tapping-to-track version.

When you begin tracking a target and aim it at a face or extremely close to one, the tracking feature will employ face detection to sustain its tracking, which makes it less likely to become distracted by other items in the environment.

Face / Eye detection

Pupil Detection is Canon’s name for eye detection, and it comes as an additional feature that is included with the EOS R’s tracking mode. Face detection is an essential component of this mode. When you select Face + Tracking mode from the Q menu, you may activate this feature by pressing the “Info” button on your controller.

There is a mistake in the UI that might be misleading, and it is still there in firmware version 1.6. Because of this, it can be a bit difficult to tell if Eye AF is active or not. When the camera says “[Info: Eye] Enable,” it actually means “Enabled,” so when you’re first getting used to the camera, you’ll need to keep in mind that this isn’t an instruction to press the Info button in order to enable the function; it’s already on. When the camera says “[Info: Eye] Enable,” it actually means “Enabled.”

You are able to choose which face in a scene to concentrate on by touching on its position on the back screen. This allows you to indicate that the autofocus tracking should begin on a certain individual.

Autofocus performance

The performance of the AF Tracking mode is excellent, in particular, if it is configured to begin tracking from a previously selected beginning AF point. The camera is one of the most trustworthy systems in terms of remaining focused on the topic that you have selected, and it is lightning fast when it comes to acquiring a subject.

The camera has a rather low continuous shooting rate, which is the larger limitation on its effectiveness as a sports and action camera; nonetheless, our prior testing shows that it is successful at pushing the lenses to the right depth as well as retaining its lock on a moving subject. Because the viewfinder only displays a slideshow of the action at 5 frames per second, it might be difficult to keep track of what is going on.

We were able to see some occasional focus hunting when we initially tested the camera, but unfortunately, we are unable to retest the tracking at this time to determine whether or not it still exhibits this behavior.

Face/Eye detection

With firmware version 1.6, the EOS R is now able to distinguish eyes even when the face that is captured in the picture is relatively small. This expands the EOS R’s applicability to a greater variety of scenarios.

It takes very little time to locate an eye, and once it does, it will persistently maintain its concentration there. Even if it is unable to see the person’s eye, it will maintain its concentration on the face of the subject.

Additionally, the camera has a high level of tolerance for the person turning their back on it. We discovered that the camera would continue to keep its lock on a person even if the individual turned their back to the camera. As long as they remain within the viewfinder’s confines and do not turn more than about ninety degrees away from the camera, the system will continue to identify them as the subject it is supposed to be following.

Even when dealing with a very narrow depth of field, it seems like the precision of the focus is good. However, despite the fact that the camera is quite capable of recognizing eyeballs even in persons who are donning glasses, we discovered that it had a tendency to focus on the frames of the glasses rather than the eyes themselves.

We also discovered that the camera will occasionally stop recognizing eyes and revert to face detection in the middle of a series of images. This was another issue we encountered. The outcomes and hit rate are satisfactory enough for us to consider it our preferred method of shooting photographs, nonetheless.

Video

The EOS R is the first camera from Canon to be capable of utilizing Dual Pixel autofocus while simultaneously recording 4K video. Even while this suggests that consumers will have an easier time capturing video that is in focus, there are still a great many additional considerations to take into account.

Key takeaways

  • 4K video recording at 30 frames per second with dual pixel autofocus
  • Recording in Full HD @ 60 frames per second to get a smoother or slower motion effect
  • Due to the fact that 4K recording crops in by a ratio of 1.8, it is impossible to shoot wide-angle footage with the majority of lenses.
  • The flip-around screen is beneficial for vlogging, however, the crop factor makes this feature less useful.
  • There is no internal image stabilizer.

A digital IS that has been enabled crops somewhat further, whereas a digital IS that has been upgraded crops in much further.

When shooting in 4K, a significant amount of rolling shutter might result in a “Jello effect,” often known as unsteady footage.

Maintaining a healthy battery life when recording video

When shooting in 4K, the Canon EOS R suffers from the same severe aspect ratio reduction as its predecessor, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. Although it is possible to locate lenses, particularly EF-S lenses designed for the company’s crop-sensor DSLRs, that will enable you to shoot at fairly wide angles with the EOS R, this presents a unique challenge for photographers who use their cameras for a combination of still photography and videography. It just isn’t feasible for a lot of folks to have to switch lenses whenever they switch from shooting stills to shooting video.

Even while we found the EOS R to have incredibly appealing color output, it does not do well as a video camera due to the fact that there are a number of things working against it. Even with a stabilized lens, it might be challenging to obtain smooth hand-held footage and to maintain a straight horizon when you do not have a camera that has an in-body stabilizer.

The rolling shutter is quite obvious to the naked eye. The digital image stabilizer has a discernible blurring effect on the output and introduces artifacts into the four corners of your video. Unfortunately, the capture aids aren’t all that fantastic either. Once you begin recording, you will no longer have the opportunity to view a histogram, and you will not be able to locate any zebra exposure warnings.

It just isn’t feasible for a lot of folks to have to switch lenses whenever they switch from shooting stills to shooting video.

On the bright side, we discovered that the battery life was excellent even when we were recording video. If you need to ramp your aperture up or down, it does so gradually (some rivals still move in 1/3-stop “jumps,” which may be unsettling). If you need to adjust the shutter speed, it does it gently.

In manual movie mode, you have the option of using Auto ISO in conjunction with exposure compensation. This enables you to choose your desired shutter speed and aperture while also allowing the camera to adjust its gain according to the conditions of the scene.

You have the ability to record video internally at extremely high bitrates (even if the usefulness of this feature is debatable due to the blurry video), and you also have the capability to export 10-bit Log film, which enables you to make the most of the camera’s dynamic range.

Even while we are glad to discover that Dual Pixel AF has been implemented for 4K photography in the EOS R, even this capability is defective, and when we used autofocus, we saw more hunting than we would have expected.

Overall, it is not easy to suggest the EOS R to most video shooters because of its limitations. In spite of this, diehard vloggers may find that the combination of 4K video, dual pixel AF, and a flip-forward screen appeals to them. Furthermore, the very affordable EF-S glass enables them to acquire a view that is sufficiently wide-angle.

Video quality

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s examine the EOS R in front of our studio setting. Bear in mind that this does not make it feasible for us to evaluate things like rolling shutter or the efficiency and efficacy of the video codec. However, it does make it possible for us to examine how the camera is sampling the scene and the greatest amount of detail that can be captured.

It is important to point out that when shooting in 4K mode, the EOS R has a crop factor of 1.8, making it more comparable to an APS-C or Super 35 camera than a full frame camera. In point of fact, it employs a sensor area that is most analogous to that of the Panasonic GH5S. When considering your camera’s depth-of-field and how well it performs in low light, it is essential to keep this context in mind.

Although the most notable feature of the EOS R is its ability to maintain adequate focusing when shooting in 4K, we cannot gloss over the fact that the camera’s 4K footage is somewhat grainy. When shooting with a full-frame sensor, the Nikon Z7 isn’t much better than other cameras, exhibiting a lot of stair-stepping abnormalities. However, when the camera is set to APS-C mode, things are significantly improved.

However, because both the Sony a7 III and the Fujifilm X-T3 capture oversampled video prior to downsampling it to 4K output, the EOS R is simply unable to match the amount of detail that these two other cameras offer.

Your film will appear softer if you use digital image stabilization in 4K, which is a similar effect to the one we observed for the first time with the EOS M50. If you utilize advanced picture stabilization, you will see that the impact is more obvious.

Because the EOS R does not come with image stabilization built into the body of the camera, it is up to the user to decide if the fuzziness and artifacts generated by digital stabilization are worth the trade-off of having smoother footage.

The 1080p output of the EOS R appears to be fairly competitive when compared to that of the Nikon Z7 and offers slightly better detail than that of the Sony a7 III; however, the Fujifilm X-T3 continues to lead the pack and makes use of a larger sensor region than the Canon, which is likely to perform better in low light.

Canon EOS R Specifications

Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Sensor
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
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
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
File formatJPEGRaw (14-bit Canon CRW)C-Raw (Canon compressed Raw)
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points5655
Lens mountCanon RF
Focal length multiplier
Screen / viewfinder
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
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Exposure modesProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManual
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe)
Flash X sync speed1/200 sec
Drive modesSingleHigh-speed continuousLow-speed continuousSelf-timer
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)
Videography features
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
Storage typesSD card (UHS-II supported)
Connectivity
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)
Physical
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″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
GPSNone

Overall conclusion

The EOS R is Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera, and because it features a tried-and-true sensor as well as excellent color output, it is capable of generating images of very high quality.

However, there are many full-frame cameras out on the market today that are able to produce really beautiful images. Therefore, the process of getting to those photographs is becoming an increasingly crucial factor to take into consideration. In this regard, the EOS R falls short of expectations.

The EOS R’s ergonomics leave a lot to be desired, which is surprising coming from a Canon camera. In its current configuration, the M.Fn Bar is an unnecessary component. The rear dial is not recessed enough, the buttons are too soft, they do not provide adequate feedback, and the arrangement of the buttons on the body of the camera is questionable. The available customization possibilities are perplexing; although there is a lot of leeway in certain areas, there are restrictions in other areas that are quite annoying.

There are also some problems with the program and the user interface. If you are utilizing something called “evaluative metering,” you could discover that your exposure varies widely from picture to shot, even though the lighting and the composition are relatively identical.

Even if you have that option selected in the options, during playback you will not be able to rapidly zoom to the AF point that was utilized (though a double-tap on the touchscreen will zoom in to wherever you tap).

The EOS R’s usability issues may be fixed with a firmware update (and previous upgrades have made a significant improvement to the camera’s ability to autofocus), but for the time being, the user is left with an experience that is noticeably rough around the edges.

Many of the usability issues that we have seen with the EOS R might be resolved with a software update.

The EOS R also struggles to differentiate itself from the competition in terms of the features it offers and the performance it delivers. The burst rates are not very outstanding, and the rolling shutter flaws make the quiet electronic shutter option less helpful than it could be.

The on-sensor Dual Pixel Autofocus system is capable of incredible accuracy in Single AF and down to very low light levels; however, the performance in Servo (continuous) AF can be disappointing, with random hunting ruining some of our shots. In Single AF, the system can focus down to very low light levels.

And in terms of video, its high-bitrate 4K footage with exquisite color reproduction is handicapped by a considerable crop factor and slightly low-detail capture. This is the case despite the fact that the film is captured in 4K.

In the end, it’s probably best to look at the EOS R as a case study for the future benefits of the RF system. All of the native lenses that have been released up to this point are of extremely high quality, and Canon offers a total of three different EF lens adapters that you can choose from depending on your requirements.

Unfortunately, we have a hard time recommending the EOS R to a wider audience, with the possible exception of existing Canon consumers who are searching for a second, lighter full-frame camera.

Because, in the end, the Canon EOS R is unquestionably capable of taking stunning photographs; however, while doing so, it frequently distracted us and took us away from the process of taking photographs, as opposed to becoming an invisible component of the process itself, as the very best cameras do.

Pros & Cons

Good For
  • Dual Pixel Autofocus enables fine focusing of the camera’s
  • Using adapters for the EF-EOS R, you can achieve near-seamless compatibility with EF and EF-S lenses.
  • Colors and JPEGs that are pleasing to the eye Comfortable grip
  • The 30MP sensor has a broad dynamic range and is able to work well in low light.
Need Improvement
  • Neither the dynamic range nor the noise performance is up to par with the competitors.
  • a not very amazing rate of fire during bursts
  • The 4K mode exhibits a noticeable amount of rolling shutter.
  • The 4K video standard has a hefty 1.8x cut.
  • Options for personalization that are inconsistent and unfairly restricted
  • Some users may be put off by the awkward and poor ergonomics.

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