Canon EOS R Mirrorless System

Hot on the Heels of Nikon, Canon Announces Its Own Full Frame Mirrorless System. The EOS R.

Canon EOS R Mirrorless System

It's only been two weeks since Nikon Announced the Nikon Z-system of mirrorless cameras and here come Canon. The new Canon EOS R Mirrorless System features include (but check out my wow/grrr section below):

  • New RF-mount lens system
  • 30.3 effective megapixel CMOS sensor
  • Digic 8 processor
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    New Dot-matrix LCD panel
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    ISO range of 50-102,400
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    8fps continuous shooting (100 max-quality JPEGs, 47 RAW, 78 C-RAW)
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    Dual Pixel CMOS AF phase detection system
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    Super fast 0.05 second AF (currently the fastest in the world)
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    AF works up to F11
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    Working range of EV -6 (with f1.2 lenses)
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    Shutter lag 50 milliseconds
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    Start up time 0.9 seconds
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    Sensor self cleaning, dust deletion data, face detection AF, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a USB 3.1 terminal, LP-E6N battery compatibility (up to 560 shots per charge), USB charging...
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    Available in October 2018 for an estimated retail price of $2299 for the body only
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    Body-and-lens kit with the new RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM lens for $3399

The camera, although sporting a new lens mount system, will still support all your EF and EF-S lenses. Canon's RF cameras will come with a choice of four lenses at launch and 3 optional adapters (starting at $99).

New Canon RF Lenses

RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM

This lens comes with "Nano USM Image Stabiliser" for 5 stops of correction. It also utilises Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF with a high speed autofocus within 0.05 seconds.

The Nano USM gives high speed autofocus for shooting stills and silky smooth autofocus when shooting video. A real plus for those of us who love to shoot video as well as stills.

RF50mm F1.2 L USM

A stunning lens with wide aperture giving high quality images even wide open. Close shooting comes in at a minimum focusing distance of 40cm or 1.3ft.

RF28-70 F2 L USM

I would rather this was the old 24-70 range but it is still a beautiful lens. It has a large wide aperture of F2 with great edge to edge resolution giving similar quality to that of primes.

RF35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM Prime Lens

Compact, lightweight, high performance macro lens giving a stunning bokeh (background blur).

Focusing

The focus screen gives smaller distances between AF points. This allows you to set the focal point almost anywhere on the screen making composition easier.

Maximum Available AF points:
  • Manual: 5655 positions
  • Auto: 143
Canon EOS R Mirrorless System

Ok, at first glance, this camera looks superb. Like Nikon, the styling and design is nice and it is a significant step for Canon into the mirrorless world. However, what appeals to me and what makes me sigh in despair?

Things that Wow! me...

Touch and Drag Autofocus

Wow, this is new!

Whilst looking through the viewfinder, you simply touch the rear screen and then drag the focus point to whatever it is you want in focus. Now that I like and it will be amazing for things like weddings and portraits...anything in fact.

Canon EOS R Mirrorless System

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Lenses With a Dedicated Control Ring

This is huge. Being able to control, via the viewfinder, a number of internal settings from the lens is fantastic. I must admit I had this feature on a very old Sony Handycam back in 2006 so it isn't new. However, it is new to this type of camera.

I must say I used the control ring a LOT and loved the feature back then so this is great. Well done Canon. You can adjust, via the EVF, using the control ring:

  • Tv (shutter speed)
  • Av (aperture)
  • ISO
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    Exposure compensation

Trust me, this is really handy.

Multi Function Bar

This is a lovely feature and one that will no doubt be welcomed by many!

Just to the right of the viewfinder, you have a small, touch bar. It is located to be easily used by your thumb. This bar can be used to set and adjust certain camera settings quickly and easily. Nice touch Canon (pun intended).

Canon EOS R Mirrorless System

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Dot Matrix LCD Panel

Nice one to both Canon and Nikon for breaking away from the antiquated panels of old.

Fully Articulating Screen
Canon EOS R Mirrorless System

Nice one again Canon! This is what the 5D Mark IV needed considering the 80D already had it, although I can understand why they leave them off some of the more "pro" cameras. This is a good move for Canon which helps greatly when:

  • Filming yourself (vlogging, doing reviews etc)
  • Shooting at crazy angles

Yes, Nikon's Z-system mirrorless cameras have a moveable rear screen but only just.

C-LOG Included

Well done again. Not used by everyone but for those that do, this is great. Not having to pay an additional fee for C-LOG (like Panasonic) is a bonus.

Focus Peaking

Yay! About time. Focus peaking adds variously coloured edges to parts of the image you are shooting to let you know you have focussed locked on. Especially handy for video work.

MP4 Video Format

Finally Canon have dropped the "weighty" MJPEG in favour of the much-easier-to-work-with MP4 format. Good.

4K HDMI Output

Thankfully Canon have allowed a full, 10-bit, uncompressed UHD 4K output to external monitors. In this regards, and a few others, this kicks the 5D Mark IV's ass!

Things that Grrr! me...

4K Video at a max 30fps and 1080p at 60fps

Ok, this isn't a biggie for stills shooters but in this day and age, 30/60fps is poor.

My new Samsung Galaxy Note 9 can shoot lovely 4K at 60fps. It can also shoot 720p at a whopping 960fps (albeit for just 0.4 seconds but still...). It can also shoot 1080p at either 240 or 120 fps full resolution so come on guys, sort it out!

Single Card Slot (SD/SDHC/SDXC)

I get it that people say we never had it before and everything was fine. Modern memory cards are super-reliable and unlikely to fail, plus they have huge capacities. However, when you get used to:

  • Hot-swapping cards for long video work
  • Shooting different media to each card
  • Having huge capacity before needing to change cards (especially for 4K video)

It is hard to go back to the old ways. This is a real bust for both Canon and Nikon IMHO.

No IBIS (in body image stabilisation)

Not a huge biggie for me but it will be for Vloggers and the like. These days, this could be seen as a glaring omission as once again, even my Note 9 has image stabilisation (on both built in lenses)!

Low Pass Filter Still There

Boo! I think this still shows in the sample images below. A very slight degradation in image quality although a quick sharpen will do the trick. This can also be set "in-camera" so no real biggie.

My Thoughts

I think for video...no, not for me. However, as a backup camera to my Canon 5D Mark IV for weddings, portraits and commercial work, this is superb. It could easily become a main camera if the image quality is up to par (sorry Mark IV). The silent electronic shutter is great for weddings and all the other features are just boss!

I can live without the second card slot and the price seems pretty good so I reckon this could well be added to my arsenal. That is once I have seen some real stills samples from early reviewers.

Overall, I am really impressed and am once again excited about the future for Canon cameras!

Sample Images (click for full size)

Canon EOS R Mirrorless System Sample Image 1

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Canon EOS R Mirrorless System Sample Image 2

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Canon EOS R Mirrorless System Sample Image 3

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Canon EOS R Mirrorless System Sample Image 4

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Canon EOS R Mirrorless System Sample Image 5

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Canon EOS R Mirrorless System Specifications


You can see the full Canon RF Mirrorless specifications here.

Edit: As per the Facebook question below...

Canon EOS R vs Canon 5D Mark IV Specs

It is a good question as I think many people will be asking the same. Which is better, the Canon EOS R or the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. Overall, and on paper, the EOS R wins hands down but the proof will be in the user reviews and image quality. From both stills and video.

Once the lenses are properly put through their paces and real time feedback comes back from those actually using the camera in the field, we will know more. If you are on the fence as to which one to buy, I feel for you. Both cameras are excellent and I love the Mark IV.

However, if I was choosing a new camera from scratch or upgrading from something way older, I would be seriously tempted by the Canon EOS R. Here are the main differences in specs:

  • Sensor = the same
  • Resolution = the same
  • Low pass filter = the same
  • Image size = the same
  • Viewfinder coverage and magnification = the same
  • Video crop factor = the same
  • Processor = better on the R
  • Buffer capacity = better on the R
  • Shooting speed = better on the R (8fps vs 7fps)
  • Max focus points = better on the R (5655 vs 61)
  • AF detection range = better on the R by 3 stops
  • Smallest AF detection aperture = better on the R (f11 vs f8)
  • HDMI output = better on the R (10-bit vs 8-bit)
  • LCD rear screen = better on the R (tilting vs non-tilting)
  • LCD resolution = better on the R (2.1m vs 1.62m)
  • Bluetooth = better on the R (yes vs no)
  • Battery life = better on the 5D Mark IV
  • Storage media = better on the 5D Mark IV (2 cards vs 1 card)

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Press Release

EVOLUTION MEETS REVOLUTION AS CANON ANNOUNCES THE ALL-NEW EOS R SYSTEM

Optical Innovation Inspires the Next Leap Forward in Imaging

MELVILLE, N.Y., September 5, 2018 - Canon U.S.A. Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced the next revolution in the company’s long history of innovative and award-winning camera systems, the EOS R system featuring the newly designed RF mount. Recognizing the need to advance optical design, the Company sought to create a versatile and powerful new system that supports all current EF, EF-S, TS-E and MP-E lenses(i), and also provides the optical advancements and engineering flexibility to build upon for years to come.

When Canon set forth to develop a new interchangeable lens camera system, they focused on three core optical principles: high-image quality, high-specification performance, and compact design. Recognizing that optics is the foundation for any camera system, the RF mount was conceived to open new doors in optical design.

Canon’s new RF mount features the same size diameter as the EF mount (54mm) and shorter back focus distance. This allows for lenses to sit closer to the sensor (the focal plane) and allowed Canon optical engineers to re-imagine lens design utilizing larger rear lens elements to produce an image on the full-frame sensor.

This new optical formula has paved the way for higher performing lenses. In addition, the Canon RF mount features a high-speed 12-pin communication system that provides faster and more in-depth communication between the camera and lens over existing Canon mount systems.

The EOS R system is designed for full, uninhibited compatibility with all existing EF, EF-S, TS-E and MP-E lenses through the use of mount adapters(ii). In addition, through the use of the optional Drop-In Filter Mount Adapter or Control Ring Mount Adapter these lenses, in fact, gain functionality.

“There has never been a time in history in which visual expression has been so prolific. Imaging, both still and video, are the communication mediums of today’s society. Much in the same way we learned to type in the past, today’s youth are skilled in shooting, editing, and visual storytelling in ways that only the masters of each craft were decades ago,” said Kazuto Ogawa, president and chief operating officer, Canon U.S.A., Inc.

"Knowing this, we needed to step back and design a system that delivers all the creative expression and functionality today’s youth crave, now and in the years to come.”

The First in a New System: The EOS R

The new Canon EOS R full-frame mirrorless camera features a 30.3 megapixel CMOS sensor that is powered by the Company’s latest image processor, DIGIC 8, enabling shooting at up to 8.0 frames per second(iii). The new camera inherits a lot from Canon’s legacy in both EOS and Cinema EOS. Video storytellers can capture stunning 4K UHD video up to 30fps and record in 10-bit 4:2:2 (with an external recorder).

The EOS R also comes with the ability to shoot Canon Log, providing 12 stops of dynamic range, minimal loss of detail in shadows and highlighted areas and an increased range of choices when color grading. Users with an existing collection of Canon lenses will be excited to know that all EF and EF-S lens are compatible with the camera. In order to do so, photographers and videographers can choose between using one of three new mount adapters, each uniquely designed to meet the individual needs of the user.

The new Canon EOS R camera features Dual Pixel CMOS Auto Focus with 5,655 manually selectable AF points(iv), supporting AF at up to f/11 with a 384 zone (24x16) real-time metering system. With f/1.2 lenses, the camera astonishingly boasts AF sensitivity in low light in as little as EV-6. When using the RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM lens with the EOS R, the camera can focus in as little as 0.05 seconds with Dual Pixel CMOS AF(v), making it the fastest autofocus speed in the world(vi).

These features provide photographers and videographers with Canon’s most advanced AF system to date. The EOS R also features a silent shutter setting when shooting in single-shot mode; an important feature for those who need to capture imagery without disrupting the scene. An upcoming free firmware update will enable silent shutter in continuous shooting mode as well.

“The EOS R system is not just a new camera or a new lens mount, it is a new design that will allow us to produce visual tools that were previously impossible, and allow our customers to tell their stories with greater depth, richness of colour, and creative flexibility, in optically stunning ways.” states Kazuto Ogawa

Thoughts From the First Users

“I think every camera system has its place and it’s all about having the right tool for the job,” reported acclaimed outdoor photographer and Canon Explorer of Light Jimmy Chin. “The new EOS R system for me in particular is very useful for the kind of shooting that I do in the mountains, where I need to worry about the size and weight. Having the option to use the new RF lenses or the EF lenses is really great.”

“I was instantly impressed with how quickly the EOS R was able to focus,” remarked celebrated fashion photographer and Canon Explorer of Light Lindsay Adler. “Whether my subject was moving or I was shooting in near-complete darkness, I had no problem getting tack-sharp focus in every shot. It was a relief to know my gear wasn’t going to hold me back from executing my vision, but instead it would really help me to execute this vision.”

“For us, it's all about getting the shot no one else can get, and a lot of this has to do with the camera,” says Devin Graham, director and filmmaker behind YouTube’s DevinSuperTramp. “The new EOS R will become one of our main cameras. It has a very small footprint, yet is able to create amazing images. As for the lenses, the new RF 28-70mm F2 has just become one of my all-time favourites. I’ll be bringing it on every project.”.

Conveniently placed just to the right of the EVF, Canon has introduced a new Multi-Function Bar that will allows users to more easily access their customizable settings, such as AF, ISO and White Balance. Users will have the option to either slide or tap the bar to gain access to the settings and adjust on-the-go as they deem necessary depending on each particular shooting situation.

Answering the demand for enhanced mobile editing of RAW image files, Canon is also announcing a new application, Digital Photo Professional Express (DPP Express). In combination with an updated Canon Camera Connect App, DPP Express enables users to send, view, edit and process CR3 RAW files on their iPad(vii). A free download of the app will be available October 2018.

Additional noteworthy features of the EOS R Camera include:
  • RF Mount Compatible with RF Lenses and EF/EF-S Lenses
  • Built-in EVF with 3.69 Million Dots, Vari-angle Touchscreen LCD and Dot-matrix LCD Panel
  • ISO range of 100-40,000, expandable to 102,400
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    USB 3.1 in-camera charging support
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    Built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi® providing easy sharing to compatible smart devices and social media sites
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    Single UHS-II SD card slot
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    CR3(RAW/C-RAW) and Dual Pixel RAW Support
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    Dust and weather resistant

Availability and Pricing

The Canon EOS R full-frame mirrorless camera is scheduled to be available in October 2018 for an estimated retail price of $2299* for the body only. It will also be sold as a body-and-lens kit with the new RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM lens for $3399*.

(i) When attaching an EF-S lens via any of Canon’s new R-series mount adapters, the new EOS R automatically switches to APS-C crop mode.

(ii) When attaching an EF-S lens via any of Canon’s new R-series mount adapters, the new EOS R automatically switches to APS-C crop mode.

(iii) Continuous shooting speed may vary depending on the shutter speed, the aperture, the lens being used, the battery charge and various camera settings.

(iv) Available AF points may decrease when shooting with AF cropping or in movie mode, or depending on camera settings or lens attached.

(v) Based on results of AF speed tests in accordance with CIPA guidelines. Results may vary depending on shooting conditions and lens in use. Relies on internal measurement method.

Brightness at time of distance measurement: EV12(regular temperature, ISO 100)

Shooting mode: M

Lens in use: RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM, with focal distance of 24mm and live-view mode on(with manual shutter button operation

AF mode: Live single-point AF(central) and AF operation: One-shot AF

(vi) Among interchangeable lens digital mirrorless cameras incorporating 35mm full frame equivalent image sensors with phase-difference detection AF on the image plane and contrast detection AF, available in the market as of September 5th, 2018 (Based on Canon's Research).

(vii) Compatible with iPad models utilizing iOS 11 or later and equipped with at least 2GB of onboard RAM - specifically, iPad Pro (all models), iPad (5th generation), iPad (6th generation), iPad mini 4 and iPad Air 2.

*Availability, prices and specifications are subject to change without notice. Actual prices are set by individual dealers and may vary.

About the author

Nick

Professional photographer and videographer for more than 30 years and all round photography, video and gadget geek. Shooting ground and aerial wedding, stock and commercial photography (and video) in the UK and Europe.Please note: As an Amazon Associate and affiliate for other companies, I earn from qualifying purchases from some links used in this website. You don't pay any more but the commissions earned means I can keep adding to the website and offer free training etc. I.e. they pay my costs. Thank you.


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