Canon EOS R Review
|Full model name:||Canon EOS R|
(36.0mm x 24.0mm)
|Viewfinder:||EVF / LCD|
|Native ISO:||100 - 40,000|
|Extended ISO:||50 - 102,400|
|Shutter:||1/8000 - 30 sec|
|Max Aperture:||4.0 (kit lens)|
5.3 x 3.9 x 3.3 in.
(136 x 98 x 84 mm)
includes batteries, kit lens
|Full specs:||Canon EOS R specifications|
EOS R Summary
Canon's first full-frame mirrorless camera brings to the table a compact and weather-sealed body, a high-res 30MP sensor, fast Dual-Pixel CMOS AF, and nice 4Kp30 video. There's a lot to like, such as: very good image quality, fast autofocus and sharp native lenses. But the Canon EOS R also stumbles in some areas: sensor performance lags behind competitors, there's no IBIS, frustratingly slow burst shooting with C-AF, and there are some odd design choices when it comes to controls and ergonomics. The Canon EOS R might not have all the latest bells and whistles nor the most innovative new features, but it is still a solid camera in most regards.Pros
Very good overall image quality; Good dynamic range & very good high ISO performance; Excellent Dual Pixel CMOS AF performance; Sharp native lenses; Great performance with adapted optics; Compact design; Fully articulating LCD.Cons
Sensor performance lags behind competition; No In-Body Image Stabilization; Sluggish burst speed with C-AF; Mediocre battery life; No 4Kp60; 1.7x 4K crop; Ergonomics could be better.Price and availability
The Canon EOS R began shipping in October 2018 at a suggested retail price of US$2,299 for the body only. It is also sold in a body-and-lens kit with the new RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens for US$3,399.Imaging Resource rating
4.0 out of 5.0
Canon EOS R Review
Player Three has entered the game. Yes folks, here it is, as Japanese camera giant Canon follows Nikon into the modern full-frame mirrorless fray, debuting the all-new Canon EOS R camera and RF lens mount. Also new are four RF lenses -- two zooms and two primes -- to kick off the new Canon R system.
(A quick side note: Yes, the Leica SL and M series are full-frame mirrorless cameras, but they are basically in a class all their own, especially when it comes down to pricing. And so we're not grouping them into this "mainstream" full-frame mirrorless arena dominated now by Sony, Nikon and Canon.)
Main Specs & Features
- New RF lens mount
- 30.3 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor
- Dual Pixel CMOS AF with 5,655 selectable AF points
- ISO range: 100 - 40,000 expandable to 50 - 102,400
- Up to 8fps continuous shooting rate; 5fps with Servo AF
- 4K UHD video at up to 30fps at 480Mbps
- HD video: 1080p60 & 720p120
- OLED EVF with 0.76x magnification
- Single SD card slot with UHS-II compatibility
- Weight: 660g (1.5 lbs.) with battery and memory card
- Uses LP-E6N battery pack (same as 5D Mark IV)
- CIPA-rated for 350 shots with EVF or 370 with LCD, higher in power saving modes
- Optional BG-E22 battery grip
- 3 mount adapters for EF and EF-S lenses (excluding EF-M)
- USB 3.1 with in-camera charging support
The Canon EOS R features a new lens mount dubbed RF mount, which features a 54mm inner diameter and a flange-back distance of 20mm. That's the same throat diameter as EF mount, but it's some 24mm shorter in flange depth which should allow for better illumination in the corners and lenses with fewer elements. The Canon RF mount also features a new high-speed 12-pin electrical interface that provides faster and more in-depth communication between the camera and lens over existing Canon mount systems. Unlike the Sony A7 II/III and Nikon Z-series, the Canon EOS R does not offer in-body sensor-shift image stabilization, however electronic IS is available for video which can be combined with a lens' optical image stabilization.
Alongside the EOS R body, Canon has announced four new RF lenses, two of which are primes:
All four of these lenses have customizable control rings that let you assign features and quickly change settings without having to use the dials on the camera body.
To make full use of your existing EF, EF-S, TS-E and MP-E lenses (EF-M lenses are not supported, since they are designed for a shorter flange-back distance of 18mm), Canon has developed an EF-EOS R mount adapter; three of them, in fact. There's a basic one, plus two variants that have a control ring or support a drop-in filter between the body and lens. The Canon R has a 1.6x crop mode which produces 11.6-megapixel files and supports JPEG, RAW and C-RAW capture.
Much like the Sony Alpha and Nikon Z-series mirrorless cameras, the Canon R sports a streamlined, angular and an all-around significantly smaller body design than a traditional full-frame DSLR. Compared to a typical EOS DSLR, such as the 5D Mark IV, the EOS R is much more compact and lightweight, yet still provides a nice, large handgrip for a comfortable and secure hold. As expected, in pretty much all aspects, the Canon R is smaller and lighter than a full-frame EOS DSLR, even the 6D Mark II -- Canon's most compact and lightest full-frame DSLR model yet. The EOS R weights 660g (1.5 lbs) whereas the 6D Mark II tips the scales at 765g (1.7 lbs), yet it still features a magnesium alloy chassis and weather resistance.
Design-wise, the Canon EOS R takes a more angular and "smooth" approach compared to the Sony A7 III or Nikon Z6, or even the Canon EOS M5, for example, when it comes to external buttons and dials. Looking at the front of the camera, there's very little in the way of protruding buttons and dials; everything's nicely recessed into the camera body itself, which creates a sleek, minimal appearance. From the top and back, however, the story is entirely different; there is, in fact, quite an array of physical controls, including dual command dials, a rear multi-directional control, AF-On button and a dedicated video record button.
There are a few unorthodox-looking controls on the EOS R. For starters, there isn't a standard PASM mode dial. Instead, the "MODE" selection is assigned to a button located inside the top/rear thumb control dial, and there's a separate lock button. With this, you simply press the mode button once and then rotate the dial to change shooting modes. Press it again, and the dial's function returns to a second control dial. Although a bit different than your standard "PASM" dial, it allows Canon to keep the controls smaller while still providing a locking mode dial that isn't prone to accidental changes if you bump the camera.
5D IV with EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM versus EOS R with RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.
Speaking of the mode dial, there's a new “Fv” (Flexible-priority) shooting mode. It basically lets you switch rapidly between Tv, Av, exposure compensation and ISO using the top/rear dial, then make adjustments within each via the front/top dial. (Thing is, though, it seems like if you adjust Tv and Av separately, you’re basically in M mode; it doesn't auto-switch the discarded parameter back to auto when you leave it.)
Also, on the rear of the camera, there's a new touch bar-style "M-Fn Bar" control to the right of the EVF. You can swipe left or right to control or adjust various settings and simply tap to select/confirm. This button is customizable, too, allowing for quick control of a number of settings, such as ISO speed, white balance, movie shooting, AF and more.
Much like many of Canon's EOS DSLRs -- and a differentiating point compared to Sony's Alpha mirrorless cameras -- the EOS R sports a top-deck status display that shows shooting modes and exposure information. Unlike the current Sony Alpha and Nikon Z-series mirrorless cameras, the Canon R also features a flip-out, fully articulating rear LCD screen instead of an up/down tilting display. The EOS R uses a 3.15-inch touchscreen TFT LCD that offers approximately 2.1-million dots of resolution and provides 100% field of view coverage.
The electronic viewfinder, meanwhile, has an 0.5-inch OLED display with 3.69 million dots. The EVF features 100% field of view coverage, 0.76x magnification, an eye point of approximately 23mm and an eye sensor.
Sensor and Image Quality
The new Canon R centers around a 30.3-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, which puts it on-par resolution-wise with the 5D Mark IV and above the 26MP 6D Mark II. When it comes to mirrorless competitors, namely the Sony A7 III and Nikon Z6, these two cameras sport 24MP sensors, so the EOS R bests both of these at least when it comes to pure megapixel count. Of course, as many are aware, pixel-power isn't the end-all and be-all of image quality, so the real test is comparing output from all these cameras side by side in our test lab, which you can do here.
The image processor used inside the EOS R is the DIGIC 8, a first for a full-frame camera, though it has been used on the EOS M50 crop-sensor mirrorless camera. (The latest-generation DIGIC processor used for a full-frame EOS DSLR camera is the DIGIC 7, which powers the Canon EOS 6D Mark II as well as a whole slew of current APS-C cameras, from the M100 to the 77D.)
Regarding ISO performance, the EOS R has a native range of 100-40,000, which is similar to that of the 6D Mark II. The ISO range can be expanded down to ISO 50 or up two levels to 51,200 and 102,400.
In addition to standard RAW file capture, the EOS R offers Dual Pixel RAW functionality, a feature that debuted in the 5D Mark IV. With Dual Pixel RAW, you have the ability to make subtle micro-adjustments post-capture to focus, bokeh and ghosting properties. (To read more about what Dual Pixel RAW is and what you can do with it, check out our in-depth Dual Pixel RAW Insights page of our 5D Mark IV review!)
Autofocus and Performance
Similar to the recent Nikon Z-series introduction, the Canon R's autofocus system is a critical feature if it has any hope to compete against the mirrorless juggernaut that is the Sony Alpha series, especially the A7 III and A7R III -- both of which have fantastic, high-performance autofocus systems. Given Canon's legacy with their DSLR cameras and vast EF lens lineup, the EOS R's ability to perform with adapted EF lenses is a key aspect to this new camera system for advanced photographers, and real world shooting situations will soon begin to answer the question of how good AF will be from this new line.
As for the EOS R camera itself and its native RF lenses, Canon's already proven itself quite capable of top-notch mirrorless AF performance with its Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, so we expect great AF performance from the Canon R, for both stills and video. The EOS R’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF system features a maximum of 5,655 manually selectable AF points and its focus area covers about 88% of the frame horizontally and 100% vertically when using RF lenses and select EF lenses. AF working range is said to be -6 to 18 EV at ISO 100, but that's with an f/1.2 lens.
Shutter speeds range from 1/8000 to 30 seconds, plus bulb. X-sync speed is 1/200 sec. The Canon R also features a silent shutter option when shooting in single-shot mode, and an upcoming firmware update will enable silent shutter in continuous shooting mode as well.
When it comes to burst shooting performance, the Canon EOS R is relatively quick, but not class-leading by any means, with only 5 frames per second continuous shooting with Servo AF (continuous AF). You can ramp-up the burst rate to 8fps if you don't need continuous autofocus. By comparison, the Nikon Z6 offers up to 12fps with full continuous AF functionality. However, the Z6 drops down to a similar 5.5fps rate if you want continuous AF and auto-exposure functionality. Further, the Sony A7 III offers a 10fps rate with full-time AE/AF.
When it comes to buffer capacity, the EOS R offers respectable performance based on Canon's specs, besting the 6D Mark II's specs for example. With RAW shooting at the highest burst speed, the EOS R has a claimed buffer depth of 47 frames with a fast UHS-II card, while C-RAW (Canon's lossy compressed raw format) increases that to 78 frames. For JPEG, RAW+JPEG and C-RAW+JPEG shooting, the maximum buffer depths are 100, 39 and 56 frames respectively. (In our lab tests, the EOS R managed deeper buffers. See our Performance page for details.) As mentioned, the Canon R offers a Dual Pixel RAW mode (in both RAW and C-RAW) with an unlimited (card capacity) buffer depth, but that's because the camera slows down when shooting Dual Pixel RAW, similar to the 5D Mark IV.
For video shooters, the Canon EOS R offers a host of advanced features, including 4K UHD capture, but it doesn't go all-out with professional-level specs. Unlike the 5D Mark IV which captured 4K DCI (4096 x 2160) video using Motion JPEG, the EOS R offers 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) recording using H.264 but still only up to 30fps -- no 4Kp60 unfortunately, and there is still an approximately 1.7x crop factor (even higher with digital IS enabled) when shooting 4K video. 4K bitrate is rather decent, though, at 480Mbps. However, the EOS R does offer C-Log recording internally and externally to an HDMI recorder. Clean HDMI output is 10-bit 4:2:2 and uses the BT.2020 color matrix rather than BT.709.
Full HD recording is also, of course, supported and offered in frame rates up to 60p (59.94). For higher-speed shooting at up to 120fps (119.9fps) you'll have to drop down to 720p HD resolution. For all video resolutions and frame rates except 720p30, the EOS R offers a choice of compressions schemes: higher-quality ALL-I or space-saving IPB compression. Internal video recording format is limited to MPEG-4 AVC / H.264, while audio is recorded in Linear PCM for ALL-I or AAC for IPB.
A UHS-II V60 (Video Speed Class 60) SD card is required for ALL-I recording at 4K, while a UHS-I U3 card is sufficient for IPB or lower resolutions. The maximum sustained video recording time is limited to 29:59, after which point video recording will stop and must be restarted manually.
Connectivity, Storage and Power
When it comes to wireless functionality, the EOS R provides the standard array of modern features, including both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, though no NFC nor built-in GPS. Using a connected smartphone, you can transfer images as well as remotely control the camera using the Camera Connect app. Images can also be transferred wirelessly to a computer using the EOS Utility application.
Wired connections include a USB-C SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 1 port that supports in-camera battery charging with the optional PD-E1 USB Power Adapter, a Mini Type-C HDMI port that outputs clean 10-bit 4:2:2 4K video, a remote release jack compatible with the RS-60E3 remote switch, and of course, a flash hot shoe. The camera also provides 3.5mm stereo microphone and headphone jacks. A PC sync terminal is not located on the body, but is provided on the optional battery grip.
Images and videos are stored on SD cards in a single slot, with support for SDHC, SDXC, UHS-I and UHS-II types.
The EOS R derives its power from an LP-E6N battery pack (LP-E6 battery packs are also supported, but in-camera charging via USB is not supported with the older battery). CIPA battery life with the LP-E6N is rated at 350 shots per charge with the EVF and 370 shots with the LCD, though a Power Saving mode can boost those figures to 430 and 450 shots respectively by reducing the displays' refresh rate from 60 to 30fps. There is also an Eco mode which further boosts battery life to between 540 and 560 shots per charge when using the LCD by dimming the display after 2 seconds and turning it off after 10 seconds when the camera is not in use.
An optional BG-E22 battery grip doubles battery life with two LP-E6N battery packs installed. And with an AC adapter and DC coupler the EOS R can be continuously powered. (The PD-E1 USB Power Adapter cannot power the camera.)
Canon EOS R Pricing and Availability
The Canon EOS R began shipping in October 2018 at a suggested retail price of US$2,299 for the body only. It is also sold in a body-and-lens kit with the new RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens for US$3,399.
The Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM is available for a suggested retail price of US$2,299. The RF 28-70mm f/2 L USM, RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM and RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM lenses began shipping in December 2018 for a retail price of US$2,999, US$1,099 and US$499 respectively.
The Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R and Control Ring Mount Adapter EF-EOS R became available for purchase in October 2018 for a retail price of US$99.99 and US$199.99 respectively. The EF-EOS R Drop-in Filter Mount Adapter will be available for purchase in February 2019 for an estimated retail price of US$399.99 with a variable ND filter, or US$299.99 with a circular polarizing filter.
Also announced is the new Canon Speedlite EL-100 flash unit which features a GN of 85 ft./26m at ISO 100, tilt/swivel, 24mm coverage and an optical wireless flash function (sender and receiver). The EL-100 became available for purchase in October 2018 for a suggested retail price of US$199.99.
Canon EOS R Field Test
Canon starts new full-frame mirrorless system off on the right foot
The primary marketing term for the new EOS R is "Be the Revolution." I'm not sure I buy the notion that the new system is revolutionary, but it's at least a meaningful evolution and I'm optimistic that it is setting the stage for many great cameras and lenses to come. However, I can't speak to specific upcoming future products, as there are no public details regarding future lenses or cameras in the new EOS R system, so let's take a look at what we do have in the EOS R camera.
Canon EOS R Video Features, Specs & Analysis
This is not the video camera you've been told it is
When we look at the Canon EOS R, the immediate reaction is to compare it to the Sony line, and I understand that and did it myself. But where things get dicey is when someone is willing to say that the EOS R is a "bad camera" because it may not stack up to what the Sony Alpha does. I've even heard that it's "not a professional camera."
Canon EOS R Image Quality Comparison
See how the EOS R's I.Q. compares to siblings and rivals
NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved: click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page...
Canon EOS R Print Quality Analysis
But how does it look on paper?
Much like its DSLR sibling, the 5D Mark IV, the new Canon EOS R full-frame mirrorless camera has a solid showing here in our print quality analysis, particularly at lower ISOs. Up to ISO 800, the EOS R does remarkably well, with sharp, vibrantly-colored prints that work very nicely all the way up to 30 x 40 inches and beyond, depending on how far you want to push the resolving power of its 30-megapixel sensor. At ISO 1600 and beyond, we start to see noise becoming increasingly stronger, particularly with lower contrast area and shadow regions. Canon has tweaked the default JPEG processing of the EOS R compared to that of the 5D Mark IV, and while fine detail can look a bit better from the EOS R, it does show slightly stronger noise than the 5D Mark IV at the same ISOs. Still, for the Canon EOS R, ISO 1600 images can still be printed at impressively large sizes, at up 24 x 36 inches, and even if you crank the ISO up to 12,800, you're still capable of a pleasing 8 x 10 print. What's more, despite the slight difference in high ISO/noise performance between the EOS R and 5D Mark IV, the EOS R edges out the Mark IV just a bit, producing a usable 4 x 6 inch print at its maximum expanded ISO of 102,400, whereas the 5D Mark IV did not.
Canon EOS R Review Conclusion
Canon's first full-frame mirrorless is good, but is it good enough?
Design & Handling
Svelte, angular and modern-looking, the Canon EOS R, like most full-frame mirrorless cameras, is much lighter and more compact than a full-frame DSLR counterpart, yet it still retains characteristic Canon styling and a superbly comfortable handgrip. However, the smaller size does impact usability in some regards. Compared to a full-size DSLR, the EOS R is fairly sparse when it comes to physical buttons, and the buttons that are there can feel a bit cramped. It still has front and rear control dials as well as a directional control pad on the back, but the smaller body size has forced Canon to remove buttons or re-think how to change settings or operate certain functions.
Canon EOS R Weather Testing Results
A very well-sealed, full-frame mirrorless camera
This is one of an ongoing series of weather-resistance tests of camera systems. Manufacturer claims about weather resistance are all over the map, in part because there's no established standard that's relevant to how photographers actually use cameras. Our aim is to establish a consistent basis for comparing weather resistance between cameras in a way that makes sense for photographers. If you're interested in the details behind the tests, you can read the loooong article I wrote about the rationale behind our camera weather-testing approach.
Camera tested: The Canon EOS R
The Canon EOS R was announced in early September 2018, as Canon's first full-frame mirrorless model. Based on the sensor and electronics of the EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR, it's a roughly mid-range mirrorless model in the current market. Nonetheless, it's presented as a well-built model, in the solid traditional of Canon's professional camera bodies.
In the Box
The Canon EOS R 24-105mm kit retail box (as tested) ships with the following items:
- Canon EOS R body
- RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens
- Front and rear lens caps
- Lens hood
- Lens case
- LP-E6N battery pack
- LC-E6 battery charger
- Body cap
- Neck strap
- IFC-100U Interface cable
- Cable protector
- Camera Instruction Manual booklet
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