Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Hands on with the new Canon EOS R camera!

My last blog post gave my impressions of the newly announced Canon EOS R camera, Canon's first full frame mirrorless camera. That blog post was written based on all the camera specs and without me having a chance to play with the camera in my own hands.

I have now had a chance to get my hands on the EOS R and wanted to follow up my previous blog with some more information and real-world thoughts.

And, as many of you know, I hate writing a review of a product based on specs. I really prefer to get the camera in my hands and see how it performs in a real world scenario. I don't shoot specs, I take photos! With that said, I want to let you all know that my first thoughts on this camera, written last Friday, mostly remain intact.

But now that I have had a chance to play with the camera, here are my thoughts:


* Unlike other mirrorless cameras that I have played with, the Canon EOS R feels more substantial, much like that of a traditional DSLR. This is both good and bad. The build quality seems to be excellent, but this also means that the camera is not that much smaller or lighter than a Canon 5D Mark IV.

* Unlike many smaller cameras, the EOS R actually felt good in my hands. It was weighted nicely and had plenty of room for my rather large hands to get around the camera's grip.

* FINALLY Canon has included a UHS-II SD card slot in this new camera. I have no idea what took them so long to adopt this technology, as it was missing in the Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon 7D Mark II and other higher-end cameras. Nikon and other cameras have had these higher-speed card slots for more than 5 years.

* The EOS R has a full sized hot shoe and will work with all my existing flashes. The camera has a synch speed of 1/200 sec, much like it's predecessors.


* This camera is VERY customizable! The user can customize just about every button and dial on the camera (and new lenses) to suit their individual needs. I set the lens ring to control the ISO, the top dial to control aperture and the thumb wheel to control exposure compensation. I really liked this setup and felt that it mimicked my Canon 1D X Mark II and Canon 5D Mark IV pretty well.

* There is a touch bar on the back of the camera which sounds really cool, but I found that it was too slow to use for changing something like ISO. (It is possible that the sensitivity can be changed, but I am not sure about that). It was also in a slightly tough spot to manipulate when the camera was up to my eye.

* The LCD display on the top of the camera was very easy to read, even in low light. I like this display much better than what is on the current DSLR cameras.

* I always shoot using back button focusing, and found that the AF-On button was in a very tough spot. I kept having to hunt and search for it. This would take some getting used to.

* On the spec sheet this new camera shows more than 5000 focus points, which really excited me. In actual use, I found it hard to position the focus point on the new camera. I could point anywhere on the screen to move the focus point, but I would prefer to move the focal point while the camera is up to my face and I am shooting. I also found out that all the 5000+ points are not available when using Servo focus. This is a big disappointment for me since I use servo focus so often when shooting moving subjects. 

* The electronic viewfinder is excellent! When looking through the electronic viewfinder, I could hardly tell that it was a digital representation and not through the lens.


* I really love the control ring on the new lenses, and found it immediately useful. As stated before, I chose to manipulate the ISO with the control ring and found that much easier than finding the ISO button at the top of the DSLR cameras. I was a bit confused when I turned the control ring for the first time and nothing happened. It turns out that I had to hit the shutter button halfway down for the control ring to enable. This may a good thing since I don't want to arbitrarily set the ISO with a turn of the dial without meaning to do so.

* I did try the new Canon RF 24-105mm lens and the new Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 lens for the EF Mount and found them to be very sharp. Not being much of a mirrorless camera expert, I had always heard that the advantage of mirrorless cameras was the reduced size and weight. But just like the camera body, I was surprised that the lenses for the new RF mount were not much lighter than the L series lenses I use today. They are definitely weighted better than the standard EF mount lenses with the weight being evening distributed front to back. This was my biggest complaint of the older Canon 50mm f/1.2 lens which was so front heavy that I found it awkward to use.

* I am very happy that Canon has designed a low cost lens adapter so that I can use all my other Canon lenses with this new EOS R.

Actually, there are three different choice adaptors:

* A low cost standard adaptor
* An adaptor with a control wheel
* An adaptor with a rear filter option

I tried the adaptor with the control ring (in combination with my Canon 70-200 2.8 II lens) and found the same image quality, focusing speed and sensitivity as using my L series lenses on my DSLR cameras (with the added benefit of the control ring).


After playing with the Canon EOS R for a little while, here are my thoughts:

* I am very excited that Canon has created the new RF mount system. It has been about 30 years since the Canon mount system has been changed and I think that this new mount will allow for some really cool new lenses in the future.

* As I stated in my last blog post, this is definitely not a camera designed for professional photographers like myself. Here is why:

- The camera only has one card slot
- The weather sealing is not as robust as the bigger DSLR cameras I use today
- The EOS R can only shoot at 5fps in servo focus mode. Definitely not good enough for the Olympics!
- The battery life is very limited (430 shots per battery)
- The small buttons are hard to reach in come cases

* I do feel that this could be an excellent camera for the non-professional photographer. It has a ton of features, great customization, excellent lens options (with the adaptor), and offers the same great sensor found in the Canon 5D Mark IV for $800 less than the 5D.

* Unlike switching from a Canon 5D Mark III to a Mark IV or even switching from the Canon 5D series to the Canon 1D series, this new R system is very different. I could not grab this new camera and go shoot an event the same day. This new camera is so different that I would need at least a couple days of shooting to get used to the new button layout, menu changes, focal point movement and more. And...I welcome the chance to spend that time with the R.

* Even though I do not shoot a lot of video with my Canon cameras, this camera has some impressive video features and should be very useful for all those videographers out there.

* Last week's event was not a camera introduction from Canon, I believe that it was the introduction of the future of Canon's camera lineup. I think that the R is just the first of many new cameras coming from the company. As I said in my last blog post, I am exited to see what comes next. I am assuming that some time in the next 18 months (before the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo) we will see a new high-end mirrorless camera using this new system.

I would like to thank Calvin, my Canon Pro Rep, for taking the time to meet up with me and show me the new system. As a proud CPS member, I rely so heavily on Calvin and the other pro reps to keep me informed, service my equipment, and answer my technical questions. Kudos to him and the team!

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Brian Worley said...


I got my hands on the EOS R last Friday in the UK. One thing you can do is enable touch and drag AF, so that when you are using the viewfinder for showing then you can use your right thumb on the right hand side of of the LCD to move the AF points around the frame. This made it easier for me - coming from a 5D4 - to move the AF points where I needed them.

National Store LLC said...

Yeah, I think Canon R5 is suitable for me and is the best travel camera, thanks for posting it.

Arbica Mriea said...

Thanks for the hands-on review of the new Canon Eos R10 camera! Your firsthand experience and insights are incredibly valuable for those of us considering this model. Your detailed analysis has certainly piqued my interest in this camera.