The mirrorless segment in cameras has exploded, thanks to the popularity of cameras from brands like Sony. Canon and Nikon, the old leviathans of the camera industry, were slow off the block, but are now catching up with mirrorless cameras meant for all types of uses and users. Canon’s latest is the EOS R camera meant for professionals which also ushers in the era of RF lenses which have been optimised for full-frame cameras like this one.
Canon EOS R specs: 30 megapixels CMOS Full frame (36 x 24 mm) | SLR-style mirrorless with Canon RF lens mount | 3.2″ Fully articulated LCD | 1/8000 sec shutter speed | ISO 100-40000 (expands to 50-102400) | MPEG-4, H.264 | USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec) | wi-FI | 660 g
Canon EOS R price in India: Rs 1,89,950 (body-only); Rs. 2,78,945 with RF24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens
Canon EOS R: Design and controls
The Canon EOR R is a fully loaded full-frame camera, but not much larger than the EOS M which came out earlier. It feels right in the hand and offers a good grip. The layout of buttons and dials is neither confusing nor overwhelming. You can change values using the dials, or using the 3-inch adjustable touchscreen display.
As if that was not enough, the Canon EOS R debuts a new M-Fn bar just next to the viewfinder to let you swipe and tap through menus and gallery. However, there is no tactile feedback here and that is a bit awkward for any button on a gadget. Also, as a long-time Canon user there was so much muscle memory preventing me from using this. I will take some getting used to for sure.
The RF Mount is clearly what will drive a lot of professionals to buy this camera. Though the mount has the same 54mm diametre as the original EF mount, it packs in a 12-pin connection that not only allows faster connection, but also lets the camera controls the lens and process images better with Digic 8. Also, this mount offers a more optimised distance between the sensor and the lens.
Canon EOS R performance
I took the Canon EOS R to Bharatpur for some bird watching, though the lens that came with the review unit, a RF 24-105mm F4, was not ideal for the purpose. Using the camera is easy and there was very little learning for me. It did take a while to get used to the mode dial which is locked and needs the press of a button before it can be changed. The auto-focus is really fast and there are multiple ways to get the subject locked.
There are up to 5655 selectable AF points and in one of the modes, you can see the edges of the subject highlighted as you shift focus and this is a good way to ensure the exact focus you need. However, struggling with the strong sun and photo-chromatic spectacle which was working overtime, I did end up taking some photos were the focus ended up in the wrong places or was not as sharp as I expected.
This is when I started using the viewfinder more and realised how there are visual aids there to ensure you have got the perfect focus. The result was a bunch of low-light macro shots that really impressed me. Also, in the viewfinder the info can change orientation to vertical if needed, making it much easier to frame images.
The Canon EOS R is spectacular in low light and that seems to be one of its most impressive aspects. I got some images of a campfire where the details were stunning. And with an ISO range of up to 40000, you can push this camera further than most other when it comes to low light photography.
The high-speed continuous mode was another feature that impressed me, given that it was shooting the images in RAW at about 30MB each. There are very few other cameras that can be this fast. However, I have a feeling that the Canon EOS R might end up being a very popular video camera too. The camera offers UHD 4K at up to 30p and up to 60p in Full HD.
While the camera manages video wonderfully well, especially when you just leave it in auto-focus, there is the new RAW C-Log mode which gives users a lot of flexibility in post production to correct colours and take the final video to a whole new level. RAW C-Log is available in 8bit and 10bit, while the latter is so resource intensive that it cannot be done on a card.
Even with long duration of 4K shooting, the camera remained quite cool and that is clearly something impressive about the Canon EOS R. The Canon Camera Connect app can be used to easily control the camera from the phone or to transfer images for immediate sharing.
Canon EOS R: Verdict
The Canon EOS R is a great addition to the Japanese imaging giant’s line up, one that brings in the latest technology and adds extra layers of versatility and flexibility. Professionals might need a bit of convincing to move to a mirrorless system, but once they have experienced how smart this can be, the shift can be quick and definitive. The Canon EOS R is the camera that can convince them.