Canon EOS-R or How Canon Nailed the Entrance into the Mirrorless FullFrame Market

October 28, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Some Background of the Mirrorless R Camera

Being an experienced shooter with mirrorless cameras (I do use various Panasonic µ43 cameras since 2009) the expectations on the entrance of Canon to FullFrame are obviously high. Interestingly Canon did this entrance clever - to my taste:

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  • The first camera is a prosumer camera in between their 6DMk II and the flagship 5DMkIV
  • They came out with a couple of remarkable lenses as well
    • a relatively small 35mm f1.8 (I am waiting for this one)
    • a standard zoom 24-105mm f4.0
    • and 2 exciting lenses
      • a 50mm f1.2 which seems to be "the" 50mm lens from now on
      • a 28mm-70mm f2.0 lens - what never existed before

There is a lot of hate against this camera out - but I am just a user with specific requirements of a traveling business man who loves to shoot....

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The rear view of the EOS § with the main function buttons...

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For the photos I took the pancake EF 40mm f2.8 STM. This lens shows a similar size like the 35mm f1.8 macro which should be delivered next month or so...
 

For me this EOS-R is the first FullFrame camera I do like to travel with... And I do...

Comparing the EOS R with the 5 D Mk IV and the EOS M5

In this review I will compare the EOS R with 2 other cameras

  • EOS 5DMkIV
  • EOS M5

The 5D4 is a flagship DSLR Canon camera and a workhorse in the industry while the M5 is an excellent APS-C mirrorless camera - on the market since 2 years and - overall - a very great camera!

I do this comparison because the R is somewhere in between these 2 - On one side the image quality of the 5D4 and on the other side in terms of compactness closer to the M5.

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The front vie of all 3. it shows that the R is just in the middle...

 

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The soviet gives an even better idea that the R is a compact camera....


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again the sidevie from the other side....  181028_7D2_0034.jpg181028_7D2_0034.jpg

The rear view shows that the cameras are brothers or sisters - whatever you like more. The user interface is similar and it is pretty easy to switch from one to the other....

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The biggest difference between these 3 camera is the mounting f the screen. The biggest advantage of the R is the fully articulated screen, which allows you to have full access to the screen in all positions...
 

My New Travel Setup

It was not a big deal to change from one Canon mirrorless camera to another. I do follow my prime lens approach using the following lenses

  • Samyang 14mm f2.8 (manual focus) (maybe I will repack it with the Milvus 15mm f2.8 in future)
  • Canon EF 35mm f2 IS USM - until I will get the native Canon RF 35mm f1.8 IS STM macro
  • Canon EF 95mm f1.4 L USM

The rest of the travel gear is comparable to my previous set up which you find here

With this line up I can do literally everything I do love to shoot.... And everything fits nicely into my Thule backpack - and I do not cary more weight....

Ergonomics

Whatever camera you take in your hands it is important that its suits you and is easy to use.

Well in this regard Canon did an awesome job! Ifits like a glove and the dials are easy to get access too


 

The big and long grip gives you a perfect grip. Many people who had this camera in their hand were mentioning that this is the best feeling camera they had in their hand ever! I intent to say that I agree. 

 

Even if switched off the camera  shows the actual shooting mode....

If switched on the main parameters are shown from the top, but in both other displays as well... from that point of view really easy to use and to handle 


Looking at the back completely there are a couple of buttons missing. for the experienced canon user the thumb dial is missing (even the M5 has it!) and the nob for moving the focusing point is missing, too. 

For me personally this is not that big of a deal - i do find the moving of the focusing points on the touch screen while looking through the EVF more intuitiv and senseful. The best is the touch release on the screen - it delivers by far the best hit rate of all focusing methods...

In the first moment I was a bit disappointed about this ON/OFF dial. The reason why Canon did this instead of the mode dial: to become more videographer oriented that the mode is not influenced from a dedicated switch that the camera can display the least settings either for video or for photo... 

The new developed touch bar... this feature is new - first time on a camera.... and most of the reviewer do not like it.

I find it interesting... I programmed it for ISO adjustment which works nicely as it should.... 

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Charging the Battery... One goo thing is that Canon is using the LP-E6 Battery which is in use since more than 10 years. The EOS-R comes with the newer LP-E6N batteries.

Canon recommends to use a special USB-C power supply, but I charged my EOS R via my MacBooc Pro as well as via different USB-C chargers...

Please note: only LP-E6N batteries can be charged when they are charged in camera.

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The remote release for the EOS R is not the big one used in the traditionell EOS cameras but the small and little one which is in use at the EOS M series as well...

Canon takes care of you... I have never seen such a message (sorry that one is in German)! It tells you that you should not aim the camera to the sun or other bright light sources.... Mmhh I never thought about this. using mirrorless cameras since 2009.... Thank you Canon....

 

 

Shooting Experience

A main topic of new cameras is "how does it work" and "how does it support my work flow".

Let us take a look on a couple of steps in the workflow -

  • starting with overall handling and autofocus properties... 
  • data storage
  • social media topics

Overall Handling

First of all: this camera feels like a Canon. For me this is good, and nothing unexpected happens - mostly. But since it is a mirrorless camera there are some specific new topics which are different - and in many cases solved in a great way - but sometimes you have to read the manual....

Manual focusing

This is one of the greatest things using a mirrorless Canon. It is made in a great way on my EOS M5 - and Canon continues this implementation on the R. 

The first big advantage of mirrorless cameras is that you can magnify in the viewfinder. This is great and makes things much easier. I made the experience with the M5 using the Milvus 85mm f1.4 - and the keeper rate is much better with manual focus than autofocus. The confirmation blink/beep thing of the 5D4 is not really better by the way.

As long as you use lenses which do have automatic integration - like my Milvus lenses - Canon has build in another new feature: a focusing aid which just works great! 
 

 

Using a mirrorless camera is the best advertisement for high end manual focusing lenses. And for shooting with legacy lenses which I love to do from time to time....

Autofocus -or why the nob is not needed....

The autofocus is another big topic. It is working very elegant and smooth. The autofocus is very confident and reliable. for my taste more reliable than on my 5D4 in most of the cases. I realized on the 5D4 that in critical situations I preferred to use live view than through the view finder because the result was better...

There are so many complain about the missing nob... but for my taste moving the autofocus area on the touch screen is quicker and more accurate than just using moving autofocus points in a classical DSLR!

One other big advantage against the 5D4 and all other DSLR´s from Canon is the usage of Teleconverters with autofocus.

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The EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L with the Extender 2x Mk III

With normal DSLR´s the maximum autofocus is working is f8 - wich means that the limit on the 5D4 is for example 100-400mm the 1.4x teleconverter. And the restriction of the focusing point in the center. With the EOS R (as well as with the M5 by the way) there are no restriction. Autofocus is working the 100-400mm zoom with the 2x Teleconverter as well!

This shot clip shows the 100-400 with 2x extender while using the touch screen in comparison between EOS-R and 5D4.

Screenshot
For the video above these are the images to illustrate how the leaves look like and how infinity....

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Just to fire the discussion of the possibilities of the Optical image stabilization: This photo was handheld at 1/80th s with 800mm focal length....

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This is not black and white!!! Shot @ 800mm and 25600 ISO....

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Again 800mm focal length...   One remark on using the Extenders: To get sharp images it is necessary to stop down one f stop.. It is pretty challenging to start with f 16 for usable images...  

Data Storage - or the dual card slot thing

Most of the complains of the professionals as well as the so called professionals is referring the missing 2nd card slot. I do know how it feels if you loose images. I had that with a bad CF card from Transcend ones - om my sisters wedding when my 9 year old daughter was fighing with a knight with a sword... And no image recorded...

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Canon´s idea on the R is a totally different approach: they integrated tethering to smartphone, iPad or computer in the workflow. Some people complained it will be too slow - but test it out. It works - and fast enough for normal shooting conditions - with the exception of long ongoing shots for sport or wildlife.

And the good thing here: you have the photos available for instant sharing in social media. This brings the camera and working with it on a complete new level. It is the more advanced approach than a 2nd card slot. But the cry of the crowd is loud enough that the "real professional" mirrorless camera will have one...

Image Quality

There is a huge discussion in the way regarding the image quality of the EOS R. But the R has a new processor and maybe it does some things differently. Therefore the usual workflow might be not the best one in all cases....

 

 

Screenshot

There are a lot of discussion going on about especially about the possibilities to boost underexposed areas. The above image was taken underexposed that the highlihgts - the sun is more in the right - are not blown out.

So this photo is boosted by 2.55 f-stops and the shadows again +.88. For my taste: I can live with this performance....

Screenshot

Another shot shows the high ISO performance. The shot above is usable at ISO 12800 - maybe even 25600 is usable. 

 

Sample Shots

As usual I present a couple of sample shots which just made fun to make or look at....

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One of the very first photos with the new EOS R. It is shot as jpg (default... realized that later). The shadows are at +77 The lens is the EF 35mm f2 IS...

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Travelers breakfast... waiting for the next flight....
 

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Ready to fly.... shot at Zurich airport at a 3.5 hours lay over... Shot with the EF 85mm f1.4 @ ISO 200, f1.8 and 1/100s

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Welcome Orlando....

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Its not a selfie.... A friend of mine took my camera and made this photo from me, ISO 800, f 1.4, 1/100s... perfect bokeh... I know why I love this lens.

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Poolside.... The amazing part of joining a conference in Florida is that the locations like Rosen Centre have a nice pool area - in the morning for swimming, in the evening for hanging out with friends.... shot with the Samyang 14mm f2.8

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The bright star on this photo is an Atlas V rocket launched at Cape Canaveral 55 miles away...

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Just relax! Coffee in the boulderlounge in St. Gallen...  2018_09_21EOS R0420.jpg2018_09_21EOS R0420.jpg

I do like to shoot with fast 35mm lenses. They offer a nice amount of bokeh and the 35mm f2 delivers. It is more compact than my f1.4 version  but the bokeh is less as well....

 

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The same spot but a different focusing... just taping on the scree and you get 2 different photos....

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Evening walk with the dog... the low light performance is amazing. The lack of shutter shock (or better: mirror shock gives you a at least one stop more of "hand foldability..."

A Morning Walk around the house @ f1.4...

A nice photographic exercise is: take one lens and just go around the corner.... 

Today I took my beloved Zeiss Milvus 50mm f1.4 with me and just enjoyed shooting with it... 

The photos where developed just with my standard settings.... no further retouch...

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Tomatoes on our garden table...

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Some flowers are out.... 3E4A0548.jpg3E4A0548.jpg

Tomatoes... I still hope that they get ripe before the first frost... 

 

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Autumn colors are going in... 
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There came up a couple of questions regarding night photography on the EOS R. I had just one opportunity for a night shot.

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The photo was taken at a Friends side in New Hampshire - a place with really zero light pollution. This photo was taken with the Zeiss Milvus 15mm f2.8. ISO 3200 - one image @ 30s the other ar 8 sec and Lightroom HDR applied.

These few images are showing what's all about: fun and good photos. And there is no doubt that the EOS R is delivering this. And it is a perfoct companion if you do love to shoot with high end manual focusing lenses....

What I do not like and what I am missing.

Where is light, there are shadows.... No doubt - this exists. And I do not complain about the dual card slot thing!!! For my taste choosing iPad, iPhone or a PC as 2nd card slot is good enough. 

The non likes

One big issue on all Canon adapters so fare is the circumstance that they do not transfer the EXIF data of third party lenses. All my Zeiss Milvus lenses are clearly shown with their names on all Canon DSLR bodies but not on the mirrorless ones... The answer of Canon: "ask Zeiss" is cynic  and feels a bit like a boycott.

The missing things

It is not much what I am missing. But there is one thing where is no information available: Will there be an adapter for the R-lenses to the M-Mount. I do expect a lot of new native glass for the "R". But it would be great to be able to combine both cameras again. It was great to shoot Full Format with the 5D´s and the 7D´s. I really hope that Canon will bring us the same with R- and M-Mount. 

Verdict

Wow, what a camera... It delivers all what I expected to get. Using the EOS M5 since almost 2 years as my main travel camera I knew that Canon is delivering great gear on the mirrorless side as well. Therefore the R is definitely the next level for my "always with me travel camera"! The great thing is that it delivers those features which I missed mostly on the M5:Better low light performance  and more bokeh  and that's just related to sensor size. And weather sealing... But unfortunately the first RF-mount lens to come will be the 35mm f1.8 - and this one comes without weather sealing...

The EOS-R is a remarkable camera. Tt can be a work horse for all "normal" needs - and I believe for working professionals as well. I would think it will become a believed camera for travel photographers, who do want to be a bit more discrete and do won't to carry less. 

For many topics which are critizised in the online community there are workarounds or solutions built in which are made pretty awesome. But you have to figure them out and maybe to learn how to use them....

I do expect more glass for the RF mount. And the list if the expected glass to come is impressive:

  • Zooms: the holy trinity is more ore less confirmed to come in 2019
    • 16-35mm f2.8
    • 24-70mm f 2.8 - as IS-Lens!
    • 70-200mm f 2.8
    • I do expect a new Super Zoom lens... like the 28-300mm 
  • Prime Lenses are rumored to come in late 2019 or early 2020 as well
    • 24 mm f1.2
    • 85mm f 12.

These glimpse of rumors show clearly that Canon is filling up the RF mount with stunning and awesome glass - and I do hope for more consumer grade glass as well...

And therefore: i am happy to have it and to use it in the future....

Miscellaneous

I do have to places for the photos in this review, The link to the image samples of the EOS R are in the link and the photos of the M5 you find here.

The product shots typically are made with the EOS 5D Mk II..., but some are made with EOS M5 as well.

And one topic I do have to admit: Yes: this camera is used mainly with awesome glass as well - which I love to use and which has an influence to the results as well. 

 

 

 

 

 


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