Canon Announces Development of the EOS R3: Canon’s Ultimate Wildlife Camera?

Canon just announced the development of a new full-frame mirrorless model, the EOS R3.

The announcement is taking the camera world by storm and for good reason – a new series, new sensor, and a host of other teased improvements that should make the EOS R3 Canon’s ultimate camera for wildlife photography.

A full specifications list was not provided with the development announcement, but Canon did offer insight into some very key specifications that the R3 will have. An official release should come soon (fingers crossed).

The highlights are a brand-new sensor that enables continuous shooting up to 30 fps, a new body design with an integrated vertical grip, and a state-of-the-art autofocus system.

The EOS R3 should directly compete with Sony’s recent A1 and Nikon’s upcoming Z9. It should be noted too, that the EOS R3 marks a new series/line from Canon. It will slot in between the EOS R5 and Canon’s 1D X Mark III DSLR.

Canon EOS R3

The biggest news with the EOS R3 is the new sensor. It will be the first EOS camera equipped with Canon’s newly developed 35mm full-frame, back-illuminated, stacked CMOS sensor.

The keyword in there is stacked. We saw stacked sensors make a debut with Sony’s A9 series. Stacked sensors have huge benefits for wildlife photography because of their super-fast readout speeds.

The new sensor in the EOS R3 will allow for a fully silent shutter, lightning-fast shooting speeds, no shutter wear and tear, and blackout-free shooting. We already see the benefits poking through with the confirmed continuous shooting speed of up to 30 fps with AF/AE tracking.

Blackout-free shooting wasn’t confirmed, but it can be assumed with the stacked sensor technology – blackout-free shooting is a huge plus for wildlife photography.

We don’t know the resolution of this sensor yet. I would guess between 30-50 MP. I don’t think the EOS R3 needs the 50.1 MP of the Sony A1 to compete. 30 MP would be a really nice spot and a lower resolution like that would offer the fastest possible readout speeds, while maintaining a high resolution for almost any photography task.

One thing to ponder is video – no video specs were released with the announcement and if they were, we’d probably have a much better idea of what to expect for resolution. The Sony A1 has 8K video capabilities. To do that, a sensor must be at least 45 MP.

So, it’ll be interesting to see if Canon opts for 8K or tailors the EOS R3 specifically for action/wildlife photography with a lower resolution sensor. The camera should still have fantastic video quality, with a lower resolution sensor offering higher frame rate possibilities for 4K video.

Body Design
First off, the ROS R3 is one of the best-looking cameras I think I’ve ever seen. The textured design really catches the eye and it should feel awesome in the hands too.

The EOS R3 has an integrated vertical grip and excellent weather sealing on par with the 1D X Mark III. Although the EOS R3 is a mirrorless camera, its design will be similar to the 1D X Mark III DSLR – with differences!

The button layout will differ from the 1D X Mark III and most likely use some of the same layout principles from the EOS R5. There will be weight and size savings over the 1D X Mark III due to the mirrorless design.

One thing to note is the EOS R3 should take CFexpress Type B cards, as the R5 does. The Sony A1 only takes CFexpress Type A cards. Type B cards are twice as fast when it comes to transfer speeds and will improve camera performance across the board – it could give the EOS R3 a leg up in performance versus the Sony A1.

If 8K video is introduced, the larger body of the EOS R3 should alleviate the heat management issues seen with the EOS R5 too.

Canon continues to push the boundaries with its autofocus systems. They have recently developed AF systems that compete and sometimes outperform Sony, which has widely been considered as having the best AF system with their Alpha bodies.

The EOS R5 showed incredible performance and expect the EOS R3 to somehow be better.

The EOS R3 will feature the great Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology from the R5, but we will see some new features too.

Canon mentions the development of new deep learning algorithms for subject recognition. These algorithms should or should eventually expand to cover focus and tracking for animals, which would be awesome for wildlife shooters.

The EOS R3 will be Canon’s first digital camera to feature an eye control AF function. The EOS R3 will adjust the AF frame according to the detected movements of the user’s eye – wow! I’m excited to see this new eye control in action, it sounds amazing.

We don’t know anything about the price of the EOS R3. Canon should strategically price it to compete with the Sony A1 and the Nikon Z9. The Z9 is in development, but the Sony A1 is priced at $6,500.

I personally think the A1 is priced pretty high for what it offers. I can see Canon keeping Sony honest by pricing the EOS R3 in the $4-5k range, which would make the EOS R3 a slam dunk. But honestly, it already appears to be just that.

Let us know your thoughts on the EOS R3. It has the makings of being Canon’s best wildlife camera ever.

Matt Meisenheimer








Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin. His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special.  Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image. Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world. As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals. You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at

Don’t Miss the Next Session of BCJ “Live”

Night Sky Post-Processing 

with Ben Blankenship
Tuesday, May 18th, 2021 at 11 am (Mountain)

3 replies
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