Only a few weeks removed from Nikon’s mirrorless announcement, Canon has now made a big mirrorless announcement as well in the EOS R. Now both of the biggest players in digital photography have entered the mirrorless market. As I noted in my previous article on Nikon’s release, I think competition is great for consumers and I am very interested to see how the mirrorless market develops over the next few years. I think we will see great innovation and some fantastic cameras and lenses. Sony has had great success, but both Canon and Nikon are making a splash. But, let’s focus on Canon’s new mirrorless camera – the EOS R (https://www.usa.canon.com/internet/portal/us/home/products/details/cameras/eos-dslr-and-mirrorless-cameras/mirrorless/eos-r).
• 30.3MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
• DIGIC 8 Image Processor
• UHD 4K30 Video
• Dual Pixel CMOS AF, 5655 AF Points
• 3.69m-Dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder
• 3.15″ 2.1m-Dot Swivel Touchscreen LCD
• Expanded ISO 50-102400
• 8 FPS
• Single SD UHS-II Card Slot
• Multi-Function Bar
The EOS R is available for pre-order now at a price of $2,299.00 and is expected to ship mid-October. The EOS R features a new ‘RF’ lens mount and Canon will release four native RF lenses to accompany the camera; Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM, Canon RF 28-70mm F2L USM, Canon RF 35mm F1.8 IS STM Macro, and the Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM. Canon has not announced a time frame for new RF lenses, but there are definitely more on the way. Canon is also releasing lens adapters so all your Canon EF lenses can be adapted.
A lot have been quick to criticize Nikon and Canon’s initial mirrorless offerings. I for one think both releases are pretty promising. Canon and Nikon are going to give Sony a run for their money eventually – and that could happen sooner than later. A big design feature being overlooked is the fact that Canon and Nikon have a much wider mount diameter in their mirrorless bodies (54mm for the Canon EOS R, 55mm for the Nikon Z6/7). Sony’s current mount is 46.1mm. So what does that mean? Well, in a nutshell it means that Canon and Nikon should have the advantage of being able to create lenses that have better optical performance than Sony…at least in the near future. I am personally excited for Nikon’s lens releases over the next few years and I will be buying Nikon’s mirrorless camera. If you’re a Canon user, you should be excited too.
The EOS R has 5,655 focus points. 5,655. That’s more than ten times the Nikon Z6 and Z7 (273 and 493 focus points respectively). Canon has been quick to market the EV -6 to 18 in one-shot AF. Many testers have reported using the EOS R in situations with almost non-existent light and its focusing has been lightning fast. That’s a great sign for wildlife photographers. EV is hard to understand, but EV -6 is equivalent to an exposure of 30s, f/2.8, ISO 1600…that’s pretty much the settings you’d use to photography the Milky Way…so the focus system is looking pretty amazing on this camera. In good lighting, it should be the fastest focusing camera on the market right now.
Control Ring and Touch Bar
Canon is trying hard to think outside the box with this camera, and two exclusive EOS R features are the control ring on the RF lenses and the touch bar near the EVF. Canon’s new RF mount lenses introduce an interesting new feature in the control ring. The control ring joins the zoom and manual focus ring on the lenses, it allows users to actually change key camera settings directly through rotating the ring. With the ring, you’re able to change shutter speed, aperture, ISO, or exposure compensation. You can do this simply by rotating the dial. This could be a really useful feature and it’s good to see Canon try and do something different from the rest of the crowd. The touch bar is pictured below. Users can now swipe left or right on the touch bar to change numerous camera settings, just ring the control ring. Like I said, it’s the first camera to offer something like this so we’ll see what initial users say about its usefulness.
Lack of Body Stabilization and Single Card Slot
I was disappointed to see that the EOS R does not have body stabilization. I mentioned how in-body stabilization is one of my favorite mirrorless features and I’m not sure why Canon didn’t include it. The RF lenses released do not have image stabilization built in either, which means that Canon mirrorless users will have to wait for new lenses to get any type of stabilization. In-body stabilization is one of the most important features to me as a landscape photographer and I think mirrorless technology will render our tripods useless someday (crossing my fingers). The EOS R also has a single card slot like the Nikon Z6/Z7. That doesn’t affect me, but I know many photographers are upset about it.
Overall, it looks like the EOS R is a very nice camera. If you’re a Canon user and you want to make the switch to mirrorless, you are now able to without having to jump ship to Sony. The EOS R is a super capable body and any Canon lens can be adapted while we wait for more RF lenses. If the focusing abilities are as good as they seem, this could be a really nice camera for wildlife photography. Reports say that the EOS R has improved dynamic range as well. That’s good news as Canon has lagged behind Sony and Nikon in that respect. My recommendation is the same as what I suggested for the Nikon bodies…wait until more native lenses are released. A year or so from now, there will be more lenses available and there’s a good chance we’ll either see a new body release or at least a Mark II version.
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 www.meisphotography.com
Don’t Miss the Next Session of BCJ “Live”
Backyard Bird Photography: Simple Techniques for Wildlife Close to Home
with Russell Graves
Tuesday, March 9th, 2021 at 11 am (Mountain)