It’s here at last!

No, that title is not referring to this blog post and the amount of time since my previous one.  It is referring to the fact that Canon is finally entering the full-frame mirrorless camera market.

Canon announced the Canon EOS-R camera on Wednesday 5th September.

Interesting that they chose to call it the EOS R – interesting that there is no number in the name, I wonder how they will name the next iteration of the camera in a few years time?  EOS R mk II?  EOS S?

The announcement  wasn’t a total surprise as the rumours have been rife for a while.    It really was only a matter time before Canon moved into this market.  But it is worthy of a few comments and observations.

A pinch of salt

The first thing to say is take any comments and reviews with a big pinch of salt.  And yes that includes the comments I am making too!  The product has been announced – it hasn’t shipped yet.  That means that most people (including me) have never handled or used the camera.  We don’t know how it performs.  Are there focusing issues?  Are the buttons in ergonomically the right places?  Is it front heavy with an EF lens on it?  We just don’t know at this stage.

There are plenty of people on social media saying how disappointed they are and saying it is never going to match Sony or Fuji.  There are also the Canon fanboys who are proclaiming it the best thing since… well since the last greatest thing.  But none of us have used it so it is not fair for us to say this is a brilliant camera, it is not fair to say it is rubbish.

Yes, there are review copies out there and some people have been writing glowing reviews.  You can find some of them on the Canon website.  Oh wait, just think, Canon are not going to give out preproduction review copies to people who are going to slate it.  Take it with a pinch of salt.

Just the facts

So what can we say?  Well the full spec is on the Canon website : (took a little hunting around to find it).

A few things worth mentioning about the specs:

Despite having its own range of lenses with a fit called RF, it will still be possible to use existing EF and EF-S by means of an adaptor.  This seems like good thinking to ease the transition of those who have already invested in Canon glass.  Will the adaptor work with Canon fit Sigma lenses?  We don’t know at this stage.

The USB socket is USB 3.1 so transfer speeds for tethered shooting should be reasonable.

It does come with Wireless LAN and Bluetooth capability.  Which initially sounds great but reading between the lines, I’m not convinced it will support wireless tethering, because the Wireless file transmitter is still listed as an available accessory.  I suspect that it will support wireless control but won’t transmit the file without the file transmitter accessory which retails at over £500.

There is no GPS built-in but it does support the GP-E2 GPS receiver (and that retails at around £200).

If you are thinking of using the camera for video, it supports 4K but only upto 30fps.  There are sockets for external mic and for headphones for monitoring the sound.  Both essential if you don’t want to record sound separately and sync it in post-production.  One interesting feature for video use is that you can use the tilt/swivel touch screen display to pull focus in video mode, and customise the speed at which it will move focus from one to the other.

My thoughts

From the specs this looks like an interesting camera.  Is it a game changer? Probably not.  What it is, is a first tentative step into a new type of camera for Canon.  The RF lens mount will undoubtable become their standard mount in years t come, in the same way the EF replaced FD as the stand mount in the 1987.

The ability to use both EF and EF-S lenses to ease the transition is to be welcomed.

In terms of the general performance however, going from the spec it is a bit unremarkable.  The maximum frames per second is 8, but less when focus tracking.  Also changing focus points sounds like it could be a bit cumbersome, dragging your finger over the touch screen, rather than something you can do with camera up to the eye.  Both these factors mean it may not be a camera of choice for action or wildlife photographers.

On the other hand, it is reputed to have VERY good low-light performance, and has a silent shooting mode.  This means it should be attractive to wedding photographers, and both of those features caught my attention as a theatre photographer.

If video is you main thing, then it’s probably not going to be a go to camera.  Yes it does 4K but only at 30fps.  If you were buying a camera specifically for video there are better options available from other manufactures.

Would I buy?


Let me state at this point, that I am not in the market to replace my 5D Mk III.  However, if I was I would certainly give this camera some consideration, and I’m going to be closely watching the real life reviews once it hits the streets.

I’m guessing my 5D Mk III has still has a couple of years left in it, by the time it is due for replacement, I hope the next iteration of full frame mirrorless cameras will be available from Canon and I suspect whatever they choose to call it those will be a very desirable product.

If for any reason I had to replace the 5D Mk III before then, I would see if I could get a good deal on the EOS R – that low light performance and silent shoot is a big, big draw for me.