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Canon EOS R Hands-On Preview And Sample Photos

We go hands-on with the brand new 30mp Canon EOS R full-frame mirrorless camera.

| Canon EOS R in Mirrorless Cameras

Canon EOS R Hands-On Preview And Sample Photos: Canon EOS R (3)

Canon has announced the new Canon EOS R, a 30mp full-frame mirrorless camera, with a completely new RF lens mount. We've been having a look at the camera, have posted our first impressions from spending time shooting with the camera. You can find more information on the camera in the news story, as well as information on the four new lenses and accessories.

Canon EOS R Features

Canon EOS R Hands-On Preview And Sample Photos: Canon EOS R (12)

The Canon EOS R is Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera, and features a 30.3mp full-frame sensor, with dual-pixel AF, with an impressive number of focus points, totally 5,455. The focus system is sensitive down to -6EV, which is the best offered by any Canon camera.

The lens mount is a new RF lens mount, with a 54mm diameter, and a 20mm flange distance. You can use Canon EF/EF-S lenses, with an adapter, and Canon are introducing 3 different adapters, one standard EF to RF, one with a control ring, and also one that can use drop-in filters. There is no compatibility with Canon EOS M series lenses.

Canon EOS R Hands-On Preview And Sample Photos: RF Lens Range (1)
RF Lens Range

With a new lens mount, Canon has introduced four new lenses, including a standard RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens, a 50mm f/1.2L USM lens, a 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro lens, and a 28-70mm f/2L lens.

The camera does not feature in-camera image stabilisation, instead relying on the lens featuring image stabilisation. Electronic image stabilisation is available for video recording, however, this crops into the image.

The camera features Dual Pixel Raw – which was first introduced on the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (see the review for more details) – and this can be used to fine tune the focus after you’ve taken the shot on your computer.

Continuous shooting offers 8fps with fixed AF/AA, and 5fps with continuous servo AF tracking. Exposure compensation can be set to +/- 3 EV – strangely this doesn’t go up to 5, like other cameras.

Canon EOS R Hands-On Preview And Sample Photos: Canon EOS R (6)

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) in the EOS R offers a high resolution of 3.69million dots, and has a 0.76x magnification giving a large view. The rear screen is a 3.15inch touch-screen with a 2.1million dot resolution. There's also a top LCD display giving shooting information, as well as battery life when the camera is off.

4K video recording offers frame rates up to 30fps, and there are built-in stereo mics. 4K video is UHD video resolution, for CINE resolution, you need to look at the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. Video is recorded internally in 8-bit, and for 10-bit video recording you need to use the HDMI output.

As you would expect, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are built-in, which lets you remotely control the camera, and transfer images. Bluetooth offers lower power consumption compared to simply relying on Wi-Fi.

Canon EOS R Key Features

  • 30.3mp full-frame CMOS sensor
  • RF lens mount
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF, -6EV
  • Face detection focus with Eye-AF
  • 3.15inch vari-angle touch-screen, 2.1m dots
  • 3.69million dot EVF
  • ISO50-ISO102400 (Extended)
  • 4K video recording. 10-bit output, stereo mics
  • Mic, headphone sockets
  • 8fps continuous shooting (speed maintained for 100 JPEG, 47 RAW, 78 C-RAW images)
  • 5fps continuous shooting - with AF
  • LP-E6N battery, 370 shot battery life
  • Single SD card slot
  • USB 3.1 Type-C

Canon EOS R Handling

Canon EOS R Hands-On Preview And Sample Photos: Canon EOS R (7)

There is a solid magnesium alloy body, that feels well built, however the bottom of the camera is made from plastic. There is side access to the memory card slot, which is a single SD card slot. The top LCD screen can be illuminated so that you can view it in low light. 

The large rubber grip and shutter release button feel very much like holding a Canon EOS DSLR. There's a good sized thumb grip on the back that is also rubberised. On the left of the camera, you'll find all of the ports, which includes a microphone and headphone socket, as well as high speed USB 3.1 Type C socket. This side of the camera also features a textured rubber to aid with grip. 

Canon EOS R Hands-On Preview And Sample Photos: Canon EOS R Hands On (6)

The camera body weight on its own (without lens) is similar, at 660g, to other mirrorless full-frame cameras such as the Nikon Z6 / Z7 (675g) and the Sony Alpha A7 Mark III (at 650g). However the 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens feels quite heavy and makes the camera as a whole fairly heavy to carry. The 50mm 1.2L is also quite large (and heavy). The 28-70mm f2 is particularly large, and is the biggest of the four lenses! Luckily the 35mm f/1.8 macro lens is quite compact. 

The mode button needs to be pressed to switch between the different shooting modes:

  • Scene intelligent auto
  • Fv - flexible priority AE
  • P - program AE (variable) 
  • Tv - shutter priority
  • Av - aperture priority
  • Manual
  • Bulb
  • Custom modes: C1p, C2p, C3p

Pressing the mode button and then the info button will switch between stills and movie shooting. In the movie mode there are auto, P, Tv, Sv, Manual and 3 custom modes. It's a shame there isn't a quicker way to switch between the still photo and video modes. - although you can simply press the video record button in photo mode, however this means you're not able to frame the scene before you start recording. 

The front lens ring can be customised, the rear "Multi Function Bar" (touch pad) can be customised, as can a number of other controls on the camera. With so many customisable options it can take a while to get to grips with how the camera operates and it may take you some time to get the camera configured to how you would like it. 

Canon EOS R Hands-On Preview And Sample Photos: Canon EOS R (9)

The high resolution, 3.69million dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) has a soft rubber surround, making it comfortable to hold up to your eye. There's an eye detection sensor so that it will automatically switch between the rear screen and the EVF. The EVF is bright, clear, and sharp, and there is dioptre adjustment, should you need it. The colour displayed in the EVF matches the screen, and updates smoothly. When shooting continuously, the EVF doesn't black out noticeably, instead giving a fairly quick refresh of what you are shooting. 

The touch screen is clear, sharp, and has good viewing angles. Colour reproduction is good and the screen gives a good representation of what the images will look like when you view them on your computer. You can use the touch screen to choose and set menu options, as well as in playback to swipe through images and zoom in to check detail. 

Canon EOS R Hands-On Preview And Sample Photos: Canon EOS R Hands On (7)

Auto focus controls and performance

There are numerous AF controls, and you can use the touchscreen to set the focus position. You can use the 4-way controller to set the position after pressing the AF point button.  You can customise how the AF system responds with five pages of AF options in the menu system. 

There are 5,655 AF points, which is a lot! However when selecting an AF point you can set the size to small or normal and there are around 65 points vertically (covering 100% top to bottom) and 88 horizontally (almost to the edges - covering 88%) when using the smaller size. 

Face and eye detection worked reasonably well but not in all circumstances, so often it was quicker to manually select the af point using the touch screen and simply press the screen on the subject (for example on a person's eye). 

We were quite impressed with the success rate of focus even when shooting wide open at f/1.2, and from our initial testing we feel that the success rate is slightly higher than when shooting with a DSLR. The camera was also able to focus successfully in low-light conditions. 

Video recording: The 4K video mode crops into the frame very noticeably, with a 1.8x crop factor, making a 24mm lens a 43.2mm equivalent lens. Therefore, if you want to shoot 4K video and also want to shoot wide-angle you will most likely need to use a lens with an adapter. Electronic image stabilisation is available however this also crops into the frame.

The camera will shoot at 8fps with fixed focus - and example can be seen above.

Canon EOS R Hands-On Preview And Sample Photos: Canon EOS R (11)

Battery Life is rated at 370 shots, and can be extended further by enabling ECO mode. In battery info you can view the battery life left as a percentage (eg 71%) as well as the number of shots taken with that battery. 

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Photographs taken using the Canon EOS R

Skiddaw and a Lone TreeIt's a generational thing...Dusky canola rowsSwinsideMisty fingers.....Rock onBarrow EruptingSt Paul's from Millenium BridgeBaby it's cold outside.....London SunriseWeston Super Mud!Let's Twist AgainTake me to churchThe end of the Pier

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WiltshireBorn Avatar
Great looking camera very similar to the new Nikon mirrorless camera's but both the Canon and the Nikon are very expensive and very heavy compared to my Olympus OMD-EM10ii, so I shall be sticking with that thank you very much.
themak Avatar
themak 10 1.1k Scotland
5 Sep 2018 2:55PM
Odd there's no mention of the number of card slots, and the equipment photos show all angles and orifices except inside the card cover.
JackAllTog Avatar
JackAllTog Plus
14 6.4k 58 United Kingdom
5 Sep 2018 4:30PM
For this hands on preview, did you like the hold/weight & balance with the lenses supplier.
Isn't the 8fps above only 5fps with AF.

How good was the focus when pointing to dark corners?

The last image says two ISO's ( Iso102400 | 1/400 sec | f/10.0 | 56.0 mm | ISO 65535) though the image itself looked great.
joshwa Avatar
joshwa Plus
13 927 1 United Kingdom
5 Sep 2018 5:13PM
Images added. Information updated. Currently going through photos will see how successful the focus is.

steveb127 Avatar
steveb127 5 1 United Kingdom
5 Sep 2018 7:05PM
@WiltshireBorn - One card slot.

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