Canon enters a new direction of storytelling with its mirrorless EOS R.
No Film School was invited to a press junket where Canon announced its new mirrorless camera, the EOS R. We're sharing our initial reaction along with all the technical details, and over the next couple days, we will be testing out the camera's video capabilities (stills too) and will share our findings in future posts.
Be the Revolution
The "R" stands for Revolution or, "Be the Revolution," as said by Kevin Ogawa, president and chief operating officer of Canon U.S.A., Inc. during his presentation. The EOS R is an entirely new system for Canon, but the strategy is to include rather than replace your existing Canon hardware. Three mount adapters allow you to bring every available EF or EF-S lens to the table.
The EOS R has the familiar EF 54mm diameter mount, but instead of a 44mm flange focal distance (like on the EF and EF-S), the EOS R comes in at 20mm. If you're keeping tabs, the Nikon Z7 and Z6 models are 16mm. This new mirrorless structure allows the rear lens elements to be closer to the image plane, improving edge to edge performance and allowing for faster lens designs.
Four RF lenses tagged along with the camera body announcement: RF 28-70mm F2 L USM, RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM, RF 50mm F1.2 L USM and the RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM.
A 30.3 megapixel CMOS sensor has a full frame image size of 36 x 24mm harnessed by a DIGIC 8 image processor. ISO speeds range from 100 to 40,000 with three expansions in L: 50, H1: 51,200, and H2: 102,400.
Its Dual Pixel CMOS AF touts a max of 5,655 manually selectable AF points covering 88% horizontal and 100% vertical for all RF lenses and some EF lenses. The AF works in dark scenarios with a low light exposure value of EV -6^.
It can record 4K UHD up to 29.97fps ALL-I 480Mbps or IPB 120Mbps. In 4K UHD, there is a 1.6x crop factor and a 4:2:0 Rec. 709 8-bit internal recording. Video files are MP4 (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264).
However, Canon Log (C-Log) is available internally (4:2:0 Rec. 709 8-bit) offering 12 stops of dynamic range at ISO 400. C-Log is also an option when recording externally through HDMI (mini) at 4K YCbCr 4:2:2 Rec. 709 or Rec. 2020 10-bit and 4K/Full HD/HD YCbCr 4:2:2 Rec. 709 8-bit. Canon adding 10-bit external recording is a nice surprise.
At full HD, you can enable or disable cropping, and recording rates are maxed at 1080 54.94fps ALL-I 180Mbps or IPB 60Mbps. Just note that EF-S shooting is not available at 54.94fps.
Canon added 4K frame grabs, distortion correction during recording, and movie digital IS with 5-axis image stabilization. The EOS R has internal HDR recording at 29.97 IPB clips.
- 4K 3840 x 2160: 29.97fps/24.00fps/23.98fps, ALL-I: 480Mbps
- 4K 3840 x 2160: 29.97fps/24.00fps/23.98fps, IPB: 120Mbps
- Full HD 1920 x 1080: 59.94fps, ALL-I: 180Mbps
- Full HD 1920 x 1080: 59.94fps, IPB: 60Mbps
- Full HD 1920 x 1080: 29.97fps/24.00fps/23.98fps/HDR Video, ALL-I: 90Mbps
- Full HD 1920 x 1080: 29.97fps/24.00fps/23.98fps/HDR Video, IPB: 30Mbps
- Full HD 1920 x 1080: 29.97fps, IPB Light: 12Mbps
- HD 1280 x 720: 119.9fps, ALL-I: 160Mbps
- HD 1280 x 720: 59.94fps, ALL-I: 80Mbps
- HD 1280 x 720: 59.94fps, IPB: 26Mbps
- HD 1280 x 720: 29.97fps/HDR Video, IPB: 13Mbps
Viewfinder & LCD
The 0.5-inch OLED electronic viewfinder has approximately 3.69 million dots with 100% coverage. When we used the EVF, images were bright and clear. The camera positioned well against our face and AF tracking points didn't distract from the image. The LCD was one of the high points of the EOS R. Canon did this right. It's a 3.15-inch touchscreen display with approximately 2.10 million dots and 100% coverage. It fully flips out and rotates as a front-facing screen for -loggers and it's really solid—metal-like in its build.
The multi-function bar is a new feature from Canon. It's placed on the back of the camera to the right of the EVF. It serves as a programmable button for items like ISO, white balance, AF, movie shooting, and other features in shooting or playback modes. We didn't use this new feature during our initial introduction with the camera but we'll see how it progresses in the coming days. Customizing it for white balance seems like a no-brainer.
EOS R Mount
The heart of the EOS R system is the large diameter mount and short back focus of its lens design. There's now a 12-pin connector that transfers data between the lens and camera body which Canon says does so at a faster rate. Each of the RF lenses has a new programmable control ring integrated into the lens. Similar to the multi-function bar, it allows you to assign lens aperture, ISO, shutter speed, and exposure compensation functions to the ring for fast adjustments.
Canon introduced three mount adapters to pair with EF and EF-S lenses. Let's break them down.
Mount Adapter EF-EOS R ($99 - October)
This is Canon's straight-forward adapter for EF and EF-S lenses allowing them to connect to the EOS R body.
Control Ring Mount Adapter EF-EOS R ($199 - October)
This adapter adds the control ring to use with EF and EF-S lenses. This is cool as it adds new functionality to older lenses.
Drop-in Filter Mount Adapter EF-EOS R ($299/$399 - February 2019)
This gives you the ability to drop in variable circular polarizing or ND filters. Two versions are available with the ND option being the more expensive.
EOS R Lenses
The RF 28-70mm F2 L USM that was available to test was a pre-production model, and so we're not allowed to comment on the image quality just yet, but the lens itself was meaty and had some weight and length to it. The RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM was also a pre-production model but we didn't get our hands on one.
As for the RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM, Canon users will find it familiar to the EF version and RF 50mm F1.2 L USM is a touch faster. Both produced great quality images edge to edge.
- RF 28-70mm F2 L USM ($2,999 - December)
- RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM ($1,099 - December)
- RF 50mm F1.2 L USM ($2,299 - October)
- RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM ($499 - December)
Additionally, a new EF-M 32mm F1.4 STM and two updated EF telephoto lenses made an appearance. The EF 600mm F4 L IS III USM and EF 400mm F2.8L IS III USM have dramatically lost weight (2.2 lbs each). When picking up the old version and the new one at the same time, it was a world of difference.
- EF-M 32mm F1.4 STM ($479 - September)
- EF 600mm F4 L IS III USM ($12,999 - December)
- EF 400mm F2.8L IS III USM ($11,999 - December)
Power & Other Features
There is a 3.5mm audio input. The HDMI is a mini connector. For batteries, LP-E6 provides power. In-camera USB charging is supported through LP-E6N batteries and the USB Power Adapter PD-E1. There's an option for silent shutter. WiFI and Bluetooth compatibility. It can shoot compact RAW or C-RAW (.CR3) files. Magnesium alloy body. Dust and water resistant.
The EOS R felt great in-hand—new but with a familiar Canon feel. It had good balance with the 28-70mm. When using the 50mm with eye tracking on the AF was very fast. We actually preferred the feel of the camera when using it with the battery grip.
The most looming spec thus far is the 4K UHD crop frame. It'd be stellar if it were a full frame readout internally (or externally, at least). Canon did say this is its first step into mirrorless with models to come. Will we see improvements? Yes. How long will we have to wait? It will be hard to say. In the meantime, we'll be testing the EOS R out more over the next few days and report back.
Pricing & Shipping
EOS R Body - $2,299 - October
EOS R + RF 24-105mm lens kit - $3,399 - October
If you have any questions about the EOS R, let us know in the comments section. We'll be answering them as we go along. You can also visit Canon's YouTube page, as the company has put up several videos about it.
EOS R Tech Specs:
- 30.3 MP Full-frame CMOS (36.0 x 24.0mm)
- DIGIC 8 Image Processor
- New RF Mount
- Dual Pixel CMOS AF
- 4K UHD 8-bit internal
- 4K UHD 10-bit external
- Articulating LCD
- Dimensions: 5.35 x 3.87 x 3.32 in. / 135.8 x 98.3 x 84.4mm
- Weight: 1.46 lbs / 660g