We're testing a full frame Canon EOS R mirrorless camera . Is the first of its kind manufacturer's camera a chance with the competition in the form of Sony A7 III and Nikon Z7?
Canon EOS R debuted unexpectedly at the end of last summer. The producer, like Nikon, has long postponed the development of mirrorless cameras in its offer. In the end, however, he showed an advanced camera without a mirror with a full frame. However, is the camera able to defend itself against the background of considerable competition?
A perfectly contoured casing
Taking EOS R into your hands you can immediately see that we are dealing with something new. The body was designed anew, it does not continue the design known from the EOS M series, nor from the manufacturer's SLRs. Although he is a bit closer to the latter. First of all, the rugged and matte material that the camera was made of is similar to that used in SLRs. At first glance, you can think it's plastic. In fact, it is a good quality magnesium construction with additional seals. The body with the battery weighs approximately 660 grams. This is not the lightest design, but it is still a much better result than SLRs. Almost the entire front part of the camera was covered with rubber to facilitate holding. What is the most attention, however, is a well profiled grip, strongly outlined against the background of the whole body. EOS R is one of the best or the best model without a mirror on the market in terms of convenience. The camera is just great in the hand and works with it much more comfortably than, for example, Sony mirrorless. There are a lot of buttons on the casing, but they have been reasonably arranged.Starting from the top of the body – the switch can be found on the left, which is a rare solution. However, a bigger surprise is the lack of a classic dial with modes P, A, S, M. Instead, we'll find the Mode button with a ring around it. We have to press it and then select the camera's operating mode. The latter will be visible on the main screen, but also on the top screen. The display on the top of the body also informs about the selected exposure and aperture. When you press the button, you will see a more detailed range of icons – with information about the AF mode, white balance, etc. Long-held button will change the background to white – well visible in low light . The operating mode is displayed even if the camera is turned off. So it gives us a bit of information visible on the physical mode dial. Just why was it to give up? The producer wanted to be innovative in this way? In my opinion, this is a missed idea. At the top you will also find a knob to control photographic parameters (different depending on the mode), the button to block the exposure, and also the REC button. The shutter button was placed slightly at an angle to make it more comfortable to use. From the side of the screen we find the remaining elements of the interface. In addition to standard buttons for menu operation, photo playback etc. (we can also assign other functions to them) we will also find a touch panel. It is used to set the AF point. This can also be set by tapping the screen – also using the viewfinder. Both solutions are not convenient and practical . The touch of the panel works not quite as we would like, while the use of the screen when placing the eye on the viewfinder is not easy. It is a pity, therefore, that there was no classic joystick. The touch panel instead is another innovation that, in my opinion, did not succeed the manufacturer. The screen is tilted to the side , similar to other manufacturer's SLRs. This is a disadvantage that on the left side, the same to which the screen is tilting, all the camera's inputs are located. There are headphone and microphone inputs , type C and USB C-type HDMI input as well as cable entry. The problem is that when you connect something, tilting the screen can be a bit difficult. On the right side, there is room for an SD memory card. And here is a surprise – there is only one slot. Almost all professional mirrorless cameras shown last year and at the beginning of the current offer two slots. Lack of this in Canona can be considered a nasty surprise. The plus is the fact that the lens release button, allowing it to unscrew from the body, the manufacturer placed on the left, not immediately next to the grip, as in Sony. This second solution means that the camera can be unplugged by accident. There is no such danger in Canon EOS R. In the lower part of the body there is a place for a tripod entry and a battery. Canon EOS R battery it is quite large and has a large capacity – 1865 mAh. The problem, however, is that this capacity does not necessarily translate into performance. We will do about 450 photos on one charge , but with the energy saving mode enabled (the camera instantly hibernates after a moment of inactivity). Canon's cameras have always been praised for a powerful battery, even Sony mirrorless headphones. Now, Sony squeezes a lot out of the battery, and the Canon will have to learn it. Wireless module is responsible for wireless communication , but without NFC support and Bluetooth 4.1 . Using a dedicated application, we can quickly transfer photos to a smartphone or computer. The smartphone will also be used to control the camera, although here the possibilities of interfering with particular parameters of the photo will not be particularly large.
Large screen and a great viewfinder
The screen is tiltable and also supports touch. Both functions, which for years have not been present in professional SLRs (because, according to many, it's too amateur …) found their place in the advanced mirrorless producer. The screen is slightly larger than the standard sizes – its diagonal is 3.15 inches and the resolution is less than 2.1 million points. So it is also above average and it is clearly visible. The preview of the image on the screen is very clear and detailed.The screen is accordingly contrasty, and with brightness there is no problem . This one is adjustable in 7 levels and gives advice, even when the sun shines more. The touch of the screen is really very functional and allows us not only to set the focus point, but also to navigate the menu freely. In the upper right corner of the screen we find the icon Q, which will open the icon set of the shortened menu. Thanks to this, we can set up, among others, AF mode, white balance or photo mode (eg serial). In turn, the main menu has not changed too much and very well for years. It is very transparent and instinctive, and the minimalist graphic design is pleasing to the eye. The individual menu functions are arranged in several thematic tabs . All one tab has been dedicated to autofocus settings, which are really good. We will also find a separate tab for the settings of function keys. It turns out that we can really assign a lot of different settings to each of the buttons. It should be added that Canon's system lenses have a special knob that can also be used to set various camera functions. The visor strongly marks your presence on the body. And here again Canon stood up to the task. The eyecup is well contoured and large . The viewfinder is therefore used very comfortably without having to press the face too much into the camera. In addition, the viewfinder is probably characterized by the highest in its class image quality. Its resolution is 2.69 million points, with a magnification of 0.71x. The image quality in the viewfinder is really great. The picture is clear, the colors are perfectly reproduced, and the refresh rate is high enough that there are no problems with liquidity. All those who are afraid that the digital viewfinder will not give them the quality they like, the classic optical can sleep peacefully.
Great autofocus and high quality photos
Canon EOS R from the beginning was promoted, among others, a great autofocus, equipped with up to 5655 points depending on the lens used. The automatic sharpening system is based on the Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology . Without a doubt, the autofocus in the tested model was really great. As for the quality of this system, it is difficult to argue – it is one of the camera's strong points. The camera blades very quickly and very accurately. In practically any situation, pressing the shutter halfway resulted in a quick focus – the camera did not have to sharpen the frame or analyze it for too long. The new AF system does not lack, among other things, the eye detection function, which works great when photographing people. Then we can be sure that the face of the object will be properly sharpened. Autofocus can deal with the smallest problems in film mode as Servo AF. Continuous sharpening is no problem for him, he is not mistaken and does not get lost, even in more dynamic scenes. The manufacturer ensures that the camera can cope with sharpening even in the range of -6 EV – but only with the f / 1.2 aperture. I must admit that indeed after dark the camera did not disappoint with the speed of sharpening, and with accuracy it had no major problems. It can therefore be said that this is definitely one of the biggest advantages of the camera, and the manufacturer's announcements in this matter were true. EOS R is really the master of autofocus. In terms of the quality of photos, one must again say that there is no shame here either. The heart of the camera is a full frame matrix with a resolution of 30.3 Mpix. Correctly made pictures are characterized by a very wide tonal range and high detail. I admit that I am a fan of Sony algorithms in the matter of "coloring" grass, sky, creating nice views. The manufacturer's equipment is great for landscapes. Canon, however, once again proves that he is a master of skin-tones. In terms of reproduction of the skin color, it is currently the number one on the market for me. No other manufacturer has developed such a nice and natural skin color as offered by the Canon camera. In this respect, the manufacturer did a good job. Examples of pictures below, and frames in full resolution in of our gallery . The same color scheme is also impeccable, and JPGi are of good quality that if we do not shoot in difficult conditions in which we can lose the details of the photo (eg when there is high contrast by the sun or when we have to raise the ISO), we will be able to use pre-made JPG files instead of RAWs, which the camera calls it by itself. The white balance does not disappoint and in most cases adapts perfectly to the lighting conditions . In particular, the option of white priority is particularly useful, which makes the photos taken in the evening, with the light of a lamp, not too yellow. In terms of noise in the pictures, the manufacturer finally managed to develop a quality that does not differ from today's standards, which sets, among others, mentioned in this review several times Sony. ISO can be raised without fear to several thousand values. Its maximum value in the extended mode is 102,400. In the standard mode, we will raise it to the ISO 40,000 value and it is not worth going outside, because the image with the higher ISO will not take much out. The frames from ISO 3200 are very clean, ISO 6400 is also acceptable, although a slight noise can be seen. At an ISO 12800 value, the noise is more noticeable, especially in the shadows.The serial mode that the camera can boast of is not the fastest. In this mode, we can make a maximum of 8 photos in a second, but with a single autofocus. In the case of continuous AF, the value drops to just 5 fps. This is not much if we compare this result to 20 fps that the competition offers. However, it's still more than they offered SLR cameras.
4K movie mode, with one big "but"
Canon is the world of film cameras almost what Ford T for the automotive industry. With the latter, buying a car became more affordable and made ordinary people afford it. Canon 5D Mark II, on the other hand, made the camera a perceived professional filming tool. Since that time, however, a lot has changed and further Canon models offer much less opportunities than the competition. The EOS R model was supposed to change, but only partially. The plus is that the camera allows you to shoot in modes with aperture or shutter priority. We can easily interfere with the settings of various parameters during filming, the focus peaking turns out to be helpful when sharpening. The camera allows you to record with 8-bit depth on the external recorder. Finally, it has a Log profile, so useful for filmmakers. And great autofocus in continuous mode, and 4K. So everything is like that. So what's wrong? The problem is 4K mode. For many filmmakers, the basic mode in everyday work. With this camera, recording in 4K (at speeds up to 29 fps) results in a huge crop of the image, because the camera in this mode does not shoot using the whole matrix. A crop is 1.6x. So this is a big restriction for every film-maker. Although the 4K bitrate can be over 400 Mbps, such a large crop in many situations makes it very difficult to work. In Full HD, the frame is 60 fps . Slow-motion mode – also a very important work tool – is present, but only at 120 fps in quality … HD 720p. As I often film in 4K, to get lower noise or just be able to crop the image on the assembly, and I do not shoot in slow-motion, the lack of these two options (because it is de facto missing) virtually eliminates this device from my shopping list in the case of a film camera. Of course, if you shoot in Full HD, and without a slowmo, you'll get great picture quality, beautiful video colors, useful tools, C-Log profile, microphone input, etc … So it's all, but for some it can be little.
Summary and evaluation
Canon EOS R is a camera that had to be created. And it's good that the manufacturer finally launched a full-frame system without mirrors, which made us wait for a very long time. However, it is difficult not to get the impression that this is just the beginning of the series, the model is not fully developed . Taking into account the competition, the new Canon, apart from a great autofocus, good quality visor and high ergonomics, does not offer much. No second slot for memory cards, extended movie mode, and above all – no stabilization of the matrix, which is also a standard in the competition. So you can assume that EOS R is the first and the least advanced full-frame mirrorless Canon , and these best specimens are just ahead. The problem, however, is that the camera does not deviate from the competition at all. Both Nikon Z6 and Sony A7 III are similarly priced, but offer much more. Therefore, the current model should be treated as a camera that can tempt many photographers to change from Canon's SLR. However, to compete with other mirrorless people you will need something more. [Show_rating]