EOS R

EOS R

Canon EOS R Full Review

By

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What We Love. Brewed up with a blend of 5D Mark IV goodies and forged into a smaller package that costs only a few hundred dollars more than a 6D Mark II or Sony A7 III, the Canon EOS R produces excellent, high-resolution images and features some of the best ergonomics of all the current full-frame mirrorless cameras. It feels great in-hand, is endlessly customizable, and boasts a Vari-angle display for flexible camera placement and one-person shooting. And alongside Dual-Pixel CMOS autofocus, one of the industry's best systems, the EOS R is capable of 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 external video recording with C-log for extended dynamic range. If all of that weren't enticing enough, Canon's new RF lenses are, quite simply, some of the best we've ever used. And, Canon has launched three affordable adapters to help you use current EF and EF-S-mount glass seamlessly.

What We'd Change. While the EOS R delivers on image quality and ergonomics, it's easy to see why some are frustrated with this $2,300 body. Much digital ire has been foisted upon the single memory card slot, the ultra-cropped 4K video recording (it's between APS-C and Micro FourThirds in terms of crop factor), and the missing in-body image stabilization (IBIS), and we agree. Further, while low-light AF is quite good, the camera's EyeAF and Continuous AF capabilities limit an otherwise excellent AF system. Lastly, while the EOS R features the 5D Mark IV image sensor, it's stuck with the 6D Mark II weather sealing. This isn't the end of the world, you can shoot in the rain with the 6Dii, but we would have loved to see a little more.

Pick This Up If... You want to shoot with Canon's best lenses ever while capturing high-resolution stills as well as 4K and HD videos for YouTube and other social media platforms. The EOS R may have a few flaws that will prove insurmountable to some of their customers, but we think the EOS R's image quality, ergonomics, EF lens compatibility, and stunning new RF lenses make it an appealing camera for anyone looking for their first full-frame camera or existing Canon shooters who need a second body. 

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INTRO

Angry internet commenters want you to believe the Canon EOS R is a bad camera because its specs don't match or beat the Sony A7 III or Fujifilm X-T3 or Nikon Z6, all of which are terrific hybrid cameras and, more importantly, cheaper. And it's true, the EOS R isn't the end-all-be-all mirrorless system some hoped Canon would deliver. 

Yet, in person, the EOS R tells a different story. 

It's the largest full-frame mirrorless camera on the market and, in our humblest opinion, offers the best in-hand ergonomics. Its menus are a breeze to navigate. Its customizability is second-to-none. Its touchscreen is perfect for vloggers and one-person video crews. And, most importantly, it takes wonderful pictures courtesy of an image sensor created for a $3,600 DSLR that's now available in a $2,300 body.

Tucked between the underrated 6D Mark II and 5D Mark IV DSLRs, the EOS R is an interesting blend of the two systems, which positions the camera, I think, smartly among its rivals. Where Sony and Nikon offer high-resolution and lower resolution variants of their full-frame mirrorless cameras, Canon delivers more resolution than the Sony A7 III and Nikon Z6 for only $300 more. And the first RF series lenses are all outstanding, even the kit lens. Which means, if you primarily shoot sills, you're going to be able to create evocative, high-resolution images in a camera that's a joy to use.

But is the R the right camera for you? Or is it better suited as a second camera for a growing Canon shooter's kit, as Canon themselves implied during their Hawaii launch presentation? Let's explore.

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GEAR USED

Along with the EOS R, we tested a full lineup of Canon RF (aka R-mount) lenses, EF (aka DLSR) lenses, and one of the three adapters used to place DSLR glass on the new mirrorless mount. Here's the full list:
We'll get into the individual lenses over the next few weeks, but we're very excited by Canon's first few lenses. In short, they're all very impressive and, thanks to improved optics, better than their EF ancestors. The RF 50mm F1.2 is, quite simply, a stunning prime lens that produces sharp, contrasty images with lovely bokeh. It's one of the best lenses I've ever used. The RF 28-70mm F2 is the fastest zoom lens ever made, and it too produces gorgeous imagery. The RF 24-105mm F4 kit lens isn't as fast or contrasty as the previous two, but it's among the sharpest F4 zooms we've seen and a big step up over the EF version, a lens we liked quite a bit. The RF 35mm F1.8 is another nice prime; it's actually quite similar to the Nikon Z-mount 35mm F1.8, but with added macro capabilities.

The only drawback to the new lens ecosystem is size and pricing. The 50mm F1.2 and 28-70mm F2 are enormous compared to most lenses at these focal lengths, and very expensive. But they're also two of the finest lenses ever made. 

Boiling all of this down, if you can afford and have room for them in your kit, the Canon RF mount is off to an impressive start. Sure, the EOS R may not be for everyone, but Canon's new lenses are already legendary.

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RF 35mm F1.8 Macro -- 35mm, F2.8, 1/1000, ISO 640

EOS R KEY FEATURES
  • 30.3MP Full Frame CMOS image sensor
  • DIGIC 8 image processor
  • Compatibility: RF lens + EF & EF-S Compatible 
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF with 5655 manually selectable AF points
  • NEW Multi-function Bar 
  • 8fps burst shooting
  • 4K/30p
    • 1080/60p
    • C-Log for extended dynamic range
    • Focus Guides
    • 10bit 4:2:2 via Micro-HDMI out
  • ISO 100-40,000
  • 3.69M dots EVF
  • Vari-Angle LCD Touchscreen
  • Dot-matrix LCD Panel
  • USB 3.1 charging
  • Silent Shutter
  • Familiar EOS Touchscreen Menus
  • Single UHS-II SD Card Slot
  • Built-in Bluetooth & Wi-FiĀ® 
  • Single UHS-II SD card slot
  • CR3(RAW/C-RAW) and Dual Pixel RAW Support
  • Dust & weather resistant 
  • Focus at EV -6 at F1.2 lens
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WHAT'S IN THE BOX

The Canon EOS R is available as a body-only for $2,300 and as part of a kit for $3,400, which is the only way to get the Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM zoom lens prior to December. When you buy the kit, you get:
  • EOS R Camera Body
  • RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM Lens
  • Battery Pack LP-E6N
  • Battery Charger LC-E6
  • Wide Strap
  • Cable Protector
  • Interface Cable IFC-100U
  • Camera Cover R-F-5
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ADAPTERS & THE CONTROL RING

Much like the Nikon Z, the Canon EOS R launched with adapters to mount EF and EF-S lenses on the new R-mount. Unlike Nikon's all-in-one FTZ Adapter, Canon took a different approach, offering three different adapters at three price-points.

The $99 Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R delivers full EF and EF-S compatibility that, in our testing, worked as promised with EF, EF-S, and even some Sigma lenses. However, it's worth noting that Canon EF-S lenses trigger the camera to enter the camera's 1.6x crop mode (which is optional for full-frame lenses). 

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The $199 Canon Control Ring Mount Adapter EF-EOS R takes that compatibility and adds in a Control Ring you'll see built into native RF lenses. The Control Ring is, effectively, an extra dial you can use to adjust aperture, shutter speed, ISO, or exposure compensation. With this second adapter, you improve the customizability and overall ergonomics of every Canon EF-mount lens in your kit. This is the adapter we used for this review and it's awesome.

The $399 Canon Drop-In Filter Mount Adapter EF-EOS R with Variable ND Filter swaps out the Control Ring feature for a little filter box. Meaning, you can add a variable ND filter -- a must have for long exposures or shooting video at fast apertures in the day -- to any Canon EF-mount lens in your kit without needing a different filter for each front-element width. Plus, you'll be able to swap in other filter types; Canon also offers a $274.95 Drop-In Circular Polarizing Filter. We haven't gotten to use the Drop-In Filter Adapter yet, but in a world where high-quality variable ND filters cost over $100 each, this adapter could save someone a lot of money while saving space in the camera bag.

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BUILD QUALITY & DESIGN

The Canon EOS is a handsome, well-made camera. The exterior is finished in matte black plastics and wrapped in grippy, black rubber. Buttons are glossy black plastic, while the two dials and on/off switch are shiny black metal. A stylish polished, gunmetal grey R-mount -- on both the EOS R and RF lenses -- highlights that you're using a different system.

Though not as overtly rugged as the Nikon Z7, Z6, or Canon 5D Mark IV, this R features a magnesium alloy chassis as well as a tempered front panel for internal rigidity. The shutter is rated to ~200,000 cycles and, in a stroke of pure engineering genius, closes every time you power off the camera. That's right, where every other mirrorless system leaves the sensors exposed to the elements, making lens swapping a terror anytime it's windy or dusty, the R's shutter clamps down for extra protection. 

It's a great feature everyone should incorporate into their mirrorless systems

According to Canon, the EOS R also features weather sealing similar to what you'll find on the 6D Mark II. For context, in our experience with that DSLR, we were able to use it safely in light to medium rain with no issue. It's nice to have this feature (it's probably a step or so above Sony's weather sealing), but we know Canon offers even more resistance in its 5Div and 1DXii bodies.

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Looking at the front of the EOS R, we find a lens-release button, the in-camera microphones, the AF assist illuminator, and the angled shutter-release button.

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On body-left, we find remote control, USB-C, Micro HDMI, microphone, and headphone ports behind rubber flaps.

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Around back, we see the Menu button, a 3.69M dot OLED EVF, a 3.15" Vari-angle touchscreen display, the new Multi-Function Bar, and buttons for AF On, AE lock, metering, Info, Q & directional navigations, Playback, and trash buttons. There is no joystick.

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On body-right, we find the solitary UHS-II SD memory card slot.

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Up top, we see an on/off switch, a hot shoe for accessories, a small dot-matrix LCD showing off your settings, a front and rear dial, and buttons for video recording, mode selection, LCD illumination, settings locking, and Multi Function (M-Fn).

Lastly, peak under the camera to see the standard tripod mount and the access door for the Canon LP-E6N Lithium-Ion battery.

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EF 70-200mm F2.8 -- 170mm, F2.8, 1/2500, ISO 100

ERGONOMICS

Outside of image quality, the Canon EOS R's ergonomics may just its best feature. 

Mirrorless cameras have long sung a "smaller than DSLR" siren song. And while the EOS R offers a noticeably weight and size savings over 5D and 1D series cameras, the R is the largest full-frame mirrorless camera on the market, which also makes it the most comfortable to hold. I personally find Sony cameras too thin and short, with not enough grip. The Nikon Z7 & Z6 are a step up from that, but still a little short. Much like a Goldilocks fairytale, the R feels just right. 

On top of in-hand feeling, you can customize almost every button and dial on the EOS R, tailoring the entire body to your workflow. Sure, the R may not have Fujifilm's more tangible exposure-triangle adjustment dials, but with two on-camera mode dials and the new Control Ring feature, you can achieve similar ease-of-use.

Other nice ergonomical touches include a vertical settings mode for the R's EVF; meaning, the settings displayed in the EVF orient themselves differently based on whether you're holding the EOS R horizontally or vertically. We also enjoy using the new Fv Mode, which combines Program Auto, Av (Aperture Priority), Tv (Shutter Priority), and M (full Manual). What does that mean? Imagine one mode where your camera can be in full auto, partial manual, or full manual at any given time. Fv begins with Aperture, Shutter, ISO, and Exposure Compensation in full auto. Adjust any one of those settings -- let's say you set your shutter speed -- and now the camera operates akin to Shutter Priority Mode. BUT, you can then set your aperture, making Fv more akin to Manual mode with Auto ISO. So you can have as little or as much auto-assistance without having to toggle modes. Fv is perfect for situations where you want to lock two out of the three exposure triangle settings. Check it out.

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EF 100mm F2.8 Macro -- 100mm, F4.5, 1/100, ISO 100

Joystick fans have grumbled about the EOS R's lack thereof. For anyone who composes shots and selects AF points via the Vari-angle display, you might not notice. But for those who like to adjust AF points while using the EVF, the EOS R features Touch and Drag AF, a mode where you use the LCD even though your eye is up to the EVF. I heard a lot of grumbling about this at the EOS R launch, but I don't understand, to be honest. Touch and Drag is faster than every joystick I've ever used (unless you turn off some of the AF points). Using the LCD is fast, simple, and also customizable. I hope more camera systems implement the feature.

While the Canon EOS R is stuffed with helpful features, buttons, and a generally great layout, there are three things we don't love about its tactile interface. First, the On/Off switch sits alone on the left side of the top panel, making the camera harder to operate one-handed (compared to Nikon and Sony). Second, while there's a dedicated Video Recording button (which will activate your settings saved in C3), there's no dedicated button to swap between still and video modes. Instead, you have to tap Mode, Info, and then, if needed, select a specific video recording mode, which is surprisingly hard to do because it requires you to adjust how you're holding the camera. At its best, it's slow and cumbersome; at its worst, because it's not labeled, it could prove infuriating for anyone unfamiliar with the R. In a camera that's so well thought out, this is surprisingly obtuse.

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MULTI-FUNCTION BAR

As many of my industry colleagues have mentioned, the Multi-Function Bar is a bit of a miss. Philosophically, it's a wonderful idea. What if there was an easier way to adjust any settings you wanted with the tap or swipe of a finger? It seems perfect for the smartphone era. However, in reality, the MF Bar's placement makes it too easy to accidentally tap or swipe. You can lock it prevent accidents, but the unlocking process wastes time. I personally struggled with jumping between tapping and swiping motions. For example, I would swipe left (set to lower my ISO a stop at a time), but accidentally tap (set to ISO 100), and then have to spend more time scrolling the other way. Honestly, it's easier just to use the touch screen interface or the control ring to adjust ISO. You can set the Multi-Function Bar to other functions, including ISO, White Balance, Check focus/Disp. info, Movie Recording, Flexible Priority AE, AF, or some combination of all, so perhaps there's a better way to set this up. For example, a less vital setting than ISO might not be such a big deal. Still, it was a bit frustrating (perhaps it was too different). In other words, a big thumbs up for the control ring, and a big thumbs-meh for the MF Bar.

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MENU & DISPLAYS

Modern cameras are so complex and feature-laden, you need menus and sub-menus for dozens of small intricate things. This makes camera menus dense and hard to sift through when you're looking for that one random feature. Canon's menus are among the best. Divided into color-coded Shoot, AutoFocus, Play, Set Up, Custom Function, and My Menu sections, they're all easy to navigate using the touch screen, and more complicated ones include an explanation and/or an option to tap a Help button for one. 

Much like the Nikon Z7 and Z6, the Canon EOS features three displays. The small top-mounted dot-matrix LCD shows off current settings and modes; the small button next to this display, when pressed once, shows another page of settings information and, when held down, turns the LCD background white.

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The EOS R's 0.5" OLED display features 3.69M dots of resolution, a 100% field-of-view, and dioptric adjustments so you don't have to wear glasses. Quite simply, this is one of the best EVF's we've ever seen on a camera. It's clear, bright, and accurately displays your images' exposure and white balance. We also love that, when shooting vertically, the settings information reorients so you can read everything quickly. It's a feature we hope to see in more cameras. The only thing that feels a little off about this EVF is its placement. It feels like the screen is a few millimeters off center when looking into it.

The final display is a 3.15" Vari-angle touchscreen LCD, which makes the EOS R the only full-frame mirrorless camera on the market to have one. I know, I know, many folks don't need or use them, and they're easier to break. But Vari-angle displays aren't just for selfies or vlogging. They're about having the most flexibility to compose and check your shots in any shooting situation. Vertical, horizontal, high-angle, low-angle, you name it. And, of course, if you're shooting video alone as part of a one-man crew, they're invaluable. 

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RF 24-105mm F4 -- 24mm, F4, 1/640, ISO 100

AUTOFOCUS

Canon Dual-Pixel CMOS AutoFocus is legendary and, outside of one area we'll discuss in just a moment, is the best Live View AF system on the market today. Quick, accurate, and capable of smooth video transitions. How does it work? Each effective pixel on this Canon's sensor is made up out of two individual photodiodes. These diode-pairs read together for imaging, or separately for phase-detection autofocus. In other words, rather than lay phase-detection AF points OVER the pixels and then processing around them, Canon pixels do double duty.

In the case of the EOS R, that means 5,655 "manually selectable AF points," covering 88% of your sensor's width and 100% of the sensor's height. AF modes include Face + Tracking, 1-point AF, Expand AF area, Expand AF area: Around, Zone AF, Large Zone AF (Vertical), and Large Zone AF (Horizontal).

To be fair, a dedicated phase detection AF system on something like a 1DX Mark II is b
etter for sports and wildlife photography, but Dual-Pixel CMOS is equally competent when shooting both stills and video. Plus, with those older systems, you didn't get anywhere close to the sensor coverage, which means you had to focus and recompose with those systems, which is less accurate. Here, you can simply tap what you want in focus and, by not having to recompose, your focus is more accurate.

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EF 70-200mm F2.8 -- 200mm, F2.8, 1/160, ISO 100

Despite the EOS R's general AF excellence -- it's quick to focus and offers smooth transitions for video -- there are two places where the EOS R feels slower and less accurate than the Sony A7 III, Nikon Z6, and Fujifilm X-T3. We found R's subject tracking during continuous AF modes is less capable for sports than its three main competitors. And, since Canon's EyeAF is limited to single shot still photography, it can't keep up with the Sony and Fujifilm's versions, which also offer video support. (The Nikon Z6 offers no EyeAF at all, but its video subject tracking is otherwise excellent.)  I'm not sure Canon's planning to update the EOS R EyeAF functionality with revised firmware, but if they can, they should because they're so-so close to perfection. 

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EF 70-200mm F2.8 -- 200mm, F2.8, 1/2500, ISO 100

SPEED

Similar to the Nikon Z7, the Canon EOS R isn't our first choice to shoot action, sports, or wildlife photography. Sony full-frame cameras are faster overall, as are DSLRs like the Nikon D850, and UHS-II SD cards aren't as buffer-friendly as CFast and XQD. 

But the EOS R isn't a slow camera, by any means, unless you engage AF tracking or the Dual Pixel RAW feature (not to be confused with Dual Pixel Autofocus -- more on this in a moment). At its fastest, you can shoot up to 8fps with the EOS R in High-Speed Continuous mode, but doing so locks your focus, so it's worthless for moving subjects. In AF Servo mode, you drop down to (up to) 5fps. This is the camera's sweet spot; simply shoot in Expand AF area and the camera will do an admirable job keeping up with moving subjects. 

If you need the camera to do the tracking for you, that's when the R slows to 3fps. With Dual Pixel RAW engaged, you're limited to 2.2fps. And Silent LV shooting is even worse. If you need silent or tracking, or only shoot in Dual Pixel RAW mode, the R will feel very clunky.

Wait, what is Dual Pixel RAW, you may be asking? Dual Pixel RAW is a recording mode that was introduced on the 5D Mark IV. It allows you to, when using a free Canon app, slightly adjust your focus and quality of your bokeh AFTER while processing your RAW files, giving you more flexibility to perfect an image. We haven't really tested this feature out, personally, but just know if you accidentally turn it on, the EOS R slows dramatically. 

In terms of buffer performance, the EOS R can capture ~24 RAW + JPEG files before the buffer empties. If you hold the shutter down longer, you'll get quick one-to-four shot randoms bursts. It then takes about ~15-20 seconds for the buffer to fill back up and, during that time, you can't access the R's menus or settings. Bottom line, if you're shooting in shorter bursts (less than 24 shots) with a fresh, fast card, the EOS R feels like it's buffer is limitless. 

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RF 50mm F1.2 -- 50mm, F5.6, 1/200, ISO 400
Shot designed by Canon Explorer of Light, Lindsay Alder

METERING

The Canon EOS R features four metering modes -- Evaluative, Partial, Spot, and Center-weighted. As we've experienced time and time again, Canon's metering systems tend to expose a little under for our tastes. Canon cameras seem, in general, to favor highlight recovery, so we tend to shoot slightly over what the camera recommends to get the most out of our exposures. By comparison, when shooting Nikon or Sony, we tend to shoot as suggested or slightly under as those systems recover shadows more easily than highlights. Overall, though, no complaints. 

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RF 70-200mm F2 -- 70mm, F2.8, 1/2500, ISO 100

STABILIZATION

Canon opted for no in-body image stabilization for the EOS R, which is a big disappointment. Yes, the EOS R works well with stabilized RF and EF lenses. But there are too many great lenses that lack built-in IS. Case in point, the RF 50mm F1.2, which is an amazing, fast lens that's great in low-light, but if you use it to shoot 4K video, it's like trying to shoot 85mm handheld. You can engage digital stabilization in video recording -- it works well, but suggest avoiding the Enhanced mode -- but that too adds more crop. 

The 50mm F1.2 is also a low-light beast, but without stabilization, you need to crank your ISO or lower your shutter speed, which threatens to add unwanted noise or reduce sharpness, respectively. Remember, this is a 30-megapixel sensor; any movement, however subtle, threatens sharpness. Yes, IBIS is relatively new, but when every other camera in this market segment offers the feature, it's sorely missed. 

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RF 50mm F1.2 -- 50mm, F1.2, 1/4000, ISO 100

IMAGE QUALITY

The Canon EOS features the same 30.3-megapixel CMOS image sensor with an optical low-pass filter (for reference, higher resolution cameras like the Sony A7R III and Nikon Z7 / D850, do not include an OLPF) as the 5D Mark IV. A lot of people seem upset this is an older sensor, but much like Sony's jump from the A7R II to the A7R III, this EOS R's variation of this sensor has been optimized for a newer (DIGIC 8) processor, which raises ISO Performance.

Simply put, the Canon EOS R image quality is outstanding, especially when you're using one of Canon's new jaw-dropping RF lenses, which produce less fringing than their EF equivalents. Still, even with your current EF-mount lens, or something like a Sigma ART series prime, you can capture sharp, deliciously colorful images with those vaunted Canon skin tones straight out of camera. Start processing those RAW files and you have even more flexibility. 

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If you shoot portraits, weddings, street, architecture, or work in a studio environment where you have a little bit of time and flexibility, the EOS R is an awesome camera to have in your kit. This camera loves people as much as it does people or things.

You can also shoot landscapes, travel, and architecture if you like -- I've had a lot of fun and produced some of my strongest images while reviewing the 5Div and 6Dii in those types of scenarios -- but there's one area where the EOS R falls behind the Nikon and Sony competition:

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DYNAMIC RANGE

Canon's image sensors feel slightly less dynamic than Sony and Nikon sensors, where you can endlessly play with shadows (or any part of your image that isn't exposed), The key word, of course, is slightly. If you're pixel-peeping, Nikon and Sony have the edge. The EOS R, specifically, begins revealing blotches of green and magenta when you recover shadows more than two stops (click on the image above to explore). 

What does this mean in the real world? That depends on how you shoot. If you're a landscape or architecture photographer who creates one-image HDR-style shots, you may want to look at a different system. However, i most scenarios, or without doing direct apples-to-apples test shots in a lab environment, you're never going to notice. The EOS R is a very usable camera even if it won't win any awards for having 85 stops of dynamic range.

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ISO 100, 12,800, 25,600, & 40,000
Click on the image to see a 5500 x 3673 version of this file.

ISO PERFORMANCE

With a native ISO sensitivity range of ISO 100 - 40000, the Canon EOS R is a touch better at higher ISOs than the 5D Mark IV and 6D Mark IV. I don't think Canon's noise reduction is as capable as Sony or Nikon, but as noise levels rise in Canon digital files, the grain structure is wonderfully organic. 

In our testing, we found fine detail loss is noticeable at ISO 12,800 and above, but in outdoor, real-world shooting, you can create very useable images up through ISO 32,000. You won't want to be blowing those up or printing those images, but it's there for bad lighting and for social media. Here are three examples:

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ISO 10,000

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ISO 16,000

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ISO 32,000


VIDEO QUALITY

Here's where the internet collectively lost its mind. Everyone's upset about the crop factor, and that is annoying if you don't already have a wide angle prime or zoom, but if you watch the first two minutes of the above video, the EOS R clearly produces pleasing 4K & HD videos.

The R is capable of recording 10-bit 4:2:2 4K video in C-log at up to 30fps to an external recorder, a feature you'll find on the Nikon and Fuji competition, but not yet on Sony. Internally, you can shoot up to 4K/30p in 8-bit 4:2:0; like Nikon, there's no internal log recording, a feature Sony and Fuji shooters enjoy.

In the real world and in-studio testing, the EOS R produces the softest 4K video among its competitors (and even compared to Micro FourThirds cameras). Plus, with its large 1.7x crop-factor, the missing IBIS makes hand holding a challenge. The R's standard electronic vibration reduction does a nice job of smoothing things at the expense of further crop. If that isn't concerning enough, the R's slow-motion specs limit the camera to 720p HD when shooting 120fps AND you lose Autofocus, which makes that mode useless unless you're shooting with a large depth-of-field.

Still, as filmmakers like Matti Haapoja and Devin Supertramp demonstrate, you can make professional-looking videos with this camera in 4K or HD. And, with that Vari-angle display, it's an excellent option for photographers who want to do more flogging.

At the end of the day, the EOS R isn't as well-rounded a hybrid system as Sony and Nikon's full-frame cameras, but it would make a pretty great B-camera for anyone with a Canon cinema camera and/or folks who are primarily stills shooters who want to start learning more about making videos. 

Either way, Canon, if you're reading this, we'd love to see the next R system camera feature full-frame 4K video recording, 120fps slow motion with AF, and IBIS.

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RF 50mm F1.2 -- 50mm, F1.2, 1/100, ISO 160

BATTERY LIFE

The Canon EOS R ships with one LP-E6N Lithium-Ion Battery -- https://bhpho.to/2PZsoB6 -- a revised version the LP-E6 series batteries Canon's been using for years. That's great news for Canon owners looking to upgrade, and the biggest difference for this N variation is that it allows in-camera charging via the USB-C port. However, to do in-camera USB-C charging, you'll need an optional Canon USB-C charger that costs $200, which seems silly to me.

As we'd expect, the EOS R battery life doesn't compete with Canon's DSLRs in terms of longevity, but the system is rated to 370 shots per charge (or 450 shots in Power Saving mode). In our real-world shooting in 80-plus degree weather in humid Hawaii, we definitely needed two batteries for a full day of testing, checking, and learning as we shot both still photos and videos. For more casual scenarios primarily shooting stills (and avoiding wireless activity), you might be able to make it a whole day. 

Either way, we recommend owning at least two batteries for this system, or springing for the optional Battery Grip (BG-E22), which holds two LP-E6N batteries and adds vertical shooting buttons as well as a flash sync terminal.

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WIRELESS

Like most 2018 camera systems, the EOS R features built-in Wi-Fi & Bluetooth capabilities. Coupled with the Canon Camera Connect app (free for iOS and Android devices), you can transfers images to your smartphone or tablet and remotely control the camera in photo or video modes. This app also allows you to adjust the camera's date/time and area settings and to sync them to your phone, log your location using Geotagging, and set the camera to backup every single photo you take while working.

Much like Nikon's SnapBridge 2.5, the Canon Camera App has come along way. There's an Easy Connection Guide to help you through the first connection, and the camera is quick to reconnect thereafter. Image transfer is speedy, especially if you use reduced file sizes for social media. And the Remote Live View Shooting feature allows you to adjust all your settings in both photo and video modes, although it can get quite laggy at times. And, of course, this app doesn't offer RAW image for video file transfer; only JPEG stills.

If you're RAW-or-bust and own an iPad, Canon offers another app, Digital Photo Professional Express (DPP Express) that will transfer RAW files from the camera and let you process those. I haven't used the iPad version, but to be honest, using DPP on a Macbook was a chore that threatened to cook my whole machine. 

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RF 24-105mm F4 -- 58mm, F4, 1/2500, ISO 125

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • Excellent image quality
  • A lot of 5D Mark IV parts in a $2,300 body
  • Terrific ergonomics & menus
  • Easy to customize (especially with the control ring)
  • Dual-Pixel CMOS AF
  • Vari-angle display flexibility
  • External 10-bit video recording with C-log
  • STUNNING RF LENSES

Cons
  • Heavily cropped 4K video (Almost Micro FourThirds)
  • No 1080p 120fps slow motion
  • Less dynamic range than Sony & Nikon
  • Missing dual card slots
  • Lacks IBIS
  • EyeAF & AF-C need improvement
  • Multi-function bar is a fun idea, but doesn't quite work
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RF 50mm F1.2 -- 50mm, F1/2, 1/1000, ISO 160

BOTTOM LINE

Make no mistake, the EOS R is not only a very good first generation product, it's a very good camera. Period. It's more than capable of producing sharp, professional photographs with more resolution than the Sony A7 III and Nikon Z6 for only a few hundred dollars more. On top of that, the new RF lenses are genuinely stunning. And, you don't have to give up any of your existing EF and EF-S glass because the adapters are great too.

Is it perfect? Of course not. There are missing features we've come to expect at this price-point -- no IBIS is a killer in low-light and with video. And if you're a video-first hybrid shooter who wants to be the next Peter McKinnon (even though he said he liked this camera), this one's not for you. Or if you're a photographer with a dual-card workflow because you can't risk a corrupted card, you'll need to look elsewhere or wait for whatever R-mount camera follows.

If you're a Canon shooter or vlogger looking for your first full-frame camera OR if you're a Canon shooter looking for a second body to go with your 5D, 1D, or Cinema series camera, the EOS R is a very good stills camera with exceptional glass at its disposal. It's perfect for portraits, travel, product, architecture, street photography, and some landscape & sports.

BONUS: EOS R vs Z6 vs A7III

Not a bad camera in the bunch. I'm serious; they're all awesome. You'd be happy with all three, but here are each system's strengths as we've experienced:
  • The EOS R will produce, arguably, the sharpest still images (more pixels), Canon's new lenses are hella-exciting and arguably better than Nikon's first Z offerings, it feels the best in hand, low-light AF is quite good, and it's got a flexible Vari-angle display. It is also capable of 10-bit video recording, which the Sony is not.

  • The Z6 is the most rugged of the three, has better ergonomics/menus than Sony, is a more capable video camera than the EOS R, and a slightly more capable video camera than the Sony (thanks to 10-bit recording). It's also faster for shooting stills than the Sony IF you don't mind a locked AE.

  • The A7 III boasts more native lenses, is faster with stills (with AE/AF), its EyeAF and low-light AF reign supreme (although the EOS R is very close), and its 8-bit video is in league with Nikon or better thanks to 8-bit HLG and S-log capabilities. 

The Canon EOS R is an excellent camera, but its cropped 4K video and lack of IBIS or VR put it a step behind for hybrid shooters. If you're stills-first, though, the R might be the one to snag. The Nikon Z6 and Sony A7 III each have a few pros and cons, so I consider them to be more equal. 

If you're already invested in one of these brands, and you like your current lenses, there's no need to switch. For newcomers, try them all and pick the one you like using the most. You can't lose;  you'll be getting a great camera no matter what you buy.

If you're trying to decide between the EOS R, 5D Mark IV, and 6D Mark II, I would personally swing for the R unless you need the 5D's weather sealing. The R's image quality bests the 6Dii while rivaling the 5Div and the R's video quality is much more usable than the 5Div, which features an older video codec. Compared to the 6Dii, I find the EOS R to be much more balanced camera PLUS you have access to all the new lenses, which is very exciting.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.