Camera - - WHAT’S NEW -


for at least a cou­ple of years for Canon and Nikon to get their acts to­gether with full-35mm for­mat mir­ror­less cam­era sys­tems, both have launched within a cou­ple of weeks of each other… em­phat­i­cally end­ing Sony’s long hon­ey­moon in this sec­tor. Nikon was first with its Z se­ries and, just 15 days later, Canon un­leashed its EOS R sys­tem.

EOS R is based around an all-new RF mount which has an in­ner di­am­e­ter of 54 mil­lime­tres and a flange back dis­tance of 20 mil­lime­tres. It’s a three-claw bay­o­net fit­ting with 12 con­tact pins. The sys­tem launches with one cam­era body and four lenses, with the em­pha­sis on pro and en­thu­si­ast-level users (which makes sense given Canon al­ready has con­sumer-level ‘APS-C’ M mir­ror­less cam­eras). There are more “f2.8 L zooms” in the pipe­line, but no word on tim­ing.

The EOS R body is SLR-styled sim­i­lar to Nikon’s Z cam­eras with a mag­ne­sium al­loy bodyshell that’s fully weather sealed and fea­tures a top panel info read-out and dual in­put wheels. A brand new con­trol is a multi-func­tion touch-bar, lo­cated along­side the EVF eye­piece, which is swiped either left-to-right (or vice versa) to make set­tings ad­just­ments for one of 40 as­sign­a­ble op­er­a­tions. The EVF it­self is a 0.5-inch OLED­type panel with a res­o­lu­tion of 3.69 megadots and a mag­ni­fi­ca­tion of 0.76x. The cam­era’s TFT LCD mon­i­tor screen is fully ar­tic­u­lated with an 8.01 cm screen ad­justable for bright­ness and with touch con­trols. There is no built-in flash and no PC flash ter­mi­nal, but the lat­ter is pro­vided on the op­tional BG-E22 bat­tery grip. The good news is that Canon’s ven­er­a­ble LP-E6N/E6 bat­tery pack is re­tained in the EOS R.

The sen­sor is a Canon-made CMOS de­vice with a to­tal pixel count of 31.7 mil­lion (30.3 MP ef­fec­tive) and in­cor­po­rates the ‘Dual Pixel CMOS AF’ ar­chi­tec­ture. It ap­pears to be very sim­i­lar to the sen­sor in the EOS 5D Mark IV and re­tains an op­ti­cal low-pass fil­ter. Num­ber crunch­ing is by Canon’s lat­est gen­er­a­tion ‘DiG!C 8’ pro­ces­sor.

Im­ages can be cap­tured in the 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1 as­pect ra­tios, as well as the ‘APS-C’ for­mat. RAW files are cap­tured with 14-bit RGB colour. The max­i­mum image size is 6720x4480 pix­els at the 3:2 as­pect ra­tio. The sen­si­tiv­ity range is equiv­a­lent to ISO 100 to 40,000 with ex­pan­sions either side to ISO 50 and 102,400. Con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing is pos­si­ble at up to 8.0 fps with AF/AE locked to the first frame or at 5.0 fps with be­tween-the-frames ad­just­ment. The typ­i­cal burst lengths are quoted at 100 frames for max­i­mum qual­ity JPEGs and 34 RAW files (47 with a UHS-II speed card). The EOS R sticks with the SD me­mory card for­mat with, like the Nikon Z cam­eras, only a sin­gle slot, but it does have UHS-II speed sup­port.

The ‘Dual Pixel CMOS AF’ sys­tem pro­vides phase-dif­fer­ence de­tec­tion mea­sure­ments and pro­vides vir­tu­ally full frame cov­er­age us­ing a mas­sive 5655 points. Area modes in­clude Zone AF, Ex­pand AF and 1-Point AF. There are sub­ject track­ing and face recog­ni­tion modes. Sen­si­tiv­ity is quoted as down to -6.0 EV at ISO 100 and f1.2, and a low-light as­sist lamp is built-in.

Ex­po­sure con­trol is based on 384 mea­sur­ing zones with eval­u­a­tive, se­lec­tive area and spot modes, the lat­ter link­able to the ac­tive AF points. Like with Canon’s higher-end D-SLRs, the EOS R has a ‘Scene In­tel­li­gent Auto’ mode for au­to­matic sub­ject/scene de­tec­tion and which sup­ple­ments the stan­dard ‘PASM’ of­fer­ings. The shut­ter speed range is 30-1/8000 sec­ond (plus B) with the op­tions of a sen­sor-based ‘elec­tronic’ shut­ter (for si­lent shoot­ing) or the hy­brid ‘elec­tronic first cur­tain shut­ter’.

The fea­ture set is pretty sim­i­lar to that of Canon’s higher-end D-SLRs and in­cludes a set of eight ‘Pic­ture Style’ pre­sets (plus three cus­tomis­able), a mul­ti­ple ex­po­sure fa­cil­ity, multi-shot HDR cap­ture, multi-shot noise re­duc­tion, the ‘High­light Tone Pri­or­ity’ and ‘Auto Light­ing Op­ti­miser’ pro­cess­ing for dy­namic range ex­pan­sion, a dual-de­lay self-timer, both WiFi and Blue­tooth LE con­nec­tiv­ity, and the same ‘Dual Pixel RAW’ cap­ture op­tions as were in­tro­duced with the EOS 5D Mark IV. ‘Dual Pixel RAW’ (DPRAW) uses both pho­to­di­odes for image cap­ture, so these files are twice the size of the stan­dard RAW files, but the very slight vari­a­tion in per­spec­tive be­tween the two sets of image data is used to en­able some slight ad­just­ments. The pro­cess­ing op­tions are called ‘Image Mi­cro-Ad­just­ment’, ‘Bokeh Shift’ and ‘Ghost­ing Re­duc­tion’, and they all use the off­set at any given point in the two im­ages to en­able small cor­rec­tions to be made by ap­ply­ing shifts of vary­ing mag­ni­tudes.

Not sur­pris­ingly, the EOS R records 4K video at either 25 fps (PAL) or 2 4fps in the Ul­tra HD res­o­lu­tion of 3840x2160 pix­els and with the op­tion of either ALL-I or IPB com­pres­sion. Full HD video is recorded at 50 fps (PAL) and HD at up to 120 fps for slow-mo ef­fects. The HDMI out­put can be 10-bit 4:2:2 colour with C-Log to op­ti­mise dy­namic range. The cam­era has built-in stereo mi­cro­phones, plus stereo au­dio in and out.

The four RF mount lenses an­nounced at the launch are a 35mm f1.8 Macro IS STM, a 50mm f1.2L USM stan­dard, a 28-70mm f2.0L USM zoom and a 24-105mm f4.0L IS USM zoom – with ob­vi­ously more to come and, of course, and an EF-EOS R mount adap­tor. EF-S lenses can also be fit­ted via the adapter – in which case the cam­era au­to­mat­i­cally switches to the ‘APS-C’ for­mat – but not EF-M mod­els. There are, in fact, three mount adap­tors; the other two have sim­i­lar mount­ing op­tions, but one adds the multi-func­tion con­trol ring that’s a fea­ture of all the RF mount lenses, and the other in­cor­po­rates a drop-in fil­ter holder and is bun­dled with either an ND or a cir­cu­lar po­lariser. Canon says that over 70 EF and EF-S lenses are sup­ported by the adap­tors. The con­trol ring can be as­signed to aper­tures, shut­ter speeds, ISO set­tings or ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion.

In­ter­est­ingly, Canon is em­pha­sis­ing what’s pos­si­ble with lens de­signs for go­ing mir­ror­less with a full-35mm sen­sor rather than sim­ply mak­ing a smaller cam­era body, although the phys­i­cal com­par­isons with the EOS 5D Mark IV show just what a dif­fer­ence drop­ping the mir­ror box and the pen­taprism viewfinder makes.

Lo­cal avail­abil­ity is from now for the R body, 24-105mm zoom lens and both the stan­dard and con­trol ring mount adapters. Ev­ery­thing else fol­lows through to De­cem­ber, in­clud­ing the balance of the an­nounced lenses and BG-E22 power grip. The drop-in fil­ter adapter is slated for 2019. The EOS R body is priced at $3349 and the kit with the 24-105mm lens at $4949. It will also be avail­able pack­aged with the 28-70mm f2.0L zoom and priced at $7549. For more in­for­ma­tion visit

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