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Canon EOS R First Impressions

This is the write up of our YouTube video bringing you our first look at the EOS R, Canon’s first full frame mirrorless camera.

We were lucky enough to get our hands on the camera for an hour or two to get a feel for what this camera is all about.

Let’s start with the physical design.

Physical Design
The body is made from the same Magnesium Alloy as the 1DX Mark II and boy does it feel good! The camera feels incredibly well balanced and formed in the hand.

There are a few key physical changes that are going to be interesting. There is a new multi function bar, it recognises three touch actions Swipe, Left tap and Right tap, it also allows you to change a range of functions that you can choose from. But one of the most interesting ones for video shooters will be for aperture control, you can set it to adjust your aperture in ⅛ stop increments in video and it doesn’t make any sound. This will make pulling aperture with EF and RF lenses so so much better for video.

Some of the new lenses also have control rings on the front that you can assign to control aperture, shutter, ISO or exposure compensation, this again will make adjusting aperture on the fly much easier and smoother.

The top OLED screen is always on and is incredibly customisable. It also now features a USB-C Gen 1 port that you can charge LP-E6N batteries via, this is great for long recording sessions where you don’t want to be changing batteries often.

You can also view the back of the LCD while having a HDMI output which is very nice.

Unfortunately there is only one card slot, which is UHS-2, but it is a shame for a lot of professionals who would want to shoot a backup of their primary card when shooting important files.

It also has a mechanical shutter, by default this covers the sensor when the camera is off and you are changing lenses. This is great as mirrorless camera sensors are so easily dirtied when changing lenses out in the field and this is going to fix that.


Sensor and Resolution
The sensor is the same resolution as the 5D Mark IV at 30.3 megapixels and it is based off of it but has had a few tweaks. It also features the same processor as the M50, the Digi 8. It comes with CLOG 1 and potentially 2 or 3 when outputting via the HDMI in 10-bit, Canon will be confirming this soon.

It has a base ISO of 400 and has two colour Matrix’s Neutral and Cinema EOS, Neutral to cut with other past and present Cinema EOS cameras.

The EOS R can record in the BT 2020 colour space over the HDMI. It also has log view assist for when you are shooting in LOG but want to be shooting with a 709 look.

In CLOG the camera is rated to have between 12 – 13.5 stops of dynamic range but just like the 5D Mark IV the EOS R also features a 1.76x (taking 6K 1:9 DS as standard not 16:9) times crop when shooting in 4K and none when shooting in FullHD. Canon have said the reason for this is to better manage heat but i’m really hoping they bring out a more video orientated version of this so we can lose the crop for good.

There is also no IBIS but it does have dual sensing IS, simply put this uses a gyroscope in the camera paired with the IS in the lens to determine the best IS for each motion. This equates out to 5 stops of stabilsation when using lenses like their new RF 24-105 f4 IS USM. When we tested this it was very impressive!

Codecs / Shooting modes
This is where things get a little different. So in terms of recording formats we have a very similar set to the 5D Mark IV, you can shoot 4K at up to 30fps, 1080p at up to 60fps and 720p at up to 120fps in a range of ALL-I and IPB. Again Canon could have done more with the frame rates here. The 120 in the 1DX Mark II is great and it would have been nice to see in the EOS R.

The 5D Mark IV received a lot of flak for its use of MJPEG. Where as now you have the option to shoot a H.264 based codec at up to 480Mbps but there is a 120Mbps option.

When it comes to bit depth and chroma subsampling you can shoot 420 8 Bit in camera or shoot 422 10 bit over the HDMI. So this is going to be a killer combination with Atomos’s Ninja V, but leaves the question why is the H264 internal so bloated considering the depth isn’t there? It also has the normal recording limit of 29 minutes 59 seconds that most mirrorless cameras have.


Dual Pixel Autofocus is the best autofocus system on the market. The technology behind it is awesome and I’m really glad that it has been included fully in this camera. Canon missed the mark slightly with their release earlier this year, the M50, where when shooting in 4K you could not use DAF. However Canon are making a lot of noise about the autofocus in this cameras, apparently they have introduced new tech allowing you to autofocus at -6 EV which is insane and it is the fastest AF on a mirrorless full frame camera right now. After testing it a little bit the AF is impressive, especially in video mode.

The camera also has 5,655 autofocus points when selecting them and you can select them using the touchscreen.

For all you die hard manual focus users, Canon have also included 2 aids for you, focus peaking and dual pixel focus guide. Dual pixel focus guide is absolutely fantastic on the C200/C300II so I am super excited to see it here. It is such a great pairing with Canon’s CNE primes.

RF Mount / Lenses
When you buy a camera system you aren’t just buying the camera, you’re buying into an ecosystem of accessories that surround the camera, lens choice is one of the most important and Canon have come in strong with also announcing four new RF Mount lenses alongside the EOS R.

A 28-70mm F2 L USM, 24-105mm F4 IS USM, 50mm F1.2 L USM and 35mm F1.8 IS STM.

This is a much more impressive array than what Nikon have just put out with their Z6 and Z7 Cameras. The new mount has a few distinct changes that will allow the optical engineers at Canon to explore different optical designs.  It has a back flange distance of 20mm which is much shallower than the older EF mount which was 44mm. This makes adapting a huge range of lenses onto this new mount possible.

Obviously the lens everyone is excited to see is the 28-70mm F2. This has the potential to be one of the most lusted after lenses on the market, and with a price tag of £3000 it’s definitely not going to be owned by everyone! However the images Canon have shown from this lens look gorgeous and considering there is no zoom lens on the market that covers full frame, has a zoom range like this and has such a fast consistent aperture, professionals wanting the best will flock to this lens. And with 2mm of flange to work with so may some Sony shooters if someone figures out how to do an RF to E adapter!

Obviously a good 50mm F1.2L update has been long overdue so that is a welcome addition, and the 24-105mm will be a great run and gun lens with a great range and IS. They will also be bringing out a range of adapters. Your regular RF to EF, a custom function RF to EF and a RF to EF with Drop in Filter support. The regular RF to EF will allow your EF lenses to work flawlessly with the EOS R. This is because of the design of the adapter does things a bit differently to a metabones and after trying some EF lenses on the adapter they perform exactly as if they where on a 5D Mark IV. The custom function adapter adds a ring that looks similar to the one found on the new lenses. This can then have its function changed just like the ring on the RF lenses which is awesome! At the moment the filter based adapter allows you to drop in either a circular polariser or a variable ND that ranges from 1.5 and 9 stops.

This is an awesome feature that will make setups much neater!

Test Footage
So finally on to some footage, we didn’t have the time to really put the camera through it’s paces to much but we did get some initial test shots using the Control Ring adapter + 35mm CN and the new 50mm F1.2 and 24-105mm.

We recorded both internal and externally to a Atomos Shogun Inferno. The footage has a very familiar Canon look and feel, nice colour, great skin tones, decent dynamic range and good detail. Before judging it full I would want some more hands on time first.

Well that’s it, our initial technical look at the EOS R. It’s not perfect but Canon have included some very interesting features that make using this camera a joy, but the lack of sensor IBIS, 120fps 1080p and a larger 1.8x crop in 4k will turn some users away.

Whatever your opinion is, the best way to look at it is that we finally have Sony, Nikon and Canon producing full frame mirrorless cameras. That’s only going to create more competition between them which means that they are all going to be upping their game to fight for customers which is only a good thing for end users.

Let us know what you think in the comments below and make sure you’re subscribed to our YouTube channel.

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