New Canon EOS-R Full Frame Mirrorless Announced

Canon Announces New EOS R Full Frame Mirrorless and New RF Lens Mount

Hot on the heels of the recent Nikon Z announcement, Canon has unveiled their first full frame mirrorless, the Canon EOS R. This system, which includes a new camera, new lens mount and new lenses will be available starting in October.

New Lens Mount - Canon RF

Looking to the future, Canon has released a new mount alongside their new full frame mirrorless camera. The RF mount, features the same wide 54mm diameter as the classic EF mount, but a shorter flange distance, which will result in less need to bend light through the lens. Like the new Nikon Z mount, this will enable Canon to create new, faster lenses, and also new lenses comparable to current EF lenses but in a smaller overall size, better suited for the smaller mirrorless cameras. This new mount is paired with a trio of adapters that will provide complete compatibility with all Canon EF, EF-S, TS-E & MP-E lenses.

Four New Lenses - Just to Start

With the release Canon has rolled out four new lenses, which include a RF 28-70mm F/2L USM, RF 50mm F/1.2L USM, RF24-105mm F/4L IS USM & RF 35mm F/1.8 Macro IS STM. Already we see a wider variety in lenses from Canon's new mount than Nikon's, covering the common focal lengths for topside and including a fast prime and a macro lens. What we haven't seen is the plan for rolling out future lenses in the new RF mount.

New RF Mount for Underwater

Similar to other new releases, the new RF lens system from Canon will have limited native use for underwater photographers. The new mount means new lenses, which are often slow to roll out over time, and the lenses most often sought after for underwater use are usually not at the top of the manufacturers to-do list. Ultra-wide angle, longer macro and creative lenses such as fisheye may not roll out for awhile, however with the native Canon EF-RF adapters, use of any of the Canon EF lenses without issue - including popular options like the Canon EF 8-15mm F/4 Circular Fisheye! Those with Canon lenses already may find the new system easy to transition into, but for those looking to migrate to the new system, good underwater lens choices will be limited without investing in non-native lenses.

Full Frame MIrrorless - Canon EOS R

Canon is not new to the mirrorless camera world. They've had an APS-C sized mirrorless camera out for years with their EOS M cameras. While not as wildly popular as Olympus or Sony mirrorless options, they've produced quality cameras and slowly increased the lenses available for the M mount. We expect similar out of their introduction to full frame mirrorless. The EOS R is a chance for Canon to throw it's hat into an incredibly popular and growing family of cameras.

The full frame mirrorless cameras appeal to users looking to get the best possible quality, detail and shooting experience, but with less weight and bulk than the traditional DSLR cameras. As with all new systems, this new camera has some great features, but also has some areas where shooters may be disappointed. Let's look at the new Canon EOS R.

Unlike Nikon & Sony, Canon is only releasing one camera to start, which will sit right between the other brand's two offerings. A little better than the Sony A7R III and Nikon Z6, but not as robust as the Sony A9 and Nikon Z7 cameras, the EOS R offers shooters a nice middle ground in the full frame mirrorless game.

Body & Styling

True to their history of quality design, Canon has continued that with the EOS R. The camera looks and feels like a smaller DSLR with a magnesium alloy body that is fully weather sealed and includes a safety mechanism that closes the shutter if the camera is powered down with no lens attached in order to protect the sensor.

The electronic viewfinder is a super high quality OLED monitor with 3.6 million dots and 100% coverage of the sensor. It features 0.76x magnification and excels in bright conditions when viewing the LCD may be difficult. The LCD screen is a fully articulating 3.15" screen which allows you to compose your shot from just about any angle.

New on this camera is Canon's "multi-function bar" which allows for customization and a variety of options like checking focus and browsing photos. In addition, similar to a DSLR and the Nikon Z cameras, the EOS R features a top of the camera display for status and settings.

High Resolution with Fast AF

This camera sits right in the middle between other similar models in terms of resolution. At 30MP it's better than the Sony A7R III and Nikon Z6, but not as high resolution as the professional Sony A9 and Nikon Z7. This middle ground, with a slightly lower price point than the high end cameras may appeal to more people overall, sort of a best of both worlds scenario. Paired with the 30 mega pixel CMOS sensor and DIGIC 8 processor, the EOS R features a sophisticated dual pixel auto focus system with an incredible 5,655 manually selectable AF points which cover nearly the full sensor area, allowing for super accurate focus. The camera has been optimized for great focusing in low light, which will be a plus for underwater shooters. Rated to achieve fast auto focus with light as low as an EV rating of -6, the camera performs well even in the dark.

Possible Let Downs

While a new camera can't hit the mark with every feature, Canon seems to have nailed the very important ones. Here are a few details that may be looked as a let down with the new camera. For us underwater photographers, the shutter sync speed of 1/200 is not ideal. In addition, the EOS R offers only a single card slot allowing for not backup option, but saving space as the tradeoff. The camera uses SD cards and is compatible with the high end, fast UHS II cards. The overall burst rates on the camera are not great. It offers a max burst of 8 fps with AF-S, but if shooting in AF-C mode you are limited to 5 fps, and that drops to 3 fps if you want to use the "tracking priority" mode in AF-C. On the flip side, it does offer a sizable buffer, allowing 47 RAW shots before maxing out (about 5 seconds recording at full 8fps).

The overall video offerings for the camera are mediocre. It does offer 4k video record, but maxes out at 30p and shoots 4k cropped, further lowering the overal quality / detail. There are options for higher bitrate recording, up to 420 Mbps which is great and if you drop down to HD recording you can shoot at 60fps using a 180 Mbps bit rate. Slow motion capture is limited to 120 fps at 1280 x 720. Lastly, the battery life of the camera is rated to only 370 shots (CIPA) per charge when using the LCD, though a power saving mode will be available that can boost that rating to 450 shots.

EOS R for Underwater Photography

All in all the new Canon EOS R looks like it may be a great choice for underwater use. There are some limitations, similar in other cameras, like the single card slot which means no chance for using a back up card should you have an error while on a dive. In addition the lower battery life means keeping spares on hand, or charging between dives and more frequent opening of the housing. Third the 1/200 shutter sync is not ideal, but it's still decently high.

The higher 30 MP resolution means more detail and ability to crop or adjust in post which is great. Low light performance and super fast auto focusing are key for a quality underwater camera, and the EOS R looks to excel in both those areas. All in all we are excited for this new offering and look forward to getting it in the water as soon as we are able!

Underwater Housings:

As usual we expect all the top housing manufacturers to create a housing for the new EOS R camera. Typically we see annoucnements and releases from Ikelite & Nauticam first, followed by Aquatica and then Sea & Sea. With a camera release date of October 2018 we expect to see the first housings available around the holidays, with others releasing at the beginning of 2019. Check back for updated information as soon as we have it!

Aquatica Canon EOS R Housing

Ikelite Canon EOS R Housing

Nauticam Canon EOS R Housing

Sea & Sea Canon EOS R Housing