Canon EOS R System in-depth

In Master Photography Roundtable by Brent Bergherm2 Comments

Canon EOS R System in-depth



Welcome to the Master Photography Roundtable part of the Master Photography Podcast Network!  You are joined by thousands of photographers listening to this show who are all on the same journey to master their photography.  I am Brent Bergherm, the host for this episode and joining me at the roundtable is Nick Page and Jeff Harmon. Good to have you guys here.

Jeff, in the last episode, I think it was “Lord Page” that you called Nick? Does that make you a Squire? A Jester maybe?


Today we’re going to talk about the new EOS R camera system and what it means for photographers. Canon has clearly stated in all their materials that this is targeted towards the “middle ground” in the photography field. I would assume this is their largest customer base. Many of them are probably wanting an easy way to upgrade to full frame. This camera would provide a great path for crop sensor shooters given the compatibility with EF-S lenses.

EOS R system Initial Thoughts

Brent: I like it. There’s a lot of new tech and user experience design that went into this camera and the new R system that are looking really good to me. Full disclosure, I’m pretty much a canon fanboy, but I have been considering a jump to Fuji for weight savings. But depending on future lenses they develop this could be a good system for me.

Nick: [In short, it’s good but still falls short].

Jeff: Like there was a 3 man race here with Sony, Nikon, and Canon, and that both Nikon and Canon were so confident they didn’t think they needed to get going and were fine with Sony sprinting out ahead.  This doesn’t catch them up.

EOS R system Basic Specifications

Brent: Let’s take a look at the basic specifications of this camera and the mount and lenses.


Here are the official specs from Canon on the EOS R:

  • 30.3 CMOS Full frame dual pixel AF sensor
  • New “RF” mount, same physical size as EF mount, 20mm flange distance from the “reference point” on the lens to the sensor.
  • Compatible with RF lenses and EF, EF-S and TS-E lenses with one of three adapters.
  • Standard recording options for RAW files, adds new cRAW format which is still full resolution but a compressed format. Uses the CR3 raw format from Canon
  • 3.69 MP OLED viewfinder that’s supposed to have a great “eyepoint” of 23mm which will help those who wear glasses, and it should give you enough room to use the “drag” AF option.
  • 5FPS in continuous servo AF, 8FPS in single shot mode.
  • Silent mode for completely silent shutter action. When it records an image, it flashes a white frame around the image at the moment of capture so you know when the shutter went off.
  • MF has focus peaking and unique focus guides. Can also zoom in the viewfinder for focus inspection.
  • 12 electronic contacts for enhanced communication with lenses.
  • With EF lenses and extender, can now shoot a 100-400 lens with 2X extender, which is an f/11 as widest aperture. Not possible on previous generation DSLR cameras. (With AF)
  • Sensitive down to -6EV for focusing. More on this later and how practical it is.
  • “Vari-angle” LCD screen, I call it the flippy screen.
  • Same battery as 5D4, 7d2, 80D, understandable given who this camera is targeted at.
  • Dot Matrix LCD panel, changes the info it shows according to shooting scenario and button selection etc.
  • With R lenses, the distance scale can be visible in the viewfinder. Could be useful I guess.
  • Has face and Eye detection AF (not usable in video recording, stills only)
  • No GPS, need the GP-E2 for GPS to be recorded in the file (Brent kinda bummed about this)
  • 88% width and 100% height for AF sensors. 5565 AF Points when selecting the smallest AF points manually. 143 when auto selections are activated.
  • Has a new Multi-function bar for variable settings controls. Allows tap and swipe controls.
  • 7 fewer buttons than the 5d4, requiring different user experience with different buttons, functions and dials.
  • Touch and drag AF selection.
  • Digic 8 image processor should help control image noise a bit better than 5d4
  • Video Capabilities: 4K at 29.97 fps, Full HD at 59.97, regular HD at 120.
    4k 10 bit can’t be recorded, but is now possible for external recording via HDMI. 8bit possible for SD card recording
  • 4k Shooting is cropped quite a bit. 1.7X
  • HDR moving recording, is a multi exposure bracketing that is done in camera, so highlights are preserved and shadows are lifted.
  • Time Lapse intervalometer done/compiled in camera.
  • Can get frame grabs in camera saved as JPG
  • Distortion corrections recorded in the movie using Canon lens profiles either embedded in the R lenses or in the Body memory for EF lenses.
  • Movie Digital IS
  • ISO 100–12,800 4K
  • ISO 100–25,600 full HD

Expected price upon release: 2,299 body only. 3,399 with 24-105.

Lenses and adapters

  • Standard EF-EOSR adapter
  • Adapter with control ring added
  • Adapter with drop in filter, either variable ND or CPL
  • 24-105 f/4
  • 50 f/1.2
  • 35 f/1.8
  • 28–70 f/2 canon’s first f/2 zoom

Benefits of new mount design

  • Larger rear elements possible, closer to sensor
  • Smaller front elements possible, less light bending, more straight light path makes for potentially higher image quality and smaller and lighter lenses overall. 24–105 for example, slightly smaller and lighter than the current L model.
  • More contacts makes for greater electronic communications for lenses and camera.
  • Use of drop in filter adapter would allow polarizer on canon’s widest zoom lenses. That could be really cool in many situations.

We are going to share our reactions to these two new bodies, but first we need to thank our sponsors of this episode.

Items we like:

Brent: I really like the new mount and the potential for smaller lenses, particularly in the wide angle lenses. I’d love for them to develop a 20mm f/2.8 prime lens. “Back in the day” I shot a nikon F5 (a monster of a camera) with a 20mm f/2.8 and I loved it. As long as the lens is small and compact it’d be cool. Canon stated that smaller front element lenses are possible in the wide angle lenses due to the larger rear elements they can now use.

I also like the potential uses of the control ring on the lenses and the swipe bar. It will absolutely take some getting used to and Canon has both of them disabled out of the box, which I think is a smart move. But it could make shooting a bit easier and more convenient.

I also like the touch and drag AF. Being able to touch the LCD screen when looking through the viewfinder and just intuitively selecting the location for the AF point would be amazing. I could really go for that.

The increased video settings are cool, but not something I’m huge into, so it would totally fit my needs. No need for more bells and whistles in this area for me.


  1. RF mount looks good, not quite as much promise as Nikon Z but will allow for smaller and faster lenses than EF
  2. Fully articulating screen!
  3. Really good viewfinder, like Nikon, better than Sony
  4. 3 adapters to use EF and EF-S lenses.  One has a control ring (cool for ISO changes), one allows a filter.
  5. New Fv mode allows you do pick any are all of the exposure settings you want to control or have be automatic.
  6. Lots of AF (5,655) points covering most of the sensor.
  7. Initial lens offerings of native glass better than Nikon Z, but really expensive! Especially interesting is the 28-70 f/2
  8. Fantastic weather sealing, like Nikon Z, better than Sony
  9. Rear LCD touch screen, can control focus points while looking through viewfinder!
  10. Good sized buffer (47 images)

Nick: Focus system,  The adapters, better video codec,  price, articulated screen, eye autofocus

Things we’d like to see but didn’t.

Nick: heavy crop in 4K, one card… again.. Old sensor tech


  1. Single SD slot.  Should have been XQD
  2. No BSI sensor.  Not as good in low light as it could be, puts it behind Nikon Z and Sony.
  3. No IBIS and only the slowest native lens has stabilization
  4. Slow frame rate.  8 without autofocus, 5 with initial auto focus, 3 with continuous
  5. Dual Pixel AF for video is best available, for stills not as good as Sony but better than Nikon Z
  6. Disappointing video.  4K video is cropped 1.7x, same as 5DM4.  Also only 60fps instead of 120 from Nikon Z.  Articulating screen may make it a blogger preference over Nikon Z but not more than a6500.
  7. $2300 body alone.  $1,100 for “kit” lense 24-105 f/4 IS, $2,300 for 50 1.2, $3000 for 28-70 f/2, $500 for the 35 1.8 IS STM
  8. Made a point to say that the specifications of the RF mount will not be shared with 3rd parties

Brent: I’d still like to see a GPS unit in there. I’ve come to really love it with my 6D long ago and my 5d4 I shoot now. I want also to see more native wide angle lenses right away. That’s a big part of my shooting and I want to see what they can design with the new lens mount. I would also like to see Canon go a bit further in expanding the dynamic range of their sensors. They’re developing these other awesome tech items and it’s great, but a bit more DR is always nice. Otherwise I’m actually quite satisfied with this camera.

Other questions to ponder.

  • Of specific interest to current Canon shooters?
    Some of the new tech I already mentioned. Also, if you’re a crop shooter, EF-S lenses will work with the adapters so you could use your current lenses if you wanted too, until you could buy new lenses. That’s not been possible before, where Nikon has had that option for a while now.
  • Wireless transfer is available to phones and ipad type devices. Would you find that helpful. Canon is releasing a processing software to process the raw files on these devices.
  • How much faith do you have in the adapters? Canon claims virtually no performance lags.


Jeff: DSTE 2x NP-F750 Replacement Li-ion Battery ($30) and NEW Dual Channel LCD Display Charger For NP-F750 ($30) for Yongnuo YN216 always on LED lights.

Nick: Rokinon 24mm AF lens for E mount. 120 grams.

Brent: Travel Insurance


Thanks so much for listening and we’ll see you in another 7 days.


  1. I really like all the podcasts and hosts from Master Photography. I enjoy the diversity of the your programs. I have several questions after listening to your reviews about the Canon R lineup. I currently am using the Canon 5D Mark 3 and I decided to wait for Canon’s mirrorless venture before upgrading to the Canon 5D Mark 4. I have a couple of questions for you:

    1 Does Canon intend to abandon the DSLR lineup and thus not come out with a Canon 5D Mark 5?

    2 If Canon continues with the DSLR lineup do you think, for example, the Mark 5 would include the articulating view finder and also upgrade their sensor to better compete with Nikon and Sony? The sensor quality when comparing the Canon R, Canon 5D Mark 4, and Sony seemed to be in question from the remarks that Nick made in this podcast.

    Thanks again for putting the effort in to making this a top tier photography podcast!

    1. @Gerald,

      Thanks so much for listening! The introduction of a full frame mirrorless camera to the Canon linup doesn’t mean an immediate end to the DSLR line of cameras from Canon. I expect at least a Rebel 8, 7DM3, and 5DM5. I also expect more in the R lineup to be coming.

      As to the articulating screen, I don’t know why the 5DM4 doesn’t already have that. That the R has it is a good indicator that others will too, let’s hope that is true. Canon seems convinced that their sensors are on par with the competition, even though they do lack in the area of dynamic range for certain. They have to do some work there to stay competitive in the future but so far it is their seriously good lens lineup that has made them a really good choice for photographers for many years. I don’t expect Canon to close the gap on sensor technology this year, but I think they have to address it soon.

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