The smartphone has become such an integral part of our lives, it is difficult for some of us to remember what it was like before we owned one. But here’s a little reminder: we had separate GPS devices if we needed them in the car, we used notebooks instead of cloud services to jot down reminders, and for every family occasion there was someone with a camera or a video camera to record all the important moments.
Times have changed. If you go to a concert these days, you’ll be greeted by a sea of screens and phones torches held aloft instead of lighters.
However, there is still room for a good camera. The Canon Eos R is the company’s first foray into the world of mirrorless cameras, offering users a more compact – and more affordable – option.
It is full frame, with a 30 megapixel sensor, and uses a new mount designed for RF lenses. Not only is it a bit smaller than the older EF mount, it also allows for better information transfer. But if you are already locked into the Canon ecosystem, you can get an adapter for the EF lenses you have already bought.
There are positives to going mirrorless. The EOS R is lighter than the DSLR range, which makes it less of a burden to tote around. You can turn off the shutter sound too, which makes it easier for wildlife photography, for example.
You don’t get an optical viewfinder though, with an electronic viewfinder in its place. If you are new to the world of DSLRs, this will probably pass you by; if you have been used to relying on your own eye to detect over- and underexposures, then the EVF is a little bit jarring.
There is a moveable LCD screen though, which makes it easier to get shots from awkward angles.
There is a great ISO range on the camera too, so if you are shooting in low-light situations, you have options. And speaking of options, the customisation on the RF lenses is a bonus; a control ring that allows you to access camera settings directly.
When it comes to sharing your footage, there is wifi and Bluetooth built in to the device so you can share directly from the camera to photoservices or your smartphone.
As a portrait camera, the EOS R performs well. There is pupil detection for single autofocus mode, which works well as long as the conditions are right – sudden, quick movement made it struggle a little, which was a challenge when trying to shoot pictures of small, mobile children – and the colour and resolution made for some great photos.
Where it falters a little is on video. Although it offers 4K capture, the footage is cropped due to a magnification effect. If you had dreams of wide-angled 4K video footage, you may need to rethink your lens options. The lack of in-body stabilisation is noticeable too, with a shake to the footage when you are working handheld. The lens IS may take over, but not every lens comes with it as standard. There is digital stabilisation, but that impacts on the quality of the footage; there’s a definite trade off to using it.
The 30 megapixel full-frame sensor delivers some fabulous photographs. The camera itself is quick to respond, and is light enough and compact enough to carry around for a day trip.
The not so good
The video function is adequate, but doesn’t quite live up to the standards of the still images, and that crop effect could be problematic. On the digital still images, the burst mode could be improved – focused locked at eight frames per second, but dropping to five frames per second with continuous autofocus. That means you’ll miss out on some moments.
It is weather sealed, so you can take it outdoors even on the worst days. This camera takes an RF mount, a new standard Canon has brought in for its mirrorless cameras. Existing Canon lenses can be used with an EF adapter, meaning your existing stock of lenses can be put into service.
The verdict: 4/5
If you are more interested in photos rather than video, the EOS R is a good introduction into the world of mirrorless cameras.
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