Canon EOS R | First Thoughts

I finally pulled the trigger and bought a new camera. My trusty Canon T3i has been with me since January 2012 and figured I was overdue for an upgrade. I knew I wanted to stick with the Canon family so that I could continue sharing lens between my new camera, the T3i, and my film SLR. During the summer, I did my research and settled on the 6D Mark II.

In September, Canon announced the EOS R and I was immediately intrigued. The camera quality seemed to be close to the 5D Mark IV while being cheaper and lighter! However, I had never been one to buy new cameras. (Case in point: I bought the T3i refurbished around the same time Canon just released the T5i.)

However, the EOS R was really intriguing. So when I visited New York a few weeks ago, I went to the B&H store to check out EOS R in person. It didn’t really help with my decision-making process, though because I wasn’t planning on buying the stock lens and it’s definitely not a real shooting situation in there.

While at B&H, one of the employees told me that as long as I bought before the end of the year, I could always just return it before February 1, 2019. On my list, the EOS R had the most pros, but also the most cons. In the end, I figured I should just try it out for a few weeks. I ordered my camera Saturday evening from B&H and it arrived early Tuesday morning. These are a few thoughts and observations after having the camera for about 24 hours.

Image Quality

I knew upgrading to a newer full frame camera would make a big difference. Man, I am amazed at how crisp my pictures are, even with older lens that I wasn’t really using on my T3i anymore. My T3i really couldn’t go past ISO1600 without being incredibly grainy, but the pictures from the EOS R still look great with a higher ISO. (I mean, we jumped from DIGIC 4 to DIGIC 8, of course this would blow me out of the water.)

Lens Compatability

I liked that the EOS R could still use my EF and EF-S lens with an adapter. (Those RF lens are beautiful! But out of my price range at this time.) My favorite lens has been my Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art. I rarely used anything else since I got it in 2015, because the image quality simply did not compare. On the EOS R, however, even my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 is incredibly sharp. Maybe I can even use my 55-250 f/3.5-5.6 with this thing and have the pictures look good!

sigma 35mm f/1.4 on eos r
1/1600, f/1.4

One note with the Sigma, I ended up with funky circles on some of my pictures with it. Once I turned off peripheral illumination correction (under lens aberration correction), the problem went away. If I had another Sigma lens, perhaps I’d invest the $59 in a lens dock to update compatability with newer cameras, but it doesn’t quite seem worth it for just one. (Anyone out there have a dock they wouldn’t mind sharing??)

RAW File Format

Canon has a new RAW file format, the CR3 (older cameras produce CR2 RAW files). I believe Lightroom/Photoshop CC have been updated to support this file format. Unfortunately for me, I’m still running Lightroom 5 and holding off on going subscription for as long as possible.

If I decided to keep the EOS R, I’ll have to use Adobe’s DNG Converter to change all my CR3 files to DNG to use in Lightroom or see what Canon’s DPP program has to offer. The native Photos app in MacOS Mojave can handle CR3, so I suppose I could see what developments Apple has made since I last used iPhoto in 2013.

Honestly, this shift to CR3 with the DIGIC 8 processor is my biggest hesitation about keeping the camera. The M50 was the first camera with it and I can only imagine that new Canon cameras will also be using this new format. My 2015 laptop running Lightroom 5 will have probably also croaked by the time all the cameras I’m considering will be using this new RAW format.

On a related note, all of my previously used memory cards gave me an Err 70. If I took that same SD card, formatted it in my T3i, and then put it in the EOS R, I had no problems.

New Camera Controls

My camera is old. This is also a shift into the mirrorless world, so I’m still getting used to different buttons and things. The EOS R also offers the ability to program different buttons to do different things, and I’m still trying to figure it all out.

Part of the reason I chose to jump in with the EOS R instead of going 6D Mark II and then coming to the R2 or whatever it will be called, is that I didn’t want to learn new controls for the full frame DSLR and then the mirrorless again after that. This is going to take a few more weeks of playing & reading, but I’m glad that the EOS R controls still feel familiar to Canon’s DSLRs.

Size

While the EOS R is still heavier than my T3i, it was the lightest and smallest of all the cameras I was considering. It isn’t much bigger than the T3i, so I love that I can still use all the bags I already had.

Well, that’s it for now! If you’re curious about the equipment I have, check out the equipment list here. What are your thoughts on the EOS R? Have any questions I can answer?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *