Canon Launches EOS R Mirrorless System with Spectacular Glass

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In an industry-shaking but not surprising move, Canon has announced the release of the full-frame EOS R Mirrorless Camera System. Dropping a camera as significant as this is a huge step, and if this event is any indication, Canon knows it isn’t merely about the camera—good imaging systems are all about the glass. Considering the initial four RF lenses, including a world’s-first standard zoom with f/2 aperture and a high-end 50mm f/1.2 lens, the company has demonstrated once again that sharp, fast lenses are the key to a successful system. Not content to leave today only to its new full-frame mirrorless, the company has released a pair of EF-mount super telephoto lenses and the EF-M 32mm f/1.4.

It’s mirrorless. It’s full frame. It has a new mount, of course. The RF mount is Canon’s latest, and its engineers have created a versatile design with a 20mm flange distance and 54mm inner diameter, both of which will lead to more advanced optics and some brilliant new lenses. We get to see this evolutionary step almost immediately, because Canon has four lenses on display at launch: the RF 28-70mm f/2L USM, RF 50mm f/1.2L USM, RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM, and RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. Lighter and smaller than many of their equivalent DSLR counterparts, these lenses provide improved image quality and performance, on this system.

We mentioned that the new lenses would be intriguing, so let us begin with the monster of a lens that is the 28-70mm. An all-purpose full-frame zoom with a constant f/2 aperture? Yes, please. We don’t have anything close to this in the DSLR world. Though it is still quite hefty at 3.15 lb with a large 95mm front filter diameter, if you ever desired this kind of speed, the RF system is the only way to get it.

Right along with this ultra-fast zoom is an even faster 50mm prime. Taking the beautiful idea of a 50mm f/1.2, Canon has redeveloped it with improvements across the board for its full-frame mirrorless cameras. This lens is fast, sharp, and has a speedy AF motor. Another prime being announced is a 35mm f/1.8 macro. This lens will be well suited to close-up imaging with its 6.7" minimum focus distance and 1:2 magnification ratio, while its wide-angle field of view, built-in stabilization, and relatively fast f/1.8 aperture mean it can work as a very practical and compact option for the mirrorless system. This lens receives a large benefit from the RF mount, because it can be smaller and more feature-rich than DSLR optics.

One last piece of glass will likely be the most popular of the bunch, if the history of Canon’s DSLR lenses is any indicator of success. The RF system is getting its own 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. This is going to be available as a kit with the camera body, which we will discuss, promises smaller size with excellent IQ, and even packs in image stabilization. This lens will be popular since its wide-angle to telephoto range will cover many shooters’ essential needs. It is the first L-series optic with NANO USM for fast, silent shooting.

Existing Canon shooters will be happy with the initial lineup, especially if they want to add the EOS R to their current kit. Three separate mount adapters are being made available, with one standard EF-to-RF Adapter, an EF-to-RF Adapter with Control Ring, and an EF-to-RF Adapter with Drop-In Filter System. All of these are quite self-explanatory, though the Control Ring and Drop-In Filter deserve a little more description. Each RF lens has a separate Control Ring that can be set to one of five major settings, such as aperture or ISO. With the Control Ring-equipped mount adapter, you can gain this function with any of your EF-mount lenses. The drop-in filter adapter allows users to insert select filters between the EF lens and the camera body, providing extra versatility and simplicity for certain shooting situations, and making it easy to create a filter collection for a large number of lenses.

Now, let’s talk about the first R system camera: the EOS R. This camera is a serious contender in the full-frame mirrorless landscape, packing a 30.3MP CMOS sensor with Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. This blends resolution with speed, delivering autofocus speeds as fast as 0.05 seconds and even operating in light levels as low as -6 EV. The latest DIGIC 8 image processor makes this whole setup possible and works with native sensitivities to ISO 40000, which can be expanded to ISO 102400. The AF system is, perhaps, the shining achievement of Canon’s camera, because it has an insane 5,655 focus points with 100% vertical and 88% horizontal coverage of the image area and includes functions such as Eye Detection AF. It can even support f/8 and f/11 lenses in all AF areas.

Canon Cinema makes an appearance here, with UHD 4K video at up to 30 fps, including the ability to record in Canon Log for wide dynamic range capture of up to 12 stops. Boosting quality, videographers can output 10-bit 4:2:2 to an external recorder over HDMI using Canon Log or even the BT.2020 color space for wide color applications. Full HD shooting will be possible at up to 60p while standard HD has slow-motion, 120p recording. Focus Peaking and the Dual Pixel Focus Guide will help keep everything in focus.

Functionality of the camera is a major consideration, and the EOS R appears to have all the latest bells and whistles. At the rear of the camera, you will find a 0.5" 3.69m-dot OLED EVF for eye-level viewing. The comfortable 23mm eye point is designed to allow space between your face and the camera body. The other rear display is a 3.15" 2.1m-dot vari-angle touchscreen LCD that provides all the benefits you would expect in a Canon body, including touch-and-drag AF. Completely new is the multi-function bar, which can be customized for fast, intuitive access to many commonly used features. The top panel has a dot-matrix LCD for checking current settings and camera status.

Durability should be top notch on the EOS R because it sports the same magnesium-alloy construction and weather sealing as Canon DSLRs. The shutter features a rating of 200,000 cycles and will operate at speeds of up to 1/8000-second, with continuous shooting rates of 8 fps. An electronic shutter is also available. One safety feature built into this camera is that it will close the shutter if the body is powered off without a lens, to protect the image sensor. Another new addition to Canon’s line is USB charging via the Type-C port and the PD-E1 Power Adapter, though the existing LP-E6N Battery Pack can still be charged with an external charger. Those looking for more power can pick up the BG-E22 Battery Grip, which holds two batteries for dramatically extended shooting times, as well as improved ergonomics in vertical orientation. For saving files, the camera is equipped with a single UHS-II SD card slot. Finally, both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are present, completing the EOS R package.

Enough about the RF system for now—we also need to talk about a pair of big white lenses being released today. These would be the EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM and EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM. Previous entries of these focal lengths have been known for being optically and technically brilliant, but large and heavy. The latest models continue this tradition of optical superiority while also making significant reductions in size and weight, making them more comfortable to use and more portable. The 400mm and 600mm have weight reductions of 25% and 20%, respectively. They use fluorite glass and Super UD elements to take aberrations to a minimum level and add the latest Air Sphere Coating to control flare. Handling has been enhanced with these versions, too, with multiple speed levels for manual focusing, improved IS with 5 stops of compensation, and a more effective thermal coating.

We still need to talk about an addition to Canon’s APS-C mirrorless system: the EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM lens. This is going to be the system’s fast, normal prime, with its 51.2mm equivalent focal length. It also keeps on using the stepping motor found in its current lenses, making it fast, accurate, and perfect for stills and video.

How do you feel about Canon’s entry into the full-frame mirrorless landscape? Are the RF lenses enough to draw you into the system? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts and wishes for the RF system!

89 Comments

As a long user of 5d 2 to 4, I don't see me switching to the R. Maybe adding the R to suppliment/back up the 5d?. What can it do that the 5d mK4 can't? This camera is in a weird place, not for working pros (who wants to change lens mount, unless something really terrific?) and too serious for casual shooter (not that compact). Ok. the new R lens looks great, but great enough to redo all my ef mount L collection? Sorry. Oh the adapter. If there is one thing I learned from years of shooting is adapters gets in the way. Native is always the way to go. This camera needs to do something that the 5d can't.  It needed to be smaller and compact like the fuji's x stuff (for the travelers, not working pros). And for the working pros, we don't need anything smaller than the 5d, you want the tactile buttons, hefty grip... If this did 4k at full frame, then that can be something worth switching... In summary, looks great on paper but I don't know who this camera is for. 

Unless I missed it, I didn't see any mention in-body sensor stabilization.  This is one of the big reasons why I purchased a Sony A7Riii.  My Canon primes and non-stabilized 24-70 work well with it.  Does the EOS R have his feature?  I wouldn't consider a Canon mirrorless without this.

Sony believes in in body stabilization and Canon believes in lens stabilization, so that's a sounding no for canon.

There is the ability to combine any optical Image Stabilization in the lens with electronic Image Stabilization within the CMOS image sensor, but this is only for video. This combination for IS adds a electronic IS with a 5 axis control at the image sensor, in addition to the up/down, left/right stabilization that is normally found in a lens with IS.

I've never, ever, bought a new camera, lens et al for at least 6 months after the product hits the market. Like someone commented, if you add an adapter, will focusing be compromised? Anything else be compromised? Impulse buying..not the best approach.

I'll wait until April, May...read the reviews here and decide......

I don't think focusing would be compromised. All the adapter would do is replace the 12mm(?) of flange distance lost by removing the mirror box to move the sensor forward. That's all it would do, so it is exactly the same really. There is no glass in the adapter. Just empty space and the lens to camera communications.

I'm with you on waiting to see before purchasing. I never preorder anything. However, this is Canon's entry level full frame mirrorless camera. I'd be more interested in the higher end offering when it gets released in probably about 6 months, but will still wait at least a year before ordering if I get interested. I only shoot stills (professionally) so the video specs don't make a difference to me at all. I'd be just as happy with a 5D mark IV to replace my Mark III when it wears out.

I certainly know how to bring out a new product! I just bought an M5 and EF-M glass...… The R sounds interesting, finally resolution at my 5D mark IV level - 30 MP. It will be interesting to see how the new glass compares to the current L glass of the EF series and whether the new mount size really makes a difference....whether the focus and focus speed is really up to par - the M5 isn't as fast as any of my other Canons. I would suggest all the "experts" reserve judgement until the system is vetted. I have tried Nikon systems, the Sony, Leica and several others large format, medium format - (and more than 200 various lenses) - each has it's strengths and weaknesses as does each Canon system. No brand is exclusively better than another - sorry fanboys (and girls). But as most experienced photographers know, the investment in lenses is the gold standard and Canon has some of the best glass out there. In any event once you have a substantial investment in lenses its pretty certain you'd like to use them. Adapters sometimes work well (I was quite disappointed in the Sony A7RII focusing speed nice slow shots lots of missed fast shots - and it's really slow response with Canon lenses and adapters (and yes I tried a bucketload of different adapters). So will the adapters for EF and EF-S lenses require unacceptable compromises? Will the system be enough different/better to warrant an investment? I will say it's nice to have a smaller lighter camera and lenses at times.

Stay tuned...…….

Please, How much time of consecutive video can we film without stoping?

You will be able to record for around 30 minutes at a time, much like past Canon DSLR offerings.

Thanks!

I've been using canon cameras and lenses for years and I'm rapidly loosing faith on the brand. For example I bought the 5D MK IV to shoot 4K video, what a joke! The GoPro makes a better picture. The lenses are sharp but unreliable the bodies break down easily even though I hardly use the shutter. This new release does nothing to improve my confidence on the brand: 4K 30fps really?! I don't mind investing in new equipment but I'm looking for a reliable brand, any suggestions?

Canon. You'r doing something wrong.

I think you are an "other" brand troll.

I'm working with Canon and other major brands for decades. Canon never let me down. If you know what are you doing, that is. If you just want shiny new toys then go for it but don't call other people trolls. You're doing it wrong again.

Guys, Canon made a big impression on me with the Mark II, after that I bought the MK 3 & 4. I love the "L" lenses but they let me down on a regular basis, the most common problem is the left side of the screen goes slightly out of focus. Can't see it while I'm shooting. I find out when editing. My 5D Mk2 sits in the bag for 6 months at a time as a backup, yet manages to break down, lately I had to replace the motherboard. The specs they wrote for the MK4 were amazing, just grab one and shoot 4k video... everything turns to jelly! Now I'm I supposed to believe their new claims?! Besides, an iPhone shoots 4K 60 and they can only manage 30? Disappointed with the brand at this time.

Seems like the switch to a mirrorless system is meant to solve some of the short comings you described. A healthy level of skepticism and/or realistic expectations of such a major shift in tech are certainly in order. Obviously the proof will be in the performance and we won't know that until these hit the streets and we get real world reviews. I've been shooting with the 5D MK II for years and I'm more than happy with the quality of it and my Canon lenses.

The best suggestion, if you are vested in Canon lenses, would be to be patient and see how these new lines develop and perform. If your primary concern is video, you're probably fooling yourself by thinking any of these kind of systems are your best bet.

My primary concern of these, other than problems associated with new lines, would be the altering of the controls, the functionality of the UI, and the lack of backwards compatibility on the new lenses. I'm likely a few years away from replacing my 5D mark II and I'll be watching how these lines develop and progress but if they indeed fall in line with what I'd expect from Canon, I will most likely be going this direction for a replacement.

The other thing we're seeing from Canon is price cuts a few months after a new model is announced.  It used to be that pre ordering a new model got you the latest technology at a price that would stick for a year or more.  Now the M50 comes to mind, just a few months in, the price was cut by $200 (over 20% cut) on the camera and Canon offered the lens adapter for 75% off.  So even if this new camera were the newest tech (which it isn't, is it?) the thing to do is to wait.  In a few months, we'll see the price cut and/or a better model.  I'm personally waiting for the 5DSR 50.6MP sensor in a mirrorless.  With any given Canon lens, the 5DSR produces the sharpest images of any Canon body available today.  I see no reason to settle for less.  And, I'll still wait for the price cut.

If video capabilities were a big concern for me in a camera purchase I would check the specs before buying, not complain later that what I spent big money for wasn't good enough for the purpose I bought it for. SMH.

Spelling 101: in the English language there is not the word loosing; an all to common spelling error. It is correctly spelled losing as in lost and lose. 

 Wow, u must be really smart.

You misspelled the word "too" yourself!  Let's not be too critical of others.

I don't see you as a "troll" at all!  I am a died in the wool Canon man all the way back to the old days of "FD" mounts and the "New F1" also owned a couple "FTb-QL's"  I ventured into digital (pictures pre video days) with a good ol "Rebel" and then did my first Video DSLR with a '7D" at the time it was amazing! (and changed my life, literally)... that said  My 7D collects dust, I wanted a 5DMrkIII but SO glad I didn't and went with Sony... (a company I LOVE to HATE!)  but WHY?? is Canon so off the mark now??  the 5D spun the world on it's head!  I've heard it said that they are motivated only by concerns of maintaining sales of their other models!  Isn't that like shooting ones self in the foot to sell more shoes?  I too am skeptical, I notice they do not claim what the video codec is?! MPEG ?? like the 5D mrk IV?? who on earth is using MPEG for video? let alone 4K video?   I am NOT a "troll" I would LOVE if Canon woke up and got viable again.

The HEART of every camera system are the lenses NOT the body.  The body is still a light tight "box."  The difference between a Sony mirrorless and a Canon DSLR with both attached to a 70~200 ƒ2.8 is less than 16 ounces.  Sony does NOT list the weight of their 70~200 ƒ2.8 to include the lens collar for the tripod mount.  Also, in my humble opinion, it is NOT worth switching over to mirrorless and /or converting to a different camera manufacturer's mirrorless system for less than one pound in weight.  Financially it isn't worth the return on investment (ROI).  There are ONLY three items needed:  High quality lenses (glass), high mega-pixel sensor, and creativity.....!!!  The LENS is the HEART of every imaging device NOT the BOX it's attached to.....!!!  All the BEST — Michael Newler  (a.k.a. "Captain Explorer")

That was the thinking back in the film days but now the lenses AND the camera, together, make a great system. 

You are very wise to point that out. "Know your tools" to do the job best. 
An experienced photog with "old gear" in Manual mode will almost always shoot better pics than a kid w a shiny new camera that he does not know how to operate it.... However many of these kids are looking for the best....newest...bang for the buck. And this isn't it. 

 I agree with most of your points Captain Explorer... you must remember that there are many jobs...and many folks tasked doing those jobs that require a solid photo AND video camera all in one... Is there a "holy grail" combo out there that does both perfectly? Maybe not yet...but we are looking...and wanting...and needing that piece of gear... This is close! But not it. 
Personally I have been shooting video w. large 2/3" or 1/2" chips for about 20 years... and so while it has been kind of difficult to transfer to the small, compact DSLR world....I think it has been worth the learning curve. There is a huge benefit to have a very advanced, state of the art camera that shoots beautiful stills...to also be able to shoot amazing video as well... I think most agree that this method is better than trying to shoot stills with a heavy "video camera". 
There a tons of *content producers* like myself out there... that would like....and frankly *require* both...  

Yes I can buy a DSLR for stills... and a "PROsumer" mid range camera like the CANON C300 Mii or SONY F7... However in this day of technology... I really don't need to. There is lots of competition for my hard earned dollar..

 For the price that Canon is asking for this new EOS r body.... I would hope that the video features were a little more ROBUST. 
Yes you can produce stunning images & video... do both w this camera w the right lens...knowledge..and experience! -But in terms of specs for the price... I feel like this camera falls a little short of my...and probably many folks expectations... especially after waiting 2-3 years for this camera, and NOT switching to SONY, NIKON, Etc. 

Hopefully there will be another option with better video specs...without an outrageous extra cost. If Canon was smart, they would announce this option soon before many abandon their gear & jump over to another ship. As it is- I do not believe this camera is worth purchasing or investing into at this price point.... MAYBE $4-600 cheaper. 

To wrap it up, -my point is that Canon needs to step it up. I have invested thousand into the Canon line... I'm on my 3rd body, and was planning on purchasing the 5D MIV, but held off a bit in hopes of a good mirrorless system. This is not it. There is a lot of competition out there that are producing "still cameras".... that can shoot amazing video... at a good price point - so that a content producer doesn't have to spend 5-7K to do both. Hopefully Canon is listening... I guess I should have just spoken this to Alexa... at least she listens. lol 

Christopher you are exactly right.  Amazingly, it was Canon who really "invented" the full frame DSLR video.  The 5DMk2 spurred a whole new industry supporting DSLR video.  Numerous short films, full length indie films, TV commercials, and TV shows were produced with the 5DMk2 camera.  Now, the company that created the DSLR video, has fallen to 4th place in a three-brand race!  (4th place because even Panasonic's M43 camera beats out all of Canon's full frame cameras for video.)

Canon's R&D and manufacturing costs are such I think it will be short sighted to trivialize the new R system.  In Mr. Ogawa's intro speech in Hawaii he mentioned coming bodies and lenses.  Another thing to consider about Japanese companies to weight the importance of loss of face.  Canon as the leader has the responsibility not to get too far ahead of the other Japanese companies.  Sit tight.

No direct compatibility with EF ---- 30MegP vs 40+ with Sony. On IBIS so we can continue to pay for IS in every lens. No Focus Stack 'helper' like Nikon 850----a great feature.

Come on B&H how can you get excited about this POS and talk about glass? Canon -- very disappointing. 

Why don't the camera boys just put everything into a camera and let true technological change and advancement be the next reiteration. If the semiconductor guys acted like the camera guys we would be trying to build state of the art computers with 64K DRAMs.

Wow, Nikon and Canon are only how many years late in getting to the mirrorless party?  While I only own Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras, I have to ask myself why get into yet another mount Canon or Nikon lens when I can just buy into a fully developed Sony mirrorless system that already provides excellent Zeiss lenses with  cameras that feature excellent focal plane arrays!   

David, I have two friends who have abandoned many years of Canon, took their losses selling out all their Canon gear (and one of them had quite a lot!) to Adorama.  One moved to Sony; the other to Panasonic.

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A long-awaited, ambitious yet slightly incomplete start for Canon in the FF mirrorless field. 
PROS
* full frame camera body that's reasonably lightweight
* in-camera 5-way stabilization (although digital only)
* 24-105 f4 lens, IMHO good for 80% of most photographers' shots (and absent from Sony and Nikon mirrorless systems)
* 35mm f1.8 macro covers available light shots with a classic focal length + handles close-ups

CONS
* needs TWO SD CARD SLOTS for assured in-camera image backup + lightweight storage when traveling
* in-camera PHYSICAL STABILIZATION may be preferable to DIGITAL stabilization
* inadequate video specs compared to the competition, although it meets my own needs

Just a clarification. Sony has a great 24-105 f4 that was announced with the A7 III

Gary, as I understand it, the in body stabilization works only in conjunction with R series stabilized lenses, so you lose one real advantage of IBIS--stabilization without expensive, heavy stabilized lenses.

4K with a 1.8 factor crop... what is wrong with canon.. I was excited for this camera.. now i'm just sticking with the sony

Canon equipment specs often do not excite and often disappoint.  I would say, however, that specs are not the reason for Canon's overwhelming success in selling photographic equipment. Instead, what Canon does, and does so brilliantly, is work. The balance of features, the logic of the system, and, above all, the reliability of the gear, has made Canon the choice for most of the world's serious amateurs and pro photographers. When the chips are down, whether it's dawn on the Serengeti or a Chelsea fashion shoot, or a once in a lifetime event, Canon delivers. 

Does this camera have GPS?

Regarding the single card slot: since both Nikon and Canon have gone this route, I would say they feel that memory card reliability is now so good that the second card is no longer needed for the market these are intended for.  Thus they save on the expense and complication of a second slot so they can use the extremely limited space on the camera for other things. 
Never say never, but in my 10 years of digital shooting and over 200,000 images, I have never lost a single image to a corrupted card.

I have lost images to bad cards... but I'd say that for 90% of the target buyers -- especially amateurs -- it isn't a major issue. Especially when you can shoot tethered in a studio and have the images on your laptop in seconds. I have a Fuji X-T2 with 2 card slots and ironically have had problems caused by cards being incompatible with each other that are resolved by only using 1 card at a time...

What's the Flash max sync speed?

1/200 per the specs

Only 1 card slot and lack of in-body Image Stabilization (unless I missed this the specs) is disappointing. The system looks promising, but I will wait until future offerings before getting on the band wagon. Given Canon's and Nikon's initial mirrorless offerings the Sony system is becoming very attractive.

How does the weather sealing compare to the Sony A7rII? Any news about how the sensor will perform in low light situations, such as astrophotography?

despite the reduced price, looks like 5d-mk4 is still a better choice

These releases are very cool but obviously focused on the pro market. For people like me, who have photography as just a hobby, we're waiting for Canon to release an updated APS-C M5. That would be an instant buy for me

Very interested, especially as someone who owns a ton of Canon glass (all EF mount).  I'm happy there's a variety of EF to R-mount adapters planned (hopefully Canon isn't abandoning us). To dumb it down a bit, what are the benefits to using dedicated R-mount lenses vs. using EF lenses with an adapter (when shooting with this new camera)? What are you sacrificing by using just EF lenses with this camera (if you choose to not acquire R-mount lenses)?

Weight and bulk are saved by using native mirrorless lenses.  In the case of long telephoto or very fast lenses, the savings is minimal, though.  In the case of Canon's M series mirrorless, the lenses that are very compact, like the 15-45, are small and light thanks to small aperture and all-plastic construction.  I'll be curious to see comparison of the new R 24-105 F4 compared to the EF 24-105 F4.  Also will be curious about the new 50 F1.2 (which Nikon has already announced a 50mm F0.95--which is clearly a taunt for Canon, since Canon had a 50 F0.95 back in the 1960's for its Leica copy rangefinder camera.)

I waited two years for Canon to catch up to Sony, because I already had invested thousands in EF lenses. Now these are not natively compatible? Screw Canon! Capitalist pigs.

Armin K. wrote:

I waited two years for Canon to catch up to Sony, because I already had invested thousands in EF lenses. Now these are not natively compatible? Screw Canon! Capitalist pigs. And once again, the video specs are subpar, because of their damn Cinema cameras. I'm going with Sony, if I need an adapter, I may as well go with the camera that's built for both video and photo, with high fps specs. Sony's not afraid to make the mirrorless cameras work well, because any serious videographer that discovers the additional benefits of a cinema camera like the FS7 will buy it and their increased production budgets would support it.

Capitalist pigs, wow. U must work for free. It's a business. 

There is an adapter for your EF glass.

You just purchase the adaptors and use your EF lenses on the new mirrorless system. Quit your whining.

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