Canon Reveals EOS R3 Mirrorless Camera in Development

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Topping its full-frame mirrorless lineup, Canon has just announced the development of the forthcoming EOS R3 mirrorless camera. Canon describes this camera as holding a new position within the EOS R ecosystem, “squarely between the EOS R5 and EOS-1D X Mark III cameras.” More specifically, Canon seems to be emphasizing autofocus performance and speed with this new high-end model, along with the durable design professionals expect from a top-tier camera.

Canon has yet to release full details on the EOS R3, but here’s what we know so far:

Update: June 2, 2021

In a nice summer surprise, Canon has teased out even more details (and pictures!) of the upcoming EOS R3. This pro-oriented camera was assumed to be packing some of Canon’s latest and greatest imaging technology and it doesn’t sound like it is going to disappoint.

First, we should recap the previously revealed information:

  • Full-Frame Stacked BSI CMOS Sensor
  • 30 fps Continuous Shooting with AF/AE
  • Revamped AF System with Deep Learning
  • Eye Control AF
  • Integrated Vertical Grip
  • Rugged, Weather-Resistant Construction

This wasn’t a ton of information, but it was enough to whet one’s appetite for more. Today is the day where we get to enjoy a few more morsels.

Diving deeper into this sensor we see some huge improvements to low-light operation. This new sensor can apparently autofocus in as low as -7 EV. Autofocus is expected to be among Canon’s best, and the use of deep learning technology will improve the tracking performance. Specifically, the R3 now supports tracking motorsports like cars and bikes in addition to people and animals.

We now know that the R3 will definitely have in-body sensor-shift stabilization. When Coordinated IS with both sensor and lens stabilization this can achieve stabilization of up to 8 stops. 

That up to 30 fps continuous shooting figure is confirmed to work with raw formats. An interesting tidbit has to do with flash. This upgraded stacked sensor will now permit shooting with flash while using an electronic shutter. Canon specifies this function will work with their Speedlites.

Video is an increasingly important spec and we finally have some information on this aspect of the R3. It will record oversampled 4K, offer Canon Log 3, and record in raw. Also, that AF system will track people, animals, and motorsports while shooting video. Not a ton of information still, so a lot more to learn.

Body design is what you would expect from a camera of this caliber. It has a magnesium alloy construction, has wired LAN, 5GHz Wi-Fi, and takes the large LP-E19 Battery Pack. Completely new is the hot shoe, which is now being referred to as an accessory shoe thanks to a new data and power transmission capability. This will support some all new accessories.

Some nice to know features include 1 Series operation blended with modern R5 design. You can see a multi controller, the smart controller with touch support, and a large vari-angle screen. Plus, you have three dials for intuitive control over your essential settings. Finally, the R3 will have a dual media setup with both CFexpress and SD slots.

Original Article Below: April 14, 2021

New Sensor

It makes sense that a new camera of this magnitude would feature an all-new sensor, and Canon is saying the R3 will be the company's first model to feature a full-frame stacked CMOS sensor with a back-illuminated design. This means faster readout speeds, greatly reduced rolling shutter, and impressive noise performance. The sensor’s design will also benefit electronic shutter performance, specifically by offering a top continuous shooting rate of 30 fps with full AF and AE.

Faster and More Precise AF

Canon has placed a great deal of emphasis on AF with the EOS R3—it’s taking the best focusing capabilities of the R5 and R6 cameras and improving on them for even greater speed and accuracy. Deep Learning technology will be used again to enhance eye and body detection, which suits portraiture and sports shooting, and subject detection and tracking should be improved as well for working in various lighting conditions.

Even better than just improved AF performance, Canon is also introducing Eye Control AF for the first time in the digital era. In short, this mode lets photographers select the initial AF area simply by looking at the area through the viewfinder. The EVF will recognize where the photographer is looking, move the AF area to that region in the frame, and then tracking AF will handle maintained focus from there.

Rugged Body

What’s a professional camera without a rugged design? Modeled after the EOS 1D series, the R3 will sport an integrated vertical grip along with a weather-sealed design that matches the flagship DSLRs, too. This means you’ll be able to shoot for longer durations and work more comfortably and confidently in different shooting orientations and with longer lenses.

We’ll keep you updated on any further details Canon releases between now and the formal launch. I think it’s safe to say that Canon is definitely looking to make a strong move in the professional end of the mirrorless market with the EOS R3. Let us know your thoughts on this forthcoming model in the Comments section, below, and please sign up to be notified for more information.

28 Comments

I'm an EOS R owner and I really love this camera. Yes, 4k crop in video can be a massive pain but for stills, the R body paired with some new RF glass has been excellent I've thought.

But, like many R owners I'm a bit unsure where I go from here. I'm sorry but I feel like the R6 is too much of a downgrade for stills, it's not all about megapixels but more data is more data and the images coming out of R6 are softer (I understand why but it still irks me a bit). Also, I may be the only R owner who actually likes the touch bar, I've never had a better way to change the kelvin score on a camera), I'm constantly sliding up and down setting my WB as I go and it just works (understood that most people think it sucks, I'd like a joystick to move single AF points AND the touch bar please Canon.. lol). I also like the LCD top screen so the R6 feels very sideways while the R5 is packed with video 'specs' that I just don't really need.. 

So, while the R3 is exciting for a lot of people I'm kind of left wondering where I go from the R. I suppose the R5, or nowhere for a while. I've read rumours about an APS-C R body which doesn't appeal to me in the slightest so I'm quitly hoping for a R MK11 or something, but am I being delusional? Probably, wouldn't be the first time.

Maybe I don't need a new camera? ;)

"Maybe I don't need a new camera?"

Sorry, not sure what came over me. Won't happen again..

😉

Thank you for the notification.  My biggest concern is with the life of the battery.  What the battery's rating for number of photos taken?  The R5 is rated at 300 shots. 600 with the battery grip.  I am currently using the 5D with battery grip and I typically get anywhere from 1500-2000 shots. And that's using IS on the lenses. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I like the size and weight of the pro camera.  I used the 1V HS for years.

First, the R3 will take the larger LP-E19 Battery found in the 1D X Mark III. So you will certainly get better battery life than the R5 with the R3.

Second, mirrorless got slammed when it came to battery life ratings due to how CIPA performs their measurements. Since it requires things like the EVF on, the cameras test with much lower battery life than their DSLR counterparts. It's good for comparison between different models but not super realistic in terms of actual use (talking from experience here). You should be able to get more shots than the rated amount—at least I have been with my Sony mirrorless cameras for years. Even double or triple the rated amounts.

Third, you are probably still right, mirrorless with the EVF use will likely drain a bit faster than a DSLR with optical finder. I'm just saying I don't think you should be too worried about it. Right now, I would guess the R3 will sit somewhere between the R5 and 1D X Mark III.

A spare battery is so common a practice I don't see the issue as troublesome. Presuming you need to shoot 500 shots in two hours, you are carrying long lenses, the additional weight is trivial.

As to future cameras, my wonder is whether, if ALL video features and high frame rates are left out completely, is there a cost reduction possible?

I have no use for a video camera or a machine gun camera, I never once recorded vid with the 5D2 I owned for years and sold a 16 months ago. Nor did I ever use it at any ISO but the lowest, nor did I ever use the motor (high frame rate) except when messing around.

I'd like to see an artist's light gathering tool, ie landscape camera, ie portrait camera with a fantastic big sensor and IBIS that works on a tripod (for wind situations) with two tripod plate connections (vert + horiz) and some features along the lines of auto focus stacking, DOF assurance/computation & display (my term) and weather proofing. I see a mic hole & flimsy accessory connection flaps on a camera and I want to vomit. Light as possible. The old Pentax K1 as I believe was the peak of weatherproofing with a top end sensor, and would track moving stars. Most of this is old tech, addition by subtraction. I don't see why these cameras are not more modular, solve some issues.

PhaseOne? :)

Not having video would not reduce the camera by much if at all. Video is not an expensive feature All the P&S cameras have had them for years as do phones. So if video is not what you want. don't use it. I rarely use the video. Videos are better shot with a dedicated video camera which is what they are designed for.... 

It technically could cost less, but as others have said the implementation of video is merely taking advantage of new sensor and processor tech—which you want for stills too. It's also not like all mirrorless cameras with video are optimized for video capture anyway, as you can see with the Canon R5's limitations when it comes to heat. You are probably on to something for yourself pointing out the Pentax K-1. The latest Mark II (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1391311-REG/pentax_15994_k_1_mark_ii_dslr.html) might be the closest you can come to a camera that fits your needs without having much emphasis on video. Otherwise for some of those extra things you will look to medium format.

I pick a brand based on glass, & have used Canons for over 40 years. I own the manual TS lenses, I do have brand loyalty for what that is worth today. I wouldn't leave the brand just because of features I do not use. The post is a thought experiment, and a plea for some indication that the company understands certain users not only exist but do valuable work.

I suggest to Canon that an ad campaign for a future high-res body might show a photographer strenuously hiking to a spot in rough weather, setting up, manually focusing & waiting, taking one shot, then packing it up with a huge smile on his face. Later, the stunning result. It's a way of photography that is classic and timeless and more photographic, & should be considered very much at the heart of the practice. Firing off 250 images when you cannot even see any one of them, then pedaling thought them on the PC seeking something afterward is closer to editing than it is to photography.

I gave up on Canon's brand loyalty after it switched mounts twice.  How many mounts has it had in 40 years?  If I buy an "R" body to get a feature Nikon doesn't have yet, I have to build obsolescence of the mount into the decision.

A few, but fair play for making the EF and EF-S (kind of) glass compatible with the R series. But more importantly, we've arrived at the RF mount, and what a pearler it is. I was cursing Canon as I shelved out a small mortgage for a new RF mount, L series lens but my goodness my tune changed when I started using the lens. I've since bought 3 RF L series lenses which is absolutely ridiculous, couldn't bring myself to tell my wife about one of them, little lone all 3! But they are just too good and worth every penny. I've been well and truly converted and I encourage you to do the same, you won't regret it (bank balance definitely will).

I bought an F mount F1n in 1976, and some of the lenses had a "breech" locking system (rather than bayonet) that was superior to any click stop because the wearing surfaces of the mount ring could not affect the tightness. But people liked the clicking so they changed to that style. So in total F, EF, and R, three mounts in 45 years, add the screw-in if you want to go back further. With valid justification for each.

But what difference does that make? Every Canon mount has had sufficient great glass, and you cannot own every lens they built for any one system anyway unless you are made of $$, and today every EF lens fits the R with their purpose built adapter. Way more lenses than I could afford and some that nobody else makes like the TS series. I wouldn't tell you to switch from Nikon, but it is ironic you would complain about lens mount changes but consider a brand change to be ok.

I agree 100% which is why I find myself using my Sigma Quattros more and more often instead of my 5ds.  Sometimes less is more. If I ever find myself at a Formula 1 race, I might go with something like this. Focus stacking, all that stuff, personally I could very well do without.  I believe that every feature that a camera comes with has some cost associated with it, I think it’s silly to believe otherwise.

You may think you agree but clearly you do not understand. Focus stacking is for for landscape work, it's extremely simple and adds no cost. That Sigma is good for something, but not what I'm talking about.

This is a welcome announcement. I was shooting movies with a 1DXMKII and C100MKII but felt forced to switch to two A7SIII cameras due to less chance of overheating, and the smaller more portable form factor when filming in 4K. The lack of a viewfinder on the C70 and no full frame option was disappointing, and the R5 and R6 had too many overheating issues for video filming according to numerous reviews. The Canon Cinema line cameras are slightly too big for my small operation. Another advantage with Sony is that with an adapter I can still use my Canon EF lenses and also the smaller crop sensor E mount lenses fit while my expensive Sony GM lenses will not fit the Canon R series, and Canon crop lenses donʻt not fit Canon full frame bodies. That said, I still prefer Canon colors so am looking forward to the R3 release.

Don't count the C70 out yet. Being optimized for video like it is and having built-in NDs and more video-oriented connections makes it very worthwhile for the price. Though, I would think that a combination between a mirrorless body (R3) and the C70 would be a great pairing.

Not another 20MP or 30MP low resolution camera please.   It should have been two CFExpress cards.

Many pros will wait for the R1.  However, we are very concerned about an EVF with the efficacy of an OVF.

Perhaps Canon will surprise with new modality and technology that will equal an OVF for bright light, lag, bloom and noise.

R1 will determine where my dollars go as a professional sports photographer

No clue on the resolution. And I personally think unified memory card slots is better than a mix and would've liked only CFe cards, but oh well. As for the EVF vs OVF debate, things have change a lot in the past few years. EVFs are very, very good. EVFs are fine in bright light, thanks in part to still being a covered viewfinder but screens are also better. Lag is also so much better than a few years ago and basically not an issue on high-end cameras with high refresh rates. Bloom also shouldn't be a concern. Most EVFs use OLED tech, which doesn't suffer from blooming like your standard LCDs. Finally, noise still shows up, but only in extremely low light where the camera pumps up the gain. Maybe not as good as your eye through an OVF, but I would argue that in that dim lighting the ability to get a low-light boost is actually an advantage, not a downside.

But will it overheat like the R5/R6? Nice that it has IBIS, which the C70 should have at the premium price.

Hi Joshua,

Keep in mind, Canon has not released any additional information nor do we have any extra information beyond what is published here. On that note, I would assume that the R3 would take a page out of the 1D Series book and offer longer recording and better heat management thanks to the larger body. Remember, the 1D X Mark III also had internal raw video and did not suffer the same bad press as the R5 when it came to video overheating. Personally I am cautiously optimistic about video performance and usability on the upcoming R3.

@Shawn I agree with you 100%

I find "positioned between R5 & 1 DX" of some "the R ecosystem" to be misleading :: the 1 DX isn't "R", so not in that ecosystem, and if anything is simply the standard non-mirrorless body to which the new, R5 tries to meet.

It's a new place in the R ecosystem since it sits at a level above the R5, which hasn't existed before. It's also aiming to be positioned between the top dog 1D X Mark III and the current pro standard R5. I can understand the potential confusion here but I wouldn't call it misleading. The feature set should position it between those two cameras, more specifically it is that Canon is calling out that the R3 is not intended to be a 1 Series replacement.

Sounds impressive! 

Many mirrorless cameras are light  weight.  Is this going to be heavy weight?

Regardless of the weight you can count on the price tag being a heavy weight.

Thank you for your inquiry. At this time, we are still awaiting further details on this camera. As soon as more information is available, we will update accordingly. 

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