It’s pandemonium in the camera industry right now. Long-time dominant manufacturers Nikon and Canon have given up significant ground in the industry to burgeoning mirrorless players like Sony, Fujifilm and Olympus. Despite developments on the mirrorless front, only Sony has truly held on to pole position all these years.
That was until the announcement of Nikon’s Z series of full-frame mirrorless cameras days ago, where the legacy brand unveiled two full-fledged full-frame medium format devices. Just hours ago, it was Canon’s turn, with the USD 2,299 EOS R: a 30.3-megapixel full-frame camera with features centred on videography.
With the new EOS R, Canon has also announced the new Canon RF lens mount, that specifically addresses the new flange distance on its new mirrorless line, along with other design features. Some speculators had expected a revolutionary mechanism for a variable flange distance to allow for regular EF-mount Canon lenses to be utilised on the new mirrorless bodies.
The announcement of this lens mount was accompanied with the unveiling of four new lenses. The first is the basic kit lens: the 24-105mm f/4 IS USM, which should fair well for stills, and for video applications.
The 35mm f/1.8 IS STM Macro brings the popular and useful 35mm f1.8 prime focal length immediately to the early adopters, and also throws in macro capabilities for added utility.
Knocking it right out of the park are the next two lenses. The Canon RF 28-70mm f/2 USM takes the popular middle zoom range, coupling it with a faster aperture. This might mark the first production 24-70mm zoom with an f/2 lens; the very wide f/2 aperture makes the case for zooms that have the same light-gathering capability as primes.
The other is a standard 50mm lens with a whopping f/1.2 aperture. While Canon’s DSLR lineup boasts a 50mm f/1.2 EF lens, its fledgeling mirrorless lineup is able to enjoy an incredibly fast 50mm prime right from the get-go, something Nikon adopters will not be able to experience with the upcoming f/0.95 prime.
Canon’s new lineup of RF-mount lenses also feature an extra ring on top of the zoom and focus rings, allowing parameters like shutter speed and aperture to be controlled from the lenses.
While the new mount necessitates the use of adapters, Canon has ensured that these mounts are the absolute best. All features on existing EF-mount and EF-S mount (compatible but with a crop factor) like image stabilisation, autofocus and metering will be fully compatible with the new bodies. Additional features like built-in ND filters and the aforementioned additional control rings can also be found on these adapters.
Instead of the two-camera solution proffered by Nikon in response to Sony’s A7 series of cameras, Canon only offers a single version of the EOS RF, which is available in a single resolution of 30.3 megapixels. This, apparently, is similar in construction to the 30.4-megapixel sensor found on the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.
This sensor gives an ISO range of 100-40,000, expandable from 50-102,000. It also has a maximum continuous shooting speed of 8fps, though it drops to 5fps with AF enabled.
Most are expecting Canon’s revolutionary Dual Pixel autofocus system to give it a fighting edge against Sony’s entrenched devices, and Nikon’s lacklustre autofocus performance with the Z series thus far.
Most painfully, especially in the face of the competition from the Sony A7 and the Nikon Z line of full-frame mirrorless cameras, the lack of in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) on board the Canon EOS R camera. Stabilisation is still available with IS lenses from its EF, EF-S and RF lines of optics.
The camera itself brings together some of the best features seen in the industry to enhance functionality. The 3.69 million dot OLED EVF sports 100% coverage with a 0.76x magnification. A multifunction touch bar gives photographers the ability to choose the functions that can be adjusted with a single touch.
The 2.1 million dot LCD display can be rotated to face the front, a great feature of interest to vloggers and content creators. This feature is notably absent from its closest full-frame competitors from Nikon and Sony.
The EOS R is a full-fledged camera body with a durable magnesium alloy construction. On the top panel, a liquid crystal display displays key photometric data, much like that on the Fujifilm X-H1 and Nikon Z-series cameras.
Like Nikon, there’s only a single card slot, but it is for the commonly-used SD card format.
In terms of video, there 4K, though it tops out at 30fps. There is also a painful 1.7x crop factor, meaning that the perspective of your choice of lens will be much different. 1080p footage tops out at 60fps, which means some limitation when it comes to slow-motion shots.
Thankfully, it does support 4:2:2 10-bit video output via HDMI output. Audio is no issue with dual 3.5mm jacks for both microphone and headphones for monitoring.
The Canon EOS R will be available from October 2018 onwards at an RRP of USD 2,299 (SGD 3,165). Paired with the RF 24-105 f/4 L IS lens, it costs USD 3,399 (SGD 4,680). The RF 50mm f/1.2 L will cost USD 2,299 (SGD 3,165). Estimated to arrive by December 2018, the RF 28-70mm f/2 L lens will retail at USD 2,999 (SGD 4,129).
The 24-105 f/4 L IS USM lens alone will cost USD 1,099 and will hit the shelves in December.
Local prices and availability in Singapore has yet to be announced. Prices in SGD are based on exchange rates at the time of publishing.