Canon EOS R - Location shoot and review

The Canon EOS R has been one of the most eagerly anticipated camera releases for some time, with Canon fans calling out for a full-frame mirrorless camera that is compatible with EF mount lenses.

We got our hands on the EOS R, the 24-105mm f/4 wide-angle zoom lens and the rather dreamy 50mm f/1.2 prime lens. We wanted this review to focus on how it would handle in real-life situations, so we put it through its paces. How would it handle a location shoot, some landscape shots and a dash of street photography, all in one afternoon?

Canon EOS R - ROOSTER MAGIC portrait  - The Mesmerist - Ashley Laurence - Time for Heroes Photography.jpg
'Look into my eyes' - easily achievable with the Dual Pixel AF on the Canon EOS R!

Canon EOS R Location Shoot and Review

One important thing to note upfront is that these images are from JPEG, as at the time of publishing the Adobe patch for the CR3 files was not available. Even with this in mind, we were impressed with how much detail we could pull from the shadows, and are looking forward to exploring the full dynamic range at a later date. Plus, it helps that Canon have retained their rather lovely colour profiles.

Canon EOS R - ROOSTER MAGIC portrait from above  - The Mesmerist - Ashley Laurence - Time for Heroes Photography.jpg

How Does the Canon EOS R Handle?

Right from the off, the EOS R felt comfortable and instinctive to use. As a Canon user, I was able to pick it up and get going straight away. The build quality is solid, the grip nice and deep. If anything, the EOS R is somewhat understated in its appearance.

We used the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 at Canon’s launch event, and waxed lyrical about its beautiful bokeh and stunning autofocus - particularly in low light, and even when shooting wide open at f/1.2.

Canon EOS R - ROOSTER MAGIC - The Magician - Tarot  - The Mesmerist - Ashley Laurence - Time for Heroes Photography.jpg

At the launch event, the EOS R with the 50mm felt bulky - it’s not a small lens by any description. What struck home this time, was that the size and weight didn’t even cross my mind while shooting.

Compare it to a 5D MK IV or a 1DX MK II,  and even with a larger lens, it handles instinctively. The 50mm lens is still not the most subtle for street photography, but it didn’t stop us from getting shots that required a delicate approach. Plus, there are a host of existing EF lenses that are suited, and Canon’s RF 35mm f/1.8 will be available before the end of 2018.

The fold-out lens is a winner, and my favourite design on the market. The EVF is also great and can be used without the annoying lag that some EVF's have.

Before starting this review, I asked myself - can I just take it out, use it like any other Canon, and just concentrate on the actual shoot itself? The answer, happily, is a resounding yes. But with better AF!

Canon EOS R - ROOSTER MAGIC mirror  - The Mesmerist - Ashley Laurence - Time for Heroes Photography.jpg
This pic is actually a close crop looking into a mirror

Customise to your shooting style

The menu system is familiar, as is the layout of the buttons, making for a smooth transition for anyone familiar to the EOS system. But the EOS R stands out for its level of customisation. We love that the RF lenses have a control dial that allows you to adjust aperture, exposure compensation, or ISO.

The new touchpad is a great way to change your ISO on the go (again, customisable) - simply press and hold then run your finger along. It's exciting to think how easy it would be to shoot with this camera fully customised to your liking - sadly there was simply not enough time to do this here.

A simple image that showcases the EOS R's resolution

The Canon colour profile used on their JPEGs is famously good

Simply Stunning Canon EOS R Autofocus

Let’s keep this brief, as the previous review talked about autofocus a lot. But the DUAL PIXEL CMOS AF really is impressive - without naming names, it has to be as there is a lot to live up in the full-frame mirrorless market!

The ‘touch and drag’ focus feature is a handy, allowing you to select the focus point on the screen, even when using the viewfinder. During the shoot we rarely used it - the autofocus was so fast and accurate that we only occasionally turned to the ‘touch and drag’. A joystick for selecting focusing points would have been nice, but we envision that the touch and drag feature would become second nature with frequent use.

We had no problems using the larger 50mm f/1.2 lens in the street

Canon EOS R Low Light Capability

So we have to talk about how well this camera performs in low light conditions. The autofocus worked exceptionally well, with barely any hunting on the 50mm lens, and minimal on the lower aperture 24-105mm f/4 lens.

But the real winner is that you can really push the ISO without noise creeping in - meaning you can confidently shoot without having to go to slow shutter speeds. The shot of my cat below may not win any awards, but is included to demonstrate how you can use the EOS R in conditions that other cameras just wouldn't be able to handle. It was taken handheld, in a gloomy indoor environment at f/4, ISO 10,000 and at 1/60. Impressive.

The EOS R shines in low light - this was handheld at f/4, ISO 10,000 and at 1/60

As always, there is much more that we could cover and talk about, but limited space! We recommend watching the video below for more info on the Canon EOS R’s video capabilities, as well as some landscape photos taken by Gareth.

If you have any questions, add them to the comments below and we’ll be sure to get back to you!

A massive thank you to the talented Rooster Magic, and for the lovely folk at The Mesmerist (Brighton) for accommodating us!

All pics (c) Ashley Laurence

What was in our kitbag?

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