Halfway to Youngstown, Ohio on the Pennsylvania turnpike, I ended up throwing a Canon 5D Mark IV out of my car window.
Figuratively speaking, of course!
Hey everyone, Ben here from benjaminpatrickphoto.com and this site you’re viewing now, bsuttonartworks.com . It is true I did throw a 5D Mark IV out the window, though, all I did was end up throwing out the idea of purchasing a 5D Mark IV on my way to the camera store, a very reputable one to add, in Youngstown. Let’s step back just a little bit.
Canon has been in the mirrorless camera game for a little while now with the M series, although it wasn’t really geared towards the professional photographer. And then towards the end of February Canon released their M50 mirrorless interchangeable lens body. At this time other manufacturers such as Sony, Fujifilm, and Olympus (in no particular order) were well on their way to with top notch mirrorless cameras aimed towards the paid professional photographers.
And then in September of 2018, Canon truly entered the mirrorless technology market with the release of the long awaited Canon EOS R. I was EXTREMELY opposed to this market as a whole, especially with the new R. I myself am a Canon shooter, and also a semi professional photographer (As I do shoot professionally, but not quite full time yet). I’ve been shooting full frame since the Canon 5D Mark II, which was way back in 2008, and then adding a 5D Mark III a few years back. Both great cameras with very nice quality, both optically and with build quality. Workhorses you could say, and with grips on both of these bodies they felt great in my hand. Shooting events and weddings, being comfortable with what I shoot with is a must
So when Canon seriously entered the professional market with mirrorless, I was actually very opposed. Before the rumors and the release the EOS R, I was looking to upgrade my old 5D mark II. It was quickly approaching 100k on the shutter count, still a lot of life left in it but my second shooter (my wife) and I needed a better back up body. As I said above, Canon is the only brand I know since 2008. I know the cameras, I know the ecosystem, I know the menus, etc and etc. I had hoped Canon would have improved upon their prosumer full frame cameras, namely the 5D series. The 5D Mark IV is an excellent camera don’t get me wrong, and one that I was springing for after making the decision to upgrade. But there wasn’t much difference between the iii and iv that excited me. So much that I was seriously considering going with a difference brand, namely Nikon and their D850. But after a thorough beating from my peers and more thought and research into it (which had more to do with it), I quickly dashed that idea and decided to stay with what I know.
I picked up the EOS R, the battery grip and EF lens adapter with control ring and a promaster rugged SD card. I ended up trading in my 5D Mark II towards this entire purchase, and I couldn’t be happier to add this little guy to the camera bag that includes my 5D Mark III. More on that decision at the end of this first impression review. So let’s get right to it! The Canon EOS R and my first impressions and takes on this little guy.
This is going to be your non conventional review, whereas everyone else goes in depth to opening up a box and pulling a product out. Well, I’m here to tell you that all 3 items were put in a box of their own with some packaging and plastic trays for you to open up and pull out your camera and battery and turn it on and take some photos. That concludes the unboxing section of this review, back to your regularly scheduled program.
The Optics and Guts of the EOS R
Like I said, this is going to be a very non conventional review of the R. Most reviewers will give you an unboxing, a ton of specs that you can go to B&H and find out, how the camera works, how many buttons it has, “guys this thing has WiFi like OMG”, how it looks even though you can clearly see what it looks like, holy cow look 4K, the good the bad the ugly and a final verdict.
But for this first impression of the EOS R, we’re going to go a different route.
So what can I truly say about the image quality of this? Not half bad...like I’m pretty impressed. I keep on convincing myself this is a 5D Mark V (no such thing, by the way, please don’t google that) in a M50 body. Seriously, it’s good. But don’t forget, image quality is only as good as your glass. The lenses I currently have at the time of this blog are the Canon 24-70 f/2.8L mark ii and the Canon 70-200 f/2.8L mark ii. Both excellent lenses, and paired with the 30MP dual pixel AF sensor, so far I’m pleased with the quality. Now I don’t know if it’s the mirrorless technology or the fact it’s just newer and better sensors and processors that contribute to the IQ, but I’m guessing it is the sensor and processor.
It has a nice top down screen with a button you can hold down to go into “night” mode, and a tap of that button will give you a second screen of more information of your settings. The primary information it shows in that first screen is things like ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc. Also on the top you have a customizable wheel (I have mine set to ISO), a mode button that replaces the mode wheel on most Canon DSLRs, a multi function button, the shutter wheel, a lock button that locks the control wheel and the control ring, the shutter button and a record button for your video. On the rear is an assortment of buttons you’ll normally find on a Canon DSLR.
I feel like I need to just go over a little bit the EF adapter I had to purchase for the EOS R. The EOS R has a new RF mount for their new lens lineup. Your EF lenses will work but only with an adapter, and I opted to go for the one with the control wheel. The control wheel is standard on the new RF lenses, and the adapter with the ring adds this feature to all of your EF lenses. What this ring can do is it allows you to quickly change things like your ISO, aperture and shutter speed by twisting this ring in either direction, in which you can customize the + and - direction in the menu of this ring also. I have mine setup where when I turn it either way, it adjusts my aperture up and down just like an old school manual lens. Very cool and very worth it, I love it actually.
But the two main things that will stand out the most are these : Electronic Viewfinder and the Tilt Touch Screen. I never owned a camera with either of these features and my first impression is this; how have I ever lived before? Like legit, I’m very impressed. Let’s go over the tilt touch screen first. With the other Canon bodies I’ve owned, it was a pain in the gluteus maximus having to get through the menus. It was a real headache to get from one menu to the other for one item you needed. This all can be avoided by being able to setup a custom menu, but the software in the camera will only let you add so many to this custom menu before creating another tab and by the time you were done adding what you wanted, you ended up with more scrolling to get what you needed. In this day in age, time is money and I like making money and not telling clients “Just one moment…”. Being able to tap where I want to go in the menu is awesome. And lets not forget about image previews! You can now pinch and zoom, easily scroll through images by swiping, and if you “pinch out” from an image you have the option now to have a collage of your photos present. Double tap on an image and it’ll become “full size” on your screen. These are all probably features of other Canon cameras with touch screen before the R, but for the sake of this review I’m including it as “new to me technology”.
What can I say? I mean...wow? Is that ok to just say and leave it at that is wow? I mean, it’s hard to explain. There’s no mirror to these cameras, obviously. The sensor is always exposed, which gives us the ability to basically live view what you’re seeing in the viewfinder, if that makes sense. This “live view” replaces the traditional pentaprism in your DSLR. What this means is this, and please don’t get lazy for the love of God with your metering, it means you can exposure simulate. Go up and down with your shutter speed, ISO and aperture and the viewfinder will give you a live look of what your exposure is going to be. This is a great feature, but proper metering, exposure, etc should never be forgotten. Embrace the future, but don’t forget what it took to get there is my philosophy. What I actually LOVE about the electronic viewfinder is looking at your images. When you hit the play button you can view those photos in the viewfinder. Kind of like an electronic loupe. The viewfinder also has a sensor below it to turn on and off the back screen when you bring the camera up to your eye. And since there is no shutter, when you take a photo there’s no momentary blackout from the mirror going up like a traditional DSLR. It takes a little bit to get used to if you’re shooting high speed continuous as there is a jittery lag, which is very noticeable but that’s just the name of the game with mirrorless. Canon claims you get put up to 45 pieces of information in the viewfinder but that’s just insane, literally. I want to be viewing what I’m taking a photo of, the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. That’s all I need. You can customize the information in the menus, and you have 3 screens to choose from by pressing the info button.