First Look: Camera

Canon EOS R: Sleek shooter

The Canon EOS R's hefty grip makes it comfortable to hold the camera.
The Canon EOS R's hefty grip makes it comfortable to hold the camera.

Canon's first full-frame mirrorless camera, the EOS R, is thinner than its DSLR cousins

Canon unveiled its first full-frame mirrorless camera EOS R last week, hot on the heels of arch-rival Nikon's announcement of its Z full-frame mirrorless camera line-up.

I had a hands-on session with this 30.3-megapixel camera, which uses Canon's latest Digic 8 image processor that allows it to shoot up to 8 frames per second, with a sensitivity range of between ISO 50 and ISO 102,400.

Canon regulars might, at first glance, think the R is similar in size to its EOS DSLR camera cousins. But the R is thinner.

The illusion might be because of the R's hefty grip, which feels like an EOS DSLR camera grip. But it makes it comfortable to hold the camera. Like most Canon flagship cameras, the R is weather-sealed.

While its overall design looks like that of an EOS DSLR camera, the R's button layout is different. It will take some time to get used to it, even if you have been using an EOS DSLR camera.

The power switch, which looks like a command dial, is on the top left of the camera. The shutter release button is on top of the grip with the real command dial behind it.

Another command dial, which encircles a Mode button, is situated on the top right.

Here, there is a small monochrome display that shows all the important information.

To change shooting modes, you need to press the Mode button and turn either of the command dials to toggle to the modes you want by looking at the small display.

There is a brand new touch-sensitive M-Fn control bar on the R's rear that can be customised to control the settings you like.

For example, you can set it to change the size of the autofocusing (AF) point. Thus, you can quickly get to the AF point size you want by swiping on the control M-Fn bar.

However, there is no AF joystick that lets you quickly move the AF point. Thankfully, the R offers touch-and-drag AF that lets you drag the AF point on the 3.2-inch touchscreen display even when you are looking through the electronic viewfinder.

The R has, on paper, a whopping 5,655 AF points that photographers can utilise. But only a maximum of 143 AF points are used at the same time.

During my hands-on session, I tried the R with the new RF24-105mm f/4L USM lens. This new RF lens has its own control ring that you can customise to change settings such as aperture and ISO.

With this lens, AF was instantaneous even on a gloomy rainy afternoon. Under dim lighting, it took about one second to get a focus lock with the help of the AF assist light.

Local pricing of the EOS R and the RF lenses has not been confirmed. The camera and the RF24-105mm f/4L USM lens are expected to be in stores next month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2018, with the headline 'Sleek shooter'. Print Edition | Subscribe