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Author Topic: My week with the EOS R  (Read 3816 times)

nemophoto

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My week with the EOS R
« on: February 12, 2019, 04:19:31 pm »

I'm not a big fan of mirrorless cameras. In fact, there are many things I don't like about them. That said, I'm not a technophobe. I am always open to new technology. I started using Photoshop in 1992. (Great deal! Got it bundled with a desktop scanner.) I bought my first digital camera (a crappy 1.4 MP Olympus D600) in 1998 to use for location scouting instead of my Polaroid. The Polaroid was better, but this was sometimes fun. The Olympus E10 came next in 2000, followed by the Canon D30, then the 1D, etc. I have in fact owned every !d-series camera since the inception, with the exception of the 1Dx2 - the resolution increase was not enough to justify dumping my 1Dx. I also currently own a 5Ds.

I borrowed the EOS R from Canon CPS and used it for six days of a week-long catalog/ad shoot in Miami a couple of weeks ago, so this is "real world" use, not just plinking in my back fields. One day was a scout day, five days were the actual shoot (with this camera -- I had to return it before the shoot was finished). Three of those days the R was intermixed with my 1Dx and 5Ds on location, depending upon the shot, and two days it was used exclusively tethered with Capture One in a studio setting. So, these are my perspectives shooting what I would normally shoot, in the settings in which I would normal shoot with Canon's mirroless camera.

WHAT I LIKE
- Fast focusing, regardless of lens! I have a lot of Canon lenses, but also three Sigma Art lenses: 50, 85 & 135. All the Sigma focused flawlessly shooting, usually, between 2.8 and 4.
- I love being able to use the viewfinder for video. This client has me shoot short video clips which they edit for social media. For video, there is a Digital IS mode which worked fairly well hand holding the Sigma 50. I also used a DJI Ronin gimbal occasionally with the camera which worked well and plugged directly into the camera's USB-C, though I found the gimbal a little clumsy at times.
- Camera is solidly built. It actually feels more  solid than my 5Ds -- in a way like a compact 1Dx.
- The R is not stupidly small. Just because you can make a camera in a smaller form factor doesn't mean you should. In fact, give me an R that is based on the 1Dx and I'll be happier.
-Image quality is excellent. Yes, there are those out there who will whine "but it doesn't have the dynamic range of a Sony". Who cares? For my shooting (both fashion and landscape for my personal work), I have NEVER encountered a situation where I wish I had more dynamic range.
-Face detection was very good.
-The focus point changed color according to the mode. One-shot was green, Servo was blue. Loved having that bit of extra confirmation. In fact, the Servo mode was so fast and accurate, I often shot with that rather than One-shot.
-The EF-to-R adapter I used worked flawlessly. (I did not use any R lenses. I have 8 EF lenses and in the real world I would not get rid of those anytime soon.)
-The EVF shows a relatively accurate view of your exposure, though not as good as the back LCD when you review a shot.
- Focus points cover nearly the entire frame.

WHAT I DISLIKE or HATE
- It's mirrorless. I have a love/hate with mirrorless, though I have to admit, after having the camera for a week in a real shoot situation, I grew to like it more than I thought.
-If you are a long-time Canon user, the ergonomics are pretty unintuitive. In fact, I believe strongly they should design the next R model with a nod to the 1Dx.
-No Thumbdial. This really slowed me down at times. I never used or programmed the Multi-Function Bar. When changing the focus point, it takes too long with out the joystick or the thumbdial and I prefer being able to do that with my eye to the viewfinder, not looking at the rear LCD. In fact, I usually used the rear LCD with the menu interface (f-stop, shutter, ISO, etc.) and not as live view. .
- Too many menu driven options, not enough dedicated buttons. There should be AT LEAST buttons for ISO, WB, Drive, and focus mode. Take a look at the new Olympus OM-D E-M1X. Now THAT is mirrorless camera designed, ergonomically, for a pro. Not only is the vertical grip built-in (a la 1Dx), it has multiple buttons for quick selection. Canon, Nikon & Sony should pay attention. And with the M1X grip, it's better sealed, more versatile and more comfortable to hold. One should not have to buy a separate battery grip -- my main complaint with the 5Ds.
- Battery life. This falls under one the reasons I hate mirrorless. In my days in the studio where it was my only camera, I changed the battery three times. The 5D4 without grip (I've used it for the same studio shooting a number of times, both from lensrentals.com and CPS) will last almost an entire day on one battery. If you were to buy the EOS R, I would say not to hesitate to buy the battery grip. Which goes back to why Canon should build it in  like the M1X.
-No depth of field preview (at least that I could find).
- The EVF, for some reason, darkens if you put a transmitter on top. I shoot in manual mode almost 100% of the time when I shoot fashion. If I am shooting available light or with reflectors, no problem. However if I want to use my Elinchrom ELB500 for a small pop of fill, the EVF darkens by about a stop or so. Even though my exposure is dialed in manually, the EVF fights with me. The moment I turned the transmitter off, the viewfinder brightened.
- When I shot in the studio, I turned Exposure Simulation (or whatever it was called) off. That's where the EVF goes crazy. Rather than maintaining a consistent brightness, it was constantly going up and down, depending upon where I focused (usually the face). Also, white balance in the EVF is off, depending upon the ambient or model lights. I use Custom WB almost exclusively. The strobes were daylight balanced essentially however the EVF would render skin tones overly warm. If you turn off Exposure Simulation, the color balance in the finder should also be independent of your setting and give you a neutral balance.
-Viewfinder lag. While I figured a way to keep from loosing my view for too long (always keep shutter partially depressed) the delay can be jarring when trying to shoot movement. During my studio days, one of the models I shoot regularly is a great mover. I usually crank out shots at about 1 second per frame -- I use smaller fast recycling strobes. At first I was missing shots because the anticipation and then distraction of the frames was tough to deal with. However, after about 1/2 I'd gotten used to how to anticipate what she was going to do as well as the delay in the finder refresh.

OVERALL THOUGHTS
While a week living with the EOS R didn't make me want to rush and buy one immediately, I can say "Never Say Never" (a little homage to James Bond). I was especially thrilled with the camera for video (not that I shoot a lot, so it was great for my purposes). My greatest dislike was the viewfinder darkening when using a strobe transmitter and syncing an HSS strobe outside. That is still an odd occurrence, though one that Canon could probably fix with firmware. I have been a Canon user for 38-years. I know NOT to expect the pinnacle with the first iteration of anything. The D30 came before the 1D. The EOS 630/650 came before the EOS-1. The AE-1 came before the A-1. So, perhaps the next camera will be the 1Dx Pro-like camera. I'm not in the least sorry I used it for the week. I did find it massively frustrating to have so many options be menu driven or touch-screen versus a dedicated control. Would I buy one? Maybe. Maybe not. A 5D4 may be more suitable for a third body. (I still love my 1Dx and 5Ds.) But, it sure did feel nice in the hands and generally did what was needed, if not in an occasionally irritating manner.
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tcphoto1

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2019, 09:01:32 am »

Now that is a real world review. Thank you for the extensive detail and observations. I have recently lightened my kit by replacing the 1Dx and 1DsIII with two 5DIV's and couldn't be happier. The EOS R was nearing it's release and I wasn't going to jump on board for a first generation body. Besides, those EOS R lenses are not any lighter than my EF L's, more expensive and I'm not into adapters. It seems that Canon is going after the bottom of the market with the next EOS R body. But, we're approaching an Olympic year and they may have something extraordinary to release but in the meantime I have clients to shoot for and I need to have confidence in my gear.
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nemophoto

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2019, 10:02:42 am »

Thanks for the comments. I never see real-world evaluations (like from a real job, shooting 16-18 shots a day. My shoots average that, and anywhere between 90-400 frames per shot). That why I decided to write something.

A friend of mine jumped from Canon to Sony several years ago because he wanted to lighten his load. But he laments the Sony nowhere nearly as robust as the 1Dx and he misses that. He also has large hands so the only way he can use a Sony is with a grip. He confided that, if he still shot the way he did a number of years ago, he’d still use Canon. I think the 5D4 is a nice camera. I’ve never gotten to the point of buying, but continue to rent it periodically. (Canon only allows you to “borrow” the camera twice — even for Platinum CPS — and I went through that long ago. And the loaner periods rarely cover the length of a shoot.)

I felt the EOS R had a nice... “Canon” feel to it. It feels robust. My friend’s Sony always felt like a toy in my hands or like I was using a Canon M5 or something. Though I hated the ergonomic controls of the R, I liked the feel and balance. Even using the Sigma 85 & 135 (honking big and heavy pieces of glass), the R didn’t feel overwhelmed. The files from the camera are VERY nice — basically what I get from the 5D4. On the same shoot I also rented a 5D4, but ended up using only a handful of times since I wanted to really run the R through it’s paces.

The rumor mill has it that rather than updating the 5Ds, they are slapping an ultra hi-res sensor in an R body. Pity. I’d like to see it in a 1Dx.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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EricWHiss

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2019, 11:44:47 pm »

Thanks for the write up and the real world thoughts - have been curious about the EOS R since seeing it at Photokina.  I did like the EVF better than I thought I would.
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nemophoto

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2019, 11:27:39 am »

Yes, the EVF is better than some implementations I've tried. I especially hated my friend's Sony, but later he said you could make it so there's not cut out. The issue with EVF is the studder effect when shooting quickly. As I mentioned, one way to circumvent at least part of that is keeping our finger slightly depressed on the shutter. The resolution of the EOS R viewfinder was very high, but the idiosyncrasies of the exposure/brightness took quite a while to get used to. That is where I feel the EVF is very distracting versus a DSLR.
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Peter McLennan

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2019, 12:02:24 pm »

I recently had occasion to use my Sony RX10 to shoot fast moving, uncontrolled action under extreme conditions. Kids sledding on a cloudless day, to be specific. The set was an open, snow-covered field.  The EVF was very difficult to use in this high-contrast, extremely bright environment.  Although I loved my 600mm (equivalent) lens' reach, I was longing for my D800 optical viewfinder.  Some shots were actually in focus. :)
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Rado

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2019, 01:11:58 pm »

For things that move fast I still get my 7D2 but the focusing accuracy and frame coverage in R is a godsend for my portrait shoots. I can now actually shoot my Sigma 135mm Art wide open and have every photo hit focus. I love it.
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Kirk_C

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2019, 11:56:48 pm »


A friend of mine jumped from Canon to Sony several years ago because he wanted to lighten his load. But he laments the Sony nowhere nearly as robust as the 1Dx and he misses that. ... I think the 5D4 is a nice camera. I’ve never gotten to the point of buying, but continue to rent it periodically. ...

The files from the camera are VERY nice — basically what I get from the 5D4. On the same shoot I also rented a 5D4, but ended up using only a handful of times since I wanted to really run the R through it’s paces.

The rumor mill has it that rather than updating the 5Ds, they are slapping an ultra hi-res sensor in an R body. Pity. I’d like to see it in a 1Dx.


No further 5D development right now, if ever, but there is a 1DX III coming by the end of the year (I know there are prototypes in the field). It's demand in the video market is still strong enough plus it's as close as they get to an A9 competitor. 2020 Olympics are coming and the Pro R can't possibly be released and adopted in time so 1DX III may very well be the last of the DSLR Canon's.

I tested the R and it felt like a pro-sumer camera. Nice images but the camera is stop-gap and there's no clear timeline for the Pro model. Lenses are awesome but freakin' huge.

I bought a third 5D4 last week. Clients love the images, minimal post for me, work will pay for it easily.
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nemophoto

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2019, 02:26:32 pm »

Sadly, you may be right about a 1Dx III being the end of the line. A lot will depend on how quickly Canon can develop a truly “pro Canon”.

I actually liked the EOS R in terms of its feel and handling (though not ergonomic s and lack of dedicated buttons et al). I though it felt a lot more solid than my friend’s Sony. After all these years if using Canon, I like the rounder look/feel than Sony’s and now Nikon’s mirrorless.

I see the R as the initial foray into mirrorless, not the ultimate. I have owned and used Canon since 1980. They always experiment with things on lower end cameras before going whole hog on pro bodies. I guess I’ll wait to see what comes down the pike — though I lament the DSLR passing, for better or worse. I still dislike the feeling of looking at things through a mini TV screen rather than through a true “live view” finder. I’ll be using the R on another extended shoot in a few weeks. I’ll see if I feel any differently. The one huge plus: super fast & accurate focusing, regardless of lens.


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Dan Wells

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2019, 01:48:28 pm »

I think Nemo's completely right - this is the start for Canon. Those lenses cry out for an "EOS 1DR" or an EOS "5DSr" (wait a minute, they used that second tongue twister already for something that's not EF-R mount). They'll figure out - this is the outfit that released an EOS-D30 and an EOS-30D a few years apart...

More seriously than the alphabet soup, though, Canon has a great set of lenses waiting for a pro camera...

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Kirk_C

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2019, 11:16:09 pm »

Canon has a great set of lenses waiting for a pro camera...

Absolutely true and exactly why I'll wait and see what the rest of 2019 brings. Sigma, Canon, Leica and Hasselblad all have new cameras in development that will at least be announced if not released this year. If ever there was a time to wait this is it, IMHO. If the R works for you now that's great too.

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BernardLanguillier

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2019, 11:29:18 pm »

Absolutely true and exactly why I'll wait and see what the rest of 2019 brings. Sigma, Canon, Leica and Hasselblad all have new cameras in development that will at least be announced if not released this year. If ever there was a time to wait this is it, IMHO. If the R works for you now that's great too.

Yes, that is very true.

Now, Sony has been moving faster than Canon for years now, and I am not sure they are going to slow down. Odds are the the gap increases further instead of decreasing.

The Sony are not perfect, but I believe that it is a lot easier to fix some ergonomics aspects or physical ruggedness than it is to establish core technologies, such as sensor, AF,... The only fundamental shortcoming of the E system is IMHO the size of the mount, but we have seen that Sony is able to release excellent lenses nonetheless. Perhaps not 100% as good as Canon or Nikon, but still more than good enough for most jobs.

Future will tell.

Cheers,
Bernard

hogloff

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2019, 02:10:49 pm »

Yes, that is very true.

Now, Sony has been moving faster than Canon for years now, and I am not sure they are going to slow down. Odds are the the gap increases further instead of decreasing.

The Sony are not perfect, but I believe that it is a lot easier to fix some ergonomics aspects or physical ruggedness than it is to establish core technologies, such as sensor, AF,... The only fundamental shortcoming of the E system is IMHO the size of the mount, but we have seen that Sony is able to release excellent lenses nonetheless. Perhaps not 100% as good as Canon or Nikon, but still more than good enough for most jobs.

Future will tell.

Cheers,
Bernard

By all accounts Sony's latest lens releases ( 400 2.8, 24 1.4, 135 1.8 ) are all class leading in both amazing image quality coupled with light lenses. I see zero issues with Sony's mount if they can deliver such lenses.
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scooby70

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2019, 02:37:20 pm »

I thought the idea that the Sony mount is too small had been shown to be groundless especially as there is at least one f0.xx lens available already.

I'd be interested if someone can prove that it's too small rather than just parrot what's already been said without proof by the competition.
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Guillermo Luijk

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2019, 03:27:57 pm »

The only fundamental shortcoming of the E system is IMHO the size of the mount, but we have seen that Sony is able to release excellent lenses nonetheless. Perhaps not 100% as good as Canon or Nikon, but still more than good enough for most jobs.

If by any means Sony's mount is a limitation to lens design, how the hell did Nikon manage to design a single good F lens?



Regards
« Last Edit: March 04, 2019, 04:59:16 pm by Guillermo Luijk »
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hogloff

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2019, 04:31:07 pm »

I thought the idea that the Sony mount is too small had been shown to be groundless especially as there is at least one f0.xx lens available already.

I'd be interested if someone can prove that it's too small rather than just parrot what's already been said without proof by the competition.

Yeh the parrots love to chatter whatever they read on the net. And if a certain mount can produce an f0.95 lens...who the hell cares. Are they willing to lay down $6,000 for it and carry that 4lb beast? Is that lens going to make someone's lack lustre photos into gems?

I'm sorry...but if someone cannot make a great image with a 50 1.4 lens...they don't have a hope in hell with a 50 0.95 lens.
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kers

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2019, 06:38:29 pm »

Yeh the parrots love to chatter whatever they read on the net. And if a certain mount can produce an f0.95 lens...who the hell cares. Are they willing to lay down $6,000 for it and carry that 4lb beast? Is that lens going to make someone's lack lustre photos into gems?

I'm sorry...but if someone cannot make a great image with a 50 1.4 lens...they don't have a hope in hell with a 50 0.95 lens.
It all depends on the circumstances and the intend of the photographer...
I lift the 1200 gr 40mm Sigma and like it a lot! It does make my images better.
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hogloff

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2019, 06:57:34 pm »

It all depends on the circumstances and the intend of the photographer...
I lift the 1200 gr 40mm Sigma and like it a lot! It does make my images better.

Really? In what way? Do you feel you could tell a set of 10 photos hanging on a wall...which ones were taken with the Sigma monster?
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kers

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2019, 07:29:52 pm »

Yes of course! otherwise i would not bother.
It is a very nice Monster
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Manoli

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Re: My week with the EOS R
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2019, 02:54:34 am »

If by any means Sony's mount is a limitation to lens design, how the hell did Nikon manage to design a single good F lens?



Guillermo on " how to puncture a fallacy in one easy lesson " !

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