A month with the EOS R

Feb 27, 2019
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Its been about a month or five weeks since I got the EOS R, and I'm trying to find the right words to describe just how I feel, without coming off as a fanboy or just gushing over things.

What I like -
Focuses in light that the 5D3 and 5D4 cannot, with lenses they wouldn't dare to even try with.
The focusing seems faster, livelier on servo, even a bit livelier on one shot.
The granularity of the configuration, whereby (almost) any setting can be assigned to different buttons.
The ramp up of viewfinder brightness in low light which gives my 60+ y/o eyes a break in low light. The OVF of the 5D3 (and borrowed) 5D4 are just so dim in low light by comparison.
The vibrationless, sort of "Leica M" exposures.
The size, or lack thereof.
Ditto for weight.

What I don't like -
The viewfinder ramp up, in low light focusing. I think what its doing is raising the gain on the sensor to "focus" then returning it back down to its set sensitivity? If you make a big change in subject distance in low light it seems to white out, focus at about the time the viewfinder catches up with the gain increase, then settle back down. This all takes a moment.
The EVF blackout when the camera is idle for a bit. I've not found a way around this, but maybe there is one. Shooting hoards of motorcycles at Bike Week, I had to learn to "activate" the EVF with a flick of the shutter release or back (focus) button, as the traffic light turned green, so I'd have the EVF on as the bikes passed. Its just one less thing I'd rather not think about, and at times the camera wasn't ready, so I just shot anyway. It focused, and exposed ok when I did that, but of course framing wasn't terribly great.
The few limitations on features and functions that can be assigned to buttons. Wha? I praised that, now I'm knocking it. Well... one thing I like to set on the fly is the metering mode, especially when I'm out all day, varying light from side light to high noon sun, varying background, varying subject, and the way I'd like to render the images. For instance, I took a break from shooting bikes to photograph some of the locals and (many) passers by at Bike Week. In the middle of that, there'd be a great custom car or bike rolling down Main Street. It was a button fiddle to reset metering modes, and so I just left it to Evaluative, and did "ok". Bracketing is not an option as the time is insufficient with moving vehicles. Anyway, the only way I've found to set the mode is to get the Q button set up in "metering mode" so its fairly accessible. That took a bit of manual sleuthing to do. This is no deal breaker, but you can't assign that "function" to other buttons.

All of that, just me of course, YMMV

Bottom line - I gave my 5D2 to a friend to get them into full frame photography. I'm sure they'll appreciate. It will go well with the 7D I gave them a few years ago.

I intentionally did not get the RF 24-105/4 L with the camera body. My concern was having two lens lines that were only interchangeable "one way". My outlook has changed. I'll probably get the RF 24-105, and just dedicate it to the R body for 90 percent of what I shoot. That's my go to lens for years. I can't see me keeping the 5D3 too much longer, maybe a two years - depending on what Canon does with the R series bodies. Switching from OVF to EVF and back, and controls being totally different, takes some getting used to.

So anyway, just my thoughts, comments welcome.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,351
606
I have a 5D IV and the R. The 5D MK IV is better in many aspects when used as a DSLR. When its in live view, its basically the same as my R but with no EVF. Focus in low light is the same as well, and both have accurate focus with DPAF. That is a huge difference compared with the 5D MK III when in live view.

That said, I like the slightly smaller size of the R, the USB charging, and the EVF in low light.

With the 5D MK IV often appearing for a very competitive price, I'd say its the better deal due to the DSLR abilities that mirrorless does not match, and the ability to turn on liveview when you want to take advantage of mirrorless features.
 
Feb 27, 2019
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I like the "always on" DSLR capability, but that's about it. There's very little lag in the VF when shooting higher shutter speeds. Of course.... if you've got long exposure noise reduction going on... there's viewfinder blackout. That tends to not be a problem for me, since any long exposures are not likely to need quick followup.

I tend to not use touchscreen at all for shooting. Most of my shooting is events, and the majority of that in bright daylight. The touchscreen just doesn't cut it for me. The other thing - at events - is the inevitable people trying to look over your shoulder "at the screen". I can do without that. When I check images, I even do that with the EVF. The night time shooting I do... mostly outdoor bands in fairly well lit venues. Again, shooting with the touchscreen is not good... EVERYbody wants to see what you're up to, then they ask questions, and its a real pain in the butt.

Another little feature.... is the "exposure simulation" in the EVF. Works wonders when you're really out of kilter exposure/iso wise.

Maybe I'm too old school, but I like the intimacy of the viewfinder, and enjoy what the EVF brings to that experience.
 

AlanF

Everyone sits in the prison of his own ideas. A E
Aug 16, 2012
5,236
2,251
The "always on" feature of DSLR is a big must for me as I do a lot of opportunistic nature shots. The need to keep my mirrorless on the ready is a real pain as well as being battery draining.
 
Feb 27, 2019
56
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AlanF, I got bothered by not being able to keep the viewfinder "active" enough for immediate use, so I started delving into things a bit more. Gotta understand for me, it was unbox, charge battery, drive 250 miles to Daytona in my beat up Ranger, and start shooting. It was learn as I earn (or burn)...

Well, scratch the following:

"The EVF blackout when the camera is idle for a bit. I've not found a way around this, but maybe there is one. Shooting hoards of motorcycles at Bike Week, I had to learn to "activate" the EVF with a flick of the shutter release or back (focus) button, as the traffic light turned green, so I'd have the EVF on as the bikes passed. Its just one less thing I'd rather not think about, and at times the camera wasn't ready, so I just shot anyway. It focused, and exposed ok when I did that, but of course framing wasn't terribly great."

I finally discovered the settings to fix that, without heavy battery drain.

First, turn off ECO mode, which allows more granular control of the power saving options.

Then, disable the "auto power off" function, which is the real time lag thing. That function essentially puts the camera "to sleep" after a predetermined time. It does not close the shutter, but does turn off the display and EVF, and appears to put the processor and its filing system "to sleep", as upon re-enabling, there is a lag, card read, and about a 1-1/2 second delay in "reactivation"..... which as we know is about like forever when we need the camera now.
The next control is only a corollary to "auto power off" and that is viewfinder off. What that function does is determine the preset time by which your eye alone, at the EVF, will reactivate the EVF. You can set a time, or make it disabled. If it is disabled, then a press of any (or almost any) button will also reactivate the EVF immediately upon press.

So, if like my case, you're waiting for a green light to send to send the next hoard of custom bikes down Main Street in Daytona, or if you're in your blind under your portable blind... and, suddenly, along come a line of roseate spoonbills with young.... the EVF will be active immediately if you use the camera for at least once every 30 minutes (the longest setting). Or press the focus button as you put your eye to the EVF.

There is a "no eye at the EVF" blackout that occurs in a fixed 5 second (or so) period. I don't see a way around that (yet, but is it really needed?)

And finally, you can add ECO mode to My Menu, if you feel you need to toggle between instant EVF and a little more power savings. Considering the EVF (and sensor activation) is more likely to be the greatest power consumer, and it will pretty much shut down in 5 seconds... and not reactivate until your eye is in place (or button pressed), the power savings of non ECO mode are probably not all that significant.

Well, that's not what this thread was about, but... since I mentioned it, and it bugged the tar out of me, I thought I'd share, as the book is amazingly thin on exactly what those functions do and how they interact.
 

Pape

EOS RP
Dec 31, 2018
348
198
i been using power on off switch to activate my RP ,feeling its faster than waking it from standby but i may just imagine
i was trying say i keep camera power off when waiting something happening and when something happens i put power on
 
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Feb 27, 2019
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Seems like you not only have wake up, but shut down time there?
I'm at home taking snaps of the cats around the place, or some images for a book project, or at a birthday party... ya know... it doesn't really matter about the screen, or really about the battery life. At big events, totally different picture. I was really glad I had the foresight to stick two batteries in my pocket that morning in Daytona, and was able to get out early and learn the camera a bit. I didn't expect the learning curve it tossed me. Heck, that it's still tossing me. But I like it. Now that I've gotten off my duff and figured out the viewfinder timing, even more so.
Picture styles are a big deal to me in event shooting, and metering modes. Reason being is flexibility. I might shoot from one side of the street when the light is coming over my right shoulder, then by mid-day, take the other side of the street when the sun is high. Different metering, different picture style. With the sun over my shoulder, things are more direct, flatter, punchier. Shooting with the sun overhead, I've got to kick down the contrast somewhat, increase saturation a bit, change to center weighted or partial metering from evaluative. I think I've got the buttons all down pat for those changes to be done quickly on the fly.
 

koenkooi

EOS RP
Feb 25, 2015
347
197
The "always on" feature of DSLR is a big must for me as I do a lot of opportunistic nature shots. The need to keep my mirrorless on the ready is a real pain as well as being battery draining.
For the type of shooting I do in the summer, it's even more annoying: Macro with flash. Not only do I have to keep the screen on, I have to tap the shutter button every 30 seconds or so to restart the exposure simulation. It's very annoying when you're waiting for a mason bee to exit its burrow the screen keeps goeing black except for the icons on the edge!
 
Feb 27, 2019
56
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Your solution:
ECO mode = off
Display off = longer than what you have now, up to 30 minutes maximum
Auto power off = off
Viewfinder off = whatever you like, since you're using the display screen

Just tested that, works well, but cannot comment on battery use

Assuming you're on a tripod, flash set up, all set to go at the bee's burrow, looking at the display... you do realize that even with display not on, the camera will function immediately on shutter release, taking the picture. But, keeping the display on is an option.
 
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unfocused

EOS 5D SR
This comment might be called "15 minutes with the EOS-R." I rented one for a job next week (wanted something quieter than my 1DX II because I will be shooting meetings.) Nice camera and the quiet shutter will be good, but I can tell there will be a real learning curve to use it alongside a 5DIV. It just seems like they would have had a real winner if they had kept it more consistent with the 1Dx and 5DIV. So many things in so many different places. Probably fine if you are coming from a 6D, but it reminded me why I choose a 5DIV as a second body rather than a 6D and why I like the 7D over the 80D. I want my click wheel and joystick back!

UPDATE: See comments below after using it on the job.
 
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unfocused

EOS 5D SR
Yah, a learnin' curve for sure. I didn't find it too terrible, and honestly 2nd nature now.
Okay, after using it on the job now, I have to admit I kind of liked it.

I had to stop trying to use it like a 5D or 1D and use it like an R. Example of what I mean: Instead of using back-button autofocus, which is second nature for me on DSLRs, I found it worked better to use my thumb to move the focus point to where I wanted it and then simply press the shutter button to focus. I really found that looking through the viewfinder and pushing the focus point around was very intuitive and allowed me to compose shots much better, because there are so many autofocus points spread around the frame.

The instant display of what you just shot in the viewfinder and "freeze frame" effect was a bit annoying, but also helpful at times to make sure I got the shot I wanted. Unfortunately, it seemed to cost me some other shots as well. Battery life could have been better, but it wasn't awful. (Seemed like about half the life as on the 5D). Mostly I found the generally quieter shutter and the totally silent shutter just what I wanted. (The reason why I wanted it in the first place.) Unfortunately, the client was so impressed that I'm probably never going to be able to go back to the 1DxII for these jobs.

Switching back and forth between the 5D and R really wasn't a problem. (I had the 24-105 on the 5D and the 70-200 on the R), I think their feel is different enough that it's not hard to remember which body you are using. I rented the control ring and set it to allow me to change the ISO. I was afraid I would accidentally change it, but that never happened.

Overall, I would say a couple of things.

  1. To those who say it's not a professional tool, I disagree. It's different, but it's closer to professional than I expected.
  2. I'm going to hate sending it back and already trying to justify buying one. I'll be watching the prices and fully expect to yield within the next six months.

Canon, damn you, you win again.
 
Feb 27, 2019
56
17
  1. To those who say it's not a professional tool, I disagree. It's different, but it's closer to professional than I expected.
  2. I'm going to hate sending it back and already trying to justify buying one. I'll be watching the prices and fully expect to yield within the next six months.
I'm fighting the trend to think the same regarding wanting a second one. I try to not duplicate bodies.... so I think by the time the "next R" comes along, the 5D3 will have served its last... but who knows... might just want to keep a mirror body around too.