Canon R experience

typer1998

I'm New Here
Mar 23, 2016
10
2
The is my experience shooting the Canon R for 4 months. It is not an in-depth review checking every feature. I shot very little video with it so video won't be in this discussion.

I love Canon’s APS-C M cameras and Full Frame DSLRs and have owned and used almost all current models including M3, M5, M6, M50, T3i, 70D, 7D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 5D Mark IV, 5Dsr, 6D, 6D Mark II, and the EOS R. A Full Frame Canon mirrorless camera would be a natural progression and possibly my ideal camera system. I also like trying out the latest gear. I bought the EOS R November 2018 and sold it March 2019.

PROS:
  1. Potential for fast lenses. A definite plus for people who want fast lenses. For me, since I usually shoot at f/8-f/22 and with a tripod, I’d be happy with an RF 17-40 f/4, 24-70 f/4, 70-200 f/4, and a 100 macro.
  2. Lighter and smaller than a DSLR, but not by that much. The bodies might be smaller and lighter but the lenses aren’t by that much.
  3. The lens control ring is pretty cool, though RF lenses or the right adaptor are required.
  4. Configurability. I’ve never customized my DSLRs, I guess I haven’t had to, but the R lacked a depth of field button so I was forced to customize a button to get the depth of field function. Now that I’ve done it, customization is pretty cool.
  5. As with all mirrorless cameras, locking up the mirror is no longer required when shooting macro or landscape shots.
  6. Same battery as the DSLRs.
  7. Realtime exposure preview in LCD
  8. Handled 0F-20F temps with ease.
Looking at the “pros” above, I took advantage of mapping depth of field preview to a button and only because the R lacked a DOF button that DSLRs include. No mirror to lock up doesn’t necessarily equate to no vibration as the Sony A7r proved though it is one less thing to remember to do when shooting. The realtime exposure preview is invaluable. I don’t have any RF lenses or the adaptor with the control ring so didn’t get that new feature. Fast lenses don’t interest me at all. I use a tripod or crank up the ISO if the light is low.

NEUTRAL:
  1. Smaller – This is a judgment call on whether this is a pro or con. I notice it when gripping the camera and shooting freehand. The grip isn’t as comfortable to hold as a 5D Mark IV since it’s smaller. This is noticeable when there is a telephoto attached and are shooting free hand.
  2. The common complaints from dpreview and youtube reviewers and commenters: single card slot, cropped 4k video with no DPAF, no IBIS. None of these impact me and my photography. I don’t shoot much video. When I do it’s with my M50 or iPhone, and 1080/24p is my format of choice. Most of my photography is on a tripod so IBIS makes little difference to me. Two card slots? I’ve never had an SD card fail on me. Honestly, the commenters on dpreview and to some extent the reviewers just nitpick and magnify the importance of missing features that are really insignificant to most photographers.
  3. HDR is not great. Used it a few times. I need to test this feature more, but am not impressed so far. I haven’t used it that much in my DSLRs so it’s tough to make an accurate assessment without more testing.
  4. Top deck LCD – This is a vestige leftover from the film SLR days when there was no LCD in back. This is an unnecessary feature that just consumes space and battery life. With a tiltable and flippable LCD display, why is an additional top deck LCD necessary or even desirable? The back LCD has all the info the top deck has and with the tiltable screen there is no reason to have and LCD on top anymore.
  5. One thing I hated but found a way to turn off was the EVF sensor. When you put your eye or anything up to the EVF there is a sensor that turns off the LCD which is what I use to compose now since I'm so used to shooting pix with a phone. I accidentally trigger the EVF sensor on almost every shoot. It is configurable! 4th yellow Set-up Menu screen -> Display Settings -> Display Control -> Manual Display Control. Then select Manual display either Viewfinder or Screen. It's Viewfinder by default.
An example of my exposure problems will be attached soon. The three images were shot seconds apart yet the exposure varies by 3 stops. Exposure comp accounts for 1 stop. I was shooting with Evaluative but it was underexposing. I switched to Partial same problem. I added 2/3 of a stop but then the image was overexposed by 2 stops. I also got two shots with the same exif data which I thought was odd. I power cycled. Throughout all the Canon cameras I've owned and 1000's of images, I've never had Evaluative metering let me down or be off by more than 1 stop to my taste. This shoot several exposures were 2 or more stops under or over.

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typer1998

I'm New Here
Mar 23, 2016
10
2
WHY I SOLD:
  1. Lack of RF lenses – This will of course be fixed in the future, but in June 2019 the lenses that I would want to buy are not available in the RF mount. The currently available fast, large, heavy, pricey primes and zooms are great but don't interest me. I use the EF- L 24-70 f/4 and 70-200 f/4 90% of the time and my 17-40 the other 10% but there are no equivalent RF lenses until 2020-2021 at the soonest. If I have to use the adaptor, why not just use a 5D Mark IV or 6D Mark II instead of the R or RP? There is no clear reason for me to do so. Honestly, even if the 3 EF lenses I use all the time were available in the RF mount, I don't see myself buying them and a new body anytime soon. I'm happy with my 6D Mark II and M50. Potential or future lens releases aren't reason for me to buy a body today though it was a good move for Canon to publish the roadmap.

    Sony's success puts Canon in a tough spot. Compete with Sony A7 line, but not at the expense of our EF DSLR line. How would Canon do that? Looking at the roadmap, Canon is clearly differentiating the RF platform from the EF bodies and lenses. The RP is priced below the 6D Mark II and the R lower than the 5D Mark IV. The RF lenses are much more expensive -> 28-70 F/2 $3000 and not even available in an EF mount. The EF 50 1.2 is $1350 yet the RF 50 f1.2 is $2300 almost $1000 more for the same speed and focal length! From a business and profit view this makes the most sense. Differentiate the product lines so people buy both or at least one.
canon-rf-lens-roadmap-2019

  1. Unexplainable underexposure or overexposure. I’ve had this happen multiple times where the exposure is off by 2 stops under or over. I was shooting in contrasty situations. I shot 280 images that day and some were under by 2 stops and over by 2 stops. I'll post with context but am reviewing them now.
  2. Banding issues: I never noticed it since I didn’t pull shadows up that much but you can read about it here. This problem is reportedly fixed with the latest firmware update.
  3. User Interface is the main issue I have with the R. The UI consists of the hardware and software. The placement of the buttons, dials, and switches, their design, and the software being the menu system. Overall the UI is just puzzling. It’s not more efficient than a DSLR or M camera. The design decisions don’t make much sense and take some time to get used to. After I bought a 6D Mark II and M50 I can immediately find the functions I look for and feel at home using the cameras. The R takes a while to get used to and even after 4 months I didn’t feel at home with it.
    • The on/off dial is just odd. Why deviate from the DSLRs or M series and come up with something new? I wear gloves since I shoot outside in below freezing weather and it is difficult to turn the R on or off with gloves on. I usually turn on in the car before going out in the cold.
    • Mfn bar: The one setting I use almost every time I shoot is exposure comp, but this is not a function that is assignable to the bar. Why not? Seems like an arbitrary limitation and oddly one of the things I would actually use this bar for. I assigned ISO to it, but found myself accidentally activating it. Consequently, I just disabled it. I miss the control wheel from the DSLRs and M3 that I can spin. An additional 2 buttons or one wheel would have reduced the learning curve to 0 and been a better idea. I tried to like it but just didn’t.
    • Menu vs. Q Set vs Mode vs Mfn: It’s too confusing, even the limited number of features I use the UI for can feel cumbersome and occasionally frustrating. I had to read through the manual and work through the features and still after four months don’t feel 100% at home with this camera. Any Canon DSLR or M I feel comfortable with after a few hours of learning the new features.
    • I like the feel of the DSLRs better especially with a telephoto attached. The M3 and M50 feel great too. I didn't care for the R feel when shooting off tripod.
I didn’t really like using the EOS R. I know the reader will want objective data to support this assertion so I'm sorry to disappoint. I enjoy the process of taking the picture, deciding what lens to use, composition, exposure, aperture, GND filters, etc. I have to like the camera I’m using. This is really important. It needs to be intuitive. The UI was a struggle and even after I set it up the way I wanted, an M or EF DSLR is just more intuitive and easier to use. Since the IQ is no better than a 6D Mark II or 5D Mark IV, I saw no reason to keep it. In reality, the IQ was worse. A few years ago I tried out the Sony A7r and A6000 and hated using both. When I sold the A7r to a Sony user and fan, he agreed the UI was terrible and then said, "Hey, just read the manual and learn the menus!" I thought about that and yeah, just learn the menus, but shouldn't the menus and UI just be intuitive and easy to navigate? This of course is subjective so go ahead and buy one if you're interested and try it out for yourself.

If you are upgrading from a phone, then you would have to learn everything anyways so UI isn’t really as big an issue. Coming from a Canon DSLR and M3 background, the UI took me a while to get used to. The lighter and smaller feature is really insignificant. The future for RF lenses looks bright but I’m very happy with the 4 EF L lenses I own and shoot with. The RF lenses I would buy would be their exact equivalent. Hypothetically, suppose there were RF lenses available in the exact equivalent of what I use. To get the control ring isn’t really enough of a reason to switch over. There has to be a compelling reason in both the lens line and body line.

Myth: “It’s mirrorless so it’s the latest and greatest, and has to be better than a DSLR”

Reality: Not necessarily. Bodies may be lighter and smaller but lenses aren’t so net savings on a system isn’t really significant. The smaller grip in particular can make holding the camera with a 24-105 or larger lens feel unbalanced. Image quality is not any better. Ease and intuitiveness of operating the camera is arguably worse, much worse in my opinion. The potential is there to be marginally better than a DSLR but potential doesn’t help me take better pictures today. If image quality is no better than the DSLRs then the only selling point of R bodies and lenses is what then? I agree with the Canon executive’s dire prediction of the ILC market. Even if all the RF lenses were available that you would want to buy, would the RF bodies and lens system be a better choice than the EF DSLRs and lenses? Would you get better image quality or shoot faster or easier? There may be a shift among current DSLR owners to the R system and some new buyers moving up from a camera phone or entry level DSLR, but the Canon's market share won’t increase due to this camera line. Canon had to develop this system due to Sony’s success.'

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typer1998

I'm New Here
Mar 23, 2016
10
2
I don’t see much reason to have both camera systems though I’d guess this is what Canon wants by differentiating both the RF and EF body and lenses. Imagine a pretty full RF line of lenses with all the current EF lenses you own or want available. Three new R bodies, 5Dsr.5, 7D Mark II.5, 5D Mark IV.5 equivalents with the 0.5 increment including Digic 8, CR3, and some other stuff. Would you sell all your Canon DSLRs and EF lenses and migrate to an RF system? If Canon updated their DSLRs with a 5Dsr Mark II, 7D Mark III, 5D Mark V I don’t see many photographers switching over. What will make Canon the most money is what they are doing now. Differentiating the EF and RF lens and body lines so photographers can justify having both systems for several years. The RP as the low end FF solution not available in the EF world. The R as an in-between 5D and 6D series. The next RF body may well be some in-between and not equivalent to a DSLR model too.

Canon full frame camera shoppers will have a tough decision, EF or RF? This question will be an issue for the foreseeable future. I decided on the EF and M system. I sold my 7D Mark II, 5D Mark IV, 5Dsr, and R. I bought a 6D Mark II so I can use my four EF lenses. I bought a M50 too. I like the fully articulating screen of the 6D Mark II. This is one reason I decided to get a 6D Mark II and M50.

Do you really need full frame? The M series and EF-M lenses are an outstanding camera system that I highly recommend. If you enlarge prints 24×36 or larger then I would shoot full frame. If 12×18 or smaller are the prints you make then APS-C is fine. My current recommendation is to get an M50, all the EF-M lenses excluding the 22 and 55-150, and a 6D Mark II or 5D Mark IV if you enlarge prints to 20″x30″ or larger. If you are dead set on getting an R or RP then I would recommend the RP. The price difference of $1000, only the slight loss in resolution, absence of the multi function M-fn bar (a good thing), addition of a normal mode dial, all make the RP a better value. I haven’t actually used the RP, only handled it in the store, but it appears to be a much better value.

CONCLUSION:
The R system has clear potential to be a marginally better system than the current Canon EF DSLR line. With a lineup of fast and expensive lenses and new bodies, there is a bright future for the R system. Unfortunately, there are deal breaker usability issues and no clear reason for me to switch from my EF system or to own both. Consequently, I am sticking with my Canon M3, M50, and 6D Mark II. I’ll use the M’s for travel and outdoor photography. I’ll use my 6D Mark II when there is a good possibility of getting a shot that I can enlarge to 20"-30" or larger and when the spot is within 30 min walk of the car.

The exposure issues I assume were due to me having a lemon and will be resolved especially if it’s a production or design issue with thousands of users impacted. This shoot was the main time I had exposure off by 2 stops or more. The banding that I read about has been fixed with the latest firmware upgrade. The usability issues though are not going to go away. Given that I love the Canon M system, EF DSLRs and lenses, I am a default R system buyer, but I really did not like using it. I tried to for four months but just gave up. The usability was the deal breaker for me. Note that this is very subjective so try it out for yourself, but I'll stick with my M50 and 6D Mark II. When the lenses I want are available in the RF mount I may do another evaluation. Especially if small zooms were paired with the RP, that would interest me.

Pricing: I paid $2300 including the adaptor back in Nov 2018, but import models can be bought on eBay for only $1679 as of June 2019 so that's a substantial discount.

If you love your R great, but if you feel the need to attack me or my post because I don't share your opinion, then who is the troll?

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Jan 15, 2019
8
4
Thanks for a detailed and thoughtful account.

I'll share just a few observations, as I recently acquired an R and I'm still deciding what I think of it.

About size: my "normal" focal length is 35mm. In general snapshooting I use that focal length far more than any other. I previously purchased a 5DIV because I wanted the extra pixels and greater DR compared to my 6D, but I kept it for only a few months. I found the combination of the 5DIV body and EF 35/2 IS too bulky, heavy and obtrusive for comfortable walkaround snapshooting. OTOH, the R with the RF 35/1.8 IS is right in my comfort zone for overall size and weight, though the lens is still a bit larger than I'd like for something of that FL and speed.

On the other hand, so far I'm not wild about the changes in body shape and control layout. My 6D fits my hand like a glove, while the R is a bit awkward and uncomfortable. The grip feels cramped, and I've been especially unhappy with losing the rear control wheel; the top control dial that effectively replaces it is uncomfortably positioned for my hand. Reassigning some of the button functions and taking advantage of the lens control ring have helped, but overall the handling feels like a distinct step backward.

On the third hand, I find the live histogram in finder enormously helpful, even though it's driven off the jpg rather than the underlying raw data. It makes a material difference in my yield of usable exposures, and I can now shoot extended sequences, even in changing light, with a much-reduced need to interrupt my flow for chimping. That's a huge benefit.

So some meaningful benefits in size/weight and in exposure control and fluidity of working when I'm on the go, but a price paid in uncomfortable handling. Is the tradeoff worth it? As I said at the top, I'm still figuring that out.
 
Jun 6, 2019
2
0
I see you also posted this on another forum where users broke down your complaints into blatant user error, at this point it just looks like you are trolling. For example complaining about the image being over exposed when you have exposure compensation set to +2/3 and were using partial metering pointed at a dark object is either user error or deliberate trolling and since you have not responded since being called out in the other forum I'm leaning towards trolling.
 

Jethro

EOS R
Jul 14, 2018
206
92
Leaving aside the last comment (which I can't verify) the main issue seems to be around unexpected exposure results. I haven't experienced that, and the ability to plant a histogram in the EVF frankly means I've never had an issue. The DR (effectively identical to the 5Div) was a big move up for me from the 6D, and I struggle to think you would not have seen something similar given the (remarkably wide) range of cameras you seem to have experience with, including APSC cameras.
 

Ian_of_glos

EOS RP
Jun 12, 2012
240
23
England
The key statement here is this one "I didn’t really like using the EOS R."
When looking at a new camera we try to be as objective as possible by comparing things that can be measured. The camera we choose must do all the things we want it to do but more importantly it must be a camera that we enjoy using. This will vary from person to person, so there is little point in trying to persuade someone to change their camera system if they are happier and more comfortable staying with what they already have.
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
Jul 21, 2010
24,543
1,978
  1. Unexplainable underexposure or overexposure. I’ve had this happen multiple times where the exposure is off by 2 stops under or over. I was shooting in contrasty situations.
The fact that you don't understand it does not mean it's unexplainable. Although you've deleted your sample shots (why?), they were in the post earlier today – your foreground had one subject (person in costume) that was dark blue and one that was white. Both subjects were in an open pavilion (i.e. shaded) with a daylight-lit background of spectators outside the pavilion. Evaluative metering considers the whole scene, but gives significant weight to properly exposing your subject (whatever is under your AF point). It's not spot metering linked to the AF point (which the 1-series cameras offer), but it is weighted. So if you focus on the dark subject (blue costume), the camera will expose for that and the rest of the scene will be overexposed. If you focus on the light subject (white costume), the dark subject will be underexposed. That's not 'unexplainable underexposure or overexposure', that's the camera metering and autoexposure performing as intended.

Possible solutions in that scenario would be to manually set an exposure that balances the two subjects and likely relying on post-processing of RAW image for some shadow pushing and highlight pulling, or if possible (and it may not have been for shooting a performance, depending on venue restrictions), manually setting a moderate underexposure to preserve the daylight-lit audience and adding light to the foreground with some fill flash.

I appreciate your review, albeit one colored by personal viewpoints (but hey...it's your post!). But I also think that some of your complaints derive more from user unfamiliarity than from a problem with the camera. I certainly haven't had any exposure problems with mine, although I have anecdotally observed over the years that Canon's evaluative metering has trended toward more weight on the AF point.
 
Jun 6, 2019
2
0
I'm guessing he deleted them because the EXIF data showed that his usage of the camera was to blame not the camera itself. The EXIF data was what showed he was not in the metering mode he claimed and was at +2/3 exposure compensation. Since he is trying to edit his post to hide it and not acknowledging his errors he is clearly just a troll.
 

Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
4,098
652
I didn’t want a new thread just for this question, so hope it’s okay to post it here:

Is there a way to edit the touch-menu in Live View?

The iso in the bottom right corner is getting touched and set to a specific iso value when I want auto-iso all the time. Accidentally touching when carrying the camera.
 

Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
4,098
652
I didn’t want a new thread just for this question, so hope it’s okay to post it here:

Is there a way to edit the touch-menu in Live View?

The iso in the bottom right corner is getting touched and set to a specific iso value when I want auto-iso all the time. Accidentally touching when carrying the camera.
Edit on this:

I did find a way, I turned off the “buttons on screen” and instead of having the SET-button to “activate/deactivate touch-functions” I assigned it to Q-menu (since that disappeared from the buttons on screen)