Gordon Laing from CameraLabs gives his first reviews of the new Canon gear, including the EOS R3

justaCanonuser

Grab your camera, go out and shoot!
Feb 12, 2014
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Gordon's part 2 review is much more along those lines - to be fair, he prefaces the part 1 by saying it's mainly about specs.
I know, part 2 comes closer to my personal preferences - but that was not meant direct criticism of Gordon Laing's part 1. Other people may like that, so it is okay. It isn't just my cup of tea.
 
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justaCanonuser

Grab your camera, go out and shoot!
Feb 12, 2014
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Btw Kai Wong issued another video about hot Canon gear recently ;):


To be serious: this shows again that the Canon isn't a conservative camera maker, as many say today. In their history they always came up with radically new designs and ideas, some of which worked well, others look a bit funny today.
 
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justaCanonuser

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The R3 specs specifically state that AF point-linked spot metering is not provided. Apparently, Canon wanted to make it very clear that this is not a 1-series camera.
That's one of the few things which always annoy me about Canon, Nikon and Sony offer this very useful feat also in their prosumer level cameras since many years. If you prefer a smaller camera body in Canon's eco system, you are always forced to manual exposure comp with off-center af points. This can be really annoying if you shoot wildlife action in difficult light settings.
 

dboris

EOS M50
May 11, 2015
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In germany I found some shops that sells it 6000€ taxes in.
That's only 800€ more than what I would pay if I were to avoid paying any taxes.
I'm impressed.
 

justaCanonuser

Grab your camera, go out and shoot!
Feb 12, 2014
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I saw that as well. Would have like to have seen it linked, but for me that is a minor issue especially with mirrorless technology. You are correct that Canon seems to be reserving that feature for one series camera even though in the film days the EOS 3 had spot metering linked to the AF point.
That's true, the EOS 3's metering system makes it technically the best film camera I personally ever used (and still use), in particular it is the perfect camera for slide film (which needs accurate metering).
 

justaCanonuser

Grab your camera, go out and shoot!
Feb 12, 2014
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The eye AF seems OK until I think about watching the edges of my frame.
exactly what came to my mind. For stills it's no problem, if you frame first, look then at the object you want in focus and then push the button (that's how you did it with the EOS 3 or 5, e.g.). With video, you need to frame w/o moving your eye away from that object, which could be sometimes a bit difficult... at least, you have to train this if you use eye AF, I guess.
 

rbielefeld

EOS 90D
Apr 22, 2015
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Thanks for the invite! I have subscribed to your channel, and I have actually watched several of your videos recently!

Here are some questions that I would be interested in seeing covered in your review. Like many in the market for the R3, I am an current R5 owner:

- When comparing the R5 and R3, how noticeable are the AF improvements, including AF on fast birds, AF in really low light, and AF for birds in bushes with tricky backgrounds (foliage) that the R5 gets stuck on sometimes? Did the eye tracking help with situations where the R5 is not as good as acquiring initial focus?
- Is the R3 AF any "stickier" than the R5?
- How much better is the low light performance IQ compared to the R5?
- Do you miss the extra MP of he R5 when shooting with the R3, or does improved performance make up for it?
- Is the performance of the new 400mm F2.8 and 600mm F4 a lot better on the R3 than the R5 because of the extra battery voltage for driving the AF motors? How does the system perform with teleconverters?
Hey, thanks so much for subscribing and watching. This is a great list and I will add these items to the list I have started. Cheers.
 
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Viggo

EOS R5
Dec 13, 2010
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Does the R3 have Eye AF inside the Zone AF areas?

I got a tip to use Zone AF for BIF with the R5, and it seem to work very well, but never really got lock on the eyes. Then after checking the menu I see that Eye AF is disabled in Zone AF, why?o_O
 
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Mar 15, 2015
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I saw that as well. Would have like to have seen it linked, but for me that is a minor issue especially with mirrorless technology. You are correct that Canon seems to be reserving that feature for one series camera even though in the film days the EOS 3 had spot metering linked to the AF point.
dam - there goes half the excuses ...
 
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entoman

wildlife photography
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If you want to just "stick to the facts" then you can go read the specification sheet on Canon's own website. That's what "sticking to the facts" is. The whole point of a review is someone spends some significant time with a product and then tells you about what their particular experience with it was like, which you can then compare against your own requirements and get a better understanding of whether the product in question is likely to suit you or not.

Gordon doesn't spend much time with the equipment, operates under embargo (mutual agreements with a manufacturer about when, where, and what he can say, in exchange for early access to the product) and 90% of what he says in any given video is just rephrasing the manufacturer's marketing copy. Most of the time he's also not using production units and draws conclusions without so much as glancing at a consumer-facing result. (For example, talking about image quality before raw processing software has been updated to actually support the camera or lens.)

A "first-class review" of a camera or lens isn't—ever—something that comes out in the first few days after announcement or release. The reviewer needs to have enough time with it to test it in a variety of scenarios, software needs to receive updates to actually handle the files or lens profiles, and they need to explain their experience beyond just rewording the spec sheet and PR-penned taglines. The same goes for any other type of product you can name. "Sticking to the facts", regurgitating specifications, is not a review. A good reviewer is not one who tells you what you've already decided you want to hear or takes 20 minutes to ponderously repeat what you could read for yourself in 5; a good reviewer is someone who tells you their thorough experience, regardless of if that lines up with your expectations or the manufacturer's claims or not.
Yes, it's very important is to hear the *opinions* and *experiences* of working photographers who have used the gear extensively for their own specialist subjects, so prospective purchasers can relate to how suitable the gear might be for them, and learn about operational quirks.

But it's clearly impossible for *any* reviewer who has only had a few hours with a camera to provide much more than a run down of specifications and a visual guide to the controls and basic operation.

At *this* stage, when the product has just been announced, what people want is exactly what Gordon provides - a calm, sane and pretty thorough tour of the camera. I find his approach hugely refreshing when compared to 95% of the influencers and narcissists who communicate virtually nothing and are only interested in attracting hordes of sheep-like "followers". So I feel you are being a bit hard on Gordon.
 

bbasiaga

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Nov 15, 2011
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I'm most curious about whether the R3 can perform AF (not talking car or animal ID) any better than the R5 given that it is still dual pixel? I love the animal eye AF of my R5 but I'm not thrilled with the situations where the R5 can't AF as well as my 1DX2 did and I just wonder how folks expecting 1 level performance will be willing to accept the step backward on various occasions.

Jack
I think this may be the first time I've heard anyone say that the R5/6 focus system is worse than the 1DXIII, let alone 1DXII. I did read one comment that said for swimming, the R5s machine learning wasn't quite as good as the 1DXIII (sometimes choosing the water and not the face). But that was it. Curious to know what other users think.

exactly what came to my mind. For stills it's no problem, if you frame first, look then at the object you want in focus and then push the button (that's how you did it with the EOS 3 or 5, e.g.). With video, you need to frame w/o moving your eye away from that object, which could be sometimes a bit difficult... at least, you have to train this if you use eye AF, I guess.
The tracked subject can be 'locked' on by holding the shutter button at the half-press. So you can line it up, half press, then recompose and shoot, without changing the AF point. This allows you to look and anticipate, without constantly changing the focus point. I watched a lot of videos yetsterday, but I'm pretty sure the DPreview one was what explained this. You can feel free to double check my recollection.

-Brian
 

unfocused

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I think this may be the first time I've heard anyone say that the R5/6 focus system is worse than the 1DXIII, let alone 1DXII. I did read one comment that said for swimming, the R5s machine learning wasn't quite as good as the 1DXIII (sometimes choosing the water and not the face). But that was it. Curious to know what other users think.

He said, in some situations, and my experience mirrors that. Others of a more technical mind can explain it better than I can, but there are situations when the R5 seems to go wildly out of focus and is unable to locate a subject.

From what I have read, it has something to do with how the R5 acquires the initial focusing point vs. how a DSLR selects the initial area to focus. I've experienced it primarily with small birds in trees. With a DSLR, I see the bird, initiate autofocus and the camera gets me in the right vicinity, allowing me to quickly refine the focus by zeroing in on the bird. With an R5 I have had a number of experiences where I spot a bird, begin the autofocus and the camera selects a focus point that is far to the back or front of the bird and I have completely lost the bird, which flies off before I can find it again.
 

Jack Douglas

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He said, in some situations, and my experience mirrors that. Others of a more technical mind can explain it better than I can, but there are situations when the R5 seems to go wildly out of focus and is unable to locate a subject.

From what I have read, it has something to do with how the R5 acquires the initial focusing point vs. how a DSLR selects the initial area to focus. I've experienced it primarily with small birds in trees. With a DSLR, I see the bird, initiate autofocus and the camera gets me in the right vicinity, allowing me to quickly refine the focus by zeroing in on the bird. With an R5 I have had a number of experiences where I spot a bird, begin the autofocus and the camera selects a focus point that is far to the back or front of the bird and I have completely lost the bird, which flies off before I can find it again.
I keep a visual record of body/paint repairs I do on my restorations. I had wet sanded and cut through the topcoat to the primer and as you can imagine there was the topcoat (black) with a finely feather edged grey primer within it. Because of the shape , I guess, the R5 refused to focus until I went to portrait orientation. I never had any such issues with the 1DX2. Of course, I also have birds in branches AF issues on occasion but I am not griping, just being forthright about the small step backward, occasionally. I'm thrilled with the R5.

Jack
 

aceflibble

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May 8, 2015
351
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To be serious: this shows again that the Canon isn't a conservative camera maker, as many say today. In their history they always came up with radically new designs and ideas, some of which worked well, others look a bit funny today.
Only when they've had competition forcing them to, though. When Canon put out their first R and FL cameras (and the Canonet fixed lens rangefinders) they were a big deal because they were undercutting everyone else by a huge margin, which as a company then-new to making camera bodies, they needed to be. By the time they progressed to the FD branding they were no longer the new kids on the block and Canon spiked their prices up despite many of the first FD bodies and lenses simply being FL products renamed. When Canon got auto exposure into a mass-produced consumer body they did so because by that point Nikon and Olympus had both caught up producing cheaper bodies and wider varieties of lenses to match Canon. When Canon started getting autofocus into the mass market they did so because Nikon, Pentax and Olympus had caught up to put autoexposure in every camera. When Canon made the first Rebel digital cameras they did it as cheaply and as quickly as possible, as word had gotten out Nikon had a design for a sub-$1000 digital camera and Canon simply didn't want to be beaten to market; the cameras themselves sucked, but Canon were at least driven.

Now jump forward to the last few years of DSLRs and all the drive totally went aweay, much like the start of the FD branding. Canon absolutely did become "conservative", though I feel a better term would be "complacent". Canon coasted for a long time on the fact they had the largest distribution, thus the largest market share by default, and from about 2010 onward every new product Canon put out was very incremental in updates over the previous versions and it became an open secret that they were intentionally making the lower- and mid-range cameras less capable than was possible so they would have less pressure to push the high-end gear further.

We're seeing innovation and effort from Canon again now only because there's competition once again. They've finally acknowledged Sony as a competitor, so as much as they've dragged their feet about it, Canon and Nikon have both reluctantly moved to mirrorless and are having to try harder. But just because competition has forced their hand does not mean they are in any way leading the charge. Canon has spent the last decade+ trying to coast as lazily as possible, and that should not be forgotten just because they've now revived some of their 1960s rangefinder designs in digital form, or because someone on YouTube picked up a previous oddity. RF is good so far, but it wouldn't exist at all if Canon had had their way. If Sony hadn't pushed mirrorless so hard, we'd still only be seeing EF products from Canon. Canon are, on their own, lazy and greedy; they only try when someone else forces them to.

But it's clearly impossible for *any* reviewer who has only had a few hours with a camera to provide much more than a run down of specifications and a visual guide to the controls and basic operation.
Which is why it's meaningless and not a "review". A "review" requires experience; reading the spec sheet out loud is not a "review".

At *this* stage, when the product has just been announced, what people want is exactly what Gordon provides - a calm, sane and pretty thorough tour of the camera.
If someone wants that they can get it in a quarter of the time by going to the manufacturer's own website. Again, it's not a "review". At most it's a walkthrough, and even that is being generous considering he continues to roll these videos out before it's physically possible for him to have actually inspected any of the results in any meaningful way and most of his dialogue is just repeating Canon's own PR.

Saying "there's nothing to do so it's okay he's doing nothing but presenting it like something" isn't the justification you think it is.
And yes, this does go for every other outlet and channel that rushes to dump out similarly vapid "reviews", too. Gordon certainly isn't the only offender and it should not be taken as a criticism only of himself. The majority of the media industry around new product releases is terrible in this fashion.
 
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neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
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I keep a visual record of body/paint repairs I do on my restorations. I had wet sanded and cut through the topcoat to the primer and as you can imagine there was the topcoat (black) with a finely feather edged grey primer within it. Because of the shape , I guess, the R5 refused to focus until I went to portrait orientation. I never had any such issues with the 1DX2. Of course, I also have birds in branches AF issues on occasion but I am not griping, just being forthright about the small step backward, occasionally. I'm thrilled with the R5.

Jack
That’s the difference between having an autofocus system sensitive to only one orientation, versus sensitivity to multiple orientations such as that provided by cross type sensors.
 

rbielefeld

EOS 90D
Apr 22, 2015
162
363
He said, in some situations, and my experience mirrors that. Others of a more technical mind can explain it better than I can, but there are situations when the R5 seems to go wildly out of focus and is unable to locate a subject.

From what I have read, it has something to do with how the R5 acquires the initial focusing point vs. how a DSLR selects the initial area to focus. I've experienced it primarily with small birds in trees. With a DSLR, I see the bird, initiate autofocus and the camera gets me in the right vicinity, allowing me to quickly refine the focus by zeroing in on the bird. With an R5 I have had a number of experiences where I spot a bird, begin the autofocus and the camera selects a focus point that is far to the back or front of the bird and I have completely lost the bird, which flies off before I can find it again.
Given I do not know what your AF initiation "ritual" includes I can only state what I do in the described type situation that has almost eliminated wildly missed focus. If I have a bird in a bush or tree with a lot of competing branches and stuff I initiate AF with Spot AF to get either the bird or a branch near the bird in focus. I never initiate AF with say eye-detect or any zone type AF method. If my initial attempt at AF lock on the subject missed a bit and hit a near branch, I refine to the bird from there, again using Spot. Once I have the bird in focus using Spot, I switch to eye-detect. If eye-detect does not get the bird, head of the bird, or eye of the bird, I go immediately back to Spot and it is then up to me to keep that Spot on the bird. I use back button AF and I have the 3 back buttons all set to initiate a different AF method. So, I can switch from Spot to eye-detect back to Spot as quickly as my thumb can switch buttons.

Again, you may already employ this type of procedure and still be having issues with wildly missed AF, but in case you are not, I decided to reply. Feel free to ignore any or all of this. Cheers.
 
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unfocused

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Given I do not know what your AF initiation "ritual" includes I can only state what I do in the described type situation that has almost eliminated wildly missed focus. If I have a bird in a bush or tree with a lot of competing branches and stuff I initiate AF with Spot AF to get either the bird or a branch near the bird in focus. I never initiate AF with say eye-detect or any zone type AF method. If my initial attempt at AF lock on the subject missed a bit and hit a near branch, I refine to the bird from there, again using Spot. Once I have the bird in focus using Spot, I switch to eye-detect. If eye-detect does not get the bird, head of the bird, or eye of the bird, I go immediately back to Spot and it is then up to me to keep that Spot on the bird. I use back button AF and I have the 3 back buttons all set to initiate a different AF method. So, I can switch from Spot to eye-detect back to Spot as quickly as my thumb can switch buttons.

Again, you may already employ this type of procedure and still be having issues with wildly missed AF, but in case you are not, I decided to reply. Feel free to ignore any or all of this. Cheers.
Actually, I really appreciate your suggestion.

I think one of the challenges I've had is that with DSLRs, (And understand that I mainly shoot sports and shoot birds for recreation) I have usually used one of two expanded autofocus selections as a starting point. It has worked well with DSLRs and sports because you have a better chance of grabbing focus on the subject while spot is just too small to catch many players as they move around the court or field (at least that's my experience).

With the R5 I have the set the * button to eye-detect, which works very well once I acquire initial focus using back button autofocus with the autofocus button. But it's that initial focus that I find challenging. I will try using spot instead of an expanded point. That sounds like a great idea. Thank you.

Edit: I just re-read your post. You mention using a third button. Which one are you referring to (The autofocus point selection button?) and if you re-map that button, how do you select your autofocus points if you want to switch to a zone or expanded point? Or, are do you mean pressing the multi-controller?
 
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aceflibble

EOS RP
May 8, 2015
351
179
I think this may be the first time I've heard anyone say that the R5/6 focus system is worse than the 1DXIII, let alone 1DXII. I did read one comment that said for swimming, the R5s machine learning wasn't quite as good as the 1DXIII (sometimes choosing the water and not the face). But that was it. Curious to know what other users think.
It lines up with what I've experienced with the 1D X III, R5 and R6.
The very nature of how mirrorless focuses vs SLRs means that, until there is a significant breakthrough which likely won't be for a few generations, the autofocus of the very best SLRs will remain better for tracking subjects in complicated 3D situations with a lot of depth in the frame, assuming the body and lenses are calibrated together correctly, and the lens has an aperture big enough to take advantage of the SLR's many dual-cross-type focus points. The other end of this is that mirrorless is of course much more accurate when focusing on 2D scenes and don't require lenses and bodies to be calibrated together. Dual pixel focusing helps mirrorless a bit, but it's not enough of an increase in depth (not even a millimeter) to help if the camera has totally missed the subject to begin with.
Without going into the full breakdown, the quickest and simplest way I'd describe it (which I'm sure will make some of the more pedantic techbros here irate) is that SLRs 'see' in 3D while mirrorless 'sees' in 2D. The more complex depth—the 'more 3D'—you have in the frame the more the advantage goes to SLRs, and vice-versa.

It's going to be a long time before mirrorless becomes the more common design for professional sports and wildlife shooters. Sports and wildlife aren't the 2D subjects that mirrorless accels at. I'm loving mirrorless for portraits, any studio work really, and the occasional slower insect on my walks, but when it comes to hectic action crisscrossing all over the place, whether that's a person in a team sport or one animal in a herd, the Canon 1D X III and Nikon D500 and D6 are still my top picks.