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

AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
8,916
12,260
The birds I specifically go out to photograph most frequently—not counting snapping the back garden, I mean busting out the big gear to very purposefully locate a particular bird—are peregrine falcons. Literally the single fastest animals on the planet. I'm lucky that they frequently nest here, so they're almost always available when I have a new body or lens to test out. It's rare to look for one and not find one, and about 50% of the time you catch them in full hunting stoop, which usually clocks somewhere north of 200mph. Second to that what I go after (bird-wise) are various owls, unsurprisingly in shaded woodland, which though much slower subjects are the much more complex, lower-contrast subjects for a camera to recognise.
If someone has found a combination that works for them, great, good for them, they can keep using it. For me, I'm trying these things against literally the fastest animal in the world and some of the best-camouflaged in low light. I'm not going to claim I have the very hardest tasks in the world—I'm not having to camp out in a rainforest for a month to catch a glimpse of the arse-end of a bird of paradise, certainly—but the camera's autofocus abilities are being pushed to their absolute limits, and in these situations so far the top-end SLRs are consistently doing better than the top mirrorless, and technology simply does not improve fast enough for this R3 to have not only made up that gap but exceeded it. Mirrorless will get there one day, but right now, a 1D X III or D6 has that edge when things are at their hardest.

Which is not something anybody should be surprised at, or defending. SLR autofocus tech has been around in every camera for over thirty years, and in some systems for about forty; mirrorless autofocus has only really existed for about half that time, and high-speed tracking is even newer. It should not be a contentious point that the younger tech isn't as fully developed in the most extreme use cases. (See also: the build quality of most mirrorless bodies and lenses, battery life, heat routing, etc.) Nobody should be expecting a brand new system to outright, hands-down surpass the previous one which has had many decades longer to be optimised.



The R3 might be, but it is very unlikely (as I said, tech simply does not improve that much that quickly, as anyone who's watched the industry for more than a couple of years knows), and, more to the point, the comment you're referring back to was, as stated at the very start of it, talking about the R5 and R6, not the R3.
.... I rather thought it was common sense that anyone commenting here would be doing so based on their subjective and anecdotal experience......
 

Czardoom

EOS RP
Jan 27, 2020
360
774
This, of course, is one interpretation of (recent) history, and it's one that's often put forward, almost as if it is the only possible account of events -- you could even say that those who propose it have themselves become "lazy" or "complacent" that it's the "true" account of the historical position.

However, I want to propose an alternative explanation which does not posit that Sony somehow "forced" Canon and Nikon into mirrorless technology. I suggest, rather, that Canon and Nikon did not enter the "professional" mirrorless market until they did because they did not consider the technology to be satisfactory for a "professional" product. (It follows that, despite this, Sony was prepared to do so, and in fact, it could be argued that Sony was "forced" to do so because of the dominance of Canon and Nikon in the DSLR sphere -- Sony had to find a niche.)....
Yes, very well said. Even if "one was there" that doesn't mean their opinion can't fall into the "stereotypical simplification" and often misleading or incorrect statements that are continuously made about Canon. I believe that Canon has often stated something to the effect that "ease of use" and reliability" are their main goals. Goals, that as a photographer, and not just someone interested in gear, I find far more important than jamming a lot of poorly or average functioning tech into a camera, which seemed to me (and others) was Sony's strategy at the beginning of their FF mirrorless path. Would Canon users have been happy if they released cameras that numerous photographers eventually called "beta" versions? Would Canon users have accepted what so many Sony users seemed to accept - that you would need to buy a new camera only a couple years after buying the previous version to fix all the bugs?

Personally, I am glad Canon took their time, whether due to complacency or due to conservatism. I still get the feeling that getting it right is still important to them, as well as making the photographic experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.
 

Hector1970

EOS R
CR Pro
Mar 22, 2012
1,355
610
Arbitrage, who specialises in extreme birds in flight shots, regularly switches between systems and went from Canon DSLR to Nikon DSLR, then the Sony A9, Canon R5 and subsequently the A1. He has no tribal loyalty and gives unbaised comparisons. He rates the A1 as marginally the best BIF camera closely followed by the R5. Just look at his images on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/100907765@N08/
Yes nice work. Impressed at their shutter speeds. I must up my own shutter speed. Would love to try an A1 to see how it compares to the 1DXIII. The 1DXIII is better than all my other cameras for tracking but can still struggle at times. Small birds may always be hard to track.
 

Pixel

EOS RP
CR Pro
Sep 6, 2011
235
128
Unless all of your lenses are RF, buyer beware. A lot of these features, speeds, etc are bound to be dumbed down with EF glass. Not that there's anything "wrong" with that, it's just not something Canon is going to willingly point out.
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jul 21, 2010
26,145
4,759
Unless all of your lenses are RF, buyer beware. A lot of these features, speeds, etc are bound to be dumbed down with EF glass. Not that there's anything "wrong" with that, it's just not something Canon is going to willingly point out.
Good point.

Those details will hopefully be in the R3 manual when it comes out. For example, what fps can I get with my EF 600/4 II. For my other EF lenses (and TS-E / MP-E), lens performance (fps, AF speed) is less relevant for me, as long as the presumption of being on par with those attributes on my 1D X is met.

I have two RF lenses (24-105/4L, 100-500), and will likely replace my most-used EF lenses with RF over time (24-70/2.8, 70-200/2.8). For many of my lenses there are no corresponding RF versions, and for a few (TS-E 17 and 24, 11-24) the filter adapter is a such an advantage it’s difficult to imagine what about an RF version would trump it.
 

Jack Douglas

CR for the Humour
Apr 10, 2013
6,850
2,471
Alberta, Canada
The birds I specifically go out to photograph most frequently—not counting snapping the back garden, I mean busting out the big gear to very purposefully locate a particular bird—are peregrine falcons. Literally the single fastest animals on the planet. I'm lucky that they frequently nest here, so they're almost always available when I have a new body or lens to test out. It's rare to look for one and not find one, and about 50% of the time you catch them in full hunting stoop, which usually clocks somewhere north of 200mph. Second to that what I go after (bird-wise) are various owls, unsurprisingly in shaded woodland, which though much slower subjects are the much more complex, lower-contrast subjects for a camera to recognise.
If someone has found a combination that works for them, great, good for them, they can keep using it. For me, I'm trying these things against literally the fastest animal in the world and some of the best-camouflaged in low light. I'm not going to claim I have the very hardest tasks in the world—I'm not having to camp out in a rainforest for a month to catch a glimpse of the arse-end of a bird of paradise, certainly—but the camera's autofocus abilities are being pushed to their absolute limits, and in these situations so far the top-end SLRs are consistently doing better than the top mirrorless, and technology simply does not improve fast enough for this R3 to have not only made up that gap but exceeded it. Mirrorless will get there one day, but right now, a 1D X III or D6 has that edge when things are at their hardest.

Which is not something anybody should be surprised at, or defending. SLR autofocus tech has been around in every camera for over thirty years, and in some systems for about forty; mirrorless autofocus has only really existed for about half that time, and high-speed tracking is even newer. It should not be a contentious point that the younger tech isn't as fully developed in the most extreme use cases. (See also: the build quality of most mirrorless bodies and lenses, battery life, heat routing, etc.) Nobody should be expecting a brand new system to outright, hands-down surpass the previous one which has had many decades longer to be optimised.



The R3 might be, but it is very unlikely (as I said, tech simply does not improve that much that quickly, as anyone who's watched the industry for more than a couple of years knows), and, more to the point, the comment you're referring back to was, as stated at the very start of it, talking about the R5 and R6, not the R3.
Having AF points across the whole frame is a big deal in many circumstances, especially when the subject is almost filling the frame and my 1DX2 wouldn't allow me to keep the body in frame with the eye in focus. Now I can pan the critter and the eye is locked in focus and the focus point can be right out to the edge. However, I have similar mild complaints along the line of what have been mentioned but from what I can perceive the R3 is not going to solve many of those.

Jack
 
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Talys

Canon R5
CR Pro
Feb 16, 2017
2,109
407
Vancouver, BC
Personally, I am glad Canon took their time, whether due to complacency or due to conservatism. I still get the feeling that getting it right is still important to them, as well as making the photographic experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Me too.

The best thing about the R5 is that is that it works and feels the way that I think a mirrorless camera should. I've always (far) preferred Canon controls to Sony, Nikon, and Olympus anyhow, but the R series has just been very enjoyable an experience. But right behind is that there are some really killer, unique lenses, that I'm so glad were released in rapid fire (Relatively speaking) after Canon entered the market for FF mirrorless.
 

Chig

Birds in Flight Nutter
Jul 26, 2020
428
519
Orewa , New Zealand
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 eye controlled AF isn't available in video mode
 

Pierre Lagarde

Canon, Nikon and So on ...
Aug 4, 2020
56
78
France
www.deviantart.com
Oh, Pierre, we North Americans so envy you Europeans' availability of mass transit, primarily found here in only the largest cities. We are so inexorably tied to our fast cars, at least this generation, you know, the gen that grew up in the 50's and 60's and can't get over their love affair with the likes of the bad ass, gas guzzling SS396 Supersport, the 409, the 429, the 427, the 454, the Cuda, the Hemi, the SS Chevelle the GTO, the _ _ _ _ _ fill in the blank. Whatever we were driving, we could foolishly beat you to the next gas station. Gas prices be damned. Hell gas was only 20, 30 and 50 cents a gallon at the time. We only began to seriously consider mass transit when the middle east choked our petrol supply lines in the early 70's and shocked us into reality. Oh, the good ole days, when burning up our fossil fuels at an unsustainable rate never interfered with my ambition to beat the car beside me to the next red light. Somewhere in there, we guys, at least, switched to our love affair with our pick up trucks. Now, the muscle cars are mostly, nothing but a memory, at least for some of us but we still don't really have effective, nationwide mass transit, unlike you. We only get practical when we are forced into it, it seems. Now, when an old Canon AE-1 would probably suffice, instead, I opt for the latest Big Boy's camera gear, the R5, the R6, the 1Dx, the R3, the A-1, the whatever, attached to the fastest glass I can afford, of course. Now, let me go ride my mountain bike, camera strapped to my back, hit the main drag and see if I can find an old muscle car to photograph. Oh, drats! It's raining. Another day, perhaps......
Nicely put overall. Though I think envy or regrets could be shared feelings for many of so-called developed countries in that regard.
It's not because I don't drive that I don't like beautiful cars too, for instance, and even helped them to be sold (I worked for a great car manufacturer for a decade). To me, in many European countries, we simply have more overall density of population with different needs, and that leads naturally to different transportation solutions, one of them being having more mass transit infrastructures.
We all do what we can with what we know and I'm not sure one solution is better than the other at that point...
Though, I'm sure that biking in the wild is great !! :D
 

canonmike

EOS R6
CR Pro
Jan 5, 2013
454
392
Unless all of your lenses are RF, buyer beware. A lot of these features, speeds, etc are bound to be dumbed down with EF glass. Not that there's anything "wrong" with that, it's just not something Canon is going to willingly point out.
And yet, I see glowing reviews by users of EF glass attached via adapters to the R bodies. Would like to see a few of these dumbed down comments you are referring to, please sir, so I could possibly change my mind.
 
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Nov 29, 2016
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I did not know that transferring between different camera models (e.g. R5 to R3) would be possible. I always thought that it would only be within a specific model for duplicate camera bodies.

It usually is indeed not possible, and sure surprised me at a recent retail training for the R3. Surely a nice feature for when you need the speed of the R3 but also the megapixel count of the R5, and can easily copy the settings over without starting from scratch on each body.
 
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FrenchFry

Wildlife enthusiast!
Jun 14, 2020
462
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It usually is indeed not possible, and sure surprised me at a recent retail training for the R3. Surely a nice feature for when you need the speed of the R3 but also the megapixel count of the R5, and can easily copy the settings over without starting from scratch on each body.
An extremely welcome feature! But since not all features are available in both bodies, I'll probably spend an eternity double-checking that everything is as similar as possible anyway.

Did you get to see the R3 in the metallic flesh?
 

John Wilde

EOS 90D
Jan 2, 2021
138
229
You can always come to Canada, and have the best of both worlds. Quebec is primarily Francophone, with the rest of Canada being primarily English-speaking, we have good social services, pretty decent healthcare, and our camera prices are not too different from our southern friends :)

And when things are much cheaper in the US, many Canadian cities are a very short drive to an American one :D :D
I live in Minnesota USA, and often wish that I was born on the other side of the border.
 

RayValdez360

Soon to be the greatest.
Jun 6, 2012
749
511
39
Philadelphia
Unless all of your lenses are RF, buyer beware. A lot of these features, speeds, etc are bound to be dumbed down with EF glass. Not that there's anything "wrong" with that, it's just not something Canon is going to willingly point out.
Very misleading or BS. Can you give us facts. I have an ef adapter and i barely have any issues on my eos r, r5, and c70. So A LOT of what features are dumbed down.
 
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Serenesunrise

EOS R, 7D, AE1 P
Mar 27, 2019
7
7
Ipswich
I have just visited the Photography Show at the NEC.
My visit was manly to hold a R3, the short wait was worth it.
What a wonderful camera to hold, the ergonomics are spot on, I asked for it to be paired with a RF 85 f1.2 which is well balanced in the hand and then with the RF 14-35 f4 which is so light.
The viewfinder is very bright and normal AF is very quick.
Eye control works well but apparently is even better once you have calibrated the camera to your eye.
I then went to the Fuji stand to check out the GFX 100s which is a very nice camera but it felt a bit underwhelmed compared to the R3.
Purely for balance I visited the Sony stand and picked up a A9ii and then an A1.
Those cameras feel like picking up bricks…and trying to hold the camera is not good as the lens gets in the way of my fingers.
I spoke to a guy on the Tamron stand about RF lenses and he replied that when Canon release the intellectual protocols for the RF mount then they will start making RF lenses.
So no 3rd party lenses for a few years, I guess.
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jul 21, 2010
26,145
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Very misleading or BS. Can you give us facts. I have an ef adapter and i barely have any issues on my eos r, r5, and c70. So A LOT of what features are dumbed down.
There are only a very limited set of lenses that have reduced functionality with the adapter, and they're mainly really old lenses. The early 90's EF 35-80mm PZ lens doesn't power zoom when adapted to an R-series body, and the AF Stop buttons on the MkI IS 'great whites' (200/2, 300/.8, 400/2.8, 500/4, 600/4, 800/5.6 and 400/4 DO) don't work via the adapter (source).

However, there are some notable body limitations with EF lenses. There are several 'popular' lenses, albeit older ones, that don't support 12 fps on the R5, e.g. the 100-400 MkI, the 85/1.2L II, etc. Those lenses could do 16 fps on the 1D X III, but are limited on the R5. As another example, the R5 and R6 (and presumably the R3 will) offer focus bracketing – that works with all the RF lenses but only with four EF lenses and three EF-S lenses (most of the macro lenses are on the list, but not the 100mm non-L and not other lenses with reasonable magnifications, like the 100-400 II).
 

john1970

EOS R5
CR Pro
Dec 27, 2015
449
568
Northeastern US
I have just visited the Photography Show at the NEC.
My visit was manly to hold a R3, the short wait was worth it.
What a wonderful camera to hold, the ergonomics are spot on, I asked for it to be paired with a RF 85 f1.2 which is well balanced in the hand and then with the RF 14-35 f4 which is so light.
The viewfinder is very bright and normal AF is very quick.
Eye control works well but apparently is even better once you have calibrated the camera to your eye.
I then went to the Fuji stand to check out the GFX 100s which is a very nice camera but it felt a bit underwhelmed compared to the R3.
Purely for balance I visited the Sony stand and picked up a A9ii and then an A1.
Those cameras feel like picking up bricks…and trying to hold the camera is not good as the lens gets in the way of my fingers.
I spoke to a guy on the Tamron stand about RF lenses and he replied that when Canon release the intellectual protocols for the RF mount then they will start making RF lenses.
So no 3rd party lenses for a few years, I guess.
Thank you for the review on the R3 ergonomics. :)
 
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