Canon DSLR Rumors

Is a dedicated astrophotography EOS R coming in 2019? [CR1]

Last week we mentioned that we were told a “head scratcher” of an EOS R body was coming later in 2019, and not the high-resolution body that a lot of us are expecting to be next for the EOS R lineup.

An unknown source is telling us that the “head-scratcher” of a camera body will be a dedicated EOS R body for astrophotography with a full-frame sensor. This would be Canon’s first full-frame astrophotography dedicated camera body.

The first astrophotography camera Canon ever released was the EOS 20Da back in 2005. As a side note, it was the first commercially available digital SLR with live view, just in case you like some trivia.

The second astrophotography DSLR Canon released was the EOS 60Da back in 2010, so it has been a while since Canon addressed this niche market of camera bodies.

Take this with a grain of salt and mind the [CR1] rating.

This is obviously realistic, but we’re not sure what sort of market there would be for such a camera, especially with the lack of ideal RF mount lenses that astrophotographers generally like to use.

Chaitanya

EOS 6D MK II
Jun 27, 2013
1,004
114
33
Pune
That certainly would be interesting. Hope it gets a proper cooling added on. Its been a long time between 60Da and this rumoured camera.
 
Reactions: ivan11
This could be a very smart move on their part. Astrophotography is more popular than ever thanks to advancements in dedicated software. It would also give prospective buyers a reason to invest in Canon R instead of Nikon Z (assuming Nikon does not come out with something similar).
 

Josh Leavitt

EOS T7i
Aug 19, 2018
90
101
Sounds believable to me. There are plenty of other applicable genres for an ultra low-light capable camera beyond astrophotography - the most obvious being video (e.g. Sony A7S II). Canon demonstrated their 35MMFHDXSCA sensor a while back; that was their 2.7MP 41mmx24mm sensor with enormous 19 micrometer pixels at 1.1 million electron per lux per second sensitivity.

I don't think an EOS Ra would need to be anywhere near that sensitive, but if they made it 12-13.5MP on full-frame, then that's still a 8-9 micrometer photodiode size (which is plenty large). And that might also give it the possibility of uncropped 4k recording (with competitive frame rates) with only 12-13.5 million pixels to readout.
 

preppyak

EOS 6D MK II
Oct 18, 2011
972
39
Sounds believable to me. There are plenty of other applicable genres for an ultra low-light capable camera beyond astrophotography - the most obvious being video (e.g. Sony A7S II). Canon demonstrated their 35MMFHDXSCA sensor a while back; that was their 2.7MP 41mmx24mm sensor with enormous 19 micrometer pixels at 1.1 million electron per lux per second sensitivity.

I don't think an EOS Ra would need to be anywhere near that sensitive, but if they made it 12-13.5MP on full-frame, then that's still a 8-9 micrometer photodiode size (which is plenty large). And that might also give it the possibility of uncropped 4k recording (with competitive frame rates) with only 12-13.5 million pixels to readout.
If you know the history of the XXa cameras, they were almost always just the same sensor and body as the camera, but with the infared filter modified. Which means two things...one, its not particularly great as a day-to-day camera because the color balance is now messed up...and two, its a highly niche camera targeting a very specific audience. One that, as CR points out, is gonna be perplexed by the lack of an RF astro lens to complement this.

Maybe Canon will introduce a completely new sensor and style with this camera...but since they havent for either of the R cameras so far...and because this camera will inherently be a super niche camera, Id be very surpsied to see that. I'd expect an EOS R with a modified IR filter at about a 30% price premium.
 
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Sharlin

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 26, 2015
809
188
Turku, Finland
What are the special properties of a dedicated astral photography camera?
The most important property is a modified IR filter that lets more deep-red and near-IR light through, especially the important H-alpha wavelength. I think this is the only difference between the 60D and 60Da; the 20Da also added Live View which the 20D lacked, as CRG mentioned. But the "a" versions were fully general-purpose cameras in other respects, with the same features as their siblings.

Besides broader-spectrum sensitivity, extremely low noise characteristics are very desirable, especially when it comes to thermal noise during exposures that might stretch anywhere from minutes to hours. High-end exclusive astro cameras often have active Peltier coolers, capable of cooling the sensor to subzero temperatures. Dedicated astro sensors are also purely monochromatic, without a Bayer filter in the way absorbing precious photons. Separate exposures with different bandpass filters are used to composite color images.
 
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amorse

EOS RP
Jan 26, 2017
330
256
www.flickr.com
That would certainly make me scratch my head. No doubt astrophotography is more popular than ever, but I can't imagine that the market of those tinkering with astrophotography is large enough to justify a body like this. I think Canon even said that the 60Da was unsuitable for regular photography because of the IR filter set up.

Certainly anecdotal, but for many of the people I see doing astrophotogrpahy, it is only part of what they're shooting and not all of it. Likely hard to justify a dedicated astrophotography camera for many potential customers. And for those who are willing to buy a dedicated astro camera, I suspect that they may not need or want a full frame - most seem to be using cropped sensor cameras on trackers and the bulk of the investment goes into the telescope it is mounted to. I wonder if the image circle in those telescopes is large enough for a full frame sensor? No idea admittedly.

I am indeed scratching my head.
 
May 17, 2014
4
0
There’s a good-sized class of astrophotographers who feel that “If you can see the ground, it’s not an astrophotograph.” Their targets are deep sky objects - galaxies, nebulae, etc. They use dedicated cameras, not usable for terrestrial photography, but which have the crucial characteristic of a cooled sensor (often down to -10 or -20C). That’s because their exposures are often tens of minutes! Think of the noise....

I guess I’m not sure who an XXa camera is for?
 
May 17, 2014
4
0
To put this in perspective, it’s not uncommon for a dedicated astrophotography camera to include an APS-C sensor, cooled, for about $1K.
 
May 17, 2014
4
0
For the record, some of these cameras are Bayer-matrix color. In fact, I’ve got one (a ZWO ASI071) that uses the same sensor as the Nikon D700 but has a Peltier cooler on the back.

One of the other posters made a good comment - the real investment is in the mount, even more than the telescope.
 

miketcool

EOS T7i
Jun 29, 2017
80
127
I shot this on my Canon EOS R using the RF 35mm F/1.8 STM lens stopped down to F/2.0 for coma.


I would love to get more latitude on both ends of the light spectrum with the sensor. It would also be great to have a dedicated intervalometer for ramping holy grail timelapses. Some other features could be an internal closure for the eyepiece to block light, dedicated color temperatures for night skies, a better way to regulate sensor temperature, a simple process that takes blackout frames for noise compensation in camera, a night-mode for all screens, better battery performance (think ability to connect to a battery pack), improved infinity focus peaking, and illuminated or glowing buttons externally.

I think Canon's biggest hurdle is lenses as almost all their fast primes exhibit the annoying coma aberration. I saw this at f/1.8 on the 35mm lens in my most recent tests. It's Milky Way season this week, and this news is exciting!
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,508
118
I wonder if the image circle in those telescopes is large enough for a full frame sensor?
IIRC 5"-8" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope easily fill a 35mm film - larger 11"-14" one could fill 70mm film - so I believe there will be little issues in using a FF sensor. I don't know today how many 30Mpx astro cameras are available at what could be an R camera price point.

While you one could do better science with a cooled monochromatic camera and filters, for those just after images it could work and be less expensive.
 
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SUNDOG04

EOS M50
Mar 1, 2015
46
2
This could be a very smart move on their part. Astrophotography is more popular than ever thanks to advancements in dedicated software. It would also give prospective buyers a reason to invest in Canon R instead of Nikon Z (assuming Nikon does not come out with something similar).
I am not in the market to change or buy new gear, but, I do like what I see with Nikon Z.
 
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Pape

EOS RP
Dec 31, 2018
229
94
Sounds like canon is doomed if they start tinkering something unimportant like that on middle of mirrorless revolution ,when peoples wait top camera for top RF lenses :p
 
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crazyrunner33

EOS RP
Nov 4, 2011
249
76
The market could be bigger than we are giving credit for. When browsing the rental sites, I see a lot of modified bodies for astrophotography.
 

unfocused

EOS 5D SR
This sounds plausible. But, then, that's the hallmark of most CR1 rumors. It's hard to tell if they are based on actual information, or just on some plausible assumptions. (Disclaimer: Not all CR1s are plausible, I know).

Not sure Canon would consider the lack of dedicated lenses a problem. They certainly didn't let that stop them with the 60Da. Most people are assuming it would be a modified R body, but if Canon is trying to hit a price point, it could be a modified RPa, which would be more consistent with the 60Da. I know nothing about astrophotography, but it seems like I see two genres most frequently: Photos taken through a telescope, where lenses would be irrelevant, and wide shots of star trails or time lapse. Given the broad range of full frame wide to normal lenses available from Canon in either EF or R mount, it makes sense that the body would be full frame.
 
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