With the mirrorless arms race heating up Canon has introduced a new competitor by announcing the EOS R3.
Canon looks to be introducing a juggernaut into its EOS R line of of mirrorless cameras. Canon literature is positioning the new EOS R3 squarely between its EOS R5 and flagship 1DX Mark III models. Specifically, they allude to “great emphasis on superb AF performance and speed, with fast-moving subjects” and “being designed to meet the reliability and durability demands of professionals.” It’s not hard to infer with this new model that they are trying to entice more professional sports and news photographers over to their mirrorless line.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into the bevy of features that they’ve mentioned in their press release.
Sensor Step Up
The center of the EOS R3’s is it’s new Canon-developed, back-illuminated, full-frame, stacked, CMOS sensor. This buzz-word jumble should provide the camera with faster readout speeds while taking stills. It should also produce less rolling shutter distortion when using the Electronic Shutter, and be able to operate with Electronic Shutter still image shooting at up to 30 fps (with Dual Pixel CMOS AF and auto exposure1 no less!) Not to mention 30 fps is a staggering 10 fps more than even Canon’s own 1DX Mark III.
Echoes of AF Past
The EOS R3 will benefit from the advanced AF systems introduced in the R6 and R5 cameras as well as employing deep learning technology to enhance the eye and body detection. Currently the Canon AF system has options for Eye and Head detect, but will be introducing a new Torso Detect function as well. (Presumably useful for any sports photographers who’s subjects wear helmets or masks of any sort.)
The camera also introduces a new system of Eye Control AF through the electronic viewfinder. Eye control AF was introduced in Canon Cameras way back in the early 90’s, but with the technological advancements in the intervening 30 odd years the EOS R3’s new Eye Control system promises to be more reliable while also incorporating more features overall. (Coincidentally the last camera to carry this Eye Control AF was the EOS 3, which was also the last EOS camera to carry the ‘3’ moniker until the EOS R3 as well.)
According to Canon, the EOS R3’s EVF will offer the ability to set “the initial area for AF tracking by simply looking directly at the viewfinder location where they (the photographer) want to begin AF.” The camera will then focus on and track subjects in that location of the frame automatically, as long as Eye Control AF2 and Servo AF are active.
It is unclear if the Eye Control AF will work continuously in video mode, but it will likely be useful to sports or wildlife photographers where milliseconds can be the difference between a great shot and missing the picture.
Tough New Body
The EOS R3 will feature a new body with better weather and dust resistance. The new body is the first in the EOS R line to feature an integrated vertical grip section for easier shooting in portrait orientation. Canon refers to the body being a one-piece design similar to other professional cameras who’s chassis are machined from a solid block of material. The one-piece body will give the camera greater durability and weather sealing, equivalent to EOS 1D class cameras.
Canon also makes mention of a Mobile File Transmitter application for iOS and Android as well. This sort of app is great for stream lining modern photographic workflows, whether its getting a shot to social media or sending proofs to a client.
Canon’s press release heavily touts the camera’s utility to sports, wildlife and photojournalism photographers, but makes little mention of it’s video capabilities. As such its hard to say if this new camera will offer much for video shooters over the EOS R5 or Cinema EOS C70, but if nothing else the improved body and weather sealing over the rest of the EOS R line may make it a solid choice for any videographers in need of a truly bullet proof camera.