It’s been a crazy couple of months as I’ve undergone a complete overhaul of my travel kit. This was spurred on (in part) due to my computer dying on me in Brisbane. In fact, I was writing about my new travel camera when Canon announced their first entry into the full-frame mirrorless world with the EOS R.
Rumours had been circulating about it for months but now that the dust has settled I’m going to give you 5 Reasons Why I’m Not Buying the EOS R.
Before we dig into all that lets quickly cover why this is important for you as a reader of the blog.
As a fellow-traveller you probably want to capture the best possible photos and video for your adventures and by reading this you’ll gain some insight into how I approach my buying decisions so it can hopefully help you with yours.
What I like about the EOS RFirst and foremost, the EOS R has a combination of great features that’s going to please a lot of YouTubers and travel vloggers:
- Smaller and lighter camera body than Canon’s current DSLR equivalents (6D Mark II, 5D Mark IV and 1Dx Mark II)
- Full-frame CMOS sensor which is better in low light and bokeh (pleasantly blurry backgrounds for portrait photos)
- Canon’s Dual Pixel Autofocus while recording 4K video
- Articulating screen
In particular, an articulating screen allows you to see yourself while in “selfie” mode. This is important for vloggers in a couple of ways:
- Composing your shot so you and others are in frame
- Knowing you’ve pressed the record button (yes, this can happen)
- Checking your sound/brightness levels or if you’re still in focus
- Pressing the touch screen so you can change settings quickly
It’s surprising why more cameras don’t have this (*cough* Sony) with only a handful that do like Canon’s 80D, 6D Mark II and Panasonic’s GH5…
And now the EOS R.
As someone who has a YouTube channel you maybe wondering why I’m not head over heels in love with the EOS R. You’ll find out why in the following sections.
Canon aren’t exactly exited about it either
Rudy Winston from CanonUSA describes the EOS R as an “addition to the Canon EOS system and not a replacement”.
This is a smart move by Canon for their existing customers.
I still remember when Nokia hedged all their bets on Windows Phone almost ten years ago. That decision pretty much tanked the company (or more specifically their mobile division) as almost all their customers switched to the iPhone or Android and who knows how long it’ll take for them to fully recover, if ever.
Microsoft’s XBOX division made a similar blunder when they initially told XBOX 360 customers that their next gaming console (XBOX One) wouldn’t be backward compatible with existing games. Because of this, they removed one of the biggest reasons to stay with the XBOX and unintentionally pushed some of their customers towards Sony’s Playstation 4.
So what does any of this have to do with the EOS R?
The EOS R has a new RF lens mount and they could’ve tried to force everyone over to the system. This probably would’ve had disastrous results for Canon since they have a large library of existing EF, EF-S and EF-M lenses (introduced in 1987, 2003 and 2012 respectively).
Fortunately the team at Canon were a bit smarter than the other guys above. They took the safe route with reassuring statements like how it’s an “addition” and not a “replacement” to the EOS system and a way to use existing camera lenses using launch-ready lens adapters.However…
I’m not exactly fired up about it either. I mean, how do you feel when you think of the phrase, “it’s not a replacement” or the camera’s slogan “re-think”…
I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to feel like THIS is the only camera you NEED to own instead of here’s some “tomato sauce” to go with your burger and fries…
Hands-on reviews seem to reflect this sentiment with Kai W (formerly of DigitalRev fame) seemingly disappointed with it…
“They [Canon] had to hold something back […] This is a 5D Mark IV without a mirror which is a good thing in some ways… but, in some other ways not quite so good” – Kai W
In their quick review of the EOS R, Tony and Chelsea Northrup had similarly mixed feelings including common complaints like the single card slot, low frame rates/raw buffer for photos and 4K crop (annoyingly zoomed-in video when compared to Full HD).
They also mentioned pricing would start at $2,300 for the camera body-only and $3,400 including the RF 24-105mm f/4 lens.
Stop gap camera
Lets be honest. While I’m not a Sony fan you have to admit they’ve been killing it in the mirrorless space. When I last checked Amazon’s best seller list (updated hourly) they had 7 out of the top 10 spots for mirrorless sales (full-frame and otherwise).
With all the full-frame mirrorless announcements lately you’d naturally assume their competition had to release something before it was too late. Nikon recently announced two cameras (Z6 and Z7) and there’s also a rumour Panasonic will be joining the full-frame mirrorless market. This is surprising considering Panasonic have been one of the strongest advocates for the smaller Micro Four Thirds ecosystem.
But, is it too late for Canon?
In my opinion the EOS R is a lukewarm attempt by Canon in a mirrorless market dominated by Sony. And most of all, this is their stop gap measure to keep existing customers from jumping ship.
Based on reviews like Kai W and the Northrups I believe the EOS R will make existing customers happy… just enough to keep them on board and those that have already switched feeling fine with their decision (no regrets).
Some Youtubers and vloggers could be enticed into buying the EOS R but I feel it’s a camera that should’ve been released two or three years ago. Back then it would’ve destroyed the competition but now it’s so-so (not bad but not great either).
This is sad because I love the look and feel of Canon cameras. My first Canon was the 60D almost ten years ago and from there I got the “almost perfect” point-and-shoot, G7X Mark II.
Unfortunately, the EOS R doesn’t make me want to drop everything to get it so as a stop gap measure it’s just not enough for me. Remember, this is coming from someone who in the last decade has only ever owned Canon gear.
Version OneThere’s a common belief amongst tech enthusiasts that the first version of any product cycle is a hard pass. When you think about it, no matter how well-intentioned a manufacturer may be they’re still human, imperfect and make mistakes. And sometimes they experiment with a new technology only to find out later it wasn’t such a great idea afterall.
Tech giant Apple has a history of “experimenting” with new features for them to be improved on later. Take for example the keyboard butterfly mechanism in MacBooks from 2016. This allowed Apple to manufacture visually attractive and thinner keyboards but increased the odds for tiny dust particles to get trapped underneath causing unresponsive or “sticky keys”. Two years later it seems the 2018 MacBook has possibly fixed the issue with a plastic shield (of sorts).
The EOS R is a first version product and I believe Canon did all they could to avoid any “sticky keys” of their own but there’s always the possibility that something slipped through their tests.
There’s the trend of holding back features or *cough* planning ahead for future upgrade cycles. Apple is practically the gold standard for this business model. Case in point…
Every year there’s a new iPhone that’s always faster and better than the last one with physical (non-software) upgrades only available in the latest model.
With that in mind, could Apple have a general roadmap of hardware features for at least the next two iPhones? How about the folks at Canon?
From a business perspective it makes a lot of sense however for me it’s one more reason why I can hold off on this version of the EOS R.
The CompetitionStarting from $2,300 (body only) we’re looking at prices that put the EOS R in the same league as Canon’s own full-frame DSLR, the 6D Mark II.
From this we can then compare it to other similarly priced full-frame mirrorless cameras:
- Nikon’s Z6 ($2,000) and Z7 ($3,400)
- Sony’s A7 III ($2,200) and A7R III ($2,500)
There’ll also be the Sony A7S III when that’s eventually announced and the mystery Panasonic camera if that rumour’s true.
It definitely seems like this is the target (semi/professional consumer or prosumer) market that Canon are going for but Sony has a strong offering that’s tough to beat especially when you include slightly older and/or used cameras to the line-up.
The deciding factor, at least, for Youtubers could be that articulating screen and Canon’s color science (how their cameras interpret colors like skin tones) otherwise in my opinion its other features are negligible.
I’ve already switchedAnd here’s the clincher. In my honest opinion Canon took too long releasing the EOS R. Like I said earlier if they’d released it two or three years ago I probably would’ve gone for the EOS R and maybe skipped the G7X Mark II altogether.
Do I regret my decision?
My new camera stacks up nicely against the EOS R with an articulating screen and 4K video at 60 frames per second (compared to 4K at 30 fps with the EOS R). This allows you to reframe, dolly or zoom into slow-mo video without a loss in quality whereas you can’t do that with the newer EOS R.
For brevity’s sake lets do a quick recap:
- Outside of vloggers no one’s really excited about it (even Canon) with mixed reviews from Youtubers, probably their primary target market for the EOS R
- Canon could’ve offered more “bang for your buck” but instead you can’t help but feel like they’re holding back
- This is a version one product and I’m okay waiting for a better one
- Price-to-feature ratio isn’t compelling enough for me when you compare it to the competition
- I’ve already switched and my new camera has an articulating screen which is one of the stand-out features of the EOS R
- BONUS: the new lens mount system is still a pain requiring adapters for existing lenses which won’t work as well as native RF lenses
If you’re wondering what camera I bought stay tuned for my review. That’s coming but in the meantime here’s a few closing questions for you:
- Are you getting the EOS R and why?
- If not, what camera would you get instead?