The Canon EOS R Real World Review with Kai Wong

You’ve been palming your credit card and staring at your cart on B&H debating with yourself to finally press the “Place Order” button for four weeks, but you're still unsure. Will your full-frame mirrorless dreams meet your real world expectations? Will the hype of new lenses for the RF mount and the promise of never before seen glass like the RF 28-70mm f/2L USM Lens be what wins you over? 

Kai Wong has taken the Canon EOS R on the streets and given a play by play of what it’s like using the new full-frame mirrorless camera from Canon. In many ways it’s what you expect from the camera brand; a consistent and well thought out camera system that takes most of its design and software cues from the previous full-frame cameras in the Canon line up. That, unfortunately, may be where you and Kai begin to scratch your heads knowing that Canon can do some things much better but then they simply don’t put those options into their system launch camera body.

Kai delves into the stills portion of the camera body and shows how well this first generation full-frame mirrorless from Canon performs and may be a great option for those looking to get a leg up and into the RF system. It’s great to see how a more real world test of the auto focus system can dispel any wild expectations for those looking at this new body for their kit. Kai also goes through the video options for this new camera and how working with the cropping and EF-S mount lenses affects the functionality of the body overall. If you’re looking at this camera specifically for video then definitely watch this portion to see if you are willing and able to deal with the limitations that seemingly just don’t make much sense, especially to Kai. 

Have you placed your order for the Canon EOS R or the RF 28-70mm f/2L USM Lens are you still on the fence with adding the new mirrorless system? If you’re using any other mirrorless systems, what is the Canon EOS R doing better or worse in contrast to that system?

JT Blenker's picture

JT Blenker, Cr. Photog., CPP is a Photographic Craftsman and Certified Professional Photographer who also teaches workshops throughout the USA focusing on landscape, nightscape, and portraiture. He is the Director of Communications at the Dallas PPA and is continuing his education currently in the pursuit of a Master Photographer degree.

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I have 3 Rs. They’re dope. You have to use one to understand why, even if you already shoot Canon. Very mature 1.0 release. AF is nuts. Handling is so good, Fuji-like controls of the exposure triangle, good touchscreen implementation, EVF and flippy screen are so good. I use the touch strip for ISO. Camera feels solid but comfy.
Compared to the competition, the DPAF is what will make Canon the early front runner, it is snappy and sure in almost all scenarios. The Z is too expensive and the AF looks iffy at best. The lenses (both EF and RF) are functioning better than I expected, EF adapting is faster and more accurate than any DSLR I’ve used, it just hits and doesn’t hunt. The new 50 1.2 and 28-70 f2 are ridiculous, I can’t wait to try them in the real world. Low key camera of the year for me. I don’t shoot a ton of video, and don’t see what the problem with using a 10-18 EF-S if you need wide 4k.

Edit: Sam Hurd, a Nikon guy just went off on his Patreon. He’s buying into the R system and had a bad experience with the Z7 and then Nikon directly, where he ordered it from. This is kinda big news, the guy is advocating the R based on less creative restrictions due to handling, autofocus and a good sensor paired with good lenses, even adapted ones. Sound familiar?

My friend, seems like you didn’t even watch the video or what?
No dual card slot is where everything fail already. Camera is for amateurs.
Cropping the 4K is a miserable experience.
And loosing the histogram, Auto ISO issue. Noisy hi iso performance, DR in image quality is behind the competition...
They will have to fix this all up next year. But Sonykon won’t be sitting and staring during that.

The R and 5D4 are pretty much ISO invariant, a stop more dynamic range isn’t going to suddenly make Sony/Nikon colours un-shit.

Too mean haha

Because nobody ever touched up their photos in LR right? So “colors” are a huge deal...they’re not by the way, I was being sarcastic.

Sony and Nikon colors aren’t shit either, that’s nothing but marketing drivel parroted now ya fanboys of Canon.

Ps I love canon, and Sony...I use them both professionally and I have zero problem with colors.

Colour is affected by lenses, CFA, in-camera computing, raw conversion, etc. You can globally adjust this “starting point” but colour has already been skewed multiple times and if certain tones need targeting but they are elsewhere in the scene, you’re stuck doing local adjustments. On every photo. I’ll stick with non green/yellow/orange skin tones and getting a pleasing global colour rendering instead of brushing in faces and hands for hours on end or hiding my poor exposure/lighting/camera colour with grungy, grainy, brorange presets that will look super dated in 5 years.

I don’t use presets but I see your point shooting weddings. Plus mix in a little OCD in there (not that you are) but the eye reacts to color differently.

It’s just something that’s never ever discussed in motion picture production at all...cameras and lenses aren’t chosen for color. Ever.

It all gets changed and unified depending on the narrative it’s helping to illustrate.

Most photos I work with are medium format, but’s about focal length, lighting and story of the photo, it’s never aboht thr all changes a million ways anyway.

I appreciate your comments but the motion picture industry is using Arri and Red cameras worth $100k, and pro grading environments and artists. I’m shooting 3500-photo events every week with a $2300 camera that helps makes my workflow pretty efficient because of it’s decent output. Different use cases even at a “pro” level.

Weddings I admit are a breed of their own, I won’t argue that, but documentary films aren’t shot on 100k cameras often. GH5 is popping up more and more actually for B cam and gimbal stuff.

But they do have online editors who will correct every frame.

Weddings...workflow and taste matter, you guys handle an insane amount of volume.

I do shoot both Sony and Canon, I cut between them often. I have to grade different but I know what I have to apply to each to match. Wouldn’t recommend it for your workflow, camera bodies need to
Match so there is a consistency; just too
Many photos

The cinema industry spent endless time debating and choosing both film and processing for colour reasons in the day. And debating telecine systems and operators. The default camera presets are really pretty much like your choice of telecine and artist/operator. Easier if you choose the right one (for you) in the first place. People look better on Canon (I've regularly shot Canon, Sony, Fuji stills).

"The new 50 1.2 and 28-70 f2 are ridiculous, I can’t wait to try them in the real world."

I guess this sentence sum it up all!

I played with them at an event, but they aren’t quite released in Canada yet.

3? who needs 3 of the same anything ? you only have 2 hands.

A wedding ‘tog

5 cameras for a wedding ? nope. maybe instead you should get ones with 2 card slots if you are gonna capture magical days like weddings. i'm not one of those guys that says you have to have 2 slots to have a "pro" camera, but for a wedding, you need 2 slots in your camera.

I have a 5D4 and 5D3 with two slots (and a Fuji too I guess), shoot across multiple cameras, have a crazy on-site backup system, replace my cards every year, and have insurance that covers data recovery. It’s never gonna be a problem. And you know, I still have never lost a card, I treat them well and replace them often. Shot weddings on one slot 6Ds for years using SanDisk extreme pros.

By strategically shooting multiple bodies, a photographer is effectively providing worst case disaster recovery. The bride will not be left without photo memories. With the price of bodies these days (used), shooting on two to four bodies and not changing lenses in the field makes a lot of sense.

The three look pretty cozy, that’s for sure.

Ryan Stone -- People switch brands often. Sam Hurd switching to Canon doesn't make up the fact that The EOS-R is also a turd the same with the Nikon Z7. No matter how much you try to defend the EOS-R, it lacks a lot of important features. Don't try to tell us that it has less restrictions than the Z7 when its actually worse. The massive 4k crop and the softest 4k video, less fps, etc. etc. The video Af isn't that stellar either according to Jordan Drake from Dpreview. And by the way, the greenish and yellowish cast you see is created by Adobe. It doesn't happen on Capture One. Watch Ted Forbes and Matt Granger's comparison of Lightroom and Capture One. Lightroom and Photoshop has that yellowish/greenish cast (on Sony and Nikon) on raw files that you Canon fanboys love to point out but its very easy to fix just by using Capture One. You cannot fix many of the EOS-R's restrictions. The turd EOS-R is the camera of the year to you? OMG hahahahaha what a fanboy...

I use capture one, D750 files were still ugly. I owned two for a brief period. Maybe the latest Sony/Nikon cameras have better output but look nothing like Canon from what I’ve seen. I’ve shot with an A7R3 once and the skin skewed heavily to yellow.

Anyway, enjoying my turd cameras that can actually autofocus. Z7 is $5000 CAD hot trash IMO, focus looks terrible for a flagship and that’s a pretty big “restriction”. Canon doesn’t need to defocus, it just hits and sticks. The Canon tracks very well. I had a b+g RUN down the aisle unexpectedly two weekends ago and the R hit every shot at the long end of a 70-200 2.8, wide open, first wedding with the Rs. I was sold. Sorry for being a “fanboy” of something working from day one.

I don’t care that Canon’s (really nice) 4k output is cropped to match their super 35 cinema cameras. Makes a great B or vlogging cam, you know, the intended purpose. Tarantino isn’t using prosumer mirrorless cameras for his film, crop factor or not. Also, I’ll take crop factor over pixel binning.

Also, I don’t do a ton of video but have a Crane 2 that stabilizes wayyyy better than a couple millimetre sensor shift that’ll eventually break. .

indeed. a turd that creates images like this.

Kai is a very entertaining guy, but his reviews focus way too much on video and jokes. You can never tell if it's a good stills camera.

As the commentary said: "Kai delves into the stills portion of the camera body and shows how well this first generation full-frame mirrorless from Canon performs and may be a great option for those looking to get a leg up and into the RF system."
So he does go into the stills side of things—while managing to stay entertaining.

No he doesn't. I watched the video a few days ago and was frustrated regarding the lack of info regarding stills. He mostly talks about video.

Yet another Canon R / Nikon Z review... oh boy!

My thoughts..

Canon oh Canon, what's happened to you?
This EOS R dud, another "6D Mark 2."

Remember, I beg you, the first 7D?
Back then Canon faithful were top of the tree

Back before in your Boardroom was heard
"Captive Client", "Cinema EOS", and "Let's sell them a turd!"

You've crippled the video, with footage so soft
Enough to turn even the staunchest fan off

A USB charger for 190 bucks?
No time-lapse, no IBIS; it all frankly sucks

And let's not forget the exhorbitant price
For an out of date sensor? It's just not very nice.

Canon oh Canon, wherefore art thee?
Sayonara big C, hello A7 Mark 3

Quite brilliant and all true. Still very happy with my 5DS R (purchase used from someone "upgrading" to mirrorless) and my 5D III. Forget about video on Canon though. Have an A6300 for that.