Has Canon Killed off the Multi-Function Bar?

Has Canon Killed off the Multi-Function Bar?

Along with the lack of a second card slot, one of the most perplexing aspects of Canon’s first mirrorless full-frame camera was the introduction of the Multi-function bar. A recent interview with a Canon exec strongly suggests that it won’t be making a comeback.

While a few EOS R owners that I spoke to suggested that they didn’t mind this experimental new feature, the Multi-function bar did not receive great feedback, and it’s notably absent from the forthcoming EOS R5.

In an interview with TechRadar, Canon’s Product Marketing Specialist David Parry explains: “Everybody knows the Multi-function bar on the EOS R got a mixed response,” noting the use of a joystick on Canon's next full-frame release. He continues: “So maybe, going with this is a safer bet — more people are used to the multi-controller.”

With some EOS R users complaining that they were inadvertently hitting the bar with their thumb on a regular basis, it’s not surprising that it’s been swapped out for something more traditional.

Perhaps it’s worth crediting Canon for trialing a feature, and perhaps the EOS R was the perfect camera on which to do it. Once the EOS R5 and R6 are established in the market, the R may prove to have been the perfect testing ground of cameras, making it an ideal candidate for experimentation.

Will you miss the Multi-function bar? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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6 Comments

I don't mind the multifunction bar. I don't find it gets in the way. I'd rather have a proper 5D style dial, but oh well.

Fritz Asuro's picture

The only thing I use it for is for mic volume adjustment...

Interesting that they mentioned feedback because that's the inherent problem with it, there's no feedback the way there is with an analog control.

I wish it had a dual-function joystick like the EOS 1Dx Mk3.

I already got I wanted for years with the Nikon D5, D500 and D850 and that's being able to use the Joystick for both AF-On back button focus and focus point selection/movement. I have both my D500 and D850 setup this way and love it. I still mainly use the AF-ON button, but in some cases where speed matters and I need to stay where I was but initiate AF, I simply push in and there it goes. I also love how the recent Nikons allow me to program changing from Group AF or Dynamic AF to Single point with just the press of either one of the lens function buttons, or one of my front grip buttons like PV or Function. The new Canon 1Dx Mark III is an amazing camera and the new joystick/controller is maybe a better implantation of what I'm talking about, but its hard to get used to, but I'm sure over time it's easier. I've played with the Mark III and it's great, but I had a hard time with that new controller, but again more time would probably fix that mixed feeling.

Seems it was just Canon trying something different, like Apple with their tool bar. I commend them for trying to think outside the box; it is something they need to start doing. In saying that, are they using focus groups for feedback9that are photographers)? I, and most everyone who shoots, would rather a joystick, or rolling dial. I really hope this is something that causes them to hit the mark on the newer cameras coming out this year.