Yet More Problems Discovered in Canon's New Mirrorless EOS R

Yet More Problems Discovered in Canon's New Mirrorless EOS R

Dear oh dear Canon what have you done? On the back of perhaps its most underwhelming release this century, things just go from bad to worse for its new mirrorless camera.

Not content with releasing a camera that's barely more than a 5D Mark IV without a mirror, reports out this week seem to indicate that the build quality and the video recording options are not quite up to standard either. Dave Altizer, part of the popular Kinotika YouTube channel, has provided photographic evidence that the top LCD panel on his new EOS R mirrorless camera has cracked for no apparent reason during routine use, which suggests that the cover doesn't seem properly reinforced or the weather-sealing isn't really up to scratch.  

Add to that the new finding that the EOS R doesn't allow 1080/60p in crop mode for any EF-S lenses - something not mentioned anywhere in the official Canon specs - and you start to get the feeling that this could be a long, slow slide that you watch painfully through fingers parted ever so slightly across your face (or with utter glee if you're the type who enjoys a mild dose of schadenfreude).

Believe me, I so wanted Canon's new mirrorless camera to be a gamechanger. I am a Canon user. I live in Japan. I speak Japanese. My wife is Japanese and I am friends with many in the camera world of Japan, some of whom work for Canon. I was sure they were going to produce something big. Alas, I was disappointed. And never felt stronger in my conviction that I'd stay loyal to my trusty 5D Mark IV and legacy lens range. News like this doesn't exactly fill me with hope.

Optimistically, this is just teething problems for Canon's first full-frame mirrorless iteration and it only gets better from here. After all, every release of a new i-phone has some kind of problems that are unaccounted for yet users remain loyal. Or am I just being naively sanguine? Do you have any hands-on, real-world experience with the new Canon EOS R, either positive or negative? Please share in the comments below and assuage my ever expanding doubts.

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Iain Stanley's picture

Out of curiosity, what was your reason for going from D850 to Sony? The D850 is an outstanding camera - what impelled you to switch? Or put another way, why not just go on using the D850?

michaeljin's picture

It was a combination of things. First of all, I was in the process of building out the higher end of my lens collection when this whole DSLR vs. MILC thing really got heated. It's pretty clear that MILC is where the market is going so while I didn't really like the current options, I was also reluctant to start shelling out $2000+ for lenses to go on bodies that are on their way to being phased out at this particular point. I also have a lot of manual focus lenses that I have been using with some aggravation (focus confirmation dots are not fun in moving scenes) on DSLR's and MILC seemed like a great way to make them a lot easier to use. My preference, of course, was to stay with Nikon if possible since I've pretty much only owned Nikon cameras and lenses aside from a Leicaflex SL, which was my first camera and a brief stint with a Canon EOS 1v. So I waited for Nikon's mirrorless announcement.

While the Z mount looks incredibly promising and I love the ergonomics of the Z7, it was pretty clear immediately after that there were some key issues of concern both for an MILC and a camera in general. Despite the whole "slot-gate" pushback, I maintain that a $3000 body should have two card slots. The AF ability, buffer, and battery life were lacking, which was disappointing (again, for a $3000 body). The biggest kick in the teeth, though, was Nikon's announced lens roadmap and the lenses that they released with. While I am confident in the performance of the FTZ adapter, one of the whole reasons that I was looking to make a switch in the first place was that I was building out my high end lenses, but I didn't want to invest in "dying technology". Nikon made the decision to release lower end lenses at absurd prices and their lens roadmap just didn't cut it for me in terms of filling out the higher end of their line in a timely fashion. There's also the development cycle to consider and I don't see Nikon replacing the Z7 for at least a few years, meaning that's where they're stuck for a while unless they really want to piss off their customers like Sony did with their constant refreshing in the early days.

Yes, I could have stuck with my D850 for at least the next 5 years, but frankly speaking, when I traded it in, it was still sold out in stores (I don't know if this is the case) so it wasn't getting any more valuable than at that point. The same goes for my collection of G-series and E-series lenses. It was unlikely that they would be as valuable 5 years down the road as they are now when DSLR's are still the dominant (albeit shrinking) force in the market. The A7RIII is pretty much the MILC equivalent to the D850 in performance (or at least as close as you're going to get at this point) so I chose to buy the A7RIII and wait it out in Sony land for the next generation or two. This way, all of my gear is in a system that's not likely to lose a ton of value—at least not as much as one that's being phased out—while I can still benefit from today's MILC technology for my adapted lenses as well as the fact that Sony pretty much already has their lens line-up built out at this point so that nothing is lacking in terms of prime lenses. It's the best compromise that I could think of. Add in the fact that Sony was having a promotion for trading in cameras for a discount and that made the pill easier to swallow.

So it wasn't really a lack of love for the D850 or DSLR's in general that compelled me to switch. It was mainly a business/investment decision combined with my own opinions of what's currently going on in the camera industry. If digital photography was a static technology, then that would probably change things and I might have just hung onto the D850 and continued to buy lenses for it. The problem is that we're not talking about a mechanical film camera like the F2 here. A DSLR will eventually stop working and you won't be able to repair it. Frankly, the same goes for modern lenses, which are driven so much by their electronics. Once the support dies down and parts become unavailable, you're just sitting on garbage. I'd rather refresh and keep up to date when possible (for digital) just because of that.

When I switched, I spoke pretty openly about it and I freely admit that I might look back on that day and completely regret the decision because I DO think that Nikon's Z-mount has a lot more promise than the E-mount despite the fact that Sony is leading in sensor design. Nikon also has far better ergonomics and weather sealing. It's really only a matter of time before Nikon MILC's become a really desirable option for me—especially so with my personal Nikon bias. I'm not a freaking prophet or an expert in this stuff. I'm just trying to navigate an extremely awkward time in the photo industry as best as I can while getting flamed from all sides along the way. LOL

Have you seen the size of many of Sony's lenses? Big.

Jacques Cornell's picture

I know. And the Sigmas are generally adapted DSLR designs, so bigger than necessary. Sony's new 24/1.4 is a step in the right direction. I also noted that Sigma has said it will develop new mirrorless-specific designs for L-mount. I imagine they'll produce Z, E and R-mount versions as well.

Ryan Stone's picture

Not much of a camera if it can’t autofocus lol. Z7 is half baked and the R is legit, I own a small flock of them already.

Ryan Stone- No matter how much you rag on the Nikon Z7, lots of people have already bought it and are enjoying using them. The autofocus is not bad as you think. I doubt you even tried it. Here's a youtube video about Z7 and shooting birds-in-flight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQFPjvIBQfE&t=1s

The autofocus works and BIF shooting is one of the most difficult form of photography, even more demanding than shooting people in a wedding. He got lots of keepers. And the keeper rate is high. While its not as good as the D850 for BIF, the Z7 can definitely get the job done. Mark Smith said the people complaining abput the autofocus are probably using the wrong setting or combination of settings. I often visit dpreview and fredmiranda.com and some people even say the Z7 is even better than the D850 in some types of photography except sports/BIF where the EOS-R also struggles. I've watched lots of videos about Nikon Z7, EOS-R and most of the people complaining are the youtubers or those who don't know what they are doing. However, we can't deny the fact that both the EOS-R and Z7 are underwhelming releases considering the fact that the Sony A7iii and the Fuji XT-3 give you more bang for your buck. Of course I know you'll say 'whatever, the EOS-R is better and the Z7 is half-baked' BUT the truth is that the EOS-R is also half-baked no matter how much you deny it. Its selling for 300 more than the Sony A7iii and Nikon Z6 but with less features (No the Z7 is the equivalent of the A7Riii). But then again the fanboys will buy their brand of choice regardless of other people's opinion. And you don't need all the features found on the new Sonys anyway. That being said, The Fuji XT-3 is the camera of the year for me.

michaeljin's picture

If the Z7 was the equivalent of the A7RIII, I'd have traded in my D850 for a Z7 instead of an A7RIII. I can tell you for a fact that it most certainly is not the equivalent of an A7RIII nor is it the equivalent of the D850. It's a worse camera in just about every way than either of those two despite being priced higher than both.

This is coming from someone who's been extremely loyal to Nikon up until this point and who still shoots Nikon for film photography. I would have loved it if Nikon stepped up and delivered. They didn't. Now the question is how long we have to wait until the successor of the Z7 appears.

Specs and performance yes the Z7 is not the same as the A7Riii/D850.. Its more on the resolution.

Iain Stanley's picture

Agree, but I don’t get the “need to get up to speed” they’ve had years to prepare for this first release and years of watching Sony shoot up from under them. How much time do they need?

michaeljin's picture

I think this is one of those instances where you run into the fact that theory is different from practice. Sony got lots of practical experience (and a lot of crap) by putting products out into the wild to undergo all sorts of different use cases and to their credit, they did it well before the technology was really ready for prime time.

Canon and Nikon have tons of experience and the benefit of watching, but no matter how well you design a product, the tests that you do inside of a lab and the results that you get from the handful of people that you put development versions into the hands of is only going to give you so much data for what kind of issues are liable to crop up. When I say "get up to speed", I mean that they are going to have to iterate and learn from their mistakes much quicker than Sony did because now the competition is real. Now that these cameras are out in the real world and in the hands of real users, they're going to be going through a lot that these companies could not have foreseen. The hope that Canon and Nikon would simply learn from Sony and knock it out of the park right away was far fetched. The best they could have hoped for was products that reasonably compete with the current-generation Sony offerings with the promise that there's a higher ceiling in the capability of their mounts than what Sony is capable of.

It's pretty rare that the first generation of a product really knocks it out of the park so for me, the big question is going to be what kind of development cycle Canon and Nikon are planning for these bodies because if it's a 4-5 year wait for the next version as it is for their DSLR's, they're pretty screwed. In Canon's case, since they released the lower end version first, it might give them some last minute opportunities to pivot for their high end camera. For Nikon, they made the unfortunate decision to release their higher end camera first (with lower end glass in some nonsensical decision) so I'm not really sure what they're going to do—especially since they have less available resources than Canon. Hopefully the Z6 will improve meaningfully over the Z7, which has been rather lackluster.

Iain Stanley's picture

The “get up to speed” was not specifically directed at you, though it appears so by the way I wrote it. It was more an exasperated evacuation of frustration. But your response is true. Cheers

Not to mention making the number 1 selling mirrorless system with the eos m

So one top panel LCD cracked and it's the end of the world? You guys must be desperate for content.

As for the other issue, hopefully Canon will have a response and it's just a software bug they can fix with a firmware update. How it got through testing I don't know but I wouldn't lose hope yet.

Iain Stanley's picture

Surely they also tested how rugged it was and how stong the LCD panel was in its fitting....?

Ryan Stone's picture

One report. You know how many people crack their cell phone screen everyday? Your article is recycled flamebait.

The R is a ridiculous camera, nothing in market handles or focuses like it, the lenses are sublime, and the files are pretty damn good. It’ll only get better with updates too. Adapting legendary EF L lenses makes iffy 1.2 focusing easy and repeatable. Seriously. Tracking people in motion is super solid.

The Z can’t focus in challenging conditions or scenarios. At all. That’s a showstopper at $5k CAD after tax. Their lenses aren’t very inspiring and the “Noct” showcase lens is huge, manual focus, and like $6k+.

Both cameras take menus from their previous DSLRs but the Nikon is literally transplanted where the Canon has some nice additions, especially touchscreen stuff and full buttons/dials/swipe bar/control ring customization.

Bottom line for me is 30MP ISO invariant files with Canon colour, legit autofocus, L lenses, good flash system, and despite your shitposting, unrivalled reliability.

Iain Stanley's picture

Probably 90% of my college students in Japan have cracked smartphone screens. 99.9999% of them got them from misuse and abuse. The issue in question here is that the user who reported his LCD crack on his EOS R said no misuse, abuse or handling errors had occurred. Big difference.

Aside from that, thanks for your input. I’m glad your experiences have been positive. A quick glance around the internet and others don’t quite share your enthusiasm. I hope this camera is the first in a line of wonderful developments and I’m happy to hear a few people like yourself giving greater balance to real world use with the EOS R.

JetCity Ninja's picture

the first youtuber who cracked their smartphone screen never admits abuse. they always try to blame the manufacturer.

that said, just because it's on the internet doesn't mean it's true. average people don't make youtube videos claiming how "meh" they are about something. one anecdote from a fanboy a trend it does not make.

Ryan Stone - I own the "R". Either you don't own it, or I own a different camera than you. For almost every positive thing thing you say about the EOS R, I would rate it as medium to mediocre. I also own 5D4 and A7R3, both of these cameras are substantially better cameras than the poor focusing, low framerate, video hobbled EOS R

Ryan Stone's picture

I own Rs and 5D3/5D4/6Ds and a Fuji, no Sony stuff. Mediocre has not been my experience at all, even compared to the mkIV. The FPS can be faster than the 5D4 but in practice is slower, yes. AF itself seems more accurate and quicker to acquire and track, but at the cost of FPS.

Ryan Stone's picture

Also, Sam Hurd, a Nikon guy, today at a wedding.

Please recognise that other people may prioritise other qualities of the camera. You claim that the camera will only get better with update; I present to you the Sony a7riii and the Sony a7iii. They are both the third iteration of their respective mirrorless product lines from Sony, and as such have undergone significant refinement over the years. For me, I do a lot of wildlife photography so I need a lot of resolution at quick speeds. The a7riii better fits my purposes than the EOS R, as I require a faster fps still shooting and also a higher resolution than 30 MP can afford. Furthermore, you claim that the Canon is ISO invariant- I would love to see a source for this (not being antagonistic here, my friends shoot with the R and it would be beneficial for our night photography sessions to see how far we can push our cameras), but all that I have seen so far are some articles from DPReview, and (less reputably) the Northrups. I acknowledge that you may enjoy the R immensely, and it's good to know that someone is genuinely enjoying Canon's newest foray, encouraging them to innovate; please do not attempt to drag down Nikon's system which is aimed at a different market.

As a Sony user, it'll be very interesting to see what method the DSLR giants will use to transition into the mirrorless market, and I hope that instead of all becoming fanboys we will encourage our respective brands to innovate and improve their products.

Also, I just noticed that the R has a battery life of 370 shots per battery. Even though we all acknowledge that manufacturers intentionally list performance lower than what the battery is actually capable of, this is still quite low. In fact, when Sony released the a7ii with a rated battery life of 340 shots, people were constantly belittling a camera that was otherwise a gigantic leap forward in fixing market criticism. Now, I am the first to admit that Canon knows what they're doing- I've shot on them for years, which makes it confusing to me that they wouldn't address people's main complaint about the mirrorless system. There are pitfalls and advantages to every mount system, but we should respect everyone's choice to choose what is best for them.

So you still don't get it I take it? You're presuming a lot off one report. Even if it was the most ruggedly engineered camera in the world, I can guarantee someone will manage to break something or there will manage to be a defect that slips through the cracks. This is an anecdote, and while unfortunate it does not signify a worrying trend like you make it out to be.

Leigh Miller's picture

Growing pains...every mirrorless camera and it's predecessor went thru the same. Some get fixed with firmware others in later versions. You disappoint too easily I think...

Iain Stanley's picture

In a funny kind of way I’m not disappointed in the slightest because I can sleep easily at night knowing I ha e no need - yet - to switch cameras. I’m more disappointed for my friends in Japan who’ve been copping flak since the release

When can we call it? BlackBerry, IBM, anyone?

IBM is still alive and well my friend, they just don’t dabble with us consumers anymore

David Pavlich's picture

"Not content with releasing a camera that's barely more than a 5D Mark IV without a mirror..." I could almost call this journalistic malpractice. The R is not even close to being a 5DIV, save the sensor. In every other way, it is a 6DII without a mirror at best. The IV is a pro body, the R is Canon's FF ML entry level camera.

LCD screen...is this the first or has it been shown that it's a problem? If this is a one off, then I will discount it as a one off should be.

When Canon does produce a pro bodied ML camera, we'll see if they learned from this first round camera introduction. And I am a Canon user as well.

Jonathan Brady's picture

Agreed. If we ignored the sensor, it's a 6D-class camera, with a price premium. The only people referring to it as a 5D-class camera are those that think megapixels are everything. Which, to be fair, is what we've been force fed by the camera companies for years (doesn't mean it's true, though).

Ryan Stone's picture

No 6D class camera has had 1/8000th shutter or an ISO invariant full frame sensor.

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