Canon Screwed up Again: The New R Camera Is Just a Mirrorless 5D Mark IV

Canon Screwed up Again: The New R Camera Is Just a Mirrorless 5D Mark IV

The 5D Mark IV didn't really impress when it was released two years ago. In the middle of the ongoing mirrorless war, the leaked brochure of the full-frame Canon R camera shows what seems to be a simple mirrorless 5D Mark IV.

The race to the bottom continues for Canon. After the boring 5D Mark IV, the stagnant 6D Mark II, and an insipid line of EOS M cameras, we are going to be served with what appears to be a derivative of an existing DSLR.

The sensor seems to be recycled from the 5D Mark IV with 30.3mp (30.4mp on the Mark IV), and identical values for the resolution (6720 x 4480), pixel unit, and total number of pixels. While the 5D Mark IV certainly has the best sensor made by Canon, it still lags behind the ones from Sony and Nikon.

IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization) is missing, which makes sense because two of the four RF lenses are fitted with Image Stabilization (Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS STM Macro and the RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM). Also missing is the second card slot, but at least Canon sticks to the traditional SD card, unlike Nikon, which picked the expensive XQD format for its Z line.

In the video department, the Canon R can record in 4K UHD/30 and 1080p/60, but the amount of crop is unknown at this time. Unfortunately, based on the poor track record of this company regarding video, I fear the worst. The 5D Mark IV came with a 1.7x crop factor in 4K recording, while the fantastic DPAF (Dual Pixel Auto-Focus) was simply disabled on the Canon M50. At least Canon got rid of the inefficient MJPEG codec and the R camera can now record in h.264 at 120 Mbps.

Talking about auto-focus, the brochure indicates an impressive number of AF points with a maximum of 5,655 points. In terms of lens compatibility, the camera can be fitted with EF and EF-S lenses via the adapter, but the EF-M lenses are not compatible. Considering the poor selection of EF-M lenses, they won't be missed.

The four Canon RF lenses to be announced on September 5. Despite their weight, the RF 50mm f/1.2 and RF 28-70mm f/2 lenses are very appealing.

Here are some of the main specifications of the Canon R camera:

  • Sensor: 30.3 megapixels (6720 x 4480)
  • Image format: JPEG, RAW (14 bit Canon original), C-RAW (Canon original)
  • Card: 1 slot, SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • EVF: OLED color electronic viewfinder, 23mm eyepoint, 0.71x/33.3° magnification
  • Autofocus: Max. 5,655 when selected with cross keys. EV -6 to 18 (f/1.2, at 73°F/23°C, ISO 100, One-Shot AF)
  • Metering range: EV -3–20
  • ISO sensitivity: 100 to 40,000 (extended ISO: 50, 51,200, 102,400)
  • Maximum shutter speed: 1/8000 s
  • High-speed continuous shooting: 8 fps (5 fps at servo AF)
  • Video: 4K/30 and 1080/60, crop and video features unknown
  • Codec and bitrate: MPEG-4 AVC / h.264, 480 Mbps (All-I) or 120mbps (IPB)
  • LCD monitor: 2.15 millions dots, articulated flip screen, 100 percent coverage, 3.15 in./8.01 cm diagonal (2.63 in./6.67 cm width, 1.75 in./4.44 cm height)
  • Battery: LP-E6N, 370 shots CIPA rating (450 with power saving)
  • Weight: 660 g (including battery / memory card), 580 g (body only)
  • Size: 135.8 x 98.3 x 84.4 mm

To be fair, this camera will take nice pictures and sell like hot cakes. Canon products are extremely solid performers. Lovely colors, legendary reliability, good weather sealing, perfect ergonomics, and flawless customer service are part of the equation. Specifications are not everything, but I personally think that Canon missed another opportunity to be competitive. The Canon R system only demonstrates that this brand is not willing to give us anything more than they are forced to. In this case, Sony, Fuji, and the Micro Four Thirds cameras are what forced Canon to release a full-frame mirrorless product. Will it be enough to convince people not to switch to Sony and Panasonic? Personally, I find the Canon response quite pathetic. At this point, I would recommend to anyone to wait and see what other manufacturers are going to announce this month. Panasonic is expected to unveil its own full-frame mirrorless system on September 25, while Sony should introduce a new a7S III soon.

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198 Comments

Previous comments
L S's picture

when you can't get what you want, trivialize it. I don't think canon is out of the game, but certainly their fan base has been huffing and puffing that it was "inevitable" canon will outsell everybody...because they are canon. As if every company who failed to innovate still #1. Ask Kodak.

Nick Williams's picture

As a wedding photographer the lack of a second card slot is a deal breaker. Ive had a number of cards go corrupt over the years (over 1000 weddings) I would not want to see this on the back of a camera with only one card

Mark James's picture

I'm not a canon shooter, but I've never had a problem like this before. Is it a canon thing?

Eric Salas's picture

I’ve only had two cards fail but thankfully never at a wedding or any shoot that was paid.
Shit happens. Just like shutters sometimes get stuck.

Cars break everyday but nobody is going crazy about it but that’s why you have insurance. A second card slot is insurance.

The film argument is about the dumbest one I’ve heard. If you can have a backup and you chose not to use it or buy a camera with a backup capability, it’s flat out your fault when something goes wrong. As a professional, you should be covering your ass as many ways as possible because it could be your career at stake.

oliver ahrndt's picture

Cameras are tools and you should get the tool you need for the job. Eventually they will release a Mirrorless with dualcard slots, you have to decide which one is the right one for you. I only had 2 cards fail on me the last 10 years, but I dont shoot weddings so they dont go through as much of a beating. But give the experience I have I dont really fear a card failing so I dont really need DCSs.

Deleted Account's picture

Why do Fstoppers persist in publishing crap like this? A total waste of electrons and whyTF did I bother reading it?

William Faucher's picture

Really? Screwed up? I am a Nikon guy, but this looks really appealing to me. Not that I will be switching any time soon, but I love the fact that this just potentially became the best vlogging camera out there. This has huge potential. Maybe I am wrong and I am missing something, Im no expert, but seems to be like this will be a great option for a lot of people out there.

That flip screen? FINALLY. Several adapter types, one with drop-in filters? Genius. Why all the hate?

oliver ahrndt's picture

"The New R Camera Is Just a Mirrorless 5D Mark IV".... I dont see why that is a bad thing?! The Mark IV is an excellent Camera

And as far as I know no real Info about the number of Cardslots is out there...

michaeljin's picture

The Mark IV WAS an excellent camera (actually, it wasn't even truly an excellent camera upon release, but I digress). The bar for what cameras are capable of and what we expect from them is constantly moving higher. If Canon released the Mark IV today, they would be universally panned for it. I sincerely that their mirrorless is not just a Mark IV with the mirror ripped out.

oliver ahrndt's picture

Well I still think the Mark IV is an excellent Camera. You are right, it is/was not exactly the most innovative camera, but it is a very reliable working camera which for me got everything right. For the features it has/had its was a little pricey, that is true. Same as the R.
I think we are so obsessed with specs that we forget how good the cameras are nowadays. They are all good enough. I prefer ergonomics/usability and reliability over everything else and for my taste and needs its the canon.

Philip Chavez's picture

I moved over to Sony but kept all my Canon glass. This is not making me come back yet. Canon always seems to give us a little taste never the full meal on one camera like Sony. But lets wait and see.

dale clark's picture

If this camera just turns out to be a mirrorless 5DIV, then it will be a home run IMO. Nikon should have produced a mirrorless 850

Eric Salas's picture

I’m glad someone else sees it this way.
Nikon dropped the ball and Canon kinda tried. It seems like Fuji is on track with their new mirrorless.

The prices for these companies need to be checked badly because they are charging premium for lack luster bricks.

If the prices were lower then all this crazy talk wouldn’t be happening. If Nikon didn’t charge D850 prices for a camera half as good, I might clap for them... one clap because it’s still a weak attempt.

Timothy Linn's picture

This is a poorly supported argument. Yes, Canon will be Canon giving its customers the least possible value; and, yes, it will have a Canon sensor which is likely class-trailing like the rest of them. These are givens. What about the rest? That's what should be specifically evaluated.

No IBIS. Okay. But "we don't know yet but poor track record with video therefore it may suck too" is not a legit con. "6D II sucks" is not a con. "Compatible with EF and EF-S but not EF-M" is not a con. This post should be titled "EOS R won't have IBIS".

Roger Morris's picture

How can you have an "opinion" on something you know absolutely nothing about, mainly because it hasn't been released yet, and all you've got is rumour and innuendo.

It's like writing an "opinion piece" on time travel, or warp-drive technology ... it's ridiculous.

Erpillar Bendy's picture

Personally, I find this article to be quite pathetic. The author really didn't impress me. This article is part of the race to the bottom in the ongoing mirrorless war. Many of the arguments are recycled from people who are eager to trash Canon no matter what Canon produces. To be fair, the author probably had nothing better to do, and was forced to write something to get attention.

Tyler Chappell's picture

Maybe that's because Canon does nothing but keep producing trash. It's easy to trash trash. Canon is literally proud of crapping on their customers and giving them mediocre cameras that fall far behind the competition. Is the 5D Mark IV better than the Nikon D850? Nope. How about the A99 II? Nope. Perhaps the A7R III? Nope again. Their products continuously scrape the bottom of the barrel.

Nicolas KIEFFER's picture

Wow Tyler, do you realize what about you are talking ? The 5D Mk4 should have beat the D850 and A7rIII ? Seriously ?
I then understand why so many articles and videos praise some specific mirrorless cameras. Many have no clue what is a timeline.

Koketso Resane's picture

Read that leaked spec document again. I interpreted this after reading it...

There's 5655 total Contrast AF points but Dual Pixel AF will convert these to 384 AF points in a 24x16 grid that covers the whole frame vertically.

Therefore... 384 AF points, all cross-type. This is nice

Kelly Easter's picture

Dead Serious... Can ANYONE tell me how a Mirrorless will give me more than what I already have from Canon? I only see losses in my camp, for my use. If you have switched to Mirrorless... What can you do now that you have not done before with Canon?

Oliver Kmia's picture

It's mainly a different design. Removing the mirror and optical viewfinder allows to gain weight and size over DSLR. It's also easier to implement IBIS in mirrorless (I'm not aware of any DSLR camera with IBIS).

The AF system is also radically different and mirrorless don't need lens calibration like DSLR do.
DSLR are still good now and they also have some advantages (the mirror actually protects the sensor against dust and dirt, the optical viewfinder has zero lag and "What You See is What You Get") but overall mirrorless are the future.

Nicolas KIEFFER's picture

And in the end, you get some advantages, but some caveats too...
The real winners :
* video guys with not deep enough pockets to get proper cinelenses.
* And manufacturers able to charge the high price for far easier and less expensive to manufacture digital ILC.
In the meantime, we gain fanboys barking loudly like we found into video games forums in the great ages of SEGA vs NINTENDO vs MICROSOFT vs SONY...

Paul Scharff's picture

I'm surprised there isn't a second card slot. It would be a relevant competitive point of difference to compensate for other shortcomings vis-a-vis the new Nikon FF offering.

Anthony Cayetano's picture

My real disappointment is the lack of IBIS (if so).

Danny V's picture

I just came to find the "I sold all my Canon gear for Nikon" post lol Surprisingly, I don't think I found one...but, that's what I did :(

Mikael Strøm-Pedersen's picture

I think it will be more like an upgrade to the 6D mark ii, or a 6D mark ii replacer. It seems more likley that it will compete with the z6 and a7 iii. So since it's aimed at a lower marked, I don't think they screwed up.

Oz Photo's picture

Canon will not make a true professional mirrorless like a 1D type until their stock is down to a certain point. Folks have said that they will not canabilize their existing line and this is the only reason why you do not see dual slots and other pro features. I do not plan to buy this camera and stay with the 5D4 and 1DX II until such a time as a 1D type mirror less comes out.

Charles Metivier's picture

So, does this mean that I can get the specs of the 5D Mk4 which sells for around $3,100 in the new mirrorless expected to be around $2,000?

L S's picture

The reality is that the "fans" want Nikon and Canon to come out and show Sony's A9 how it is done without realizing both companies are some of the most conservative companies on earth. Canon has been infamous for video conservatism and their protectionism of high models and product lines. Nikon less so, but still do it.

Why is anybody surprised? There is a reason they didn't get into mirrorless early and it wasn't to make the killer cameras that were nothing but entry level prosumer after all. They took long because they are not progressive thinking companies to come out swinging with 1DX and D5 level spec sheet sans mirror. It is time to come to terms with those facts. There is no messiah model, there is no golden unicorn they were working in secret for 3 years to come at sony. This was it. This is all there was. Will they eventually make "pro" models? off course they will. They probably already are well into developing them for 2019 and 2020 and so on. But not at first, because they are Nikon/Canon. Have you paid no attention? I'll say it again: these are not the companies to look for massive disruption. They just aren't.

Lastly developing cameras is not an easy thing or a fast thing. These cameras were planned long, long in advance given their sensors are pretty much re-factored DSLR variants of the same sensor tech you can pretty much tell how long they've been in the drawing works and how long it took to come out. So nothing people think about them today will make any difference for quite some time.

What matters today is the choices of mounts. Canon effectively will have to maintain 3 mounts, two new and one legacy which is exactly twice the number of new mounts everybody else with a mirrorless system has to keep up with. This should spell bad news for EF-M and burn anybody who bought one hoping to ever mount FFM glass. Nikon hit a home run with the 16mm flange which should make adapting just about any R glass possible in addition to EF and F glass by the metabones of the world.

Not to mention every FF lens out there from a 3rd party will be at least in theory compatible and trivial to port over with Nikon's flange at 16mm as a 3rd party Z lens, and sony has seen a LOT of action in this front from 3rd parties. Canon's 20mm flange BLEW IT in this front: sony sits at 18mm meaning it is optically impossible to port the models to R mount by the manufacturer. A new optical formula will be needed, unlike for Z which all it needs is to push the optical block 2mm forward and slap a Z spec mount. As such the initial lens and camera specs (or lack of) is ultimately trivial: Canon/Nikon will improve their specs overtime, Sony will keep up the pressure, and leading with the worlds largest selection of mirrorless full frame native lenses in the world. Canon/Nikon will try to catch up as they might but that's the other big news: EF is done. It may see some new lenses that were in the pipeline and some tele refreshes but canon's legendary native lens advantage is gone. Adapters are fine and all but the future is R, and the future is behind the leader.

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