The EOS R: Why This Mirrorless System Is a Home Run for Canon

The EOS R: Why This Mirrorless System Is a Home Run for Canon

After several years of Sony having its run of the mirrorless world, Canon and Nikon finally announced their full-frame mirrorless cameras. The initial sentiment may not be brilliant for both Canon and Nikon; however, I think Canon has done something absolutely incredible. 

In a previous article, I discussed what I thought Canon needed to do in order to be successful in the mirrorless market. In true Canon form, they did nothing I requested and instead opted for something completely different but still pretty awesome. The EOS R is a full-frame mirrorless camera with the same sensor as the 5D Mark IV but at a much cheaper price. This already sounds great to me, but before we talk about all the good things, let's discuss what they got wrong first. 

Single Card Slot

Canon, the proverbial brick wall. This issue has been beaten to bits, and still, Canon thought it was ok to release a mirrorless camera with a single card slot. I know some of you may feel the need to discuss why it's not a big deal, why professionals can still work with it and so on and so forth. It boils down to one thing: two card slots are better than one, and Canon had every opportunity to offer this feature. Also, it's an SD card slot, meaning they had more than enough space to offer another, yet they intentionally chose not to. Nikon can kind of get away with their somewhat weak excuse of not having enough space due to using an XQD card, but how is Canon justifying this? I mean, even Fujifilm with their relatively smaller cameras offer two card slots. Fact is, I won't be buying this individual camera purely because Canon couldn't be bothered to add in an extra SD card slot. 

Video Features

When it comes to video, the 5D Mark IV was quite a disappointment due to the massive crop factor and the odd file type. The EOS R does correct one of these issues by supporting a more useful codec; however, the crop factor remains. The crop factor in this camera means that you lose almost 75 percent of your angle of view. A 24mm lens will have an angle of view similar to a 40mm lens, making wide-angle shots and potentially vlogging a little tricky. Yes, Canon does offer an adapter where you can use EF-S lenses like the 10-18mm; however, in my view, that lens isn't a great performer and there are no native lenses that fill that gap currently. The fact that this has the same crop factor as the 5D Mark IV means that this is sheer laziness from Canon. Sony and Nikon have a major advantage in this area due to the crop factor, and Canon has, in my mind, made a serious error with this decision. 

Canon also decided not to include in-body image stabilization in their camera' however, this was pretty expected considering Canon's position on this feature. Now that we have that out of the way, let's talk about the things I'm excited about. 

Lens Selection

Ok seriously though, talk about knocking it out of the park. These initial lenses that Canon has announced with the EOS R are simply astounding. I'm still processing the fact that there is an RF 28-70mm f/2L. This is the widest aperture (proper) full frame zoom lens on the market by a full stop. Yes, I know, the Sigma 24-35mm f/2, but come on, that lens has two focal lengths. I'm so glad that Canon hasn't gone down the route of trying to make tiny, small-aperture lenses. In stark contrast, Nikon has the poorest lens lineup by a long shot: overpriced and relatively boring f/1.8 prime lenses and a 24-70 f/4. The native lenses available immediately from Nikon are really uninspiring. Some of you may be tempted to bring up the 58mm f/0.95, but let's be honest for a moment. That lens is nothing more than a mantle piece ornament, an impractical, super expensive lens that most of us will never actually buy or even get a chance to use. Canon, on the other hand, has released super interesting and properly practical lenses like the RF 50mm f/1.2L. This is an autofocus, wide-aperture lens that's available to pre-order as soon as the EOS R is. Even Sony doesn't have anything like this available within their system, and they've been at it for some time now. To top it off, Canon has also announced the RF 24-105mm f/4.0L, a more affordable and properly useful lens. The DSLR version of this lens proved to be extremely popular, and this lens will more than likely continue in that vein. To add to this, the control rings on these lenses are going to be such a useful feature and can work as an electronic aperture ring. 

If there's one thing Canon always seems to get right, it's their lenses, and as usual, they do not disappoint. No matter what complaints you may have about this initial camera from Canon, the lenses look superb. When it comes down to it, the lenses make far more of a difference than pretty much any other feature in current cameras. Canon, as usual, still offers the best and most interesting lens lineup. I honestly can't wait until Canon releases a high-resolution mirrorless option (with two card slots), because I'd love to own these lenses. 


I know I've moaned about the potential for an adapter and talked extensively about how Canon should stick to the EF mount. I am so happy to be wrong about that, because Canon has done something pretty special here with their adapters. Based on some of the initial reviews, it would seem that the adapters from Canon operate very well if not about the same as the native lenses. Aside from this, Canon has made use of the flange distance to allow for awesome things like drop-in filters. No other major manufacturer currently offers this feature and Canon has really outdone themselves with this one. Having drop-in filters means less fiddling at the front end, and every lens you adapt can make use of the filters. If you use circular filters with your lenses, you'll know that the different filter thread sizes mean you need to buy a bunch of different filter sizes. The alternative is to use square filters, and that kind of system is less than effective in many shooting scenarios, especially if hand-holding. One drop-in filter in your adapter, and all of your adapted lenses have a polarizer or an ND. 

As an architectural photographer, I can't tell you how incredible I think this is. Effectively, all of my lenses, including lenses like the TS-E 17mm f/4L can make use of ND or CPL filters. I can see this being extremely useful for landscape and even portrait photographers. Canon has also announced an adapter that contains a control ring. This control ring can be programmed to do a number of features, but I think it's probably best used as an aperture ring. When it comes to adapters, Canon has done something much better than anything I thought they would and I can't wait to move over to their mirrorless system. 

Final Thoughts

I understand that there are a number of people that are disappointed with the actual camera; however, if we look at this as a system, there's a lot to be excited about. Even the actual camera is probably going to be a fantastic option for many photographers. This camera contains the same sensor as the 5D Mark IV, meaning that at this particular price point, it's the highest resolution camera you can buy. The only thing real thing that Canon managed to get wrong with this camera was the single card slot. This is the first camera Canon has announced for their full-frame mirrorless system, and it's not priced the same as their higher-tier cameras. One can assume that when Canon announces a camera to compete with the Nikon Z7, it will probably have two card slots and maybe some other features to entice their customers. Although I won't personally be buying this camera, I can imagine it being a top seller, as it does offer some very compelling features. Ultimately, I think from a long-term perspective, Canon has some huge advantages with their mirrorless system as a whole. 

Let me know what your thoughts are and what you think Canon should offer in any new EOS R cameras. 

Lead image by on Unsplash, used under Creative Commons.

Usman Dawood's picture

Usman Dawood is a professional architectural photographer based in the UK.

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Previous comments

The lenses are not based on hope, they have been announced. The adapters aren't potentials either.

I won't be putting money down for the camera, but then I didn't sing praises for the camera did I. In fact, I did quite the opposite. You're conflating a lot of my points. I'm holding out for a more higher tiered model instead because I think the system as a whole is pretty awesome.

How would you define brand agnostic, not in an idealistic sense? Once again everything is relative.

I don't believe in anyone is truly brand agnostic. It's a fabricated concept that people claim in order to create the facade of objectivity.

The future is here. I see everything mirrorless in 10 years time.

On my next body, I want slow motion video, silent photo clicks, good tracking auto tracking of movements. I have some tremors in my hands really need a good stabilizer system. I can accept one slot. I am not full time and mostly shoot for free. I am 72 so not out hustling like younger folks on here make a career, but have a passion for this art. form. I hope to find a body for about for 2k. Been thinking of the D750. Been a Nikon guy, but thinking of Sony and fuji, and help from all you gurus

Check out a Panasonic G9 -

1080@180fps or 4K@60fps, up to 20fps stills and weighs only 658 g (1.45 lb / 23.21 oz) with battery (no lens). Lenses are lighter than DSLR lenses, too.

Worth having a play with one in store. My only criticism is that the shutter button doesn't have much feel between a half press and full press...

Hahaha. Canon should certainly gets a big congrats for finally getting on the mirrorless wagon. Otherwise they were gonna miss it big time.
Other than that, no, there is absolutely nothing incredible about it. No building castles in the air. What was expected did happen. Canon is 3 years behind sony in this market. Everything else has proven that to us already.
Shows over. Everybody go home. Come back 3 years later (if sony and Fuji stays where they are)

They have a an f2 zoom and an AF f1.2.

Sony doesn’t anything like that.

Also they have native adapters with properly interesting and useful features that give them access to the largest and possibly the best lens line on the market.

Lenses make far more of a difference than any feature in current cameras.

Thank you! The other big benefit which seems to get overlooked quite a bit is the camera's ability to auto focus at f/11 - that means you could use a 2x tele-converter and turn a 100-400 into a 200-800 with auto focus! I'm not aware of any DSLRs that can do that (I'm admittedly unsure if other mirrorless cameras can). Sure, the camera has a few shortcomings, but I find it hard to say Canon doesn't innovate when they keep bringing to market new features which don't exist anywhere else.

Oh yeaaaa f/11 AF, that completely slipped my mind thank you for pointing that out. Completely agree with you, for many shooters that use super teles that feature will be very useful.

A9 focuses at f/11

Just looked that up you are correct. Although the price points are vastly different.

Thanks, I thought I had heard other mirrorless could do it. That could be a huge feature for some.

Written by a true Canon fanboy. Gloss over the lack of IBIS and the not only the fact that Canon went with1 card slot, but an SD card at that. Wow. And the mount is same pretty much as EF? Nikon uses a 4 claw mount for ultimate stability for their lens mount. Canon? Same 3 claw as before. And they’re stuck with it from now on. Nikon has smaller form factor lenses to better match smaller form of the Z7 and Z6. Bravo Nikon. Fundamentally, Nikon has advantages that Canon does not with the design of the mount alone.

Oh come on man did you read the article. Those are the first things I talked about haha.

You seriously didn't read it and just commented based on the title right? Don't worry this is a safe space :P.

I did suffer through this dribbling piece of tripe. I'm sorry though, I must have overlooked the part on the 4 claw Nikon mount versus the same old 3 claw Canon R mount. Please direct me to where I might find that. BTW, so called articles like this are why I want to stop visiting sites such as Fstoppers. This has to be one of the worst I've read on here though. Truly embarrassing. What's even more sad is that I'm sitting here wasting my time even commenting on this.

I talked about the SD card and the lack of IBIS. I also talked about the video features in the camera and mentioned that I personally won't be buying this particular camera. You, however, resorted to commenting personally against me to try and discredit me and then called my article embarrassing.

Projecting much?

When/if Nikon comes out with something that makes use of the mount then sure we'll talk, until then I'm not interested in hypotheticals. Right now their native lens selection is poor, to say the least.

You know you secretly get off on it, you masochist. LOL

Why do write that Nikon’s lens line up is uninspiring? Are f/1.8 immediately cheap and low performance? You just look at the f number and say faster is better?

They're uninspiring because you have nothing new, nothing special. The 50mm f1.8 costs more than their f1.4 DSLR version.

Everything is relative and relative to Canon's lens lineup it's definitely uninspiring.

While I agree that f/1.8 is uninspiring and stupid, supposedly they're employing a different type of optical design to make it behave like an f/1.4, whatever that means. I'm skeptical, but whatever floats their boat...

I'm done with Nikon in the mirrorless arena for a decade or so. Absolutely nothing on that roadmap looks the least bit interesting despite them clearly having the mount advantage over all of their competitors for the first time in nearly half a century. That doesn't mean that I don't think Canon's release is crap, too. I think that Nikon has the more exciting body/sensor while Canon has the more exciting lenses. Both systems fall short, though.

I agree with you, I think both systems need some proper updates but I'm more optimistic about Canon than I am about Nikon.

Cameras features are one thing but lenses make far more of an impact than any of the differences between all current cameras. I also think that Canon has basically just made the EOS R for the 6D Mark II customer base and we probably will see a better camera around the 3.4k price point.

I could be wrong though I mean it is Canon we're talking about lol.

If we're talking far into the future (assuming Nikon survives), you could argue that Nikon has the advantage in terms of lens design given their superior mount diameter. I think Canon made a mistake by not increasing their in order to maintain the advantage.

In the previous article, Usman said "Moving away from the EF mount will also potentially make all of their current customers free agents, and I'm sure Sony would love to tap into that market."

That's absolutely right- particularly when combined with the fact that a 28-70 f2 is an amazing achievement, but the fact that it is not available in an EF mount version indicates to me that they will not be putting the effort into EF lenses that they once did. I've been holding off upgrading my L lenses until I saw what choice canon would make regarding the mount. It's pretty clear that this was the right decision.

The adaptors are a nifty gimmick, but essentially just a gimmick- I already have a nice filter system, so it's not a good trade for native EF functionality by any means. What's next, an R-EF adaptor so I can put that 28-70 on a 5Ds? I don't see that coming.

The really, really stupid thing is that, given the flange distance flexibility, they could have built all of these R mount lenses with EF mounts, simply by extending the lens elements beyond the mounting ring and making them approach the sensor more closely. This would result in a truly hybrid mount.

Canon doesn't seem to understand that it is a better long term strategy to give me what I want, rather than attempt to shoehorn me into buying what they would like me to want; thus the intentional crippling of the video (I don't care much about this, because I don't shoot video and if I did would likely not do 4K, but it evinces an attitude I find disturbing), the pointless shift of the mount, etc.

Canon is hoping that I will go out and buy a bunch of new lenses. Well, I probably will. But will they be Canon lenses? That's an open question, and it wasn't an open question two months ago,

So no, this is not a home run. The 5D mark ii was a home run. This is not the 5D mark ii.

Usman Dawood loves the Canon R and does a hit piece on Nikon Z. Hm. "Nikon has the poorest lens lineup by a long shot: overpriced". Two of the launch lenses of the Canon R cost as much as the body itself. Fake news. Just like T&C.

I don't love the Canon EOS R camera I even said quite clearly in the article that I won't be buying it. I love the lenses and the adapters.

Launch lenses cost money but I'm guessing both of them are still going to be cheaper than Nikons not soon to be launched 58mm f/0.95.

Nikons lenses are overpriced lol they're f1.8. Canon 's is an f/2 Zoom and an f1.2 lol.

Fake news would be your comment because you're misrepresenting what I'm saying to serve your narrative.

Perhaps blame whoever wrote your click bait headline.

The title has the words mirrorless system, not camera.

The cameras are an integral part of a system. Leica has amazing lenses. Would you consider their system to be incredible?

Come on Michael, you know that I’m making a distinction in my article here you can see the context. Don’t be that guy.

I know. I'm just being an ass. :) It's been that kind of week and I feel like sharing the joy.

Ahh I see ok fair enough, nothing wrong with being an ass on occasions lol.

Thanks for nicely summing it up, I agree with most of your conclusions. What bothers me in staying with Canon in the long run is Canon's inability to deliver efficient digital processing.

Frame rates, continuous shooting, video crop, bad battery life - all these parameters are affected by inefficient processor, and here Canon is hopelessly behind Sony, and Canon did nothing to turn the tide.

Usman Dawood This is a rather remarkable feat of fanboyism. In the past, Sony was trashed because of the small amount of lenses, the tiny battery and the single cardslot. This made the camera a toy and not a serious camera for pros.

And now Canon has launched precisely that and the fanboys are salivating over the kind of body they criticised a couple of years ago when the name on the camera was Sony.

I predicted that Canon would handicap that body and that was exactly what they did.

Talking about double standards.
This is a first generation product with a sensor that was already lagging behind at the introduction, a tiny battery, only a couple of lenses and a single cardslot. If it had Sony as a brandname, you would criticise it as a toy.
But it has Canon on the body and so, now, it is a glorious start

Pieter, you normally take the time to read articles properly, I’m surprised you’re coming to those conclusions.

First of all you’re conflating a bunch of points and issues here. I gave Sony a hard time for a few things that I thought they got wrong and I’m doing the same for Canon.

I called Canon a brick wall and effectively called them lazy in this article that you think is fanboyish. I trashed the camera and even said I won’t be buying it. Did you read my article properly?

I praised them for their lenses and adapters. I think these are fair praises.

Bear in mind I praise Sony too, I praise what I think it worth praising and call out companies where I think they’re going wrong. I’m sure you’ve read my articles and know that I praise and critique companies as fairly as I can.

Yes, I read the article. However, the headline seems to be in stark contrast with the rest of the article. You sum up pretty decently what is wrong with the system. So why is it a homerun?
The new Canon has all the characteristics of an advanced amateur system with the price of a pro camera. The adapters are very nice, but you adapt pretty much any lens on Sony these days.

And of course, they handicapped the video footage.
Why is that a homerun?
Because they delivered a new camera that is probably less capable than the Sony a7mk3 and more expensive. I just don't get is.
Are you "taken hostage" by Canon?

Stockholm Syndrome

Several photographers and youtubers are suggesting the adapters from Canon actually work very well if not the same as native lenses. Sony obviously didn’t have a native adapter for EF lenses but Canon does. This makes quite a difference in performance.

Not to mention the added features canon have used in their adapters makes adapting actually quite useful.

Usman Dawood Let's firs see the actual reviews because we judge. The problem with 3d party adapters is that in some cases they had to reverse engineer the tech which is always a problem. Canon don't have that problem of course for their own adapters. But let's wait and see how it performs.

at this moment still a lot better than anything Canon can offer. They introduce with a pro price but advanced amateur features. It is just a shitty first attempt in a very competitive market.

I'd argue about the "very competitive market" part. There's not much competition going on if there's only one serious full frame MILC camera manufacturer (Leica is for a completely different type of consumer.). Canon and Nikon had an opportunity to turn an effective monopoly into a competitive market. They both failed pretty hard... Maybe Panasonic will do better.

@Jan You seem to have a rather illogical and totally unfounded hatred of all things Sony. If you read the word Sony, you seem to get frustrated up to your eye-sockets and are incapable of any reasonable or coherent thought. Get used to it man. Get a life. You haven't exactly acquired world fame, have you? You have some nice pictures on your website, but you aren't at the cutting edge of the photography world. Is a photographer using a Sony, eating up your clientele?

I am just an happy amateur with a Sony a 6300 which I have used often in moderate rain and it hasn't died on me yet. The same was true for the Sony a77 which was used in rain, sleet, snow and in the desert, and the a100. Never had any problems.

And you are not?

Can somebody explain me how EF-S lens, for example Canon 10-18mm, will fare on R body with adapter? How image size, angle of view will be affected? Crop factor?

Depends on the lens but if you’re shooting using the full sensor then you’ll more than likely seen very dark corners. In 4K mode however you shouldn’t see any of those issues.

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