Why I Bought a Second EOS-R
With Canon’s recent announcement of the EOS-RP, a collective groan of disappointment could be heard from Canon users around the world (myself included) who were really hoping for a higher level body to be announced before the entry level. I’ll leave out the word “pro” for now because any camera that makes you money can be called professional in my book. A list of features certainly does not make one camera more “pro” than another. It may make it easier for a professional to use, but a tool is just a tool.
Anyway, I digress...
While the announcement of the very well priced RP was a let down for those like myself who are left wanting more than the EOS-R has to offer, it actually motivated me to double down on my original decision to give the EOS-R a try, and double up with a second body (replacing my remaining 5D Mark IV).
It may seem like a strange decision but it really comes down to 2 simple factors:
2. This is kind of building off point 1, but since having the R in my kit I feel myself wanting to reach for the 5DIV less and less. I’ve been taking the time to change lenses instead of just using the second body that I have with me and when shooting events with both cameras hanging on my shoulder, I stick to the R more than I typically would just because I like shooting with it.
Of course, there’s a lot more to a decision like this but my initial choice to try out the R while hanging onto a 5D was specifically because of my hesitation and lack of confidence in things like autofocus speed, usability and the single card slot.
However, I’ve found that the DPAF on the EOS-R is much more responsive in keeping up with action than on the 5DIV. At least, that’s been my experience. The AF isn’t blazing fast, nor is the FPS, but for what I shoot it’s more than enough and hasn’t held me back in the least.
Usability, as I mentioned, has actually worked in the R’s favor, being one of my favorite things about the camera despite 2 or 3 big complaints which I’ll get into later. As with all mirrorless cameras having an EVF is actually pretty nice for a lot of reasons, but the one here in the EOS-R is the most natural feeling I’ve ever used... by a lot.
Honestly, the single card slot has been the biggest downer for me. I’ve been spoiled with cameras that have dual slots for backup for too long now, and it’s hard to go back. Granted, for video, the dual slots of the 5DIV are essentially meaningless because it only records to one card. For professional photo work though, the single slot does make me a little nervous. I’ve been telling myself that I’m spoiled though and have learned to live with it and I’ve been lucky not to have any problems so far.
So now that most of my uncertainties with the EOS-R have been cleared up, and I’ve come to love it so much... why not, right? Well after the disappointment of the RP lots of people are looking to jump ship but nothing has seemed worth it overall to me in terms of actual use (not just specs).
Any camera today will take better photos than one that doesn’t exist yet. That’s all there is to it. I’m confident that Canon WILL eventually release an R-like body that has dual slots (and hopefully 4K 60fps!) but waiting on that and hanging onto a largely unused 5D IV was a waste. So, I decided to double up and when the next better thing comes along.... well, I’ll have more to think about then. Who knows... some recent Fuji bodies have really caught my eye and Sony has been really impressive. I’m still waiting for the perfect combination of AF performance, native-level lens performance with Canon lenses, a simple to use menu/body layout and a comfortable grip in a full frame body. Love it or hate it, the EOS-R checks all those boxes.
But, to be fair, let’s talk about those gripes that I do have with this camera (and a few more things I love) so you can have a better idea of how it might work (or not) for you.
#1. The single card slot. Yeah, I’m spoiled and so are a lot of other people. So, indulge us, Canon! Give us that second slot so we can shoot things like weddings without worrying we’ll lose that once in a lifetime moment because of card failure!
*I don’t shoot weddings or things quite so critical too often, so it’s less of an issue for me than it may be for some people.
#2. No 4K 60fps. This camera matches absolutely beautifully with my main video camera, the C200. It’s smaller size makes it great to go on a gimbal which is not quite so easy to say for the C200, but losing out on 4K 60fps by using the EOS-R can be a bummer. Again, maybe I’m spoiled and I know that slow motion can be overdone, but I would LOVE to have it as an option. For now, I’ll just have to mix in a little 1080p when I need 60fps with the R.
*30fps in a 24fps timeline does give a decent smooth feel without being in-your-face slow motion and I’ve come to like it quite a lot.
#3. The (st***d f***ing) touch bar. Does Canon touch their cameras when they design them? Like... really... does anyone, even a single person, just pick it up in their hand and try to take a photo with it? Because unless all their designers are missing their thumbs, there is NO way they didn’t see how annoying this can be.
When actually taking photos, MAYBE you can hold it in a way that you won’t accidentally touch the bar, but when you’re holding the camera at your side or walking around between shots, it WILL get touched.
Yeah, yeah... you can lock it. I actually used the physical “lock” button to lock the touch bar and the new control ring at the same time and it worked alright for a while. But, there were so many times during the hectic rush of a photo shoot that I’d forget to re-lock it after making adjustments with it. I’d suddenly be at ISO 12,800 and have no idea why. Their method of holding your thumb over the bar for a couple of seconds to unlock it is just dumb and really didn’t work for me at all anyway, so we won’t even get into that.
In the end, I just turned it off. It’s a shame there’s wasted space, but I’m happier now just ignoring it.
#4. The lack of buttons. This is closely related to #3 but I feel like the number of physical buttons on the body is just barely enough. I know you have the touch screen as well, but certain things like ISO can’t be adjusted using the touch screen when your eye is to the viewfinder (or when you’re using an external monitor). I like the new info screen on the top of the camera, but they did away with their typical lineup of physical buttons for a bunch of critical settings up there and I wish they hadn’t.
*When I say “barely enough” I mean it’s more or less enough for me, personally, but I think it should have more and I know a lot of people would appreciate having more.
#5 The lens rear caps! EF lens rear caps will be able to twist on in a few different positions so it’s no sweat to just grab your cap, grab your lens and pop that cap right on there. For some reason the RF lens caps only twist on in ONE position, so it can be super frustrating when you’re trying to switch things in a hurry.
SOME MORE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT THE EOS-R (Sorry for the lack of pictures in this section, they’re coming!)
#1. No joystick*. This is actually a complaint that I’ve heard a LOT of people make that I personally disagree with. Touch and drag AF on the touch screen is MUCH faster once you get used to it. Map it out to the right portion of the screen that works for you and get used to it, that’s all it takes. A joystick for me is much more fiddly and slow, especially with the HUGE number of AF points this camera has.
#2. All those beautiful AF points. You can choose from TONS of AF points almost all the way across the screen in both directions, even when using the viewfinder. No more focus and recompose! It’s just amazing.
#3. The video looks great. The 4K files are gorgeous in detail and color and having C-Log from the get-go is really great. There’s a bit more you can control with C-Log than on the 5DIV as well. Like I said, the files match really wonderfully with the C200 (with a little less DR), and I really appreciate that.
#4. The battery life. Using the same batteries as the 5D IV, I didn’t expect much here, especially with the screen or VF pretty much constantly on. At first I was obsessed with energy saving settings but the battery really has impressed me. I walked around set with my R for around 4 or 5 hours of shooting without really paying attention to turning the camera screen off when I wasn’t using it and the battery did just fine. But, I had my 5D IV off to the side for taking BTS shots and when I left the LCD on for just a little while by accident the battery was dead before I knew it. Two full days in Tokyo last week and 2 batteries were more than enough to last the whole time (shooting photos, not video).
#5 The adapters! While the new RF lenses are absolutely beautiful (and insanely expensive), having the range of adapters for using EF lenses with native performance is just amazing. You can have a simple one, the new control ring version or a version with drop in CPL and vari-ND filters. This is incredibly useful for video or even photo allowing you to change lenses without having to unscrew and screw on traditional filters every time. It also means you don’t need multiple filter sizes for different lenses and you can now use CPL and ND with lenses that have a bulbous front element like the Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero-D, a beautiful distortion free wide angle lens and great for overcoming the 4K crop in the EOS-R.
While it is just my own opinion, the EOS-R is a more than capable camera that manages to really shine through all of its many frustrations. The fact that it can do that just makes me even more excited for the future of Canon’s full frame mirrorless lineup. Their lenses tell me they’re committed to it and the R is simply amazing as a first attempt. The bottom line is that I love shooting with it, and that’s the most important thing. After all, a tool is just a tool until it’s in the right hands.
If you happen to be interested in picking up one of these cameras, adapters or anything else mentioned in this article, these are my affiliate links so if you decide to make a purchase through one of these links I will receive a percentage of the sale, but it won’t cost you anything extra.
Canon EOS-R (Body): https://amzn.to/2VRclYJ
Standard Mount Adapter: https://amzn.to/2VPML6a
Control Ring Adapter: https://amzn.to/2CbPzDo
Drop In ND Adapter: https://amzn.to/2NUg84K
CPL Adapter: https://amzn.to/2VQEJdy
Canon EOS-R/Adapter bundle: https://amzn.to/2O0WcNP
Canon EOS-RP (Body): https://amzn.to/2SVIIUd