Canon’s first full frame mirrorless camera, the EOS R, issues a challenge to the Nikon Z6 and Sony’s α7 III.

Late on Wednesday 5 September, Canon unveiled the EOS R, its first full frame mirrorless camera, following a spate of leaks – including a full specifications sheet for the new camera. Positioned to compete with the Nikon Z6 and the Sony α7 III, the EOS R offers 30.3-megapixel resolution and boasts Dual Pixel CMOS autofocusing with 5655 selectable points; much more than the 273 points in the Z6 and also the 693 phase-detection and 425 contrast detection points in the α7 III. Focus sensitivity extends to -6EV, meaning the camera can focus in the dark, and AF speed is claimed to be 0.05 seconds, which is competitive with the fastest DSLR cameras.

Angled view of the new Canon EOS R camera with the 24-105mm f/4L IS kit lens and monitor extended. (Source: Canon.)

Like Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless cameras, the EOS R introduces a new 12-pin RF mount, which has an inner diameter of 54 mm and a flange focal distance of 20 mm. By comparison, Nikon’s Z series cameras are built around a mount with an inner diameter of 55 mm and a flange focal distance of 16 mm, while Sony’s FE mount has a 46.1 mm ‘throat’ and 18 mm flange focal distance.

Top and rear views of the EOS R camera. (Source: Canon.)

For users of Canon’s EOS M system, the upgrade path from basic entry level mirrorless into more serious mirrorless cameras will be blocked. This removes any incentives to remain loyal to the Canon brand and we wonder whether Canon will continue with the system.

According to the Canon News website, because of the differences between the RF mount and the EF-M mount, which has a diameter of 46 mm and an 18 mm flange focal distance, there will ‘never be an EF-M camera to RF lens adapter, nor will there ever be a RF APS-C camera that can use EF-M lenses with an adapter’. In contrast, users of Sony’s mirrorless cameras can choose from both FE full frame and E mount APS-C lenses.

This also raises the question of whether Canon will make any R-mount cameras with APS-C sized sensors, which usually enable cheaper models to be produced. Alternatively, will Canon  take its EOS M system to a higher level, making a camera of the same calibre as the EO 7D models? Time will doubtless reveal the answers to these questions.

Model Comparison
We thought readers would be interested in comparing key features of the three ‘full frame’ cameras from Canon, Nikon and Sony, given that each manufacturer has different advantages over its rivals. Sony, having been in this market for the longest, has many more native lenses available for its α7 and α9 cameras, with roughly 25 carrying the Sony brand and third-party manufacturers like Carl Zeiss, Laowa, Samyang and Tamron filling out the range.

It will take Canon and Nikon time to catch up, although buyers of their cameras will be able to choose from the extensive DLSR lens ranges from both companies and fit them to the mirrorless cameras via adapters. The table below compares key features from the Canon EOS R, Nikon Z6 and Sony α7M III cameras. We’ve highlighted the winner(s) for each listed feature in green.

Feature Canon EOS R Nikon Z6 Sony α7 III
Sensor 36 x 24 mm CMOS sensor with 31.7 million photosites (30.3 megapixels effective) 35.9 x 23.9 mm backside illumination CMOS sensor with 25.28 million photosites (24.5 megapixels effective) 35.6 x 23.8mm Exmor R BSI-CMOS sensor with 25.3 million photosites (24.2 megapixels effective)
Lens mount 54 mm inner diameter, 20 mm flange distance 55 mm inner diameter, 16 mm flange distance 46.1 mm inner diameter, 18 mm flange distance
Max. image size 6720 x 4480 pixels 6048 x 4024 pixels  

6000 x 4000 pixels

IBIS No 5-axis, 5 stops 5-axis, 5 stops
EVF 0.5-inch OLED EVF with 3,690,000 dots, approx. 100% FOV coverage, 0.76x magnification, 23mm eye point, -4.0 to +2.0 dioptre correction 0.5-inch OLED EVF with 3,690,000 dots, 100% frame coverage, 0.8x magnification, 21 mm eyepoint,  -4 to +2  dpt adjustment 0.5-type OLED with 2,359,296 dots, 100% FOV coverage, 0.78x magnification, 23mm eye point, -4 to +3 dpt adjustment
Monitor Vari-angle 3.15-inch TFT LCD with 2,100,000 dots; 100% FOV coverage Tilting 3.2-inch TFT LCD with 2,100,000 dots; 100% FOV coverage Tilting 3-inch TFT LCD with 921,000 dots; 100% FOV coverage
Touch controls Yes, monitor and touch bar Yes, monitor only Yes, monitor only
Status LCD Yes Yes No
Raw format options Compressed or uncompressed (14-bit), C-RAW (reduced size) Lossless compressed, compressed or uncompressed (12 or 14 bit) Compressed or uncompressed (14-bit)
TIFF support No Yes No
AF points 5655 273 693 PD, 425 CD
Max. frame rate 8 frames/sec 12 frames/sec. (14-bit NEF/RAW: 9 fps) 10 fps
Buffer capacity 100 JPEGs, 47  RAW (with UHS-11 card) Not specified 163 JPEG,  40 uncompressed raw
Storage media Single slot for SD, SDHC, SDXC Single slot for XQD 2x SD, slot 1 UHS-II  compatible, Slot 2 UHS-I only
4K Video (PAL format) 3840 x 2160p at 25p, 480 Mbps or 120 Mbps 3840 x 2160p at 25p, 144 Mbps 3840 x 2160p at 25p, 100 Mbps or 60 Mbps
Video profiles 10-bit Canon Log, HDR 10-bit 4:2:2 N-Log S-Log2, S-Log 3, S-Gamut 3 and Hybrid Log Gamma
Slow/Quick motion modes 100 fps 100 fps 100 fps, 50 fps, 25 fps, 12 fps, 6 fps, 3 fps, 2 fps, 1 fps
Flash synch. 1/200 second 1/200 second 1/250 second
Native ISO range ISO 100-40,000 ISO 64-25600 ISO 100-51200
ISO expansion ISO 50, ISO 51,200, ISO 102400 ISO 32, ISO 102400 ISO 50,  ISO 204800
Battery/capacity LP-E6N / 370  shots/charge (450 shots/charge in Eco mode) EN-EL15b / 330 shots/charge NP-FZ100 / 610 shots/charge with EVF, 710 shots/charge with monitor
Charger included Yes No (?) No (USB charging)
Battery grip available Yes, BG-E22 No (?) Yes, VG-C3EM
Bundled software Digital Photo Professional Capture NX-D CaptureOne (Sony limited version)
Body dimensions 135.8 x 98.3 x 84.4 mm 134 x 100.5 x 67.5 mm 126.9 x 95.6 x 73.7 mm
Body weight 660 grams with battery and card


675 grams with battery and card 650 grams with battery and cards

The autofocusing system is the highlight of the new camera and its main competitive feature. Another interesting feature is the new ‘touch bar’ control that supports four actions: left, right, slide and press completely. It can be customised to provide quick access to a selected functions and should make the camera quicker and easier to operate.

Aside from that, it’s a mixed bag. While the EOS R has the highest resolution for shooting stills, it also has the slowest maximum burst speed but it’s the only camera to offer a reduced-size raw option.

Buffer capacity is surprisingly good, with a rated capacity of 100 JPEGs per burst for Large/Fine JPEGs and up to 47 uncompressed raw files when a UHS-II card is used. Card capacities for raw files increase when the smaller C-RAW format is used.

The fully-articulated touch-screen monitor that will be better for video blogging than the tilting screens on its rivals. Size- and resolution-wise, the EOS R’s screen fits between the Nikon’s and Sony’s screens.

Video recording is supported for consumer-level 4K (30/25p depending on video format with All-I or IPB recording). The Z6 manages a slightly faster bit rate when recording 4K video clips, although all three cameras max out at 30 fps (NTSC) or 25 fps (PAL).

A new Canon Log profile is available for internal or external recording and the latter enables 10-bit 4K HDMI clean output with support for the BT.2020 colour matrix. The EOS R also includes the same focus guide as Canon’s Cinema EOS cameras.

The standard Picture Styles are available with three user defined options. The single card slot has drawn some criticism, but at least it’s designed for the widely-available and reasonably affordable SD media and supports UHS-II  cards. Like Nikon, Canon has stuck with an existing DSLR battery, which largely accounts for the unremarkable 370  shots/charge capacity. A battery grip will be available.

A new lens mount means the EOS R will have its own dedicated lens suite, in the same fashion as the EOS M. The camera will launch with the 24-105mm f/4L IS kit lens as well as a faster RF 28-70mm f/2L USM zoom and two primes, the 35mm f/1.8 IS and 50mm f/1.2L.

The new lenses include a control ring that can be programmed to adjust one of the 22 customisable functions, which will combine with adjustments from the dials and touch bar on the camera body. No distance scale is provided on the lenses as the distance info will be displayed on the EVF and/or monitor screen. Key specifications of the new lenses are as follows:

RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Lens construction: 18 elements in 14 groups
Minimum focus: 45 cm
Minimum focus: 77 mm
Dimensions (Diameter x L): 83.5 x 107.3 mm
Weight: 698 grams

RF 28-70mm f/2L USM

Lens construction: 19 elements in 13 groups
Minimum focus: 39 cm
Minimum focus: 95 mm
Dimensions (Diameter x L): 103.8 x 139.8 mm
Weight: 1340 grams

RF 35 mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM

Lens construction: 9 elements in 9 groups
Minimum focus: 17 cm
Minimum focus: 52 mm
Dimensions (Diameter x L): 74 x 62 mm
Weight: 306 grams

RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Lens construction: 15 elements in 9 groups
Minimum focus: 40 cm
Minimum focus: 77 mm
Dimensions (Diameter x L): 89.9 x 108.0 mm
Weight: 950 grams
Photographers who want to use legacy EF lenses on the new camera will be able to choose from three mount adapters: a standard EF-EOS R mount adapter, a mount adapter that includes an assignable control ring, and a mount adapter with a drop-in filter slot.

The BG-E22 battery grip. (Source: Canon.)

A new BG-E22 battery grip accommodates two high capacity LP-E6N batteries and provides external battery charging via the PD-E1 USB Power Adapter. It also includes a PC terminal to allow a traditional wired studio flash to be used with EOS R.

The new products will be available in Australia from the following dates:
– EOS R camera: 9 October 2018
– Control ring mount adapter 9 October 2018
– RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM 9 October 2018
– RF 50mm f/1.2L USM End October 2018
– RF 28-70mm f/2L USM December 2018
– RF 35mm f/1.8 MACRO IS STM December 2018
– Standard mount adapter 9 October 2018
– Drop-in filter mount adapter 2019
– BG-E22 End October 2018
– PD-E1 USB Power Adapter TBC

For more information visit

Image sensor: Approx. 36 x 24 mm CMOS sensor with 31.7 million photosites (30.3 megapixels effective), pixel pitch approx. 5.36 μm square, RGB  primary colour filters, fixed low-pass filter, 3:2 aspect ratio
Image processor: DIGIC 8
A/D processing: 14-bit
Lens mount: EF-R (EF and EF-S lenses compatible via Mount adapter EF-EOS R)
Focal length crop factor: 1x
Image formats: Stills: JPEG (Exif 2.31/ DCF 2.0, DPOF 1.1), CR3.RAW (14-bit Canon original, 3:2 aspect only), Dual Pixel RAW capture available, C-RAW,  RAW+JPEG; Movies: MP4 [Video: MPEG-4 AVC / H.264 with variable bit rate, Audio: ALL-I – Linear PCM; IPB – AAC]
Image Sizes: Stills – 3:2 aspect: 6720 x 4480, 4464 x 2976, 3360 x 2240, 2400 x 1600; 4:3 aspect: 5952 x 4480, 3968 x 2976, 2976 x 2240, 2112 x 1600; 16:9 aspect: 6720 x 3776, 4464 x 2512, 3360 x 1888, 2400 x 1344; 1:1 aspect: 4480 x 4480, 2976 x 2976, 2240 x 2240, 1600 x 1600; Movies:  4K – 3840 x 2160 (29.97, 24, 23.98 fps); Full HD – 1920 x 1080 (59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, 24, 23.976 fps), HD – 1280 x 720 (119.9, 100, 59.94, 50 fps, 29.97)
Image Stabilisation: Lens-based; In-camera Digital IS available for movie recording
Dust removal: Self cleaning sensor unit plus dust Delete Data acquisition and appending
Shutter (speed range): Electronically controlled focal-plane shutter with electronic first curtain, mechanical second curtain, electronic shutter (slot rolling read out) and mechanical first and second curtain options  (30 – 1/8000 second plus bulb); flash synch at 1/200 sec.
Exposure Compensation: +/-3 EV in 1/3EV or 1/2EV steps (stills and movies)
Exposure bracketing: +/-3 stops in 1/3 stop  or 1/2 stop increments
Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds delay
Intervalometer: Yes, in Time-lapse movie mode (4K and FHD resolution available)
Focus system: Dual Pixel CMOS AF System using phase detection pixels built onto imaging sensor; operates to -6EV; AF-assist beam is available (max. range 4 m at f/5.6)
AF points: Maximum 5655 points when selected with cross keys
Focus modes: One-Shot AF, Servo AF and manual focus;  Face + Tracking, 1-point AF, Expand AF area, Zone AF;  5x or 10x magnification for manual focusing (stills only)
Exposure metering:  Real-time metering with image sensor, 384 zones;  Evaluative (AF point linked), Partial metering at centre (6.1% of live view), Centre-weighted average and Spot metering (2.7% of live view) patterns; metering range – EV -4 to 18
Shooting modes: A+ (Scene Intelligent Auto), Fv (Flexible-priority AE), P , Tv, Av, Manual, Bulb, Custom (x3)
Picture Style modes: Auto, Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Fine Detail, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User Defined (x3)
Creative Filter modes: Grainy B/W, Soft Focus, Fish-eye Effect, Water painting effect, Toy camera effect, Miniature effect, HDR, Art standard, vivid, bold, embossed
Image processing: Highlight Tone Priority (standard and enhanced) Auto Lighting Optimiser (4 settings) , Long exposure noise reduction, High ISO speed noise reduction (4 settings + Multi Shot NR)
Colour space options: Adobe RGB, sRGB
ISO range: ISO Auto (100 – 12800), 100 – 40,000 in 1/3 stop or 1 stop increments with expansion to ISO 50, ISO 51,200 or ISO 102,400; ISO 100-1600 with flash, ISO 400 fixed for Bulb exposures
White balance: Auto (Ambience Priority / White Priority), Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten light, White Fluorescent light, Flash; Custom, Colour Temperature (2500-10000 Kelvin ; +/- 9 levels of WB compensation on B/A and M/G axes. WB bracketing
Custom Functions:  19
Customisable dials:  Main dial, Quick Control dial, control ring
Customisable M-Fn bar: Shooting functions – ISO speed, WB, check focus/Display info., movie shooting, flexible priority AE, AF, user customisation; Playback functions – Function shortcut, jump display; Safety lock- Enable / Disable
Flash: External flash only
Flash modes: E-TTL II Auto metering;  Slow synchro, Safety FE, Flash mode, Wireless function, Flash zoom, Shutter synchronisation and Flash exposure compensation modes available; FE lock supported
Flash exposure adjustment: +/- 3 EV in 1/3  or 1/2 increments
Sequence shooting: Max.  8 frames/sec. (5 fps with Servo AF)
Buffer capacity: Max. 100 JPEGs, up to 47  RAW (with UHS-11 card)
Storage Media: Single slot for SD, SDHC, SDXC cards (Compatible with UHS-I standard)
Viewfinder: 0.5-inch OLED EVF with 3.69 million dots, approx. 100% FOV coverage, 0.76x magnification, 23mm eye point, -4.0 to +2.0 dioptre correction, 45 items of data can be displayed
LCD monitor: Vari-angle 3.15-inch Touchscreen LCD (TFT) with 3:2 aspect ratio, 2,100,000 dots; 100% FOV coverage, brightness adjustment (7 levels), Clear View LCD II coating
Live View modes: Live view image with exposure info, basic info or full info; grid overlay (3 formats), histogram (brightness/RGB), electronic level, multi-aspect ratios, hints & tips
Playback functions: Single image (with/without info), info display (lens, histogram, WB, Picture Style 1/2, colour space/noise reduction, lens aberration correction 1/2, record of sent images, GPS, IPTC data), index display (4/9/36/100 images), protect, erase, histogram (brightness & RGB) highlight alert
Interface terminals: USB 3.1 (Gen. 1) Type C, HDMI (Type-C connector), Bluetooth 4.1, 3.5 mm stereo mini jack
function: Wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11b/g/n), (2.4 GHz only, 1-11 ch), with Dynamic NFC support, Bluetooth 4.1 low energy technology
Power supply: LP-E6N rechargeable Li-ion Battery Pack; CIPA rated for approx. 370  shots/charge (450 shots/charge in Eco mode); automatic battery check (6 levels), power saving (7 options for display off, 5 options for auto power off, 2 options for EVF off)
Dimensions (wxhxd): 135.8 x 98.3 x 84.4 mm
Weight:  580 grams body only; 660 grams with battery and memory card

Distributor: Canon Australia; 1800 021 167;