First Impressions: Canon EOS R (Canon’s First Full Frame Mirrorless Camera)

The newly announced Canon EOS R is a camera that Canon added some new innovations to.

The new Canon EOS R camera was announced tonight. As expected and reported on previously, it is a full frame mirrorless camera that offers up a whole lot. While there surely is innovation with this camera that is very unique to the Canon EOS R, the major innovations arguably come with the new lenses that were also announced.

The Canon EOS R is a camera that photographers have been waiting for for years now and so far I think that Canon is doing a great job. But in other ways, I think that Canon is getting it 80% right or so. To be fair, I spent 15 minutes with the camera.

Tech Specs

Specs from the press release

  • RF Mount Compatible with RF Lenses and EF/EF-S Lenses
  • Built-in EVF with 3.69 Million Dots, Vari-angle Touchscreen LCD and Dot-matrix LCD Panel
  • ISO range of 100-40,000, expandable to 102,400
    • USB 3.1 in-camera charging support
  • Built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi® providing easy sharing to compatible smart devices and social media sites
  • Single UHS-II SD card slot
  • CR3(RAW/C-RAW) and Dual Pixel RAW Support
  • Dust and weather resistant

Availability and Pricing

The Canon EOS R full-frame mirrorless camera is scheduled to be available in October 2018 for an estimated retail price of $2299* for the body only. It will also be sold as a body-and-lens kit with the new RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM lens for $3399*.


The Canon EOS R is pretty unique in that when you turn the camera off and remove the lens the shutter comes down. That protects the sensor. As simple as this sounds, no one else does this. Innovative? In this case, yes. But no one else does it and I’m not sure why.

As you can tell from this image, the front of the Canon EOS R is pretty plain Jane. Not a whole lot to look at here.

Turn to the top of the Canon EOS R and what you’ll spot are a number of controls. It’s much like their DSLRS. On the left side of the camera, you’ll spot the on/off switch. I really wish this controlled the ISO instead though.

On one side you’ve got two exposure control dials, a video record button, a shutter release, and a top LCD screen that we weren’t able to make glow despite the glowy function button. Instead, it switched up what information we saw. This made looking at said information difficult in the dark.

Again, I didn’t get much time with the camera thus far.

Now here is the biggest let down about the Canon EOS R: the single card slot. At least it’s an SD card slot and not XQD like Nikon did.

The back of the Canon EOS R includes a number of options like the LCD screen, playback, autofocus point selection ont he right side near the thumb tab, and the new multifunction bar. Then there is the directional pad.

Canon’s viewfinder for the Canon EOS R looks really nice. And more than anything, I’m perhaps most excited to look through this and use it over and over again once it is properly calibrated for my eyes.

Build Quality

In the hands, the Canon EOS R honestly feels a whole lot like a DSLR but is still overall lighter and smaller. Canon states that it is pretty much every bit as weather sealed as a Canon 6D Mk II. From our time testing the Canon 6D Mk II, we were quite impressed with how it was able to hold up to a lot of the weather that we experienced.

With only spending a few minutes with the camera thus far, I’m pretty satisfied as far as build quality goes.

Ease of Use

Canon’s Menu system from their other cameras makes a comeback here and I’m so glad for this. Canon’s menu system combined with the touch capabilities is arguably the easiest of all the manufacturers” to navigate providing you know the system well and memorize the placements. I strongly recommend it as it’s far easier to work with than Sony’s.

The new things like the new Menu bar is sort of like Apple’s touch bar without the graphical implementations. It can be customized in the menu system. There are places where Canon I feel dropped the ball here such as:

  • A dedicated joystick for moving the autofocus point
  • Linear autofocus, despite it being not too bad overall
  • I think that the top dial on the left side could have been best used to control your ISO vs the On/off switch.

Of course, if you’re a Canon user then you should know that the camera has layers of customization. You should also know that a lot of what you know and love about Canon is back where it belongs. But at the same time, both new and old Canon customers are going to need to adapt to new changes.


In our very brief tests so far, I have to admit that the focusing on the Canon EOS R is very good. This statement applies to working with the native lenses and those adapted. With linear autofocus though, a few problems can occur.

Image Quality

Canon currently has a studio setup that I personally think is dreadful. As many of you know, I’m not a fan of folks setting up constant lights for me and I prefer to create my own images without interference for ethical reasons. So please do wait a few hours while I shoot with the camera on my own terms.


First Impressions

So far, I’ve had maybe 15 minutes tops with the new Canon EOS R. It isn’t enough time to figure anything out in depth but I’m pretty excited to play with it. I’ve been considering coming back to Canon but I’ll really need to take the time to understand whether or not this camera will be a great choice for me.

However, I will fully admit that Canon is doing some innovative things in terms of lenses and with some of the new features.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.