Can the Awesome Canon EOS R Replace Your DSLR?

We sincerely love receiving emails from our readers, especially when we’ve helped them and they’re curious to learn more. So that’s what happened recently with Bryan, who consented to me turning our email into a blog post. He’s owned the Canon 5D MK 4 for years, and after reading our Canon EOS R review update, he’s curious about making the move to mirrorless. But will it work for him?

How Good Is the Canon EOS R?

Here’s what Bryan said:


I enjoy the Phoblographer site.  Thanks for your work, there.  

I read your updated Canon R review just after talking with Canon’s Customer Service department to arrange a cleaning/calibration for my 5d4, 7d2, and 70-200.  I primarily shoot concerts and sports.  

I’m not completely satisfied with the 5d4’s focusing ability in nasty concert situations (mainly smaller local venues).  Prices are now such that I can sell the 5d4 and get the R with an adapter and still probably have a little left over.  From your perspective, for concert photography, is that the best move?  Anything I’d miss?


And here’s how I responded:

Dear Bryan,

Thanks for the email. Did you download our app for iOS, iPadOS, and Android? It’s got minimal banner ads there and for $24.99/year, you can get the content banner ad-free within the app. I’m strongly encouraging everyone to start moving over to there.

Man, I used to shoot concerts years ago. I loved the thrill of getting right up on stage and having artists perform right there. It was awesome.

To answer your question, yes. It’s worth it to move away from the 5D Mk 4 for sure. The autofocus with the Canon EF to RF adapter (the official one) is pretty darned good. It’s not your 70-200mm but it’s a Sigma in this post. And if a Sigma did well with how slow their performance is, then I’m sure others would. To help you out a bit more, I also tested the Canon EOS R with the 85mm f1.4 EF L lens. And in that review, I said it performed admirably. However, I tested it mostly for portraiture with models. I’m still pretty sure it can keep up. I also tested it in low light, and it worked well.

For a little bit more insight, a while back, Nissin did some sponsored content with us where I used the Canon EOS R to shoot a party in super low light. Out of that post, I made this comparison with Sony. And even then the Canon EOS R won. However, I think part of it could be that I’m using the Canon RF 50mm f1.2 L. That lens is seriously incredible and very reliable.

As far as what you’d miss?

  • The joystick, but honestly you can set the Canon EOS R to face detection, let it choose the faces, lock onto them, and then keep shooting. Switching faces might be a bit difficult, but it’s not impossible.
  • The lack of a drive mode button. This is an issue with the Canon EOS R5 too.
  • The back aperture wheel is gone. I set mine to have the aperture around the lens, the front top wheel to be shutter speed, and the back top wheel for ISO control. The EOS R only lets you change the ISO when metering is happening.
  • Maybe the heft and size? I sure as hell don’t miss it.
  • You can set the EOS r to have exposure preview in the viewfinder or you can set it to take off exposure preview. All cameras, regardless, focus fast with exposure preview off.
  • You might disable the magic touch bar. I set it to only give me star ratings when I’m reviewing photos on the back LCD. That way, I can pull them into Capture One, sort by starred, and then work on those immediately. The less time I’m spending in post-production the happier I am. From what I remember of shooting concerts, I’d totally do the same thing today.

Make sure your Canon EOS R is up to date with firmware. After the latest firmware updates, it becomes a completely different camera. Honestly, there’s not much else. I was ecstatic to move away from DSLRs. I’m legally blind and every time I asked manufacturers to make diopters that could cater to someone with kerataconus it fell on deaf ears.

I hope this helps.

In all honesty, I still use the Canon EOS R. If I’m shooting landscapes or photographing people, it’s a stellar camera. Only when it comes to selecting an autofocus point does it get a bit annoying. But even then, it’s a minor annoyance. If every Canon RF camera were as small and lightweight as the Canon EOS R, they’d be doing a fantastic job overall. The Canon EOS R5 is also great, but it’s missing a few things.

But mostly, the Canon EOS R is stupidly cheap right now at Adorama.

Chris Gampat

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