Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Death knell for the DSLR? Canon introduces full frame mirrorless EOS R (with video)

It's here - this morning, Canon formally announced the new EOS R line of full frame mirrorless cameras and lenses.  It is somehow fitting that this release took place a decade after the Photokina 2008 introduction of the world's first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, the groundbreaking Panasonic DMC-G1.

With Sony full frame mirrorless cameras outselling Nikon and Canon DSLRs, it was only a matter of time before the two biggest DSLR makers in the world saw the handwriting on the wall.

First Nikon - and now Canon have each introduced a full frame mirrorless 4K camera line and are now contenders for the 'best mirrorless camera' title.

And so, the ten year battle between reflex mirrors and electronic viewfinders is essentially over and the electrons seem to have won.

We'll have to see how this plays out in the marketplace, but my guess is that it will hard to find a full frame DSLR on the show floor at Photokina 2028.

As a still camera, the EOS R is a good value for money - its 30.3MP sensor gives it higher resolution than the comparably priced Sony A7 III and Nikon Z6.  And dual pixel AF will give it an advantage over Sony and Nikon. That said, at HCR what we really care about is video.

Video Performance

Although we were underwhelmed by the EOS R's leaked video specs (please see our previous post), the image quality from early sample videos seems to be very good.  The production values are high (much higher than the production value in the recent samples from the BMPCC 4K) and the dynamic range looks as good as a high-priced Canon Cinema EOS 4K camcorder (on YouTube and Vimeo, at least).

The first sample was shot at 4K (8-bit internal) by Devin "Supertramp" Graham with new Canon RF glass, as seen in the video and behind-the-scenes below:

The second sample was shot by Canon Ambassador Nicolai Brix.  It is 10-bit 1080p output to an Atomos recorder.  According to this morning's press release from Atomos, the EOS R's 4K 10-bit output is fully compatible with their new Ninja V recorder monitor.

Although Canon claims that the EOS R system is a "complement" to their full frame DSLRs, my guess is that this camera will very quickly outsell the 5D Mark IV and 5DS.

We have to hand it to Canon - they have come to the party late and with an under-spec'd camera (no 1080/120p slow motion, no IBIS, 1.7x 4K crop) - but Canon color, fast autofocus and compatibility with EF lenses will cause a lot of EOS shooters who were tempted to jump ship to either stay with Canon or perhaps even come home from Sony and Panasonic.

Well played, Canon - well played.

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