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Canon EOS R3 Review – Hands-on

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Canon have revealed their answer to the Sony Alpha 1 and the Nikon Z9 in the shape of the new EOS R3 full-frame mirrorless camera.

The Canon R3 will feature a new Canon-developed back illuminated stacked CMOS sensor, DIGIC X imaging processor, 30fps burst shooting with AF/AE tracking, an integrated grip design with professional levels of weather-proofing, Canon’s most advanced autofocusing system ever, an innovative new autofocus Eye Control Function, and compatibility with Canon’s Mobile File Transfer smartphone app.

In an update released on 2nd June 2021, Canon have also revealed that the R3 will feature Auto Focus (AF) tracking for motorsports including racing cars and motorbikes, focusing in extreme darkness at light levels -7EV, up to 8-stops of protection against camera shake, RAW file capture at 30fps with full AF/AE tracking, the ability to record oversampled 4K video and a fully articulating display.

The full specifications, price and availability of the Canon EOS R3 have yet to be announced.

Canon UK Press Release 02/06/2021

AF tracking for racing cars and motorbikes – more details of Canon’s EOS R3 revealed – a high-speed, high-performance mirrorless

London, United Kingdom, 2nd June 2021 – Following Canon Inc.’s initial development announcement of the EOS R3 – its latest high-performance, high-speed professional mirrorless camera – more details have been revealed today confirming it marks a new era for sports, wildlife and news photographers.

Canon is committed to achieving the impossible, and this camera is no exception. Today, new specs prove the EOS R3 takes object-tracking to another level – adding Auto Focus (AF) tracking for motorsports including racing cars and motorbikes. In addition to this, ideal for filmmakers, the EOS R3 can record oversampled 4K video.

The EOS R3 combines the next-level performance and image quality advantages of Canon’s innovative EOS R System line-up. Pairing its RF Mount with Canon’s RF lenses, the EOS R3 offers possibilities unseen in any other camera/lens duo and opens the door to previously unattainable capabilities and unseen optical excellence. As a result, professional photographers – whether shooting sports, wildlife, or news – can capture fleeting moments in time, in ways they never thought possible.

Following the April development announcement, here’s some of the freshly revealed EOS R3 specs to be aware of:

Capture fast-moving subjects in pin-sharp focus, with ease

Professionals following moving objects around the frame will enjoy the EOS R3’s ability to keep them in pin-sharp focus – even when shooting RAW at 30fps – thanks to Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. Alongside the people and animal (including birds) AF tracking technology found in the EOS R5 and EOS R6, the EOS R3 is perfect for motorsports photographers – with its ability to track racing cars and motorbikes. And when light conditions get tough, the camera can focus in extreme darkness at light levels -7EV or lower.

Supporting Canon’s unique Eye Control AF technology, which enables professionals to select the AF point with only their eye, the EOS R3 is an extension of any photographers’ creativity – reacting quickly in the moment to capture the shot. In low light, the EOS R3 offers up to 8-stops of protection against camera shake with Canon’s revolutionary combined Image Stabilizer (IS) technology. The camera’s sensor-shift IS works in tandem with the optical IS built into many RF Mount lenses, for a result that lets professionals shoot handheld in very dim light or while using long shutter speeds to intentionally blur movement.

High-quality RAW at 30fps

At the heart of the EOS R3 lies a brand-new back illuminated stacked CMOS sensor, working together with Canon’s high-performance DIGIC X image processor. Today, Canon can confirm it will capture quality RAW files at a staggering 30fps with full AF/AE tracking. The breath-taking speed of the camera’s new sensor also redefines what can be done with an electronic shutter. Flash sync is now possible with the electronic shutter when used with external Speedlites, and rolling shutter distortion when shooting fast-moving subjects has been reduced.

Oversampled 4K and RAW recording abilities

In addition to its next-level still photography capabilities, the EOS R3 is suited to those looking to capture high-quality video. The camera will record oversampled 4K, or users can record RAW footage internally. Canon Log 3 is also available to provide professionals with greater dynamic range and colour grading possibilities. Crucially, the same object recognition available to stills photographers is also available to videographers, so filmmakers can track fast-moving objects around the frame, keeping them in sharp focus.

Built for professionals

Built to withstand the rigours of day-to-day professional use, the EOS R3 will have a tough, magnesium-alloy body featuring dust and water resistance to the same level as Canon’s legendary EOS-1D X series – ensuring it can cope in the toughest weather conditions. Dual card slots allow image files to be written to SD or CFexpress memory cards. The camera is powered by a high-capacity LP-E19 battery – the same as the one found in Canon’s EOS-1D X Mark III cameras – enabling professionals to use and share batteries between cameras that they may already have in their kitbag. The camera will also offer a choice of controls with both multi controller and smart controller – for completely intuitive operation. Offering three customisable dials on the body, plus a Lens Control ring on each RF Mount lens, this allows shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and exposure compensation all to be easily adjusted while the camera is at the photographer’s eye. The EOS R3 is also equipped with a Vari-Angle screen letting professionals compose easily from creative perspectives.

Advanced connectivity

As a camera intended for leading sports and news shooters – connectivity is vital. Offering a built in Wired LAN socket and 5GHz Wi-Fi allowing communication with computer networks, laptops and mobile devices, professionals can share images quickly and easily. As previously announced, the EOS R3 is also compatible with the Canon Mobile File Transfer app. What’s more, the EOS R3 will feature a new accessory shoe which provides data communication and power for new accessories when attached to the camera.

EOS R3 key features announced as of today (2nd June 2021) are:

  • New Canon-developed back illuminated stacked CMOS sensor
  • 30fps with AF/AE tracking
  • AF tracking of people, animals (including birds) and motorsports (racing motorbikes and racing cars)
  • Can record oversampled 4K, or RAW footage internally and Canon Log 3
  • Eye Control AF point selection
  • Focus in light levels -7EV or loweri
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • EOS-1D series dust and water resistance

Canon UK Press Release 14/04/2021

Ultra-fast, and responsive – first details of EOS R3 revealed, Canon’s latest professional mirrorless for sports and news

Today, with the news of three new innovative RF lens and a new file sharing app, Canon Inc. announces the development of EOS R3 – its latest high-speed and ultra-responsive professional mirrorless camera. With its ground-breaking design, the camera will empower professional sports and news photographers to meet challenging demands – to outpace and outperform. Boasting qualities seen in Canon’s DSLR and mirrorless bodies, the EOS R3 truly is a hybrid, next generation camera for the sports and news photographers of today and tomorrow.

The EOS R3 features a new Canon-developed BSI stacked CMOS sensor, a powerful DIGIC X imaging processor, shooting capabilities of 30fps with AF/AE tracking, eye, head and body detection and a pioneering new autofocus Eye Control Function. It is the ideal camera for action photographers looking for quality images, both still and moving, of objects travelling at intense speeds.

Built on the revolutionary EOS R System, with its unparalleled RF Mount and paired with one of Canon’s innovative RF lenses, the camera offers capabilities unseen in any other camera/lens duo. With lenses like the today launched RF 400mm F2.8L IS USM and RF 600mm F4L IS USM, professionals can achieve unrivalled optical excellence and performance.

Here’s five things you need to know about the new EOS R3:

High quality, at high speed

The EOS R3 is the first EOS series camera to feature an entirely new 35mm back illuminated stacked CMOS sensor – developed by Canon. Combined with the power of its DIGIC X imaging processor, professionals using EOS R3 will achieve next-level, high-speed photography and filmmaking. Using the camera, they can enjoy 30fps with AF/AE tracking with minimal image distortion when using the electronic shutter – perfect for the likes of professional sports photographers challenged with capturing action within a fraction of a second.

Impressive tracking of fast-moving action

Professionals can push creative boundaries with pin-sharp accurate tracking and focus on fast-moving action. The EOS R3’s next generation Dual Pixel CMOS AF can track subjects’ eyes, heads and bodies travelling at speed – excellent for capturing even the finest of details in a split second. What’s more, Canon reveals it will add a new subject (yet to be disclosed) to the camera’s AF tracking.

AF control – with your eye!

The EOS R3 will feature new and improved technology first seen in Canon’s EOS 5. It is the first EOS digital camera to provide a new generation of photographers with ground-breaking Eye Control Function, which enables users to simply select and move the AF point using their eye via the viewfinder. This instinctive feature offers professionals natural and speedy control over AF. Reducing the time to focus, which is usually done with a multi-controller/button, this feature is again perfect for photographers looking to capture the most important subject for their frame at speed – whether that’s during a news conference or photographing a team sport.

Professional build

Inspired by the EOS-1D series, the EOS R3 body allows for ultra-intuitive control in the most demanding professional situations. Professionals can expect the same durability and dust and water resistance as provided in Canon’s legendary EOS-1 series bodies. The camera also has the integrated grip that EOS-1D series users love and trust. With EOS R3, professionals have the confidence to keep on shooting – whatever the conditions – whether they are pitch side or poolside, inside or outside, in snow or sunshine.

Fast connection – introducing Canon’s new Mobile File Transfer

The EOS R3 will be fully compatible with Canon’s Mobile File Transfer smartphone app. This provides a new way to transfer images and speed up workflow whilst on the move, using mobile network services and without the need for wired LAN equipment.

Canon is launching Version 1.2 of its Mobile File Transfer for iOS via the Apple App Store in June, which is compatible with Canon’s EOS-1D X Mark III, EOS R5 and EOS R6. Android support will be added in the future.

Today, Canon also announces the RF 100mm F2.8L MACRO IS USM – an impressive macro and portraiture lens which is the world’s first AF macro lens with 1.4x close up magnification . In addition to this Canon also revealed details of a the new RF 400mm F2.8L IS USM and RF 600mm F4L IS USM, two telephoto prime lenses designed to meet the demands for sports and wildlife professionals, with incredible focal lengths and capabilities, especially when paired with EOS R3.

Key Features

Initial EOS R3 key features announced today (14th April 2021) are:

  • New Canon-developed stacked BSI CMOS sensor
  • 30fps with AF/AE tracking
  • Eye Control Function
  • Subject eye and head detection
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • 1D series weather resistance

Canon USA Press Release

“The development of the Canon EOS R3 and the launch of the new RF lenses are the latest testament to the company’s commitment to professional still and video image and content creators,” said Tatsuro “Tony” Kano, executive vice president and general manager of Canon U.S.A.’s Imaging Technologies & Communications Group. “When the camera becomes available, it will pair well with each of the new RF lenses announced today. Canon is excited to share this news today, and we look forward to seeing the images captured with the new RF lenses and upcoming EOS R3.”

The Canon EOS R3 will join the current lineup of EOS R full-frame mirrorless series cameras. This camera will usher in a new category to the EOS R system, positioned squarely between the EOS R5 and EOS-1D X Mark III cameras. The camera will put great emphasis on superb AF performance and speed, with fast-moving subjects. It is being designed to meet the reliability and durability demands of professionals, even when working in challenging conditions.

At the heart of the EOS R3 camera’s performance will be an EOS camera first, a Canon-developed, full-frame stacked CMOS sensor with a back-illuminated design, providing substantially faster read-out speeds during still-imaging recording. This completely new sensor is designed to produce less “rolling shutter” distortion during Electronic Shutter operation and offer continuous Electronic Shutter still-image shooting at speeds up to 30 fps — with full Dual Pixel CMOS AF and auto exposure1.

The AF system will leverage technology and performance from the well-received EOS R5 and EOS R6 cameras, using Deep Learning technology to further enhance eye and body detection for even better performance during portrait and action-type shooting. In addition, the EOS R3’s subject detection AF will offer new recognizable subjects for its AF system, bolstering its focusing capabilities during challenging shooting conditions.

The Electronic Viewfinder of the EOS R3 will offer photographers the ability to select the initial area for AF tracking by simply looking directly at the viewfinder location where they want to begin AF. With Eye Control AF2 and Servo AF activated, the camera will focus on and track moving subjects at that location in the frame. When Face Detect + Tracking is active, the camera will continue to follow moving subjects around the entire active AF area.

The camera body will be entirely new and accentuates the camera’s high-performance design. It’s a one-piece design, integrating the body with a vertical grip section. The weather and dust-resistance will be equivalent to that of EOS-1D class cameras — an essential consideration for nature, wildlife, sports and photojournalism content creators working in extreme conditions. In addition, news photojournalists will be excited to add the Mobile File Transmitter application for iOS and Android devices that will be available.

Image Gallery

Click on a thumbnail to see the full version.

Hands On

Are you excited about the upcoming Canon EOS R3 full frame mirrorless camera? Do you want to see some actual up close and personal shots of a real life model, rather than just Canon’s official rendered product images?

Then you’ve come to the right place, as last week I was given an exclusive one-to-one briefing by Canon and had the chance to shoot an extensive gallery of hands-on photos of the R3.

As this is still an early tech announcement, though, to be more precise they were strictly hands-off photos, as I wasn’t allowed to actually touch the camera, turn it on, open any of the ports or compartments, or see the bottom of it.

Canon’s Product Intelligence Consultant, David Parry, was also under strict orders not to divulge any additional information about the EOS R3 other than what has already been revealed in the previous two press releases that Canon have issued. So I’m afraid I don’t have any more information for you about the megapixel count of the sensor, for example, or whether it will be able to record 8K or just 4K video.

Canon did a similar thing for the EOS R5 camera in 2020, where they showed me an early pre-production model well ahead of the official launch that turned out to be virtually identical to the finished article. So if they follow the same plan for the R3, the photos that you see here will be almost 100% the same as the actual camera that will be available to buy later in 2021.

So without further ado, here is our extensive gallery of hands-on photos of the exciting new Canon EOS R3 full-frame mirrorless camera.

Please note that if you would like to re-publish any of the images included in this Canon EOS R3 Hands-on Photos article, you may only use up to 5 images without prior permission. Please also include a link back to the original article. Thank you.

Image Gallery

Click on a thumbnail to see the full version.

Product Images

Canon EOS R3
Canon EOS R3

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Canon EOS R3.

The EOS-1D X Mark III is Canon’s flagship DSLR camera for sports and wildlife photographers. With a price tag of £6499 / $6499, does it have what it takes to outpace the likes of the Nikon D6 and the Sony A9 II? Read our Canon 1D X Mark III to review to find out…

The Nikon D6 is the 2020 update of Nikon’s flagship DSLR camera for professional sports, press and nature photographers. Is this the best DSLR that Nikon have ever made? Find out by reading our in-depth Nikon D6 review, complete with full-size sample photos and videos.

The Nikon Z9 has just been unveiled, a new flagship 35mm full-frame mirrorless camera that will sit above the Z7 II and Z6 II in Nikon’s Z-series range. The professional level Z9 will feature the Z-mount and have a newly developed FX-format stacked CMOS sensor and a new image-processing engine…

The Sony Alpha 1 camera, or Sony A1 for short, is the best camera that Sony have ever released, and currently the best all-round camera on the market. It’s also one of the most expensive, so read our in-depth Sony A1 review complete with full-size sample JPEG and Raw photos and movies to find out if it’s truly the One for you…

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