The EOS R Diary : Whys

This is the first installment of what I plan to be a long(ish) series of posts about my experience with the Canon EOS R system. Yes, while I’m not a big fan of mirrorless in general, I bought an EOS R along with an RF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens. Why?

First and foremost for software development and testing purposes. ShutterCount was the first and as far as I know still the only app that can read the shutter counter of the R (plus the M50). Kuuvik Capture provides tethered shooting support for the EOS R for macOS Mojave users as well (Canon’s own software is not supported on Mojave).

And there’s another reason. I have been looking for a camera system that requires less disciplined technique than my 5DS R plus Zeiss/Rodenstock glass for a very long time. For those occasions where spending half an hour on a single frame isn’t feasible (think travel, for example). What the 5DS R produces is pure magic, but sometimes I would love to stop down beyond f/7.1 or have auto-focus.

November Sun – EOS R + RF 50/1.2

I had tried many options: APS-C, full frame, medium format. From Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji and Hasselblad. And they all failed. Either in the image quality department, or I just gave up amidst frustration because of their awkward user interfaces.

Regarding image quality, I look at the whole imaging chain. The EOS R, with the RF 50/1.2 and Capture One as the RAW converter is capable of producing excellent image quality. (Lesser RAW converters, such as Lightroom or DPP, produce lamentable results, so everything I say here refers to Capture One converted files.) No, it’s not in the league of a Zeiss Otus or a Rodenstock HR-Digaron on the 5DS R, but close enough so I don’t regret leaving the big boys at home.

The freedom those larger pixels and AF brings is charming. I do warn people longing for high resolution cameras that it’s hard work to use them properly. The R’s full frame sensor with 30 megapixels is a little more than what I would consider as an easy-to-shoot camera, but still manageable. And the resulting images can be printed quite large.

As you probably guessed, I like the camera. It won’t replace any of my DSLRs, but already opened up new possibilities, and hope it will do even more in the future.

This brings me to the next why.

Based on the exorbitant amount of negativity on the net about the R you may think it’s a bad camera. Well, from my experience it’s clear that, to put it mildly, most of those reviewers aren’t on the top of their craft. And all this darkness irritates the hell out of me. I expect Canon to make the paying customer (me) happy. I don’t care if the professional we-know-everything-better haters aren’t happy.

Each camera offers a feature set for its target audience. If it’s not for you, then move on, choose another one that fits your needs better. Finding workarounds and solutions to make a system a better fit for one’s needs is a sign of intelligence. Yet I seldom run into constructive and helpful writings. The stupid mud-slinging that goes on and on is a sign of arrogance. Honestly, some of those guys should seek immediate medical assistance.

With that said, if I had been in charge of leading the camera’s development, there are things I would definitely have done differently. But as someone who does user interface design for more than three decades, I can understand the motivation behind most of the team’s decisions. And as someone who knows way more about the internal working of Canon cameras than any of the regular reviewers, I’m confident that in the upcoming diary entries I will be able to shed light on the whys of the EOS R.

That’s for the introduction, next time I’ll discuss camera customization. Homework: download the camera’s user manual and read chapter 5 and chapter 7.

Kuuvik Capture 4.2 Released

Version 4.2 of my premium Canon tethering app, Kuuvik Capture, is now available on the Mac App Store.

The headline feature is that the app is localized to French. Localization is much more than simple translation, and Agnes did a great job here: the app has a slightly different personality than the English version, but I quite like it. Click the image below for a larger view.

Although I don’t speak French, after spending weeks with the development and my cameras switched to French, I’ve learned quite a lot. It was an exciting and fun experience, I hope you’ll like the outcome!

It was also a good opportunity to revise a few messages (mostly error messages that you seldom encounter). The most prominent change is that the former “manual” white balance mode(s) are now named “custom” to be in sync with contemporary camera menus.

The other new feature is the C-Log mode indicator.

Once a camera is switched to C-Log recording mode, picture styles get disabled. So we reused the picture style selector control to display the C-Log mode and bit depth (on the EOS R, for example, where you can choose to use 8bit or 10bit recording).

Note that in 10bit mode the EOS R can’t record to a memory card (only to an external recorder), so just like the record button on the camera, the record button in Kuuvik Capture will have no effect.

The update is free for existing Kuuvik Capture users. New users can purchase it in the Mac App Store.

My eBook, Kuuvik Capture Inside Out, has also been updated to cover the new version. It is available as a free download from the Kuuvik Capture web site.

ShutterCount Mobile 3.5 : File Mode

Version 3.5 of ShutterCount Mobile (including the Pro edition) brings File Mode to the iOS app.

File Mode is designed to be used with cameras that store the shutter counter in image files, that is almost all Nikon and Pentax models.

While on the Mac it is pretty easy to bring images into the app, it’s a bit tricky on iOS: you have to import them into Photos first. Basically you have two options to do it.

The first is to connect the camera (or a card reader) directly to your iPhone or iPad, and let iOS to import the image into Photos. On this year’s USB-C equipped iPads its straightforward, but on devices with a Lightning connector you’ll need Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adapter.

The second option is to import the image into Photos on your desktop computer and let it sync through your iCloud Photo Library to the phone.

Either RAW (NEF/PEF/DNG) or JPG format photos will do it, but I recommend small size JPGs, as the app only needs the metadata from the image, not the pixels.

Other options, such as sending the image through iMessage or via email might strip the metadata portion, in which case the app will tell you that shutter count information is missing from the file.

Once the image is in Photos, open ShutterCount and tap Connect. Tap Open Photo… and the app will let you select the image from your photo library.

If the image is present locally on your device, which is usually the case, especially if you just imported it, the reading will be done immediately.

But if for some reason the photo is in the cloud (because you imported it into the desktop Photos, or if iOS migrated it to the cloud due to low available space on your device), it needs to be downloaded.

For JPGs, Photos will handle the downloading. But for RAW files, Photos will only download the preview JPG, and strip all the metadata we need. In this case ShutterCount will download the complete file for you.

Once the download completed, the app will do the reading.

ShutterCount 3.5 is a free update for existing owners. New users can purchase it in the App Store. Also available is a Pro edition containing all optional extras, such as the Plus Pack with graphing and forecasting features.

File Mode on iOS requires iOS 12 or later and supports the exact same cameras it does on a Mac. For the complete list, please refer to our Tech Specs page.

ShutterCount : Bonjour, les Francophones!

Thanks to Agnes, ShutterCount is now available in French!

This includes both the Mac and iPhone/iPad versions, and regular as well as Pro editions.

If you are using your Mac or iOS device in French as the primary language (or French is before English in your preferred language order), the app will automatically appear in French. Just make sure that you are using version 3.5 (the current one) or later. The update is free for existing users.

À bientôt!