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.