Canon EOS R – Mirrorless Camera Review

Canon EOS R – Mirrorless Camera Review

I bought the Canon EOS R mirrorless camera, because I wanted a second full frame body.  After using it for about nine months now, I can honestly say I like it. Since I bought it, I’ve been using it interchangeably with my Canon 5D Mark IV. 

I experimented with mirrorless cameras by buying the Canon EOS M50. It was a full featured crop-sensor camera, but it was small and felt like a toy. But, I was impressed with the mirrorless camera technology enough to buy the Canon EOS R.

When you strip away all the marketing jargon, the EOS R is a smaller and lighter version of the 5D Mark IV.  The two cameras share many similarities, but Canon added a couple updates to the mirrorless camera. They both have a 30.3MP sensor, but the EOS has a faster image processor, with considerably more focus points. 

Image Quality

I recently responded to a question on Instagram regarding differences in the image quality of the Canon EOS R vs Canon 5 Mark IV. My response was that there were no noticeable differences. The only way I can tell the difference is by looking at the file names. The EOS R uses Canon Raw 3, .CR3.

Dandelion Macro
Canon EOS R: ISO 100, f/11, 4 sec, 100mm

High ISO

I bought the EOS R camera right before my trip to Death Valley National Park. My plan was to test shooting at high a ISO – shooting stars in the dark sky. My son ended up using it, after his Canon 77D failed shooting at ISO 6400. However, looking at his images I would say it did very well. 


The EOS R uses Canon’s dual-pixel CMOS autofocus, and it performs very well. Again comparing it to my 5D Mark IV, I’m definitely impressed. What’s also impressive is the 5655 AF points. One of the main selling points was that I could autofocus using my 2x teleconverter with my 100-400m f/4 lens. Usually autofocus doesn’t work at apertures smaller than f/8. But, at f/11, it was slow to capture flying bald eagles at 800mm. You lose a lot of light. So, it makes sense. 

How Does It Feel?

Canon EOS R Camera

A camera should “feel good” in your hand. My 5D Mark IV has a great feel to it, and so does the Canon EOS R. It’s slightly smaller than the 5D, and the hand grip is very comfortable. Not to mention is it lighter. So, with a reasonably sized lens, like my go-to Canon 24-105mm, it’s not much to carry around – whether in your hand or on the camera strap. Since it’s lighter and smaller, it handles very well.

Things I like About the EOS R

LCD: The LCD swivels out and can be turned. This enables you to shoot from low angles without having to get on the ground. The LCD is also extremely helpful when you’re shooting directly above a subject, like food or products. In those cases, you don’t have to be concerned with your body casting a shadow. 

BATTERIES: The Canon EOS R uses the LP-E6 battery. That’s the same as the Canon 5D Mark IV. So, there’s no need to buy any additional battery types.  No matter which camera I choose to take (or both) I can quickly change batteries.  

LENSES : The EOS R uses the RF Mount for lenses, and there are RF Lenses. But, Canon sells three different adapters for EF Mount lenses. So, I didn’t have to buy any new lenses. I bought the Control Ring Adapter, because it gives you close native functions for your EF lenses. The control ring also adds some customizable features. 

FOCUS AREA: I can quickly change the focus area from the main LCD menu It’s a few more button presses to do it on the 5D Mark IV.

Canon Control Ring Adapter

Things I Don’t Like or Tolerate

Electronic Viewfinder: The Electronic ViewFinder (EVF) of the Canon EOS R was definitely improved from that of the EOS M50. But, using the EVF still takes some getting accustomed to (it just makes things look weird). My goal is to use it often so I can get used to it. I admit though, when I absolutely need to use the viewfinder (instead of LiveView) – I use my 5D.

The Click: With a DSLR, there is that “click” of the shutter that you can both hear and feel. That is gone with the mirrorless camera. This is not a big deal when I’m shooting from a tripod. But, when I’m shooting handheld it has been a little bit of a problem for me. I’ve been shooting with DSLR cameras, for years. So, I listen and feel for the “click”. Because of that, I’m not as steady shooting with the EOS R. I’m sure this will also improve with more use of the camera.

Final Thoughts

If you compare my likes vs dislikes, you can probably guess that I like the Canon EOS R. And, my “dislikes” are just things that will pass as I use the camera more. I’ve been purposely shooting with it more, but I really like my 5D Mark IV. So, I can’t say I’ll go 100% mirrorless any time soon. But, it is a great second body. Mirrorless cameras are more than just hype; they’re here to stay.

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