Taking the EOS R for a test drive

Mostly hits and an HDR miss…

Recently, I spoiled myself with a new Canon EOS R camera and an RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM zoom lens to go with the new Canon RF series mount; note that the camera came with an adaptor for all the Canon EOS mount lenses that I have, but I did want to make use of the full integration that comes with the new lens series.

You may ask, why I decided to go mirrorless; actually, I had already gone mirrorless for my travel photography with my Fuji X-H1, which is a great camera. There were some minor nuisances in this camera that kept me looking for other possible cameras to fit the niche. The most significant issue that I have with the Fuji is that it is a crop sensor. As a result, it’s ability to shoot real wide angle landscapes is a bit restricted.

Also, I have a significant investment in Canon lenses that I really like… Thus, when Canon released the EOS R last year with its full frame sensor, I was intrigued. However, I’m not exactly an early adopter in cameras, which made me wait until the 1.2.0 firmware release was out and the EOS R had ample field testing under its belt. Also, there was a significant rebate available at this time, which made the purchase more tempting. So, a couple of weeks ago, I pulled the trigger and used my Adorama credit that I had and a great credit deal (6 months with 0% interest) to buy the camera and lens.

View toward Windsor Dam at the Quabbin Reservoir

First observations of this camera is that it fits my hands well, its menus are well laid out in the familiar Canon style. Also, even though there are some changes to the layout of buttons and dials, they are quickly picked up and work well with my shooting style; I tend to shoot in either Aperture Priority or Manual modes, and making adjustments to settings while shooting in these modes is mostly done with 2 dials that are lined up with the index finger and thumb. Common adjustments for me, depending on mode, are aperture, exposure compensation, shutter speed and ISO speed, if light is highly variable.

After making my usual changes to default settings; which took about 10 or so minutes, the EOS R was ready for business. Btw, batteries have the same form factor, although there is an upgraded battery that can be charged by connecting the camera to a USB-C power source (MacBook…).

This weekend was the first real landscape shooting trip, as I hadn’t really caught great light conditions over the past week during the gaps in my schedule.

Ware River in Gilbertville, MA

Part of what I wanted to exercise is the HDR shooting capability of this camera. There are a good variety of options and I have found that Canon did a passable job in its in-camera processing and it still does a reasonable job, even though the processing takes quite a bit of time in the EOS R (I will get exact timing, but it seems like more than 5 seconds, which is slow when you are eager to shoot more). The shot of the Ware River is an in-camera processed HDR shot; it’s okay, but not stellar, as there was a slight breeze and trees get a bit fuzzy.

Hardwick Mill brick detail – Gilbertville, MA

The first image in this post was a quick test shot, which was unremarkable, but certainly workable. The brick detail image is the first of an HDR series, aka the EV 0 image; the raw image was taken through my basic Photoshop process and shows the sharpness of the lens and camera.

Hardwick Mill detail

The second mill image shows that the camera handles the exposure range between the white of the doors and the brick and darker sections pretty well. Both of the last two images were shot at f/5.6 and 400 ISO to get 1/500 s or faster shutter speed.

So far, I’m very happy with the results and I will continue to take this camera on the road for more opportunities (next stop: Brno).

One quick note on HDR; of course, I was looking forward to taking the HDR sequences through some proper processing. Unfortunately, I was thwarted, as Aurora HDR by Skylum does not support the CR3 RAW file format yet. Yes, the format has been out in public since February of 2018 with the release of the EOS M50, but Skylum has not figured out how to make the format work yet. Instead, I tried Photoshop Merge HDR processing, but was less than enchanted by the results, as ghosting is not handled very well. I will look for other options, as I enjoy the freedom of creating something unusual through HDR… Stay tuned!

Author: jansenphoto

A Fresh Perspective Photography is more than just a vehicle for capturing the world around me; it provides me with a palette and a set of brushes, with which I paint not only what I see, but also look to express the emotions that are evoked by the scene in front of me in that moment. Growing up in the Netherlands exposed me to a wide cross-section of visual arts that laid the foundation of my photographic view of all that surrounds me. Early influences were the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, to whom I was introduced by my grandfather during museum explorations; favorites among them are the scenes of quotidian life depicted by Jan Steen and Frans Hals and the vivid landscapes of Jacob van Ruisdael. My classical high school education was supplemented by the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, where I spent many a lunch hour exploring its great collection. Here I was introduced to surrealism with a particular love for the approach taken by Salvador Dali; Dali also rekindled my appreciation for the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who often showed the folly of us mortals. Universal Connections My approach to any photographic subject is to look for understanding first; in this I look to establish either a connection between the viewer and the subject or capture the connection of the subject with its surroundings. The captured image then aims to portray this connection from a perspective that is part of my personal interpretation. This interpretation is often a form of externalized introspection, which may alternately display the connection of isolated beings and items with their environment or highlight the whimsy of the profound world, in which we find ourselves. The universe is full of connections, many of which are waiting to be discovered; part of my journey as a photographer is to document these connections. Any assignment, be it an event, a product shoot or a portrait session is always approached through communication with the client; this is where the first connection is established. Ideas are exchanged and a collaborative plan of action forms, ultimately resulting in a set of images that aim to exceed the expectations of each client. And, lest we forget, it is important to have fun while practicing the serious business of photography!

9 thoughts on “Taking the EOS R for a test drive”

  1. I recently bought a Canon mirrorless and it may be the same as your new one. It is a Canon EOS RP. I looked into mirrorless at your suggestion back in February (thank you!!). I only got a 35mm F1.8 macro lens with it. So far so good, although my learning curve is bigger than yours! Figuring out (consistently) how to navigate the wifi photo transfer to my computer is stumping me. Other than that, the camera with its macro lens has turned out some nice pics.I just need to be patient in the learning process regarding all the features. Do you know of any online tutorials? Your photos are amazing!

    1. There’s not a great deal of difference between the R and RP; there is a bit less programmability and it doesn’t have the new programmable slide button on the back (I’m not using that yet, as I’ve been able to do everything that I normally do with my EOS 5D MkIII). It sounds like you’re enjoying the RP and I’m curious to hear how you like the performance of the 35mm f/1.8 macro; it looks interesting, particularly for doing some close up flower work.

      I tend not to use Wifi for photo transfer, as it is rather power intensive for the camera and it takes a number of steps to configure Wifi every time (I read the section and would prefer they just save the data in camera, so that I can program a button to turn it on/off). The only time that I’d use the Wifi is for in-studio product photography, so that I can tether the camera to a laptop.

      For EOS RP tutorials, you might want to check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ch1By15rH44 as it has a ton of coverage.

      Thank you for your kindness. I always enjoy your posts!

  2. While I have no understanding of the words you said other than you have a new toy…your pictures tell a marvelous story. Hope your new camera brings you the joy your pictures bring us.

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