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!