Canon EOS R3 review

Canon EOS R3 Review

Expected to be released on 14th September, the Canon EOS R3 is going to pack powerful features and offer superb performance. Canon announced back in April that the camera is in the development phase. According to Canon, it will be a professional full-frame camera that falls somewhere between Canon EOS 5D and Canon EOS-1DX Mark III.

However, there has been complete silence regarding the camera since then. Fortunately, we are getting some news and updates from historically accurate sources. One such update is its expected full release date.

What You Can Expect from Canon EOS R3?

We are also quite sure that Canon EOS R3 will have features like back illuminated stacked full-frame sensor, DIGIC X processor, and Eye Control function. The combination of the above will give it a continuous shooting speed of 30fps with an electronic shutter rivaling that of Sony A1. But – we still don’t know anything about the conditions such as file formats and lenses the camera has to meet to achieve this speed.

Interestingly, the camera would also offer a new Eye Control Autofocus function. It is similar to the autofocus Canon film cameras of the 90s such as Canon EOS 3 and Canon EOS 5 had. This type of AF allows you to just look into the viewfinder to choose an autofocus point. The autofocus had some problems and whether or not EOS R3 offers something new remains to be seen.

Canon EOS R3 Release Date

We have to wait a bit longer to avail of all the above features. Canon still hasn’t given any official release date of the EOS R3. You may already have seen the camera in action in Tokyo Olympics. However, we may not be able to get our hands on the camera by the end of this year.

Until then, you have to be content with the rumors coming out from different sources about what EOS R3 will bring forth. Therefore, we have rounded up the most credible rumors for you. We have also analyzed its official specs and how it will influence the full-frame camera competition between Sony, Nikon, and Canon.

What is Canon EOS R3?

It is Canon’s latest flagship full-frame mirrorless camera for sports photographers. You can also expect a full launch in September even though Canon has made no official announcement yet.

We still have no idea about its complete set of features. However, some credible resources have confirmed that it will have a Canon backside-illuminated sensor developed by Canon itself, an updated version of Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus, and a continuous shooting speed of 30fps with the electronic shutter. You can also move the autofocus points with your eyes just by looking through the viewfinder. Besides, the camera would have a weather-resistant body. The sensor resolution and the price of EOS R3 are still a mystery.

Canon EOS R3 Price and Release Date

As mentioned above, Canon hasn’t announced any official release date or price for EOS R3. Rumors suggest a full launch this month. You can expect the price to be near Canon EOS-1DX Mark III rather than Canon EOS R5.

Why do experts think the camera will come out in September? Firstly, Canon Rumors claim that it will be released in September based on the information they received from a credible source.

This is exactly what happened with Canon EOS R5. Canon gave a “development announcement” in February 2020 before fully launching it after five months in July 2020. Therefore, EOS R3 should be available in September because its development announcement was made in April that is a five-month gap.  

However, the shortage of components such as semiconductors has resulted in the delays for many lenses and cameras in 2021. Therefore, it is likely that Canon pushes the September launch further back.

Now we come to the Canon EOS R3 cost. Once again, we have no official indication regarding its price. But – we can make a calculated guess about the price because the camera sits between Canon EOS-1DX Mark III and Canon EOS R5.

The price of Canon EOS 1DX-Mark III and Canon EOS R5 was $6,499 and $3,899 at time of their launch respectively. Considering EOS R3 borrows the best features from both cameras, its price should be near to EOS 1DX Mark III. But – we will have to see which way the wind blows.

Canon EOS R3 Specs and Features

The confirmed features of the camera include Canon’s stacked BSI CMOS sensor. The sensor would supposedly have 45MP of resolution with 8k/30p video. The New Eye Control Function also enables you to change autofocus points with your eyes.

We already know some of the key features of EOS R3. However, nothing much is known otherwise. There are a lot of question marks regarding what the camera has to offer. However, let us discuss the confirmed features in detail.

Backside Illuminated Stacked CMOS Sensor

First of all, the Camera would have backside-illuminated stacked CMOS sensors. As it has been developed by Canon, it should assimilate nicely with the DIGIC X image processor. On top of that, the stacked design is very similar to that of Sony A1. Nikon’s upcoming flagship sports camera, the Nikon Z9 will also have a stacked sensor. The stacked sensors deliver faster autofocus and burst speeds thanks to their lightning-fast data reach out speeds.

However, we are still clueless about the resolution of the EOS R3 sensor. It is likely to be a 45MP sensor with 8k/30 video capability according to a recent article by Canon Watch.

Even though it is just a guess, it seems to be a realistic resolution for EOS R3. After all, it aims to rival Sony A1 which is a 50MP camera with the capability to shoot at 30fps.

Sports cameras by Canon such as EOS-1DX Mark III traditionally have around 20MP resolution. The low megapixel count helps photographers achieve greater burst speed. Therefore, 45MP is a little high considering resolution of other sports cameras. However, you can expect wonders with R3 given it has the tallest stacked sensor and DIGIC X processor.

Updated Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus

Perhaps, the most exciting feature of the R3 is its autofocus. The camera will have the next generation Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus. It can track the bodies, heads, and eyes of your subjects at a very high speed.

The R3 features the Quad Pixel AF system according to both Canon Watch and Canon Rumors. Canon users have been impatiently waiting for this autofocus for more than two years.

This one is arguable because the definition of next-generation dual CMOS is still not clear. Canon Rumor may simply be wrong or Canon would announce the inclusion of Quad Pixel CMOS Autofocus at the time of official release.

Still, you are going to use one autofocus trick in R3 that is a new subject to camera autofocus tracking. Canon hasn’t disclosed the full scale of this function. So fingers are crossed to see what it entails because the latest high-end cameras can already track animals, birds, and humans.

Eye Control Function

Another AF trick that will even overshadow the subject-tracking function is the Eye Control. The older Canon film cameras such as Canon EOS 5 and Canon EOS 3 had this kind of autofocus back in the 90s. It allows you to change the autofocus points with your eyes by looking through the viewfinder. The latest iteration of the highly impressive technology of its time is promised to be “new and improved.”

One of the biggest advantages of Eye Control is that you can adjust your autofocus quicker than using buttons. The original technology was a bit “hit and miss” but its new version in R3 will hopefully be flawless.

Continuous Shooting Speed of 30fps

The fourth confirmed big feature of the camera is the continuous shooting speed of 30fps with the electronic shutter. Similarly, it allows full auto-exposure and autofocus tracking at this speed. R3 can theoretically rival Sony A1 when it comes to shooting speed but with some forewarnings.

Firstly, we have no idea what kind of files the camera will support at 30fps or whether or not it will have an image crop. For example, you cannot shoot lossless or uncompressed RAW files on Sony A1 but can shoot JPEGS and compressed RAWs. Secondly, the lens you are going to use would primarily determine the continuous shooting speed. We are still not clear which lens will support 30fps speed.

Two More Rumored Specs

Canon EOS R3 will potentially have two more specs apart from the official announcements. According to Canon Watch, its continuous shooting speed will be 20fps with the mechanical shutter. Similarly, it will have the capability of recording RAW videos at 8K/30 fps.

Canon Rumors also suggests that the camera will have a “Pixel Shift” function, called in this case as a “resolution trick.” It is a very impressive feature but glaringly missing in cameras like Canon EOS R5. It allows cameras to move their sensor and increase the native resolution by four times when taking high-resolution pictures.

Canon EOS R3 Design and Build

One thing is for sure. The Canon EOS R3 will have excellent design and built quality. It will be a durable and weather-resistant camera just like the EOS-1 series.

The camera will offer a long battery life and integrated grip for professional-level handling. Experts have gleaned a lot of information about the camera’s design from its photos.

First of all, The EOS R3 will be an indestructible camera just like DSLR cameras in the legendary EOS-1 series. It will also have the same level of dust and water resistance and therefore, it will last for years.

The camera also comes with an integrated grip. The main purpose of the grip is comfortable handling of course. However, it also houses a very large battery and thus, R3 has longer battery life than most mirrorless cameras.

The camera will find it hard to match 2850 images per charge by EOS-1DX Mark III. However, it will offer much more than meager 320 and 490 shots by EOS R5 when using the electronic viewfinder and LCD respectively.

The viewfinder is as important for sports photographers as battery life. However, we have no information about the R3 electronic viewfinder. But – we do know one thing that is it will inherit the optical viewfinder experience from EOS-1DX Mark III. Therefore, the EVF will have a very high refresh rate as well as resolution. R3 will live up to the expectations of professional sports cameras quite easily.

Canon EOS R3 Lenses

No matter how good the camera is, it is nothing without an excellent lens. That is why Canon also has announced the first true RF macro lens as well as two professional telephoto lenses besides EOS R3.

We would write a separate review for all these lenses. However, the white telephoto lenses have better image stabilization and improved autofocus performance compared to Canon’s EF equivalents.

The major downside of the new lenses is their high price tag. You may consider using RF 100mm f/2.8L instead if you cannot afford them. It features a spherical Aberration (SA) Control Ring for creative effects. It also helps you soften various parts of your photos. Similarly, it has a minimum focusing distance of only 8.6cm.

Final Thoughts

Canon surprised the photography community with the announcement of EOS R3. Before that, there have been incessant torrents of rumors claiming the possible release of the Canon EOS R1 flagship. Does the arrival of R3 mean the R1 will not see the light of the day?

Canon R3 is going to be the updated version of the EOS R6 in our opinion. It is not going to be the flagship with high resolution and 8k video which we expected R1 to be. Therefore, the R3 will give tough competition to Nikon Z9 rather than Sony A1. The R3 will also compel the sports photographers to make a shift from DSLRs to mirrorless cameras.

Canon EOS R3 is going to be an exciting camera for sports photographers. It also offers a glimpse into what future sports cameras by Canon will entail. However, it is still not the answer to the Sony A1 when it comes to high-end mirrorless cameras. We will have to wait for it a bit longer.

One comment

  1. It is so cool that I came across your article because now I’m engaged in photography and I’m looking for the most reliable and multifunctional camera which would take my breath away with the perfect quality of pictures. To tell the truth, before this moment I hadn’t even known that Canon announced the new model of camera and now I’m amazed by its functionality and advantages. I think that it is like a breakthrough for Canon in the sphere of technology because this professional camera has such a wide range of unique possibilities which can’t leave anyone indifferent. The fact that Canon EOS R3 is equipped with motorsports motion tracking modes has a great value for me and is decisive because i really often take live photos of people in the process and, especially, when they are engaged in some kind of vigorous activity.

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