The Canon EOS R is a Camera that every Film-maker should have.
In today's rapidly growing "pro-camera consumer" times, far too much concentration is given to comparing camera functions across the various brands instead of actually taking the time to understand and experience each camera. Therefore, to many people it may sound too much of a sweeping statement to make that every film-maker should have the CANON EOS R because of its reported short-comings but as someone who has spent a month shooting a short film with it, I can safely say that I need this camera in my bag for sure.
It comes down to two important variables: i) Purpose and; 2) Usability - and binding them together is the overall experience of using the camera.
For this assignment, I used the camera to shoot a narration-based short film which meant that I had to collect a lot of b-rolls. It would have been a painful experience to use the 5D Mark IV or anyone of the C series cameras for this. I am of the opinion that the Canon EOS R is the "one-man-show" camera and Canon has targeted consumers who require more than the average but less than the unnecessary. I did not have to scroll through several pages of the menu to make specific adjustments or struggle with a buffet of dials and buttons because I could access everything through the new multi-function bar. The user-friendly interface of the camera simply let me concentrate on creativity and composition. One might ask that every camera does that at the end of the day so why make this sound unique to only the Canon EOS R? Well, lets not forget that this user-friendly camera comes with: whopping 5655 selectable AF points; the ability to perform at light levels as low as -6EV and; is integrated with Canon's incredible dual pixel AF system and the DIGIC 8 Image Processor.
Is the 1.7x crop when shooting in 4K annoying? Sometimes. Could be easily worked around? Yes. The EOS R is a "thinker's camera" - think of it in the same light as the nifty-fifty lens. It does not make it easy on you by packing the best of everything into one camera body (then again, no camera does) but it instead challenges you to work those creative juices in your head to get the best out of what it has to offer.
In addition, it should be taken into consideration that Canon is not trying to replace the 5D Mark IV or the 1DX Mark II with the EOS R (much like how the 5D Mark IV does not replace the 1DX Mark II). Each full-frame system is of a different class and grade and caters to different categories of consumers. There are some tasks that the 5 Mark IV does better at than the 1DX Mark II and, likewise, there are some tasks that the EOS R does better than the 5D Mark IV.
There had been several times during filming that the size of the camera worked to my advantage especially when movements had to be fast and adjustments had to be quick. Imagine having to move run around for 2 hours with the 1DX Mark II or even the 5D Mark IV - I have been there and it hurts. This was made further enjoyable with the simple, yet significant, touch to the body of the camera by having a slightly more exaggerated curve in the grip. Though the lack of IBIS made it a challenge to hand-hold the camera while filming, when mounted on to my gimbal, I did not notice any troubling footage.
I had paired the EOS R with the RF 24-105 f4 lens and had set the new front ring on the lens to control ISO. Other reviews have mentioned that it is difficult to get used to this new feature. Considering the fact that I had to use the camera and lens nearly every day for a month, I had found it to be seamless and less disruptive to change ISO using the ring. This also added to the experience of using a completely new system and kept things interesting for me.
There are, however, two areas that could potentially steer film-makers and photographers away from buying the EOS R. Firstly, while the camera is still on the lighter side at 660 grams, the RF lenses are of a significant size and adds weight to the overall set-up. Not all compact/ mirrorless camera gimbals are going to be able to support its weight. For the purpose of shooting my short film, I resorted to renting the Zhiyun Crane V2 which has a payload of up to 1.8kg. Therefore, it is an important point to consider that if you intend to get the EOS R kit you might have to spend a little extra on getting additional equipment that will better support the set-up as a whole. Secondly, I found the steep price point to be surprising. The Canon EOS R kit with RF 24-105mm f/4 IS USM costs a whopping SGD 4,898. This is despite the fact that Canon is marketing this camera to be an “add-on” to our current Canon inventory. It is only natural that many film-makers and photographers are going compare the EOS R with the hit release EOS M50 that many have called to be Canon’s best mirrorless camera so far. Despite the obvious upgrades from the EOS M50, the ergonomics and pricing of the two may compel consumers to choose the EOS M50 over the EOS R.
There is a lot more that I can get into about the Canon EOS R but, admittedly, despite being a professional photographer, I am not of the kind to ponder too much about technicalities. I would like to think that Canon has targeted consumers like myself who may not require the grandiosity of the 1DX Mark II, 5D Mark IV and the C series bodies, but still have a need to create beautiful content. It is definitely an exciting step-up from the Canon EOS M50 and I can appreciate a camera that is non-limiting and encourages the owner to be more pro-active and use it right.