CANON EOS R3
Photography week|October 21, 2021
A peerless performer underpinned by innovative tech
James Artaius

www.canon.co.uk £5,879/$5,999

After being rolled out to pros at this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo, the EOS R3 is now available to professionals at large – and Canon’s latest mirrorless camera is shaping up to become the most capable all-round tool there is for working photographers.

While the R3 isn’t technically a replacement for, or even an equivalent to, the EOS-1D X Mark III (as this is ‘only’ a 3-series camera rather than a flagship 1-series), it nonetheless leapfrogs the 1D X III in terms of technology in virtually every department – and stakes a bold claim to be the best professional camera, thanks to its 6K raw video, blistering (and blackout-free) 30fps shooting, and a peerless AF system that enables you to move focus points by moving your eyeball.

There’s no doubt that this is Canon’s fastest and most advanced camera ever, even outdoing the mighty EOS R5 when it comes to technology – to say nothing of the R5’s record times and overheating when it comes to video. But with the 50.1MP stills / 8K video Sony Alpha 1 already here (and the Nikon Z 9 on the way, with 8K video and a minimum 39MP resolution), does the EOS R3’s 24.1MP sensor provide sufficient pixel density for pro-level shooting in 2021? Has Canon dropped a clunker, or been incredibly clever by opting for a 24.1MP sensor and 6K instead of 8K? Let’s find out…

Key features

The EOS R3’s headline features are absolute jaw-droppers. Its stacked, back-side-illuminated 24.1MP sensor boasts super-fast readout speeds that can capture photographs at up to 30 frames per second when you shoot with the electronic shutter (buffering 540 JPEGs or 150 raws), or 12fps with the mechanical shutter (for over 1,000 JPEGs or 1,000 raws). The speed of the sensor also virtually eliminates any rolling shutter effect.

In fact, the whole camera is so fast that you can actually slow down the shutter mechanism itself. The R3’s shutter lag is just 20ms, which is so quick that your muscle memory from using other cameras might mean you depress the shutter button too soon – so you can adjust the shutter lag up to 45ms to compensate.

The 24.1MP resolution means that the sensor can capture 6K raw video up to 60p, and also enables you to record oversampled 4K up to 60p.

1 The EOS R3 has a professional DSLR-style body with an integrated vertical grip, featuring mirrored controls for use in portrait and landscape orientations.

2 You can use flash with the electronic shutter – something that was unheard of not long ago.

3 The EOS R3 has an articulating screen, yet retains 1D X-level weather sealing.

4 To power Eye Control AF, the electronic viewfinder is much chunkier than on other

EOS R cameras. Using technology pioneered by Canon’s medical division to map and scan the human eye, the EVF features eight infrared LEDs that scan your eye.

5 Where a standard joystick moves AF points one position at a time, the R3’s Smart Controller enables you to whizz them around the screen as fast as you can move your thumb.

6 The new 21-pin Multi-Function Shoe provides both communication and power to mounted devices like the Canon Stereo Microphone DM-E1D.

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