Canon R1 finally announced

Canon R1 finally announced
Photo courtesy of Canon

Last week Canon announced the Canon EOS R1, which when released will be their flagship mirrorless camera. This means the camera will likely be in a hands of select lucky photographers at this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris and the UEFA Euro 2024 in Germany. Then hopefully the camera will be released in the fall or end of the year.

The announcement gave me an immediate case of gear acquisition syndrome, and I think I am more or less set on purchasing one when it’s released. I jumped on the mirrorless train early on opting to try and sell of my DSLRs and lenses while they still had a high resale value. Currently I’m shooting with one Canon EOS R3 and two Canon EOS R5. I turned over all my lenses and replaced them with RF lenses with the exception of my large tele (EF 200-400 with built in converter) where I am patiently waiting hoping for something interesting, like maybe Canon copies Nikon and does a 400mm f2.8 with built in converter.

My current kit serves me well under most working scenarios. There are occasions when I find myself shooting with the R3 and one of the R5s and it’s always annoying that the buttons don’t match. Other than that I think the only thing I can really complain about is the R5s don’t seem to be able to hold a connection to my mobil router. They just seems to always disconnect, regardless of the strength of the cell network. In the past two years I’m been doing more and more assignments where I need to transmit live and that is always a huge problem. I find the I have to place my mobile router right on the camera in order for it to maintain the connection. When shooting sports that is huge burden to be distracted from the game and messing with trying to place the router perfectly so it can send the files. The R3 on the other hand is a rock, just like my old 1D Xs. Once it’s connected it stays connected and I almost never have a problem transmitting from it. If nothing else I’m looking forward to the R1 just because it will give me two camera’s with reliable transmitting capabilities.

As for the specs of the camera, Canon did not release anything officially, but they did play up the camera’s auto focus abilities. Here’s a bit from their announcement:

By combining the new image processing system and deep learning technology to an advanced degree, Canon has achieved high-speed and high-accuracy subject recognition. For example, subject tracking accuracy has been improved so that in team sporting events where multiple subjects intersect, the target subject can continually be tracked even if another player passes directly in front of them. In addition, the AF “Action Priority” function recognizes subject movement by rapidly analyzing the subject’s status. In moments during a sports game when it is difficult to predict what will happen next, this function automatically determines the player performing a certain action, such as shooting a ball, as the main subject and instantly shifts the AF frame, thereby helping to capture decisive moments of gameplay.

So that sounds really great. Sony has been way ahead of them on this kind of stuff and it’s good to see Canon catching up. They made a huge step up in autofocus by transitioning to mirrorless. I find the autofocus on both the R3 and R5 to be pretty amazing. If the subject tracking improves as much as they are boasting then it seems like a really big step forward. Especially when covering sports where you get a lot of interfering objects crossing in front of your subject.

There were some leaked specs for the R1 that came from the Adorama website, it’s questionable as to how legit they are but I think they seem rather plausible. They claim the camera will have a 30 mega pixel sensor, which is higher than the R3 and lower than the R5. I think this seems very plausible. Honestly for sports and press work, the R5’s 45 mega pixel is more of a hinderance than a benefit. 30 mega pixels could be a sweat spot for them to one up the R3 and have a sensor that allows them to manage all the processing and maintain the speed they want. They claim the camera will only have an electronic shutter, just like the Nikon Z9. I’m not sure how I feel about this one. Too often with the mirrorless cameras I have found myself working under cheap LED lights that give a banding striped pattern on images. The easiest way to get rid of them is to switch the camera’s into mechanical shutter mode. The leaked specs also speak of increased dynamic range, which is always welcomed.

Looking forward to more info leaking out and hopefully an official announcement with specs from Canon. I would also love to test one out, if anyone at Canon Sweden is reading this.