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Camera Rescue opens repair school in bid to fix world’s film cameras

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Camera Rescue opens repair school in bid to fix world’s film cameras

A camera repair company in Finland is recruiting new technicians for a forthcoming training school that will teach students how to repair, preserve and create parts for discontinued film cameras. The training program will be run by CameraMakers for the Camera Rescue project, and will enroll eight people on a four month course that will show them the basics of camera servicing, testing and maintenance. Those with an ‘almost unhealthy interest in technical gadgets’ will be able to continue with an additional two year course to become a camera mechanic, the company says.

As the course will be based in Tampere, two hours north of the Finland’s capital Helsinki, students will be expected to relocate to the city. Traveling to Finland is hard enough at the moment, let alone moving there, but hopefully the school with have further in-takes beyond the current 23rd March deadline to allow international applicants. Positions on the training program will be paid for by the government, and those successfully completing the course will be offered a job with a salary.

Camera Rescue claims this will be the only film-camera repair school in the world, and says that the company behind the program, Kameratori Oy, needs more staff to deal with the growing number of camera repairs it is dealing with. So far Camera Rescue has serviced, repaired or inspected over 100,000 cameras since it began ten years ago, and 25,000 of those were in 2020 alone.

If you happen to live in Finland you have until 22nd March to apply for a place on the training course, and training will begin on 12th April. If you live outside the country you’ll have to wait for the next intake or for when current travel restrictions are relaxed. Talking of relaxing, Tampere, the city in which the school will be based, is known as the ‘sauna capital of the world’ as it has the most public saunas of any city. If you like The Moomins you’ll be glad to know Tampere also has the only Moomin museum in the world.

For more information see the Camera Rescue website.

Press release

We are Building up a Camera Rescue School

Good news.

Mechanical film cameras are the tools that have preserved the memories of humanity for the last 150 years. Now is our time to preserve them. As a part of the new era in the Camera Rescue project Cameramakers is opening a camera technician basic training program. In early April 2021 a team of 8 talents will start a four month long training on the basics of film camera testing and maintenance in Tampere in partnership with TAKK (Tampere Adult Education Centre) and the local unemployment office (TE-palvelut).

What?
In 2020 the current team of four camera technicians and three camera mechanics inspected over 25 000 film cameras and with a growing amount of work in sight, Kameratori Oy (the Ltd company employing the team) is looking to hire more people. As worldwide there are no training programs around film cameras available, this recruitment training was created as a first step for enthusiastic people into the world of film cameras.

The training period will be very hands-on, aiming to give a full overview of all different types of cameras and equipment that passes through our process and leave the trainee with enough skills and knowhow to inspect them. The curriculum has also several weeks of related theory studies – including the basics of electronics, materials and 3D printing.

As the aim of the recruitment program is to build up the technician team based in Tampere, an applicant should be ready to relocate permanently to the city if the recruitment program leads to a job offer. A further two year training program to become a camera mechanic is being developed and can be offered to the camera technicians interested in the most artisanal aspect of the camera world – camera repairing.

The collaboration between the Adult Education Center and the Camera Rescue Project aims to create a sustainable and official way to become a certified Film Camera Mechanic or Technician for the first time in decades worldwide. A trainee will ideally become a self driven craftsman/artisan after approximately three years in the program.

The working environment of Kameratori Oy is bilingual, process driven, constantly learning and growth oriented. Serving final customers in more than 70 countries and reaching over 1 million people yearly, the ecommerce side of the company is well known around Europe, and in recent years most of the growth has come from outside of Finland.

The role of a camera technician involves very little customer service and instead is based on a lot of daily problem solving, working with your hands, and teamwork. If you have an almost unhealthy interest in technical gadgets, it is more likely that you continue from this training towards being a technician or a mechanic. However, if you are socially driven and interested in customer service, this training gives you a strong starting point to become a member of the ecommerce sales team.

Finding meaningfulness in work should be easy for people that understand the heritage, artistic and lifestyle value of film photography. More about how we got here in the last 10 years can be read here or in Finnish here.

Restrictions
During the global travel stoppage, it is hard to get into this training if you have no residency in Finland. If you are from within the EU and super motivated, there might be some workarounds, but email me at juho@camerarescue.org first. Outside of EU will not be possible this year.

Update 9.3.2021 – New travel restrictions will make it impossible to come for the first round of technician training to Finland if you are not a resident / have Finnish nationality.
If you are in Finland already or have a way to come here, the general restrictions for people attending a TE-keskus recruitment training apply to this course, so as an applicant you are to be a jobseeker in Finland. For more info on how to do that you can visit here.

Otherwise no requirements are set for applicants, because we know from experience that a good camera technician can have anything from several university degrees to no degrees at all. We want emphasize that all backgrounds are welcome. Also this program is being built to be ongoing, so more chances will come in later years for international people.

FAQ:
Does it cost money?
No. When we arrange the program as a recruitment channel there are no costs for the teaching to a student. In fact you will be paid the whole time. During the camera technician basic training program you get the unemployment benefits you would get anyhow (amount is based on your recent work history in Finland). After the basic training, the ones chosen to stay in the program will get jobs and a salary.

When?
The crucial dates for applications and the basic training in 2021 are these:
– Application period ends 22.03.2021
– The interviews will be held 29.–30.03.2021
– The training starts on 12.04.2021 and ends on 05.08.2021.

How to apply?
The applications are done through the TE-palvelut application system. You can find the announcement of the open positions here. The application form is available both in English and Finnish, although the page itself is only in Finnish.
Everything should be rather self explanatory in the TE-palvelut system, but in case you are left with questions you can contact me at juho@camerarescue.org or Noora at the TE office: noora.luomaranta@te-toimisto.fi

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Canon EOS R1 initial review

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Canon EOS R1 initial review


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The EOS R1 is Canon’s flagship mirrorless camera and is the first EOS body to receive the coveted 1-series moniker since the EOS-1D X Mark III in 2020, which is in line with Canon’s regular release cadence for the EOS-1 series for the past decade. As with most other 1-series models, its features and specifications are aimed at sports photographers and photojournalists who need the highest-performing, must rugged camera available.

According to Canon, the EOS R1 is as reliable and durable as the 1D X Mark III but includes more advanced features than the EOS R3.

Key specifications

  • 24.2MP Stacked CMOS Dual Pixel sensor
  • 100% AF coverage with cross-type sensors
  • Up to 40fps blackout-free shooting (JPEG+Raw)
  • Pre-capture for photo and video (1/2 sec. for photos, 3 or 5 sec for video)
  • Eye-controlled AF with improved eye detection
  • AI-trained Autofocus and post-shot processing modes
  • 6K/60p internal Raw video capture
  • DCI-4K capture up to 120fps
  • Canon C-Log2 gamma profile
  • Wi-Fi 6E and Ethernet connectivity

Canon says the EOS R1 will be available later in 2024 at a recommended price of $6300.


What’s new:

As you might expect on a Canon 1-series camera, the EOS R1 includes Canon’s latest and fastest technology for capturing and processing images.

Sensor

The EOS R1 is built around an all-new 24.2MP Stacked CMOS sensor. It’s a faster sensor than we’ve seen in previous Canon cameras and has a full sensor readout rate of 2.8ms (1/360) when shooting stills. That compares to just under 5ms on the EOS R3, making the R1’s full sensor readout nearly twice as fast as the R3’s.

In addition to the faster speed, the R1’s sensor also includes 100% AF coverage with cross-type sensors. This is accomplished by rotating every other line of the sensor’s dual-pixel PDAF pixels 90º to create PDAF zones sensitive to horizontal lines as well as vertical. Cross-type autofocus works in photo mode only and does not work under certain conditions, such as flickering light sources.

The new sensor delivers up to 40fps blackout-free continuous shooting in 14-bit mode.

New Digic accelerator

The EOS R1 uses Canon’s Digic X processor along with a new Digic Accelerator co-processor. Canon claims this co-processor is the key to the camera’s improved autofocus features, particularly those using AI features derived from machine learning.

The result is that the camera can do more than identify a subject; in certain situations, it can identify a subject, such as a person, and determine what type of action that person is performing, such as a basketball player driving to the basket with the ball. This allows the camera to prioritize and maintain focus on the most important subject in a scene.

Autofocus

Canon claims the R1 has the most advanced autofocus system ever featured on an EOS body, anchored around several new features.

Eye-controlled AF

The EOS R1 receives an updated version of the eye-controlled AF system found on the EOS R3. (Which is a modernized version of the system found on some of Canon’s EOS film cameras from the 1990s and 2000s). With eye-controlled focus, the camera moves a focus target around the viewfinder by following your eye. Once this target is close to your intended subject, initiating autofocus will trigger the camera to lock onto the most likely subject and continue tracking it.

Eye-controlled autofocus has been a polarizing feature on previous EOS models because it hasn’t worked well for all users, but Canon hopes to change that. On the R1 (and R5 II), the system has a wider field of view to better track your eye, which results in an expanded viewfinder area and larger eye cup. Additionally, new compact optics and a revised line-of-sight detection algorithm mean your eye can be approximately twice as far away from the EVF and still work. The updated system also includes eyeglass detection, which should improve performance for glasses wearers.

Action Priority AF mode

Another important new feature is Action Priority AF mode. This mode uses machine learning technology to analyze a scene and attempt to predict the most important subject(s) based on the context of the scene. For example, when shooting basketball, the AF system will generally attempt to stick with the player with the ball, even if that person crosses paths with similar-looking players. If the player passes the ball, the system will know to re-prioritize AF on the player who receives it.

Action Priority AF mode is currently trained on football (soccer), basketball and volleyball. A Canon representative hinted that additional sports might be added in the future.

Pre-registered person priority

The EOS R1 allows users to pre-register particular people that the AF system will prioritize. Up to ten people can be registered on the camera, and adding someone is as simple as selecting a memory bank and taking their photo. Relative prioritization among registered subjects can be changed simply by changing their order in the menu.

Pre-registered person priority could prove useful in situations where there are many identifiable subjects in a frame but only a limited number of subjects you want the camera to focus on, such as a specific athlete in an arena or a bride and groom at a wedding reception.

Pre-continuous shooting mode

The R1’s pre-continuous shooting mode can capture still images or video before the shutter button is fully depressed. In continuous shooting mode, the camera can pre-capture a half second of buffered images (up to 20 photos at maximum shooting speed). This can be done in JPEG, HEIF or Raw. In movie mode, it can pre-capture either three or five seconds of video.

AI-trained in-camera image processing

The EOS R1 adds two new in-camera processing features that replicate deep learning functions typically found in software like Adobe Camera Raw: neural network noise reduction and image upscaling.

Out-of-camera JPEG image (ISO 102,400) Image reprocessed in-camera using neural network noise reduction (ISO 102,400)

Neural network noise reduction is designed to improve image quality without sacrificing detail. This feature requires a Raw image to use and is applied in the in-camera Raw conversion menu in playback mode. It can be applied to multiple images that you select but has to be applied selectively after capture.

In-camera upscaling increases the size of the image 2x in each orientation, resulting in a 96MP image when applied to photos from the R1. Canon hasn’t revealed much about its methodology but says this upscaling does not use generative AI. Interestingly, upscaling can only be performed on a JPEG or HEIF image.

Out-of-camera JPEG image (24MP) Image re-processed using in-camera upscaling (96MP)

You can apply noise reduction or upscaling to a single image, but not both. Images each take a few seconds to process, which explains why the feature isn’t available in real-time while shooting. However, it’s possible to batch process images for efficiency.

Blur/out-of-focus image detection

A new Blur/out-of-focus image detection feature promises to make culling images after a shoot more efficient. When activated, the R1 analyzes each photo it captures and tries to identify the ones in which the primary subject is in focus. The camera then adds a metadata tag to each image that can be read downstream by Canon’s DPP software or used as a selection criteria in the playback menu. Canon says the feature could be implemented in any third-party application updated to support this tag.

To use Blur/out-of-focus image detection, the feature must be enabled before you shoot; it cannot be applied to already-captured images.

Video

As you’d expect of a modern pro-grade camera, particularly one with a Stacked CMOS sensor, the EOS R1 boasts some impressive video specifications.

Its 24MP sensor means it can’t shoot 8K video, but instead, it will capture 6K Raw footage at up to 60p in the 1.89:1 aspect ratio. Alternatively, it can shoot DCI or UHD 4K derived from this 6K capture at up to 60p. There are also subsampled DCI and UHD 4K modes that allow capture at up to 120p.

Canon says it wants the EOS R1 to easily fit into existing workflows that use its Cinema EOS cameras, and with this in mind, it has done a lot to make its footage readily comparable.

To start, it gains Canon’s wider dynamic range C-Log2 curve, with the less ambitious C-Log3 option still available if you’re not shooting in very high DR situations. It also adopts the XF-HEVC S and XF-AVC S file formats used in Canon’s pro video cameras.

But beyond the boost in video modes is a significant increase in the support tools accompanying them. The R1 gains waveform and false color displays to provide industry-standard ways to visualize exposure. These come in addition to the zebras already offered. There’s also a tally lamp on the front of the camera, helping to indicate to anyone in front that it’s recording.

It also has the ability to handle digital audio inputs via the connectors in its multi-function hotshoe and lets you individually control the levels for four-channel input.

Dual Shooting mode

The EOS R1 also offers a Dual Shooting mode that captures JPEGs on one card while video is being recorded on the other. In this mode, the R1 will capture FullHD video at up to 30p while capturing JPEGs in bursts.

JPEGs are 17MP 16:9 images (5616×3168) and can be captured at up to 10fps while you’re shooting 1080 video. However, the differing shutter speed requirements for stills and video capture still require you to prioritize one over the other.

Temperature control

Significant efforts have been made to help the camera stay cool while shooting, and Canon says that, if it hasn’t been used, the EOS R1 can shoot for over two hours at 23°C (73°F) when capturing 6K/60 Raw with proxy recording also engaged. The 4K/60 derived from this footage is a little more demanding, seeing the recording time drop to 109 minutes, though it increases to over two hours again if you use the sub-sampled 4K/60 mode. The company says there is no time limit for capturing sub-sampled 4K/30.


How it compares

The EOS R1 ushers in the mirrorless generation of EOS-1 series cameras, a product line historically focused on delivering the highest performance available in a Canon body. The R1 takes over this spot in the lineup from the EOS-1D X Mark III, a DSLR we consider its direct predecessor. (Of course, there’s also the EOS R3, which Canon maintained was not a replacement for the 1D X III, despite having a similar body style, price and specs.)

Unlike some manufacturers, Canon has not combined its highest-performing camera with a higher-resolution sensor. As such, we’ll compare it to other bodies aimed at the high-performance, 24-ish megapixel market: its predecessor, the EOS-1D X III, the EOS R3, and the Sony a9 III.

Canon EOS R1 Canon EOS R3 Sony a9 III Canon EOS-1D X III
MSRP at launch $6300 $6000 $6000 $6500
Sensor type Stacked CMOS Dual Pixel (cross-type) Stacked CMOS Dual Pixel Stacked CMOS FSI CMOS Dual Pixel
Pixel count 24MP 24MP 24MP 20MP
Max burst rate E-shutter: 40fps
Mech shutter:
16fps
E-shutter: 30fps
Mech shutter:
16fps
E-shutter: 120fps Live view: 20fps
Viewfinder: 16fps
Rolling shutter rate 2.78ms 4.84ms 0ms <4ms with mech shutter
Image stabilization Up to 8.0EV Up to 8.0EV Up to 8.0EV Lens only
Video options 6K/60 Raw
4K/60 from 6K
6K/60 Raw
4K/60 from 6K

4K/120 from 6K 5.5K/60 Raw
4K/60
Viewfinder 9.44M dots
0.9x
5.76M dots
0.76x
9.44M dots
0.9x
Optical
0.76x
Rear screen 3.2″ 2.1M dots
Fully articulated
3.2″ 4.2M dots
Fully articulated
3.2″ 2.1M dots
Articulate & tilt
3.2″ 2.1M dots fixed
Battery life, viewfinder / LCD 700 / 1330 440 / 760 400 / 530 2850 / 610
Dimensions 158 x 150 x87mm 150 x 143 x 87mm 136 x 97 x 83mm 158 x 168 x 83mm
Weight 1115g 1015g 703g 1440g

The R1 outpaces the 1D X III in almost every way, with one notable exception: battery life. Without the need to drive a high-resolution EVF, battery life is still a potential advantage for DSLRs (though it’s one the CIPA rating system can exaggerate a bit). Also, while it’s not necessarily a pro or con, users who still prefer the experience of using an optical viewfinder (and we know you’re out there) will probably find more joy in the 1D X III.

Assuming you’re OK with an EVF, the R1 will also give you a slight advantage in size and a noticeable advantage in weight over the 1D X III. On the other hand, if you like the general design of the R1 but prefer a slightly smaller, lighter body, the EOS R3 is no slouch and delivers all but the very newest features found in the R1.

The a9 III plays the role of disruptor in this group. First, its compact, full-frame body will likely appeal to a different set of users than the Canons. Again, that’s not unequivocally a pro or con but a preference. Second, its global shutter sensor sets it apart from all other mirrorless cameras today and could be a deciding factor depending on your needs and shooting style. However, it’s worth noting that the a9 III’s higher base ISO means it gives up a little image quality potential for this.


Body and controls

The EOS R1 undeniably has the heft and feel of an EOS-1 series camera, with a build that suggests you could use it to pound nails into a board if your hammer went missing. It comes in somewhere between the size and weight of the EOS R3 and the EOS-1D X Mark III it replaces. The most noticeable differences between the R1 and the 1D X Mark III are the camera’s height, with the R1 a noticeable 18mm shorter, and weight, where the R1 comes in over 300g (10.6oz) lighter than its mirrored predecessor.

Weight Width Height Depth
Canon EOS R1 1115g 158mm 150mm 87mm
Canon EOS R3 1015g 150mm 143mm 87mm
Canon EOS-1D X III 1440g 158mm 168mm 83mm

The R3, by comparison, feels noticeably smaller in the hand than the R1. Not only is it shorter, but its body is almost a full centimeter narrower in width than the 1-series cameras. If you’ve been shooting with an R3, know that the R1 will feel somewhat larger by comparison.

Fun fact: the R1 includes a little mystery window in the lower left corner on the back of the camera. A Canon representative told us it’s reserved for a future feature but doesn’t do anything at the moment. Feel free to speculate in the comments.

Customizable smart controller

Canon’s smart controller, a two-function controller that originally appeared on the 1D X III and again on the R3, doubles as the AF-On button and simultaneously acts as a trackpad for your thumb. It can be used to move the AF point around the viewfinder while pressing it initiates autofocus.

On the EOS R1, the smart controller becomes a three-function controller, gaining the ability to distinguish between its half-pressed and fully-pressed positions, similar to the shutter button. This facilitates a degree of customization. For example, you could set it to engage autofocus at the half-pressed position, with the fully-pressed position switching the camera to its fastest continuous shooting speed. This would allow you to use a more conservative burst rate but instantly accelerate the camera to its maximum burst rate at the critical moment of action.

However, the smart controller isn’t fully customizable. You can customize either the half-pressed or the fully-pressed position, but not both. You can also leave one of the positions disabled, meaning the controller will function similarly to the 1D X III or R3.

EVF

The R1’s viewfinder is visibly larger than those on previous EOS mirrorless cameras due to the updated eye-controlled AF system. The EVF uses a 9.44M-dot OLED viewfinder, which Canon claims is approximately three times the brightness of the R3’s EVF when used in OVF mode (a setting intended to simulate using an optical viewfinder). It has a magnification of 0.9x, the highest in the EOS series, and 40% larger than the one in the 1D X III.

Notably, the EVF’s display does not drop to a lower resolution when shooting, though Canon confirmed that, while it offers the higher DR ‘Optical viewfinder simulation mode,’ it does not support HDR display of images.

Above the EVF is Canon’s multi-function hotshoe, which can provide communication and power for accessories like a microphone adapter.

Updated menus

Canon has added a new color-coded tab to its menu system. Described as “olive green,” the new section centralizes the camera’s control customizations into a single menu for easier access, including customizations for both shooting and playback modes.

Storage and connectivity

The EOS R1 has dual CFexpress type B card slots supporting capacities up to 2TB. Instead of being accessed through a door on the back of the camera like the 1D X III, cards now load through a door on the right side of the body, similar to the R3. The camera includes a 2.5 GBASE-T Ethernet port and 802.11ax Wi-Fi support for direct connectivity. This is the new WiFi 6E standard that promises faster connections, in part by using the parts of the 6GHz spectrum, in addition to the 2.4GHz and 5GHz regions currently in use.

Other connections include a USB-C port (USB 3.2 Gen 2, 10Gbps), a full-sized HDMI port, 3.5mm microphone and headphone jacks and a PC Sync terminal.

Battery

The Canon EOS R1 uses the same LP-E19 battery as the EOS R3 and EOS-1D X Mark III but, unlike those cameras, isn’t compatible with the earlier LP-E4N or LP-E4 batteries. On the R1, this battery delivers a CIPA-rated 700 shots per charge, up from 440 shots on the R3, an increase of nearly 60%.

Due to the CIPA testing methodology, these ratings typically underestimate real-world performance for most users, particularly when using continuous shooting (as one might expect on a sports-focused camera). However, they generally provide a good basis for relative comparisons between models.

Canon supplies a battery charger with the camera. The camera can also be charged over USB using Canon’s PD-E1 or PD-E2 power adapter or a similarly powerful USB PD power pack.


Initial impressions

By Dale Baskin

It’s hard to believe that Canon’s EOS-1 series of cameras is 35 years old. Consider that the original EOS-1 was introduced in September of 1989, two months before the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was the same year that Tim Burton’s original Batman hit the big screens, New Kids on the Block was all over the pop charts, and Miami Vice was wrapping up its final season.

Just as the EOS-1 series made the leap from film to digital, It was inevitable that the series would eventually make the jump to mirrorless. With the EOS R1, Canon officially has its flagship mirrorless camera.

The waters are muddied a bit by Canon’s “definitely-not-our-flagship” EOS R3 launched in 2021, which has effectively served as a mirrorless proxy for the 1-series until now. Not only does the R3 resemble a 1-series camera, but it launched with similar top-level specs and slid squarely into the 1-series’ historical price bracket.

Ultimately, every company is entitled to designate a flagship product as it sees fit, and Canon has been clear that the EOS R1 is it. However, given the three-year gap since the R3 was introduced, it’s understandable that some will be underwhelmed with what seem like relatively minor upgrades, such as jumping from 30 to 40fps in a market where competitors can shoot 120fps.

Canon EOS R1| F2.8 | 1/1250 sec | ISO 4000

The critical thing about EOS-1 series cameras is that they’re designed almost exclusively for people who are already using EOS-1 series cameras. Canon has indicated in the past that the EOS R3 was aimed at pros and very dedicated enthusiasts, whereas the 1-series is aimed entirely at pros who expect zero compromises.

In this respect, there are some differences between the R1 and R3. While the R3 is a fully weather-sealed, rugged camera, Canon was clear that it wasn’t designed to withstand the same level of punishment or challenging conditions as the 1D X III. The R1 has no such asterisks next to it, and if your income depends on the reliability of your gear, that’s not a trivial difference. Similarly, the 1D X III has a virtually unlimited buffer when shooting, whereas the R3 – while still impressive – is a bit more limited. We haven’t tested the R1 yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me to find out it performs similarly to the 1D X III in this respect.

I suspect the R3 was a good test bed for technology like eye-controlled autofocus without fully committing the EOS-1 brand to the feature. If the result is that the R1 arrives with a superior version that works more reliably for pros when they try it, I can see the logic.

Canon EOS R1|F2.8 | 1/500 sec | ISO 1600

Speaking of eye-controlled AF, I’m happy to see Canon continuing to invest in the feature, which really has the potential to be a differentiator in terms of usability. I’ve written about some of my own experiences using it, and it can be a game changer – if it works for you. Canon knows that inconsistency in user experience is the most significant barrier to broader acceptance, and the fact that it has attached the feature to a 1-series model makes me hopeful that the newest iteration works more universally.

In my limited time with the EOS R1 so far, I can safely say that the shooting experience feels more similar to using the R3 than the 1D X III, mainly because the R3 is also a mirrorless camera with eye-controlled autofocus. However, the EOS 1D X III DNA is unquestionably there, and the camera has a heft and battle-hardened feel you don’t get from the R3. I’m really looking forward to pushing it to the limits along the sidelines to see how it performs.

And if I’m being completely candid, I’m particularly hoping the new sports-trained Action Priority AF mode delivers on its promise. If it does, it will make me look like a much better sports photographer than I really am.



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Canon announces EOS R1 flagship sports / photojournalism camera

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Canon announces EOS R1 flagship sports / photojournalism camera


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Photo: Dale Baskin

Two months after saying it was in development, Canon has formally announced the EOS R1, a 24MP Stacked CMOS sensor mirrorless camera aimed at professional sports and photojournalism.

We’ve been briefed on the EOS R1 and had an opportunity to shoot with one but have experienced some logistical difficulties that mean we can’t yet publish our initial review yet. We hope to do so shortly.

Key specifications

  • 24.2MP stacked CMOS sensor
  • 100% AF coverage with cross-type sensors
  • Up to 40fps blackout-free shooting (JPEG+Raw)
  • Pre-capture for photo and video (1/2 sec. for photos, 3 or 5 sec for video)
  • Eye-controlled AF with improved eye detection
  • Activity AF mode trained on specific sports
  • Pre-registered person AF priority
  • Blur/out-of-focus image detection
  • In-camera processing with neural network noise reduction
  • In-camera processing with AI upscaling
  • 6K/60p internal Raw video capture
  • DCI-4K capture up to 120fps
  • Canon S-Log2 gamma profile

The EOS R1 is built around a 24MP Stacked CMOS sensor that reads out nearly twice as fast as the existing R3. It can shoot still at up to 40fps and can capture 6K/60 Raw video internally.

Its Dual Pixel sensor has the orientation of its two sub-pixels rotated in alternate lines, giving it cross-type autofocus across its entire sensor region. It also has a “Digic Accelerator” co-processor allowing it to crunch the complex algorithms developed by machine learning for a series of “AI” functions.

It also has the largest, highest resolution and brightest electronic viewfinder yet offered in an EOS camera, with 9.44M dots, 0.9x magnification.

We’ll have more in-depth reporting on the camera soon.

Press Release:

Canon Officially Launches The New EOS R1 And EOS R5 MARK II Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras

MELVILLE, N.Y., – July 17, 2024 — Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today launched two new professional full-frame mirrorless cameras, the EOS R1 and EOS R5 Mark II. The EOS R1 camera is designed for both professional still photographers and video creators in a wide range of fields including sports, news reporting and high-end video production. The EOS R5 Mark II camera features improved video focused features for the advanced creators and real-time multi recognition tracking system for those who focus on still photography.

Canon EOS R1 Camera is “Ahead of the Game”

Canon’s EOS 1-series legacy continues with the unveiling of the flagship EOS R1 camera. This high-performance, reliable, and weather-resistance camera is designed for professionals in the photojournalism, sports and wildlife fields. Key features of the EOS R1 camera include:

  • Back-illuminated stacked 24.2 megapixel full-frame sensor and new processing system for extremely fast reading
  • Increased read-out speed, reducing “rolling shutter” distortions
  • Still-image shooting speeds up to 40fps
  • “Cross-type AF” imaging sensor for more positive focus on subjects with linear detail
  • Strong video capabilities, up to 4K (also 6K RAW video options)

Canon EOS R5 Mark II Camera helps users “Master the Moment”

For the professional who demands high-quality still and video output, the EOS R5 Mark II camera is ready to deliver. Designed with performance and image quality at its core, the EOS R5 Mark II camera offers the fundamental elements in one package for sports/wildlife photographers, journalists/producers, video producers and visual creators. Key features of the EOS R5 Mark II camera include:

  • Back-illuminated stacked 45 megapixel full-frame sensor and new processing system for extremely fast reading
  • When compared to previous EOS R camera models, more advanced and powerful AF system including Eye Control AF and new subject tracking technologies
  • Cinema EOS video features such as:
    • Custom Picture color profile including Canon Log 2
    • False Color Wave Form Monitor
    • 4CH Audio with 24bit LPCM
    • Pre-recording up to 5 seconds

Accessories for the EOS R5 Mark II camera were designed thoughtfully with the end-user in mind. There is a new, more powerful battery. The LP-E6P battery, when compared to previous battery versions, features higher continuous power and two-times the amperage. Optional battery grips were also thoughtfully designed, and there are three options:

  • BG-R20– For vertical operability
  • BG-R20EP with Ethernet – Port enables high-speed wired communication
  • CF-R20EP with Cooling Fan and Ethernet – Cooling fan helps maximize movie performance

Both cameras feature the new DIGIC Accelerator, which is an addition to the DIGIC X processor. The DIGIC Accelerator assists with deep learning processing which helps to quickly analyze large volumes of data and supports the next-gen AF system, Dual Pixel Intelligent AF. Dual Pixel Intelligent AF is based on Accelerated Capture and deep learning, allowing end-users to experience tracking advancements, such as body, joint and head area estimation and focus on people other than the main subject.

Price and Availability

The Canon EOS R1 camera is expected to be available in the Fall of 2024, for an estimated retail price of $6,299.00*. The Canon EOS R5 Mark II camera is expected to be available in August 2024, for an estimated retail price of $4,299.00* for the camera body only. The EOS R5 Mark II camera kit, which will include the RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM lens, will have an estimated retail price of $5,399.00*. For more information, please visit www.usa.canon.com.

*Specifications, availability and prices are subject to change without notice. Actual prices are set by individual dealers and may vary.



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Canon EOS R5 II initial review

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Canon EOS R5 II initial review


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Product photos: Dale Baskin

Canon’s EOS R5 II is the company’s latest high-end, full-frame mirrorless camera, which now gains a Stacked CMOS sensor and many of the autofocus features of the company’s new flagship R1 model.

Key specifications:

  • 45MP Stacked CMOS sensor
  • Eye-controlled AF subject selection
  • Up to 30fps continuous shooting with blackout free viewfinder
  • In-body stabilization rated at up to 8.5EV correction, coordinated with lens
  • Pre-burst capture (JPEG)
  • 8K Raw video capture up to 60p
  • Canon C-Log2 profile
  • Waveforms and false color display
  • AF trained by machine learning for specific sports
  • AI-enhanced post-shot noise reduction or upscaling
  • 1x CFexpress Type B, 1x UHS-II SD

The Canon EOS R5 II will be available from August at a recommended sales price of $4299, a $400 increase over the original model (though less expensive in real terms if you account for inflation). A kit with the RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM will be available for $5399.

There will also be a choice of three accessory grips, covered later in the article.

Index:


What’s new

The biggest change in the EOS R5 II is the move to a Stacked CMOS sensor. As we’ve seen before, this allows the camera to read out its sensor much, much faster than conventional BSI or FSI chips. This speed allows the camera to capture 8K video at up to 60p and bursts of stills at up to 30fps.

If 30fps is too much for the shooting you do, the camera can be customized to shoot at 20, 15, 10 or 5fps instead. We found the readout rate in stills mode to be 6.3ms (∼1/160 sec) and that it appears to read out in 16 line chunks. This is a fair bit slower than the likes of the Z8 (∼1/270).

The EOS R5 II’s sensor uses Canon’s Dual Pixel AF design, with two photodiodes for each pixel location meaning almost the entire sensor can be used for phase-detection autofocus. But it does not have the cross-type arrangement used in the EOS R1 and, unlike the R5 Mark 1, it doesn’t let you save Dual Pixel Raw files to make both photodiodes’ data available.

Eye-control AF

The EOS R5 II gets the same updated version of Eye-control AF that appears in the R1. Like the first modern version in the EOS R3, this lets you select a subject to focus on by looking in its direction: as soon as you half-press the shutter button or hit AF-On to initiate focusing, the camera will pick the subject nearest to where it thinks you’re looking.

The latest version has sensors with a wider field of view, to get a better view of the eye as a whole, and revised algorithms that should work better when the eye is further from the viewfinder. This should be particularly useful for people wearing glasses, and is supported with an eyeglasses detection mode, to avoid it getting confused by the additional lens and distance between the sensors and the photographer’s eye.

‘Digic Accelerator’ co-processor

The EOS R5 II has the same ‘Digic Accelerator’ co-processor used in the R1. The way Canon talks about it is directly comparable to the way Sony describes its ‘AI processing unit’: a dedicated processor focused on crunching its way through the complex algorithms generated by AI mechanisms, which means the main processor can stay focused on things like distance measurement and communicating with the lens, rather than trying to do everything at once.

Canon says this processor helps run more complex exposure and white balance algorithms, too, boosting the camera’s fundamental functions, as well as powering some of its novel features.

Our of camera JPEG

1/125 sec | F2.8 | ISO 51200

JPEG reprocessed with “Neural Network” noise reduction

1/125 sec | F2.8 | ISO 51200

Pre-capture

As with the R1, the R5 II can be set to capture up to 1/2 a second of action before you fully depress the shutter, so long as you have the button half-pressed beforehand. It can also pre-capture of 3 or 5 seconds of video.

Action Priorty modes

One of the biggest features the R5 II gains from the R1 are its Action Priorty AF modes. These are based on machine learning trained on how different sports look: how active players’ bodies are positioned and what the ball looks like at key moments. The camera is able to follow the ball and work out which player to prioritize.

At launch the EOS R5 II will have AF modes for Football (Soccer), Basketball and Volleyball. Canon did not say whether it plans to add other sports, via firmware, later, but implied it would be possible.

Pre-registered person priority

In addition to the generic subject types the camera has been trained to recognize, it’s also possible to register up to ten sets of ten people in the camera’s memory. If engaged, the camera will try to give priority to those individuals if it identifies them in a scene.

This could be used to ensure you get photos of specific players at a sporting event or, for instance, during wedding shoots, where you can set the camera to prioritize the betrothed, rather than risking the camera getting distracted by other members of the wedding party that happen to get closer to your AF point.

You can even create a priority rank of the people you’ve identified, so that the camera knows to focus on the bride ahead of the groom, ahead of the maid of honor, and so forth. Despite you only giving the camera a single image of each subject, it proved pretty good at recognizing the people we asked it to prioritize.

AI-derived noise reduction or upscaling

Original image

1/2000 sec | F2.8 | ISO 640

Up-scaled version

1/2000 sec | F2.8 | ISO 640

Like the R1, the R5 II gains two post-shot options to reprocess your files using the full power of its AI-derived algorithms. It’s not got the power or battery life to apply these as you shoot, so you’ll need to select which images to process, after the fact. Even with a dedicated ‘accelerator’ chip, both processes take several seconds to apply to each file.

The first option is to up-res the images to twice their original resolution (four times the pixel count). This uses machine learning to anticipate what might occur between the captured pixels, to boost the apparent resolution. Somewhat unexpectedly, this process is conducted on JPEG or HEIF images only, rather than the Raw data.

The other option is to apply complex “neural network” noise reduction to files. This again is based on machine learning and attempts to distinguish between noise and detail to give a clean but detailed image. The option can be applied to Raw files but Canon says that the JPEGs that are then created cannot then be up-sized.

Blur/Out-of-Focus detection

The other post-capture cleverness the EOS R5 II acquires is its ability to check how in-focus the chosen subject is, for all the images you’ve shot. This feature needs to be activated before you start shooting.

A metadata tag identifying the most precisely focused images is added to the file and can be used to filter your images, either in playback mode on the camera or in Canon’s Digital Photo Pro software, when you get back to your computer.

The R5 II may not be able to shoot quite as fast as the EOS R1, but any amount of 30fps shooting is likely to make you appreciate the ability to home in on the most focused shots.

Anti-flicker

As with the EOS R3, there are options both to sync the camera’s shooting to match the brightest point in the brightness cycle of lights that flicker at 100 or 120Hz in response to 50 or 60Hz electricity, and there’s also a High Frequency Anti-Flicker mode that assesses the flicker rate of fast-flickering light sources such as LEDs, and chooses a fractional shutter speed at a harmonic frequency, to minimize visible banding.

Using these modes reduces the camera’s maximum shooting speed considerably, as it can only shoot at specific moments in the flicker cycle of the lighting. For 100/120Hz flicker, Canon quotes figures of 12-15fps in e-shutter mode, 8.6fps in electronic first curtain mode and 4.8fps when in mechanical mode.

The EOS R5 II still has a mechanical shutter when needed, though: allowing flash sync at higher speeds, for instance. This can be used with continuous shooting at up to 12 fps.


What’s new for video

The EOS R5 II gains a full-sized HDMI socket, over which it can output a Raw video stream

The Stacked sensor underpins many of the leaps forward in the EOS R5 II’s video capabilities, but in addition to the newfound speed, Canon has worked to enhance the camera’s usability as a video camera, borrowing features from its Cinema EOS line (at last).

So, in addition to the camera’s 8K and internal Raw capabilities, the R5 II also becomes the first camera in the main EOS line to gain a waveforms, a false color display as well as zebras, to make it easier to optimize exposure. It also has a tally lamp, to the let person in front of the camera know when it’s recording.

The camera can also capture high quality footage (8K Raw or 4K compressed) to its CFexpress card while recording lower resolution and more heavily subsampled and compressed footage to the SD card.

Raw video

The EOS R5 II can capture either 8K Raw footage at up to 60p or ‘SRAW’ 4K video at up to 60p. Both options use the 1.89:1 aspect ratio DCI format. Canon hasn’t given detail of how the 4K Raw is generated (downscaling or sub-sampling). The camera uses Canon’s compressed ‘Raw Light’ format for the 50 and 60p footage, to keep file sizes manageable.

Both DaVinci Resolve and Adobe’s Premiere appear to support Canon’s Raw and Raw Light formats natively, while Apple’s Final Cut Pro or Avid Media Composer require the installation of a plugin from Canon.

Resolution
(Aspect ratio)
Frame rates Crop
8K Raw 8192 x 4320
(1.89:1)
  • 59.94 / 50
  • 29.97 / 25
  • 23.98 / 24
1.0x (Full width)
4K SRaw

4096 x 2160
(1.89:1)
  • 59.94 / 50
  • 29.97 / 25
  • 23.98 / 24
1.0x (Full width)

Raw video allows a slightly greater degree of lightness adjustment (often incorrectly described as “ISO” or “Exposure” adjustment), and white balance correction than compressed and gamma-encoded footage. It’s not anything like as big a difference and Raw vs. JPEG in stills, though, as 10-bit Log files can fully encode the sensor output and are designed for tonal edits in a way that JPEGs aren’t, and the Raw footage is typically 12-bit.

Raw shooting also give much more control over noise reduction and sharpening, which are typically applied to some degree in gamma-encoded files, giving more freedom but adding an extra step to the workflow.

Compressed video

The R5 II’s compressed video options are more extensive, giving the choice of 8K or 4K derived from 8K at up to 30p. Both of these options are available in the 1.89:1 DCI aspect ratio or in the 16:9 UHD shape, which crops the edges of the footage in a little.

The R5 II can also shoot sub-sampled DCI or UHD 4K at up to 120p, while maintaining the same angle-of-view. We measured the DCI 8K as having a rolling shutter figure of 12.6ms (∼1/80 sec), which suggests the main reason to shoot the less detailed sub-sampled footage will be to access those faster frame rates or to avoid any heat concerns, rather than because of any need to lower rolling shutter.

Beyond this there are DCI and UHD 4K options taken from an approximately APS-C part of the sensor. There are also options to capture 2048 x 1080 full-width or edge-cropped Full HD footage at up to 240p, with APS-C versions of each available at up to 120p.

The EOS R5 II gains the ability to capture C-Log2 footage, as well as C-Log3. C-Log3 is a more expansive version of the original C-Log profile, but C-Log2 is a curve designed to encode an even wider dynamic range.

Resolution
(Aspect ratio)
Frame rates Crops
DCI 8K

8192 x 4320
(1.89:1)
  • 29.97 / 25
  • 23.98 / 24
1.0x (Full width)
UHD 8K 7680 x 4320
(16:9)
  • 29.97 / 25
  • 23.98
1.05x (Horizontally cropped)
DCI 4K Fine 4096 x 2160
(1.89:1)
  • 29.97 / 25
  • 23.98 / 24
1.0x (Full width)
DCI 4K
  • 119.88 / 100
1.0x (Subsampled)
  • 59.94 / 50
  • 29.97 / 25
  • 23.98 / 24
1.0x (Subsampled) or
1.61x
UHD 4K Fine 3840 x 2160
(16:9)
  • 29.97 / 25
  • 23.98
1.05x (Horizontally cropped)
UHD 4K
  • 119.88 / 100
1.05x (Subsampled)
  • 59.94 / 50
  • 29.97 / 25
  • 23.98
1.05x (Subsampled) or
1.70x

The EOS R5 II is the first camera outside the Cinema EOS range to be able to capture C-Log2, which makes it much easier to use in a workflow alongside those cameras.

Also aiding cross-compatibility is the adoption of the XF-AVC S and XF-HEVC S formats, which are the same as used on Canon’s Cinema EOS and pro camcorder lines. Both options allow 10-bit 4:2:2 capture, but with the H.264-based XF-AVC S format dropping to 8-bit if you select 4:2:0 chroma sub-sampling, whereas the H-265-based XF-HEVC S files give you a choice of 8 or 10-bit for 4:2:0 capture.

The camera continues to support Canon’s existing 8-bit H.264 and 10-bit H.265 MP4 files for resolutions up to 4K, in line with those offered on the EOS R5. It also continues to be able to record HDR PQ footage for display on HDR displays. Interestingly, the HDR PQ option can be combined with the HDR video mode that simultaneously captures normally and unexposed footage to add additional highlights to the end result (at up to 8K/30 or 4K/60).

Dual Shooting

There’s also an option to capture UHD 8K (7620 x 4230px) JPEGS to one card while the camera is capturing Full HD video at up to 30p on the other. This feature requires the more powerful LP-E6P battery and, naturally, means that your shutter speed choices will apply to both the video footage and still images, but the camera can grab stills at up to 7.5fps depending on whether you’re capturing 30p or 25p video.

Choice of accessory grips

The EOS R5 II can be paired with the $560 BG-R20 battery grip that can also be used with the original R5, R6 and R6 II, but it can also be used with two additional accessory grips that are exclusively designed to work with it. The first is a BG-R20EP battery grip that includes an Ethernet port, giving 2.5 Base-T connections, costing $750.

The CF-R20RP accessory grip adds both a fan and an Ethernet port to the camera, but doesn’t duplicate the controls. Image: Canon

The third option is the CF-R20EP Ethernet and fan grip, priced at $600. Unlike the other two grips, this doesn’t have duplicate controls for portrait shooting, it’s just a fan designed to pull cool air through and lower the temperature of the camera when shooting video. This can extend the shooting duration for all but the most demanding video modes and helps maintain the shooting duration in warmer conditions. It also includes an Ethernet port for fast cabled network connection.

As with the original EOS R5, Canon has published details of how long it expects the R5 II to be able to continue recording video before it overheats. We’ve published these in full on a separate page so that videographers can check whether the camera meets their needs and whether they’ll need the fan grip, but without having to add another large table to the middle of the review.


How it compares

The Canon EOS R5 II is explicitly both a successor to the EOS R5 but also the de facto continuation of the EOS 5D series, a series of cameras for enthusiast and pro photographers and video shooters. As ever, the most directly comparable competitor comes from Nikon, whose Z8 aims to do much the same thing, just as the D800 series of DSLRs did beforehand.

There are no other like-for-like competitors to these two cameras: Sony offers the a7R V for photographers wanting high-resolution stills, but with nothing like the speed or video capability of the Canon and Nikon cameras, or the a1, which offers both speed and some video capabilities but at a price that pushes it very heavily towards the Pro end of the audience. It’s a pretty old camera at this point, so can be bought well below its list price, but don’t let that hide the fact that its primary intent was to compete with the Z9 and R3/R1s of this world. We’re including it here more for interest, than direct competition.

Canon EOS R5 II Nikon Z8 Sony a1 Canon EOS R5
MSRP at launch $4299 $3999 $6500 $3899
Pixel count 45MP 45MP 50MP 45MP
Sensor type Stacked CMOS (Dual Pixel) Stacked CMOS Stacked CMOS FSI CMOS (Dual Pixel)
Shutter type Mech / Electronic Electronic only Mech / Electronic Mech / Electronic
Max frame rate E: 30fps
M: 12fps
E: 20fps (30fps JPEG) E: 30 fps
M: 10 fps
E: 20fps
M: 12fps
Flash sync speed M: 1/250* E: 1/200 M: 1/400*
E: 1/200
M: 1/250*
Max video res / rate 8K/60 8K/60 8K/30 8K/30
Video formats Canon Raw
Canon Raw Light
XF HEVC S
XF AVS S
H.265 MP4
H.264 MP4
N-Raw
ProRes Raw
ProRes 422
H.265
H.264
XAVC HS
XAVC S
XAVC S-I
Canon Raw
Canon Raw Light
H.265 MP4
H.264 MP4
Viewfinder 5.76M dots
0.76x
3.69M dots
0.8x
9.44M dots
0.9x
5.76M dots
0.76x
Rear LCD 3.2″ 2.1M dot Fully-articulated 3.2″ 2.1M dot Two way tilting 3.0″ 1.44M dot
Tilting
3.2″ 2.1M dot Fully-articulated
Waveforms,
Corrected Log preview,
False color
Yes/Yes/Yes Yes/Yes/No No/Yes/No No/Yes/No
Stills battery life
EVF / LCD
340 / 630 330/340 430/530 220/320
Video battery life (LCD)
Cont. / Actual
– / – 85min / – 150min / 95min 120min / –
Dimensions 138 x 98 x 88mm 144 x 119 x 83mm 129 x 97 x 70mm 138 x 98 x 88mm
Weight 670g 910g 737g 738g

*Figures are for the respective cameras’ Sync Priority modes.

The upgrades to the EOS R5 II bring the camera at least into line with those of the Nikon Z8, with faster Raw shooting, 8K/60 Raw for those that can handle the file size and adding the level of video support tools that was seeming somewhat lacking in the existing camera.

What this table can’t really capture is the fine detail such as Registered Person Recognition mode and the activity-specific autofocus behavior algorithms. How well these work may, at least for the kinds of photographers who shoot the relevant types of subject, define the margin by which the EOS R5 II turns out to have overhauled the Nikon in the eternal game of leapfrog the two companies are locked in.


Body and handling

Other than the power switch moving, Canon hasn’t changed much of the R5 II’s control layout. Note the large rubber hood that protects the new multi-function hot shoe.

The R5 II’s body is extremely similar to that of its predecessor: similar enough that it’s BG-R20 battery grip can be used with the existing model. The only major external change is that, like the EOS R6 II, the power On/Off switch on the top left hand corner is now a stills/video switch, and the power control is now around the rear command dial on the top plate.

This change will no doubt infuriate upgraders who’ve become used to the handling of the existing R5 but after a couple of days of accidentally flicking to photo mode, rather than finding the power switch, it soon enough becomes second-nature.

Canon’s specs show the camera growing by a fraction of a mm in each dimension but all these changes are small enough that they round-down to the same figures as with the previous model.

This is no bad thing, as we really liked the way the original R5 handled: it’s a pretty large camera but its grip is very well shaped and proportioned, and the controls were all well placed and comfortable to use for extended periods.

New menu section

The EOS R5 II bears witness to that rarest of things: a change to Canon’s menu layout. In addition to the familiar menu sections, there’s now an olive green tab containing all the control customization options from the menu, so they can all be easily located. This includes control customization for shooting and playback mode.

Viewfinder

The EOS R5 II still uses a 5.76M dot OLED panel and still maintains the 0.76x magnification but the optics have been significantly redesigned to allow the implementation of Eye-control AF. This makes the viewfinder appear larger as you look at the camera but in practice it’s the same size when you’re using it.

What doesn’t come across from the spec is that the new OLED panel can go much brighter than the one in the original R5 (though not as bright as the one in the R1). There is also 1mm increase in the eyepoint, though, which means you can see the entire viewfinder panel from a tiny bit further away from the finder.

The rear screen remains the same 3.2″, 2.1M dot, fully articulated unit.

Flash hotshoe

The EOS R5 gains the multi-function hot shoe from the EOS R3. This has a row of contacts that can be used to feed a digital audio signal into the camera, allowing the use of the DM-E1D digital stereo mic, the contacts can also provide power to the ST-10 radio flash trigger or to provide a wired data connection to an Android smartphone using the AD-P1 adapter.

The shoe itself is sealed, but if you want to maintain a water-resistant seal with a weather-resistant flash, you’ll need to use the AD-E1 adapter.

As before, the EOS R5 II has one CFexpress Type B card slot and one UHS-II SD slot. This means you’re always likely to have a card that’ll work with the camera, but also means there’s a longer list of video modes that can’t be saved to the smaller, slower card.

Battery

The EOS R5 II takes a new battery but, as is normal for Canon, it’s also able to accept existing LP-E6, E6N or E6NH. The LP-E6P is a larger capacity version of the existing unit, maintaining the backwards compatibility Canon makes some effort to preserve.

The higher res, brighter viewfinder results in a CIPA rating of 340 shots per charge (up about 50% compared with the original R5), while the rating when using the LCD nearly doubles to 630. As always, we find the CIPA testing methodology is much more demanding that most people’s real-world usage, and they become less and less meaningful the more burst shooting you do. These aren’t bad numbers, all things considered.


Intial impressions.

By Richard Butler

It’s a small difference but the inclusion of a tally lamp on the front of the EOS R5 II suggests Canon has been thinking about more than just upping the output specs and codecs. If you’ve ever stood in front of a camera and been recorded, you’ll welcome this addition.

The EOS R5 II is essentially a super-charged EOS R5 and, in that regard, is effectively the continuation of the EOS 5D series as Canon’s premium enthusiast camera for both stills and video. Like Nikon’s Z8 it brings Stacked CMOS sensor technology to give both its stills and video capabilities a further boost, further expanding the range of tasks to which it can be put.

With the added speed and an AF feature set borrowed directly from Canon’s EOS R1 series, the R5 II promises to be a hugely capable action camera, which only helps expand the versatility of Canon’s highest-res body. Just like Nikon’s Z8, you now have a studio camera that can also be a landscape camera that can also be a wedding camera that can shoot faster and focus more reliably than the last generation of pro sports DSLRs. And buyers aren’t being made to wait for R1 capabilities to trickle down the lineup: they’re available on the day that the R1 is launched.

And if you don’t shoot sports, it also gains the “AI” upsampling and noise-reduction options, to help get the most out of the camera.

And that’s without even considering the video side of things. Specs are boosted, both in terms of allowing 8K capture at up to 60p, but also through the addition of the XF-AVC S and XF-HEVC S codecs used by its high-end cameras. These and the ability to shoot use the wider-DR C-Log2 curve means the EOS R5 II can more readily fit into a workflow alongside Cinema EOS cameras. But, even for the majority of people for whom the R5 II will be their sole camera, the provision of waveforms and false color displays should make the R5 II much easier to shoot with.

“Perhaps the most notable feature of the EOS R5 II will be the inclusion of Eye-control AF”

The option to add a cooling fan, extending the camera’s recording endurance or improving its dependability in warmer temperatures may negate the need for Canon to introduce an R5C II alongside this model.

But who knows, perhaps the most notable feature of the EOS R5 II won’t be the manifold but incremental improvements in shooting speed, AF performance or video options, but the inclusion of Eye-control AF.

We were impressed by Eye-control subject selection on the EOS R3 but had differing experiences of how consistent and reliable it could be. If the changes Canon has made truly address this inconsistency, then it could be the R5 II’s decisive feature. The ability to focus on whatever you’re looking towards when you choose to initiate focus is one of the few experiences in photography I can genuinely call intuitive (if anything it takes a while to stop over-thinking the function, and simply initiate focus when something interesting happens, because you’re probably already looking at the subject in question).

In an era where current models are so capable (and the existing R5 is supremely capable), even appreciable improvements in performance and increases in spec aren’t necessarily enough to make it worth the cost of upgrading, despite them adding up to a better camera, overall. With Eye-control AF, the EOS R5 II has an extra feature that could be significant, even for users who’ll never shoot a moment of 8K Raw or use the football Activity AF option. We’ll find out once we get to spend more time with the camera.

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