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An Interview with the Developers: Introducing Canon's First Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera, EOS R

EOS R & RF Lenses Line-up

The EOS system was created almost 30 years ago with optical excellence in mind.

Fast, comfortable and high image quality.

These are the 3 timeless development concepts that the EOS system was built on when it debuted in 1987. Bringing to life the development concepts of the EOS system is the large diameter, fully electronic mount, and in-lens motor drive, a breakthrough given the level of technology back then.

The Genesis of EOS R System

A resolution for the next 30 years of the EOS system.

30 years later, the answer to what is fast, comfortable, or high image quality differs between users. Imaging systems need greater flexibility that can meet the demands of each user especially in the age of digitisation.

Even in this digital era, the EOS system continues to lead the world of still images and movies. The team of developers at Canon Inc has once again created a new camera system that would continue to this legacy.

Introducing EOS R, Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless system that reimagines optical excellence, expanding the photographic expressions and visions of photographers. The core of this new system? A large 54mm diameter mount inspired from the EF mount of the EOS system, which seeks to achieve the highest performance possible.

The Future of Photography

More than just a full-frame mirrorless system, the EOS R draws out the best in what Canon lenses of the past and the future can deliver.

 “Full-frame mirrorless” is something that hard core photography aficionados have been excited about in the last 5 years. Without a doubt, it is also on the wish-list of Canon enthusiasts. Full-frame mirrorless systems boasts the quality of a DSLR with a smaller body. However, EOS R is more than just a full-frame mirrorless system.

 

"The ideal lens was what Canon has strived for. This new mount, and the 35mm full-frame mirrorless structure were at the minimum distance to achieving our ideals.”

– Manabu Kato, Image Communication Business Operations, ICB Optical Products Development Centre Deputy Senior General Manager

 

As the EOS R system continues to evolve, there is no doubt that the amount of information communication between the lens and the camera will increase further in the future. In order to ensure its expandability, the EOS R system was developed based  on the vision of taking the EOS system further.

The core of the EOS R system

At the core of this breakthrough in optical design is the large 54mm diameter inherited from the EF Mount augmented by short back focus through the use of mirrorless technology.

Large 54mm Diameter mount

The EOS R system features a circuit capable of high-speed data for a quicker response, allowing new features to be incorporated in camera and lens design.

flange focal distance of 20mm
 

"By being able to place a lens with a large diameter close to the focal plane, the degree of freedom of optical design is enhanced dramatically. The four lenses developed as the first stage of the RF lenses have realised these advantages.”

– Manabu Kato, Image Communication Business Operations, ICB Optical Products Development Centre Deputy Senior General Manager

 

The result – Speed and precision achieved by increased amount of data processing.

high-speed data exchange between the EOS R body and RF lens

Promises of the New Mount Communications System

You don’t get the same moment twice. The new mount system brings about faster response and better control, enabling photographers to capture expressions in greater details thanks to improved stabilisation and intuitive controls on
EOS R.

As a result of the high-speed mount communications system, the EOS R can be equipped with various new functions.
 

How Dual Sensing IS works on the EOS R
 

Improved Image Stabilisation (IS)

The EOS R uses information from both the camera and lens to correct blur. The IS system acquires camera-shake data from both a gyroscopic sensor in the lens and image data from the camera’s CMOS sensor. This Dual Sensing IS system can accurately detect and compensate for low-frequency (slow) blur that used to be hard to detect with gyroscopic sensors alone. As a result, camera-shake blur on the EOS R is reduced by the equivalent of a 5-stop faster shutter speed.

Control ring on the Canon RF lens
 

A Highly Customisable Control Ring

The new mount system also allows an additional control ring to be featured.  Users can simultaneously control the lens and made adjustment through the control ring on RF lenses. This improvement unifies photographers with the camera so they would not miss a moment again.

Junichi Murakami explains about the high-speed data transmission between Canon RF lenses and EOS R
 

" With near real-time high-speed, communication and communication command innovation, it is now possible to use the in-camera Digital Lens Optimizer and real time display of shooting distance information on all RF lenses. I think these are straightforward messages to the user that the EOS R system expands the possibilities of expression.

–  Junichi Murakami , Image Communication Business Operations, ICB Optical Products Development Centre General Manager 

 

A Sleek and Compact Body that Promises High Optical Performance

Optimal Size of EOS R

EOS R system features a very short flange focal distance of 20mm, allowing the camera body to be more compact and lightweight but rigidity is no less than EOS cameras. You can shoot seamlessly using an RF lens, even a super telephoto or large aperture EF lens using the mount adapter.

Mirrorless systems allows flange back to be shortened for overall dimension more compact. However, if reduced too much, it is difficult to ensure the rigidity of the camera supporting the lens. The optimal solution arrived at was 20mm for ease of handling while maintaining reliability.

Designed to Fit in Your Hands

The designers emphasised on the ergonomics of EOS R. The grip are of the EOS R is deeply indented to give photographers a firm and steady grip while able to freely perform various operating controls on the camera. The trapezoidal dials provide better fingertip control.

Good ergonomics on the EOS R

 

" Dozens of mock-ups were made, and we verified the ease of grip and operability. The grip is compact, with a finger-friendly shape. However, by smoothing the shape of the front side which regulates the finger positions, we devised it so your fingers can move freely on the back of the camera.”

–  Yasuaki Matsuura, Design Centre

 

Enhanced AF Performance

The AF area on EOS R has expanded, approximately 88% horizontally by 100% vertically. With wider AF area, EOS R provides up to 5,655 selectable AF positions.

5,655 selectable AF points position on EOS R

An improvement in the performance of each AF point, resulting in excellent focus even in scenes that are dark and difficult to focus manually and on low-contrast subjects, conditions even our eyes have difficulty seeing. This is the EOS R’s superb performance in low-light condition, focus limit of up to EV-6.

High-precision Electronic View Finder (EVF)

Equipped with a high-resolution 0.5-inch, 3.69 million-pixel OLED EVF, EOS R gives photographers an immersive experience when shooting. Relevant data from lens and photos are displayed in the EVF so that photographers can concentrate on the subjects and be immersed in crafting the perfect shot without looking away from the viewfinder.

high-precision EVF on EOS R
 

lens and photo data on EOS R EVF

 

 

That is the operability that was emphasised in the user interface development of the EOS R.

 

White wall
 

" With the EOS R, you can consistently perform everything from shooting preparation, to shooting, playback and checking, while looking through the viewfinder. By taking advantage of these merits, we wanted to achieve a sense of immersion, as well as flexible and intuitive operability that could not be obtained with an SLR camera.”

–  Koji Yoshida, Image Communication Business Operations ICB R&D Centre 2 Lead Engineer/Architect

 

Multi-function Bar

A multi-function bar is embedded at the back of the camera. As the name suggests, this bar allows for multiple settings to be assigned to the multi-function bar so that photographers can quickly switch between settings by either sliding or tapping the touch bar to get their ideal shot. This is especially useful for movie shooting as unwanted noises can be eliminated from your recording while you adjust the camera settings on the go.

Multi-function bar embedded at the back of EOS R

EOS R is not just a mirrorless system, it is a system that redefines photography limit. Download the full version of the developers interview to find out more about Canon's new full-frame mirrorless, EOS R system.

 


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