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Canon EOS Ra: Shooting For The Stars

2019-12-12

Canon EOS Ra

Do you enjoy basking under the night sky, capturing the glitter of stars and white streaks of the Milky Way through the lenses of your camera? In addition to requiring a great deal of patience, trying to photograph the night sky is not entirely easy. But with the right camera, you can make your shots of the cosmos pop even more with incredible colour and detail. 

This can be achieved with the new Canon EOS Ra exclusively designed for astrophotographers. With an approximately 30.3MP full-frame CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 8 image processor for quality images and performance, the EOS Ra shares the same remarkable full-frame mirrorless capabilities and features as the EOS R, but with two distinctive elements — an infrared cutoff filter and 30x magnification. Here’s why the EOS Ra is the ideal companion for capturing celestial events from star clusters to constellations to comets.

Canon EOS Ra
Lagoon Nebula, Trifid Nebula
EOS Ra, EF400mm f/2.8L IS III USM, f/2.8, 60 secs, ISO 3200, 400mm, edited using Digital Photo Professional

4x Higher Transmission Sensitivity for Hα Wavelengths

Colour accuracy in astrophotography post-processing can be difficult, particularly in bringing out the vibrance in saturation. The EOS Ra has a specially modified infrared-cutting filter placed in front of its sensor to permit approximately 4x as much transmission of hydrogen alpha rays compared to standard EOS R cameras. This allows subtle details in the deep-red spectrum of light emitted by nebulae to appear way more vivid and detailed in images, without any extra aid of specialised optics or accessories.

30x Magnification of Live View Images

For distant stars to be seen strongly visible on lens, you'll need a little help from EOS Ra’s Live View mode. This can make all the difference between images that are almost in focus and ones that are sharp. With the ability to magnify live-view images at up to a zoom scale of 30x, the EOS Ra is well-optimised to accurately focus on the precise star alignment and minuscule details of celestial objects.

Canon EOS Ra
Sculptor Galaxy
EOS Ra with telescope, 1200 secs, ISO 3200, composite of 10 images

Vari-angle LCD Monitor

Whether you’re shooting from a high or low angle, attaching the camera to a telescope or using a tripod, the flexibility of the Vari-angle touchscreen LCD monitor offers you more freedom in composing your shot from any angle. It even supports shooting in vertical (portrait) camera orientation. Composing pictures with your camera lens pointing skyward at a starscape never felt easier.

OLED Colour Electronic Viewfinder

In extremely dark shooting conditions, you can turn off the LCD monitor screen to reduce glare and view the stars through the electronic viewfinder. The 0.5-type OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) colour electronic viewfinder with 3.69-million-dot (approx.) resolution and 100% finder coverage displays sharp and vivid images ideal for checking fine details. A 23mm eyepoint allows for comfortable use, even if you wear eyeglasses.

Canon EOS Ra
Large Magellanic Cloud
EOS Ra, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM, f/2.8, 60 secs, ISO 3200, 200mm

High ISO Sensitivity

When shooting night scenes without the help of an autoguider, high ISO sensitivity settings make it easier to determine composition, minimise exposure time and to capture luminosity of the star-studded sky without any trajectory-related blur. The EOS Ra offers a range of sensitivity settings of up to ISO 40,000 for still photos, and extending from ISO 100 to ISO 25,600 (4K movies) for shooting movies in dimly lit locations.

Powerful Autofocusing at Night

Successfully focusing on faint stars in total pitch-dark conditions remains one of the main challenges among astrophotographers. That’s no longer a problem with the EOS Ra's highly responsive Dual Pixel CMOS AF system that is capable of operating in conditions as dim as a light rating of EV -6 and features up to 5,655 manually selectable autofocus (AF) positions. This means establishing quick and clear focus of dim stars with astounding speed, accuracy and ease.

Canon EOS Ra
Milky Way
EOS Ra, RF15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM, f/4, 300 secs, ISO 1600, 15mm

RF Mount System

Just like other cameras in the EOS R system, the EOS Ra is built with a RF mount that implements a shorter back-focal distance to achieve high performance and excellent imaging quality that make it particularly suited for astrophotography. The RF mount supports the use of our award-winning RF lenses and more than 70 EF lenses when fitted with a mount adapter, giving you a respectable variety of lenses to choose from for flexibility in creative expression.

Lightweight and Durable

When travelling outdoors for long distances especially with a telescope, you would want your baggage to be as light as possible. Travel-friendly convenience is what you get with the EOS Ra’s magnesium alloy chassis that is both lightweight and durable. Combined with dust-and-drip resistant sealing to prevent dust and moisture from reaching critical areas of your camera body, you can bring the EOS Ra along for long shoots outdoors with peace of mind.

The EOS Ra is compatible with a range of useful Canon accessories including the Remote Switch RS-60E3 and Wireless Remote Control BR-E1 that facilitate long-exposure shooting into the night, by eliminating any vibration and shake without compromising superior, unprecedented image quality.