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Products >> All Products In Focus: EOS R- Part20

EOS R Hands-on Review: Capturing the Beauty of Japan


From cherry blossoms to autumn leaves, Japan is known for its stunning landscapes that change with the seasons. To capture such beauty, you will need a camera that can do justice to the visual spectacle before your eyes. Will Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera, the EOS R, live up to expectations? HN, a former wedding photographer, finds out.

EOS R for travel photography
Background image: EOS R, EF 70-300mm F4-5.6L IS USM, f/5, 1/200s, ISO 800, 166mm.

With luggage in one hand and the EOS R in another, the camera, with a body weighing around 580g without lens, felt compact and lighter than the regular DSLR – not bad for first impressions – and definitely a good thing for me who will be travelling extensively on my own in the coming days.

Fall colours were out in full force when I arrived in Nikko, a small city located about 2 hours away from Tokyo by train. The Nikko Botanical Garden, which houses more than 2,000 species of plants, was a kaleidoscope of colours and I had a field day photographing various shrubs and alpine trees decked out in their finest autumn colours. 

EOS R macro photography
EOS R, RF 35mm F1.8 IS Macro STM, f/1.8, ISO 160, 1/1600s, 35mm.
Nikko Botanical Garden

Attaching the RF 35mm F1.8 IS Macro STM lens to the EOS R, which turned out to be a very small and portable combination, I took multiple wide-angle scenery shots and close-up macro shots of various plants as I made my way around the picturesque garden.

The images rendered were amazingly sharp even at f/1.8, no doubt helped by the Hybrid IS of the lens and the Dual Sensing IS of the camera that help to correct hand shake and vibration caused by body movement when shooting macro photography. You can even make out the intricate details and fine textures of the tiny leaves and flowers!

EOS R travel in japan
EOS R, EF 16-35mm F4L IS USM, f/8, ISO 400, f/80s, 35mm.
A view of Gokayama and its traditional farmhouses. 

I continued my journey to Gokayama, a historic village in Gifu famous for its unique gasshō-zukuri houses. Set amid rural farmland and undulating mountains, Gokayama and its rustic countryside atmosphere felt like a totally different world away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Through a clearing in the trees, I tried to take a shot of the traditional farmhouses and terraced farmland set against mountains in the distance. This scenery is displayed vividly on the EOS R’s 0.5-inch, 3.69 million-pixel OLED high-resolution electronic viewfinder, which also displays critical shooting information even under bright conditions, allowing me to concentrate fully on framing my shot without taking my eyes away from the viewfinder. 

EOS R travel photography
EOS R, EF 16-35mm F4L IS USM, f/16, 1/60s, ISO 160, 16mm. 
Walking across the Kurobe Dam. 

The fiery colours of autumn gradually gave way to wintry landscapes of white as I made my way up the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route set in the Northern Alps of Japan. Emerging from the bus and setting foot atop the Kurobe Dam, the tallest dam in Japan, I was met with a blast of cold air that had me scrambling for my jackets.

While walking across the top of the dam and facing the full brunt of the chilly wind, I paused for a brief moment to photograph the dam. Thanks to the quick and accurate AF of the EOS R made possible by the camera’s DIGIC 8 processor and Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, the image still turned out in perfect quality.  

EOS R is made of magnesium alloy that is weather-sealed and dust-and-drip resistant
EOS R, EF 70-300mm F4-5.6L IS USM, f/5, 1/250s, ISO 100, 155mm.
Hiking through thick snow at Murodo. 

After riding a complicated series of buses and cable cars through the mountain range, I arrived at Murodo, the highest point of the route at 2,450m above sea level. As temperatures dipped to -11 °C, I worried for my camera and lenses, but thankfully, all were hardy enough to withstand the cold and snow.

The EOS R, including most Canon camera and lenses, have sealings in the critical areas to prevent penetration of water and dust, allowing for the equipment to be used in a variety of weather conditions when travelling.

EOS R travel photography
EOS R, EF 70-300mm F4-5.6L IS USM, f/16, 13s, ISO 100, 104mm.
Kurobe River

From Toyama, I headed to the nearby Unazuki Onsen to board the Kurobe Gorge Railway which travels through one of the deepest and most beautiful gorges in Japan.

The Drop-in Filter Mount Adapter EF-EOS R came in useful for photographing the Kurobe River with the EOS R when I got off at one of the stations. To capture the fluid motion of the water, I used the Variable ND drop-in filter so that I could do long exposure even in broad daylight. 

EOS R is compatible with EF lenses
EOS R, EF 15mm F2.8 Fisheye lens, f/11, 1/60s, ISO 100, 15mm.
Wide panoramic view of Fugan Canal Kansui Park. 

A big advantage of the EOS R is its compatibility with existing EF lenses despite having a new mount, meaning that my existing range of EF lenses are not left to waste when I switch over to the new EOS R system. Throughout the trip, I had been using a mount adapter to attach various EF lenses to the EOS R. At the Fugan Canal Kansui Park, I decided to use a fisheye lens to take a wide-angle shot of Toyama city from the observatory. Even with the EF 15mm F2.8 Fisheye lens, which was launched 3 decades ago and is easily one of the oldest Canon lenses still in the market, the lens worked perfectly fine with the EOS R with no compromise on AF speed and image quality.

The Circular Polarizer (CPL) drop-in filter also allowed me to reduce the reflection on the water surface and enhance the blue colour of the sky and water.

See also: Using Lens Filters: 2 Techniques from Professional Photographers

The EOS R allows for in-camera editing of RAW images, a very handy feature that allowed me to keep myself occupied during long train rides by editing my photos in the camera while on the go, even without a laptop. After editing, I was able to use the built-in Wi-Fi to transfer the photos to my smartphone and share them on social media instantly. 

EOS R produces quality images even in low light
EOS R, EF 70-300mm F4-5.6L IS USM, f/14, 2s, ISO 100, 300mm.
Sunset over Japan. 

Despite featuring a brand-new mount, the EOS R has low barriers to entry for users thanks to its compatibility with existing products in the market and its ease of handling. The fast and accurate AF, sturdy built, and ability to render and transfer high quality images make the EOS R an ideal travel camera for more professional photographers.


The traveller and reviewer, HN, is a pro shooter disguised as a regular nine-to-fiver in a desk-bound job. A former professional wedding photographer with a keen interest in nature and macro photography, he is a force to be reckoned with when armed with a camera. The undisputed Master Yoda of photography among his peers.       


Learn more about the EOS R:
Reimagine Optical Excellence with EOS R
An Interview with the Developers: Introducing Canon's First Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera, EOS R
Expand Your Range of Shooting Possibilities with the All-New RF Lenses
An Immersive Shooting Experience Awaits with the All-New EOS R