Shooting With The Canon EOS R In The Southwest

Post Summary: Our Experiential Review of the New Mirrorless Canon EOS R

Ready to take a leap into the world of mirrorless cameras?

Yes, it can be frustrating to know where to start, BUT it’s also so exciting that the photography world is taking amazing strides into the future with new technology and innovations!

If you are looking to upgrade your camera, but still have a few questions about the newest addition to the Canon family lineup – you’ve come to the right place.

Emily Mandagie at Cathedral Rock - Shot with Canon EOS R
Canon EOS R with RF 28-70mm at f/2, ISO 250, 1/320 sec, focal length 28mm

Recently, we’ve had the opportunity to test out Canon’s new Mirrorless EOS R on our recent trip around the American Southwest.

We got to test out features in the field, see how it withstands our crazy road trips, and compare it to other camera bodies for a full perspective.

In this post, we’re sharing our very own Mirrorless Canon EOS R review, what we liked, what we didn’t, and things to consider when upgrading to this new Canon tech. This is a real-life review of the Canon EOS R in the field!

You can expect this review to be less tech-y focused and more on the images shot, our experience shooting, and our overall feel of the camera while on the road.

We hope you enjoy our review!

Emily Mandagie shooting with Canon EOS R In Sedona
Canon EOS 5D mark 4 with EF 35mm at f/2, ISO 100, 1/1250 sec, focal length 35mm

Our Review Of The Canon EOS R Mirrorless Camera

This post is in partnership with B&H Photo. We were lent a Canon EOS R and an RF 28-70mm f/2 lens combo to test and shoot amazing Southwest destinations on our latest road trip.

This post may contain affiliate links to products we use and love, which is at no additional cost to you if you decide to purchase. We hope you enjoy our review!

What’s The Deal With Mirrorless?*

This was our first time taking a mirrorless camera on a road trip, and we were so happy it was made by Canon! Mirrorless cameras are frequently said to be lighter, faster, and great for video content. 

Now, if you’ve been with us for a while, you probably know we photograph with Canon, and own many of their lenses and bodies.

Because of this, we’ve decided not to write a comparison post between other mirrorless cameras but rather compare it with other Canon bodies. This is because we’ve had a lot more experience with many bodies in the Canon lineup.

Driving Van on Movie Road, Alabama Hills with Canon EOS R
Canon EOS R with RF 28-70mm at f/2, ISO 320, 1/60 sec, focal length 28mm

Manual Adjustments

Aperture vs ISO vs Shutter Speed

Emily – “As a growing photographer, it has taken a while to understand the relationship between aperture, ISO, and shutter speed.

One thing I love about the Canon EOS R is the ability to see the exposure changes in real time, straight from the viewfinder.

Real-time ISO adjustments are the advantage of shooting a Mirrorless vs a DSLR.

What you see on the screen is exactly what you get. This made learning the relationship between manual settings easier, especially since I am a visual learner!

This is why I think the Canon EOS R isn’t just for professional photographers – it’s also perfect for the ameteurs who want to start learning the relationship between manual settings in a hands-on, experimental kind of way.”

Joshua Tree in Morning shot with Canon EOS R
Canon EOS R with RF 28-70mm at f/2, ISO 400, 1/8000 sec, focal length 45mm

Customizable Buttons On The Canon EOS R

Berty – “I shoot lots of film, and many film cameras have control ring on their lenses to adjust the aperture of the image. The RF Lenses on the Canon EOS R also include a customizable control ring to adjust anything you want, but I prefer it on aperture adjustment.

I love this feature of the RF lenses since it’s a familiar feeling for me in my 35mm color film work!

I was glad to discover that all the buttons, dials, and the touch bar on the EOS R are customizable. This means you can program your favorite manual adjustments to be on the easiest buttons or dials to use, for quick, on-the-fly changes.

The control ring and other buttons on the Canon EOS R make shooting really fast and comfortable.”

Emily Mandagie, Renee Hahnel, Matthew Hahnel at Cathedral Rock Shot with Canon EOS R
Canon EOS R with RF 28-70mm at f/2, ISO 320, 1/1600 sec, focal length 32mm

RF Lens VS EF Lens…

Natively, only the RF lenses fit the Canon EOS R.

As expected, when the Canon EOS R was released, it came out with a limited, but powerful lens selection:

When we were shooting photography locations in New York City last fall, we used the RF 24-105mm f4 for a week including a sunrise helicopter flight above NYC.

But for the Southwest trip, we exclusively used the RF 28-70mm f2. It is tack sharp even when shooting it wide open at f2.

This lens is super versatile as we’ve used it for landscapes and portraits interchangeably. If we were to only use one lens to travel with, the RF 28-70mm f2 would be our number one choice.

…And Lens Adapters

If you want to use your Canon EF lenses on the Canon EOS R, you’ll have to buy lens adapters.

Canon came out with three different lens adapters at three different price points ($99, $199, $399), all separated by extra features.

Personally, we don’t think there’s much difference with the $99 one and the $199 one other than an extra control ring to add more customization as mentioned above.

The difference between the $199 and the $399 is that the $399 lens adapter has a drop-in ND filter slot which gives photographers greater control of their light settings.

Cholla Cactus Garden at Dusk shot with Canon EOS R
Canon EOS R with RF 28-70mm at f/2, ISO 1250, 1/200 sec, focal length 28mm


Battery Life

On the road, Berty and I were able to pull out the batteries between locations and charge them as we drove. Personally, we never had an experience with a low battery, but we did charge them frequently.

We also loved that we could use our same Canon DSLR batteries in the Canon EOS R. They all use the same LP-E6N batteries.

However, we do know that with the dual monitors (viewfinder and flip-out live view screen), the battery life is a bit shorter than that of the Canon 5D Mark IV.

Visiting the American Southwest in the spring, we were given days with some rain but mostly in the mid-60s, partly sunny days, and mild nights.

This means we didn’t test the Canon EOS R in a harsh environment, but Canon cameras are known for their durability in extreme conditions and the weather-sealed EF and RF lenses are famous for their weatherproofing.

This is something to consider if you find yourself shooting in the desert, tundra, or pouring rain often.

Have you taken your Canon Mirrorless EOS R out in extreme conditions? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

Valley of Fire Road Shot On Canon EOS R
Canon EOS R with RF 28-70mm at f/2.2, ISO 250, 1/6400 sec, focal length 70mm


Memory Card (One Slot)

One of the features that stood out to us the most was that the Canon EOS R only provided one memory card slot for an SD card.

This was a big change for us shooting from the 5D Mark IV because 90% of the memory cards we use are Compact Flash (CF).

CF cards seem to be more durable than the SD, and we’ve never had any corrupt files using CF cards. We’ve had a few corrupt files using SD cards in the past, which is why we prefer CF cards more than the SD.

With the EOS R, we only have the option to use one SD card. We don’t have many SD cards in our possession so we caught ourselves a few times during the Southwest trip with a full memory card and no opportunities to transfer files instantly to another card.

We also discovered it’s important to use a memory card with a fast processor if taking continuous shots or video. In some instances, the camera would freeze to catch up with the overload of memory, but that’s 100% a slow card issue. Here is our suggestion for a fast, reliable SD card.

Moral Of The Story: If you regularly shoot with CF cards and are hoping to switch to the Mirrorless Canon EOS R, start building your stock of reliable and fast SD cards now!

Emily Mandagie playing with settings on Canon EOS R
Canon EOS 5D mark 4 with EF 35mm at f/2, ISO 100, 1/1250 sec, focal length 35mm

Colors From The Canon EOS R When Editing

Berty – “The first thing I noticed when editing is the RAW file of the Canon EOS R is different than the “older” Canon DSLRs.

The Canon EOS R uses the CR 3 files while the Canon DSLRs use CR 2 files. For more comparison edits between the EOS R and 5D Mark IV, watch Alex’s Strohl’s review on youtube.

Personally, I noticed that the CR3 files have more “pop” in color in comparison to the CR2. The tone is a bit different, and I enjoyed editing the desert colors of the American Southwest on our latest trip with the EOS R.

To see more color examples from the EOS R, read about our helicopter flight around New York City last fall. 

View of Red Rocks State Park Sedona, shot with Canon EOS R
Canon EOS R with RF 28-70mm at f/2, ISO 250, 1/400 sec, focal length 70mm

Final Thoughts on The Canon EOS R

The Canon EOS R is a step in the right direction for Canon when it comes to a more lightweight camera body.

The lighter weight of this mirrorless camera means is a great option for photographers on the go, especially adventure photographers like us.

At the moment, we would say that the Canon EOS R is a great ADDITION, but it’s not quite powerful enough to be a complete substitution to its DSLR brothers.

We look forward to seeing what the next version will have! We’re looking forward to possibly seeing better battery life, an extra memory card slot, and more additions to the RF lens line up!

What are your thoughts on the Mirrorless Canon EOS R? Share your thoughts and pictures with the hashtag #themandagies and connect with us on Instagram!

Looking to upgrade your camera gear? In this post, we're sharing our review of the new Canon EOS R, a new, lightweight mirrorless body that packs a big punch! Click here to read our take on the newest Canon addition and if it's worth the money...or not! #Canon #Canoneosr #photography #mirrorlesscamera #DSLR #photographytips #photographytutorials #phototips #mirrorlesscamera #photographybeginners #mirrorlesslens


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