I rarely do gear reviews, but after a few months with the Canon EOS R I feel like I can sit down and write a moderate review about what I feel this camera is in the hands of a landscape photographer.
Things I like
Articulating screen was so refreshing to have again.
Cheapest 5Dmk IV you can buy.
Customization works great
Having eye detect is amazing... Truly amazing.
Things I was use too
Things I don't care for
Touch bar thing (literally never use it)
Zoom button (way more clunky than previous models)
Reduced bells and whistles.
Ok now that I have a quick round up of the things I like, dislike and the stuff in the middle, lets get onto the camera itself for landscape photography.
Before I purchased the camera I did some digging around and asked some people who owned it to tell me what their experience was. They all generally said it was a great camera to use. Some of them do art shows like I do and thus I figured they know what they are looking for in gear. So with a few Youtube videos watched, specs reviewed, and a bit of hope I made the purchase of the camera.
It arrived just before the pandemic began here it the US, so I first only got a few quick trips in to see how it worked. Overall, it seemed to function just like my 5Dmk IV functioned, with a few positives. I loved the new eye auto detect for photographing family and the articulating screen was a god send when I was doing my own family portraits. But I still didn't feel like I was working it through its paces until the summer began.
This is one of the first images I took with the camera.
First images that tested the camera was a trip to Goblin Valley State Park here in Utah. The goal was to run through some night images, as these often test cameras limits on noise, and battery life. So with a Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 and an adapter I set out into the desert. Once on sight I wandered through the night to find some hoodoos that I figured could provide some great images and not long after I began I found a few.
And just like that it seemed to handle night images just fine. Later on I went back with my family to play around and caught this image of the goblins just after sunset. This image also shows how the camera seems to handle low light just fine along with some nice red rock colors.
A few weeks back I went back out into the desert and botched a planned photo shoot. So with some photo shop magic I pulled the following image back together though. The ground was taken at blue hour, and the sky was taken about an hour later up from on top of the plateau where I had a great view of the sky. I was surprised how well the camera picked up the milky way and how well it picked up the air glow. It was a pleasant surprise to see how well this camera actually did.
Quick Note- Battery Life
I don't take that many images when I go out, but this camera will last through a couple good photo shoots, but eats through battery while doing night images. You probably won't need two batteries, but if you are doing extended trips from home, figure out how to charge this on the road.
One of the things I do is go on backpacking trips with my gear. I need a dependable camera that can last over a couple days while doing solid work in potentially challenging situations. This summer I decided to go hike the upper sections of the Escalante River with my camera to get a sense of how it would handle on a three day backpacking trip.
And the answer is... just fine.
The EOS R worked great on three days of bouncing around a backpack. I didn't notice any weight differences between it and the 5Dmk IV. So if people tout its light weight nature, I call BS. It's a camera and they all weigh about the same amount after you attach big zoom lenses on them.
Things that made it better than the 5Dmk IV in canyons is the articulating screen. I love the articulating screen for getting low in canyons with water rushing by. Things that seem to hinder it a bit is dynamic range. I know what you are thinking "in real world situations dynamic range is barely a thing" and generally I agree with you, but in deep canyons with multiple stops of difference between the top and bottom of the image in a color spectrum that is difficult to work with (red and yellow) it becomes very easy to loose details. You can compensate for all of that by simply taking more images which I did, but it felt a bit more difficult to bring everything together than when I used my 5Dmk IV to do a similar type photo shoot.
Sunsets and Sunrises
This camera handles multiple bracketed images to deal with high dynamic range scenes like sunsets and sunrises just fine. If that is your concern, I would say stop worrying so much. Like I have said, it frankly is the cheapest 5Dmk IV you can buy at a current $1700 dollars. So bracket your way through a high dynamic scene and you will be ok. I do notice though that it appears to be a bit more noisy in the shadows, particularly in the sky and the dark portions of clouds. This can be taken care of in post, it just is a bit more work than what it use to be.
Expandable ISO Image Quality
I have not used it at all. In fact I just had to see if the camera had it, which it does. I think I will do some images on that and check how that works and update this when I have more answers.
Its an ok wildlife camera. As I dive more into this I will share more here, probably in another blog post, but just know, its not terrible, but is not amazing either.
If you are sitting on the fence on whether you should buy this camera, I would suggest its a great option for you. In no way is it a bad camera, is it astounding? No. But it will not disappoint unless you are gear head. If you have deep pockets go with Canons new R5, but if you are middle of the road budget landscape photographer, this is a great option for you, especially since your old lenses can be adapted, or if you are wanting to jump into the system you can get a great lens like the 24-105 for a great price (I love this lens BTW).