Canon EOS R Review for Wedding Photography

The Canon EOS R Mirrorless Camera Wedding Photography Review
Part 1 – First Impressions

The Canon EOS R Review

*Canon EOS R Review Update 12th Feb 2019* – New firmware is out (v1.1.0) and this impacts some of my comments

Support for continuous shooting / burst mode in silent shutter
Corrects a phenomenon in which an error may occur if there is a large number of files in a specific format on the memory card.
Corrects a phenomenon in which an error may occur when silent shutter has been enabled.
Corrects a phenomenon in which horizontal linear noise may occur when using specific lenses together with certain recording image quality settings.
Corrects a phenomenon in which the information displayed in the viewfinder may become abnormal.

The Canon EOS R Review

 

Usually within a week of getting a camera that’s evolutionary or revolutionary for the system it’s contained within I’m there with my credit card and within a week I do a blog post singing it’s praises for being the greatest thing everrrr. I usually know when I see the specs that it’ll be a camera I love, enjoy and it’ll change my photography in a positive way.

The Canon EOS R camera though, that was a different experience. Three things held me back, the lack of a joystick and the single card slot. I just couldn’t see it elegantly fitting in with my current setup (2 x 5D4’s). Thirdly the general downplay by youtubers who weren’t really using it in a way that I would, which is weddings and portraiture.

Canon 5DSr review pt 1

The Canon 5DSr – Their best yet – Part 1 A hands on practical review for wedding photography

 

 

***Eos Mirrorless Update 20/01/2019 – Please check out my Canon EOS R Mirroless Review for my latest Canon review***

***Update 25/09/2016***

Since writing this post the Canon 5Div was released. Many people will come to this page asking about the 5DSr vs the 5Div – I have purchased two and will have a write up ready just as soon as I have the time. In short, I am keeping my 5DSr as a backup camera while running two 5Div’s for my work. It would be great to say there’s a stark difference between the two but I have to put some serious testing through the iv’s first.

On the surface though, the 5Div has better shadows, but not by much because the 5DSr already beat the 5D3 in that respect by a fair amount. The Canon 5Dsr not only has more resolution but also sharper images due to the AA canceling filter and while the 5Div has better noise performance how much so…I’m not so sure on as the 5DSr has smaller pixels and in turn, much smaller, finer grain. The real differences between the 5DSr and the 5Div are in the live view, that is a huge leap. But the AF performance through the viewfinder is pretty much the same between both bodies and the 5Dsr is a lot lower in price right now. The 5Div vs the 5Diii is a massive improvement however and if you don’t need 50mp and have the funds available then the 5Div is the body to get.

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I’m going to start this review by saying that I’m not sponsored or supported by any manufacturer. Sure, it would be nice to find a surprise camera in the post but whenever I write these sort of reviews it’s to cut through some of the hype, mystery and herd mentality that populates the internet.

A lot of opinions about cameras are from people with no real world day to day use and who do not operate at a professional level.

The Canon 5DSr is very, very good and I’m no longer considering jumping brands to Nikon as a result. That’s the short of it and what follows is the long.

Firstly, here is the list of cameras I have experience with:

  • The Canon 40D, 7D, 5D I, II and III, the Canon 1Ds3, the 1DIV and the 1DX.
  • The Pentax 645z (Which I will touch upon in this review). My 645z Review is HERE.
  • The Sony A7ii with and without native lenses.
  • The Olympus OMD EM-5 and the Fuji Xpro-1
  • The Mamiya RZ67 ProIID (Film), the Mamiya 645DF+ (Film and Digital using the Phase P25 back).
  • All three Sigma DP Merill cameras (worth a go as they are excellent value for money).
  • The Hasselblad H1 with film and a Leaf Aptus 22 back, the H3DII 39 and finally the H4D50.

As someone who shoots manually and in RAW 100% I do not use any features that affect the image output. No noise reduction, Highlight Tone Priority or anything like that. I want my files as pure as possible straight from the camera.

by Chris Giles Photography by Chris Giles Photography[/caption]

There were many reasons why I bought the 5DSr. I shoot about 50 weddings a year, very long days are involved and my usual setup was a Canon 5D3 on my left and a Canon 1DX on my right. I use all the L series primes and zooms from 14mm through to 200mm and I’ve always been very happy with this setup.

That being said, the constant weight of the 1DX was starting to cause problems and despite being a camera which was ‘always there before I was’ this speed was becoming the only reason I continued to use it, that and the ability to program the buttons into custom settings.

cgpr0194The 5D3 was good but imperfect in that I had a 12 shot raw only buffer which was ok but always seemed to fall short at the worst time. This was down to the write speed of the camera, fire a high speed burst on a 5D3 without cards and it keeps on shooting… and doesn’t stop. I wasn’t forever shooting in burst mode but I was always hitting the buffer. The 5DSr can do 18 in a burst even though it reports 12 because of the speed it can clear the buffer and even when the buffer is full you still get 2 fps. Considering this is pushing 50mp files that’s a big jump. Shooting Mraw (28mp) gets you even more (around 22 and 2-3 fps).

 

Then of course there was the sensor which at the time was great but compared to what is now available is starting to age a little. That being said it’s more often mentioned by the pixel peepers of this world and I’ve never had a bride and groom complain about sensor banding, they seem much more concerned that I got a picture of Grandma when she was Moonwalking to Billie Jean. It’s not like older cameras stop working when a new one comes out or anything.

cgpr0239

I mostly ignored the 5Ds announcement. I had the opinion of ‘nice, but no cigar’ and continued to drool over the a7rii instead, a camera I’ll cover and one I intend on explaining why I’m not interested in it further down.

Canon 5DSr review pt2

The Canon 5DSr Wedding Photography review – Part 2

The 5DSr, a camera with short man syndrome and a shotgun The 5DSr, a camera with short man syndrome and a shotgun[/caption]

 

As far as lenses go I was surprised with what I thought I’d see and what I actually got. Generally any Canon glass older than 5 years suffers a little. Yet, the 24L and 35L really shine at F2. The Sigma 50 Art is absolutely gorgeous except I don’t really use that focal length much and I’m hoping to get my hands on the newly announced 24-35 F2 zoom from Sigma. If it’s in line with their art series of glass we could be on to a win.

The 24-70mk II performs well as does the 70-200 F4, it actually focuses quicker on the 5DSr than it does on the 5D3. Take from that what you will.

 

The worries about the high pixel density and the shutter speed = focal length are just that, worries. It’s not like the D800 where the images were slightly blurred, the 5DSr is a camera I can happy shoot without the worry of blurring. Generally I don’t shoot slower than 1/60 anyway so the only thing I need to step up for is my 85L, 135L and 200L. The rest either have image stability or are super wide.
The 35L loves this camera The 35L loves this camera[/caption]

 

Now onto the not so great which are really more niggles that could be addressed with firmware updates of which I only have three:

1: Mraw is compressed raw. This has always been the case but really, give us some more file options please. DNG would be a good start. I want to shoot and know I have the full raw data to work with. There may well be a great reason at Canon for this but let us choose what we want to work with and also allow some of us to continue using Lightroom 5 (which actually works vs LRCC which doesn’t).

If I had uncompressed Mraw (28mp) then I’d replace my 5D3 with another 5DSr as let’s be honest, table shots, photos of the table plan and other stuff doesn’t warrant the resolution and I’m that guy who’ll forget he’s in Mraw and start shooting the couple shots and formals so I stick in full size raw and leave it at that.

Also, I’m swerving a little bit here but if you’re put off by the 50mp file size don’t be. Just edit as normal and store as lossy DNG’s when the edit is done. 128gb of CR2 files compresses to 15-55gb depending on the ISO’s used. You can’t really tell the difference either and it’s unlikely you’ll need them again anyway.

2: Please enable the same Register/recall shooting function (CF section 3 – Custom controls) as the 1DX, in the 1DX I can say that when I press the AF-on button it will jump into a shooting mode (like TV or AV) even if I’m in Manual mode. The way it’s set means that pressing the button will only use a setting for that mode.

 

It makes the feature pretty useless and can’t help but feel it’s crippled somehow. This feature was what spurred me to buy the 5DSr, the ease of use. So, Masaya Maeda, if you’re reading this could you please have this fixed?

  • 3: Image view and zoom time. This kind of links to point number one. Whenever you look at a shot you’ve taken in the camera you are looking at the jpeg file that comes part and parcel with the raw file. If you’re used to using Perfect Browse or Photo Mechanic to sort your files before editing in Lightroom then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The problem is that these appear to be full size super huge 50mp jpegs and this slows down the whole viewing and preview process. Zooming into these files is a bit slow. It’s not a serious problem as it’s not too slow, but how about Canon gives us the option on what file size is used for the jpeg preview contained in the raw. Like 12mp or something so we can check the focus quickly and go back to the shooting. I’m not overly fussed if this slows down the overall buffer unload time but I’d like to have that as a choice I make rather than it being forced upon me.

Other than that, no real issues. It’s a great camera and worth the money.

cgpr0315

In comparison with other cameras and looking to the future….

It’s very difficult to not notice how far Sony have come with their sensor tech. I mean look at what they have now, it’s great. But it’s still consumer level. When I heard about the A7rii and after shooting with a second who had an A7s, A7ii and GH4 setup I bought an A7ii. It’s a really good camera, with professional quality photos but it’s still a consumer body which won’t last a season with me.

645z pt1

Pentax 645z Review Pt1 – The Journey

A Pentax 645z overview. From left, Extension tube set, the 45-85mm FA 4.5, the 35mm A, the 80-160mm FA, the Pentax 645z and 55mm D-FA 2.8, the 120mm F4 Macro, the 75mm 2.8 FA, 150mm 2.8 FA and finally the x2 extender

A Pentax 645z overview. From left, Extension tube set, the 45-85mm FA 4.5, the 35mm A, the 80-160mm FA, the Pentax 645z and 55mm D-FA 2.8, the 120mm F4 Macro, the 75mm 2.8 FA, 150mm 2.8 FA and finally the x2 extender[/caption]

Welcome to my personal review of the Pentax 645z. There are many posts and even though they will undoubtedly cross over in places with regards their content, I’ve tried to focus on certain aspects with each page.

Appendix:

Part 1 – The Journey
Part 2 – Image Quality
Part 3 – Lens options and CCD vs CMOS
Part 4 – Ergonomics and weight
Part 5 – Flash System
Part 6 – Conclusion
Part 7 – 100+ Uncompressed DNG’s to download

Firstly, why I bought the Pentax 645z and the journey I took to get to this point.

645z review pt2

Pentax 645z review Pt2 – Image quality

The Pentax 645z has the best image quality I've ever seen

Appendix:
Part 1 – The Journey
Part 2 – Image Quality
Part 3 – Lens options and CCD vs CMOS
Part 4 – Ergonomics and weight
Part 5 – Flash System
Part 6 – Conclusion
Part 7 – 100+ Uncompressed DNG’s to download

The Pentax 645z camera has, hand on heart, the best image quality I have ever seen on any format, with any sensor, ever. The images have a certain look and feel to them unmatched on any other camera unless it shares the same sensor. The next camera with this sensor costs almost three times as much when you factor in the body as well.

645z review pt3

Pentax 645z Review Pt3 – The Lenses, CCD vs CMOS and 35mm vs Medium format.

I didn't think I needed a tilt screen until I got one.

Appendix:
Part 1 – The Journey
Part 2 – Image Quality
Part 3 – Lens options and CCD vs CMOS
Part 4 – Ergonomics and weight
Part 5 – Flash System
Part 6 – Conclusion
Part 7 – 100+ Uncompressed DNG’s to download

The Pentax 645 Lenses

The 645z lenses share a lot with Mamiya / Phase One. There is a legacy of low priced used glass out there (relative to new prices) for both the Pentax 645z and the Mamiya / Phase DF body. All the glass I purchased was used and works perfectly.

I’m very happy with all the lenses I have so far.

 

So far I’ve picked up the following:

645z Review Pt4

Pentax 645z Review Pt4 – In use and ergonomics

The Canon 1DX, 5D mkIII, Pentax 645z and the Hasselblad H4D50

 

Appendix:
Part 1 – The Journey
Part 2 – Image Quality
Part 3 – Lens options and CCD vs CMOS
Part 4 – Ergonomics and weight
Part 5 – Flash System
Part 6 – Conclusion
Part 7 – 100+ Uncompressed DNG’s to download

Hello again. I’m going to give you some technical info on this page but there a little caveat. This isn’t a full on technical page, more weights and measures.

I just want to give you and idea on how the 645z is in use. In the main, how heavy and ergonomic is it relative to other cameras?

645z review pt5

Pentax 645z Review Pt5 – 645z Flash options

Lets talk flash options

 

Appendix:
Part 1 – The Journey
Part 2 – Image Quality
Part 3 – Lens options and CCD vs CMOS
Part 4 – Ergonomics and weight
Part 5 – Flash System
Part 6 – Conclusion
Part 7 – 100+ Uncompressed DNG’s to download

The Pentax 645 flash system.

*UPDATE* – SInce I wrote this review there are a lot more options available, TTL, HSS and so on. This page still has it’s merits but please research flash options that are new to the market.

I use speedlites a lot in the evenings for the dancefloor and during the speeches. Otherwise I’m pretty much a natural light shooter. Because I sometimes have a second shooter with me I have 10 Canon 600’s and the external Canon CP-E4 battery packs so I’ve been able to explore the flash setup pretty well and how to integrate my existing Canon equipment with Pentax.

For starters though, the Pentax proprietry TTL system (P-TTL) is highly accurate and just as good, if not slightly more accurate in metering than the Canon system. I currently use the MkI Pentax 540 FGZ and it’s very good. If you want to use a full wireless system then Pentax had wireless before Canon did. And that’s true wireless, not infrared.

645z Review pt6

Pentax 645z Review Pt6 – Conclusion

Appendix:
Part 1 – The Journey
Part 2 – Image Quality
Part 3 – Lens options and CCD vs CMOS
Part 4 – Ergonomics and weight
Part 5 – Flash System
Part 6 – Conclusion
Part 7 – 100+ Uncompressed DNG’s to download

Before I get on to my conclusion I’d like to touch on the Canon 5Ds and 5Dr cameras.

These are a welcome additions to the DSLR fold and keeps Nikon from the door to a certain extent. While I have no practical experience of them yet I have seen some of the files from both cameras. Personally I find the images have a small sensor ‘look’ to them. Regardless how many pixels you have on the sensor, the sensor size will give you a certain feel to an image. Be that an iphone, D810 or an 8×10 camera regardless of the pixel count or sensor manufacturer.