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Canon’s new EOS R3 is an impressive mirrorless camera for sports photographers

After months of tantalizing glimpses and scraps of info, the Canon EOS R3 is finally out in the open — a professional-grade mirrorless camera packed with cutting-edge tech. This is a sports-focused, high-speed monster capable of capturing 24.1-megapixel images at 30 frames per second (fps) without blackout.

To enable such advanced and powerful shooting capabilities, the R3 features Canon’s first full-frame, backside-illuminated stacked CMOS sensor. This allows for faster transfer of image data from the sensor to the camera, and also results in a significantly reduced rolling shutter effect. The upshot is that you can not only capture perfect, crisp full resolution RAW photos at high frame rates, but also do so with full autofocus and auto-exposure.

Canon Eos R3 top view.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Autofocus tech sees a massive upgrade in the R3; not only does it use deep learning technology to improve subject recognition, and can focus in dark conditions down to EV -7, it also sees the return of eye control autofocus that was last seen in Canon’s film cameras decades ago. Essentially, the camera can tell what you’re looking at and pinpoint the focus there. Its autofocus is so fast that the camera can perform autofocus calculations and tracking at 60 fps, which is twice as fast as it is able to shoot.

The R3 has a total of 1,053 autofocus points to help it achieve such incredible accuracy, and its low-light capabilities are aided by a native ISO range of 100-102,400, which is expandable to 204,800. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) has a new 5.76 million-dot OLED screen with a 120 FPS refresh rate that in theory, along with high brightness and HDR technology, can provide an experience closer to that of a DSLR, but with all the benefits of an EVF. The camera also has a vari-angle 3.2-inch, 4.3 million-dot LCD screen.

On the video side of things, the EOS R3 can shoot at up to 6000 x 3164 resolution (6K) RAW video. It can also shoot 4K at up to 60 fps oversampled from 5.6K, or non-oversampled 4K footage at up to 120 fps. All shooting modes besides RAW can be shot in 10-bit.

Of course, a sports camera like the EOS R3 has to be able to do more than capture amazing images and video footage — it also needs to be able to take whatever beating can be thrown at it. To this end, the EOS R3 has a frame of magnesium alloy in one rock-solid single piece, and is fully weather-sealed. It is very comparable in this regard to the EOS-1D cameras.

Canon Eos R3 Card Slot.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Eos R3 has two card slots, one for CFExpress, and another for SD cards. The R3 also has a new kind of hot shoe mount that supports more advanced accessories such as Canon’s new external mic and smartphone link adapter.

The EOS R3 will be available in November and will cost $5,999.

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Andy Zahn
Andy Zahn is a freelance writer and photographer living on a small farm in the shadow of Mt. St. Helens. He currently writes…
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