Chillout TGIF: Photographs from the Canon EOS R and lenses

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Followup to our Chillout TGIF review of the Canon EOS R and lenses, here we present photographs with the camera.

As usual, I shot the Canon EOS R exclusively in raw format. Files were imported from the camera using Adobe Bridge (Br), and raw processing done in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). The files are then opened in Photoshop CC (Ps) and worked on. The resulting image is then saved as a jpeg image and presented in these pages. For a full discussion on my workflow, please visit this article.

Canon EOS R + RF35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM

The RF35 is a rather decent lens. It is small, lightweight and focuses down to a 1/2 size macro which can come in handy. Autofocus is relatively fast to acquire target with good accuracy.

Canon EOS R + RF35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM

As noted in the main review, it does have significant distortion, especially when wide open at f/1.8 up to about f.2,8. It exhibits quite serious chromatic and geometric distortions, with significant vignetting in the corners. This is mostly corrected in ACR by using the Lens Correction tab.

Bokeh has fairly smooth but exhibits some swirls. I did not specifically test for bright round lights in the out of focus areas to see the shape of the bokeh balls. But other reviewers have noted almond shaped bokeh balls in round highlights.

Canon EOS R + RF35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM f/1.8 1/3200s.

The focal length of the lens is excellent for food shots and coupled with the short near focus distance is able to do semi-macro shots rather well.

Canon EOS R + RF35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM. f/4 1.30s.

The macro capability is also useful for selfie wrist shots. The lens, being 35mm focal length allows for a shorter working distance than the RF100’s minimum focus distance. The result is a more relaxed wrist stance, and not one which is forced to cock due to the stretch needed to reach minimum focus for a longer lens.

Canon EOS R + RF35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM. f/11 1/125s.

Build quality is not great, though I guess is par for the course at the price range the RF35 is targeted at. The lack of weather sealing is another shortcoming. Other reviewers have lamented that the lens hood is an extra expense, as Canon only provides lens hoods for L lenses, but this is not an issue for me as I never use lens hoods.

Canon EOS R + RF50mm F1.2 L USM

In contrast to the RF35, the RF50L is a huge lens. It is also very heavy, and chunky, the build quality is also much better, though the outer skin still feels like it is made from plastic, albeit a very high quality one. The lens is weather sealed.

In comparison, the DSLR mount EF50mm F1.2L is not weather sealed and feels like metal construction, and is much smaller and lighter. The RF50mm F1.2L weighs 64% more at 960g! This is a serious chunk of glass.

Canon EOS R + RF50mm F1.2 L USM

Fortunately, the performance is excellent. At f/1.2, the lens is very sharp, with pin sharp centers and still preserving reasonable sharpness to the edges. Distortion is fairly low, even wide open, and only a small amount of correction is needed in ACR.

At f/1.2, this is a serious light gathering machine, and will allow shooting in almost all lighting conditions. While the autofocus is not fast enough for use in fast moving subjects, in normal situations, it proved to be fast and accurate allowing focus to be nailed easily for most other subjects.

Canon EOS R + RF50mm F1.2 L USM f/1.2 1/160s.

Closing the lens to f/5.6, typical for portraits, it is very sharp, with good detail resolution and colour fidelity.

Canon EOS R + RF50mm F1.2 L USM f/5.6 1/5s.

However, this is a rather expensive lens, though the performance, especially at f/1.2 perhaps justifies its standing as one of the nicer 50mm full frame lenses in the market. The performance comes dangerously close, though not quite as good as the even more expensive Leica SL + Summilux-SL 50MM F/1.4 ASPH which we tested earlier.

Canon EOS R + EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

And we come to the EF100L. This is a workhorse, industry standard macro lens. It focuses down to life size, and is a very versatile macro as well as a medium telephoto lens useful portraits. However, the lens is designed for use with the Canon DSLR system, and will require an adapter to allow it to be used with the EOS R.

Canon EOS R + EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM with RF Adapter.

Suitably adapted, the lens proved to be very sharp and a good performer. Distortion is minimal, and I cannot see much difference when I toggle the correction check box in ACR.

Canon EOS R + EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM f/16 1/160s with strobe.

Build quality is quite good, the lens barrel is constructed in what feels like a high quality plastic over metal. The lens is weather sealed, though this is not a feature required for watch photography as all our work is done in a studio environment. But weather sealing should be useful in photographing flowers or insects in the wild where the weather may be inclement.

Canon EOS R + EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM f/16 1/125s.

Autofocus is fast and accurate. For watch product photography, the focal length is nearly ideal, as it allows for images with good magnification. I worked at f/16 most of the time. At this aperture, diffraction is visible, but easily corrected in ACR.

Canon EOS R + EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM f/16 1/125s.

The front element of the lens is non-rotating and uses a 67mm filter thread. Canon provides a lens hood, but it is flimsy, though this is not a concern for me, as I mentioned I do not use lens hoods.

Concluding thoughts

Overall, I found the Canon EOS R to be a rather flexible system, and for use in watch photography with some generic photography work, it is a nice system. It is rather compact, though the L prime lenses somewhat negates this with their large physical size and massive weight.

Canon EOS R + EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM f/16 1/125s.

In terms of market positioning, this is a well designed, and well supported system camera aimed at the middle of the market – at advanced amateur photographer. Image quality is quite good, but not at the levels achievable by medium format systems like the Fujifilm GFX, the Hasselblad X1D or the Phase One XF. Image quality also lags behind the Leica SL system. But in Canon’s advantage is the price point at which it is targeted at is much lower than any of the aforementioned systems.



  1. hi Peter. yeah, the current climate really damping enthusiasm for non-essential purchases. i am also delaying GFX lens purchases and watches as well. the current crisis gave us a reality check on inconspicuous consumption. let’s hope and pray the worst is over soon and things return to normalcy, of course with lifestyle adjustments based on lessons learned from this experience

    looking forward to that gfx100 review, although im quite happy with the 50r form factor. maybe 1 or 2 generations down the road when the gfx100 tech trickles down to 50r successor(s). yeah, i also dislike the inconvenience of extension tubes. the h3d looks good, maybe i can collect one in better times

    thanks again for the camera coverages, they are a nice complement to our favourite timepieces

    • Thanks Bob.

      The GFX50R is really nice. If I get it, it would have to be with the SmallRig plate, with the additional grip. Which lenses do you have? Most of the lenses are excellent, and I particularly like the 45mm, 50mm and the 110mm, and of course need the 120mm.

      Hasselblad H systems are going for a song these days. So cheap, that I gave up the idea of selling my system to pay for a GFX one. I have the 28mm, the 80mm, the 120mm Macro and 50-110 zoom with the 39Mp back with a film back. A reputable dealer offered me less than US$ 8k for the whole system. When it was new, this system cost close to US$50k. The H lenses are very good, but no match for the newer GF lenses (or the newer XCD lenses).

    • yeah, the SmallRig plate/grip is a nice addition to the 50R. i bought it after reading your 50R review, it makes the 50R so much easier to handle. i also added the wooden side grip, which makes the 50R a joy to use with the longer lenses like 120mm. that wooden side handle also makes it easier to lug around the 50R when you are out and about. in terms of lenses, i only have the 50mm and 120mm, maybe i will add the 100-200 next time when this epidemic is over (the 250mm too pricey). or maybe a mamiya 645 120mm macro with tilt/shift adapter or a canon tilt/shift 90mm macro with corresponding adapter. don’t know if fuji will ever release a tilt/shift macro, tilt sounds more conv compared to focus stacking . im surprised the H lenses are no match for the GF / XCD lenses, i guess high mp more demanding. sorry to hear about the depreciation, guess that’s how it is with tech especially with early adapters. thanks Peter, looking forward to your GFX100 coverage and future articles/photos

  2. Thanks Peter, I enjoy these camera reviews. Did you end up getting a GFX for personal or Deployant use?

    • Hi Bob, GFX? Not yet…but close. With the current climate, don’t really feel like buying anything…especially when both my ancient cameras still work well. For web only the GH2 is still going strong, and for Watchscapes and prints, the Hasselblad H3D-39 still gets the job done.

      I know that’s not good for the industry, but its a mood I guess. Maybe it will pass. I do like the GFX though. The GFX 50R is quite an outstanding camera. Even though for macro use, the GF 120mm macro is rather limiting, needing tubes to achieve 1X, but it works ok. And at least it has native tubes, unlike the Hasselblad X1D which has a nicer body. I want to try the X1D with the XH Adapter to see how my HC120 works. But nobody seems to be able to loan me one. And I won’t splash out the cash just to test. Sorry for the ramble.

      BTW, we should get the GFX100 to test out soon…watch out for that.