Cameras

Canon EOS Ra Review

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The latest member of Canon’s quickly growing EOS R mirrorless family is here, and it’s created for stargazers. The Canon EOS Ra pairs the new RF mount with a sensor that’s designed specifically for astrophotography. The EOS Ra is Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera designed particularly for astrophotography – though as the company’s third full-body mirrorless camera, that’s not too surprising.

More: Best Lenses for Canon EOS Ra

Canon EOS Ra Price

The Canon EOS Ra houses a CMOS sensor with the same 30.3-megapixel resolution but adds a special filter to enhance that sensor’s performance when capturing the night sky. The camera uses an infrared cutoff filter, which enhances the tranny of Hα rays. With four times greater transmitting of that 656.3nm wavelength, the camera can better capture the vivid colour of nebulae, Canon says.

Outside of the infrared cutoff filtration system and enhanced magnification, the rest of the Canon EOS Ra looks much like the first EOS R, including 4K video at 30 fps, time-lapses, and Dual Pixel autofocus. Like the additional RF mount cameras, the EOS Ra can also be paired with EF and EF-S lenses using a mount adapter. A battery grip or AC wall outlet accessory is also offered, for keeping the camera shooting longer for superstar trails and time-lapses.

“Since the introduction of the EOS R full-frame mirrorless camera system last fall, Canon provides remained committed to launching a line of impressive and innovative EOS R models and a strong variety of RF lenses and accessories to meet the needs of every skill level of photographer,” Kazuto Ogawa, Canon USA’s president and the chief operating officer said in a press release. “As a group of photographers who are passionate about capturing what we can’t see with our naked eyes, the brand new EOS Ra can be designed for astrophotographers looking to catch vivid imagery of the night time sky.”

That added filter bumps up the price just a bit from the original EOS R – the Canon EOS Ra will go on sale mid-December for about $2,500, body-only. The EOS R is priced at $2,300.

Features

CMOS Sensor

The EOS Ra is Canon’s first Astro-dedicated mirrorless camera that features a Canon-developed and produced 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor with approx. 30.3 effective megapixels. It employs the DIGIC 8 Image Processor to improve the speed of functions across the panel. This means fast, efficient efficiency and phenomenal image quality for big prints, impressive 4K video and more.

Digital Lens Optimizer

The EOS Ra camera has an in-camera Digital Lens Optimizer that works with RF lenses (and EF/EF-S lenses with a Mount Adapter) to provide a substantial improvement in image quality. The Digital Zoom lens Optimizer limits deterioration in picture quality caused by low-pass filters or wide-aperture lens designs. It is particularly effective at correcting peripheral aberration, providing a high amount of details for beautifully natural results. It’s usable both during capturing and when developing RAW data and does not affect continuous shooting speeds. Data from compatible EF and EF-S lenses is built into the camera, and data info from RF lenses is certainly transferred near instantly through the EOS R’s 12 pin communication system.

Eye Detection AF

The EOS Ra camera’s Face+ Tracking mode helps enhance reliability for tracking moving subjects. When the camera detects an individual face, it uses the subject’s vision as the AF point, choosing the eye closest to the camera by default. Photographers can also select which attention to focus on by touching the display screen or using the camera’s AF stage selection key and cross keys.

Touch and Drag AF makes it fast and easy to select a focus point without taking your eyesight away from the viewfinder. Using the Touchscreen LCD, it’s as simple as pointing to the desired area of focus. The chosen AF point is then displayed in the camera’s EVF for quick confirmation.

4K 30p, Full HD 60p, HD 120p

The EOS Ra camera offers advanced recording features such as 4K at 29.97 fps, Full HD at 59.94 fps and HD at 119.9 fps. Helpful functions include distortion correction during recording and Movie Digital Is definitely. Additionally, video can be recorded during still photo shooting by simply pressing the Movie Shooting button. Beautiful time-lapse videos may also be developed in 4K basically and quickly with the dedicated Time-lapse Movie mode – well suited for capturing the movement of the stars across the night sky.

OLED LCD

The EOS Ra camera features a high-precision 0.5-inch OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) EVF with approx. 3.69 million dots and a 23mm eyepoint. Displaying a bright image and extensive shooting details that rotates with the camera, the viewfinder excels in bright conditions where viewing the camera’s LCD may demonstrate difficultly.

The EOS Ra’s electronic viewfinder has been created to provide a bright, sharp and colourful 100% view of the subject at hand. Equipped with an aspherical lens, the EVF shows a crisp and vivid image with minimal aberration or distortion, even when the attention moves off the centre of the visual field.

The EOS Ra’s EVF has a bright, 23mm-high eyepoint design that creates a generous 30mm space between your nose and the rear of the viewfinder. This helps it be simple to compose and watch images in the viewfinder with or without glasses. A dioptric adjustment of -4 – +2 means it’s simple to change as needed to suit various users.

The EVF’s 0.5-inch OLED structured display features approximately 3.69 million dots for an incredibly sharp and detailed picture that makes it easy to check focus and view the considerable image data that’s displayed.

Lightweight and Compact

With a compact, lightweight and comfortable design, the EOS Ra camera reflects Canon’s decades of experience designing and manufacturing cameras. With an intelligent layout of buttons, dials and screens, the EOS Ra is normally intuitive for brand-new users and feels familiar to EOS users, offering the advanced features and nimble operation EOS users demand.

Dust- & Water-resistant Sealing

The EOS Ra camera is made for use in a variety of weather conditions. Sealing materials are used in critical areas like the control keys, terminal covers, the electric battery compartment and the card slot cover. Precise design and construction help to minimize accidental penetration of dust and moisture in all of those other camera bodies. Combined with an RF zoom lens, or any various other weather-sealed EF/EF-S lens, the EOS Ra proves to become a reliable partner in virtually any climate.

Specifications

• Sensor: 30.3MP full-frame CMOS, 36 x 24mm
• Image processor: Digic 8
• AF points: 5,655 Dual Pixel AF positions
• ISO range: 100 to 40,000 (exp. 50 to 102,400)
• Max image size: 6,720 x 4,480
• Metering modes: Evaluative, partial, spot, centre-weighted
• Video: 4K UHD at 29.97p, 25p, 24p, 23.98p
• Viewfinder: EVF, 3.69m dots, 100% coverage
• Memory card: SD / SDHC / SDXC
• LCD: 3.15-inch fully articulating touchscreen, 2.1m dots
• Max burst: 8fps
• Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
• Size: 135.8 x 98.3 x 84.4mm (body only)
• Weight: 580g (body only; 660g with battery and card)

Build and Handling

We do like the EOS Ra’s magnesium alloy body, which feels both wieldy and robust. This compact size does mean that larger lenses just like the RF 50mm f/1.2L USM and particularly the RF 28-70mm f/2L USM start to be unbalanced, but this doesn’t make any difference for tripod use.

The Control ring you get on RF lenses is especially useful. This can be programmed to adjust aperture, shutter, white balance or ISO and can be found easily by touch in the dark (just don’t change the focus by accident).

The unique M-Fn Bar on this camera is controversial, but we quite like it. You can set it up so that a touch, tap or swipe will manipulate the ISO, enabling you to control the entire exposure triangle without taking our eye away from the EVF.

This EVF is one of the best we’ve used; it’s big, responsive and crystal clear. Better still, the rear screen is fully articulated, which makes things much easier if the camera is mounted at an awkward height on a telescope adapter.

Verdict

The Canon EOS Ra is physically identical to the regular EOS R, so we found the same combination of handling likes and dislikes. But this camera is designed for a very specialised field, and some of these quirks hardly matter here. The lens Control ring is a plus point, being easier to find in darkness than buttons and dials, the cropped 4K video is much less important, and the and lack of in-body image stabilisation doesn’t issue in a camera that’s going to be used on a tripod. What makes the EOS Ra unique compared to regular cameras is its sensor’s extended infra-red sensitivity and increased 30x magnification for pinpoint focus checking.

The fact is, this is one of only a handful of off the shelf cameras specially adapted for astrophotography, so it doesn’t have a lot of competition. And while we have misgivings about some aspects of the standard EOS R’s design and handling, they are much less essential in this field, and the camera’s strengths start to shine through. There is a 20-25% price premium for the EOS Ra version over the standard camera, but that doesn’t seem a lot for a specialized conversion of this kind.

Check Canon EOS Ra Price and Bundles 

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