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HomeSmart Appliances → Canon EOS R3 review, Canon's sportiest hybrid (so far)
Canon EOS R3 review, Canon's sportiest hybrid (so far)

Canon EOS R3 review, Canon's sportiest hybrid (so far)

At the start of the 2021 school year, Canon presented its first sports hybrid. With the EOS R3, Canon is betting big. This new one-piece housing aims to support professional photographers in their transition to hybrid. To do this, it is equipped with cutting-edge performance: burst at 30 fps, electronic shutter without rolling shutter, super-powerful autofocus that can be controlled by the eye...

We had the opportunity to test the Canon EOS R3 for several weeks. What performance can we get from Canon's sportiest hybrid? Does the eye AF control function deliver what it promises? Answer in our photo test of the Canon EOS R3.

Buy the Canon EOS R3

Canon EOS R3: the most pro of Canon hybrids… while waiting for the EOS R1?

The Canon EOS R3 caps the EOS R ecosystem, launched just three years ago with the body of the same name. Formerly confined to the EOS R and RP, the range of hybrids from Canon has largely developed. EOS R5, R6 and now EOS R3… the Japanese brand now offers a complete portfolio.

Highly anticipated by professional photographers equipped with Canon SLRs, the EOS R3 is the brand's first one-piece hybrid. Quite logically, one would think that it comes to replace the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, unveiled in 2019. However, Canon continues to place the latter at the very top of its range of full-frame cameras.

Questioned by Phototrend last September, the brand remains evasive... but does not close the door to an even more pro model (EOS R1), an "ultimate" box with stratospheric performance.

On the left, the Canon EOS R3; on the right, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

According to Canon, the EOS R3 is designed to bring together the best of both worlds. Thus, it must offer the reliability, responsiveness and viewfinder quality of SLRs – but also the compactness, stabilization of the sensor, the silence of the electronic shutter and the advanced video modes of hybrids.

Compared to the EOS-1D X Mark III, however, the Canon EOS R3 has many advantages. Adjustable screen, backlit and stacked sensor (stacked BSI) of 24 Mpx, stabilization of said sensor on 5 axes, higher burst, more advanced AF tracking modes… So many points that we will develop during this test.

On paper, the EOS R3 therefore wins hands down. However, the "venerable" Canon SLR retains the advantage, especially in terms of autonomy. To learn more, do not hesitate to consult this article.

Find below the full list of features of the Canon EOS R3 – compared to those of the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III:

Canon EOS-R3 Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
Kind Hybrid SLR
CMOS sensor 24.1 MP full frame 20.1 MP full frame
Low pass filter Yes Yes
Processor Digic X Digic X
Mount RF EF
Viewfinder Electronic viewfinder, OLED 5.76M dots Optical viewfinder
LCD screen Touch, swivel, 3.2 inches, 4.15 M dots Touch, fixed, 3.2 inch, 2.1 M dots
Monochrome control screen Yes Yes
auto-focus Dual Pixel AF II Dual Pixel AF
Number of focus points 4779 • Reflex viewfinder: 191 points including 155 cross (and one double-cross) • Live view: 3869
AF coverage 100% (auto), 100x90% (manual) N / A
AF operating range -7.5 to 20 EV -4 to 21 EV
AF tracking algorithms Humans, animals (dogs, cats, birds), motor sports (cars, motorcycles) EOS iTR AF X: Humans
Sensor sensitivity ISO 100-102400 (expandable to ISO 50-204800) ISO 100 – 102400 (expandable from ISO 50 to 819200)
Burst (mechanical shutter) 12 fps (with AE/AF tracking) 16 fps (with AE/AF tracking)
Burst (electronic shutter) 30 fps (with AE/AF tracking) N / A
shutter 30-1/16000s 30 - 1/8000s
Video 6K 60fps, 4K 120fps 4K RAW 30 fps, 4K 60 fps, Full HD 120 fps
Video color profiles C-LOG HDR, RAW DCI or UHD (6K only) C-Log 1, RAW DCI or UHD (4K only)
Storage 1x SD UHS-II, 1x CF Express 2x CF Express
Wireless 2.4 and 5GHz 2.4GHz
Bluetooth Bluetooth5 bluetooth 4
Mobile app Mobile File Transfer App, Canon Camera Connect Canon Camera Connect
Battery LP-E19 LP-E19
Photo autonomy 860 (LCD)620 (viewfinder) 610 (LCD)2850 (viewfinder)
Charging via USB port Yes Nope
Tropicalization Dust and moisture resistant Dust and moisture resistant
Dimensions 150 x 142.6 x 87.2mm 158 x 167.6 x 82.6mm
Weight (with card and battery) 1015g 1440g
Naked introductory price €5999.00 7299,00 €

#10 – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, 176mm, f/5, 1/800s, ISO 1600

Ergonomics and handling of the Canon EOS R3

Let's start this test with the obvious: the Canon EOS R3 uses the template of the EOS R5… as well as the one-piece design of Canon's pro SLRs.

In the field, this is very good news, because the ergonomics are simply excellent. All in curves, the case is very comfortable. The handle, well dug, offers a very good grip. The fingers fall impeccably in place, a hollow allowing to wedge his index. All the controls fall perfectly under the fingers. Canonists should feel immediately at ease.

In terms of size, the Canon EOS R3 is very reasonable (especially against the 1D-X Mark III). Count 15 cm wide, 14.2 cm high and 8.7 cm deep, for a weight of 1.015 kg. In comparison, Canon's pro SLR is much bigger and heavier (1.4 kg without lens). A great feat that brings immediate comfort. Coupled with a lens like the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM, the tandem remains below 2 kg. What to avoid a lumbago after a long shoot.

The Canon EOS R3 chassis is cast in magnesium, offering very good resistance while remaining light enough

Externally, the finishes are excellent. We really appreciate the "honeycomb" texture of the handle (vertical and horizontal). The case construction inspires confidence and promises good durability. As on the brand's other hybrids, the shutter curtain closes in front of the sensor when the camera is turned off. Convenient to prevent the intrusion of dust when changing lenses in the field. However, this function can be deactivated for completely silent switching on and off of the box.

In addition, the EOS R3 is generous in terms of physical controls… while trying to remain sufficiently simple. On the upper edge, we note the presence of the small LCD control screen, taken up on the EOS R and R5. The "mode" button is now located on the right, and is surrounded by a configurable toothed wheel. In addition, the buttons dedicated to ISO or white balance are missing, replaced by the “M-fn” button located near the shutter button, as on other Canon hybrids.

The top edge of the EOS R3 looks a lot like that of the EOS R5

On the back, the EOS R3 shouldn't confuse canonists… but there are some points here worth noting. We will start with the disappearance of the 2nd monochrome screen. Under the main screen, there are no longer 4 but 3 buttons that are present (read, magnifying glass and trash). Note that they are the only ones to be backlit.

Moreover, the ergonomics of the EOS R3 is similar to that of the EOS-1D X Mark III. We thus find the large toothed wheel surrounding the “Set” button, the “On-Lock-Off” button – as well as a new “info” button. Finally, there is the joystick and the sensitive “AF-ON” button, which both allow you to select the AF point. These two buttons are also "replicated" on the vertical handle. On the ground, the buttons are very well positioned, and fall perfectly under the thumb.

The real revolution comes from the adjustable screen. For the 1st time, a Canon professional hybrid incorporates an LCD monitor mounted on a ball joint! Some purists may lose their wits about it, but in the field this aspect undoubtedly facilitates the capture of images from a low angle or at arm's length. The only unknown is the resistance of the mechanism. When asked about this, the Japanese brand tells us that the ball joint is capable of withstanding shocks – but to what extent? A fixed screen is certainly less practical, but it has the advantage of being more resistant to extreme conditions...

The swivel screen is one of the great advances of the Canon EOS R3

Moreover, this 3.2-inch screen with 4.15 million dots is very comfortable. Similar to that of the Canon EOS R5, it offers excellent readability. After a detour in the settings, the maximum brightness makes it possible to observe the details of the scene in direct sunlight without difficulty. And, of course, it is possible to fold the screen towards the case for better protection during transport.

Finally, let's mention the electronic viewfinder. The Canon EOS R3 uses the same 5.76 million dot OLED screen as the EOS R5. Admittedly, this is not the most defined viewfinder on the market, since a box like the Sony A1 breaks the house with 9.44 million points. In practice, however, the EOS R3's viewfinder proves very comfortable, thanks to 120Hz refresh – and 23mm eye relief. And it offers very good reproduction of the scene, with 100% coverage of the field and a magnification of 0.76x. Without forgetting the burst triggering without blackout.

Note that the device also offers a “reflex aiming simulation” mode, with real-time HDR rendering. However, Canon says this mode is only there to provide greater comfort when scene dynamics are very pronounced.

All the wired connections of the box have been grouped together on the left side of the box. It has a USB Type C 3.2 port, a micro-HDMI port, an RJ45 socket, a flash synchro socket, as well as 2 3.5 mm jack sockets for a microphone and a headset.

On the right side, there is only the slot for memory cards. As on the EOS R5, there is a double slot combining an SDXC card slot (UHS-II compatible) and a slot for CF Express type B cards.

Beyond the usual PASM modes, the Canon EOS R3 uses the semi-automatic "FV" mode already seen on the brand's other hybrids. There are also three personalized shooting modes, denoted C1, C2 and C3.

Ultimately, the Canon EOS R3 offers an attractive and reassuring grip. Thanks to its one-piece design, its very hollow double-handle and its rounded shapes, the case is very pleasant to use on a daily basis, even with a heavy and bulky lens. In addition, all the controls fall perfectly to hand, and the menus are clear and well organized. Canonists equipped with an EOS-1D X Mark II or Mark III should find their young without difficulty.

AF control by eye: like a small revolution

With the EOS R3, Canon “resuscitates” a technology inaugurated in its time on the EOS 3, in the sweet era of film photography. The control of the autofocus by the photographer's eye is undoubtedly one of the flagship functions of the Canon EOS R3. Very intriguing, it aims to transform the way of focusing on the subject.

On paper and in practice, the experience is disconcertingly simple. Just look at the subject, and press the AF-On button (or the shutter button halfway). The camera “locks” on the subject, focuses and tracks it. All that remains is to trigger to capture as many photos as desired.

This function relies on a set of low power infrared emitters. The rays are reflected by the pupil and the cornea, and the device calculates the direction in which one looks from the position of the eye in the viewfinder.

To use this function, the device must first be calibrated. Strangely, this procedure is not offered the first time the device is started. Learning is very easy: just look at small dots located in the center and in the 4 directions and press M-Fn. According to Canon, the more the calibration is carried out, the more the detection of the eye is precise.

You can save up to 6 calibration profiles, which you can rename as you wish: with or without glasses, but also for other photographers to whom you lend your camera. You can also export the different profiles on an SD card in order to load them later (on another box for example).

When looking through the viewfinder, a small orange circle indicates where you are looking in the image. To avoid losing the subject, for example in the case of a "stray" object appearing in the field, it is necessary to press AF-On again to lock the subject.

The orange target indicates where the photographer is looking, while the blue square indicates the object being tracked AF. To focus on the motorcycle on the right, just press the AF-On button again

In the field, this functionality is extremely intuitive. Face detection and tracking being permanently activated, the autofocus hooks directly on the subject closest to the orange bubble, even when the latter is not perfectly positioned above the subject. We encountered no difficulty in operating this system, which is very responsive in the field.

This very innovative process, however, raises some reservations. In the long run, it can become a bit tiring for the eye, during a sporting event where the protagonists change direction quickly. It is true that the small orange target can come as a distraction when shooting, which can become annoying.

On the other hand, we encountered a slight problem with the calibration procedure. If for almost all people the operation takes place without any problem, the procedure failed with one person, for no apparent reason.

Finally, if this function is very relevant for all scenes with a human or a moving object, it is perhaps a little less suitable for more posed scenes. In architectural photography, for example, it is probably preferable to deactivate it by simply pressing the “Set” button.

In any case, it is always possible to select the focus area with the screen, with the “traditional” joystick, or with the sensitive AF-On button.

Canon EOS R3 performance and image quality

Beyond all these considerations, the Canon EOS R3 is capable of capturing very beautiful images, day and night, with disconcerting simplicity. The restitution of details and colors is exemplary, and the stabilization is remarkable. Finally, the autofocus is a model of its kind.

During our test, we used the EOS R3 with a wide range of Canon lenses, such as the RF 35mm f/1.8 STM prime, the RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L transstandard zoom IS USM or the RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM telephoto lens.

Do not hesitate to click on the photos of this test to see them in better quality.

Towards Victory – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, 200mm, f.5, 1/500s, ISO 800

And yet, the sea is far away! – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, 324mm, f/5.6, 1/800s, ISO 640

It's no mystery to anyone: in certain circumstances, the photographer must know how to remain as discreet as possible, which the electronic shutter comes to facilitate. – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM, 70mm, f/6.3, 1/640s, ISO 100

Canon's first back-illuminated, stacked sensor: where's the rolling shutter?

As previously mentioned, the Canon EOS R3 has a 24MP sensor – that's 4MP more than the EOS-1D X Mark III. According to Canon, this “reasonable” definition is the promise of greater responsiveness, but also better management of digital noise.

It's very good, but opposite, the boxes of the competition manage to do better. The recent Nikon Z 9 has a 45.7MP sensor, while the Sony A1 goes up to 50MP. Of all the professional hybrids, the Canon body is therefore the one whose sensor is the least defined. Canon justifies this choice in order to obtain the best compromise between definition, acquisition speed and file size.

On the left, the Nikon Z 9, on the right, the Canon EOS R3

However, the choice of a 24 Mpx sensor is far from uninteresting. Since the number of pixels is lower, the photodiodes are larger and less constricted (a bit like a subway in rush hour). Note also that the EOS R3 has a low-pass filter to limit moiré effects.

Finally, note that the EOS R3 inaugurates the very first Canon back-illuminated (BSI) and stacked sensor. Concretely, the photosensitive medium (the photosites) is mounted “upside down” and placed on a DRAM memory, itself placed on a layer of silicon. Already used by Sony for several years, this technology has undeniable advantages in terms of performance.

The new stacked BSI CMOS sensor of the Canon EOS R3

This “new generation” sensor can be read several dozen times per second. Thanks to this ultra-high read speed, the EOS R3 is the first camera where the electronic shutter is activated by default. Better still, the box displays a burst at 30 fps (see below), and the shutter can go up to 1/64,000 s.

If you keep your finger pressed on the shutter with a burst at 30 fps, you fill up your memory card very, very quickly!

In the field, banding and flickering effects under artificial light are well controlled, with no black band present in our images. However, between 2 images of the same burst, the exposure may be irregular. Fortunately, an “Anti-flicker shooting” option makes it easy to correct this phenomenon.

In addition, the case makes up for it with a very well controlled rolling shutter. Even when moving very quickly sideways, the verticals tilt very little. From this point of view, the EOS R3 is a real success. So much so that it is possible to shoot entirely with the electronic shutter… and to forget the presence of the mechanical shutter, the triggering of which is very soft. The Nikon Z 9 has chosen to do without it completely: it cannot therefore be excluded that Canon will do the same with its (future) EOS R1…

Finally, note that the Canon EOS R3 offers a very complete video mode, and is capable of filming in 6K at 60 fps in RAW and in 4K at 120 fps. Good point, no crop is to be noted if you record in 4K or 6K DCI.

Image quality: the EOS R3, so close to excellence

Let's face it: the image quality of the EOS R3 is excellent. But is it really a surprise? The Japanese brand's recent cameras all offer very pleasing shots to the eye, like the EOS R6 that we tested last summer. As usual, we find the "paw" of Canon, with a rich and warm colorimetry.

Champi-fever – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM – 70mm, f/2.8, 1/100s, ISO 640

Note that the EOS R3 (also) has an HDR PQ (Perceptual Quantization) shooting mode, available in photo and video. The dynamic range is more extensive (ITU-R BT.2100 and SMPTE SE standard). Images are saved in HEIF format. And, of course, the actual color display will depend on your monitor.

In the field, the rise in ISO is remarkable. The camera's native range is ISO 100-25,600, but can be extended to ISO 204,800 if needed.

The Renault SC10 bus, legendary figure of the Parisian landscape – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 24-70 mm f/2.8 L IS USM, 24 mm, f/4.5, 1/100s, ISO 10000

Quite discreet at 1000 ISO, digital noise becomes more visible at 2000 ISO, but remains very easy to correct in post-processing. It becomes a little more visible from 3200 ISO, and becomes more pronounced around 4000 ISO.

Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, 100mm, f/8, 1/100s ISO 3200

But strangely, the amount of noise remains fairly stable from 8,000: even at 10,000, 12,800 or even 16,000 ISO, the level of detail remains high and the images are usable. A performance unattainable a few years ago. This point should reassure those shooting with low-light optics and/or when the light decreases.

Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, 324mm, f/8, 1/400s, ISO 20000

You really have to push the case to its limits to get “big noise that stains”. At ISO 64,000, digital noise becomes very present and the loss of detail is felt.

Z6400 forever! – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, 254mm, f/6.3, 1/320s, ISO 64000

Finally, at ISO 102,800, point of salvation, the noise is particularly present and proves to be very difficult to catch up.

Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, 500mm, f/7.1, 1/250s, ISO 102400

Finally, at ISO 204,800, noise is omnipresent. However, the details of the scene remain visible. If the image will probably not be able to be printed in 4×3, it remains a minimum usable.

Ferris wheel perspective – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM, 96mm, f/10, 1/640s, ISO 204800

Finally, the management of digital noise is remarkable. It is thus possible to capture images in low light at high hands without degrading the image quality. Although the housing is not necessarily designed for this purpose, capturing night images without a tripod becomes a cakewalk.

Duo Peripheral and Tower – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM – 28mm, f/7.1, 1/15s, ISO 25600

Our only "real" criticism comes from the dynamic range of the sensor. Yes, it is possible to recover a large amount of information in the dark areas of the image. Unfortunately, the reverse is much less true for highlights, as shown in the photo below. We were able to clear the shadows on the building of this former electrical factory without too much difficulty; on the other hand, no means of attenuating the luminous intensity of the headlights of vehicles below.

Autofocus: very efficient focusing and tracking

Like the brand's other recent cameras, the Canon EOS R3 relies on Dual Pixel AF II technology. The camera is based on a total of 4779 AF points. In auto, AF coverage is 100% (width and height). In manual, it is 100% horizontal and 90% vertical. In addition, 3 new "flexible" modes make it possible to resize the focus area at will, both in height and in width. As soon as the autofocus detects a subject inside this area, it instantly focuses on it.

Hippodrome de la Solle, Fontainebleau – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, 472mm, f/8, 1/500s, ISO 500

The real novelty concerns the debugging assistance algorithms. Asked about this, Canon indicates that they have been “trained” (thanks to Machine Learning) in order to be even more efficient. Beyond the detection of humans and animals (face and eyes), the EOS R3 gains a new mode of detection and tracking of cars and motorcycles, where the box is able to detect the driver's head automatically.

High speed – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, 128mm, f/5, 1/40s, ISO 4000

To help focus, the EOS R3 has 4 scenarios (in addition to an “auto” mode):

The victorious 4 – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, 428mm, f/6.3, 1/800s, ISO 2000

In the field, focusing and tracking are particularly effective. To test the capacities of the case, we used it in particular with the flight of birds at the Montier-en-Der festival. In the snaps below, a set of seagulls dove into a body of water to catch small fish.

Dive in – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, 343mm, f/6.3, 1/800s, ISO 1250

This represents a real challenge for any camera body. After a linear flight phase, the bird breaks its speed before swooping down towards the water. The autofocus therefore has to adapt very quickly to this change in direction and speed – and it did very well.

Fly away – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, 500mm, f/7.1, 1/320s, ISO 800

We also went to the La Solle racecourse in Fontainebleau. Beyond the potential change of direction of the horses, it is above all the tracking of the subject that is put to the test, since the aim of the maneuver is to follow a single rider in the middle of a group.

Despite the large distance to the subject, the device managed to track the lead jumper without difficulty. – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, 500mm, f/8, 1500s, ISO 2000

Fortunately, in both cases, the case always comes out with honors. The development is carried out without any delay and is very precise. Even on subjects moving at high speed, the eye is detected very quickly (the eye of a seagull, the head of a horse at a great distance, etc.).

Superb momentum – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, 200mm, f/5, 1/500s, ISO 800

On the other hand, the follow-up is remarkable in all circumstances. The only difficulties we encountered were related to the almost total absence of contrasts, combined with low brightness.

The 3 tries to outrun the 5, followed by the 2 which lost its rider a few moments earlier – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, 500 mm, f/8 , 1/640s, ISO400

On this subject, however, it should be noted that the autofocus is particularly sensitive in low light (down to -7.5 EV). In fact, it becomes easy to focus in very dimly lit environments, even with moving subjects.

Gotta Go Home – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, 500mm, f/7.1, 1/100s, ISO 25600

As the saying goes, 'who can do more can do less' – and this is true with the EOS R3, which does wonderfully for 'classic' portrait shots. The eye is detected almost instantaneously and there is no difficulty.

Burst at 30 fps: it's brutal

As mentioned above, the sensor technology used by the EOS R3 (stacked BSI) gives it an extremely high reading speed.

Concretely, this is what allows it to display a burst speed of up to 30 frames per second – with subject tracking, of course.

No, this is not a video; but a burst at 30 fps

In fact, in “high burst +” (30 fps), the tracking displays almost faultless, with a very low waste rate. And above all, the burst is done without blackout, allowing you to remain fully focused on shooting. To avoid filling up your memory cards too quickly, 2 other burst modes are available: high burst (about 15 fps) and low speed burst (3 fps).

Return of the riders after the race: the action being slower, the burst at 30 fps is not essential. Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, 135mm, f/7.1, 1/250s, ISO100

To compensate for the absence of noise on triggering, the device emits a small noise via a loudspeaker located at the bottom right of the case. Fortunately, it is possible to deactivate it for completely silent operation.

Snapshot – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 100-500 f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, 238mm, f/6.3, 1/640s, ISO 100

And let's not forget the mechanical shutter, which allows you to capture at the maximum rate of 12 fps. A value lower than that of the EOS-1D X Mark III, which rose to 16 fps (here supplanted by the performance of the electronic shutter).

Note also the great latitude offered by the electronic shutter in terms of shutter speed, ranging from 30 seconds to… 1/64,000 second (no, there isn't a zero too many). The incrementation is in steps of a third stop from 30s to 1/16000s, then by 1 stop from 1/16000 to 1/64000. On the electronic shutter side, the body offers a range from 30s to 1/8000s.

Pont de Bercy – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM, 30mm, f/5, 2s, ISO 100

Finally, the buffer of the case is very generous – and fortunately. In bursts at 30 fps, the EOS R3 is capable of capturing up to 150 RAW images at once (or around 530 JPEGs), even using a “simple” SDXC card. If you slow down the frame rate, for example by using the mechanical shutter, the buffer becomes virtually unlimited. On the other hand, if your memory card is a bit slow, the device may take a little time after said burst to unload the memory card. And during this time, impossible to trigger the device.

Last but not least, the EOS R3 is also the first hybrid to offer flash synchronization with the electronic shutter. The speeds given by Canon are impressive: 1/180s in E-TTL (electronic through-the-lens) and 1/250s in 1st curtain mode.

Sensor stabilization

Like the EOS R5 and R6, the Canon EOS R3 has a 5-axis stabilized sensor. Like its main competitors, the device is therefore able to compensate for the vertical and horizontal movements of the photographer, but also in roll, pitch and yaw.

With RF optics, the EOS R3 offers dual stabilization, with permanent synchronization of the lens and the body. Canon thus announces a maximum gain of 8 stops with certain lenses, such as the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM transstandard zoom or the RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM fixed focal length. With the Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM telephoto zoom, the theoretical maximum gain is 6 stops. Note that it is not possible to keep sensor stabilization if you deactivate that of the lens.

High speed, slow tram – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM, 28mm, f/3.2, 0.4s, ISO 400

In practice, the stabilization offered by the EOS R3 is quite spectacular. We managed to get down to 1/30s at 400mm with the 100-500mm telephoto lens mentioned above. And at 24mm, we even managed to capture a series of sharp handheld images with an exposure time of… 3 seconds! Clearly, this performance is very reassuring when shooting in poorly lit environments and/or with low light optics. Pour une plus grande sécurité, on peut aussi indiquer au boîtier de conserver automatiquement une vitesse suffisamment rapide.

Et une, et deux, et trois secondes de pose à main levée ! Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 24-70 mm f/2,8 L IS USM, 24 mm, f/3,2, 3,2s, 100 ISO

Comme sur les précédents hybrides Canon, la seule limite intervient lorsqu'on utilise un objectif stabilisé en monture EF. Dans ce cas précis, la stabilisation du capteur se fait seulement sur un axe vertical/horizontal. De même, le stabilisation de l'objectif et celle du capteur ne se synchronisent pas, ce qui minimise singulièrement les performances, puisqu'elles seront analogues à celles obtenues avec un reflex. En clair, un objectif en monture RF est obligatoire pour disposer des bienfaits de la double stabilisation optique + boîtier.

Sucette géante – Canon EOS R3, Canon RF 24-70 mm, f/2,8 L IS USM, 57 mm, f/10, 2s, 400 ISO


Si vous possédez déjà un reflex Canon EOS-1D X Mark II ou Mark III, l'EOS R3 vous réserve une bonne surprise. En effet, le boîtier a le bon goût de reprendre la même batterie LP-E19 que ses aînés. Si vous avez déjà un stock de batteries, vous pourrez donc les réutiliser sans difficulté. De même, le chargeur fourni est le même que par le passé (LC-E19).

D'après son constructeur, le Canon EOS R3 doit être capable d'endurer jusqu'à 860 photos avec l'écran LCD, et 620 clichés avec le viseur (norme CIPA). Heureusement, dans la « vraie vie », les valeurs que nous avons obtenues sont très largement supérieures.

Lors de notre journée à l'hippodrome de Fontainebleau, nous avons réussi à capturer plus de 2800 photos avec une seule batterie (dont quelques-unes en pose longue), en utilisant l'obturateur électronique. Indubitablement, ce dernier se montre beaucoup plus économe en énergie que le shutter mécanique traditionnel. Une preuve supplémentaire, s'il en est encore besoin, de la pertinence du choix technique opéré par Canon.

Enfin, il est possible de recharger le boîtier avec le port USB-C. Pratique pour recharger son boîtier dans son sac avec une « power bank » … même si la charge peut être assez longue. Comme sur les autres hybrides de la marque, il est possible d'utiliser le boîtier lorsqu'il est branché, mais ceci interrompt la charge. Enfin, Canon continue d'imposer l'emploi d'un câble « Power Delivery » : si vous n'en avez pas sous la main, point de salut.

Connectivité du Canon EOS R3

Professionnels obligent, le Canon EOS R3 affiche une connectivité ultra-complète. Il est compatible Wifi (2,4 et 5 Ghz, enfin !) et Bluetooth 5.0. Pour ajouter rapidement les informations de géolocalisation, le boîtier est compatible avec plusieurs systèmes satellites (GPS, Glonass, Galileo et QZSS). Il est également muni d'une prise RJ45, destiné aux photojournalistes pour téléverser les photos sur le serveur FTP d'une rédaction.

À ce titre, notons que l'EOS R3 inaugure une nouvelle application, nommée Mobile File Transfer. Elle fait office de passerelle sans fil entre le boîtier et un serveur distant, en s'appuyant sur le smartphone du photographe. L'appli permet aussi d'écrire des tags pour les photos, d'ajouter des notes vocales, ainsi que des coordonnées GPS.

Pour l'heure, cette appli est gratuite – mais elle ne supporte que les EOS R5, R6 et EOS-1D X Mark III. Par ailleurs, Canon prévient qu'elle deviendra payante à partir de la version 1.3.

À qui se destine le Canon EOS R3 ?

Paré pour l'action, le Canon EOS R3 se destine principalement aux professionnels de la photographie sportive et animalière – ou aux amateurs éclairés et fortunés. De ce point de vue, il peut être vu comme le successeur sans miroir du reflex Canon EOS-1D X Mark III.

Avec son ergonomie très étudiée, l'EOS R3 vise sans aucun doute à convaincre les canonistes de passer à son écosystème hybride. Et de ce point de vue, l'EOS R3 réussit son pari haut la main. Le positionnement des commandes est très étudié, permettant de se trouver immédiatement à son aise, sans avoir à apprendre par cœur une nouvelle organisation du menu.

La seule « vraie » réserve provient de la résistance aux conditions extrêmes. Dans les faits, le boîtier est constitué d'un alliage de magnésium, qui s'avère très résistant sur le terrain. Mais selon Canon, l'EOS-1D X Mark III conserve quelques avantages non-négligeables au niveau de la robustesse, tant au niveau de l'obturateur que du boîtier en général. On pense notamment à son écran orientable, certes très pratique, mais qui peut devenir un point faible. Certes, Canon indique avoir renforcé la rotule de l'écran, mais ce mécanisme reste de facto plus fragile que l'écran fixe de l'EOS-1D X Mark III.

Il ne s'agit en aucun cas de dire que l'EOS R3 est insuffisamment renforcé. Mais si vous envisagez de monter une expédition vers le pôle Nord, un boîtier comme l'EOS-1D X Mark III reste (pour le moment) un peu plus adapté.

Par ailleurs, avec sa définition de « seulement » 24 Mpx, l'EOS R3 perd quelques points face à ses principaux concurrents. Si le tirage de photos en très grand format est une priorité, vous devrez peut-être vous tourner vers un autre boîtier.

Enfin, se pose la question du parc optique. Oui, la monture RF des hybrides Canon est beaucoup plus étendue que par le passé. Et la sacro-sainte « trinité des zooms » ouvrant à f/2,8 est particulièrement réussie. Néanmoins, le parc optique en monture EF demeure infiniment plus étendu. Oui, il est possible d'utiliser la bague EF-RF pour les réutiliser toutes, mais elle déplace le centre de gravité de l'ensemble vers l'avant. Dès lors, si vous êtes réellement allergique aux bagues d'adaptation, le reflex garde encore sa pertinence… mais pour combien de temps ?

Canon EOS R3 : le nouveau meilleur ami des photographes professionnels

Trois ans après l'inauguration de la gamme EOS R, Canon prouve de manière éclatante qu'il a su prendre le virage de l'hybride. L'EOS R3 est un excellent boîtier, qui saura accompagner les professionnels en toute circonstance. Rafale à 30 i/s sans rolling shutter, détection et suivi du sujet sans faille, viseur sans blackout, ergonomie générale confortable… Le plus haut de gamme des hybrides de Canon coche un grand nombre de cases.

Du reste, Canon montre sa capacité à innover. Le contrôle de l'autofocus par l'œil est bluffant et s'avère assez facile à utiliser sur le terrain (même s'il demeure perfectible). Reste à voir si les professionnels l'utiliseront en permanence… ou s'ils continueront à se baser sur le « traditionnel » joystick.

Au final, le seul élément incongru de ce boîtier vient de sa dénomination. En inaugurant une série « 3 », Canon entretient le doute sur l'arrivée (probable) d'un EOS R1, encore plus haut de gamme, et qui viendrait de facto supplanter l'EOS R3. Est-ce à dire que ce dernier est là en guise de « remplissage » ? Heureusement non, et le boîtier a de très sérieux arguments à faire valoir. Agréable à utiliser au quotidien et ultra-performant, le Canon EOS R3 est une excellente option pour les photographes professionnels souhaitant faire le grand saut vers le monde des hybrides.

Le Canon EOS R3 est disponible au tarif de 5999 € à la Fnac, chez Digit-Photo, Miss Numérique, Camara, Photo-Univers, et dans toutes les boutiques photo spécialisées.

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