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Canon R full frame mirrorless announced: a missed opportunity for 360 photos

Canon R full frame mirrorless: a missed opportunity for 360
Canon R full frame mirrorless: a missed opportunity for 360

As rumored, Canon announced the new Canon R full frame mirrorless camera, with the new RF mount, less than 2 weeks after rival Nikon announced their Nikon Z full frame mirrorless system.   Whereas the Nikon Z has a significant advantage for 360 photos, it appears that the Canon R system does not.  Here’s why.

First, here is a product video:

Here are first impressions from DP Review:

As I discussed in my post about the Nikon Z, DSLRs are slowly being phased out in favor of mirrorless cameras, if nothing else, simply to decrease manufacturing costs.   Canon’s announcement is just one more step toward that inevitable migration.

But independent from manufacturing considerations, in my post about the Nikon Z, I discussed how mirrorless cameras have an advantage for 360 photos than DSLRs because of their shorter flange distance, which enables them to use a wider variety of lenses from other manufacturers.

Unfortunately, in that regard, the Canon RF mount yields no practical advantage for 360 photos, compared to the Canon EF mount.  Full disclosure: I’ve owned cameras from most mainstream camera brands (e.g. Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Fuji, Samsung) but I’ve never owned a Canon interchangeable lens camera.  Some cynics might claim that I’m just a Canon hater.  But the fact is that the flange distance of the RF mount is 20mm.  That’s longer than Micro Four Thirds (19.25 mm), Sony E-mount (18 mm) and the recently announced Nikon Z mount (16 mm).  That means the Canon R cameras cannot use lenses from other mirrorless cameras, even the Canon EF-M mount (18mm).* Therefore in terms of lens selection, it’s not much better than the existing EF-mount.

[* You might argue that EF-M is for an APS-C sensor and therefore couldn’t be used for a full frame sensor anyway, but there are actually several lenses designed for smaller sensors that work great for 360 panoramas with larger sensors.  For example the Samyang 7.5mm for Micro Four Thirds works excellently for APS-C sensors.  The Samyang 8mm designed for APS-C sensors is a very good lens for full frame sensors.]

Of course, lens selection is not the only factor when choosing a camera.  It will be interesting to see how well the Canon R works in actual practice.  Here is the official Canon R page.  You can check out the Canon R at B&H Photo.

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Mic Ty

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  • Hi Mic,
    With all due respect. I don’t understand why having the potential to choose from many lenses is more than just a plus. That does not hinder the camera from making great Panoramas. I have been making 360 panoramas professionally for 15 years and although my Canon DSLR would take not only canon, but sigma, takrom, tokina, etc.. I have only needed to use two lenses in all this time. One canon wide angle and a one sigma fish eye. Lenses are for life just get one and use it, no need to have access to dozens of lenses to make good panoramas. There will be of course an expensive option and a cheaper one. Hope this helps anyone thinking about what camera to buy.