Jeff Cable opens up about shooting the Canon EOS R3 – Is it really any good?

Sep 22, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Jeff Cable opens up about shooting the Canon EOS R3 – Is it really any good?

Sep 22, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Digital Photo Pro has posted an interesting interview with photographer Jeff Cable who recently had the opportunity to give the new Canon EOS R3 a good workout during the Tokyo Olympics. There’s been a lot of hype about the camera since it was initially announced, but does it live up to it?

This is why I say that the interview is interesting because while it is an overall positive review, Jeff doesn’t really sugarcoat anything. He talks about what he loves, what he’s not so keen on, how good the Eye Controlled autofocus system is and when it can’t really do what’s demanded.

When asked about his first impressions, Jeff initially comments on its size. Despite using the same batteries as Canon’s still-current (until the EOS R3 starts shipping in November) Canon EOS 1DX Mark III, he says that it’s significantly smaller, lighter and easier to carry between the various events he covered during the Olympics. But that wasn’t the only thing he spoke highly of.

But even more important to me was the camera’s overall speed. The R3 has really fast and accurate focusing and an incredibly fast frame rate. It can’t be overstated how key this is to sports photography and to pretty much any type of photography that involves capturing action. For some events at the Olympics where I was looking for a specific reaction shot, being able to shoot 30 frames per second helped me nail it.

The Eye Controlled AF also made a big impression with Jeff. He did find that during some sports, it wasn’t locking fast enough, so he disabled it and went to his usual back-button focus. He says, though, that it might simply be down to his lack of time being able to really learn how to use it effectively. When it worked, though, he says it worked very well and made his life easy. I don’t think I ever heard anybody call Canon’s previous attempts at Eye Controlled AF “easy”, so that definitely sounds like a step in the right direction!

Naturally, a blackout-free EVF that shows you exactly what your exposure’s going to look like before you even hit the shutter is also an obvious bonus over a DSLR. Jeff also says that face detection is also greatly improved over the EOS R5 and EOS R6, not to mention the fast CFexpress Type B card slot. But that card slot can be slowed down depending on your shooting settings, which Jeff describes as his least favourite aspect of the EOS R3.

The SD Card slot is slow. I was shooting RAW plus JPEG to both the CFexpress card and the SD card since I couldn’t easily open the R3’s RAW files yet and needed the JPEGs. Some people don’t know this but shooting RAW plus JPEG slows the camera down more than shooting two RAWs because the camera has to process the image twice.

It was really a drag. I missed some key shots because of it. I was shooting [American gymnast] Jade [Carey] during the floor exercises, and she came off the floor with a huge smile and I missed it. The camera locked up [as the buffer tried to clear] and by the time it had freed up, she was already off the floor. If I was shooting RAW only, I wouldn’t have missed it.

Despite the SD card slowing things down, though, it appears that Jeff is well and truly won over by the Canon EOS R3. For events like the Olympics, “it’s a no brainer”, he says and should perform extremely well for non-sporting events, too.

Check out the complete interview over on Digital Photo Pro. If you want to find out more about Jeff’s experiences shooting the Tokyo Olympics from before he could admit he was using the EOS R3, have a read of this.

Have you pre-ordered one yet? If you haven’t, you’ll be in for long wait!

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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16 responses to “Jeff Cable opens up about shooting the Canon EOS R3 – Is it really any good?”

  1. swek Avatar
    swek

    looks real bloated
    does it really need that bulk on the bottom?
    these things shouldn’t sell by weight

    1. John T Rus Avatar
      John T Rus

      Wow, just wow. I don’t even know where to begin with how wrong this is.

      It’s a built-in vertical grip that “Bulk” on the bottom, it’s s meant for pro’s. It’s has long battery life. It’s meant for speed. It’s meant for sports, wildlife, photogernalism. Things that use big lenses that cost more than many individuals car. It’s much more comfortable and stable to shoot portrait orientation. The camera is a tool meant and formed for professional use. Not a cell phone or fashion statement.

      Selling by weight? Only someone who doesn’t have a clue about photography would say that. Actually I lied, someone with no common sense and very immature would say that.

      Hope you are more correct about other things in life.

      Your account is nothing more than a bunch of mindless hate filled rants against our former president. And I won’t even get into that argument. But it should give you a clue how ignorant and imamture you are acting. And it certainly gives me some insight about you.

      1. Canon News Avatar
        Canon News

        Wow, just wow. I don’t even know where to begin with how wrong this is.

        That was unnecessary insult.

        1. John T Rus Avatar
          John T Rus

          You obviously have no clue what an insult is……

          Look up exclamation. Since you are reading comprehension impaired……

  2. Camera operator Hong Kong Avatar
    Camera operator Hong Kong

    Something I’m not sure I understand.
    Can you shoot RAW on both cards, so there is no slow down. (one main, one backup) ?

    Or the SD card is only for jpg, so I can’t have dual RAW shooting as backup.

    Which means I will not have the full speed if I like to get a back up because jpg will always slow me down.

    Something like:
    Shooting RAW is fast but no backup (only one card slot used)
    If you like backup you don’t have for full speed

    1. xiper Avatar
      xiper

      From the reviews I’ve seen your understanding is correct. The SD card slot is slowing down the camera for most file combinations between the two card slots whichever way you slice it. That and the compromise with the megapixel count which makes extreme crops less viable and images less detailed. The lack of lighted buttons. The slight improvements on video vs the R5. All make me think its not worth getting this camera. Its a testbed for better autofocus and an in-between body before the true flagship and other pro bodies arrive. I’m not paying the early adopter tax

      1. John T Rus Avatar
        John T Rus

        Wrong, this thing totally demolishes anything by anyone for it’s intended application. Sony does 50mp. But with caveats. As in it not really delivering a true 30fps if it’s subject tracking VS the R3 can.

        It’s the simple fact of life. You shoot onto the SD card it’s DRASTICALLY slower than if he had written in only on the CFexpress card. SD is slow, so that is something you learn if you shoot two cards. Make sure you can deal with the loss in clearing the buffer if not switch it to a single slot. And there is no great advantage using writing onto two cards in the first place. Some like to do it for redundancy, some like it for workload. But these are not big issues and even though I use the 1Dx III and have two cards it’s not that big a deal and many cameras over the years had SD also because it offers more flexibility with who can read the cards. So it’s an advantage that way and some like it.

        But it simply is THE sports camera to have right now, nothing touches it as a whole package for critical events like the Olympics. And it’s a DAM good camera for lot of people even if they don’t absolutely need 30fps.

        If you crop heavy all the time, stop! That’s a bad habit.

        The R3, especially with RF glass. Is simply revolutionary. Not just a few upgrades, and if you trying to put this on the same level or try to even compare them at all. Well you are just being stupid. One is meant for serious sports and action one is not. One is a pro body with pro features one is not. One is meant for those than have a use for high resolution files, one is not

        They are not in the same class or the same use case. So I don’t want to hear anyone trying to compare the two.

        1. xiper Avatar
          xiper

          First off. You’re rude and entitled I expect nothing less from someone of your persuasion. Nevertheless, you’re more wrong than you are right despite your initial childish declaration “wrong”.

          So to say I am wrong and then say “this thing totally demolishes anything by anyone for it’s intended application” is you setting the goal posts and then kicking the ball a bunch into the net past your strawman goalee. Congrats?

          I’m not looking at the R3 SOLELY foits r “purported” purpose (quotation marks because Canon shot itself in the foot again just like with the R5 when it made it a hybrid for 4k sampled from 8k and 8k30p video). I’m looking and responding to this camera in its entirety. Its pricing, its build, its focus, and everything its capable of compared to every other pro mirrorless and dslr body in photo and video.

          The video capability is disappointing because like the R5 it overheats if you use it for photography for an hour and then use video for a mere minute as DPreview reported. For hybrid users this is unacceptable, if you want photos and video of an event.

          Additionally you were saying the SD slot slowing the camera down isn’t a big deal. Professionals need redundancy, its not a question of if but when your card will fail and when it does your work will be lost and your reputation will be tarnished. Moments that cannot be replicated, thats a loss that’s unacceptable for clients that trust you to get the job done. Paying six grand for a professional body and missing this feature is disgraceful.

          As for your point about “stop cropping” uh everyone has thier own style of shooting and sometimes limitations in access to the event or venue or subject means you simply must make do with the position you are afforded. Action photography of birds and other subjects like aforementioned benefit greatly from cropping. Finally analysis of the R3 AND A1 have shown they both haven’t been able to reach real-world 30fps (look at Tony’s video on the R3). Now when non ambassadors get thier hands on the R3 more of this marketing hype will be chipped away at definitively but if the FPS is not 30 and instead in the mid 20s then trading off all those megapixels starts to seem like you’re paying six grand for marketing.

          The price is outrageous and even some canon ambassadors said they’d stick with the r5 especially considering you could have a backup body for mot much more than the R3 by itself.

          The truth is all thes mirrorless bodies the R5 R3 A1 are the first wave of competent mirrorless bodies and all have massive trade offs that mean an upgrade body is inevitable.

          Overheating, no redundancy without handicapping your 6k camera, bad ergo and cheap quality materials (A1), false advertising for 30FPS [only being for still subjects]. When working professionals are looking for a hybrid camera that want something that isn’t burdened with a prohibitive early adopter tax, and several flaws that make such an expensive purchase seem like a deal with the devil

        2. Camera operator Hong Kong Avatar
          Camera operator Hong Kong

          And there is no great advantage using writing onto two cards in the first place. Some like to do it for redundancy,

          Look like someon who never experiemnted a deffectiver card.
          Just wait to understand the pain.

          I understand fanboy spirit, but saying that dual recording is not a thing is a bit too much.

          For example, I have to keep shooting and give my card right away for the team to edit, but need a copy on my side. I can keep one card for me, and give the second one.
          This is what sport photography is all about.
          I just simply cannot do that if I want to choose this camera for its speed.

          That defect the purpose of the camera.

          1. John T Rus Avatar
            John T Rus

            I have been shooting 15 plus years. As I said I use the 1Dx III.

            You always test for function before a shoot. I have never had a card corrupt my files. And nobody I know has either. I have always used quality cards. And shooting redundancy is fine. But it’s not a deal breaker. And that’s mostly for super critical shoots. Anything else you either use SD for a backup and that is fine for most things, it’s just that 1% of the time when you shoot you need maximum buffer clearing when you should switch to one card.

            Fanboy, yeah ok boomer.

            You trying to say that about a 6k pro body bud. Yeah, it’s gonna be kick ass. EVERYONE who has used it has been extremely impressed. It’s the king of speed right now, Period.

      2. Camera operator Hong Kong Avatar
        Camera operator Hong Kong

        So if you want to use this camera for its speed, you cant shoot safe on dual card.

        good to know.
        another weird choce on Canon side.

    2. John T Rus Avatar
      John T Rus

      No, it means if you shoot on the SD card or dual cards it’s much slower than shooting on the CFexpress card. Because now you limit it to the SD write speed.

      But you can shoot RAW plus Jpeg onto one card just fine. Which I never do anyway.

      It’s personal preference, some like having SD for versatility. Some do not.

      And as some who shot many 1-series bodies including the 1Dx III. It’s not a big deal either way.

      1. Camera operator Hong Kong Avatar
        Camera operator Hong Kong

        Ok, so you can’t have a safe shooting, period.
        If the CF card card is defective, you loose it all.

        That’s quite weird choice

        As someone who is shooting for a living and lost twice the ability to read a card in the past 20 years a card; this is not acceptable.

        1. John T Rus Avatar
          John T Rus

          First off, 2 card in 20 years of pro shooting is dam good reliability.

          Second, it’s not CF.

          Third, yes you can shoot redundancy. It’s that 1% of the time when you need maximum buffer clearing where you need to shoot a single card.

          Fourth, you should be doing an equipment test before every shoot.

          If you are pro you should know this.

          Many pro cameras have had two different styles of card slots over the years. Some like it some don’t. It’s personal preference.

          I don’t care if the rest of the camera is good.

      2. abagail joydan Avatar
        abagail joydan

        Personal preference to shoot dual card for redundancy?
        Like have 2 CF card slot on a 6,000 USD camera is to big to ask?

        Fanboy at its max that can’t see the big design flaw in a camera from 2021.

        1. John T Rus Avatar
          John T Rus

          Many pro bodies that costed 8k new had SD S secondary. This is not new and many pro’s liked many did not.

          Fan boyism? Yeah ok boomer.

          You are obviously not a pro who cannot afford this camera, your profile is littered with amateur questions. You probably never used the 1Dx III to know how crazy insane that body is in the first place for speed. The R3 just sweeps that under the rug. Not like you expect anything less from a 6k body.

          But it “Doesn’t” have dual identical slots.

          Only reason you are even saying that is because thats the what the article brings up. Not because you are so good at photography that was something that jumped out at you.

          Unless you have something intelligent to say do yourself a favor and stop looking like a fool. Not that I give a care anyway. I’ll just block you.