Why I Want (but Will Never Buy) the New Canon EOS R3 Camera

It’s impressive, but costs $6,000

Key Takeaways

  • I’m lusting after the new Canon EOS R3 camera, but its $6,000 price tag puts it out of reach for most people.
  • Smartphone camera technology has gotten so good that even pros are using them. 
  • Most pictures I take on my iPhone look better than those from my DSLR.
Someone using a DSLR camera with a laptop and iPhone in the background.

JESHOOTS.COM / Unsplash

The new Canon EOS R3 might just be one of the best cameras available, but I’m not planning to run out and buy one. 

The pricey R3 is hardly an impulse purchase. However, the R3 boasts high speed, fast AF performance, low light capability, and a mirrorless design and full-frame image sensor that's the same size as an analog camera. 

I’ve owned my fair share of mirrorless and DSLR cameras, and while I’m a huge Canon fan, the specs left me not as excited as I would have been just a few years ago. The truth is that the camera on my iPhone 12 Pro Max is all the shooter that I need, and that’s probably true for most people. Smartphone camera technology has gotten so good that even pros are using them

"All of these features packed into the R3 should make it a pro shooter’s dream."

Top Shelf Specs

On paper, the R3’s 24.1-megapixels don’t sound like much to make your pulse race. 

But Canon claims the back-illuminated stacked CMOS sensor combined with the DIGIC X processor delivers a high-speed readout allowing for continuous shooting at up to 30 fps in silent shutter mode and up to 12 fps in the mechanical shutter, with minimum distortion. 

Canon says the R3 can shoot at up to 30fps with the electronic shutter and 12fps with the mechanical shutter, and the maximum non-amplified ISO is 102,400. For video, the R3 can shoot 6K at 60fps and uncropped 10-bit 4K at 120fps. 

The R3 uses deep learning technology to improve eye and body detection and autofocus. Photographers can select an initial autofocus point simply by looking at an area of the 5.76-million-dot electronic viewfinder. 

The Canon EOS R3 DSLR camera.
The Canon EOS R3 DSLR camera.

Canon

Physically, the R3 looks a lot like the EOS-1D X Mark III, which is itself a classic form that Canon has iterated for decades. The camera is made of magnesium alloy with a vertical grip and is weather resistant. 

Are Cameras Even Necessary?

All of these features packed into the R3 should make it a pro shooter’s dream. I’ve worked as a photojournalist and enjoy taking snaps in my spare time. 

A few years ago, I would have been salivating at the thought of everything that the R3 can do. I’d be thinking up excuses why I would need it for professional photos and travel pics. 

But the latest crop of smartphone cameras has changed my mind. There’s an old saying that the best camera is the one that you have with you. In that regard, you can’t beat the smartphone you already have in your pocket. 

While technically, it may be years before smartphone cameras can match the light-gathering ability of full-frame cameras like the R3, the results are more than good enough for most people’s needs. 

Take my iPhone 12 Pro Max, which I use as a daily driver. Thanks to its incredible picture-taking capabilities, the iPhone has completely replaced my DSLR. And most pictures I take on my iPhone look better than those from my DSLR. 

The most significant upgrade to the iPhone from previous models is its 2.5x telephoto zoom lens. The ability to get up close from a distance was one of the last remaining reasons to hold onto my various digital cameras. It comes in handy when shooting pictures of birds in New York City’s Central Park. 

The Pro Max also offers incredible image quality. The iPhone 12 Pro Max provides very low noise and high definition for crisp, clear pictures in daylight photography.  I’ve also had the chance to try out the cameras on the latest Google Pixel phones and have been very impressed with their abilities.

I’d happily take either a Pixel or an iPhone on a trip instead of lugging a DSLR. My entire collection of cameras is gathering dust. 

I’d love to try out the new EOS R3, and the initial reviews are positive. But at $6,000 without a lens, the R3 is too much camera for anyone except professionals.

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