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The EOS-R and EOS-RP are Canon’s first two entries into the full frame mirrorless arena. I have an EOS-R it was the first full frame from the camera giant and they followed up with a discount version 6 months later called the RP. In effect the R is a mirrorless 5D Mk IV sans a few pro features like dual card slots, and the RP is the mirrorless 6D Mk II. The RP is notably smaller and more compact than the R. Many pros are wondering why Canon has not launched a true “professional” body yet. I would argue that they already have. Technically the EOS 5D Mk IV is a “pro-sumer” body. This connotation suggests the camera is a “light” pro camera for the serious amateur. But my experience is that many real working pros use the better pro-sumer bodies because often they do not need the crazy 14 FPS shooting speed and may not want the extra heft. They may also want to carry more than one body.

The EOS-R falls squarely into this area. Perhaps Canon isn’t ready to launch a camera aimed at their marquee top pro market which is a super fast focusing, high speed, camera system for shooting sports. Maybe Canon feels that the event photographers, journalists, and studio shooters currently using the 5D series will be delighted to switch to the EOS R and that could be an excellent testing ground for the system. Maybe, maybe not.

But the biggest piece of evidence has to be the lenses. Canon launched the RF system with not one, not two, but THREE L series professional grade lenses including a world’s fastest standard zoom lens, the ridiculously awesome RF-28-70mm f/2.0 L. Nikon did not launch a single pro-grade lens at the launch of their Z series but offered a clearly superior pro-grade body with the 45mp Z7. Hmm, $3500 camera with no pro grade native glass? Nikon has launched a pro grade 24-70mm f/2.8 recently and they have been rumored to be working on a NOCT 58mm f/0.95. That is really cool actually. I think Canon had it right however going for the glass first. Now Canon has announced three more L series RF lenses to replicate the classic EF “Holy Trinity.” This is a 15-35mm f/2.8 L IS, 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS, and 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS. Yes image stabilizer in the fast glass and did you notice the extra millimeter on the wide side? I did.

Now I am not knocking Nikon here. Nikon’s Z cameras are quite nice and for Nikon users are probably a Godsend. I am a Canon shooter so I have a natural bias, but this is not a review or comparison blog post. I’m just glad to see Canon is taking the mirrorless system serious this time. I was over the moon about the Original EOS M, that camera however was very underwhelming. Yes I still bought one and I actually loved it, but that was because it took all my EF glass and let me have a great compact system camera. Sony’s A6000 kicked its butt in almost every measure. Canon released the mediocre M2 upgrade that improved AF and added WiFi. It was not until the 3rd iteration that Canon finally got on track. The M3 was a fantastic camera and the follow up M5 and M6 equally so. Thankfully Canon has taken the opposite approach with the EOS R as they did with the M series. Just consider this: Canon to date only has 8 native lenses for the M series. 8 years, 8 lenses. In that same time they have launched 7 bodies. WTF? They have not launched any real “pro-grade” lenses for the M series despite offering a reasonably designed and equipped M5. Well the RF system is taking a much better approach. After less than one year, they have two bodies and 10 lenses either in production or announced for this year. 8 of those lenses are professional grade, L series lenses. Canon really is ‘all in’ on RF glass. I am delighted with that.

Full disclosure, I only have one native RF lens and it is the RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro. That lens by the way, is a great lens. It doesn’t have the L series build quality but it performs very well offering a bright f/1.8 aperture, image stabilization, and a super close focus that gets right down into macro territory. Solid lens and only $479 brand new!

Now the reason I do not have any of the three L lenses from launch is not complicated. The 24-105mm f/4 L IS is a fantastic lens, but I already have the EF version of that lens and I rarely use it. To sell off my old lens for maybe $400-$500 so I can buy the same thing for the RF albeit a much better version, it still seems reckless, especially since it is perhaps my least used lens. The 28-70mm f/2.0 L is so freaking cool I would own it just because, that is if I had more money that brains. I do not. Now let’s be VERY clear, that lens for an events photographer or a journalist is worth every single penny of that $3000 price tag, but I am neither of those. The 50mm f/1.2 L was a lens I was very interested in. When Canon launched it the price tag came in at a whopping $2200 and the EF version sells new for only $1400. I won’t get $2200 worth out of that focal length. By all accounts it is likely the best optically performing 50 mm lens Canon has ever made, and would likely challenge any 50mm lens ever made by anyone. 50mm is my classic lens range, I use a lot of old school glass for that focal length.

I am seriously Jonesing for the announced RF 15-35mm f/2.8 L IS. This lens will almost certainly come in well above $2000, but that is a bread and butter lens for me. I currently have a EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS. I don’t need the f/2.8 speed but I do want the IS and now I will have BOTH and an extra bit wider to boot. Totally worth it.

Canon will probably offer a super sports RF body in the next year or so, in the meantime many working pros will gladly shoot a mirrorless version of the 5D Mk IV, why not, they are probably shooting the 5D series anyhow. Most pros shooting Canon or Nikon do not have the top end Canon 1D X Mark II or Nikon D5. Sports pros at the Super Bowl, wolr Cup, and Olympics  are definitely shooting those top end bodies, they need the super duty build quality, epic weather sealing, and crazy fast frame rates. But a lot of serious professional photographers are using cameras like the Canon 5D Mk IV, Nikon D 850, and Sony A7 III. Nikon’s Z7 and Canon’s EOS R fit nicely into that group.

 

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Last year I had PhotoFair regular John Chu convert an original EOS M into infrared for me. The old original M cameras are quite reasonable on the used market and frankly it makes for a great conversion. The original M cameras converted to IR shouldn’t be more than $300-$350 and it has a decent 18mp sensor and it is AF. There are others as well, I routimely see IR converted older Canons and Nikons with 18mp sensors and often these are in the $200-$300 range. I did the 650nm conversion on mine and can use heavier filters for the wide range of IR options. Although the color work with infrared is kind of fun what with all the wacky colors, I really like the classic black and white infrared look as well as using the color infrared and pulling back 90% of the color for a subtle quasi black and white look.

The images below were taken with the camera and no IR filter. Just the 650nm infrared sensor conversion. Without any filter or Photoshop work there is this demonic looking orange hue over everything. That can be great when you want to create a post apocalyptic sense to a scene, but not so much useful for other applications. You can use Photoshop to flip the red and blue values with the channel mixer and create crazy neon blue skies instead of the ominous demon sky effect. Just search you tube and you will find a few short videos about how to do this. The third image is monochrome with all the color taken out.

Monochromatic Infrared has always been my favorite although I have seen some photographers produce amazing color infrared, I have never been that good at color IR. Monochrome IR has a deep rich tone with its own ominous vibe as the leafy greens go stark white. On a camera that has a wide spectrum of 650nm or lower you can use classic Infrared filters to block out longer wavelengths up to 960nm. This will result in black and white only image but the tones are very deep. There are 720nm, 750nm, 800nm, 860nm, 900nm, 960nm and more. Results may vary. Remember that the human eye cannot see through these longer wavelength filters as they block out all light except the wavelengths at or longer than the filter’s rating and the human eye cannot see IR wavelengths. Your converted camera’s sensor CAN however. If you use a converted DSLR you will not see anything through the viewfinder when using the deeper IR filters. The filter will appear opaque and look more like a lens cap. The DSLR user should use the live view function when using IR filters. Of course converted mirrorless cameras work perfectly and can see right through the filters.

The B/W monochromatic infrared in itself can be a cool effect but what I really like to do is use the same no filter approach to generate a soft black and white image with a hint of color. The two images below were done no filter just the 650nm conversion and the originals have that heavy orange crust. Sometimes it looks great but often dialing back the orange and red saturation a bit or even the overall saturation maybe 50% or so offers a soft warm glow to the images that can be quite nice. Using the channel mixer can allow other soft tones whether blues or others. Portraits can offer very pleasing skin tones but the hair and eyes might get weird, depending on conditions. With the low cost of older Canon Rebel cameras and the older APS/c Nikon bodies IR conversions can be affordable.

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