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5 Years of Canon EOS R Mirrorless Cameras

Canon is a world leader in imaging technology, and has become one of the most recognisable brands in the world with a reputation for constant trailblazing and pushing the boundaries of photography. They are relied upon by millions of photographers for their consistently brilliant optics, superior usability, flawless mechanical and electronic design, and are a favourite among both amateur and professional photographers.

Celebrating 5 Years of Canon EOS R Mirrorless Cameras

The launch of its EOS system in 1987 defined a new era of photography, and has represented the company from the days of film to the release of the first Canon mirrorless camera.

For the last five years, Canon has continued to innovate into the mirrorless era by reinventing their EOS system, beginning in September 2018 with the Canon EOS R – this full-frame mirrorless camera ushered in a new era for the company, introducing a new system built off the RF lens mount.

It was bold to move on from the EF mount, which hadn’t been replaced for three decades and produced a whopping 130 million EF lenses. This was a clear statement about the power of mirrorless technology and moving on from classic DSLR-based architecture. It wasn’t hard to tell that this release was revolutionary - Canon’s new system brought in a tidal wave of world-first features, inspiring greater design flexibility and new creative possibilities.

Reviewing images on back of Canon mirrorless camera

Canon DLSR vs. EOS R mirrorless cameras

The world of photography is ever-changing, and Canon’s catalogue demonstrates this. In the last five years their focus has shifted from the comprehensive EF-mount system built around successful Canon DSLRs to concentrating on a new system around mirrorless technology. Since the first EOS R body arrived in 2018 (along with four mirrorless RF lenses), the catalogue has expanded to 12 full-frame and crop-sensor cameras and 34 lenses built for the RF-mount.

EF-mount lenses can still be employed with the Canon mirrorless camera lineup by using a lens converter, so switching to mirrorless doesn’t alienate DSLR owners. The new system, however, introduces boundary-pushing technology exclusive to Canon mirrorless that remains cutting-edge, and has something to offer every user.

Handheld street photography with Canon mirrorless camera

Canon mirrorless full-frame camera develops

When releasing the first full-frame body in the mirrorless line-up, Canon envisaged it becoming “the new standard for the camera of tomorrow”. At release, the Canon EOS R was exactly that – with the world’s fastest autofocus at the time, clocking in at 0.05s, ensuring Canon were wasting no time catching up in the mirrorless race.

The first Canon full-frame mirrorless had been rumoured for some time, and many fans were getting impatient as other brands had already introduced their full-frame mirrorless systems. Canon responded quickly - testers were blown away by the sharpness of new RF-mount lenses, and the camera’s Dual Pixel auto-focus dealt with low-light situations refreshingly quickly. This initial model still pulls its weight five years later; 4K video and state-of-the-art image stabilisation make the Canon EOS R a milestone in camera technology and a brilliant full-frame option for anyone wanting to make the switch to mirrorless.

The EOS R was just the start of a Canon line-up that has gone from strength to strength in the last five years, with each iteration building on what this camera started.

Close-up shooting with RF lens

A new breed of Canon RF lenses

The Canon RF lens mount is more than two times closer to the sensor than the traditional EF mount deployed on the DSLR line-up, which enables the brand to engineer zoom and prime lenses with even better image quality.

One of the lenses announced at launch was the new RF 28-70mm f2 – this was a market-first, demonstrating the new system’s room for innovation. The line-up now spans all focal widths from ultra-wide to super-telephoto, boasting some of the most impressive glass that the industry has to offer.

For instance, the impressive set of two super-telephoto prime lenses, their RF 600mm F/11, and RF 800mm F/11, boast the title of the lightest super-telephotos in the world. Canon’s RF lens range is constantly growing and developing – so much so that even the most devoted of their DSLR users would struggle not to be tempted to make the switch to mirrorless.

Many options come with excellent stabilisation, up to 8EV stops of compensation for effective handheld shooting and more control when setting exposure. Their APS-C format options bring the same high level of optimisation and engineering to the crop sensor bodies in the range, such as the EOS R7 and R10.

Over the years, Canon have rolled out more affordable models which bring powerful performance on a budget. The recent additions of the RF 24mm f/1.7 Macro and the RF 15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 share extremely close minimum focus distances, and high magnification, opening up a range of creative possibilities for users.

Canon creators can cover all focal lengths from 15mm to 400mm with just three affordable choices: the previously mentioned 15-30mm, the RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 and the RF 100-400mm F/5.6-8, which provide photographers with a versatile arsenal, and form a trio of excellent lenses.

Capturing action with Canon features

Canon mirrorless introduces world-first features

The launch of the Canon EOS R5 mirrorless camera ushered in a series of ground-breaking world-first features that make it one of the most impressive full-frame cameras on the market today, three years later.

The introduction of 8K video pioneered a new standard for solo creators and the film industry, with technology packed into a hybrid stills-video camera, extending Canon’s history of professional cinematic technology into consumer mirrorless systems.

At the time of release, the EOS R5’s 8K capability was the most advanced in any consumer model, standing out from others for making cine-level footage much more accessible. The built-in image stabilisation system works together with certain lenses to produce a ground-breaking eight stops of stabilisation. The EOS R5 also delivers a 20fps electronic shutter, which at the time surpassed any other mirrorless camera continuous shooting speed.

When purchased in a kit with the legendary L-series RF 24-105mm f/4 zoom lens, the EOS R5 becomes a beast of a camera with outstanding detail, depth and sharpness.

connected apps using Canon EOS R system

Professional Canon mirrorless full-frame launches

Canon made their way into the professional mirrorless market in October 2021 with the release of the Canon EOS R3. They’d seen immense success with the flagship EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR, but wanted to adopt the same performance into a growing mirrorless system.

The R3 was intended as the mirrorless successor to the 1D X III, engineered for professional sports, action and wildlife. It effortlessly brushed aside concerns that professional DSLR users had over switching to mirrorless: it shoots four times faster than its DSLR equivalent at a max of 1/64000; contains new AI-enhanced autofocus with 100% sensor coverage; eye, human, animal and vehicle tracking and a much better LCD screen that reduces reliance on the viewfinder.

The R3 also unveiled some never-seen-before features like Eye Control AF that focuses on where your eye is looking through the viewfinder - a Canon innovation which developed a system from the early 90s, made effective with robust modern technology. At launch, the EOS R3 burst into the forefront of the photography world, and certainly established itself as far superior in comparison to its DSLR equivalent, becoming one of the most accomplished full-frame mirrorless cameras to date.

The R3’s focus on sports, action and wildlife is directly catered to by a choice of RF lenses – the RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 is an affordable way for beginners and enthusiasts to get involved shooting sports and wildlife photography.

Anyone looking to get more serious should consider upgrading to the RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 lens, with a wide zoom range and the ‘luxury’ quality provided by Canon’s signature L-series. Similarly the RF 70-200mm F2.8, which is a staple for professionals looking to get shallow depth of field and stunning background blur for their subjects.

Widlife with crop format APS-C sensor cameras

Crop sensor Canon mirrorless cameras arrive

The wait for a crop sensor Canon mirrorless was a long one – users had to wait for the benefits of APS-C technology on the new Canon mirrorless system for almost four years. While the larger sensor provided by full-frame cameras provides higher-resolution images, many photographers turn to cropped sensor systems as they are often smaller, lighter, and less expensive, meaning travel and street photographers benefit from the portability, and beginner photographers can use them to get started without breaking the bank.

When the Canon EOS R7 mirrorless camera arrived in June 2022, users were impressed with the in-body image stabilisation and subject-specific AF tracking modes familiar to full-frame mirrorless cameras.

The camera boasts seven stops of image stabilisation, deep learning subject detection, and a 32.5MP sensor with 1.6x the reach of a full-frame sensor, whilst weighing a lightweight 530g. These specs ensured it swiftly became one of Canon’s most popular mirrorless models among amateurs, enthusiasts, and pros alike, and the R7 is reviewed for photography here.

The EOS R10 was released as a sister model to the R7, having been announced on the same day. It provides similar specs but is a more stripped-back, entry-level APS-C option. The R50 and R100 cater well to beginners and those on a budget, being Canon’s most cost-effective interchangeable-lens mirrorless options.

The RF-S lenses designed for APS-C cameras perfectly complement cropped sensor systems with impressively sharp optics. Canon’s RF full-frame lenses are compatible with cropped sensor bodies, but RF-S options are more lightweight and better complement smaller camera bodies.

The RF-S system is still in its infancy, with four choices currently available; however it has been very exciting watching it flourish with new releases like the RF-S 55-210mm F/5-7.1 telephoto-zoom lens and the ultra-compact RF-S 18-45mm F/4.5-6.3 wide-zoom.

Lifestyle with sleek Canon EOS R system

Canon EOS R vs R6 II vs R7

The EOS R, R6 Mark II, and the R7 are some of Canon’s most popular mirrorless cameras to date, offering a range of different features and catering to many users. To help choose the right one for you out of these attractive selections, we’ve compiled this table containing important specs and features to help you decide.






Sep 5, 2018

Nov 2, 2022

May 24, 2022





Max resolution

6720 x 4480

6000 x 4000

6960 x 4640

Sensor effective pixels

30 MP

24 MP

33 MP

Sensor size

Full frame

Full frame


Sensor type






Digic X

Digic X

ISO range


(expands to 50-102400)


(expands to 204800)


Image stabilisation


Yes - sensor-shift

Yes - sensor-shift

Shutter speed range

30 - 1/8000s

30 – 1/8000s

(1/16000s with electronic shutter)


(1/16000s with electronic shutter)

Video resolution

4K @ 30fps

4K @ 60fps

4K @ 30fps

Stabilisation stops


8 stop(s)

6 stop(s)


Contrast Detect, Phase Detect, Multi-Area, Centre, Single-point, Tracking, Single, Continuous, Touch, Face Detection, Live View

Phase Detect, Multi-Area, Centre, Single-point, Tracking, Single, Continuous, Touch, Face Detection, Live View

Phase Detect, Multi-Area, Centre, Single-point, Tracking, Single, Continuous, Touch, Face Detection, Live View

Focus points




Continuous shooting





Single SD card slot

Dual SD slots

Dual SD slots

Battery life (CIPA)

370 shots

580 shots

660 shots

Weight (w/ battery)




Best Canon mirrorless for beginners

The Canon EOS R100 is arguably the best Canon mirrorless camera for a beginner. Simply put, the R100 is an affordable camera that produces high-level image quality in a compact and lightweight body, compatible with the growing range of RF-S mount lenses. This small package comes loaded with technology, including a sensor that can record 4K video, an autofocus system with face tracking and eye detection, 120fps HD for slow-motion; all of which are features often found in more advanced cameras. 

If all of this is foreign to you, the R100 has you covered. It comes with Canon’s own Creative Assist and Guided UI features built in, meaning beginners don’t get weighed down by daunting settings and complicated know-how. Although it is worth learning, the R100 allows beginners to work their way up an otherwise steep learning curve whilst still maximising creative potential.

The camera is available with as an R100 With RF-S 18-45mm Lens Kit containing the RF-S 18-45mm, a versatile zoom lens, which allows you to take different shots of exceptional quality. All of this at a modest price tag means the R100 is an exceptional choice for a beginner photographer or content creator to get stuck into developing their skills.

Vlogging with the Canon mirrorless system

Buying Canon mirrorless used

As we reach the five-year anniversary of Canon’s mirrorless lineup, we’re at a point where the system has been around long enough to find second-hand equipment more frequently.

Some used Canon mirrorless equipment is extremely well priced now, for example, buying a Canon EOS R used would be far more cost-effective than new. Discover our range of used Canon mirrorless cameras and used Canon lenses; we’re certain that you will find the perfect partner for your creativity.

We offer the ability to trade-in your old camera and buy a new or used model, which allows you to keep up with the latest innovations whilst saving when upgrading. The trade-in process provides you with an instant quote on recognised products and you’ll even have your used equipment of a certain value collected free of charge, for a hassle-free process.

Over the last five years, the Canon mirrorless camera lineup has expanded to offer something for every photographer, videographer or content-creator. Explore our range of Canon mirrorless cameras and RF lenses today, and take your creative journey to the next level.

Celebrate with us! Don’t miss out on our exclusive 5 Years of Canon Mirrorless savings. Browse all of our Canon offers today and claim up to £300 when you buy an eligible canon camera and lens today.

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By Thom Pyle on 05/09/2023

Trade in your old equipment

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