Canon has announced that it will develop the EOS R3. The R3 will be the Japanese company’s mirrorless camera and will sit above the R5.

Best to think of the EOS R3 as the mirrorless equivalent of the 1D X Mark III. It is specifically aimed at professional sports and news photographers.

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Canon has not used the designation 3 since 1998 when the EOS-3 35mm SLR was introduced.

Canon claims that the EOS R3 meets three criteria:

  • High speed
  • High sensitivity
  • High reliability

Before you get too excited, this is just a development announcement, and Canon hasn’t released many of the camera’s key features and specs. Camera development announcements have become increasingly popular in recent years. As you know, Canon adopted the same marketing strategy when it first announced the EOS R5.


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The EOS R3 will feature a brand new 35mm full screen CMOS sensor with backlight and backlight. This will be the first Canon camera to use such a sensor.

Backlit stacked CMOS sensors are used in some of Sony’s mirrorless offerings.

The advantage of using a backlit stacked CMOS sensor and a DIGIC X image processor is that the EOS R3 should have fairly fast readout speeds and reduced rolling shutter. It should also be much more light sensitive and therefore better in low light environments.

We do not have any information about the sensor resolution for the R3. It will be interesting to see if they take the higher MP path like Sony with the Alpha 1 and what Nikon is apparently doing with the Z9, or if they stick with a lower MP solution like the 1D X Mark III.

If I was to guess, I’d assume it will have more to do with the 1D X Mark III in terms of sensor resolution.

Canon also claims that the camera can achieve up to 30 fps in still mode with the electronic shutter with full AF / AE functions. This is 10 fps higher than the EOS-1D X Mark III and corresponds to the Sony Alpha 1.

What we know

Canon EOS R3 front with RF 24 70 f28 L IS USM

Better for me to tell you only what we know than what we don’t know. Here are the main features Canon mentioned:

Improved focus performance

With the new sensor and Dual Pixel AF technology, Canon claims the R3 will deliver ‘a new level of subject tracking‘. Canon states that eye and head tracking have been improved.

It is also interesting that there will be a new one torso Tracking mode which is great news for anyone who likes sports. Canon has also said they are developing other forms of tracking for different subject types as well, but did not provide any further details.

Eye AF control is also making a comeback. This is something we haven’t seen in a Canon camera in a long time. This technology was first introduced in the EOS 5 (or the EOS A2 and A2e if you were in the US) in 1992.

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With EOS 5 eye focus, the user could select one of five focus points by looking at it through the viewfinder and activate the depth of field preview by looking at a sixth point marked in the upper left corner of the viewfinder. At the time, this feature was only available from Canon.

Ironically, the EOS 3 was the last eye-tracking camera.

It is currently unclear how the eye focusing technology will work in the EOS R3, but it is certainly an innovation that could be of great benefit to users.

Form factor

Canon EOS R3 front white

The R3 has a built-in vertical handle, making it larger and heavier than an EOS R5 or R6. In terms of form factor, it has a lot more in common with the 1D X Mark III than any of Canon’s mirrorless offerings.

Build quality

The EOS R3 is built to the same standards as the EOS-1 series. You should expect the same sturdy body structure as the 1D X Mark III and the same water and dust resistance.

Video functions?

Again, this is everyone’s guess at this point. Given the video functionality of the 1D X Mark III and the R5, I would expect the R3 to be no problem in this department. Whether the video capabilities have more in common with the 1D X Mark III or the R5 likely depends on the sensor resolution.

If I was to make a guess, I would imagine that the video capabilities are likely closer to what is available on the 1D X Mark III.

While the R3 is primarily aimed at photographers, if history has taught us something, we shouldn’t underestimate Canon when it comes to adding video functionality to a still camera.


Competition for the R3 will come from Nikon’s new Z9, Canon’s own EOS-1D X Mark III and Sony’s Alpha 1.

First thoughts

What is important to note is that it is primarily a still camera aimed at professional sports and news photographers. The R3 clearly signals a push by Canon to convert more professional news and sports photographers to a mirrorless system.

While the R3 is touted as Canon’s flagship mirrorless camera, the fact that it bears the label “3” rather than the label “1” leaves the door open for a future R1 to be released. This camera could well have a very high MP sensor, which leads me to believe that the R3 has a sensor resolution closer to the 1D X Mark III.

What will the price be?

Who knows! But as a guideline, that EOS-1D X Mark III is priced at $ 6,499. Sony’s Alpha 1 is priced at $ 6,498.00.

What do you think of the EOS R3? Let us know in the comments below.