Canon EOS R3 shows off impressively rapid burst mode at the Olympics

The rear screen of the Canon EOS R3 showing a skateboarder at the Olympics
(Image credit: Atiba Jefferson / Canon)

A photographer at the Tokyo Olympics has given the first public demo of the Canon EOS R3's rapid-fire burst mode.

The EOS R3, which will be Canon's flagship mirrorless sports camera, hasn't yet been fully announced. But a few lucky pro snappers at the Olympics have been test-driving its skills, and one of those is Atiba Jefferson.

We've previously seen some standalone shots, which appeared to reveal that the EOS R3 will be a 24MP camera, but the new ones below show a sequence of what looks like the camera's 30fps burst shooting mode.

The EOS R3's 30fps continuous shooting comes with full autofocus tracking and auto-exposure and is one of the camera's headline features, matching the top speed of the Sony A1.

While the sequence is certainly impressive, it doesn't show what limitations will be placed on the EOS R3's maximum burst rate, in terms of file types supported, which lenses are capable of hitting those top speeds, and if potential crops might be incurred.

Still, it does represent a leap up from both the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS 1D X Mark III, which have maximum burst rates of 20fps. 

This is possible because the EOS R3 has Canon's first BSI (backside-illuminated) sensor for full-frame cameras, which helps deliver the speedy data read-out speeds needed for 30fps burst shooting. 

Wait, isn't this just video?

Video is often shot at 30fps, so isn't this burst mode effectively just a short video? While videos are indeed just a series of still images, those frames are usually lower resolution than the ones a camera is capable of taking in its photo mode.

A single 4K frame, for example, is 8.2MP, whereas the Canon EOS R3 is a 24MP full-frame camera. What's so impressive about the camera's 30fps burst mode, at least when it's possible to hit those speeds, is that each frame can be a full-resolution raw file.

That gives sports and action photographers an opportunity to capture crucial split-second moments with all of the information and editing malleability that a raw file brings. What we don't yet know is whether or not these raw files will compressed raw, which is the case on the Sony A1, or fully uncompressed, lossless raws.

Either way, the Canon EOS R3 is undoubtedly an exciting new mirrorless camera with features that will, hopefully, filter down to less premium camera in the future. According to rumors, we're expecting to hear more about the R3, and possibly a full launch, in September.

Nikon's big rival, the Nikon Z9, is expected to arrive soon after that, which will nicely set up a gold-medal match between Canon, Nikon and Sony for the title of sports camera champion.

Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.