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Canon EOS R review: verdict
First things first: the Canon EOS R is not a mirrorless EOS 5D Mark IV. It's best to think of the new camera as closer to the more enthusiast-focused EOS 6D Mark II.
We also can't underestimate what a balancing act Canon has had to perform to deliver a camera that would appeal not only to the EOS faithful, but also to those tempted by Sony's Alpha full-frame mirrorless cameras (and now by Nikon's Z range too).
Has it got it right? In many ways, yes. Canon has done a great job of carrying over what its user base knows and loves about its DSLRs, while also adding a few extra layers to make the EOS R a more capable and more enjoyable camera to use.
The finish is lovely (although somewhat prone to the same scuffing as some other matte-finish models), and the autofocus system is reassuringly fast and sophisticated, while image quality is also hard to fault.
Handling overall is very good, but there's certainly room for improvement here. The lack of an AF joystick, the absence of a mode dial, and the questionable M-Fn control all frustrate. Some will no doubt also be miffed at there only being one card slot (although others won't mind this too much), while there's also the slightly under-baked 4K video, and the absence of in-body image stabilization.
This is also a pretty bulky camera. While we've seen mirrorless cameras pile on the pounds in recent years, the EOS R doesn't feel that much more compact than one of its DSLR stablemates, while the lenses themselves are quite substantial.
The EOS R is a very capable camera, and should satisfy many Canon DSLR owners looking for a solid mirrorless alternative. If we weren't bound by a system, however, we'd find it hard to recommend the EOS R over its rivals, especially when you consider the price premium over the likes of the excellent Nikon Z6 and Sony Alpha A7 III. Once the rough-edges of this first-generation model have been smoothed out, though, it could be a very different story with the EOS R II.
Canon EOS R review: competition
The Z6 is Nikon's new 24MP full-frame mirrorless camera and is the camera to beat at this price point (and its cheaper than the EOS R), offering 11fps burst shooting, a 273-point AF system, 5-axis stabilization, a large viewfinder and 4K video. One of our favorite cameras you can buy right now.
Read our hands on Nikon Z6 review
Sony Alpha A7 III
The arrival of the Z6 may have overshadowed Sony's Alpha A7 III, but it's still a cracking camera for the price. The 24MP full-frame sensor is excellent and the 693-point AF system is incredibly sophisticated, while you also get 10fps burst shooting, great 4K video and in-camera 5-axis image stabilization.
Read our in-depth Sony Alpha A7 III review
Phil Hall is an experienced writer and editor having worked on some of the largest photography magazines in the UK, and now edit the photography channel of TechRadar, the UK's biggest tech website and one of the largest in the world. He has also worked on numerous commercial projects, including working with manufacturers like Nikon and Fujifilm on bespoke printed and online camera guides, as well as writing technique blogs and copy for the John Lewis Technology guide.