Canon EOS Ra Review

The Canon EOS Ra is not the first camera that has been adapted primarily to take photographs of the night sky. The EOS R is a good candidate for an “Astro” version of a leading camera because of its screen’s ability to tilt in multiple directions, its ability to operate without a mirror in live view mode, and – for those with the financial means – some rapid RF lenses. Camera manufacturers occasionally produce “Astro” versions of their leading cameras.

Canon EOS Ra Astrophotography Mirrorless Camera, Black
C $6,578.00
1 used from C $6,578.00
as of June 8, 2023 6:31 pm

The EOS Ra is indistinguishable from a standard Canon EOS R(opens in new tab) from the outside (apart from the badge), and the differences between the two cameras are found on the inside.

Infrared filters are present on all camera sensors; they limit the spectrum of light captured by the sensor to visible wavelengths. However, the infrared filter present on the sensor of the EOS Ra has been specially modified to allow for the transmission of four times as much HA (Hydrogen Alpha) light.

This improved red sensitivity means that the EOS Ra can capture the distinctive reddish hue of nebulae, for instance, and display a more significant number of celestial objects, resulting in a significantly richer night sky.

Canon EOS Ra Features

The EOS Ra is identical to the EOS R, except for a few modifications explicitly made for astronomical photography. It sports a full-frame 30.3-megapixel CMOS sensor and a phase-detection autofocus system with 5,655 focus points covering 88% of the frame horizontally and 100% of the structure vertically.

In contrast to competing for full-frame mirrorless cameras from Sony, Nikon, and Panasonic, the EOS Ra is not equipped with an in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system. This is a problem with the standard EOS R, but it won’t be with this model because it will mainly be used on a tripod or an equatorial mount.

In the past, we have voiced our displeasure with the severe cropping that occurs with 4K video, but this limitation will only impact astrophotography if you require a vast field of view of the sky. Because of the 1.7x crop factor, the diagonal coverage provided by your RF and EF lenses will be significantly reduced (a 24mm lens becomes a 40.8mm equivalent).

Canon EOS Ra Handling

The EOS Ra has a magnesium alloy body, which we appreciate because it is both maneuverable and sturdy. This tiny size does imply that bigger lenses, such as the RF 50mm f/1.2L USM and notably the RF 28-70mm f/2L USM, start to be imbalanced; nevertheless, this does not affect the usage of a tripod in any way.

The control ring that comes standard on RF lenses is a beneficial feature. This may be readily detected by touch in the dark and can be set to modify the aperture, shutter speed, white balance, or ISO. Just be careful not to change the focus by accident.

The contentious M-Fn Bar found on this camera is our favorite, despite its many detractors. You can configure it such that a touch, tap, or swipe will alter the ISO, giving you control over the full exposure triangle without requiring you to remove your eye from the EVF. This is possible since you can set it up to do any of those three things.

Canon EOS Ra Optical Quality

The EOS Ra is the ideal camera for photographers who want to take spectacular photographs of deep space because of its mirrorless design and large frame sensor. Because there is no mechanical mirror system, image vibrations are reduced to a minimum, resulting in more explicit pictures.

In addition, the high-performing sensor that Canon designed delivers a combination of high ISO performance, excellent resolution, rapid readout, and exposure latitude, ensuring that interstellar photographs are of a quality that has never been seen before.

As with all of its products, Canon’s legacy of optical excellence runs true in the EOS Ra. Unlike some cameras with sensors that Canon did not develop, the EOS Ra uses all 30.3 million of its camera’s pixels, which means that no pixels are missed, which could result in areas not being captured and stars being lost. This contrasts with some cameras that use sensors that other companies developed.

Suppose a connected telescopic eyepiece does not cover the whole picture area of the sensor. The EOS Ra enables the image area to be reduced to an APS-C area with about 11.6 megapixels (4176 x 2784) or one of many different crop ratios.

Canon EOS Ra Shooting Quality

The EOS Ra is equipped with Dual Pixel CMOS Auto Focus (AF) and has a range of AF and MF focus modes. These functions ensure that the photos obtained by the EOS Ra are of unrivaled optical quality, even when taken in low-light settings.

It is feasible to achieve low-light performance with current EF and RF lenses since the EOS R’s -6EV AF has been maintained. Focus assist features like focus peaking and magnification up to 30x – which is three times more than the EOS R – guarantee that focusing with any optical device is straightforward and quick when astrophotographers use it with a telescope.

In addition, the EOS Ra is the first astronomical camera on the market to have a 4K movie function since it can also shoot 4K time-lapse video in addition to 4K movies.

Canon EOS Ra Lense

The EOS Ra has been developed to offer the most significant number of options for lenses possible, and it shares the same mount as the EOS R. The RF lens mount makes it feasible to implement a revolutionary new optical design. With a flange back of 20 millimeters and a mount diameter of 54 millimeters, Canon engineers can now develop new lenses that were previously impossible to realize.

As a result of the camera and system’s compatibility with three different lens mount adapters, photographers have a diverse selection of lenses and telescopes [iii] to choose from while using EOS Ra. With Canon’s unique EOS R System, more than 70 EF and EF-S lenses[iv] may be employed, which adds new capabilities to current optics. This is done while preserving the significant performance and functionality previously seen with EOS DSLRs[v].

The Canon mount adapter enables customers to preserve their configuration while linked to an EOS R, regardless of whether they are using RF or EF, and EF-S mount lenses for their lenses.

Canon EOS Ra Specs

Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Max resolution6720 x 4480
Other resolutions4176 x 2784 (1.6x crop)
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels30 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors32 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (36 x 24 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ISOAuto, 100-40000 (expands to 50-102400)
Boosted ISO (minimum)50
Boosted ISO (maximum)102400
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, normal
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points5655
Lens mountCanon RF
Focal length multiplier
Articulated LCDFully articulated
Screen size3.2″
Screen dots2,100,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.76×
Viewfinder resolution3,690,000
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
Subject / scene modesNo
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe)
Continuous drive8.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 secs)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpotPartial
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Modes3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 480 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 120 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 480 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 120 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC3840 x 2160 @ 23.98p / 480 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 23.98p / 120 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 180 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 60 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 90 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 30 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 90 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 30 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 23.98p / 90 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 23.98p / 30 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1280 x 720 @ 120p / 160 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
Storage typesSD card (UHS-II supported)
USBUSB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)
USB chargingYes (With some chargers)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.1 LE
Remote controlYes (via smartphone)
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLP-E6N lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)370
Weight (inc. batteries)660 g (1.46 lb / 23.28 oz)
Dimensions136 x 98 x 84 mm (5.35 x 3.86 x 3.31″)
Orientation sensorYes

Canon EOS Ra Verdict

Canon EOS Ra Astrophotography Mirrorless Camera, Black
C $6,578.00
1 used from C $6,578.00
as of June 8, 2023 6:31 pm

Since the Canon EOS Ra and the Canon EOS R are physically indistinguishable from one another, we had the same range of feelings regarding the cameras’ handling. However, this camera was developed for a specific application, and some of these peculiarities are scarcely noticeable in this context.

The limited 4K footage is of considerably less importance, and the lack of in-body image stabilization is irrelevant with a camera that is likely to be used on a tripod. The lens Control ring is a good feature, being simpler to find in darkness than buttons and knobs.

When compared to other types of cameras, the EOS Ra stands out due to the expanded infrared sensitivity of its sensor as well as the enlarged 30x magnification that allows for more accurate confirmation of focus.

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