There is an issue with the camera that has been much debated since its release. It has only one SD card slot. Many people have flown into a rage about this. For the sake of balance I would just throw a few points out there. Yes, I agree, it should have had a second slot. It would allow backing up images while shooting (or shooting alternative formats to each card etc). I am sure the next model will have a second slot. However, I think the outrage is overdone. Firstly, many people I have worked with often don’t have a card in the second slot. Those that have often have no idea how their camera is set up to use the second card – whether it is backing up the first, or writing jpegs, or perhaps filling one card then the other. There is also the fact that it is also only relatively recently that cameras have had two slots. We managed quite well with one for years prior to that and I have to say in all my years of using digital cameras, I have only ever had one card failure. So yes, it should have two card slots, I wish it did, but it’s not going to stop me owning the camera.
Let’s talk now about usability. The first thing I found was using the ‘R’ slowed me down. I guess we all get a certain amount of ‘muscle memory’ in using a particular camera model. When we switch to a new one it takes a while to adjust to the new button positions, menu layouts and just the general feel of the camera. Everything on our old camera is set up just the way we like it for the way we use it. It takes a while to get the new camera set up just so. I found this quite irritating at first, I longed to go back to the mk4. However, after a few hours, the familiarity with the ‘R’ started to build and I was able to focus less on operating the camera and more on making images.
The camera has a ‘multi-function bar’ which is operated by sliding your finger along it or tapping each end. It has the potential to be a useful control, but if I am honest, I found it lacked responsiveness. I couldn’t get it to work in a consistent way. This led to me being frustrated with it and I very quickly deactivated it. It would be difficult, if not impossible to use wearing gloves. I am sure some will get the hang of it quickly and really love it. I, however, am not a fan, sorry Canon.
A new innovation which is useful, is an additional ring on the ‘R’ Lenses (and fitted to one of the EF adaptors to add the function to all of our older EF lenses). So you now have three on a zoom lens, the focus and zoom rings plus a third which can be programmed to alter several settings according to your preference. (On a prime lens you have two, a focus ring and the new one). You can set the new ring to change aperture, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation etc. I set mine for ISO. I just found I had to take care when the camera was to my eye and I was, say, changing the focal length, that I didn’t hold the wrong ring by mistake and inadvertently find my ISO 3200 without noticing. The surface texture of each ring is different to help and if you prefer not to use it, the rings function can be deactivated.
Many have asked me what is it like using EF lenses with the new body? I tried it with my EF 70-300 IS L and the EF adaptor. The first thing to say is, yes, it is heavier – naturally. ‘L’ lenses, because of their build quality are weighty. But you are still saving the 30% of weight over an average DSLR. I found the balance was good, supporting the lens with my left hand as I would with a DSLR. This camera is not as small and light as, say, a Fuji XT-3, but I prefer the size. It fits my hands better, the buttons and dials are spaced and placed in a more ergonomical way and suit my hands. I like the grip design and balance, and I am speaking as someone who absolutely loved my Fuji cameras so I don’t say this lightly.