72 Hours in Tokyo with the Canon EOS R

With the announcement that Canon’s pro level mirrorless would be coming out at some point in the next year around the Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo, I couldn’t wait any longer. I gave in and bought the EOS R. I resisted the urge to pick up the 5D mk IV and picked up a drone last year as I felt that I could squeeze a few more years out on my 5D mk III. With a rebate and all the discounts that come along with shopping on Korean duty-free sites, I managed to snag the camera for close to $800 off the original price.

The Context

I was worried that I had jumped the gun. I was concerned that when the new “Pro Level” body came out that I would be left with buyer’s remorse after picking up the “old body” too late in the game. However, I needed a new camera. One that could keep up with the projects that I have on the go and future work that would meet the ever-increasing demands of the market.

At any rate, I was in Tokyo for a short time, with a brand new camera and a very detailed shot list. I was primed and ready. So how did the camera stand up to my tried and true 5D mk III?

Pro vs Pro-sumer!!??

The big thing for me was (influenced by the internet) that I thought this camera was lacking features vital to “pro photographers” or something like that. It was something that kept me waiting for the so-called “pro model” to come out. Sure, come next year, I could be eating my words when Canon releases some 60 megapixel monster with lasers and sparkly buttons.

However, at this moment and for the work that I do, I don’t really need a 60 megapixel sports camera or one designed for astrophotography. I don’t shoot sports, so I don’t need the performance. I am also not making feature-length movies. So I don’t need the full frame 4k video either. I don’t have enough hair for a man-bun, so I don’t need the retro style either.

I am not concerned so much with the label or the reputation from youtube personalities. However, if you look, you will also find a lot of pros praising this camera too. It is just a matter of perspective. Even so, if some dude in skinny jeans says that it is good, it doesn’t really matter in the long run.

From me, I need a camera that can perform and that can last as long as my 5D mk III. That is all that I want and need at this moment in time. I don’t care what sony or fuji is putting out. I don’t give two turds how well your camera performs because you read a blog and put a handmade strap on your camera. I only care if this camera can produce the images that I want and need it to.

The Initial Thoughts

At first, I was overwhelmed at the customization. I could change anything that I wanted. There are buttons and sliders for everything. I felt a little like a kid in a candy store. There was just too much to choose from.

With that being said, I immediately loved the Canon Connect app. Now this is something that most of the recent Canon cameras have already but was missing from my 5D mk III. The tilt screen was also something that I liked from the first moment as I often struggled with seeing the screen with certain angles.

With that being said, I found that the electronic viewfinder or EVF took some getting used to and some customization. Particularly, turning off the preview. I was not a fan of having the last image pop up into the viewfinder as I was trying to get the next shot. Even for a couple of seconds, so I turned that function off.

The size and feel of the camera was great. It just fit like a glove. The smaller size also meant that it slid into my camera bag a little looser, so that was something that I had to change. Adjusting the dividers in my everyday backpack gave a little more room and that was great on this trip.

In The Field

Once again, I was in Tokyo for a very short time and had a very detailed shot list. This trip I went from Ueno to Kichijoji, Shibuya to Diver City and everywhere in between. I wanted to get the top places in Tokyo to finally check them off the list. For travel photography, the touristy places are in high demand. It sucks, but nobody wants your street photography if it isn’t in Shunjuku. A busy crosswalk is nothing if it is not at Shibuya.

Initially, I brought my 5D mk III as a backup in case something went wrong. That means that if my brain couldn’t figure out the features of the camera in time to catch blue hour. I needed to have that piece of mind, despite adding to the weight. However, it rarely left my bag unless it was needed for an ultrawide shot. I have yet to purchase the adaptor to fit my other lenses.

Much to my surprise, the camera worked flawlessly. The 24-105mm lens was outstanding and being able pinpoint exactly where I want to focus was a lot more efficient using the touchscreen. Even focussing in low light situations, the EOS R did not miss a beat.

After checking out a few videos in my hotel room (not THOSE videos lol) I was able to further customize the settings and dials to meet my needs. I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t change the control ring to adjust the bracketing for HDR but maybe I just couldn’t figure out how at this moment in time.

The one thing that I noticed was that if you are using a tripod, you really have to turn off the stabilization. The first few shots came out shaky until I noticed that I still had the stabilization on. After shutting that off (as you should when using a tripod), the pics were razor sharp.

Final Thoughts

There was a lot of bad press about this camera. People griping about the lack of memory card slots and the cropped 4K video. It had me brainwashed too. I was concerned that this camera, despite the high price tag would not meet my standards.

The reality is that it far far exceeded my standards. Most of the videos on Youtube are really geared towards finding faults or leading you towards pro level cameras. In this case, I spent a considerable about of time with this camera and by the end, retired my 5D mk III.

This camera has a better version of the lens that I use most often and for $99 I can get an adapter to use all of my other lenses. That to me is a major strong point. However, it is just the fact that this camera just performs well. I feel that I have haven’t even tapped its full potential yet.

The bottomline here is that you need a camera that works for you. Whether you shoot Canon, Sony, Fuji, or Hasselblad it shouldn’t make a difference unless you are pushing the camera far beyond it’s design. Meaning that if you suddenly find yourself shooting pro football, this camera will not cut it.

On the other hand, if you find yourself in Tokyo and want to capture some memorable images, this camera is more than adequate. I am sure if you bought a decent camera within the last few years, it will be able to get some great images as well.


  1. Ioana Stoica Reply

    Your photos are gorgeous! I went to Tokyo before I had a DSLR and you’ve inspired me to plan to return sometime soon so I can capture it differently.

    • Jason Teale Reply

      Thank you for the kind words! Tokyo is an amazing place! I can’t wait to see what you capture in your next trip to Tokyo

  2. Subrina Sullivan Reply

    Beautiful pictures and great article! Thanks for sharing!

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