Canon Confirms the EOS R3 Is Not a Flagship Camera

The Canon EOS R3 is one of the most technologically advanced cameras that Canon has produced. Improvements to the autofocus alone put the Canon EOS R3 ahead of almost every camera that Canon has ever produced. Despite this, Canon maintains that the EOS R3 is not a 1 series flagship camera. 

The Canon EOS R3 is the priciest RF mount camera to date. With a price point of almost $6,000, it sits uncomfortably close to the Canon 1D X Mark III, the current Canon flagship camera. The Canon EOS R3 includes a number of improved features, such as video quality, autofocus, and a significant jump in the number of frames it can capture per second, albeit with the electronic shutter. However, the Canon EOS R3 is still not considered a flagship camera by Canon. 

In a recent discussion with Canon, it was confirmed that the EOS R3 camera does not replace the Canon 1D X Mark III to become the new flagship. The key reason it's not considered a flagship camera is that the 1D series cameras are designed to operate in far more challenging conditions. Although the EOS R3 does have similar weather-sealing when the hot shoe cap is attached, it may not be as capable in tougher environments.  

Interestingly, this could end up being a challenge for Canon. If a $6,000 camera is not a flagship camera for Canon, what will an actual 1 series RF mount camera cost? Also, what kind of features could we see in a potential 1 series RF mount camera?

It is, however, important to mention that there are a few features the 1D X Mark III holds over the EOS R3. These include a larger buffer and the ability to shoot much faster using the mechanical shutter. The 1D X Mark III can manage 20 frames per second for up to 1,000 images, whereas the EOS R3 can only manage 12 frames per second with the mechanical shutter. It's also limited to a maximum of 150 images when shooting at 30 frames per second with the electronic shutter. 

In general, photographers that shoot with 1 series cameras expect zero compromises. And based on what the EOS R3 can do, Canon may have something remarkable planned for its first-ever RF mount flagship camera. 

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26 Comments

Henry H's picture

Jan Holler's picture

12 frames per second with a mechanical shutter and with a buffer memory of 150 frames is absolutely on a professional level. Canon may say what they want, but for any other company this camera would be a flagship.

Shawn Kenessey's picture

It's one of those things you know? On one hand, this that and the other, and on the other hand? A bunch of other things. And in between the hands where the truth used to be? A paradox. Yes, a paradox of the mind.

Will Thomas's picture

I am most interested in the Smartphone Link Adapter that is coming with the R3, I hope they expand compatibility to other bodies and that is truly provides "high-speed seamless transition from shoot to delivery using a compatible Android 5G smartphone".

Robert Nurse's picture

From their product history, this wasn't news. Aren't we all waiting, with baited breath, for the R1 to drop? Not that most of us will be able to run right out and buy an $8000 camera. But, just out of sheer curiosity: to see what techno wizardry Canon can come up with after be such a limp noodle for years.

John Keane's picture

Robert, I agree. Most of us won't be able to afford the R1, but wow, I'm still waiting to read about the wizardry as well.

Kirk Darling's picture

I was under the impression that by naming it the "R3" instead of the "R1," Canon had already confirmed this was not their flagship camera.

Bernard Languillier's picture

Canon is in panic mode... The resolution gap of the R3 compared to Sony a1 and Nikon Z9 without any downside in speed is unheard of in camera history and puts Canon photographers significantly at risk.

Indeed, any client presented with either a 24mp file or a 50mp file will pick the higher res option. And there will be photographers shooting these higher res bodies in the same venues shooting very similar images as those from R3 shooters.

Business wise, does it make any sense to buy an expensive R3 now if you own an 1DxII or 1DxIII and know that an R1 will come in 2023? The obvious answer it that it doesn't. Especially since it's unclear if the R3 will focus as well as the 1DxIII with existing EF mount super tele lenses. As far as I am aware Canon has not proposed any updated EF mount adapter.

Usman Dawood's picture

In general photographers that shoot with flagship cameras actually want more manageable resolutions. This is why 1D series cameras and even Nikon flagship cameras have always had much lower resolutions.

It's a very different crowd of photogrpahers and the lower resolution is intentional. The build, design, handling and durability is what many of these types of photographers pay for.

Bernard Languillier's picture

Lower res was the only solution until now because no camera could both do high fps, great AF performance and high resolution. This is now available with the a1 and the Z9 should soon follow.

There is no more need to choose between speed and resolution.

Bernie Retallack's picture

You what? The EOS R5/R6 has better autofocus than the 1DX MK3, the R3 will obviously have significantly better autofocus, aswell as better low light, dynamic range, lenses, fps, video and... Need I list more? Stop living in the past, DSLR is dead, it's over. Stop thinking your overpriced 1DX MK3 is still the #1 camera on the market, sure it did well for its time and still holds up but anyone who doesn't need the 1DX body will buy an R6 for 1/3rd the cost and get the same performance, because its the same sensor. Just accept that mirrorless is here to stay.

Sam Sims's picture

Professional photographers are often asked to send over jpegs as soon as they can. Having a camera with a bigger MP doesn't make sense as the files will be too large to send. As Usman says, professionals need cameras with practical features, not advanced features that could slow down their workflow.

Bernard Languillier's picture

A camera with higher res can output easily a low res jpg right?

Colin Johnson's picture

Duh, putting 2 different card slots kinda gave this away, don't you think?
I had a Sony A9 and ended up pulling the slower SD card to get maximum speed.

R1 is coming with larger sensor, dual CF B card slots and hopefully global shutter.
Everyone cancel those R3 preorders now :)

Sam Sims's picture

Canon confirm what a lot of us already know but still people, likely not professional photographers needing a flagship camera have been moaning the R3 doesn't have flagship level features 🙄. Also if the R3 isn't a flagship, it's hard to see what Canon's intentions are with it, other than the possibility that they clearly aren't ready to launch an R1 so decided to put something out rather than nothing.

Kirk Darling's picture

"Ain't no shame in that."