The Canon EOS R3 was already a ridiculously capable sports camera, but a major new firmware update took its continuous shooting speeds to record highs for a consumer mirrorless model.
The new EOS R3 firmware version v1.2.0, which you can download now at Canon official website (opens in new tab), brings several new features. But most notable is the ability to set a ‘custom high-speed continuous’ drive mode that makes it possible to shoot up to 50 images (in JPEG or raw) at an incredible 195 fps.
As always with maximum frame rates, there are a few caveats – including the fact that this speed will only be possible with certain lenses and in certain conditions. Autoexposure and autofocus will also be locked in this mode, meaning you won’t get success every frame.
But the ability to shoot at 195 fps, even if just for a split second, means the Canon EOS R3 sets a new speed record for mirrorless cameras. Its main rival, the Nikon Z9, can shoot a maximum of 120fps, but only in 11MP cropped mode.
Still, there are probably only a handful of situations – like capturing the exact moment a baseball bat hits a ball – that could justify the quick burst mode, and some of the other improvements provided by firmware version v1.2.0 are without doubt more useful.
This includes a new 240fps slow motion mode when recording Full HD video. The Canon EOS R3 is now also compatible with Canon’s Cloud Raw processing technology, which is part of Canon’s paid imaging app service plan ($4.99 / £5.99 / AU$7.69 per month).
This service allows you to process raw files in the cloud (similar to in-camera raw processing) to reduce image noise without losing detail, although interestingly it only allows you to do this for 80 images per month. With other updates including an improved electronic image stabilization for movies and in-camera ‘depth compositing’ (to help remove the seams between stacked images), it’s a firmware update that every Canon EOS R3 lucky person will want to download soon. .
Analysis: It’s all in the burst rate fine print
Camera shutter rates, also known as continuous shooting speeds, are an important specification for anyone who enjoys shooting action and wildlife. But they also only tell part of the story and often come with important caveats.
Other factors that have a big influence on the usefulness of a maximum frame rate include whether the camera can simultaneously adjust autofocus and autoexposure with each frame, and how great the shooting depth is. Burst depth tells you how long a burst rate can be maintained – and in the case of the Canon EOS R3’s new 195 fps mode, that’s just about a quarter of a second.
That might be enough to capture a really accurate moment, but you’ll likely end up with 50 nearly identical frames. In reality, the Canon EOS R3’s less flashy burst modes will be far more useful – for example, its 30fps mode includes autoexposure and autofocus and will continue to 540 JPEGs or 150 raw files. That’s a much more useful 18 seconds of JPEGs or five seconds of raw photos.
As is the case with the Canon EOS R3’s new 195fps mode, the other common bits of frame rate fine print are that the top figure will only be possible with certain cards (in this case, a CFexpress card) and with specific lenses, shutter speeds and lighting conditions.
Still, the impressive shutter speeds possible on Canon’s mirrorless camera, which led us to call it “one of the best sports and wildlife cameras ever made” in our Canon EOS R3 review, is a major technical achievement. . And the good news is that this technology is starting to filter into cameras most of us can afford, like the Canon EOS R7 and Canon EOS R10.