Canon EOS R3 has motorsport AF mode, flip screen, optical joystick, 8 stops of IBIS

Canon EOS R3
(Image credit: Canon)

Canon has confirmed a slew of new specs about the upcoming Canon EOS R3, including the addition of a motorsports AF tracking function, autofocusing down to -7EV, oversampled 4K, 8 stops of in-body image stabilization, the presence of a fully articulating screen, CFexpress and SD memory card slots, and the same battery and optical Smart Controller joystick from the manufacturer's flagship sports camera. 

In addition, new photos further reveal that the Canon EOS R3 will possess a top screen (likely an OLED panel, a la the Canon EOS R and Canon EOS R5) along with a wired ethernet connection and an extra-large electronic viewfinder (to accommodate the new Eye Control Focus system that moves AF points as you move your eyeball).

• Read more: Best camera for sports

The new AF tracking technology that recognizes motorsports vehicles (actually first seen in the Olympus OM-D E-M1X) will be a huge deal for racing photographers. "Alongside the people and animal (including birds) AF tracking technology found in the EOS R5 and EOS R6, the EOS R3 is perfect for motorsports photographers – with its ability to track racing cars and motorbikes," notes Canon. 

Another significant revelation is the fact that the R3 will feature the Smart Controller from the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III – an optical joystick that gives unparalleled speed when moving focus points around the frame, as you can see demonstrated in the video below. 

Watch video: Canon's Smart Controller optical joystick

New product images also reveal a few more morsels of information. We can see that the R3 retains the top-down panel seen in Canon's higher-end DSLRs and mirrorless bodies, though it eschews the secondary rear panel that sat underneath the rear screen on the 1D X Mark III. 

We can see that the EVF opening is absolutely huge, in order to accommodate the larger viewfinder sensing area to detect eye movement (which will, in turn, move AF points around the frame). Also clearly visible is a LAN indicator, which indicates that the R3 will possess a wired ethernet connection – again, an essential for the working professional at whom this camera is aimed.

In addition, Canon has revealed that the camera will possess a new accessory shoe that delivers power and data communication for new accessories – something akin to the Sony Multi Interface shoe, seen in cameras like the Sony A7C, which enables you to connect products like microphones without wires dangling everywhere.

While there are still many unknowns about the R3 – not least its resolution – this all paints a picture of a highly capable, not to mention unprecedentedly usable, camera.

Canon EOS R3 specifications

  • New Canon-developed back-illuminated stacked CMOS sensor 
  • 30fps RAW shooting with AF/AE tracking 
  • AF tracking of people, animals (including birds) and motorsports (racing motorbikes and racing cars)
  • Can record oversampled 4K, or RAW footage internally and Canon Log 3
  • Eye Control AF point selection
  • Focus in light levels -7EV or lower
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF 
  • EOS-1D series dust and water resistance 
  • Fully articulating touchscreen
  • Built-in wired LAN socket
  • Built-in 5GHz Wi-Fi
  • High-capacity LP-E19 battery (same as used by Canon EOS-1D X Mark III)
  • CFexpress and SD memory card slots

Read more: 

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
Canon EOS R5
Canon EOS R6
Canon EOS R

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.