Canon EOS Ra leak: Canon accidentally confirms its mirrorless astro camera

Canon EOS Ra leak: Canon accidentally confirms its mirrorless astro camera
(Image credit: Future / Canon)

Two and a half months after we first reported it, Canon itself has accidentally confirmed its upcoming full-frame mirrorless astrophotography camera, the Canon EOS Ra.

Usually product leaks emanate from (or, at least, are disseminated by) online rumor sites. In this case, however, the leak came directly from Canon itself, which temporarily had the Canon EOS Ra manual listed on its UK website. 

• Read more: How to shoot astrophotography

"The EOS Ra is a version of the EOS R designed for astrophotography", reads the since-pulled literature (spotted by Canon Watch (opens in new tab)). "Camera operations are essentially the same as for the EOS R," though the text details the key differences between a dedicated astro camera and a standard body. 

(Image credit: Canon / Canon Watch)

"This camera has approximately four times the transmittance of hydrogen-alpha light (656 nm) as the EOS R. Photographs of subjects that reflect a lot of infrared light will therefore appear redder than they actually are. Also, as it may not be possible to obtain an appropriate color balance or uneven colors may result, shooting normal subjects with this camera is not recommended."

Of course, you could always mount an external IR cut filter (which essentially replaces the IR filter that has been removed from the sensor itself) to your lens in order to adapt the camera for regular photography. 

Rumors about the Canon EOS Ra first surfaced (opens in new tab) back in June, shortly after the manufacturer patented a Canon Moon Shooting Mode (opens in new tab) to enable easier shooting of celestial bodies. 

(Image credit: Canon)

Of course, Canon has a heritage of producing dedicated astrophotography cameras. Its first stargazer was the Canon EOS 20Da, released back in 2005, and its most recent iteration was the Canon EOS 60Da in 2010. 

According to B&H, "the 60Da is three times more sensitive to this frequency than the 60D." This makes the EOS Ra, which Canon states is four times more sensitive than the EOS R, a significant improvement on the previous model.

In addition, the 60Da (and 20Da before it) only featured an APS-C sensor. So the Canon EOS Ra is the company's first full-frame astrophotography camera, as well as its first mirrorless one. After a near decade-long absence, we're excited to see what other bells and whistles the next generation model has to offer. The question is, will we see it before the end of 2019? 

Read more: 

Canon patents "Moon Shooting Mode" for astrophotography (opens in new tab)
Astrophotography tools: the best camera, lenses and gear (opens in new tab)
The best CCD cameras for astrophotography (opens in new tab)
Best head torch (opens in new tab)

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web 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 as diverse as 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, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). 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.