Rumor: Canon EOS R3 will have a 45MP sensor… so can it shoot 8K?

Canon EOS R3

Another week, another bit of speculation about the Canon EOS R3, with a new report suggesting that it will possess a 45MP image sensor – which would, on paper, make it capable of capturing 8K video. 

The question is, then, if the Canon EOS R3 can indeed record 8K (like the Canon EOS R5), why hasn't Canon mentioned 8K in any of its previously announced specs? We know that the camera can shoot oversampled 4K, but there has been no mention of 8K – or even 6K, for that matter. 

• Read more: Best professional cameras

The first possibility is that the rumor is unfounded, and that the R3 doesn't actually have a 45MP sensor. The report originated from our sister site, TechRadar, suggesting that the R3 would be able to match the upcoming Nikon Z9 for resolution – and we know that the Z9 will be 8K-capable, which means it has anything from a 39MP sensor (for standard 8K) to a 45MP sensor (for 8K DCI). 

However, previous rumors have suggested that the R3 may top out at 30MP (with the prevailing belief that it will eclipse the standard 20.1MP resolution of the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III (Canon's DSLR pro sports body).

Another possibility is that Canon is simply being more considered with its PR approach, given the well documented headlines about the EOS R5's overheating issues when it launched. Rather than overpromising, Canon may simply be omitting the 8K capability of the R3 so that it doesn't become the headline feature this time, and that any fallout regarding overheating is less of an issue.

Our feeling is that the R3 will not have a 45MP sensor, and will not be able to capture 8K. Given the specs of the Sony A1 and Nikon Z9, it would be crazy of Canon not to announce that the R3 could match their firepower if it actually could.

It seems more likely that the EOS R3 will be a pure sports stills camera with its 30fps and Eye Control Focus as the main features, with the R5 – and the Canon EOS R5c, if the rumors are true – remaining the manufacturer's go-to for 8K capture. 

This would then pave the way for the inevitable Canon EOS R1 – which would become the new flagship camera – to boast 30fps bursts, a larger (45 or even 50MP) sensor and 8K video, to become the top-tier all-in-one option. 

Either way, Canon should be revealing more about the R3 soon (and with it invariably being used at the Tokyo Olympics, more leaks are guaranteed) so we should have a clearer picture before too long.

Read more: 

Canon EOS R5 review
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III review
Best Canon cameras
Sony A1 review

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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.