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The 6K Canon EOS R3 is here – the best professional camera ever made?

Canon EOS R3
(Image credit: James Artaius)

After months of leaks and speculation, the Canon EOS R3 has finally been announced – and this powerhouse professional camera packs 6K RAW video, 30fps burst shooting, Canon's best autofocus system ever and the ability to move focus points with your eyeball. 

At the heart of the Canon EOS R3 (opens in new tab) is a blisteringly fast 24.1MP, back side illuminated (BSI), stacked image sensor. The BSI design means that the circuitry is on the underside of the sensor, rather than the top where it obscures the photosites, meaning that low light performance is improved – complementing the ISO100-102,400 (expandable to 50-204,800) sensitivity.

• Read more: Canon EOS R3 review (opens in new tab)

The stacked construction (which sandwiches layers of sensor and circuitry for a faster and more efficient readout) means that the R3 can achieve real world speeds of 30fps when shooting electronically (with a buffer of 540 JPEGs or 150 RAWs) or 12fps with the mechanical shutter (for over 1,000 JPEGs or 1,000 RAWs).

Better still, the super-fast sensor means that rolling shutter (the 'jello effect' when straight lines start to warp when you pan past them) is virtually eliminated – so no more wonky goalposts when shooting sport. You can even shoot with flash using the electronic shutter, and the shutter goes all the way down to 1/64,000 sec!  

The 24.1MP sensor means that the R3 can shoot 6K RAW video, and can also shoot oversampled 6K to produce 4K up to 60p – with non-oversampled 4K 120p footage that eclipses the quality produced by the Canon EOS R5 (opens in new tab). And all of the R3's cutting-edge autofocus modes are available in all video modes.

• Read more: Canon EOS R3 vs Nikon Z9 | Canon EOS R3 vs Sony A1

This includes the same game-changing animal face and eye AF found on the R5 and Canon EOS R6 (opens in new tab), human face and eye AF, and the all new vehicle AF – which will recognize everything from rally and GT cars to open-cockpit Formula One racers. This is all powered by the same Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus II seen in the R5 and R6, but is even more accurate thanks to an all new Deep Learning AF (opens in new tab) algorithm. 

Speaking of game-changing, the R3 also features the re-debut of Canon's Eye Detect AF system that tracks the movement of your eyeball to enable you to select your focus point by simply looking at your subject. We go into more detail here (opens in new tab), but long story short: this isn't intended to shoot fast-moving subjects like birds, but acts as a shortcut to quickly select a subject (such as a celebrity in the middle of a group of fans) so that your AF can lock on without wasting any time physically moving it.

Again like the EOS R5 and R6, the Canon EOS R3 boasts fantastic in-body image stabilization that's good for up to 8 stops of compensation (when used with select RF lenses (opens in new tab), such as the Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L (opens in new tab)). 

Like the rest of the EOS R family the R3 possesses a fully articulating touchscreen, this time with a crystal clear 4.15 million-dot resolution. Despite this, it retains the same level of weather sealing as the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III (opens in new tab) – and it also retains the 1D X III's brilliant optical Smart Controller (opens in new tab), which whizzes your AF point across the screen far faster than the joystick (but slower than the Eye Control AF). 

The Canon EOS R3 starts shipping in November at a price of $5,999 / £5,879.99 / AU$8,599. We've been using the camera extensively, so you can find out everything you need to know in our Canon EOS R3 review (opens in new tab)

• Pre-order the Canon EOS R3 from B&H: (opens in new tab) $5,999
• Pre-order the Canon EOS R3 from Adorama: (opens in new tab) $5,999
• Pre-order the Canon EOS R3 from Wex: (opens in new tab) £5,879
• Pre-order the Canon EOS R3 from Park Cameras: (opens in new tab) £5,879

Read more: 

Best Canon cameras
(opens in new tab)Best Canon RF lenses
(opens in new tab)Canon EOS-1D X Mark III review
(opens in new tab)Canon EOS R5 review
(opens in new tab)Canon EOS R6 review (opens in new tab)

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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.