I’ve been on the waiting list for the (very hard to get) Canon R3 for longer than I can remember. A couple of weeks ago I received a phone call from our local Castle Cameras in Bournemouth stating that they had been allocated a Canon R3 and I was next on the list! So, straight into the car and I went to pick it up. At first play it is a seriously seriously nice bit of kit. During the setup process you even have to calibrate the view finder to your eye as when the camera is active it tracks your eye and where your eye is looking at focuses! How amazing is that?
To put it through its first paces I thought I would pop over to Guernsey in the channel islands. Coupled with a 70-200 F2.8 , 100-500 F5.6 and a 15-35 F2.8 set of lenses I headed off to Southampton airport at 5 am on good Friday morning (in my defence I have completely lost track of public holidays and didn’t actually realise it was a bank holiday until it was far too late) My flight was due to leave at 8:05 but in good old Guernsey Fashion, there was thick fog all morning, so after waiting at the airport for 3 hours, spending a further 2 hours on an Aurigny ATR aeroplane and two aborted landings I finally got into the island. Now, it’s Friday night and I am sat in the hotel typing this out just waiting for the fog to clear to try and carry out some night photography of Castle Cornet and Fort grey
Day 2: Woke up to beautiful sun beams shining through the hotels windows and decided to get up quickly to capture some photos around the island of the morning sun. First stop was L’eree in the parish of St. Pierre De Bois. This point has beautiful views across Rocquaine bay and was used to stage my first photo of the week. Admittedly this was taken by an Iphone 12 pro but did have the Canon R3 and the 100-500mm F4.5 telephoto lens in it! In the distance from this point i could see Fort Grey but unfortunately the back ground was far too cluttered to take a decent picture in my opinion. There was some random seagulls around, but using the 100-500mm F4 telephoto lens at it’s maximum focal length, whilst clearly being able to see the seagull a small amount of sea mist in the atmosphere didn’t allow for a good photo.
After I finished at Le’ree aerodrome i moved round to Fort Grey and took a walk along the beach to capture the ancient fort. This image was taken with the Canon R3 and the Canon 70-200 f2.8 LIII USM RF lens. The Hanois lighthouse can be seen in the background if you look closely
Walking a bit further round the bay to Le’eree and i caught this rather nice photo of a photographer also trying to get a photo of the Fort. However he was a bit more adventurous than i!
I actually really like this photo. I think the blue tones of the sea contrast beautifully with the rocks and detail in the waves can be seen a very long way out to sea.
The next day I woke again to gorgeous sunshine but it was quite windy. I decided to head out to the island of Lihou and photograph it and see if i could get some photos showing the white horses as the waves rode into the bay. For this particular expedition i took the Canon R3 and the 100-500mm F4.5 lens as i would be trying to take photos some distance off
The performance of both the lens and the camera was flawless as expected. The eye tracking/focusing technology was incredibly powerful when using it to track and focus on the fast moving waves as can be seen in the details shown in the spray off the top of the waves. I must admit, as I use this lens more and more, the one issue i do find is when zooming into a fast moving subject, because of the variable aperture, you have to change the shutter speed and the aperture in pretty rapid succession. If i was to do wildlife photography, i don’t think i would use this lens. I would be much more tempted to use the 400m F2.8 and for longer distances, coupling that with a 2x extender to hit a F5.6 800mm. What do you think about this?
When in the island of Guernsey, you have to see Fort Grey and Castle Cornet lit up at night. I decided to visit both, using the Canon R3 and the Canon 70-200F2.8 RF telephoto lens
Below is Castle Cornet lit up in the Ukraine flag colours in recognition of the current war happening there. This is a 30 second exposure taken at 200mm and F11
And Fort Grey lit up at night. I particularly like the soft glow over the sea. Both these long exposure photos were taken with no tripod (as i really didn’t want to add to my kit) whilst the Canon R3 can easily handle handheld exposures of 1-2 seconds when combined with a long focal length and a significant exposure time the camera had to be propped up onto something. For castle cornet i ended up balancing it on a railing using the telephoto lens mount and given the sea was on one side and 3 foot drop on the other i was exceptionally nervous to say the least but i pulled it off, and if i don’t say so myself, i am very pleased how the photo came out. What do you think of them both?
Bank holiday Monday has been a stunningly beautiful day. So much so that i managed to get myself quite badly sunburnt unfortunately. Anyhow, on a day like this a trip to Herm was definitely on the cards. My main aim behind this was to try and photograph some dolphins but alas, none were seen during both my trips there and back. But i did get some lovely photos. As Herm is a very sandy island i really didn’t want to bring my whole camera kit bag over, as one, it was very hot, and two, i really didn’t want to risk getting any sand inside the camera or the lenses. In light of this, i decided to take the 100-500mm lens. My reasoning being that it had the widest focal range out of the 3 lenses i had, and given that i was most likely going to be photographing things at distance, the longer focal length would be more useful on this trip
My first photo was Rat island, an old fort that sits roughly half way between Guersey and Herm and is less commonly known as Brehon tower. I am pretty impressed how level this photo actually is given that i was on a boat moving at 25 knots and it was relatively choppy!
When on the island i spotted a photo composition that in my mind perfectly represented island life; a boat, dog, and a paddleboard
My final picture of the day was the Travel trident docking at Rosaire steps in Herm. This is the landing area they use when the tide is low. It was very dissappointing that we didn’t see any dolphins but that’s photography, it relies on a huge amount of luck and light!
I hope you enjoyed this short article on the Canon R3 and some of it’s more common lenses. Would these be lenses you would use? What would you have done differently if you were me? What further information would you have liked to have been told?
Til next time!