The Canon EOS R1 and EOS R3 Have Subtle Design Differences

After years of rumors, expectations, and predictions, Canon has finally announced that it is developing the Canon EOS R1. While details are scarce, Canon has shared a front-facing look at its upcoming flagship mirrorless camera, creating fertile ground for a quick-and-dirty EOS R1 versus EOS R3 comparison.

By overlaying the EOS R lens mount and the R1 and R3’s full-frame image sensors, it’s possible to get a good look at how much Canon has changed about its newest camera.

A black Canon EOS R3 mirrorless camera body is shown against a white background. The camera features buttons and dials on the front, with the lens mount prominently displayed in the center.

Perhaps most obvious is the difference in physical size, with the R1 getting taller and wider. While the lighting for the product shots is slightly different, so there’s no conclusion to be made about the precise color of the camera body yet, it is also clear that Canon has moved away from the R3’s dimpled grip for a new cross-hatch texture, akin to an industrial-style textured metal sheet. You know the one.

Two Canon DSLR cameras, the EOS R3 on the left and the EOS R1 on the right, both without lenses attached. The cameras are black and feature several buttons and dials for controls. The name "Canon" is printed at the top of both cameras.

There are many other differences that are not quite so obvious at first glance.

Each red dot marks at least one noticeable change to the R1’s design and ergonomics compared to the R3, a decidedly comfortable and enjoyable camera to use.

A side-by-side comparison of two Canon camera bodies, the EOS R3 on the left, and the EOS R1 on the right. Both cameras have a similar design, but with noticeable differences in button layout and ergonomics. The sensors are visible, and the Canon logos are prominent.

Moving from left to right, the R1’s grip shape looks smoother compared to the R3’s, with less prominent edges and a slightly rounder shape. It also appears to have a deeper indent near the shutter release, although that could be a matter of lighting.

Speaking of the shutter release, the R1’s button looks less glossy and is angled slightly differently. This slope change carries over to the camera’s top deck. There is also an additional button up there.

Beyond being taller, the top of the R1 also appears to stick out further. Look at the Canon logo on the R3 and R1. On the R3, this area is flat, while on the R1, it sticks out slightly from the rest of the body.

It remains to be seen if this has anything to do with a revised electronic viewfinder. The R3 famously includes eye-tracking autofocus through its EVF; it stands to reason the R1 could retain this capability, although Canon has ditched features before (RIP, touch bar) and while the eye tracking feature worked great for some, it doesn’t work at all for others. This is pure conjecture, but more space could house additional components to take this feature to new heights.

Back to the R1’s design, there are some changes to the buttons on the front surrounding the large lens mount. The two pairs of function buttons between the front grip and the mount are further from the mount on the R1, and they also no longer feature the diagonal ridge between them. The indents on the buttons also seem less severe, although, again, this could be lighting.

Both the R1 and R3 are dual-gripped camera bodies, like Canon’s EOS 1-series DSLR cameras. The R1 seems to feature a slightly larger bottom grip with a slight but noticeable taper. The area near the shutter release and controls has also been rounded off a bit, and the angle of the controls is more vertical than before.

Rounding out the changes on the front, the R1 has a new indicator light above the “EOS R1” logo.

Beyond these physical changes, Canon has said that the EOS R1 will feature a new image processor, better autofocus, and improved imaging performance. Much more about the R1’s promised features and improvements, plus expert analysis, is featured in PetaPixel‘s comprehensive development announcement coverage.

Image credits: Photos were created using assets from Canon

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