In the better late than never category we have a new review from our friends at photographyblog.com on the Canon RF R100. Essentially the TL;DR is that Canon made this camera solely to compete on price. Nothing else.
As with the Canon EF camera bodies in this general price range, we see cost cutting throughout the camera system from sensor, back LCD, EVF, DIGIC processor, etc. But Canon put essentially a mirrorless camera in approximately the same sized body as the Canon R50, but for $200 cheaper, selling it right now for $479.00.
But there’s one major limitation that would prevent me from buying this camera for any purpose other than a webcam or for a specialized use case. The back LCD isn’t a touchscreen in 2023. The lack of a touchscreen just seems to be an odd decision on the gateway camera for people moving up from smartphones and who are used to touchscreen photography. For that very reason, I’d say, spend the extra $200 and get the Canon R50 instead. Not to mention that the R50 all around has better features, faster, superior AF, more fps, and a modern APS-C sensor.
But for some $200 is a big deal. I live in a part of the world where for many people $200 is more than their rent for the month and about 25% of the average salary per month of $750 USD. So when we look at Canon’s products in terms of cameras and lenses, we have to look more at the global picture where the price difference can be a dramatic difference if someone wants to buy a new camera. There are times and places where making something as cheap as possible certainly assists in sales.
For me, I could see using this Canon R100 more as a webcam for conferences or streaming, as it still sports clean HDMI output which at 1080p would be more than enough, and while $479 is a lot for a webcam, I usually spend between $100 and $200 for a dedicated webcam with a far smaller sensor and a much much lower bitrate – and they die often, or have pretty bad quality. At $480, I’m not sure if there’s a cheaper new camera that sports clean HDMI out. Also because the camera does not have a mechanical shutter it’s probably far better at taking abuse than a camera with a mechanical shutter assembly.
I can’t find many details on the sensor, and photonstophotos my usual go-to source for this information does not have the data for the R100. Looking at the specifications of the AF section and the fact that it’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF but not Dual Pixel CMOS AF II, I suspect that Canon reused the existing 24MP sensor that went into the very popular EOS-M M50. Looking at the Dynamic Range data from photonstophotos between the Canon EOS-M M50 and the Canon RF R50, we can correlate the results to the Canon RF R100.
While the M50 (and theorized R100) shows a lower dynamic range, for most users in this price segment, this sensor is more than adequate and far superior to anything they had on a smartphone.
Many of the video features, crop factor, and AF limitations are also similar between the R100 and M50. The EOS-M M50 was easily Canon’s best-selling mirrorless camera to date, so why wouldn’t Canon attempt to copy that winning formula? Except they should have copied the winning touchscreen experience as well.
PhotographyBlog goes into extensive detail that I won’t repeat and summarizes the camera perfectly here and the conclusion is pretty rough and also fair on the R100.
The EOS R100 is currently the cheapest way to buy into Canon’s R-series mirrorless system, but for most users it’s not going to be the best way to do so.
For starters, just like the EOS Mark II M50 with whom it shares the same image sensor, the EOS R100 suffers from the same heavy 1.55x crop and only having contrast-based AF when shooting 4K video, which really makes it a high-quality 1080p camera rather than a 4K one for the majority of users.
And unlike the M50 II, which has an intuitive touchscreen interface with video-friendly controls and a versatile vari-angle screen, the new R100 has neither of those features, again greatly limiting its appeal for video.
In fact, it loses out to the R50 in almost every way, most notably image quality, video specification, much slower burst shooting speeds and less sophisticated auto-focus performance, not to mention that rather perplexing fixed non-touch LCD screen. So unless money really is tight, we’d recommend spending the extra on the much more capable EOS R50 instead.
PhotographyBlog then gives the Canon R100 a 3.5 out of 5-star rating and an above-average rating.
The core features of the Canon RF R100 can be summarized as;
24.1MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
DIGIC 8 Image Processor
4K 24p Video with Crop, Full HD 60p
Dual Pixel CMOS AF with 143 AF Zones
6.5 fps Electronic Shutter
2.36m-Dot OLED EVF
3″ 1.04m-Dot LCD Screen
Creative Assist Mode
Silent Mode for Quiet Operation
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with SD Card Slot
Purchase the Canon RF R100 at $479, but to be honest, unless you are a starving student (shoutout to all those who are – I was one too!), I would seriously spend the extra money and get a Canon RF R50 instead, or wait to see if the Canon Refurbished Store gets any in stock.
Some of our articles may include affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.