Canon has announced the release of the EOS Ra, the latest EOS R series full-frame mirrorless camera that is designed for astrophotography, the photography of astronomical objects, celestial events and areas of the night sky.
“The EOS Ra is one that will delight astrophotographers and anyone with a passion for capturing the intricate beauty of the night sky,” said Edwin Teoh, Head of Marketing, Singapore Operations, Canon Singapore. “Combining the very best features of the popular EOS R series with an infrared cutoff filter, the EOS Ra features superior wavelength transmission sensitivity to deliver on the high optical performance demanded by astrophotographers.”
Inheriting the Best of the EOS R Series
The EOS Ra incorporates many advanced features from the EOS R series of full-frame mirrorless cameras. With the RF mount system, the RF lens design uses a shorter back-focal distance, while the camera mount allows users to attach a variety of Canon’s EF/EF-S lenses using the EF-EOS R adapters (sold separately). The native RF lenses combine with the camera’s mirrorless design (which eliminates mirror shock when the shutter is released), making the EOS Ra ideal for astrophotography.
The high-precision electronic viewfinder (EVF) of the EOS Ra helps users to adjust composition even when shooting objects that are hard to see with the naked eye, such as dim stars in the night sky. Equipped with a 30.3 MP (approx.) full-frame CMOS sensor, the EOS Ra is capable of capturing extremely weak light and subtle shading. This allows users to select heightened ISO sensitivity settings, which is crucial in astrophotography, where even minor noise could greatly affect the final results.
For still photos, the EOS Ra offers normal sensitivity settings of up to ISO 40,000. When shooting movies, the range of available sensitivity settings is from ISO 100 to ISO 25,600 (ISO 100-12,800 for 4K movies). This allows users to shoot both stills and movies in dimly lit venues.
Weighing just 660g, the EOS Ra is lightweight and compact, therefore lightening the equipment load for astrophotographers. The Vari-angle LCD monitor on the camera allows users to compose their subjects with ease while pointing the camera lens upwards toward the sky.
Unique Features for Astrophotography
The EOS Ra features an infrared cutoff filter (in front of the CMOS sensor) with characteristics that maximise optical performance in the wavelengths that are most important for astrophotography. The transmission sensitivity for Hα wavelengths is approximately four times that of the EOS R’s filter. As such, the EOS Ra can capture high-precision images of the deep red wavelength emitted by nebulae without making changes to the camera settings.
The magnification ratio of live-view images on the EOS Ra can be adjusted to either 1x (actual size), 5x, or 30x (magnification ratio applies to the camera only, it is not supported by the EOS utility), compared to the EOS R which offers 1x, 5x and 10x magnification. This feature allows users to examine an enlarged image of very small stars on the monitor screen, which makes it easier for the user to make precise adjustments using manual focus. Magnified images can also be displayed through the EVF, allowing astrophotographers to capture more of the sights they love in the night sky.
As the EOS Ra also inherits the dust and drip-resistant capabilities of the EOS R, photographers can be assured that the camera can withstand the elements even when shooting outdoors. Canon’s range of RF lenses includes several large-aperture lenses, such as the RF15-35mm F2.8L IS USM ultra-wide zoom lens, which would be a great addition for any astrophotographer. For those currently using EF lenses popular for astrophotography such as the EF14mm f2.8L II USM and EF24mm f1.4L II USM, they can easily adapt these EF lenses for use on the EOS Ra by attaching the EF-EOS R adapters (sold separately).
Other accessories such as Remote Switch RS-60E3 and Wireless Remote Control BR-E1 (both sold separately) are tools that astrophotographers will definitely want to bring along with them when shooting objects in the sky.