There are dozens of photographers – albeit non-disclosure-limited photographers – shooting the unreleased Canon R3 at the Olympics at this writing. The images showing up on the wire services from Sony shops, like the Associated Press, are showing cropped images with megapixel resolution figures in the single figures all the way up to the high 40s. Images coming from the Canon crowd aren’t showing as high resolution, with almost all images – almost all cropped or down-saved – showing less than 24 mp.
The chatter in online forum communities shows people girding for a low resolution announcement after the Olympics, which is consistent with Canon’s new way of referring to an integrated grip body. Canon now predominantly calls the R3 a “sports camera,” rather than a “sports and wildlife” camera. Sports shooters most often do not perceive a need for more than 20 megapixels, and wildlife shooters are always hoping for more.
Canon pre-announced the R3, but deliberately avoided indicating what sort of resolution it was capable of providing. This may have been to help generate the buzz of the mysterious, or it may have been because Canon worried that the resolution figure would either set expectations too high or too low.
Regardless, the signature feature of the camera will be the pupil-directed autofocus point selection function, where the viewfinder looks back at the user to determine – based on the position of the photographer’s eyes – what object is the subject of the photo. If it proves highly useful, it could rocket the RF mount series to dominate the sports and wildlife market that Canon currently leads with its 1D series of DSLRs. But the feature, an earlier version of which was introduced decades ago in an early DSLR, could wind up being merely a disused curiosity, much like the dual-pixel RAW features introduced with the 70D or the SA control feature introduced more recently with the new RF 100mm macro lens.