The Camera That Nobody Is Talking About: A Review of the Canon EOS Ra

With so many new cameras for every type of photographer and videographer, a few bodies from that last few years have dropped off the radar almost completed; this is one of them.

If you could go through my library of the 100,000+ images I have taken, you'd find that around 0.1% are astrophotography. Those numbers do not accurately represent which types of photos I like to create the most, though. I find astrophotography to be one of the most interesting, engaging, and beautiful types of photography out there, I just don't live anywhere near a good location to get the sort of shots I want, so I rarely take any.

You see, for the uninitiated in shooting the stars, there are a number of considerations that dictate whether you're going to get a good shot: location, time, season, light pollution, moon phase, and so on. It is light pollution that is the bane of most photographers' astro-life, however. Over the past few years, we've seen filters that aim to deal with that dilemma, with mixed effectiveness. There are of course steps you can take during post-production to alleviate this issue. But in 2018, Canon released a dedicated astrophotography body, and it's highly effective, yet rarely discussed.

The Canon EOS Ra is a mirrorless body similar to the EOS R but with a specialized sensor. The 30 megapixel, full frame sensor has an IR filter array in front of it, which increased the amount of Hydrogen Alpha light transmitted to be four times that of an ordinary sensor. This allows you to capture the true colors of the Orion Nebula, for example, far easier.

Watch the brilliant astrophotography YouTuber, Lonely Speck, as he takes the Ra into the field and pits it against his Sony with an ordinary sensor.

Robert K Baggs's picture

Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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Nice introduction to the Ra. It'd be interesting to see how it fares against the D810a and for kicks the 60Da.

"I just don't live anywhere near a good location to get the sort of shots I want, so I rarely take any."

I feel your pain! Thanks for the interesting article. I travel out west once or twice a year (well, when we're not in the middle of a pandemic) and am frequently in areas of pretty much zero light pollution. Trying some astrophotography is something that's crossed my mind to try. Maybe someday I might have to invest in one of these!

Wow, that is some impressive results from a 50mm lens and in Illinois (hi neighbor!).. Those wind turbine blinking lights would surely come into play? Love the idea of creating a multi-image panorama like this.