Canon’s newly-confirmed EOS Ra is the company’s astrophotography moonshot

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Last month Stuff got to chat to the chaps from Canon SA. One of the things that came up was a rumoured astrophotography camera from the company, a rumour that Canon SA wasn’t about to confirm. Until today, that is. Meet Canon’s EOS Ra, an evolution of the EOS R designed specifically for taking photos of stars.

A flaming ball of gas

Canon’s EOS Ra uses a 35mm full frame CMOS sensor — the same found in the EOS R. Also taken from the R are the DIGIC 8 image processor, the camera’s low-light and autofocus skills and more than a little of the design. But it’s more for pointing at stars, planets and nebulae than at people.

To that end, there’s an infrared blocking filter built for hydrogen alpha (Ha) light transmission to the image sensor. If you’ve ever seen those long-exposure shots of the Orion Nebula, Ha transmission is what makes those billowing clouds of space gas visible.

‘Scoping this one out

In addition to built-in IR filtering, the EOS Ra is compatible with several mount types (RF, EF, and EF-S) — allowing it to be used with several lens mount adaptors. This means you’re not stuck with one telescope or lens type when planning shots. Users also have the option to scale down the image area to APS-C size, in case you’re mounting the camera directly to smaller 1.25in eyepieces.

When mounted on a telescope, there are features designed to make focusing easier than ever — hopefully without having to resort to a Bahtinov mask. According to Canon, “…focus assist functions like focus peaking and magnification up to 30x – that’s three times more than the EOS R – ensure focusing with any optical device is simple and quick.” The lack of a mechanical mirror means there’s less vibration to contend with when shooting time-lapses. That’s great, because the scope, mount, nearby traffic, passing planes and stompy humans cause enough vibration already. Oh, yes, and there’s also 4K video support, in case you want your nebulae as high res as possible. Who are we kidding, of course you do.

Canon’s only provided us with specification data about the EOS Ra. We’ve reached out for pricing and availability info and will update you once those details pitch up.

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