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Following a career change over a decade ago, to follow a life long ambition of becoming a photographer and filmmaker, Clive Booth has worked for a number of high-profile brands on ad campaigns, commercials and short films. Well known for his distinctive style of selective focus in available light, his work has an atmospheric, intimate and ethereal quality.

With a proven track record of creating dynamic, standout images, Clive’s recent commission with the Birmingham Royal Ballet resulted in another a powerful performance. Not only was he tasked with creating an emphatic, memorable series of images to publicise its new programme, Fire and Fury; he had the new Canon EOS R to put through its paces.

Being a dedicated Canon user, Clive was intrigued to see what this latest mirrorless system had to offer. ‘I’ve been with Canon as a brand for over a decade now and I’ve been very fortunate to see many firsts, but this does feel different. It feels like they’ve taken the camera away and completely reinvented it.’

As well as the studio shoot, Clive also shot behind the scenes during a dress rehearsal. ‘Both were a really good test of the camera’s low light capability as one was with continuous tungsten light and the other was from the side of the stage in almost near darkness.’ What impressed Clive the most was the benefit of the EVF. ‘It’s unparalleled, I’ve never shot with a camera that is as capable in low light and with the EVF, you can literally see in the dark, it’s incredible.’

During the studio shoot, Clive said the system really came into its own. The combination of shooting with continuous lighting and the EVF’s exposure simulation preview was paramount to him working efficiently in low light conditions and a fast-paced environment. ‘What I loved most, is that when you shoot a frame, it shows you the picture and that’s amazing because you’re shooting it and it’s pinging the frame up. You’re not taking your eye from the subject and you’re not missing a shot.’

With only four hours to nail the studio shots, Clive was eager to customize the EOS R to his go-to setup. ‘The customization is incredible, at the press of a button I could switch between the EVF and the rear screen and just by doing that alone you can save lots of battery. I also set the lens control ring to adjust exposure values, which is brilliant especially when you combine that with the new EVF.’ Clive continues, ‘this was really useful for the behind the scenes shots when I was shooting into light and then into shadow. You’re continuously wracking it up and down all the time to compensate for the constant light change.’

For the studio shoot Clive wanted to create the impression of dancing flames using long pieces of silk. Given the complexity of what he was trying to achieve, he was impressed with the performance of the AF system. ‘For a prosumer camera, it’s great. With its staggering amount of focus positions, 5,655 to be precise, it covered 88% of the frame horizontally and 100% vertically, which is unheard of. With all this real estate for focusing, it is a big advantage.’

For this campaign Clive paired the EOS R with the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM, the RF 24-105MM F/4L IS USM and the RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM lenses. ‘The 28-70mm is an extraordinary lens as it’s f/2 throughout. Although it’s a big lens, it could easily be the only one you need and carry around with you, it’s that good.’ But the one lens that really stood out to Clive was the new 50mm f/1.2. ‘This is a whole new deal; with an additional aperture blade the bokeh is improved. There’s also a reduction in chromatic aberration and edge-to-edge sharpness is improved, even at the widest apertures. Some of the files are the best I have ever seen from any Canon camera. I think they’d give any lens of any brand a run for their money. The results are really extraordinary.’

In addition to this, Clive says, ‘what’s great about this new system is that you can take your existing EF lenses over to the EOS R and get better results. It’s a big benefit for Canon users thinking of switching systems and don’t want to lose any current investment they’ve made.’

Having spent some time shooting with the EOS R alongside his 5D Mark IV, Clive was astounded with how far Canon have come with image making. ‘Putting the 5D Mark IV down and picking the EOS R up, it just feels like a progression, in a way that you can see that this is really the future of photography. And when you start to use it, you realize just how capable it is.’ Clive continues, ‘A product like this reinvigorates you and it gets you excited about photography in a new way.’

Clive Booth is a leading commercial, fashion and portrait photographer and filmmaker. He is also a Canon Ambassador and a member of the Adobe Influencer Programme.

Clive’s favourite EOS R features

  • The touch screen was very clever and really intuitive and being able to touch the screen and take a picture was great. I could trust the camera to do that even though I was shooting in relatively low light and for the most part, it nailed the focus very well.
  • It’s small and neat, which makes it an advantage for location shoots. Despite it’s small form factor, it’s really well made and robust. It’s got the waterproof capabilities of the 5D Mark III and although it’s a prosumer camera, it still feels like a pro camera.
  • With the EF-EOS adapter, we’re now seeing improvements in the existing EF lenses. For example, using the EF 50mm f/1.2 with the EOS R, I saw an improvement on what I’d get on the 5D Mark IV!
  • For photographers shooting in dual pixel raw and using Canon’s DPP (Digital Photo Professional) workflow, the latest technology provides additional benefits for high dynamic range and sharpening. This camera is delivering nearly 200mb 16 bit tiff files.
  • The battery life exceeded all expectations for me. I got a minimum of a 1000 frames from one battery charge, probably as many as 1300 frames per battery.

Find out more about the Canon EOS R here.