Canon R5 Review
|Full model name:||Canon EOS R5|
(36.0mm x 24.0mm)
|Viewfinder:||EVF / LCD|
|Native ISO:||100 - 51,200|
|Extended ISO:||50 - 102,400|
|Shutter:||1/8000 - 30 sec|
|Max Aperture:||4.0 (kit lens)|
5.4 x 3.8 x 3.5 in.
(138 x 98 x 88 mm)
|Full specs:||Canon R5 specifications|
Canon EOS R5 Review - Now Shooting!
by William Brawley
Preview posted: 07/09/2020
Canon EOS R5 Field Test Part I
Excellent handling, design & image quality performance
by William Brawley | Posted 09/29/2020
RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS: 200mm, f/3.2, 1/400s, ISO 100
Long-rumored and then officially teased earlier in the year, Canon's latest full-frame mirrorless camera, the EOS R5, is finally here, and it's their highest-end, most pro-oriented R-series camera yet. Based around an all-new high-resolution 45MP sensor, which puts it just under the 5DS/R DSLRs as one of Canon's highest-resolution cameras to date, as well as having the same image processor as the new flagship 1D X III DSLR, the surprisingly compact Canon R5 is feature-packed for both serious photographers as well as videographers.
I am of the opinion that the Canon R5 leans more towards a photo-centric camera first and foremost rather than a full-on video camera, despite the hype and buzz around its albeit impressive video specs. The R5 does indeed offer some incredibly eye-catching video features, such as 8K RAW recording and 4K up to 120p, making it nonetheless a proper hybrid camera for both photos and video.
However, if you've been following the news, the R5 has garnered a bit of controversy around its reliability concerning video recording and overheating. Canon themselves have put several restrictions on video recording times, reportedly due to the thermal limitations, particularly with the higher-resolution and faster frame rate video modes. And what's more, even on the standard video resolutions, such as 1080p, the EOS R5 is still limited to a pesky 29 min. 59 sec. continuous recording time limit. So while the Canon R5 is clearly an impressive technological feat, with video capabilities not found elsewhere in a package this small, at this price and with a sensor this large, it still feels limited in usefulness if the goal is to have this camera be your one-and-only video camera.
RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS: 31mm, f/8, 1/400s, ISO 100
However, on the stills side of the equation, the Canon R5 feels packed to the gills with pleasing features and performance specs to make it a highly versatile camera for all sorts of photographic endeavors. The new 45MP sensor offers tons of resolving power, and Canon claims to have improved the dynamic range, which should make the R5 an easy choice for landscape photographers. Plus, the inclusion of powerful in-body image stabilization, a first for a Canon EOS camera, that's rated to a shocking eight stops of correction should make the camera even more versatile in the field and allow for more freedom of movement without being tied down to a tripod. At the same time, the R5 features an upgraded Dual Pixel CMOS AF focusing system with approximately 100% AF point coverage across the sensor and nearly 6000 user-selectable AF point positions. Combine that with up to 20fps continuous shooting and face/head/eye tracking for human and animals (and bird-detection), and the R5 seems like an ideal choice for sports, action and wildlife photographers.
My overall Field Test here will therefore focus primarily on the R5 as a stills camera, as I consider myself a photographer first and videographer second. However, I will explore the R5's video features to a degree in my second Field Test. In this Field Test Part I, I will cover the design and handling characteristics and general user experience as well as overall image quality performance from a stills perspective.
So, does the new Canon R5 live up to its spectacularly-sounding spec list? Let’s dive in…
RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS: 124mm, f/2.8, 1/1600s, ISO 100
- New 45MP Canon-built full-frame CMOS sensor
- DIGIC X image processor with ISO range up to 102400
- Improved Dual Pixel CMOS AF with approx. 100% frame coverage
- 1053 AF zones, 5940 manually-selectable AF points
- Face & Eye Tracking for people and animals
- Bird-detection AF
- 8-stop IBIS
- 12fps mechanical shutter / 20fps electronic shutter
- 8K video up to 30fps
- 4K video up to 120fps
- Dual card slots
- High-res 5.76M-dot OLED EVF
- Compact, weather-sealed design
Design & Handling
As mentioned in our R5 product overview, the overall design of the Canon R5 isn't all that dissimilar to the earlier EOS R model, with an unsurprisingly similar design and styling as well as a very similar general size and shape. However, unlike the EOS R, the new R5 doesn't change things up as much in terms of controls and instead feels more like a Canon DSLR. The camera features a plethora of controls, despite its relatively small form factor, and much like a classic Canon DSLR, the vast majority of buttons and dials are all in familiar, easy-to-reach locations.
As someone who's shot with Canon DSLRs for many years, I felt right at home with the R5 for the most part. That being said, I miss the top deck row of buttons as generally found on EOS DSLRs. In the field, I often found myself trying to find an "ISO button," for example. However, by default, all three control dials adjust the primary exposure settings, including ISO, without any additional button presses. For ISO, in particular, I'm not used to immediate adjustability of ISO (usually, I expect to press an "ISO" button of sorts first before adjusting), but it's quite handy here on the R5 once you get used to it. Given the instant access to exposure settings on dials rather than buttons+dials, this can lead to accidental setting changes more easily. Thankfully, Canon's thought of that and has included an easy one-press "Lock" button on the top of the camera; this locks the ISO dial (thumb), Exposure Comp Dial (rear), and lens control ring -- but still leaves the dial that controls aperture, for example, unlocked while in Aperture Priority. Pretty clever!
Despite being the highest-end, most pro-oriented R-series model so far, with a big 45MP full-frame sensor, in-body image stabilization and tons of physical controls, the R5 feels surprisingly compact and lightweight in the hand. Given its higher-end status, high-resolution video features and IBIS, I expected the camera to feel larger and bulkier. But, I'm happy to say that's not the case, and in fact, the camera feels great to hold and use. In a way, the R5 doesn't "feel" like a full-frame camera when it comes to its size, and in many ways, it mirrors my experience shooting the Nikon Z6 -- these cameras are surprisingly small despite housing such a large sensor (and IBIS, too).
Apart from its pleasing size, the R5 is also very comfortable to hold, with excellent ergonomic contouring and a nice, deep handgrip. In contrast, while Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras, for example, are perhaps slightly smaller when comparing physical dimensions, their design feels more chiseled or more angular with sharper edges, whereas the R5 has a softness, a roundedness to all of its sides and edges, which I prefer. The R5 just feels great in the hand. The camera fits well into the palm of my hand, the handgrip allows for a very secure grip, and nothing is jabbing, poking or resting awkwardly in my hands whether I'm shooting two-handed, one-handed, or simply carrying the camera down by my side.
Given Canon's long history of making quality cameras, it probably goes without saying that this high-end, nearly-$4000 camera has excellent build quality. The camera feels like a tank, but thankfully doesn't weigh like one. Much like the vast majority of Canon cameras I've shot over the years, particularly the higher-end models, the EOS R5 feels incredibly sturdy and solid. The weather-sealed, magnesium-alloy camera body feels extremely robust and durable, and the buttons and dials all work well; buttons are easy to press (though they feel slightly on the small side), and dials rotate smoothly and with a satisfying resistance.
Speaking of button and dials, as mentioned, the Canon R5 has quite a few of them, allowing for fast, menu-less access to critical shooting and exposure settings as well as a lot of user customization. One button that the R5 does not have, thankfully, is the strange Touch Bar control that made its debut on the earlier EOS R. The concept sounds interesting on paper, but in practical usage, that control felt oddly confusing and easy to activate accidentally -- especially if you disabled the weird "touch delay" setting. (Somewhat telling, but subsequent R-series cameras have not included the Touch Bar control.) Instead, the R5 features my ever-favorite control: a joystick. (However, you still need to go into the Custom Functions menu to explicitly enable "Direct AF point selection" for the joystick control in order to have instant AF point adjustment while shooting.)
Elsewhere around the camera, the R5 includes the typical array of dials and buttons that'd you usually find on high-end or advanced Canon DSLRs, including three control dials as well as dedicated Quick Menu and "Rate" buttons, the latter of which makes it easy to quickly star or rate shots during playback mode. It's perhaps not the most useful button, but it can come in handy if you take a ton of shots and can do some quick pre-selects right on the camera; the rating will then carry over in the metadata when post-processing your images on your computer.
One "holdover" from the original EOS R that the R5 uses is the Mode button design rather than a standard rotating PASM mode dial. I much prefer a standard Mode dial, even a locking one, as I find it much faster to change shooting modes. The R6, on the other hand, uses a standard PASM dial. However, the R6 doesn't feature a top-deck info screen, which I do like. The smaller "Mode Button" design uses less space, allowing Canon to squeeze in this info display onto this relatively compact camera body. Additionally, in order to toggle between photo and video modes, you need to first press the Mode button, then press Info. I find this a bit fiddly and slow, and I would much rather have a simple physical toggle switch like on the 5D Mark IV, for example.
Lastly, it's worth mentioning the EVF and the rear LCD. The rear LCD on the R5 remains unchanged from the original EOS R, offering a 3.2-inch LCD panel with 2.1 million dots of resolution. Overall, there's not a lot to say really about the LCD on the R5, as it pretty much offers a similar experience as on other Canon cameras. The screen is crisp, and the touch responsiveness is fantastic, just as I've experienced with other recent Canon cameras. I didn't find glare to be that problematic in sunny conditions, though you can, of course, see some glare and reflection at times. The articulating design can help alleviate that issue further, however.
Meanwhile, the EVF does get a pleasing upgrade over the earlier EOS R model. The R5's EVF uses a much higher resolution 5.76-million-dot OLED panel, compared to the 3.69 million dot OLED in the original EOS R. In the field, the R5's EVF is fantastic, and I don't really have any complaints. It's bright, super sharp and very clear, and while the 0.76x magnification ratio isn't as large as some other full-frame mirrorless cameras, I found it to be plenty big for my taste. The R5's EVF also offers a fast 120fps refresh rate, making it great for tracking moving subjects. Also, the eye-detect sensor, which recognizes when you place the camera to your eye, works very well and isn't overly sensitive. In other words, I didn't find myself accidentally triggering the eye sensor when shooting from a waist-level angle with the LCD. Also, if you flip the LCD out to the side, the eye sensor is disabled entirely, which is a nice touch.
RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS: 105mm, f/4, 1/125s, ISO 400
Sporting an all-new, Canon-designed 45-megapixel sensor, the EOS R5 is up there as one of the highest-resolution Canon cameras to date, sitting just under the 50MP Canon 5DS and 5DSR cameras. Unlike the more specialized 5DS R, and several other recent high-resolution cameras, the new Canon R5's sensor still includes a fixed optical low-pass filter. This helps prevent unsightly and difficult-to-remove moiré and aliasing artifacts from appearing, but does so at the cost of some fine-detail resolving power by introducing, essentially, a very slight amount of blurring.
If you photograph lots of subjects with fine repeating patterns or textures, such as buildings or fabrics, the built-in OLPF will be a helpful feature here, as those objects are often prone to showing moiré and aliasing artifacts. For nature and landscape scenes, these artifacts are much rarer. Perhaps Canon will introduce an additional OLFP-less high-res R camera in the future aimed more towards landscapers and those looking for supreme sharpness and fine-detail capabilities (one can dream, right?), but for now, the 45MP R5 feels designed for both high image quality and versatility with a variety of subjects.
RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS: 105mm, f/13, 1/200s, ISO 100
Despite the inclusion of an optical low-pass filter, I find the images from the R5 still offer an incredible level of fine detail. There's plenty of resolving power in the 45MP images for most uses, be it landscapes, portraiture, or wildlife. Plus, the amount of resolution offered makes the R5 an excellent option for cropping potential. Case in point, I was hoping to photograph more wildlife, but I haven't yet been able to get my hands on longer RF-mount lenses, such as the new 100-500mm or the two f/11 super-telephotos. The longest lens I've used with the R5 is the RF 70-200mm f/2.8 (and warning: the new RF-mount 1.4x and 2x teleconverter do not work with the RF 70-200mm f/2.8). With 200mm being not quite long enough for a lot of bird and wildlife photography, I was happy to at least have 45 megapixels at my disposal for cropping in post.
RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS: 200mm, f/3.2, 1/640s, ISO 200, -0.7EVs
Original, uncropped image. JPEG straight from camera.
Heavily cropped image from RAW in Adobe Lightroom. (Click for the original.)
In other areas, such as color reproduction, high ISO performance and dynamic range, the Canon R5 displays impressive performance. Similar to what I've seen with other Canon cameras, the colors from the R5, even at the default picture style, are rich and vibrant, yet not overly saturated, which is great. Reds, especially, look fantastic, as is typical with Canon. Red tones come out very rich yet not overly saturated nor too bright. Of course, by shooting raw -- which I imagine most users of this class of camera will do -- you have a lot more flexibility to adjust tones, color channels and white balance after the fact. But suffice it to say, if you do want to just shoot and pull images straight of the camera, the R5 offers pleasing results.
RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS: 200mm, f/3.2, 1/400s, ISO 100
RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS: 43mm, f/10, 1/250s, ISO 100
RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM: 35mm, f/3.5, 1/80s, ISO 1000, -0.3EVs
High ISO Image Quality
In terms of high ISO image quality, the Canon R5 does an impressive job, despite the high-resolution sensor -- much like I saw with the Sony A7R IV. Sensor technology and image processing have certainly come a long way over the past few years, allowing high-resolution cameras to offer impressive high ISO performance. For comparison, Canon's 50MP 5DS R camera from just five years ago has a native high ISO of only 6400, with an expanded high ISO of 12,800. Meanwhile, the R5 can hit ISO 51,200 with its native maximum sensitivity, or ISO 102400 in extended high.
ISO 51200 JPEG: RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS: 105mm, f/8, 1/40s, ISO 51200
ISO 51200 JPEG Crop
ISO 51200 RAW Crop (processed via Adobe Camera Raw at default settings.)
As in most cases, processing your own raw files will allow you to retain better fine detail at higher ISOs rather than relying on the R5's in-camera noise processing for JPEG images. That being said, the JPEGs certainly don't look too bad to my eye, even with the default level of noise reduction. Shooting at ISO 6400 is absolutely no sweat for this camera, and as you progress further up the ISO scale, NR processing does become more apparent, along with increasing detail loss. However, it's only up until ISO 51,200 that NR processing starts feel a bit too strong for my tastes, although higher contrast detail can still appear sharp -- and the extended ISO 102400 is definitely best avoided if possible. All in all, though, an excellent showing for high ISOs from this high-res camera, in my book.
ISO 51200: RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS: 105mm, f/8, 1/25s, ISO 51200
When it comes to dynamic range, this has been somewhat of a weak point for Canon in recent years, especially compared to recent Sony full-frame cameras, for instance. Canon states this new 45MP should offer improved dynamic range performance, and from my non-scientific real-world testing, I'm quite pleased with the dynamic range and tonal flexibility from R5 raw files. I was able to easily recover lots of highlight detail, even in deliberately over-exposed shots, and conversely, files show great performance with pulling up the shadows without displaying egregious levels of noise, even with purposely under-exposed shots.
For a comparison, I did some quick tests between the Canon R5 and the Sony A7R IV, with a very high dynamic range scene featuring a sunny sky and a completely shaded building overhang. I then shot the test scenes with the exact same exposure settings on both cameras. In the first test, I metered and set the exposure for the sky, meaning the shadow area was nearly completely black. In the second round, I set the exposure to the opposite, with the sky very over-exposed but the shadow area exposed properly.
|Canon R5 vs Sony a7R IV: Dynamic Range Tests|
Canon - Test 1 (50mm, f/8, 1/160s, ISO 100)
Sony - Test 1 (50mm, f/8, 1/160s, ISO 100)
Canon - Test 2 (50mm, f/8, 1/25s, ISO 100)
Sony - Test 2 (50mm, f/8, 1/25s, ISO 100)
Looking first at unedited raws in either ACR or Lightroom of the first test (with good sky exposure), the Canon raw file displays a bit more detail in the dark shadow area than the Sony raw file; the corresponding area in the Sony image is essentially completely black. However, neither cameras' respective shots for this test show completely crushed black levels, and I was able to easily recover detail in the shadow areas. Comparing the two edited shots side-by-side with just the Lightroom shadow slider at +100 (default adjustments otherwise), the Canon raw file shows slightly less noise than the Sony image. Both cameras, though, show very finely-grain noise in the boosted shadow areas.
Canon - Test 1 Raw edit - Adobe Lightroom, Shadows +100
Sony - Test 1 Raw edit - Adobe Lightroom, Shadows +100
Canon - Test 1
Sony - Test 1
The second "reverse test" was much more challenging for both cameras. Highlight recovery was much more difficult, and the Sony faired a bit better than the Canon in this scene. In this test, the sky area of the scene was extremely over-exposed, but the Sony raw file was able to show a hint of cloud detail after adjusting the Highlight slider down to -100; meanwhile, the highlight area of the Canon image was completely blown out and unrecoverable.
Canon - Test 2 Raw edit - Adobe Lightroom, Highlights -100
Sony - Test 2 Raw edit - Adobe Lightroom, Highlights -100
JPEGs and new 10-bit HEIF (HDR PQ)
Lastly, I want to touch on a new shooting mode for in-camera processed images. Although, as mentioned, I would venture a guess that most potential owners of an EOS R5 would shoot in RAW, for those that want to shoot JPEGs, the R5 is more than capable of produce pleasing JPEG images. Straight out of the camera, the R5 JPEGs also display nice dynamic range, with a good balance of shadow and highlight details. To my eye, the R5's standard Picture Style can seem a bit strong with contrast depending on the lighting conditions, but for the most part, I was pleased with the amount of highlight detail and shadow detail shown even in high-contrast scenes.
Unedited 8-bit JPEG: RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS: 24mm, f/8, 1/200s, ISO 200
However, the R5 introduces a new processed image file format, HEIF, which Canon refers to as "HDR PQ." Unlike standard JPEG images, HEIF (High Efficiency Image Format) records images in 10-bit rather than the standard 8-bit JPEG. This new compressed image format records more information yet still maintains a similar, small file size like JPEGs. The result of this higher bitrate image format is improved dynamic range and better color reproduction. The resulting HEIF images do look nice, although I can't appreciate the full dynamic range of these HDR PQ images, as I don't have an HDR monitor. Viewing the HEIF images in Canon's DPP software displays them as an "SDR" (standard dynamic range) conversion. However, even in this converted mode, the HDR PQ images display better dynamic range than the same scene shot with a normal 8-bit JPEG.
10-bit HDR PQ file (HEIF) -- Converted via Digital Photo Pro. Displayed here as non-HDR (SDR) image.
(RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS: 24mm, f/8, 1/200s, ISO 200)
Though it's not as flexible or as user-adjustable as your typical multi-exposure/bracketed HDR shooting procedure, the new 10-bit HDR PQ mode in the R5 is a great option for an easy "one-shot" image capture mode if you want higher dynamic range images. And just like with JPEGs, you can record raw files alongside HEIF, so you'll still have a standard .CR3 raw file for a backup and post-processing.
Another drawback to the HEIF (.HIF) image format is that it's less cross-compatible than your typical JPEG image. On my macOS Catalina-based iMac, the OS will recognize the .HIF files, and Finder's QuickLook system can preview the images, but applications such as macOS's Preview.app and Photoshop CC cannot open them. I needed to use Canon's Digital Photo Professional software along with a separate Canon HEVC Activator software install that enables HEIF/HDR PQ support within Canon's DPP software. In addition to converting HEIF to other formats, including JPEGs, with Canon's DPP desktop software, the R5 also offers in-camera JPEG conversions of HEIF images.
NOTE: The software that handles the processing of our Image Gallery pages is not designed to handle and display this new HEIF image file format. As such, the HEIF example images do not show up on the R5 Gallery Page. Please use the links below to download them (Right-click and Save As):
R5 Field Test Part I Summary
All in all, my shooting experience thus far with the new Canon R5 has been extremely positive. The build quality and ergonomics of this new full-frame mirrorless camera are fantastic. The R5 looks and feels just as I would expect a high-end Canon camera to feel. It's comfortable to hold, and the controls are plentiful and largely familiar if you're accustomed to the Canon system.
RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS: 200mm, f/3.2, 1/1600s, ISO 400, -0.3EVs
Edited from RAW in Adobe Lightroom Click to view the original.
When it comes to image quality for stills, the R5 does not disappoint. The new 45MP full-frame sensor captures beautiful photos with excellent fine detail and dynamic range. The sensor captures images with enough detail for stunning landscape images and offers excellent cropping potential for nature and wildlife subjects.
Stay tuned as there's more to come with my Canon R5 Field Test. In Part II, I'll explore autofocus and performance capabilities as well as dive into the R5's video features.
• • •
Canon EOS R5 Product Overview
After being teased a couple of times earlier this year with just a handful of specs and features, the Canon EOS R5 is now officially here. In full! Finally.
Canon has now unveiled all the details about their upcoming high-end R5 full-frame mirrorless camera, and based on both the previously announced specs and all the additional features unveiled today, the new EOS R5 sounds like a serious beast of a camera. We're not sure if Canon considers the R5 as a "flagship" model in the same way as the EOS 1D-series, but the R5 undoubtedly takes Canon's mirrorless R series to all new heights. The camera offers features, performance and capabilities way beyond what's offered in existing EOS R models, as well as, in many areas, what Canon's existing lineup of EOS DSLRs are capable of.
Alongside the R5, Canon has also announced a similar model, the Canon R6. Sporting a nearly identical exterior design, this camera is based around a different, lower-res sensor and sits under the R5 in the overall EOS R-series lineup. Nevertheless, it features many of the same high-performance capabilities as its "bigger" brother, but at a lower price point. For more information on the Canon EOS R6, see our in-depth Canon R6 Preview.
Let's dive in to learn all about Canon's newest, highest-end, highest-performance full-frame mirrorless camera to date...
Canon EOS R5 Key Features & Specs
- All-new 45MP Canon-built full-frame CMOS sensor
- New DIGIC X image processor
- Native ISO range of 100-51200 (expandable to 102400)
- Updated Dual Pixel CMOS AF with approx. 100% frame coverage
- 1053 AF zones, 5940 manually-selectable AF points
- Deep Learning-based subject detection & tracking for people (Face/eye) and animals (dogs, cats, birds)
- In-Body Image Stabilization with up to 8 stops of rated correction
- Up to 12fps with mechanical shutter; 20fps with silent/electronic shutter
- 8K RAW internal video recording
- 8Kp30 DCI/UHD video
- 4K Video up to 120fps
- Internal video recording in all formats, with AF
- Internal 10-bit 4:2:2 recording with Canon Log or HDR PQ
- Dual Card Slots (1 CFexpress, 1 UHS-II SD)
- 5.76-million dot OLED EVF with 120 refresh rate
- Vari-angle LCD touchscreen
- Dual-band 2.4/5Ghz Wi-Fi + Bluetooth connectivity
- Weather-sealed construction
- US$3899.99 body-only; US$4999 with 24-105L Lens Kit
Design & Product Tour: Robust build with familiar styling & controls
When it comes to the exterior design, the Canon R5 looks, in many ways, like a modernized version of a tried-and-true full-frame Canon DSLR, such as the 5D Mark IV or 6D Mark II, though the R5 is slightly smaller and lighter than those cameras. Still, many of the R5's controls are located in familiar places, and the camera body has an altogether familiar shape with a deep handgrip, large central viewfinder, and plenty of physical controls and buttons that put primary shooting functions all within easy reach.
Taking a look around the camera, we begin up top where the new Canon R5 closely resembles the original EOS R. By and large, the layout of the controls along the top of the camera are nearly identical to the original EOS R. Like this earlier model, the new EOS R5 includes a small top-deck info screen that displays shooting modes and exposure information. The R5 also borrows the R's unique "Mode Button" control setup instead of a more traditional PASM mode dial. Here, to change shooting modes, you press the Mode button and then use the surrounding dial control to cycle through shooting modes. We've found this control mode takes a little time to get used to and isn't as fast as a standard PASM dial when you need to change modes quickly. Outside of changing shooting modes, the "MODE" button's surrounding control dial functions as an additional sub-control dial alongside the top-facing dial behind the shutter release button. (The R5 also includes Canon's classic, large rear-facing Control Dial, for a total of three dedicated dials.)
Elsewhere along the top, the R5 includes a customizable Multi-Function button (M-Fn), a lock button to prevent accidental button presses or dial movements, and a dedicated video record button. Over on the left-hand side of the EVF is the small On/Off switch, which now features a small notch protrusion for easier operation (the EOS R simply had a textured cylindrical On/Off knob). Like the EOS R and many higher-end EOS DSLRs, the new R5 offers a standard hot-shoe connection for Speedlights and other accessories but does not include a pop-up flash of any kind.
Moving to the rear of the camera, the back of the EOS R5 offers a much more familiar and expansive array of controls than the relatively spartan EOS R and RP camera models. Not only is there a large Control Dial seen on numerous other EOS cameras over the years, but there's also a prominent joystick control, or multi-directional control, that allows for instantaneous AF point adjustment as well menu navigation. The vast majority of controls and buttons on the back of the camera are situated for easy operation with your thumb, such as the AF-ON, AE Lock, and AF point selection buttons. You also have easy access to image magnification, INFO and the Quick Menu without much if any need to readjust your hold on the camera.
When it comes to the two primary displays on the camera, the rear LCD is essentially identical to the one on the original R model, offering the same 3.2-inch size and 2.1 million dots of resolution. The LCD touchscreen fully articulates, offering a variety of rear-facing angles and the ability to swing it into a front-facing position. Meanwhile, the EVF, on the other hand, is a noticeable upgrade over the ones in previous R-series cameras with a much higher-res 5.76-million-dot OLED panel, up from the 3.69 million dot OLED in the original EOS R. The R5's EVF also offers a fast 120fps refresh rate for excellent action and fast-moving subject tracking. Other specs for the EVF are quite similar to the earlier R model, with a 0.76x magnification ratio, 23mm eyepoint and offering an approximate 100% field of view.
Along the sides of the camera, we have our usual assortment of ports and physical connections on the left and dual memory card slots over on the right. Unlike the EOS R and RP cameras, the R5 sports dual card slots, one ultra-fast Type B CFexpress slot and one UHS-II-compatible SD card slot. Both card types are capable of very fast read and write speeds, and in most situations the camera allows for images and videos to be saved onto either card type, but there are some limitations. For example, you can only record ultra-high-res 8K RAW video to the faster CFexpress card.
On the left side of the camera, the R5 features a 3.5mm microphone input jack and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. The camera also includes a flash sync terminal. The R5 also provides a Type D Micro HDMI connector that supports Clean HDMI output, and a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C port. The USB-C port offers computer connectivity as well as support for in-camera charging. However, there are some limitations to in-camera charging. Canon recommends the use of a dedicated PD-E1 USB Power Adapter for in-camera USB-C-based charging, though it's a pricey accessory at US$190. However, you can use battery powerbanks or other USB-C-based charging bricks, but you'll need to use high-power-compatible USB-C cables (such as the USB-C to USB-C cable included in the box) that can deliver the required 5V/1.5 A of power.
When it comes to battery life, the new EOS R5 uses a newer, higher-capacity LP-E6NH battery pack, though it's still backward-compatible with Canon's earlier LP-E6N and LP-6E batteries. The R5 is CIPA-rated for 320 shots per charge using the LCD, or 220 shots per charge with the EVF. Using the camera's Power Saving mode will increase the battery life to 490 (LCD) or 320 (EVF).
Lastly, the wireless connectivity options in the R5 include Bluetooth low-energy and both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi frequencies. 5GHz Wi-Fi is capable of faster transfer speeds than 2.4Ghz, but you are more limited in allowable distance from the camera. The R5 supports wireless remote control and image transfer using the Canon Camera Connect mobile app as well as wireless control via a PC using EOS Utility (USB Tether via EOS Utility is also supported). Furthermore, Canon has released a new Wireless File Transmitter grip accessory for the EOS R5 that will not only function for wireless image transfer but also includes a built-in ethernet port.
Image Quality: New high-res 45MP sensor combined with fast DIGIC X image processor
Canon appears to be following a similar strategy as we've seen with other full-frame mirrorless camera manufacturers in that they are debuting a pair of high-end mirrorless cameras, both with nearly identical physical designs and performance specs, but which differ in image sensor and image resolution. One with a higher-resolution sensor (and a higher price) and a second with a more modest amount of megapixels (and a slightly lower price). It's a pretty nice strategy, in that you get two high-performance cameras, but you can pick the model best suited to your needs, shooting style or budget.
In terms of the imaging pipeline for the new EOS R5, this is Canon's "high-res" model among the pair of new R-series cameras, and it's sporting an all-new Canon-built 45-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor with Dual Pixel CMOS AF (more on AF down below). Like most other Canon cameras, the 45MP sensor in the R5 features a fixed optical low-pass filter in order to suppress moiré and aliasing artifacts. Paired with the new sensor is Canon's latest-generation image processor, the DIGIC X, which we saw makes its debut in the flagship 1D X Mark III DSLR earlier this year. Despite the same processor, the native ISO range of the R5 isn't as expansive as the new 1DX III; the R5 offers a native ISO range of 100-51200 with an expandable Low ISO of 50 and a high ISO of 102400 for still photo shooting.
According to Canon, the new 45MP sensor is designed for both high-resolution image quality as well as high-performance. Though specifics haven't been released, Canon says the new sensor should offer impressive dynamic range performance and is also designed for high-speed sensor readout. In recent years, Canon's sensors have fallen behind those of other manufacturers, particularly Sony sensors, when it comes to dynamic range performance, so we're excited to see how well the R5 performs here when we get it into our lab. Similarly, the fast sensor readout will be particularly important when it comes to fending off rolling shutter, both with high-res video as well as fast action shooting when using the camera's electronic shutter.
In addition to the new sensor and processor, one of the hallmark new features that will be of particular interest for both stills and video shooters is the inclusion of in-body image stabilization. Finally! The use of IBIS has become increasingly popular across the camera market, with almost all major manufacturers offering IBIS systems in multiple camera models. However, Canon has, until now, been a notable hold-out. They've long excelled with excellent optical IS in their lenses, but the development of IBIS allows for not only additional versatility with stabilization now possible with non-IS lenses, but it also allows for even more powered image stabilization when combining OIS and IBIS together.
In-body image stabilization performance, as expected, can vary across manufacturers, but one of the best in the business has been Olympus. While it's typical to have optically stabilized lenses with around 3-5 stops of shake correction, Olympus' IBIS technology -- particularly in the new E-M1 III -- claims up to 7 stops of stabilization in the body alone. However, with the new EOS R5 (and R6), Canon's taken IBIS technology to new levels, claiming up to a whopping 8 stops of shake correction! Canon states that the camera's new DIGIC X image processor and the CPU inside the lens coordinate positioning and motion data from gryo sensors and accelerometers to achieve this powerful image stabilization. And again, while we've yet to try the R5 in-person, the specs for the new IBIS system sound downright incredible.
According to Canon, the R5's IBIS system is capable of up to 8 stops, both when used in conjunction with specific IS-based lenses like the RF 24-105mm lens, or even with certain non-IS lenses. However, the R5's IBIS performance, as expected, will vary depending on lens and/or focal length; Canon states, for example, that the R5 will offer up to 7 stops of IS with the EF 35mm f/2 IS lens, the RF 50mm prime or the wide-angle RF 15-35mm lens; up to 7.5 stops with the RF 70-200mm or 6.5 stops with the RF 24-240mm zoom.
When it comes to still image shooting features, the Canon R5 features a full but more streamlined array of enthusiast- and pro-oriented options and settings similar to Canon's higher-end DSLR models. In other words, unlike the entry-level models, the R5 doesn't include any creative filter modes, special effects or scene modes beyond the standard Picture Style image presets.
In addition to the usual JPEG image capture, the R5 also captures images in RAW format in either 14-bit CR3 RAW files or compressed C-RAW, as well as the unique Dual Pixel RAW format. Additionally, the R5 offers 10-bit HEIF format images like the 1DX III, which should offer a wider dynamic range and better color rendition over standard 8-bit JPEGs. The camera can also capture simultaneous RAW+JPEG or RAW+HEIF images. The Canon 1DX III allows for in-camera processing of HEIFs into more cross-compatible JPEGs, and we expect a similar functionality in the R5. Additionally, the R5 does offer in-camera RAW processing in playback mode.
In terms of metering, the R5 offers real-time metering on the image sensor with a total of 384 metering zones (24x16 array), and features evaluative metering (linked to the AF point), partial metering, spot metering and center-weighted average metering. Exposure compensation spans +/-3EVs in 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments.
As referenced earlier, the EOS R5 offers both a mechanical (and electronic first curtain) shutter mode and a silent all-electronic shutter mode. The mechanical/EFCS provides a 30sec to 1/8000s shutter speed range as well as Bulb mode, while the electronic shutter ranges from 0.5s to 1/8000s. The fastest shutter speed is 1/8000s. Flash X-sync speed is set to 1/200s for mechanical shutter and 1/250s EFCS shutter. Flash photography is not supported with the all-electronic shutter mode, nor is HDR, multiple exposures, multi-shot NR mode, auto-exposure bracketing, HDR PQ mode, anti-flicker shooting, Dual Pixel RAW or when using Digital Lens Optimizer set to High.
Autofocus: Dual Pixel CMOS AF now spans full sensor, Bird-detection AF & more
Another area of significant improvement over previous EOS R models -- and by extension, Live View shooting on most of Canon EOS DSLRs -- is the autofocus system. As expected, the R5's AF system is powered by Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology that features on-chip phase-detection pixels, and it receives a fairly substantial upgrade in several areas compared to previous Dual Pixel-based cameras.
For starters, the new Dual Pixel CMOS AF in the R5 now spans the entire area of the sensor; it has approximately 100% coverage across the frame. That's not only extremely helpful for allowing you to place your AF point precisely where you need it for a given shot or composition, but it also provides a big usability improvement for erratic subject tracking as the camera can now continuously track focus across the full area of the sensor/frame. According to the specs, the R5's AF system is rated down to an impressive -6EV with most lenses, allowing for autofocusing functionality in very dim, dark conditions.
Furthermore, the R5 offers an incredibly vast array of both AF zones as well as individually-selectable AF points. For photo shooting with the AF Method set to Automatic (essentially all AF areas active), the R5 utilizes up to 1053 total AF areas spread over a 39 x 17 array. For manually-selectable AF modes, such as Spot or Single-point, the user can select from 5940 individual AF point positions across the frame. (Automatic AF method in movie mode provides 819 AF areas in a 39 x 21 array).
In addition to the sheer number of selectable AF points, the AF tracking performance also gets a pleasing performance boost, with the ability to not only automatically detect and track people's heads, faces and eyes, but it's now also sophisticated enough to detect and track animals, including dogs, cats and birds. It's interesting timing that the upcoming EOS R5 and R6 cameras will now have animal-detection AF, including bird-detection. In the last year or two, Sony's introduced Animal Eye AF in a number of their mirrorless cameras -- though at this time, it doesn't appear to detect birds. Similarly, Nikon released a firmware update for the Z6 and Z7 with Animal-Detection and tracking capabilities. Exciting times for bird and wildlife photographers indeed!
Performance: Up to 20fps with Servo AF at full-resolution
When it comes to sheer performance features, it perhaps comes at no surprise that the EOS R5 is a rather beastly camera for continuous shooting tasks -- and that's despite's its high-res 45MP sensor. When using the mechanical shutter, the R5 is capable of up to 12fps with Servo AF (C-AF), while the silent/electronic shutter mode ups the burst rate to an impressive 20fps with Servo AF.
Buffer depths are also quite impressive, for both CFexpress and SD cards, though none of the shooting speeds or image quality settings allow for an "unlimited" buffer capacity rating. Given the different performance specs of the two media card types, the buffer depths can vary depending on image quality settings. Further, the maximum buffer capacity changes depending on if you're shooting at the max. 12fps or 20fps. At 12fps, the buffer capacity for Large Fine JPEGs, Large Fine HEIF images as well as Compressed C-RAW files are the same for either CFexpress and UHS-II SD cards, with up to 350 JPEG images, 280 HEIF images or 260 C-RAW files. With full, uncompressed RAW, the R5's buffer drops to 180 frames for CFexpress or 87 for UHS-II SD.
When opting for the faster 20fps electronic shutter burst mode, Canon only provides a spec for buffer capacity using the CFexpress card, which is stated as 170 JPEG frames, 83 RAW or 130 Compressed C-RAW files. However, we are told that you can shoot at 20fps while saving images to the SD card slot.
Video: Groundbreaking features including 8K RAW at 30p, 4Kp120, 4:2:2 10-bit Log & much more
While stills shooting is undoubtedly a major priority for the EOS R5, one of the camera's groundbreaking areas is video. As mentioned in the R5's previous two development announcement updates, the R5 packs some seriously incredible video specs, not just compared to previous Canon cameras but also the entire camera market. The camera is outfitted with some seriously incredible, high-resolution and high-quality video modes not typically seen outside of high-end cinema cameras from the likes of RED or Sony with their F65 CineAlta.
While the world might still be catching up to 4K video, Canon's ready to take the next leap into 8K video. Yes, 8K. And not just "any old" 8K, but up to 8K RAW video. And not only that, but 8K RAW video that can be recorded internally to your memory card and with full AF functionality. In a camera body this small, that's simply astounding.
When it comes to video speed and feeds, the options are quite expansive, with a wide variety of combinations of video resolutions as well as different bit-depths, container formats, compression and color sampling methods, such as 8-bit, 10-bit, and 10-bit 4:2:2 with Canon Log or HDR PQ for expanded color grading flexibility and dynamic range. Further, 8K RAW video format is recorded in 12-bit format. (Note: RAW video is only offered in 8K DCI resolution.) Non-RAW 8K video uses the H.265/HEVC compression format, while 4K and Full HD modes use H.264/MPEG-4 for 4:2:0 8-bit or H.265/HEVC for 10-bit modes.
8K video can be recorded in either DCI 8192 x 4320 resolution or UHD 7680 × 4320. 8K DCI is offered in RAW, ALL-I and IPB modes at up to 30p, as well as 23.98p and 24p, and 30p, while 8K UHD is offered at 30p and 23.98p. Meanwhile, 4K is available in both DCI (4096 x 2160) and UHD (3840 x 2160), and with frame-rates ranging from 23.98p up to 120p for standard recording. Additionally, the R5 offers a 4Kp120 mode for High Frame Rate shooting for easy slow-motion video capture in both 4K DCI and 4K UHD resolutions. Finally, Full HD video is also included, ranging from 23.98p up to 60p. Other than 8K DCI RAW, all standard video resolutions and frames can be recorded in ALL-I or IPB compression; 4K High Frame Rate mode is only offered in ALL-I. There is also an IPB Light option for 1080p30 video.
The R5 also provides the ability to shoot 4K video at full sensor width or cropped. The camera also has different 4K quality levels with the "4K High Quality" mode deriving from an oversampled 8K sensor readout. 4K HQ is offered at 30p.
The EOS R5 also supports full Dual Pixel CMOS AF functionality in all video modes and resolutions, including 8K.
In most situations, users can use either the CFexpress card or the UHS-II SD card slot for video recording. However, there are some restrictions. 8K RAW and 8K ALL-I video as well as 4Kp120 and 4Kp60 ALL-I is available only when recording to the CFexpress card. Also, built-in 8K Time-lapse video mode is also CFexpress-only. SD card write speed is also a factor to consider, with 10-bit 8K IPB video requiring a V90-class or faster UHS-II card.
Despite the beastly video recording options, the EOS R5 does not offer unlimited video recording in any video mode or resolution. 8K movie recording (RAW, DCI, UHD) is limited to a maximum of 20 minutes, though environmental temperature could shorten the sustained recording time. 4K at 60p in Cropped mode is limited to 25 minutes, while all other video modes are limited to a continuous recording time of 29 min. 59 sec.
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Canon EOS R5 versus the new EOS R6
by Jeremy Gray
Image sensor: The Canon EOS R5 features a new Canon-designed 45-megapixel full-frame image sensor. The R6, on the other hand, features a lower megapixel sensor. The 20-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor of the R6 may not have the resolving power of the new sensor in the R5, but the R6 does have a higher native ISO ceiling: 204,800 versus 102,400.
Autofocus: Both the R5 and R6 feature Canon's latest Dual Pixel CMOS AF II. The AF system delivers 100 percent area coverage via 1,053 zones. In addition to this impressive coverage area, each camera includes eye, head and face tracking for people, dogs, cat and birds.
Performance: Despite the differences in image sensors, the R5 and R6 can both shoot at up to 12 frames per second using their mechanical shutters and 20 fps with the electronic shutter via silent photography mode. Where the R6 separates itself from the R5 in terms of performance is with respect to buffer depths. The EOS R6 can record 1,000 or more compressed raw (C-RAW) images, while the EOS R5's buffer depths top out at 260 C-RAW images when recording to either a UHS-II SD card or a CFexpress card. For regular raw images, the EOS R6 can record up to 240 images before the buffer is full, whereas the EOS R5 slows down after 180 raw images. Both cameras are powered by a DIGIC X processor.
Image stabilization: Both the EOS R5 and R6 promise up to 8 stops of image stabilization via built-in body-based image stabilization.
Design: The Canon EOS R5 and R6 are similar in overall design, but there are a few important differences. The R5 features a top LCD panel, something not included on the R6. The R6 also includes a different dial for selecting modes. The R5 uses the same mode button design as the EOS R, whereas the R6 opts for a more traditional mode dial.
Card slots: As mentioned earlier, the Canon EOS R6 has two SD card slots, both compatible with UHS-II. Rather than two SD card slots, the EOS R5 instead includes a CFexpress slot and an SD card slot (UHS-II).
Video: Thanks in part to its 45-megapixel image sensor, the EOS R5 can record 8K video at up to 30p in addition to 4K video at up to 120p. The EOS R6, on the other hand, records "just" 4K/60p video and no 8K video (there simply aren't enough pixels). Further, the EOS R6 does not record 4K video using the full width of the image sensor, something the EOS R5 can do.
Price: The EOS R6 will cost around $2,500 USD, whereas the EOS R5 will be much more expensive, launching with a suggested retail price of around $3,900.
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Canon EOS R5 Pricing & Availability
The Canon EOS R5 is scheduled to go on sale at the end of July for an estimated retail price of $3899 for body-only and $4999 as a kit with RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM lens. Additionally, the new R5/R6-compatible BG-R10 battery grip accessory and WFT-R10A (R5-compatible only) are both scheduled to be available at the end of July for an estimated retail price of $349.99 and $999.99, respectively.
Stay tuned to Imaging Resource for more on the Canon EOS R5 as we approach its release later this summer. If you'd like to learn more about the Canon EOS R6, head to our preview.
Buy the Canon R5
$5750.00 (30% more)
51.3 MP (12% more)
Also has viewfinder
$3665.98 (10% less)
51.4 MP (12% more)
Also has viewfinder