Canon EOS R5 Assessment: The New Full-Body Champ

Canon EOS R5

MSRP $3,899.00

“Canon held nothing again to ship the full-frame digicam its followers craved.”


  • Wonderful, 45MP images
  • Spectacular 4K/8K video modes
  • Responsive subject-tracking AF
  • Good 5-axis picture stabilization
  • Wonderful construct high quality


  • Management format might be improved
  • Can overheat in video mode
  • Danger of banding at excessive ISO

It isn’t typically that we see a brand new digicam with as a lot promise and hype because the Canon EOS R5. After the comparatively modest reception to the unique EOS R, the R5 was Canon’s likelihood to show it could possibly make a full-frame mirrorless digicam that doesn’t simply compete, however leads. The spec sheet reads like a connoisseur menu, a meal assured to sate the urge for food of anybody who can afford it — and at $3,899 for the physique, or $4,999 with the RF 24-105mm f/4L lens (examined), that isn’t very many individuals.

However the EOS R5’s exclusivity isn’t an issue. This can be a high-end digicam with a excessive worth to match, and whereas it’s simple to argue that it squarely targets solely skilled clients, I don’t imagine that’s the complete story. This can be a branding digicam; it’s aspirational. It might not care concerning the fanatic or novice when it comes to direct gross sales, but it surely nonetheless serves to reply the query that such clients typically ask: “Who makes the very best mirrorless digicam?” For the primary time, “Canon” is an appropriate reply.

Canon EOS R5 product photo
Daven Mathies/Digital Developments

Even when the EOS R5 is out of your worth vary, its standing as probably the most highly effective and succesful mirrorless cameras may assist draw you to a lower-end Canon (maybe the EOS R6) as a substitute of going with a competing model. In that respect, it’s onerous to not see the R5 as a complete success.

However for the shoppers who’re really going to purchase it, is the Canon EOS R5 worthy of the hype? Everybody within the photograph tech sphere — myself included — has been waxing lyrical about this digicam lengthy earlier than we had our arms on it. Now that it’s out within the wild, you might need to handle your expectations — if solely barely. Whereas it might not be precisely what we had been offered, that is nonetheless a wonderful digicam.

A nonetheless digicam first

Canon centered its early advertising and marketing on the EOS R5’s video chops, detailing the insane 8K RAW and 4K/120p options months earlier than we knew a lot about its nonetheless photograph capabilities. This shifted individuals’s expectations of what the R5 could be, and I can’t assist however really feel this was the fallacious approach to hype it.

Daven Mathies/Digital Developments

Just like the overwhelming majority of hybrid mirrorless cameras, the R5 places nonetheless images first. Sure, it occurs to have an epic video mode connected to it, however I believe nonetheless photographers will discover extra to like than videographers. The R5 might be the very best nonetheless digicam Canon has ever made, mirrorless or DSLR.

The aim with the R5 was clearly to maintain tempo with the likes of the Sony A7R IV, Nikon Z 7, and Panasonic Lumix S1R. These are all high-resolution, full-frame mirrorless cameras, and whereas they every have succesful video modes, they clearly goal the nonetheless photographer.

The R5 might be the very best nonetheless digicam Canon has ever made, mirrorless or DSLR.

If the R5 had initially been marketed as a nonetheless digicam, I believe the numerous complaints we’re now listening to about overheating in video mode wouldn’t have been so loud. However as a result of Canon emphasised video so strongly within the lead-up, reviewers are feeling a bit underwhelmed that the fact doesn’t match the promise.

Daven Mathies/Digital Developments

I’ll get to my very own expertise testing the video mode later, however for now, simply know that the R5 is a nonetheless digicam first, and as such, it has comparable limitations to different hybrid cameras on the subject of video. You’ll be able to nonetheless use it for a lot of video purposes, however begin pondering of it as a alternative to your cinema digicam and that’s the place issues are going to go dangerous.

Design and dealing with

The R5 will really feel at dwelling to anybody coming from a Canon DSLR, and I discovered it to be barely extra comfy to carry than a 5D Mark IV — regardless that it’s solely a fraction of a pound lighter. It has a really acquainted grip, the identical shutter button placement, and many of the controls are precisely the place you anticipate them.

Canon EOS R5 product photo
Daven Mathies/Digital Developments

One key change is the transfer to a three-dial setup, which permits for direct ISO, shutter velocity, and aperture management. That is along with the multi-function lens ring on RF lenses.

There’s additionally an autofocus joystick, and whereas that is normally vital characteristic for me, I don’t just like the R5’s. Its floor is just too sharp, making it uncomfortable, and it doesn’t present nice tactile suggestions. It’s additionally simply much less wanted, given how good the subject-tracking AF is, and the R5’s touchpad AF utilizing the LCD display screen works higher for single-point focusing, anyway.

Canon EOS R5 product photo
Daven Mathies/Digital Developments

What Canon DSLR shooters will discover lacking is the AF/Drive button. Accessing autofocus and drive modes is a two-step course of that requires citing the short menu. Fortuitously, you may program both of those features to the lens ring or different buttons, however you’ll sacrifice the default performance of a button by doing so. I set AF mode to the lens ring and drive mode to the depth of area preview button (as a result of who makes use of that, anyway?), and located this to be a fairly good setup. Nonetheless, the R5 is a $3,900 digicam physique, so for Canon to scrimp on direct entry management is a little bit of a letdown.

In any other case, there’s little to complain about within the design division. The physique is weather-sealed and solidly constructed, if heavy for a mirrorless digicam at 1.62 kilos.

Canon EOS R5 product photo
Daven Mathies/Digital Developments

The brand new digital viewfinder (EVF) has 5.76 million pixels, the identical because the Panasonic S sequence and Sony A7R IV. It’s a ravishing EVF, though the glass distorts the display screen considerably in order that the perimeters curve outward. It’s not an enormous downside, however I positively discovered it to be a bit distracting at instances.

Canon has additionally lastly adopted a contemporary media format by providing each SD UHS-II and CFexpress Kind B card slots, the latter of which is required for 8K video (and a few 4K modes). For any Nikon shooters considering trying out the EOS R5, word that, not like the Nikon Z sequence, the Canon doesn’t assist XQD playing cards in its CFexpress slot, so anybody with older XQD playing cards should ditch them earlier than shifting to the R5.

Images expertise

Other than the lens mount, the Canon EOS R5 is mainly all new in comparison with the unique EOS R. It’s additionally the primary R-series digicam that feels prefer it was constructed from the bottom up with bespoke elements, beginning with the 45-megapixel full-frame sensor, which, not like all prior R-series cameras, has not beforehand been utilized in a Canon DSLR. Even the battery has been up to date, providing larger capability in the identical type issue because the longstanding LP-E6 (though battery life, at a CIPA score of simply 320 exposures, just isn’t a spotlight).

Canon EOS R5 lifestyle product photo
Daven Mathies/Digital Developments

What sells it, nevertheless, is the autofocus. The EOS R5 makes use of Twin Pixel Autofocus II, Canon’s newest on-chip phase-detection expertise that places 1,053 focus factors over the whole body. It incorporates up to date face and eye-tracking for each individuals and animals, and in my expertise, it really works exceptionally effectively.

I would go as far as to say Canon’s face monitoring is even higher than Sony’s — and that’s enormous.

In observe, I used to be blown away with how rapidly the R5 would discover the topic inside the body in addition to how strongly it stayed glued to it. For photographing individuals, this meant I might focus solely on framing with out worrying about choosing my focus level. Having not too long ago shot portraits with the Sony A7R IV, I would go as far as to say Canon’s face monitoring is even higher than Sony’s — and that’s enormous.

However what actually impressed me was the animal AF. When taking pictures birds in flight, the main target field immediately jumped to the chicken’s head — not simply the chicken, however really its head. When photographing a canine, the AF continued to trace its physique even when its head and shoulders ducked down under a log. A wild rabbit let me creep up inside a few toes whereas it was consuming, and the R5 had no hassle discovering its eye.

Daven Mathies/Digital Developments

If I’ve something to complain about, it’s that eye-detection doesn’t kick in till the topic is comparatively giant inside the body. Nonetheless, as face-detection alone will naturally be enough for topics farther away, this most likely isn’t a giant deal. Face-detection itself does appear to work at a larger distance than what I noticed within the Canon EOS RP, however there’s nonetheless some room for enchancment right here. Fortuitously, when the digicam overlooked a face and reverted to plain AF, it normally nonetheless discovered the proper topic — however this may rely upon the complexity of the scene and if there are different objects nearer to the digicam that might confuse it.

There’s one different situation with the AF. As I perceive it, DPAF focus factors are usually not cross-type, which means they’re delicate solely to strains in a single course. The R5 doesn’t seem like delicate to horizontal strains in any respect, and flat-out refused to focus after I occurred to level it at a slatted closet door. Confused, I attempted once more, however regardless of what number of instances I pressed the shutter button, the R5 wouldn’t focus. As quickly as I rotated the digicam into portrait orientation — which means the slats had been now vertically oriented from the digicam’s perspective — it immediately snapped into focus. Different comparable topics — like closed window blinds — yielded the identical outcomes.

The dearth of cross-type AF factors is par for the course in on-chip phase-detection programs (with Olympus being one notable exception), however contrast-detection usually takes over in different cameras when phase-detection just isn’t doable. Operating the identical take a look at on my private Fujifilm X-T2, I discovered that it centered, however solely after searching briefly — in portrait orientation, it centered with out searching. This means that, just like the EOS R5, the X-T2’s phase-detection struggles to detect horizontal strains, however it could possibly depend on slower distinction detection in such a state of affairs, one thing the R5 appears unable to do.

I don’t understand how massive of a difficulty this is perhaps in the true world — I didn’t have any hassle exterior of my workplace. My total expertise with DPAF on the EOS R5 was very optimistic. Nonetheless, it’s a bit regarding that each one it took to make AF fail fully was a topic with none vertical strains. I’ve reached out to Canon for remark and can replace this evaluation after I hear again.

Daven Mathies/Digital Developments

The opposite all-new characteristic the R5 introduces is 5-axis in-body picture stabilization (IBIS). Alongside the EOS R6, this represents Canon’s first try at sensor-shift stabilization, a characteristic that was sorely lacking from the EOS R and RP. It really works with each stabilized and non-stabilized lenses, and might present as much as 8 stops of shake discount, based on Canon.

Now, that’s a tough declare to definitively take a look at since “stops” are a relative unit. In my testing, carried out with the stabilized RF 24-105mm f/4 lens, I used to be capable of shoot as gradual as 1/8 second with pixel-level sharpness about equal to what I achieved at 1/60 second. Nonetheless, at decreased decision, I felt comfy pushing that to a 1/2 second. Totally different lenses, in addition to your approach and steadiness, could yield completely different outcomes, however I’ve a tough time believing Canon’s declare of 8 stops.

The factor is, I don’t actually care. Simply having IBIS is the important thing right here. With the ability to handhold a 2-second publicity, as Canon demonstrated, isn’t what most photographers care about. Getting sharp outcomes at extra sensible shutter speeds is what issues, and that’s what the R5 delivers.

Video expertise

The obvious query concerning the Canon EOS R5’s video mode is just: Who’s it for? RAW 8K video — which consumes 2,600 megabits per second (that’s 325 megabytes per second) — is much past what the common buyer wants. However past the hype and the unending sport of one-upmanship, 8K is just the consequence of demanding each a 45MP sensor and RAW video.

Canon EOS R5 product photo
Daven Mathies/Digital Developments

The sensor was required to place the R5 in league with different high-resolution mirrorless cameras, however such a excessive pixel rely poses an issue for video. Usually, for 4K video, solely about 8MP is required with 12 megapixels feeling like a stable candy spot, and Sony, Nikon, and Panasonic all addressed this situation by making their lower-resolution cameras the extra video-focused fashions. However Canon clearly needed its flagship digicam to really be the flagship, for each stills and video.

Then there’s the difficulty of RAW. By definition, RAW is unprocessed — so the digicam both has to output each particular person pixel, or it has to do one thing like cropping or line-skipping, which deactivates pixels and drastically reduces area of view or element, respectively. Well, the R5’s sensor is 8,192 pixels vast, precisely the decision for DCI 8K (which is a barely wider-than-usual side ratio of 17:9). So with one-to-one pixel output, the R5 can totally make the most of its sensor space for RAW 8K video — however can’t do RAW at different resolutions in any respect. It additionally signifies that in Extremely HD (16:9) modes, there’s a very slight crop. (Only for reference, Blackmagic Design obtained round this limitation in its Ursa Mini Professional 12K cinema digicam by utilizing a novel sensor design purpose-built for RAW scaling, however different cameras don’t have this luxurious.)

We nonetheless haven’t answered the query of who wants this characteristic. I beforehand wrote that 8K cameras are all however pointless, and taking pictures the R5 hasn’t modified my thoughts. I don’t personal a 4K show, not to mention an 8K show. The power to crop and reframe is good, however I’ve by no means wanted the intense vary that 8K affords. Then there’s the matter of storing and modifying the gargantuan information.

So it’s protected to say that 8K, particularly in RAW, is one thing regular individuals are unlikely to make use of. Skilled filmmakers are the one ones who might want it, and Canon even suggests the R5’s use as a “B” digicam working alongside higher-end cinema cameras.

However the R5 just isn’t prepared for that form of manufacturing. I can echo the complaints of others across the net on the subject of overheating. You’ll be able to have all the nice high quality and options, however a digicam that even has an opportunity of shutting down on set is just unacceptable in knowledgeable setting.

Canon EOS R5 product photo
Daven Mathies/Digital Developments

I haven’t even examined the 8K modes but as I’m nonetheless ready on a CFexpress card, however overheating is already an issue in some 4K modes. Taking pictures at 60 fps (the very best framerate out there with an SD card), the digicam made it via to the delicate restrict of 29 minutes 59 seconds. Nonetheless, the warmth warning indicator started flashing earlier than the clip ended. It remained on for practically 10 minutes after recording stopped. Even as soon as it turned off, my subsequent clip was restricted to simply 4 minutes earlier than the digicam shut down resulting from overheating.

To its credit score, Canon has been open about this — a minimum of, for the reason that official announcement. The digicam itself additionally shows what number of minutes you may document on the present warmth stage, a quantity that slowly ticks up the longer you let the digicam quiet down.

Nonetheless, the excellent information is that the digicam doesn’t seem like warmth restricted at 4K/30 or 24 frames per second. Even when it prevented me from recording a brand new 4K/60 clip, switching to 30 fps instantly eliminated the warmth warning indicator and allowed me to document a full 29:59 clip.

For these of us who shoot each venture in 4K/24p, and solely want larger framerates briefly for slow-motion, the EOS R5 is superior. And, in any case, a few of its competitors — just like the Nikon Z 7 — can’t shoot 4K/60 in any respect, not to mention 4K/120 just like the R5 can, and none of its competitors can shoot 8K.

However that shouldn’t fully let Canon off the hook. After they introduced an 8K RAW digicam, all of us anticipated a digicam constructed for individuals who might use 8K RAW footage — specifically, skilled filmmakers. The EOS R5 falls wanting these expectations, however I take greater situation with how the digicam was initially marketed to generate these expectations than I do the digicam’s failure to stay as much as them.

Picture high quality

Canon made a higher-resolution sensor prior to now, the 50MP chip within the EOS 5DS sequence, however the EOS R5’s 45MP chip is a particular enchancment, particularly as you flip up the ISO. ISO vary is a formidable 100-51,200, expandable a cease additional to 102,400. Whereas these prime few stops are of questionable usability, noise efficiency is in any other case excellent for the category.

ISO 12,800 “banding” in a darkish scene Daven Mathies/Digital Developments

However there was one situation: Whereas photographing the evening sky, I observed seen banding artifacts at ISOs above 3,200, which grew to become a serious distraction by 12,800. I didn’t discover banding in some other scene, together with in my indoor ISO take a look at pictures. It appears to solely be seen in opposition to a darkish and uniform background.

As with the DPAF focusing error, I don’t understand how typically this may have an effect on footage in real-world use. The astrophotographers I do know typically favor wider apertures and slower shutter speeds to maxing out the ISO, but it surely’s one thing to concentrate on.

In any other case, the R5 delivered stunning outcomes. The RAW information are very versatile, and I even pushed an underexposed ISO 1600 shot by 3 stops and not using a noticeable enhance in noise. It’s onerous to say with out evaluating cameras side-by-side, however this can be Canon’s finest sensor up to now. I believe it was held again barely by the RF 24-105mm f/4 lens, which simply wasn’t fairly sharp sufficient to resolve all these pixels, however I’d like to see what it could possibly do with certainly one of Canon’s wonderful RF primes.

I’ve by no means been a Canon fan, however the EOS R5 has made me a believer.

Video high quality can also be excellent. Once more, I haven’t examined 8K or the oversampled 4K Excessive-High quality mode, however customary 10-bit 4K in Canon Log is beautiful and grades very effectively. I truthfully am unsure why I might ever want Excessive-High quality mode. At 470 megabits per second (about 60 megabytes per second), there’s loads of information within the all-intraframe (ALL-I) compression to ship nice shade and element.

Total, the EOS R5 is definitely Canon’s finest hybrid digicam from a picture high quality perspective, and at the moment, nothing else in the marketplace matches its mixture of high-resolution stills and high-quality video.

Our take

I’ve to confess, I’ve by no means been a Canon fan, however the EOS R5 has made me a believer. Canon took all the things it realized from the unique EOS R and carried out it within the R5. The extent of enchancment is astonishing, even when its highest-quality video modes are of restricted practicality.

The high-ISO banding, unusual AF conduct on horizontal strains, and overheating points could also be considerations to some, however these points received’t have an effect on most customers in most circumstances. The location and design of a few of the controls rubbed me the fallacious manner (actually), however I’m positive I might adapt over time, and I positively respect the usability of the three-dial setup.

The price of entry is excessive, however for many who can afford it, the EOS R5 gives an extremely rewarding photographic expertise, and firmly establishes Canon as a frontrunner in mirrorless cameras. It might have taken a few years to get the recipe proper, however Canon has served up a dish value ready for.

Is there a greater different?

Taking a look at different choices, they exist solely within the sense that there are a lot cheaper alternate options, just like the Nikon Z 7 at simply $2,850 on the time of writing. The R5 has higher autofocus, higher-quality video, a higher-resolution EVF, and twin reminiscence card slots — however for a distinction of over $1,000, anybody not already firmly seated in camp Canon could need to contemplate the Z 7.

The Sony A7R IV is the opposite apparent comparability. At $3,200 on the time of writing, it doesn’t provide the financial savings of the Z 7, however its autofocus is neck-and-neck with the R5’s and it has an equally high-res EVF, twin SD card slots, and considerably higher battery life at a score of 520 pictures. The R5 has the sting in video and steady taking pictures velocity, although.

How lengthy will it final?

This knowledgeable digicam constructed to carry as much as the calls for {of professional} photographers and will final for years. As a flagship mannequin, I wouldn’t anticipate a full alternative to the R5 for a minimum of 2 years, and its characteristic set is essentially the most future-proof of any digicam in the marketplace.

Must you purchase it?

Sure, in order for you the very best tech at the moment on show in images — and also you don’t thoughts paying for it. That is the digicam I at all times knew Canon might construct.

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