In July 2020, Canon launched the Canon EOS R5 and EOS R6 together, making waves in the mirrorless digital interchangeable lens camera market. The new Canon mirrorless cameras trademark is “Born to Rule”, they are indeed making waves, leading the market and Canon photographers into the Canon full-frame mirrorless family. After I had the opportunity to review the Canon EOS R6, I continued on with the Canon EOS R5 review when the next opportunity came along. 

Let me share with you more on my Canon EOS R5 review journey, photographs that I shot with the review camera, my thoughts and views on this new Canon full-frame mirrorless camera that is born to rule.

Aesthetics 

When you hold the Canon EOS R5 camera body, you would find it very familiar. The Canon EOS R5 body is similar to the Canon EOS R, it has a top LCD panel, slightly bigger in width with dual card slots and bigger battery. It has a magnesium alloy body: Strong, sturdy, durable and solid feel, not too heavy and easy to carry around. 

Canon photographers rejoice! Our favourite joy stick is back! Although it’s easy to use the LCD screen for moving and controlling the auto-focus (AF) point, the joy stick gives us photographers another option when using the camera especially when we are looking through the viewfinder to photograph our subjects. Fast and accurate AF point movement on both LCD screen and viewfinder, making our photography easier and faster.

Dual card slots are back, another feature that photographers would like to have it (the earlier EOS R and EOS RP have single card slots) back on the EOS R series cameras. With two card slots, 1 for SD and 1 for CFexpress, you can record them separately, this would be most welcomed by working professionals. The CFexpress would provide the incredible speed needed for your high fps RAW shots and for your 8K videography production. 

Powered by the LP-E6NH battery (you can still use the LP-E6 and LP-E6N batteries), providing more juice for your photography and videography. Just like the Canon EOS R, there is also a cover protecting the sensor when the EOS R5 is switched off. 

Technology 

Photography 

One of the key features that I like about the Canon EOS R5 is the auto-focus (AF) capabilities. It’s powered by the latest DIGIC X processor and 45MP CMOS sensor. AF speed is fast and accurate, up to 20 FPS. Animal detection AF is excellent in most cases. The Dual Pixel CMOS AF II combined with the fast processing speed of the latest DIGIC X processor brought about big improvements in the EOS R5 AF capability.

The AF is responsive and fast when changing from viewfinder to LCD screen. Using the joystick allows easy movement of AF point/zone to the subject when looking through the viewfinder. The ISO is from 100 to 51,200, my personal tolerance level is around ISO 25,600 that I find it usable.

 

Eye tracking is fast and accurate, improved from Canon EOS R, making portraiture photography fast and ease of use to get the subject’s eyes sharp and accurate. The Animal detection AF is welcomed by wildlife photographers, fast AF speed, accuracy and ease of usage. 

AF – People / Animals / No priority 

AF – Eye tracking / Spot AF / 1-point / Expand AF area / Expand AF area : around / Zone AF / Large Zone AF : Vertical / Large Zone AF : Horizontal

The Large Zone AF: Vertical and Large Zone AF: Horizontal are two interesting AF selections that can be chosen by the photographer. These two selections would be helpful in animal/wildlife photography.

Servo AF 

Case 1 – Versatile multi purpose setting

Case 2 – Continue to track subjects, ignoring possible obstacles

Case 3 – Instantly focus on subjects suddenly entering AF points

Case 4 – For subjects that accelerate or decelerate quickly

Videography

In the modern world today, video has risen in prominence and significance with the rise of social media and internet usage. A modern digital camera is no longer just for photography, it now can produce excellent videos as well. 

On the Canon EOS R5, it’s easy to navigate and use the movie recording function. You can shoot in different modes, from 8K to FHD that would be sufficient for most leisure and serious amateur users. As for those into filmmaking, commercial videography, you have the options of shooting and showcasing in 8K format, or shoot in 8K and export to 4K format, or shoot in 4K. The video AF is fast, accurate and responsive, easy to use too.  

8K-D 25p / 24p (8192 x4320) 

8K-U 25p (7680×4320)

4K-D 50p / 4K-D 25p / 4K-D 24p (4096×2160)

4K-U 50p / 4K-U 25p (3840×2160)

FHD 50p (ALL-I / IPB) / FHD 25p (ALL-I /Standard IPB / Light IPB) (1920×1080)

Videography works with EOS R5

I didn’t get to spend more time doing videography works with the EOS R5 as I probably shoot more stills photography doing wildlife photography with the RF100-500mm lens. However, I did manage to shoot short video clips of 30s and 1min for my documentary coverage of Tanglin Halt and Clementi Forest, both areas that I have been documenting and photographing since 2011. 

I shot the videos in 8K format, while I have no qualms about the 8K video quality, it’s very demanding on computer hardware and resources. My videos are edited by fellow photographer Isaac Ong and I would upload them into YouTube and share here when the videos are ready. I would add on Isaac’s thoughts and views on the suggested computing hardware, technical specifications and resources required, should you be looking at doing 8K video production with the Canon EOS R5. 

5-axis In-Body Image Stabiliser 

There is the new 5-axis In-Body Image Stabiliser, coupled with Optical Image Stabiliser on the appropriate lens attached, this powerful function and features helps us photographers and videographers in our shoots that we sometimes don’t realise about the two features in action when using the Canon EOS R5.

From low light handheld photography to handheld videography work, the new 5-axis In-Body Image Stabiliser coupled with an appropriate Canon lens with Image Stabiliser are going to be a huge asset for the photographer and videographer using the Canon EOS R5.

Connectivity 

The Canon EOS R5 has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity functions, allowing you to connect with your other smart devices such as your smartphone or tablet. Whether it’s for remote control shooting or file transfer, you can be assured of the seamless connectivity.

EOS R5 with RF lenses 

During my review of the Canon EOS R5, I took the opportunity to request for the Canon RF100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens for review as well, pairing this telephoto zoom lens with the EOS R5. I had a great and fun time with this camera and lens combination, Canon EOS R5 with RF100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens. 

This particular combination is very popular with Canon photographers who are into wildlife and sports photography, high megapixels paired with a versatile, quite portable and great quality telephoto zoom lens. For images shot at 500mm, and if you still require cropping, there are enough megapixels from the EOS R5 for the photographer to retain the quality and sharpness of the subject. 

It’s a breeze and ease to use the native RF lenses on the Canon EOS R5, and with more RF lenses coming into the market, Canon photographers now have a greater ease of mind on the RF lenses available, showcasing Canon’s commitment to the full-frame mirrorless camera market. 

TGH Photography x Canon EOS R5 Explorer Series Production

I brought the Canon EOS R5 for a revisit to Tanglin Halt estate, a HDB estate that I had covered, documented and photographed some years back. Soon, the old flats would no longer be around, I am glad to have capture it down into my memories, documentation, and archives with the Canon EOS R5 and my other Canon DSLR cameras that I shot some years back. 

Another location that I brought the Canon EOS R5 to photograph was the Clementi Forest and Old Jurong Railway line. I have been documenting and photographing this segment since 2011, I went back again when I was reviewing the Canon EOS R6 and back again for another round with the Canon EOS R5. 

Thoughts and views

One of the key factors that would attracts photographers to the Canon EOS R5 is the 45MP sensor.  It’s not just higher  and better quality, the sharpness and details of the images that you can produce and if you need more room for cropping, the 45MP is a breeze in the park. 

8K videography is an interesting topic, while the consumer world is not fully onboard using 4K, the commercial level is already preparing for 8K production. While some might view 8K as on overzealous feature based on current 4K usage rates, the Canon EOS R5 in my humble personal opinion is forward thinking. The EOS R5 is inclined towards the pool of commercial photographers, production houses, filmmakers and videographers. With both high quality stills photography and 8K videography capabilities, you have the best of both worlds. 

Some other quick pointers and short summaries

  • Dual card slots: 1 for SD, 1 for CFexpress card. While the CFexpress would provide the incredible speed needed for your high fps RAW shots and for your 8K videography production, the costs to add those storage cards are going to increase your overall camera investment budget.
  • New 5-axis In-Body Image Stabiliser x Optical Image Stabiliser: powerful function and features helps us photographers in our shoots.
  • 45MP full-frame CMOS Sensor (new sensor) & Digic X processor, photographers would really appreciate the processing speed and output quality on your photos and videos.
  • For photographers into wildlife photography – the EOS R5 has a much improved AF and Animal Detection AF (popular with wildlife photographers, EOS R5 with prime lens or RF100-500mm)
  • The expanding EOS R family + RF lenses lineup is ushering in a new era of photography – Born to Rule

Although the Canon EOS R5 is an excellent camera that you may use for a longer period of time, you have to factor in the additional costs in the following areas to complement and support the Canon EOS R5, allowing it to unleash its full potential:

Additional hardware costs due to 

  • Getting a new desktop computer setup that can handle 8K videos editing
  • CFexpress storage cards are costly 
  • Extra storage space on desktop computer, laptop, portable hdd or cloud storage 

Overheating issue

The topic on overheating on the Canon EOS R5 had been discussed quite a fair bit on the internet and social media. During my review of the EOS R5, I did encounter overheating when I was doing stills photography, I had to switch off, waited for it to cool down before I was able to resume. I made an adjustment, switching on Eco mode and slowing down the pace of my photography. Thereafter, I didn’t encounter any more overheating. 

Although I didn’t get to do as much videography with the Canon EOS R5 as I would like, I managed to shoot a few videos in 8K, keeping the clips to 30s and 1minute. During that time, I  encounter some heat dissipated, that is normal in recording videos. However, I didn’t encounter any major overheating issue. 

While the EOS R5 overheating issue has invited a number of discussions and debates, I feel that it’s a great camera overall. The full-frame mirrorless camera is a modern hybrid equipment for the modern photographer and videographer that is most welcomed by many creative professionals. Based on my understanding and research, the firmware update for the EOS R5 has improved the overheating issue. 

Understanding that the modern digital mirrorless camera is a hybrid camera, it’s not like a dedicated filmmaking/cinematic series camera if that’s what you are looking for. Cameras such as the EOS R5 gives us modern photographers (like me) to diversify and add videography/filmmaking into our services delivery. Knowing the engineering constraints of a hybrid camera, managing and adjusting how we shoot videos, might just be the small tips to manage the overheating issue (with the firmware updates applied as well).

Best of Both Worlds

In my personal humble opinion, The Canon EOS R5 at this current juncture in time, represents the best of both worlds together – Photography and Videography. From Reimagine Optical Excellence (EOS R), to Reimagine Your Potential (EOS RP) and now Born to Rule (EOS R5) and (EOS R6).

Although the upcoming Canon EOS R3 is going to open up more opportunities and diversity in Canon full-frame mirrorless line-up, the Canon EOS R5 might just suit your needs and requirements for your respective photography genres. 

A very powerful and fast mirrorless camera highly suitable and recommended for professionals, ideal for serious amateurs too. In a way, it’s similar to EOS 5D Mark IV, the Canon EOS R5 camera would be an easy transition for existing Canon photographers, the handling of the camera body and menu interface, it’s easy to use and get the hang of it. 

The Canon EOS R5 is recommended for

  • Professional photographers moving over from DSLR setup to mirrorless setup upgrading from entry level DSLRs or entry level mirrorless cameras (choice of EOS R5, EOS R6 and EOS R to choose from and the upcoming EOS R3 as well)
  • Professional photographers who need the higher megapixels and image quality 
  • Portraiture, products, landscape
  • Production houses 
  • Filmmakers / Videographers  

Would this EOS R5 be my next camera upgrade/change? 

I am currently using Canon EOS-1DX Mark II and Canon EOS RP, there is a possibility that I might add either the EOS R5 or maybe the EOS R6 to my setup (or even maybe the upcoming EOS R3?). 

With the recent announcement on the development of the Canon EOS R3, how would this influence/change my plans for camera changes/upgrades? To be honest, I don’t have an answer yet (even though I secretly lust for the Canon EOS R3). The world of possibilities are out there for Canon photographers with choices to choose from EOS R5, EOS R6, EOS R, EOS RP and upcoming EOS R3.

However, I would still share my thoughts and views on the differences between Canon EOS R5 and R6 in my upcoming comparison article, for photographers who feel that the either the Canon EOS R5 or EOS R6 would suit their needs and usage. You can view more photographs shot with Canon EOS R5 here inside this Flickr photo album.

To all Canon photographers and those are thinking of coming on board the Canon EOS R full-frame mirrorless cameras and RF lenses family, you can now have even more confidence to embrace, adopt and enter into this new family, welcome onboard! (You can even keep your EF lenses too!).

*I would like to thank Canon Singapore for the opportunity to review the Canon EOS R5 full-frame mirrorless camera.* 

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