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

Wonderful, 45MP photographs

Spectacular 4K/8K video modes

Responsive subject-tracking AF

Good 5-axis picture stabilization

Wonderful construct high quality

Management structure may very well be improved

Can overheat in video mode

Threat of banding at excessive ISO

It isn’t usually that we see a brand new digital camera 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 digital camera that doesn’t simply compete, however leads. The spec sheet reads like a gourmand menu, a meal assured to sate the urge for food of anybody who can afford it — and at $three,899 for the physique, or $four,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 digital camera with a excessive worth to match, and whereas it’s straightforward to argue that it squarely targets solely skilled clients, I don’t consider that’s the total story. This can be a branding digital camera; it’s aspirational. It could not care in regards to the fanatic or novice when it comes to direct gross sales, however it nonetheless serves to reply the query that such clients usually ask: “Who makes one of the best mirrorless digital camera?” For the primary time, “Canon” is an appropriate reply.

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

However for the shoppers who’re truly 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 digital camera lengthy earlier than we had our palms on it. Now that it’s out within the wild, it’s possible you’ll wish to handle your expectations — if solely barely. Whereas it might not be precisely what we had been offered, that is nonetheless a superb digital camera.

A nonetheless digital camera first

Canon targeted 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 folks’s expectations of what the R5 can be, and I can’t assist however really feel this was the improper method to hype it.

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

If the R5 had initially been marketed as a nonetheless digital camera, I feel the various 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 slightly underwhelmed that the truth doesn’t match the promise.

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I’ll get to my very own expertise testing the video mode later, however for now, simply know that the R5 is a nonetheless digital camera first, and as such, it has related limitations to different hybrid cameras on the subject of video. You possibly can nonetheless use it for a lot of video functions, however begin considering of it as a substitute to your cinema digital camera and that’s the place issues are going to go unhealthy.

Design and dealing with

The R5 will really feel at house 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 count on them.

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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 may be additionally an autofocus joystick, and whereas that is often essential 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 works higher for single-point focusing, anyway.

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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 fast menu. Happily, you possibly can program both of those capabilities 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 reasonably good setup. Nonetheless, the R5 is a $three,900 digital camera physique, so for Canon to stint 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 digital camera at 1.62 kilos.

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

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 focused on testing the EOS R5, be aware that, in contrast to 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 transferring to the R5.

Images expertise

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

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What sells it, nonetheless, is the autofocus. The EOS R5 makes use of Twin Pixel Autofocus II, Canon’s newest on-chip phase-detection know-how that places 1,053 focus factors over all the body. It incorporates up to date face and eye-tracking for each folks 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 follow, I used to be blown away with how rapidly the R5 would discover the topic throughout the body in addition to how strongly it stayed glued to it. For photographing folks, this meant I may focus solely on framing with out worrying about deciding on 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 capturing birds in flight, the main focus field immediately jumped to the chook’s head — not simply the chook, however truly its head. When photographing a canine, the AF continued to trace its physique even when its head and shoulders ducked down beneath a log. A wild rabbit let me creep up inside a few ft whereas it was consuming, and the R5 had no hassle discovering its eye.

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If I’ve something to complain about, it’s that eye-detection doesn’t kick in till the topic is comparatively massive throughout the body. Nonetheless, as face-detection alone will naturally be ample for topics farther away, this in all probability isn’t a giant deal. Face-detection itself does appear to work at a higher distance than what I noticed within the Canon EOS RP, however there’s nonetheless some room for enchancment right here. Happily, when the digital camera overlooked a face and reverted to straightforward AF, it often nonetheless discovered the proper topic — however this can rely upon the complexity of the scene and if there are different objects nearer to the digital camera that would confuse it.

There may be one different situation with the AF. As I perceive it, DPAF focus factors aren’t cross-type, that means they’re delicate solely to strains in a single course. The R5 doesn’t look 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 irrespective of what number of occasions I pressed the shutter button, the R5 wouldn’t focus. As quickly as I rotated the digital camera into portrait orientation — that means the slats had been now vertically oriented from the digital camera’s perspective — it immediately snapped into focus. Different related topics — like closed window blinds — yielded the identical outcomes.

The shortage of cross-type AF factors is par for the course in on-chip phase-detection methods (with Olympus being one notable exception), however contrast-detection usually takes over in different cameras when phase-detection is just not attainable. Operating the identical check on my private Fujifilm X-T2, I discovered that it targeted, however solely after searching briefly — in portrait orientation, it targeted 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 know the way large of a problem this is likely to be in the actual world — I didn’t have any hassle outdoors of my workplace. My general 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 utterly was a topic with none vertical strains. I’ve reached out to Canon for remark and can replace this assessment after I hear again.

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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 eight stops of shake discount, in keeping with Canon.

Now, that’s a tough declare to definitively check since “stops” are a relative unit. In my testing, carried out with the stabilized RF 24-105mm f/four lens, I used to be capable of shoot as gradual as 1/eight second with pixel-level sharpness about equal to what I achieved at 1/60 second. Nonetheless, at lowered decision, I felt comfy pushing that to a half of second. Completely different lenses, in addition to your method and steadiness, might yield completely different outcomes, however I’ve a tough time believing Canon’s declare of eight 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 in regards to the Canon EOS R5’s video mode is solely: 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 endless sport of one-upmanship, 8K is solely the consequence of demanding each a 45MP sensor and RAW video.

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The sensor was required to place the R5 in league with different high-resolution mirrorless cameras, however such a excessive pixel depend 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 wished its flagship digital camera to really be the flagship, for each stills and video.

Then there’s the problem of RAW. By definition, RAW is unprocessed — so the digital camera 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 eight,192 pixels vast, precisely the decision for DCI 8K (which is a barely wider-than-usual facet ratio of 17:9). So with one-to-one pixel output, the R5 can absolutely make the most of its sensor space for RAW 8K video — however can’t do RAW at different resolutions in any respect. It additionally implies that in Extremely HD (16:9) modes, there’s a very slight crop. (Only for reference, Blackmagic Design acquired round this limitation in its Ursa Mini Professional 12Ok cinema digital camera through the use of 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 capturing 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 acute vary that 8K affords. Then there’s the matter of storing and enhancing the gargantuan information.

So it’s secure 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” digital camera working alongside higher-end cinema cameras.

However the R5 is just not prepared for that sort of manufacturing. I can echo the complaints of others across the internet on the subject of overheating. You possibly can have all the nice high quality and options, however a digital camera that even has an opportunity of shutting down on set is solely unacceptable in an expert surroundings.

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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. Capturing at 60 fps (the very best framerate obtainable with an SD card), the digital camera made it by way of to the tender 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 only four minutes earlier than the digital camera shut down as a consequence of overheating.

To its credit score, Canon has been open about this — at the least, for the reason that official announcement. The digital camera itself additionally shows what number of minutes you possibly can file on the present warmth degree, a quantity that slowly ticks up the longer you let the digital camera quiet down.

Nonetheless, the superb information is that the digital camera doesn’t look 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 file a full 29:59 clip.

For these of us who shoot each venture in 4K/24p, and solely want greater framerates briefly for slow-motion, the EOS R5 is superior. And, in spite of everything, 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 utterly let Canon off the hook. Once they introduced an 8K RAW digital camera, all of us anticipated a digital camera constructed for individuals who may use 8K RAW footage — specifically, skilled filmmakers. The EOS R5 falls in need of these expectations, however I take greater situation with how the digital camera was initially marketed to generate these expectations than I do the digital camera’s failure to reside as much as them.

Picture high quality

Canon made a higher-resolution sensor previously, 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 high few stops are of questionable usability, noise efficiency is in any other case superb for the category.

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

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

As with the DPAF focusing error, I don’t know the way usually this can have an effect on photos in real-world use. The astrophotographers I do know typically want wider apertures and slower shutter speeds to maxing out the ISO, however it’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 three stops with no noticeable enhance in noise. It’s arduous to say with out evaluating cameras side-by-side, however this can be Canon’s finest sensor to this point. I feel it was held again barely by the RF 24-105mm f/four 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 one in every 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 be superb. Once more, I haven’t examined 8K or the oversampled 4K Excessive-High quality mode, however customary 10-bit 4K in Canon Log is gorgeous 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 colour and element.

Canon EOS R5 log video body ungraded Daven Mathies/Digital Traits

Canon EOS R5 log video body graded Daven Mathies/Digital Traits

Canon EOS R5 log video body ungraded Daven Mathies/Digital Traits

Canon EOS R5 log video body graded Daven Mathies/Digital Traits

General, the EOS R5 is definitely Canon’s finest hybrid digital camera from a picture high quality perspective, and at present, 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 every little thing it realized from the unique EOS R and applied 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 gained’t have an effect on most customers in most circumstances. The position and design of a few of the controls rubbed me the improper manner (actually), however I’m certain I might adapt over time, and I positively recognize 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 could have taken a few years to get the recipe proper, however Canon has served up a dish value ready for.

Is there a greater various?

Taking a look at different choices, they exist solely within the sense that there are a lot inexpensive 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 might wish to take into account the Z 7.

The Sony A7R IV is the opposite apparent comparability. At $three,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 capturing velocity, although.

How lengthy will it final?

This an expert digital camera constructed to carry as much as the calls for photographers and will final for years. As a flagship mannequin, I wouldn’t count on a full substitute to the R5 for at the least 2 years, and its characteristic set is probably the most future-proof of any digital camera in the marketplace.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure, if you need one of the best tech at present on show in pictures — and also you don’t thoughts paying for it. That is the digital camera I all the time knew Canon may construct.

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