Earlier this month, Canon launched the much anticipated Canon EOS R5, and judging by its first impression, it is worth the hype.
The Canon EOS R5 has an abundance of powerful features. Its 45 MP full-frame sensor can shoot full-width 8K videos and boasts of a Dual Pixel autofocus and stabilization system that supports eight stops of shake correction. Also, it can capture 10-bit HDR still images.
There is no doubt this model is one of the best cameras produced by Canon. It has the highest resolution, the fastest frame rate, and it’s mirrorless – with these features, one could argue that the EOS R5 is the best mirrorless camera in the world.
- 45 MP full-frame sensor.
- Dual Pixel autofocus system, with an AI-powered detection function that differentiates humans from animals.
- 8K video and you can choose either Raw or 10-bit.
- Bluetooth 4.2 and FTP connectivity.
- 2.4GHz and 5 GHz WI-Fi support.
- 3.2” touchscreen with 2.1 million dots.
- 20fps electronic shutter and 12fps mechanical shutter.
- USB-C and Micro HDMI.
1. Sensor and Processor
The Canon EOS R5 has a 45 MP full-frame sensor that comes with a Digic X processor. This combination enables the device to shoot with a burst speed of 12fps when using the mechanical shutter and an impressive 20fps when using the electric shutter.
Regarding storage, you can choose between the express card slot and the SD card slot. The express card can store up to 180 images, while the SD can hold 87 photos before the camera starts to slow. The approximated file size for each image ranges from 35MB to 42MB.
2. 8K Video Capture
Using the EOS R5, you can capture 8K videos in various compression formats – Raw, All-I, and IPB. The maximum frame rate is 30fps, though you can also shoot at 23.98fps and 24fps. Given that this unit lacks a cooling fan, Canon did an impressive job to pack in such features.
On the downside, the absence of a cooling system means that this camera has limitations when you shoot videos at the highest resolution. At room temperature, it can capture an 8K video for 20 minutes. After this, you will need to let it cool down before you resume the shooting session.
When you open the video menu, you will notice an ‘Overheat Control’ setting. If activated, it reduces the quality of the pre-record preview. Since low-quality videos are less demanding, heat builds up slowly, allowing you to shoot for longer.
None of its predecessors can match the autofocus system built into the Canon EOS R5. It is known as the Dual Pixel AF II, and a 100% phase-detection coverage across the 45 MP sensor. However, lenses can also play a vital role in improving this coverage.
Moreover, it uses machine learning to track the eye, head, and face movements in people and animals like birds, cats, and dogs. This feature is so powerful that it can track human eyes, even when the subject is wearing spectacles. Even better, it can recognize and track a human head when the subject’s face is entirely hidden.
The tracking feature allows you to choose who to prioritize between animals and people. Of the two, the people priority setting is more effective, as it tracks humans even when you want to focus on something else. While the EOS R5 can still track animals with the animal priority setting off, it is not 100% accurate.
Unlike previous models, the EOS R5 has its image stabilization system integrated into its body. Impressively, it supports up to eight stops of shake correction, the best in its range. Even if you use the larger lenses that tend to be unstable, you will get high-quality photos and videos.
Like other digital cameras, the in-body image stabilizer (IBIS) effectiveness depends on the lenses you use. Still, the IBIS in the EOS R5 stands out because it’s Digic X image processor uses gyro sensors and processors to maximize its capability.
5. 10-bit HDR Still Images and Videos
As HDR continues to become a must-have feature in modern TVs and monitors, the EOS R5 does not lag behind. This camera produces 10-bit HDR still photos that give a more realistic representation of the real world, with a broader tonal range.
The unique thing about this shooter’s HDR is that it uses a perceptual quantizer tone response matching HDR10 and Dolby Vision standards. It is worth noting that exposure doesn’t change if you activate the HDR capture function. However, engaging the Highlight Tone Priority mode makes sure that your picture covers the brightest tones.
Disappointingly, the displays on this model are not HDR-ready.
Build and Design
1. Overall Outlook
If you are familiar with Canon cameras, the EOS R5 should not feel or look any different. That said, it is still easy to handle people who have never owned a Canon.
There are several ways of turning on autofocus while using this camera. First, you can use the joystick. Another way to do it is by using the designated AF-on button. Lastly, you can use the touchscreen to move the finder to your desired focal point. Of these three, the joystick is the best option since it is the fastest and most natural to use.
At the top of the camera, you will find the mode button. When you press it, you get access to all shooting modes, both for still images and videos.
The Canon EOS R5 camera uses an all-new battery known as the LP-E6NH. Although it has a similar outlook to previous models, it has more capacity, improving the standard 14Wh to 16Wh. It comes with a charger and can also work with a USB-C laptop charger. Unfortunately, most smartphone chargers cannot juice up this battery.
Under normal usage, the battery should last through the day. You can make it last longer by reducing the frame rate. Conversely, shooting at high FPS makes the battery drain faster. If you prefer shooting high-quality photos, it will help to carry spares to avoid cutting your shooting sessions short.
3. Flexible Priority Mode
The Flexible Priority exposure mode first appeared in the EOS R, and Canon included it in the EOS R5. Although most of its functions are pre-set, it still allows you to set an aperture, shutter speed, and ISO values. You can also set the first two parameters and let the camera deal with the ISO.
When you press the delete button once, the current parameter gets reset to Auto. If you hold it down for a few seconds, everything returns to its default value. Although using this function might take time to get used to, it saves you the time that you would have otherwise used to switch exposure modes.
4. Viewfinder and LCD
The viewfinder on this camera is an OLED panel with 5.76 million dots. It is large enough such that you can reduce the size of the image to get a wider field of view, despite having a notably lower magnification of 0.76x and a 23mm eyepoint.
On the other hand, the LCD has a diagonal length of 3.2” and 2.1 million dots. While the quality of the image it renders is first-grade, you need to increase the brightness to see clearly in sunny conditions.
If you want to save energy, you can run the two displays at lower FPS. This feature is accessible on the camera’s menu. It also lets you increase the frame rate if you want to make your images and videos crispier.
5. Auto ISO
The Auto ISO function in the EOS R5 has all the hallmarks of a modern flagship camera. You can choose between high and low ISO limits. Also, it allows you to set the minimum shutter speed before it boosts the ISO value.
If you are shooting zoomed pictures or videos, you can enhance their quality by setting the ISO value at Auto. This configuration matches the ISO value to the focal length you are using to capture shots.
When shooting videos, you cannot set the shutter speed. However, you can specify lower and upper ISO limits.
Concerning storage, the EOS R5 offers two options – a CFExpress slot and a UHS-II SD card slot. The former is faster and the only option when capturing 8K videos. Nonetheless, you will not notice much difference in speed if you invest in a quick SD card.
7. Weather Sealing
Similar to other products in Canon’s 5-series, the EOS R5 has weather sealing. It has noticeable gaskets where dust and moisture can penetrate.
However, it is not as robust its peers, mostly because it is more expensive and has an articulating screen. It can withstand some shock, but it would be best to keep it beyond the children’s reach.
Menus and Customisation
Canon cameras tend to have simple menus, and the EOS R5 follows the trend. You can only access video settings when capturing videos and still settings while shooting still images.
The fastest way to navigate the menus is by using the dials. The rear dial allows you to move across tabs while the front one to open pages. Lastly, the toggle the options in those pages.
Alternatively, you can use your fingers to navigate to menus since they respond promptly to touch commands. If you have a frequently used function that is deeply hidden in the menus, you can add a shortcut in the customizable ‘My Menu’ tab.
Another exciting thing about this camera is that it allows you to add more options to customizable buttons compared to previous models.
The menu also includes options to control the behavior of the eye sensor underneath the viewfinder. For instance, you can set it to deactivate the eye sensor when you flip the screen outwards. This prevents you from shooting pictures accidentally.
Conversely, you can configure it to be always on. This is useful if you are checking the critical focus when shooting a video.
Lastly, you can set it in a way that only the rear LCD is active. This ensures that your view on the viewfinder is not obstructed.
Performance and First Impressions
The Canon EOS R5 has significant improvements over its predecessors in Canon’s mirrorless camera range, the EOS R and EOS RP. Notably, the R5 has way better image quality than the previous models, as well as several ambitious features.
In recent years, Canon has evolved the cameras in this series from products aimed at capturing full-frame images to all-rounders target all types of photo enthusiasts. Simply put, the EOS 5D-series were designed for high-quality photos, but not at the level of professionals.
Regardless of the scene, you want to capture, the Canon EOS R5 will not disappoint. Even better, it includes exceptional features like 10-bit HDR and 8K video recording. Additionally, these features and AI-powered face tracking mean that this camera will still be relevant for the best part of the foreseeable future.
Previous models like the EOS R had photographers complaining about several features, especially responsiveness. This is not the case with the EOS R5. It uses the latest firmware update and responds promptly to user commands. Moreover, the R5 has an ergonomic design, and its autofocus and stabilization system is a joy to behold.
Who Are the Target Users?
The EOS R5 is ideal for all types of photography. Its high price tag matches its performance. Specifically, it offers the perfect combination of image stabilization and autofocus, responsiveness, image quality. More importantly, it is easy to use and has many customizable options.
Looking at its features, the Canon EOS R5 is as good as its hype. Some might argue that it looks better than it did in the teasers. Most of them are what you would expect to find in a flagship model, which explains its high price tag. If you are a photo enthusiast, the 45 MP sensor should be more than enough. Similarly, if you love shooting videos, this unit’s 4K and 8K capabilities will amaze you.
Truth be told, the Canon EOS R5 is a game-changer.
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