Canon EOS R5 Review
The Canon EOS R5 is the ultimate Mirrorless Digital Camera of the RF-platform which is based on a high-speed electronic lens-mount with Full-Frame coverage. This is a upper-range mirrorless system that supports larger sensors than Canon M which is limited to APS-C sensors having a 1.6X crop-factor. The RF-system launched with the Canon EOS R
Canon EOS R, followed by the entry-level RP
Canon EOS RP and then the R6
Canon EOS R6 and R5 were launched simultaneously. Although these two latest cameras look externally similar and feature common new technology, the flagship R5 is in a league of its own, surpassing on many levels all other cameras to date.
Canon created an entirely new sensor for the EOS R5 that is the culmination of years of technological progress. This 45 megapixels Dual-Pixel CMOS sensor has 90 million photosites that record light in pairs for each pixel with slightly different phases. These dual pixels allow the camera to measure focus at every pixel and provide an outstanding 1053-Point Phase-Detect AF system. The sensitivity of these photosites is so high that it allows the camera to focus down to -6 EV, something that can only be exceeded by the R6 which sports larger pixels of the same technology.
The Full-Frame sensor in this camera has sufficient resolution and speed to record 8K video. With a linear resolution of 8192x4320, video from the R5 captures 4X more details than Cinema 4K! Such high-resolution video is recorded at 30 FPS in 12 RAW or 10-bit MPEG-4. Cinema 4K video reaches a ground-breaking of 120 FPS. The video features of the Canon EOS R5 are unmatched by any photography camera.
Photographers all rejoiced at the development of an in-camera image-stabilization system for the first type on a Canon interchangeable lens camera. While catching up with other manufacturers would have made everyone happy, Canon delivered the most capable sensor-shift stabilization mechanism in the world. This state-of-the-art 5-axis system can compensate for up to 8-stops of shake compared to hand-holding! Canon uses their high-speed RF-mount to coordinate between measurements coming from gyroscopes inside the camera and lens to maximize performance. With standard unstabilized lenses, the efficiency of the system varies between 6 and 8-stops which is the difference between stellar and out-of-the-world performance!
As a flagship camera, the Canon R5 is built for professionals. Its features a 5.8 MP 0.5" EVF with large 0.76X magnification, 100% coverage and an Eye-Start Sensor plus rare Triple Control-Dials, an 8-way focusing joystick and a top status LCD in a weatherproof body that sports CF Express and SDXC UHS-II memory card slots. 8K and 4K at 120 FPS video require faster CF Express card.
Enjoy this Preview of the Canon EOS R5 ahead of its in-depth review once there it is fully tested.
Canon EOS R5 Features
- 45 Megapixels Full-Frame CMOS sensor
- Dual-Pixel AF II measures phase at every pixel
- Fixed Anti-Alias Filter
- Built-In Image Stabilization:
- 5-Axis Sensor-Shift
- 8-Stops Efficiency
- Dual body and lens system
- Ultra-Sonic Sensor-Cleaning
- Canon RF-mount
- ISO Sensitivity:
- Standard ISO 100-51200 range
- Expanded ISO 50-102400 range
- Auto ISO, Customizable
- 1/3 or 1 EV steps
- Hybrid Shutter:
- 1/8000 - 30s, 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps
- Bulb, 4 hours and 40 mins max
- 1/200s Mechanical Sync
- 1/250s Electronic Sync
- PASM Exposure modes
- Program-Shift in P mode
- EC: ±3, 1/3 or ½ EV increments
- Multi-Segment, Center-Weighed, Spot and Partial metering modes
- AEB: 3 Frames, ±3, 1/3 or ½ EV steps
- Flash-Compensation, ±3, 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps
- AutomaticAmbience or White Priority, 5 presetsDaylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten and Fluorescent., Kelvin and Custom WB
- White-balance Fine-Tuning, 19-steps, 2-Axis
- 6 Color Modes plus B&W
- Optional Highlight Tone Priority
- Optional High ISO Noise-Reduction, 3 levels
- Optional Multi-Frame Noise-Reduction, JPEG only
- Optional Long Exposure Noise-Reduction
- JPEG, 10-bit HEIF or RAW output
- RAW + JPEG and RAW + HEIF modes
- sRGB or Adobe RGB color space
- Focus Drive: Single-Shot (AF-S), Continuous (AF-C), Servo (AF-A) or Manual Focus
- Focus Selection: Point, Area, Expanded Area, Zone
- Subject Tracking: Neutral, People or Animals
- 1053-Point Phase-Detect AF system
- 100% Frame-Coverage
- Sensitive to -6 EV
- Focus Bracketing
- Frames: 2-99 Frames
- 10 step sizes
- Optional Exposure-Smoothing
- 20 FPS Electronic-Shutter Drive:
- Max 170 JPEG images
- Max 83 13-bit RAW files
- 12 FPS Mechanical-Shutter Drive:
- Max 350 JPEG images
- Max 280 10-bit HEIF images
- Max 180 14-bit RAW files
- Builtin HDR: 3 Frames, ±3 EV
- Interval Timer
- Unlimited frames or preset 1-99
- Interval 1s to 100h minus 1s
- Self-timer: 2s or 10s
- Optional EFCS
- 8K RAW Video:
- 8192x5464 @ 30 FPS
- 3:2 Aspect-Ratio
- 12-bit RAW, Internally & Externally
- Cinema 8K Video:
- 8192x4320 @ 30 FPS
- 17:9 Aspect-Ratio
- 10-bit MPEG-4 Max
- Cinema 4K Video:
- 4096x2160 @ 120 FPS
- 17:9 Cinema 4K
- 10-bit MPEG-4 Max
- 4K Ultra-HD Video:
- 3840x2160 @ 120 FPS
- 16:9 Aspect-Ratio
- 10-bit MPEG-4 Max
- Optional All-I Encoding
- PASM Exposure Modes
- Built-in Stereo Microphone
- Stereo Audio Input mini-jack
- Stereo Audio Output mini-jack
- 8K Time-Lapse Video
- Frames: 2-3600
- Interval: 2s to 100h minus 1s
- Single AE or each frame AE
Display & Viewfinder
- 0.5" EVF:
- 5.8 Megapixels
- 0.76X Magnification
- 100% Coverage
- Eye-start sensor
- Digital-level, 2-Axis
- 3.2" Rotating LCD:
- 2.1 Megapixels
- 3:2 Aspect-Ratio
- Not Anti-Reflective
- Adjustable Brightness, 7 levels
- Optional Live-Histogram
- Triple control-dials
- Clickable 8-Way joystick
- Customizable AE-L
- 7 Customizable Buttons
- Standard Hot-Shoe
- 4K Micro HDMI
- USB Type-C
- WiFi 802.11ac
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Weatherproof Construction
- CF Express Type B card-slot
- SDXC UHS-II card-slot-slot
- Proprietary Lithium-Ion battery
- External & Internal Charging
Capability - What can it do?
Canon designed the new R5 as a professional-grade flagship mirrorless for ultra-high-resolution photography. It mirrors, no pun intended, the Canon EOS 5DS
Canon EOS 5DS DSLR with many features of the newer but lower-resolution Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV plus a huge leap in technology. As such, the flagship Canon EOS R5 is equipped with every feature needed by professional photographers. It is completely suitable - when paired with the appropriate lens as discussed in sidebar - for any type of photography, including fast action due to its electronic-shutter that reaches 20 FPS at full-resolution with a deep buffer.
One finds a full complement of exposure modes with a choice of metering patterns, including Spot Metering, plus exposure bracketing. Image parameters are quite customizable and there are numerous white-balance options, including Kelvin and Custom WB, all fine-tunable in 19-steps along 2-axis. Naturally, the R5 can save JPEG images and RAW files. Additionally, it can output images in 10-bit HEIF format whose support was introduced in the Canon EOS 1D X Mark III
Canon EOS 1D X Mark III. HEIF images offer a wide exposure-latitude while benefiting from size-reduction due to its lossy-compression.
The autofocus system in the R5 is incredibly capable. The camera uses phase measurements are every pixel to create a class-leading 1053-Point Phase-Detect AF system that covers the entire frame. Its sensitivity of -6 EV makes it possible to focus in near darkness, a level that is invisible to the naked eye but can be seen amplified in the EVF, an experience that is simply impossible with any DSLR. This mirrorless offers plenty of autofocus selection modes and sophisticated subject tracking that can prioritize human or animal faces. Canon includes the ability to bracket up to 99 images for focus with 10 step sizes and the option to smooth differences in exposure. Focus Bracketing is extremely practical since it is impossible to reliably reproduce by hand.
With the more efficient image-stabilization system ever built, the R5 is going to be one of the most capable digital cameras for hand-held low-light photography. It is only expected to be exceeded by the Canon EOS R6
Canon EOS R6 that launched simultaneously with the same 5-axis built stabilization mechanism yet with larger pixels that give in a full-stop more sensitivity and push its AF sensitivity to -6.5 EV. This new mechanism is rated at 8-stops of efficiency which is possible with stabilized lenses and even some unstabilized ones. Depending on the lens, the quoted efficiency falls between 6 and 8-stops.
Although not a 1-series camera like the 1D X Mark III, the R5 is nearly as capable for fast action photography. In fact, both these cameras have the same top-speed of 20 FPS when using the electronic-shutter. The difference is that the 1D X Mark III tops at 16 FPS with its mechanical-shutter, compared to 12 FPS for the R5. Most impressively, the R5 reaches such speed with over twice the resolution! The buffer-depth of the R5 is not as deep but is still outstanding, up to 170 JPEG or 83 RAW at 20 FPS and up to 350 JPEG or 180 RAW at 12 FPS.
Second to the inclusion of a built-in image stabilization system, shared with the mid-range R6, is the unique capability among photographic cameras to record 8K video. It can do so at 30 FPS, even in 12-bit RAW internally or 10-bit MPEG-4, officially for up to 20 minutes at an ambient temperature around 23C. The R5 can also record 4K Ultra-HD video for 15 mins at 120 FPS and 35 mins at 60 FPS. Standard 4K at 30 FPS can be recorded without limit. Canon elected to passively cool the R5 to keep a compact-size and tight weather-sealing which limits recording times due to heat dissipation.
NOTE Once the camera overheats though, it only recovers for a short capture duration which is why there are significant reports of over-heating issues. For example, even after 10 mins of recovery following 8K video capture, it can only record up to 3 mins, so repeated testing results in frequent overheating. Exact times depends on the selected recording bit-rate, weather and air circulation around the camera.
This digital camera offers plenty of advanced features. Having 45 MP of resolution makes it possible to capture 8K Time-Lapse and the R5 can assemble the video in-camera without overheating because the throughput needed for time-lapse is much lower than standard video. Time-Lapse Video can comprise between 2 and 3600 frames with an interval from 2s to almost 100 hours. An option controls weather the camera meters once for the entire time-lapse or for each frame. There is also a similar Interval-Timer that offers an interval from 1s to almost 100 hours. Although one can preselect up to 99 frames, there is an unlimited mode.
Efficiency is a significant factor in making a camera for professionals. Photographers will be happy to hear that the EOS R5 is the most efficient camera Canon ever made. Its triple control-dials give direct access to every exposure parameter. An 8-way joystick directly controls focus selection. There is even a top status LCD that shows camera settings. Much of the Canon interface from their upper-range DSLR has been carried over yet with a number of improvements. The main unusual control is a Mode Button rather than a traditional dial.
Canon included one of the best viewfinders on the market, a 0.5" EVF with an ultra-sharp 5.8 megapixels of resolution, large 0.76X magnification, 100% coverage and an essential Eye-Start Sensor. This display shows the most accurate Live-View of recent times that previews exposure, white-balance and colors in all exposure modes. Motion is very fluid with virtually no lag thanks to its 120 FPS refresh rate.
This mirrorless camera is weatherproof against adverse weather. It features dual asymmetric memory-card slots, one SDXC UHS-II and one CFExpress Type B. The former allows existing memory cards to be used on the R5 to protect investment. Even SDXC UHS-II is slower then CFExpress which is why it is impossible to record 8K or 4K at 120 FPS video with one. At the limit, it can record 4K at 60 FPS with standard IPB encoding, while larger All-Intra files require CFExpress. Although CFExpress Type B cards share a physical form with XQD, the R5 does not support XQD memory cards. While the reason for using asymmetric memory-cards is valid, using them is less than ideal and requires more planning.
Performance - How well does it take pictures?
The imaging sensor on the Canon EOS R5 is a Full-Frame sensor with 90 million photosites behind a 3-layer filter-stack. One is a standard low-pass filter that softens details very slightly to reduces chances of moire artifacts. Moire artifacts most problematic in video where they become very apparent in the presence of movement. Another is the class Bayer Color-Filter Array that filters out red, green and blue light with twice as many green as red or blue. The last filter exclusive to Canon is a micro-lens array that splits light according to phase. This is the Dual-Pixel AF II design that lets the camera measure focus at every pixel.
At its base sensitivity of ISO 100, this sensor shows extremely low image-noise and very good dynamic-range. It is not quite as wide as other modern full-frame sensors but can certainly handle most scenes. Here is a 100% crop from an image captured at ISO 100.
One can see that flat areas are very smooth. The finest details show just a slight amount of softness due to the anti-alias filter. Even in the deep shadow area on the left, noise is almost imperceptible. Taking the same scene at ISO 200 shows very little difference. Image noise remains extremely low and is similar in shadow areas.
Increasing sensitivity to ISO 400 adds a hint of noise in bright areas. Deep shadows though get mild noise that start damaging the finest details. This is obviously more noise than most modern full-frame sensors but one in the Canon EOR R5 requires an astounding amount of circuitry which would be comparable to a 90 MP sensor.
There is very little difference between ISO 400 and 800 as shown just below. Noise increases slightly throughout the tonal-range which is just easier to see in dark areas. Details seen at 100% magnification diminish yet the 45 MP resolution of this sensor means that this is equivalent to closely inspecting a 36x24" poster. On common print sizes, the difference would be unnoticeable.
As sensitivity increased, the progression of noise is slow and steady until ISO 3200. Take a look at the next levels. Dynamic-range naturally shrinks at higher ISO settings and blacks start turning grey which causes a loss shadow details.
When crossing the ISO 6400 threshold, there is a noticeable jump in noise which remains mostly achromatic. Shadows become very grainy. Bright areas definitely show noise at 100% which limits usability for large prints. Medium prints up to a quarter-poster still come out look good, although a little flat due to reduced dynamic-range. This is roughly 2-stops behind state-of-the-art full-frame sensors.
As anyone would expect, ISO 12800 is worse. There is so much shadow noise that that blanks look grey and details get completely smeared. Lighter areas appear remarkably clear though, so with careful exposure and the addition of contrast by software, one can get reasonably usable images.
Color noise starts intruding at ISO 25600. This level is very grainy and details suffer even in the brightest parts of images. These can be usable when scaled down for the smallest print-sizes or publishing online.
The highest standard sensitivity of the Canon EOS R5 is ISO 51200. This is a typical limit of ultra-high-resolution cameras. Noise is definitely present throughout the image but is mostly luminance-noise. Even though there is a noticeable color-noise element, it is evenly distributed among colors which lets this mirrorless maintain color-balance despite such high levels of noise. Sufficiently scaled down though, it could be usable in case of emergency.
Image quality from the Canon R5 is solid. There are clearly choices made that cause it to fall behind state-of-the-art Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Cameras that are optimized for photography. The inclusion of a low-pass filter, which used to universal but now rare among flagship cameras, definitely takes its toll on the finest details. Noise increases detrimentally to dynamic-range because of all the circuitry required for Dual-Pixel AF II which allows smooth continuous focus-transition during video capture.
The high-resolution of the R5 makes it suitable for very large prints when ISO can be maintained low. This is where the best-in-class 5-axis builtin image-stabilization system of the Canon EOR R5 allows it to level the playing field for static scenes. Its maximum 8-stop performance is over 2-stops ahead of all other current Full-Frame cameras which makes the additional noise at high-sensitivity only relevant for moving subjects when shutter-speed is important.
The performance of this IBIS system is simply outstanding. Here is an image captured held-held at 1/60s with a 105mm lens which is roughly one-stop slower than the standard rule-of-thumb for sharp images.
Here is another 100% crop of the same scene but taken at 1/30s. This is two stops slower than generally possible while hand-holding. Notice that there is no drop in sharpness.
At 1/15s, sharpness is maintained. Although most recent cameras claim around 5-stops of efficiency, this is typically the level of performance practically achieved by most image-stabilization systems. The Canon EOS R5 has no trouble matching such performance.
Photographing the same scene, still using a 105mm focal-length, but at 1/8s shows an amazing result! The builtin stabilization system manages to keep the image perfectly sharp. In fact, due to how the test is performed the image looks much sharper. The reason is that the R5 completely compensated for camera shake but the lens was stopped down to force a slower shutter-speed. The side-effect a result of better optical performance from the lens when stopped down.
At an incredibly slow 1/4s hand-held, the output looks virtually identical to the 1/15s result. This means that the camera almost managed to fully compensate for camera shake but left a tiny amount of blur. Repeating this several times always showed similar output, putting the practical efficiency of the system at 5-stops. The theoretical maximum is 8-stops but 5-stops is beyond all other digital cameras with an APS-C or larger sensor.
At 6-stops slower than typically possible by hand-holding, the R5 leaves minimal blur which can only been noticed when seen at 100% magnification. For most common print sizes, one can count of 6-stops of camera-shake compensation from this mirrorless. Here is the same scene taking at 1/2s.
With a 1s exposure, there is a small amount of blur. This is going to be noticeable in large prints but has minimal impact on small ones. Over several attempts, this level of compensation is quite achievable, although not 100% of the time. One second exposures are nearly impossible hand-held even using a wide-angle lens, so seeing this at 105mm is simply incredible.
Here is the beauty of this ground-breaking mirrorless digital camera. The Canon EOS R5 brings unprecedented capabilities by its newly developed sensor. While the added circuitry required to implement Dual-Pixel AF II on a 45 megapixels sensor lowers absolute image-quality, the new builtin image-stabilization system wipes out this disadvantage for most practical applications while pulling ahead for low-light photography.
The new sensor is very sensitive to light and capable of focusing in near darkness. Autofocus is quick and decisive. By collecting phase data from every pixel, the Canon EOR R5 focuses in one motion which makes it usable while recording video. Video performance looks very good but there was insufficient time to evaluate it due to overheating issues. Although the camera can record for at least 15 minutes at any resolution and frame-rate when starting cold, once it overheats it takes a long time to become usable. When the overheating warning does off, the camera can only record for 2 to 4 mins before immediately shutting down.
Quick overheating truly limits usability of 8K video and 4K video at 60 FPS or faster. With standard 4K at 30 FPS, the R5 is capable of recording without limits at standard room temperature or lower. Canon states performance for 23C which is typical for a climate-controlled environment yet obviously not applicable everywhere. This makes the headline 8K an impressive achievement and nice-to-have for a crucial moment but not usable for video production.
Even though this new camera has not been fully reviewed yet, there are compelling reasons to get one immediately. The Canon EOS R5 truly raises the potential of the RF Full-Frame mirrorless platform. The major breakthrough is its best-in-class 5-axis builtin image-stabilization system which is practically effective to over 5-stops, with a potential of 8-stops under optimal conditions. It allows the R5 to achieve an unprecedented level of low-light performance for an ultra-high-resolution camera.
Canon made the R5 their most efficient camera to operate while maintaining a relatively compact form-factor in a weatherproof body. Its superb 5.8 MP 0.5" EVF with large 0.76X magnification, 100 % coverage and Eye-Start Sensor provides the most accurate preview among current digital cameras. Having triple control-dials and an 8-way joystick provides direct controls over all exposure parameters and focus selection.
Owners of Canon DSLRs looking towards mirrorless are going to want the R5 or the similar R6. Both cameras can use existing EF-mount lenses using an adapter that retains all lens functions while also adding image-stabilization. The main choice becomes between the higher 45 MP resolution of the R5 versus 20 MP on the more-affordable R6
Canon EOS R6 which is more sensitivity to light but lacks 8K video and uses a lower-resolution EVF.
Conclusion and rating to be published with the in-depth review of the Canon EOS R5.
Canon R5 Highlights
Sensor-Size: 36 x 24mm
Actual size when viewed at 100 DPI
|45 Megapixels Mirrorless||ISO 50-102400|
|Canon RF Mount|
|5-Axis Built-in Stabilization, 8-Stop Improvement||Full manual controls, including Manual Focus|
|0.50" Built-in EVF 5.8 Megapixels (0.76X)||Custom white-balance with 2 axis fine-tuning|
|Automatic Eye-Start sensor||Spot-Metering|
|2 Axis Digital Level||Hot-Shoe|
|Weatherproof||Stereo audio input|
|Built-in Dust Reduction||Lithium-Ion Battery|
|20 FPS Drive, 170 Images||CF Express|
|8192x4320 @ 30 FPS Video Recording||Secure Digital Extended Capacity|
|3.2" LCD 2.1 Megapixels|
Canon RF-Mount Lenses
Within two years of launching the Full-Frame RF-mount, Canon already offers 15 native lenses. The current RF lens lineup covers focal-lengths from 15 to 800mm with rectilinear lenses. This is nearly the same coverage as the entire lineup of Full-Frame EF-mount lenses for SLRs!
Focal-length is not everything though and there are far more EF lenses than RF ones. Canon demonstrated the potential of the RF-mount by releasing an ultra-bright F/1.2 lens and the only F/2 constant-aperture zoom lens with Full-Frame coverage. Subsequently, lenses with all maximum apertures from F/1.2 to F/11 were added.
Canon currently offers no less than 5 general purpose zoom lenses, with a mix of focal-range and maximum aperture for all preferences.
- The brightest Canon RF 28-70mm F/2L USM
Canon RF 28-70mm F/2L USM offers a slightly narrower field-of-view than others while allowing at least 1-stop more light through.
- There is a classic bright Canon RF 24-70mm F/2.8L IS USM
Canon RF 24-70mm F/2.8L IS USM workhorse lens which features builtin image-stabilization for older RF-mount cameras.
- Trading one stop of brightness for more reach is the Canon RF 24-105mm F/4L IS USM
Canon RF 24-105mm F/4L IS USM constant-aperture zoom, one of the best all-purpose lenses on the market.
- A highly compact Canon RF 24-105mm F/4-7.1 IS STM
Canon RF 24-105mm F/4-7.1 IS STM weighs about half the second lightest lens here. This lens provides the same focal-range and maximum aperture at wide-angle as the previous on but becomes extremely dim when zoomed in.
- One of the few ultra-zooms for Full-Frame mirrorless digital cameras is the Canon RF 24-240mm F/4-6.3 IS USM
Canon RF 24-240mm F/4-6.3 IS USM. It packs 10X optical zoom with a rather dim maximum aperture to manage its 750g weight.
Only a single ultra-wide zoom exists for the Canon RF-mount. The Canon RF 15-35mm F/2.8L IS USM
Canon RF 15-35mm F/2.8L IS USM is an outstanding lens for architecture and interior photography thanks to its 110° angle-of-view and bright F/2.8 maximum aperture. Third-party manufacturers offer a handful of ultra-wide prime lenses.
Two complementary telephoto zoom lenses made it into the RF-mount lineup. One is the Canon RF 70-200mm F/2.8L IS USM
Canon RF 70-200mm F/2.8L IS USM which is universally sought after for street and wedding photography, plus sports quite often. The other is an extremely long Canon RF 100-500mm F/4.5-7.1L IS USM
Canon RF 100-500mm F/4.5-7.1L IS USM zoom with dim variable-aperture. This telephoto lens provides a reasonable compromise between size and reach, particularly when paired with an R5 or R6 which augment its stabilization efficiency from 5 to 8 stops.
The rest of the lineup can be split into bright prime lenses with apertures of F/1.2 to F/2 and a pair of extreme telephoto lenses with fixed F/11 apertures. Bright primes all have focal-lengths between 35 and 85mm. These lenses can be used for low-light and portrait photography. Two even have semi-macro capability with a 0.5X magnification. The fixed-aperture lenses are suitable for very distant and still subjects.
Even though these native lenses offer an impressive amount of versatility, Canon knows that many needs are left out. To account for this, three different EF-to-RF mount adapters were released. These adapters allow full-functionality, including autofocus, metering and stabilization from EF lenses. They even add unique features such as an additional control-ring and slide-in rear polarizer. This takes one of the most comprehensive lens lineups in the industry and makes it more capable! With the R5 or R6 and one of these adapters, it is possible to shoot a polarized image at low shutter-speed hand-held with any excellent Tilt-Shift lens from canon. Imagine the possibilities!
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