Canon EOS R5 Review

Canon EOS R5

This decision was a no-brainer: I preordered two Canon EOS R5 cameras the moment preorders were taken. With the EOS R5, Canon's extremely-feature-laden, high-performance 5-series has arrived in the R-series mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (MILC) lineup. Since the introduction of the 5D Mark III back in 2012, Canon EOS 5-series models have been my primary cameras. After significant experience shooting with the R5 and the RF lens lineup, the R5 is solidly my new favorite camera.

Was the EOS R5 the most anticipated Canon camera ever? Rudy Winston of Canon USA thinks so. "A fusion of design excellence, processing power, and performance we haven't seen before. Certainly not in a mirrorless camera."

Let's dive right in with a look at the impressive R5 features list:

Summary of Canon EOS R5 Features

  • New 45 Megapixel Full-Frame Canon CMOS Imaging Sensor with High-Speed Read-Out; Incredible Image Quality and Dynamic Range Promised
  • DIGIC X Image Processor
  • Stills: ISO 100-51200, Expandable down to 50, up to 102400
  • Movies: ISO 100-25600, Expandable to 51200
  • Hi Speed Continuous Shooting at up to 12 fps with Mechanical Shutter and 20 fps with Electronic (Silent) Shutter
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with 1,053 AF Areas Covering Approx. 100% of the Frame, 5,940 Manually Selectable Covering Approx. 90% x 100% of the Frame (f/22 Capable)
  • Subject Tracking People (Eye, Head, and Face) and Animals (Eye, Head, and Body for Cats, Dogs, and Birds) using Deep Learning Technology1
  • AF Working Range of EV -6.0 to 20
  • 8K RAW, 8K DCI/UHD to 30 fps, 4K DCI/UHD to 120 fps, 10-bit 4:2:2 with Canon Log or HDR PQ, Internal Recording in All Formats, with AF
  • In-Body Image Stabilizer (IBIS) Provides up to 8-Stops of Shake Correction
  • Dual Card Slots for CFexpress (Type B) and UHS-II SD Memory Cards
  • Built-in 0.5" 5.76 Million Dots OLED Electronic Viewfinder with 120 fps Refresh Rate2
  • 3" Vari-Angle LCD Touchscreen and Top LCD
  • 2.4/5Ghz Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Technology
  • 500,000 Actuation Shutter Durability Rating
  • Enhanced Operating Controls
  • Optional Canon BG-R10 Battery Grip, Canon WFT-R10A
  • Impressive Durability
  • RF Lens Mount, Compatible with EF/EF-S/TS-E/MP-E Lenses with Adapter

1Effectiveness varies depending on the subject. In some cases, dogs, cats or birds may not be detected, while some animals other than dogs, cats or birds may be detected.

2Display may be grainier.

The last bullet mentions the lens mount. While the lens mount for an interchangeable lens camera may seem a basic necessity, this one is worth mentioning. Our About Canon RF Lenses and the RF Mount page goes into an in-depth discussion, but the basics are that the RF lens mount retains the large 54mm inner diameter advantage of the EF mount (for reference, the Nikon Z mount has a similar 55mm diameter, the Nikon F-mount is only 44mm, and the Sony E mount is 46.1mm), keeping the rigidity, durability, strength, and ultra-wide aperture support the large-diameter mount provides while reducing the flange back distance (distance from the back of the lens' mount to the imaging sensor) from 44mm to 20mm.

The RF mount design supports optical designs that are potentially smaller than possible with the EF mount and often include large-diameter rear-positioned elements that can feature reduced angle of light rays in the image circle periphery and bending light to a lesser degree can lead to improved image quality including better-corrected aberrations. The larger rear-element design of RF lenses also lends to a comfortable shape and weight balance. Improved camera-lens communication also increases performance, including instant feedback for enhanced in-lens image stabilization.

The lens makes a huge difference in the overall performance of the camera, and Canon's RF lenses have proven very impressive, reason alone to buy into the Canon EOS R-series cameras.

Canon EOS R5 Body

Sensor and Image Quality

Canon's marketing hyped the coming R5 through a series of development announcements, including an additional R5 details reveal and another R5 details reveal. Not revealed was the specification that still photographers were craving — what was the image resolution of the EOS R5's new CMOS imaging sensor? At that time, a conjecture was that based on 8k DCI being 8,192 pixels wide with a 3:2 aspect ratio placing the vertical pixel dimension at 5,461 pixels, the R5's minimum possible resolution should be 44.7 megapixels. That number held solid, with the R5's new Canon Dual Pixel CMOS imaging sensor resolution spec rounding off at an even 45 megapixels, a very high number.

ModelFOVCFSensorPixel SizePixels/MegapixelsViewfinderDLA*
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.6µm5472 x 364820.1 .76x100%f/10.6
Canon EOS 5Ds / 5Ds R1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm4.14µm8688 x 579250.6 .71x100%f/6.7
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm5.36µm6720 x 448030.4 .71x100%f/8.6
Canon EOS 6D Mark II1.0x35.9 x 24.0mm5.75µm6240 x 416026.2 .71x98%f/9.3
Canon EOS 7D Mark II1.6x22.4 x 15.0mm4.1µm5472 x 364820.2 1.0x100%f/6.6
Canon EOS 90D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.20µm6960 x 464032.5 .95x100%f/5.2
Canon EOS 77D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.72µm6000 x 400024.2 .82x95%f/6.0
Canon EOS Rebel T8i / 850D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.72µm6000 x 400024.1 .82x95%f/6.0
Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.72µm6000 x 400024.1 .87x95%f/6.0
Canon EOS R51.0x36.0 x 24.0mm4.39µm8192 x 546445.0 .76x100%f/7.1
Canon EOS R61.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.56µm5472 x 364820.1 .76x100%f/10.6
Canon EOS R1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm5.36µm6720 x 448030.3 .71x100%f/8.6
Canon EOS RP1.0x35.9 x 24.0mm5.75µm6240 x 416026.2 .70x100%f/9.3
Canon EOS M51.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.72µm6000 x 400024.2 100%f/6.0
Canon EOS M6 Mark II1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.20µm6960 x 464032.5 opt100%f/5.2
Nikon Z 71.0x35.9 x 23.9mm4.35µm8256 x 550445.7.80x100%f/7.0
Nikon Z 61.0x35.9 x 23.9mm5.98µm6000 x 400024.5.80x100%f/9.6
Sony a7R IV1.0x35.7 x 23.8mm3.8µm9504 x 633661.0.78x100%f/6.1
Sony a7R III1.0x35.9 x 24.0mm4.5µm7952 x 530442.4.78x100%f/7.2
Sony a91.0x35.6 x 23.8mm5.9µm6000 x 400024.2 .78x100%f/9.6
Sony a7 III1.0x35.6 x 23.8mm5.9µm6000 x 400024.2.78x100%f/9.6
* Learn more about DLA (Diffraction Limited Aperture)
View the full Canon EOS R5 specifications to compare additional cameras.

There is a significant resolution disparity across Canon's EOS full-frame camera lineup. This difference was made especially apparent in the R5 and R6 announcement, with 45 MP and 20 MP cameras introduced side-by-side. Does everyone need 45-megapixels of resolution? No, but from an image quality perspective, I can't think of a negative reason for having too many pixels. All other aspects remaining equal, more is better, and it takes no more effort to press the shutter release on an ultra-high resolution camera than on a low-resolution camera.

That said, there are some negative aspects to ultra-high image resolution. More specifically, higher resolution magnifies things you don't want to see, including:

  1. Lens aberrations (high-quality lenses will make the best use of the resolution available, and the Canon RF lenses are R5-ready)
  2. Subject motion (an increased pixel density means that details will cross over individual pixels at a higher rate of speed, meaning that a slightly faster shutter speed will be required to avoid increased blur at the pixel level)
  3. Shortcomings in your technique including camera shake (you will need slightly faster shutter speeds for sharp handheld images — image stabilization and use of a tripod becoming more necessary)
  4. Focusing errors are magnified
  5. Environmental issues such as heat waves are magnified
  6. Diffraction

The details of diffraction do not need to be understood. Still, all photographers should be aware that, as the aperture opening decreases (higher f/number), images become less sharp at the pixel level beyond the approximate aperture we refer to as the Diffraction Limited Aperture ("DLA", included in the table above). As resolution increases, that point of visible degradation occurs at a wider aperture, slightly negating the higher resolution advantage. While you will want to use apertures narrower than the DLA at times, the decision to do so should happen with the understanding that pixel-level sharpness becomes a compromise. Those wishing to retain maximum sharpness in their ultra-high resolution, very deep DOF images may decide that tilt-shift lenses and focus stacking techniques are especially attractive.

I've mentioned "pixel-level" very frequently here. I want to emphasize that, when the final output size matches that from lower resolution imaging sensors, the entire list of magnification issues just presented are negated, and oversampling with downsizing to a lower resolution has benefits.

Large file sizes require large amounts of storage, cause increased file transfer/load times, and require increased computing cycles. Buying higher capacity memory cards and drives and getting a faster computer, if necessary, are good ways to mitigate the drawbacks of larger file sizes.

The advantages of the increased detail captured by a higher resolution imaging sensor abound and include the ability to output at a larger size or to crop while retaining high resolution. I often find myself using the entire image dimensions to frame the final composition I am seeking, attempting to have the most detail for viewing or printing large. While this strategy is usually a good one, sometimes that tight framing gets me in trouble, such as when I clip wingtips, need a bleed edge for printing, or need to format the image to a non-3:2 ratio such as for an 8x10 print. Having significant resolution available provides the freedom to frame subjects slightly looser, better accommodating such needs with high resolution not being sacrificed by moderate cropping. Birders especially will love that ultra-high pixel density imaging sensors effectively increase the "reach" of all lenses. With this much resolution, there is often the potential to crop a variety of final compositions from a single image.

I've become addicted to the 5Ds R image quality and have made that camera my standard model since it was released about five years prior. While Canon's EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R retain a higher pixel count than the R5, the R5 falls not far behind those models, and the R5's Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology alone gives it a substantial advantage over these two DSLR models.

Like all of the other Canon EOS cameras, the R5 imaging sensor has a 3:2 aspect ratio. Optionally (mandatory when using an EF-S lens on the adapter), a 1.6x crop can be set. Other aspect ratios available are 1:1, 4:3, and 16:9.

The R5 gets a Canon DIGIC X Processor. That sounds great, but translating the name and roman numeral into a real-world benefit is not so easy to conceptualize. One of the big features of the R5 is its overall fast speed, with the DIGIC X processor playing a key role, aiding dramatically in AF performance and also driving big image quality improvements. For example, Canon has stated that the imaging processor readout speed is significantly faster, reducing rolling shutter effects.

Let's take a look at this camera's resolution, starting with a comparison between the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS 5Ds R. While the 5Ds R shows details being rendered slightly larger, the R5 is showing a similar amount of resolution. I could argue that either camera is a winner in that competition, but that an argument can be made despite the very sharp 5Ds R image having 5 MP of resolution advantage shows how impressively the R5 is performing. Note that the R5 delivers this level of sharpness despite having a low pass filter and no cancellation specified. Also, note the lack of moiré in the R5 results.

The 5Ds (sans "R") does not have the 5Ds R's low pass filter cancellation technology and produces a less sharp result. The Canon EOS R5 vs. Canon EOS 5Ds shows the R5 delivering a sharper result.

The first R-series camera, the EOS R, has a lower resolution imaging sensor, and the Canon EOS R5 vs. Canon EOS R comparison especially highlights the resolution and sharpness advantage of the R5. Multiple times I asked Canon why the R's images were less sharp than images from other cameras processed using the same software and settings. Are the RAW images de-tuned slightly, providing more latitude for the photographer to dial in their desired result? Does the R have a stronger low pass filter? Or, is there some other cause? My question remains unanswered, but the implied suggestion was taken. The EOS R5 delivers very sharp results.

Here is the Canon EOS R5 vs. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV comparison. The R5 takes an easy win in that competition.

When photographing still images, the R5 has ISO 100-51200 available in 1/3-stop increments with expandability down to 50 and up to ISO 102400 (ISO 100-25600 in 1/3-stop increments, expandable to 51200 when recording movies) The marketing department is always quick to state a camera's ISO range, but reality is that the usable settings within that range are what really matter. I immediately dismiss the highest stops as having a too-low SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio), but we were told to expect incredible image quality and dynamic range from the R5.

The Kodak color block test chart is a rather boring subject that I photograph for hours during each camera test. Sensor technology improvements (including onboard circuitry) implemented by sensors seldom show up on a specification chart, but they do show up in pictures of a color block chart.

Canon EOS R5 ISO Noise Comparison

With the Canon EOS R5 noise test results from 192 different test images available, much can be discerned. The smoothly-colored Kodak color patches test chart subject combined with, unless otherwise specified, no noise reduction processing (key point) makes noise especially noticeable compared to detailed scenes that better-hide noise levels. As always, noise reduction processing can improve upon the noise level seen in these images, but noise reduction can be applied to images from every camera, reducing its differentiation. So, avoiding noise reduction in the comparison levels the playing field. The Canon RAW-captured noise test images were processed in Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP) with the Standard Picture Style and Sharpness = "1" (0-10 scale).

When using the comparison feature of the site's camera noise tool, let your eyes tell you the results. The even colors found in these test charts make noise very apparent relative to most real-life subjects as detail in a scene will far better hide the noise. If you can't readily pick out the difference in any color block comparison, it is unlikely that you will be able to recognize the difference in real-world results.

The base ISO setting (ISO 100 with the current EOS models) is always my preferred setting for very clean, low noise results. Not all situations accommodate ISO 100; noise increases as ISO settings go up, and the R5 delivers excellent image quality at very significantly higher settings.

As the ISO setting increases from 100 through 800, noise levels grow. But, they remain very low, as usual, showing the impressive capabilities of a modern, high-resolution full-frame imaging sensor. At ISO 1600 through ISO 3200, noise levels become noticeable though images still look very good at these settings. By ISO 6400, images begin to show noticeable impact from noise, and by ISO 12800, noise is strong. ISO 25600 through 51200 results look bad unless downsized significantly, and ISO 102400 results are terrible, seemingly good enough for only marketing purposes.

Comparing same-size imaging sensors, the lower the resolution, the larger the photosites. Larger pixel wells can collect photons at a higher rate than smaller ones (like a larger bucket in the rain), generating a higher SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) that results in lower noise levels. Therefore, do not expect pixel-level noise performance from an ultra-high-resolution imaging sensor to match that from a similar generation low-resolution imaging sensor.

That said, the final output size is what matters in the real world. To make the Canon EOS R5 vs. Canon EOS R6 comparison relevant, the R5 image (oversampled in this case) must be reduced to 20 MP. An R5 image can be very simply downsized to R6 image dimensions, and then the R5 noise levels appear at least as good the R6 noise levels. DPP was used for downsizing the R5 images in that example.

In this comparison, Photoshop's Image Size method (using the default auto setting) was used for resizing. In this case, the R5 results are sharper than the R6 results, with noise becoming very slightly more apparent from the sharpening. Noise levels do not appear to be a good differentiator between these cameras — high ISO noise levels are not a good reason to buy the R6 over the R5.

A large number of R5 noise test results captured using other settings are available. The additional results were either captured in JPG or RAW format and use Canon's default USM (Unsharp Mask) strength setting of "4" (too high) or lower settings. Examples of a range of NR (Noise Reduction) settings are added into the mix for hours of fun.

Regarding high ISO noise, you can have smooth, or you can have detailed. Pick one. While not as black and white as that scenario implies, the amount of noise reduction applied to an image requires consideration of the overall concept. The amount of noise reduction ideally applied to an image is not necessarily directly dependent on the ISO setting alone. You may find that some subjects take noise reduction better than others. As a generalization, I prefer a low amount of noise reduction at higher ISO settings — and noise reduction can significantly increase the tolerable noise level ISO setting.

All of Canon's EOS cameras provide a wide range of noise reduction, sharpness, and other image quality setting adjustments, enabling you to dial the results into perfection. That these settings can be adjusted in-camera is particularly important for those requiring compressed JPG format images right out of the camera (without using the camera's own RAW image conversion capabilities).

Multi-shot Noise Reduction (MSNR) is one of the additional in-camera options available in many of the latest EOS models including the R5. MSNR merges information from multiple (four) exposures taken in a full-frame rate burst into a reduced noise image. The concept makes a lot of sense. MSNR generally provides a remarkable one or two stops of noise reduction, but ... I still have not found a compelling use for this feature.

The downsides to Multi-Shot Noise Reduction include: MSNR is currently available only with JPG output (I would like to see this feature added to Canon's Digital Photo Pro software for RAW capture processing – perhaps as another HDR preset). Multi-Shot Noise Reduction is not so useful with moving subjects (or with a moving camera). Long exposure NR, Dust Delete Data, Multiple Exposure, and HDR Mode must be set to off to enable MSNR. The R5 reverts back to Standard NR in Auto/Basic zone modes, during video recording, in Bulb mode, and when the camera is powered off. Flash is not supported in MSNR mode. After the four shot burst is captured, the camera remains "busy" for a noticeable period (approximately 4 seconds) while processing the merged image. So, while this feature is a nice idea, its limitations make it less useful in real-world applications. I am far more likely to use a low ISO setting with a longer exposure when shooting stationary subjects from a tripod.

MSNR might be a good option when handholding the camera in very low light levels is the only option.

Provided in the noise tool are many "Exposed * EV" result sets. These images were intentionally over or underexposed at capture and adjusted to the standard brightness during post-processing. These results would be similar to getting the exposure wrong during capture, increasing brightness of shadow detail, or recovering highlight details.

In general, underexposing an image results in increased noise in the adjusted image, and shadow details may be lost. The risk of overexposing an image is that highlight detail can be lost.

The EOS R5 results show that underexposing by 3 stops results in very little (if any) noise penalty vs. using the correct 3-stop-higher ISO setting for the capture, even at high ISO settings.

Overexposing an image can have a positive effect on noise levels until highlights become clipped, and then overall image quality suffers significantly. In the +1 EV ISO 50 results, we see this extended setting's lower dynamic range (exposure latitude) being slightly exceeded in some channels. Most other ISO settings have few negative consequences at +1 EV. At +2 EV, highlights are beginning to be clipped at ISO 100. This performance compares well against the EOS R and especially well against the 5D Mark IV.

More is always better in terms of dynamic range, but Canon's imaging sensors have long provided sufficient headroom for most needs. It is interesting to compare the Canon EOS R5 to the Sony a7R III using the +3 EV-captured results. Sony imaging sensors are renowned for their dynamic range. In this comparison featuring similar processing, the Sony camera appears to be retaining more colors, but the Canon camera holds the light cyan color better than the Sony.

As mentioned, I've been using the Canon EOS 5Ds R as my primary camera since it first became available. While I still love the image quality this camera produces, the 5Ds R is beginning to feel aged. In particular, I wanted to know how the dynamic range of the new Canon EOS R5 compared to that of the 5Ds R. Some additional testing, over and under-exposure captures from the 5Ds R, makes that comparison now available in the site's camera noise comparison tool: In that 2-stop-overexposed comparison, the R5's dynamic range is clearly superior (keep in mind that the brightest color value is below RGB 255,255,255 in the base exposure). As expected, the +3 EV comparison more clearly shows the R5's improved performance. The R5 shows less noise in the -3 EV underexposure comparison, again showing the R5's improved performance.

Like the 1D X Mark III, the R5 supports HDR PQ HEIF 10-bit recording. Your first question is likely, "What is HDR PQ?" HDR PQ (Perceptual Quantization) is a new gamma curve based on the characteristics of human eyesight. It supports HDR recording at ITU-R BT.2100 standard (PQ).

Your next question is likely, "What is HEIF?" HEIF stands for "High Efficiency Image File Format," a standard created by the MPEG group. As with JPEG, HEIF is a file format used to store image data after the image development process is complete. While JPEG files use an 8-bit YCbCr 4:2:2 lossy compression scheme, HEIF uses a 10-bit YCbCr 4:2:2 HEVC compression algorithm (also lossy), complying with the ITU-R BT.2100 HDR standard. HEIF provides up to 4x more precision in image data gradation, and a wider color range than sRGB and Adobe RGB can store. HEIF files are containers, able to store multiple images (typically compressed with a codec such as HEVC (H.265)) along with image derivations (cropping, rotation), media streams (timed text, audio), depth information, image sequences (like a burst of images, supports animation), image data (EXIF), and more. Huge is that, thanks in part to computing power improvements, HEIF files are compressed to a significantly smaller size than JPEG files, about 50% smaller at similar quality levels. Along with all of the other benefits, Apple migrating to HEIF from JPEG means we can expect this standard to take hold in the industry.

Per Canon, "HEIF files are intended to be viewed on HDR-compliant displays and monitors."

The Activate HVEC codec option is available in the DPP help menu, and once selected, the Canon HEVC Activator is downloaded (serial number required). Once that app was installed, DPP understood the .HIF file format and the HDR PQ images look remarkably good (including those captured in RAW format). I was not planning to share the results of this testing, and the scene is of low photogenic quality with unstable lighting, but ... I thought the camera's performance warranted sharing with you. The following are downsized screen captures (at review time, Photoshop cannot open .HIF files). Look closely at the outdoor brightness while the indoor blacks retain detail (that detail is more obvious in the full-size images) as illustrated by the 1D X III.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III HDR PQ

HTP refers to the Highlight Tone Priority feature included in EOS models for a very long time.

An interesting and welcomed new EOS image quality feature arriving with the 1D X Mark III and again featured on the R5 is a clarity slider, adjusting the contrast level in mid-tone areas only. This feature is also now available in Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP).

Color balance is part of image quality. Canon EOS cameras always produce excellent color. I would be highly disappointed if that changed in the R5, and it did not. Getting the proper color balance is one of my personal-biggest post-processing challenges, and Canon's color science makes me look good in this regard.

No lens is perfect, and lens aberration correction can be helpful in that regard. I shoot in RAW format nearly 100% of the time and prefer to make such corrections during post-processing. For those that do not capture in RAW format, having lens corrections available in-camera is a very positive benefit. Lens corrections available in the EOS R5 during image capture are peripheral illumination, chromatic aberration, distortion, and diffraction along with a DLO (Digital Lens Optimizer) feature. Note that DLO enabled can slow down processing.

As first seen in the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and again in the EOS R, the EOS R5 includes Dual Pixel RAW technology. The Canon Dual Pixel RAW page covers this in more depth. With each half of a pixel capturing data, it still seems that this technology holds additional promise.

The Canon EOS camera image quality legacy is such that nothing short of excellent is what we expect. The Canon EOS R5 again delivers that excellence.

In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS)

For the first time in a Canon interchangeable lens camera, 5-axis IBIS arrives in the EOS R5 and R6. While other camera brands have long included this feature in some of their camera models, Canon makes an impact out of the gate with the up-to eight stops of shake correction this full-frame system provides. Canon noted was that the large image circle provided by RF mount aids in this image stabilization system's capabilities.

For a very long time, a high percentage of Canon lenses have included in-lens optical image stabilization, and Canon had indicated that the in-lens stabilization is superior in performance compared to in-camera correction. That is especially the case at the telephoto end of the focal length spectrum, but on the wide-angle end, in-camera stabilization can be quite effective. In-lens IS cannot account for camera rotation.

What is better than one or the other? Both.

The R5 and R6 in-body image stabilization features coordinated control from the camera and lens. Gyro (angular velocity) and acceleration sensors in the lens and gyro (angular velocity), acceleration, and imaging (movement vector) sensors in the camera communicate via the lens CPU and DIGIC X processor to perfect the optical correction applied. Especially in the normal focal length range, the coordinated control is very effective. This system creates phenomenal performance specs, with most RF lenses introduced to date included in the jaw-dropping 8-stop rating category.

Not all lenses reach the 8-stop rating threshold. Here are some examples:

  • RF 70-200 f/2.8 — 7.5 stops
  • RF 15-35 f/2.8, RF 50 f/1.2, and RF 35 f/1.8 — 7 stops
  • RF 24-240 — 6.5 stops
  • RF 100-500 — 6 stops

Think about the impact that 8-stops or even 6-stops of shake correction can have on your images. The difference can be significant, for both stills and video.

Another image stabilization benefit that should not be overlooked is the aid in AF precision. The camera's AF system can produce better focus precision if it sees a stabilized image.

In-lens and in-body image stabilization are both on or both off. The IS switch on a lens featuring image stabilization controls the IBIS function. When using non-IS lenses, camera settings permit IBIS to be always on, similar to Mode 1 found on all Canon image-stabilized lenses or only on for the shot, similar to Mode 3 found on some Canon lenses. Adapted EF and EF-S lenses are supported, and IBIS adds huge value to non-stabilized lenses in a kit.

Note that the IBIS adds a rattling sound (and slight feel) to the camera when powered off (don't worry about this) and a very slight hum when powered on. I recommend turning IS/IBIS off when tripod-mounting the R5 with most lenses, primarily due to the framing drifting that occurs. Mode III IS, when available, avoids this problem. Powering off the camera (or opening the memory card door) parks/resets the IS/IBIS, and the scene framing can change slightly when the camera is powered on.

On a rather shaky day, with the lower-assist-rated non-stabilized Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens mounted, the unsupported R5 (expect the lower resolution R6 to perform well at even longer exposure durations) rendered all 1/5-second images sharp, and most 1/4-second images were sharp. This performance is dramatically better than I could achieve without IBIS, roughly 5-stops better even on a good day. The low light capabilities of that combo are mind-blowing.

With the non-stabilized Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens (not RF, again tested on the R5) set to 50mm, the results were similar, collecting a few sharp images at 0.6 and 0.8-seconds.

The extreme capabilities of this IBIS system are game-changing, requiring a new mindset for the photographer. The value of adding image stabilization to your current non-stabilized lenses (including EF models) is huge.

Canon EOS R5 Memory Card Door Open

File Size and Media

The following table shows comparative RAW file sizes for a photo of a standard in-studio setup with a moderately-high amount of detail taken with the referenced camera.

Model / File Size in MB @ ISO:(MP)100200400800160032006400128002560051200102400204800
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III(20.1)24.725.225.426.026.927.828.930.331.933.735.936.3
Canon EOS 5Ds(50.6)64.765.766.969.272.576.681.688.1    
Canon EOS 5Ds R(50.6)65.266.467.669.873.077.281.988.4    
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV(30.4)38.839.139.640.441.643.545.548.051.455.159.8 
Canon EOS 6D Mark II(26.2)33.834.134.635.436.538.140.242.946.450.254.9 
Canon EOS 7D Mark II(20.2)25.525.926.727.728.930.632.735.137.941.0  
Canon EOS 90D(32.5)38.639.940.842.544.546.749.151.654.257.4  
Canon EOS 77D(24.0)30.631.232.133.334.937.039.642.447.051.1  
Canon EOS Rebel T8i(24.1)29.330.131.232.534.136.037.839.541.844.0  
Canon EOS Rebel SL3(24.1)29.630.531.632.934.436.238.240.042.745.3  
Canon EOS Rebel T7 (est)(24.0)30.631.232.133.334.937.039.642.447.051.1  
Canon EOS R5(45.0)51.653.153.655.657.760.163.066.470.575.179.5 
Canon EOS R5 CRAW(45.0)28.129.329.931.533.335.536.235.936.036.937.7 
Canon EOS R6(20.1)24.124.724.925.626.427.328.429.831.433.335.535.9
Canon EOS R6 CRAW(20.1)13.814.214.514.915.616.416.416.015.715.816.114.8
Canon EOS R(30.4)35.836.637.638.740.041.843.345.748.049.6*****
Canon EOS R CRAW(30.4)23.123.524.525.226.528.029.431.633.849.6*35.3***
Canon EOS RP(26.2)30.731.332.032.834.035.537.139.041.543.445.8 
Canon EOS M5(24.2)33.834.735.737.139.041.344.746.552.8   
Canon EOS M6 Mark II(32.5)38.639.940.842.544.546.749.151.654.257.4  
Nikon Z 7(45.7)59.159.761.162.764.667.570.674.478.683.187.2 
Nikon Z 6(24.5)32.132.232.633.334.135.136.437.939.542.344.447.2
Sony a7R IV(61.0)117.0117.0117.0117.0117.0117.0117.0117.082.082.082.0 
Sony a7R III(42.4)81.981.981.981.981.981.981.981.982.082.082.0 
Sony a7 III(24.2)47.147.147.147.147.147.147.147.147.147.247.247.2
Sony a9(24.2)47.247.247.147.147.147.147.147.147.247.247.247.3
RAW file sizes increase with 1. Resolution 2. Bit Depth (more is better/larger) 3. Detail (noise adds detail, so high ISO file sizes increase) 4. Lack of compression. Memory and disk are cheap – buy more.

For a Canon ISO 100 non-lossy-compressed RAW image, the file size can be estimated at 1.2MB per megapixel. This is a relatively compact size.

From a relative perspective, 45 MP images create large files, and capturing 45 MP images at up to 20 fps means a lot of data needs to write to memory cards fast. Even more daunting is moving 8K RAW video to a memory card.

As first seen in the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, the Canon EOS R5 solves the data transfer bottleneck by using small, durable, pin-less CFexpress memory cards (type B only, XQD not supported). This memory card format is positioned to succeed CFast 2.0 and XQD 2.0 as the leading format for high-speed data transfer (theoretically up to 2GB/sec). CFexpress 1.0 cards have a maximum transfer speed of 1.97 GB/s vs. 600 MB/s for CFast 2.0 (utilized in the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II).

At R5 introduction, most photographers do not have CFexpress cards (or readers) in their inventory, and CFexpress cards are not inexpensive at this time. Increased capabilities brought by new technology sometimes have collateral costs.

The Canon EOS R5's second memory card slot is compatible with SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, with support for the fast UHS-II standard included. I did not ask why the different formats were utilized, but I'll share some thoughts on this topic. First, SD memory cards are very small, relatively inexpensive, very popular, abundant in most kits, compatible with a large number of cameras and card readers, including my laptop's built-in reader, and welcomed to this camera by me. Write speed (at least when using a high-speed memory card) is not a problem for many uses. That said, to support the highest video-capture data transmission rate, and to provide an increased RAW buffer depth (HEIF and JPG SD card buffer depth remains unchanged and crazy-high already), the higher speed CFexpress format is required. In addition, only a subset of the fastest CExpress cards can support 8K RAW capture (see this Canon Canada support page).

With dual card slots available, files can be written to both cards simultaneously (for redundancy, including for separate file formats) or sequentially (for increased capacity). Those requiring use of both slots will need to manage their workflow using the different memory card formats.

Buy numerous high capacity cards. Rotate the cards, avoiding re-use until the image files they contain are adequately backed up, including off-site.

Introduced with the Canon EOS M50 was the .CR3 RAW format, and the EOS R5 gets this feature. This RAW file format enables new features, including CRAW, compressed RAW with lossy compression vs. the normally compressed RAW with non-lossy compression. Instead of the not-full-featured small and medium RAW formats Canon formerly offered, CRAW provides full RAW file processing support along with an approximately 40% file size reduction (46% in the above ISO 100 example) over Canon's already efficient RAW file format size. The math adds up quickly, significantly impacting both memory card and hard disk storage capacity requirements as well as data transfer times. With the M50 review, what started as a quick evaluation of this new feature became a sizable project. Check out the article: Should I Use Canon's CRAW Image File Format? for more information.

Frame Rate, Buffer Depth, Shutter

I'm excited and cringing at the same time. The Canon EOS R5 can capture up to 12 fps with the mechanical shutter. If 12 fps is still not fast enough, select the full electronic shutter to enable completely silent shooting at up to 20 fps with full autofocus and autoexposure functionality. Sometimes the difference between an average image and a great one is separated by milliseconds, and I'm excited that this camera delivers 45 MP images with the speed necessary to catch the perfect peak action moment. Daunting is selecting the best images from a shoot involving significant use of the 12 or 20 fps capability.

Today, maximum frame rate determination is complicated by many variables. The 12 and 20 fps numbers are achieved when using the High-speed Continuous "+" Shooting mode vs. no "+". I've been trained to expect significant downsides to any speed rating with a "+" at the end, but have been so impressed with this camera's performance that I haven't yet selected the reduced speed. The non-plus mode reaches up to 8 fps. Many other factors can affect the maximum continuous frame rate, including the lens model used (see page 452 and 896 in the owner's manual along with the updated Canon Malaysia list here). Note that RAW and C-RAW have 14-bit A/D conversion with mechanical and electronic 1st curtain shutter, 13-bit with H+ mode, and 12-bit A/D conversion with the full electronic shutter.

ModelFPSMax JPGMax RAWShutter LagVF Blackout
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III16/20>1000>100029-55msn/a
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV7.0Full1758ms86ms
Canon EOS 7D Mark II10.01303155ms100ms
Canon EOS 90D10.0/11.057/5824/2559ms96ms
Canon EOS R512/2035087/18050msn/a
Canon EOS R612/201,000+240 n/a
Canon EOS R2.2-810034/4750msn/a
Canon EOS RP4Full50/Full55msn/a
Canon EOS M57/92617 n/a
Canon EOS M6 Mark II14/30542353msn/a
Nikon Z 78/92518/23n/an/a
Nikon Z 69/12n/an/an/an/a
Sony a7R IV10.06868n/an/a
Sony a7 III10.040163  
Sony a920.0362241  
View the full Canon EOS R5 specifications to compare additional cameras.

The EOS R5 is rated to continuously capture up to 350 JPG images before pausing when using a CFexpress or UHS-II SD card (190 with a UHS-I SD card). RAW capture drops the numbers to 180 for CFexpress and 87 for UHS-II SD. Using the full electronic shutter high-speed continuous shooting mode (20 fps) drops those numbers significantly, down to 83 when using a CFexpress card. Overall, these continuous frame capture numbers are excellent.

Canon's cameras routinely deliver the rated frame rate, and tests often show the buffer capacity rating being exceeded. When photographing fast action while counting on the camera's frame rate to capture the perfect point in time, the buffer depth must be adequate to cover the period during which the potential best image could happen. Therefore, buffer capacity matters.

To obtain the best-available buffer capabilities, the EOS R5 was configured to manual mode (no AE time lag) using ISO 100, a 1/8000 shutter speed (no waiting for the shutter operation), a wide-open aperture (no time lost due to aperture blades closing), and manual focus (no focus lock delay). The lens cap remained on (insuring a black image with the smallest file size), the battery was near full charge, and freshly-formatted fast memory cards were used.

Which CFexpress memory card should I buy for my Canon EOS R5? The ProGrade Digital 325GB CFexpress 2.0 Cobalt Memory Card is one of the fastest cards available at review time, and has a great company behind it. This card and a ProGrade Digital 64GB 200 MB/s UHS-II V60 Memory Card were used for R5 testing.

Here are the test results:

TestImage CountSeconds
12 fps RAW > CFexpress40533.8
12 fps RAW + JPG39332.8
12 fps RAW > SD18215.0
12 fps RAW > UHS-I SD15112.6
12 fps CRAW > SD49341.1
12 fps RAW + RAW17514.6
20 fps RAW > CFexpress1467.3
20 fps CRAW > CFexpress27213.6
20 fps RAW > SD1105.5
20 fps CRAW > SD1959.8
20 fps RAW + RAW1045.2

The numbers in the table above are impressive, adequate for most professional purposes. Switch to CRAW, JPG, or HEIF image formats, and the numbers go far higher.

Even at 20 fps, the R5 can capture an impressive over 7 seconds of action when using the CFexpress card, and the 5.5 seconds of 20 fps capture with an SD card is still very good. The penalty for recording to two cards simultaneously is minor at 20 fps, but more significant when capturing at 12 fps. That said, the need to record at 12 fps for longer than the 9 seconds provided by the SD card is reaching a niche level. These buffer capacities should be considered best-possible for the referenced cards, and your in-the-field results will likely vary.

Remember that memory card speed matters, and a memory card upgrade can be a low cost method of improving camera performance.

The R5 clears the buffer very quickly, and memory cards format almost instantly, both important aspects for camera selection.

Beneficial for understanding the speed of a specific frame rate is a visual example. Drag your mouse over the labels under the following image for a visual look at the 1st curtain and electronic shutter high-speed continuous plus mode.

Canon EOS R5 12 and 20 fps Frame Rate Example

1st Curtain: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12
Electronic: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

For a sense of the speed being shown here, understand that the first set of images represents an about-1-second duration, and the second set shows about 0.6-seconds. Each pass had many times more sharp images in the set, but the string of 12 with the best framing was selected for aesthetic purposes.

With an approximately 50ms shutter lag (approximately 81ms using the mechanical shutter), the R5 is responsive, and also fast is the 1/8000 max shutter speed available. X-sync is 1/200 with the full mechanical shutter and 1/250 when using the first curtain electronic shutter (flash is not available in full electronic shutter mode). Available are Bulb (exposure time in hours:minutes:seconds) and interval timers (intervalometer, interval in hours:minutes:seconds and number of shots).

Historically, photography has had an audible aspect, more specifically, the mirror locking up and the shutter opening and closing create sound. Without a mirror assembly, the shutter (and perhaps the lens aperture) is the only remaining source of sound when photographing with mirrorless cameras.

With the full electronic shutter selected, this camera does not make any sound while capturing images. Complete silence is a hard sound to share on a website, so I'll trust that you can understand this camera's ability to be stealthy. The ability to shoot in complete silence is of great value, ideal for use during quiet events such as weddings, when skittish wildlife are the subjects, and any time movies are simultaneously being recorded with audio. Selecting the full electronic shutter has both advantages and disadvantages.

Let's start with the positives. At the top of the list is that the full electronic shutter enables the fast 20 fps drive mode. With no mechanical shutter being used, there are no moving parts, shutter failure is highly unlikely, there is no shutter vibration to be concerned with, and again, the camera can be operated in absolute silence, full stealth mode.

With no sound or other haptic feedback, knowing precisely when the image is being captured can be problematic, and adding a "beep" is counter to the goal of the silent shutter. Canon handles this issue nicely with a white frame appearing in the viewfinder the instant the image is being captured.

Long exposure noise reduction, multiple exposure, HDR mode, anti-flicker shooting, and flash (minimally) are not compatible with the EOS R's silent shutter.

Additional downsides of an electronic shutter are related to the current-technology line-by-line reading of the imaging sensor. Fast side-to-side subject or camera movement can result in an angular-shifted image with vertically straight lines becoming noticeably slanted (with the camera in horizontal orientation). Understand that the second curtain of a mechanical shutter chasing the first curtain can produce the same effect, but the difference between mechanical shutter (with electronic first curtain shutter) and electronic shutter performance in this regard has historically been quite big. Promised was that the fast read-out speed of the R5's imaging sensor would reduce this issue.

Canon EOS R5

In the ceiling fan in fast motion sample images above, results from the three available shutter options can be compared. While the electronic first curtain shutter method creates a result similar to the mechanical option, the electronic shutter creates an angular shift effect. That said, that amount of shift is rather mild (and the fan is not perfectly symmetrical).

Certain light pulsing can influence electronic shutter-captured results, creating very troublesome banding for cameras of all brands with this feature. I have heard said that defocused highlight bokeh circles can become clipped or truncated when using an electronic shutter, though I have not been able to produce this issue in testing.

The longest exposure possible in-camera when using the electronic shutter is 0.5 sec. I bumped into that restriction one night when photographing the comet — it took a few minutes for me to figure out what was wrong.

As just discussed, with the full electronic shutter enabled, this camera does not make any sound while capturing images. Complete silence is a hard sound to share on a website, so I'll trust that you can understand this camera's ability to be stealthy in that respect. With the camera in the default electronic first curtain shutter mode, shutter sound audio clips can be produced. With no mirror locking up, this camera is still a very quiet one, quieter and with a softer sound than the EOS R.

The following are links to the EOS R5 shutter sound MP3 files.

Canon EOS R5 One Shot Mode
Canon EOS R5 Burst Mode

Camera sounds are recorded using a Tascam DR-07mkII Portable Digital Audio Recorder with record levels set to 50% at -12db gain and positioned 1" behind the rear LCD.

Autofocus

"Astonishing Autofocus and Subject Detection" is what Canon promised in the R5. "The best AF ever put into a camera" is what I recall hearing them say.

Marketing hype, right? No. In the R5 and R6, that is what Canon delivered. This camera's AF system performs incredibly well.

"The EOS R5 [and R6] brings subject detection to a new level – Utilizing Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF Technology, the EOS R5 [and R6] will be capable of making Ultra-High-Speed Autofocus calculations to match its immensely powerful High-Speed Shooting capability of 20 fps. Subject detection adopted from the Live View AF tracking system in the EOS-1D X Mark III brings Face, Head and even Eye tracking when People detection is set, providing ease and accuracy when capturing stills or video. Detection of Animals will also be possible for the first time in a Canon camera, effectively tracking the whole body, face, or eye of cats, dogs, or birds [and likely other animals] for speed and precision." [Canon USA]

As I said in the EOS R review, image quality matters, and it is easy to show/see differences on a website in this regard, but the speed and precision of a camera's autofocus system is an incredibly important factor in maximizing image quality, but not as easily shown on the web. A misfocused image will likely be deleted immediately, and any focus lock lag can mean a moment missed. The EOS R5's Dual Pixel CMOS AF II AF system, with 1,053 AF Areas covering approx. 100% of the frame, an insane up to 5,940 individually selectable AF points covering approx. 90% x 100% of the frame, and f/22 max aperture lens combination autofocusing capability (with reduced AF area coverage), is one of its most impressive features.

Canon EOS R5 Peripheral AF

Notice where the rider's head is positioned within the frame, and notice where the auto-selected AF point is? If the eye is not in focus, the image will probably be deleted immediately. The eye AF feature of the EOS R5 works incredibly well, tenaciously keeping eyes stay in focus with no significant effort on the photographer's part, even when the subject rapidly changes position in the frame — and even through a fence.

Canon EOS R5 Eye AF Through Fence

This feature is incredible.

I put the R5's eye and face (and helmet) detection AF to one of the most challenging tests I encounter: a quarterhorse cantering/galloping toward the camera at frame-filling and closer distances with the shallowest depth of field available provided by the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens. This shoot was timed for the warm late day sunlight, but the forecast changed in the afternoon. Instead of having sweet light bathing the subject, late evening heavy cloud cover added to the AF challenge. Camera settings started at ISO 4000, 1/1600, f/4 and ended with ISO 6400, 1/1250 resulting in 1-stop underexposed images (essentially yielding ISO 12800). The near-latest-captured images are shown in the frame rate illustrations earlier in the review.

In addition to having a fast closing speed, the horse rapidly goes up and down — faster than I can adjust the camera to maintain an AF point on the rider's head. As the horse gets closer, its ears begin to bounce up into the selected AF point, causing AF confusion with the closer contrast usually causing the camera to adjust focus to the horse's head, considerably forward of the rider. Focusing on the horse is only fine if it, not the rider, is your subject. When using a DSLR, the top focus point (when shooting in vertical orientation) is not high enough in the frame to enable use of the entire field of view, with the top of the resulting images often requiring cropping for the subject to fill the frame.

With the R5 set to people eye priority and the 20 fps continuous high speed+ mode selected, the AF system accurately tracked the rider's head (when very far away) and eye (when closer) incredibly well as it rapidly bounced up and down, using nearly the entire frame — at distances as close as I could keep the head in the frame.

Canon EOS R5 Eye AF Horse Riding Close

I'm blown away at how easy it now is to maintain proper focus in this challenging situation. Especially reassuring is seeing the red AF square rapidly tracking the subject's eye while shooting. The images below are cropped and reduced examples from the 20 fps electronic shutter illustration above (ISO 12800-equivalent), representing under 0.6 seconds.

Canon EOS R5 Eye AF Tracking at 20 fps

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

When the rider turned back for another pass, the R5's head detection showed its prowess, accurately determining that a helmet was in the frame and tracking it.

Canon EOS R5 AF Focusing on Helmet

The primary challenge remains for me to direct the camera for proper subject framing (the EVF at 120 fps works great for this). Additionally challenging was selecting down the keepers from over 1,300 mostly in-focus frames captured in a short time period at 20 fps. Some mental retraining is required to delete perfectly good images.

Canon EOS R6 Soccer Sample Picture

Photographing a 4-day soccer camp with the R5 and R6 produced similar results. An extremely high percentage of the over 4,000 action images captured were properly focused. Also impressive was how well this camera could eye-track kids going fast on swings.

I was especially excited by the addition of animal tracking. Note that when animal subject detection is selected via a menu setting, the camera will select animal eyes over human eyes when possible, so ensure that your setting is correct. The R5 identifies and steadfastly holds focus on most animal's eyes. By using images on the computer, it is easy to see that certain animal eyes are more accurately detected in the 2-dimensional view. Birds, dogs, whitetail and mule deer, raccoons, red fox, cougar, grizzly bear, and mountain goat eyes seem to be detected with excellent accuracy — impressive performance. Elk, moose, and black bear eyes are often detected but sometimes confuse the camera's AI with the nostrils often selected in the case of the elk and ears in the case of the black bear. When the R5 did not pick up the eye, it usually focused on the animal's head, which is often a good choice also. If there is a catchlight in the eye, the R5 usually locates the eye.

In the field, I'm finding animal eye AF as game-changing as people eye AF. One of the biggest challenges of photographing wildlife is keeping the proper AF point selected, such as when a swimming duck instantly changes direction. Now, in many cases, the camera takes care of that challenge for you, and that feature alone is worth the price of this camera.

Canon EOS R5 Eye AF Little Green Heron

The above image is greatly reduced but notice the red AF indicator square precisely on the eye (look closely). Even the eyes of frogs covered in duckweed are readily detected (again, look for the red AF square).

Canon EOS R5 Eye AF Frog

Rabbits are not a problem for this system, and this camera even tracks the eye's of man-made animals including frog pool floats.

The eye-tracking feature is only available with all AF points active. I initially thought it would be helpful to be able to limit the area that the camera has to select the focused-on eye within. However, I have found only limited need for that feature and setting the AF menu tab 5 "Initial Servo AF pt for face detection" to "AF pt set for other AF modes" provides some of this funtionality.

When more than one eye is in the frame, the camera attempts to select the closest eye and provides an option to switch to the other eye(s). Press the joystick in the other eye's direction, and that eye will be tracked.

The R5's eye-tracking AF system is a game-changer. Even without modification to the default AF parameters, this AF system performs awesomely.

While the R5 and R6 AF systems are very similar, my subjective perception is that the R5 eye-tracks people very slightly better than the R6 does. This difference is difficult to quantify or measure, and it is not big.

The EOS R AF system's EV -6 to 18 working range was extremely impressive, and the R5's AF system slightly surpasses it with an EV -6 to 20 rating. How dark is -6 EV? Extremely dark. With the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens mounted on the EOS R5 and the central AF point selected and placed over a bit of contrast, this combo focuses in environments too dark for me to walk around obstacles in, even with the built-in AF assist light blocked. Also noteworthy is that this camera will focus on bright stars in a moderately-dark night sky, a hugely helpful capability when photographing the night sky. Located on the right side of the camera is a bright LED focus assist lamp that extends AF capabilities into total darkness. The focus assist lamp typically clears the hands holding the camera, a notable feature because another camera model I reviewed has a left-side AF assist lamp that shines directly into my hand in normal shooting position. A lens hood can partially block this light, and sometimes hood removal may be optimal, depending on the focus point selected and the amount of reflected assist light available for the selected point.

Supported AF methods are Face+Tracking AF, Spot AF, 1-point AF, Expand AF Area (Above, below, left and right/Around), Zone AF, and Large Zone AF (Vertical, Horizontal).

The R5 focuses very fast. Testing side-by-side with a Canon EOS 5Ds R, I can't differentiate the focus speed. If the AF system can keep up with a fast-moving horse at close distances, it is suitable for most pursuits.

For those choosing between Sony and Canon MILCs, note that the Canon does not defocus prior to focusing in One Shot AF mode. Especially because of this design difference, the Canon's One Shot AF lock time is dramatically faster than the current Sony models. Worth noting is that the R5's focus performance is good even with a very-strongly defocused starting point. Note that the Canon EOS R5 focuses (and determines exposure) with the aperture wide open, similar to the prior EOS models.

Most review-time-current sensor-based AF systems do not provide cross-sensitive AF point technology, and the R5 can struggle to focus on only perfectly-horizontally-oriented lines of contrast. I don't often encounter this issue with any of the R-series cameras.

With AF calculations being made directly on the imaging sensor (vs. on a separate sensor in a DSLR), AF calibration becomes a greatly-reduced issue, and EOS R5 AF accuracy is excellent, very reliably focusing precisely shot after shot. With imaging sensor-based AF, this camera can be expected to focus consistently accurately with third-party lenses.

Using the imaging sensor for AF also enables new features such as the precise eye and subject tracking just discussed.

Canon's AF Case settings are provided. AF tracking sensitivity, acceleration/deceleration tracking, One-Shot AF release priority, and AF point auto switching can be independently adjusted, enabling autofocus performance to be dialed in to your needs. Similar to the 1D X Mark III, Case 5 and 6 are omitted and AF Case A (Auto) is included, instructing the camera to analyze the scene and optimize the settings in real-time.

With the extreme number of frame such as needed focus points available, moving between individual focus points can become a challenge, with lots of button pressing or holding. Some EOS R complaints lamented the absence of a joystick, typically useful for easily moving the AF point. The joystick has arrived on the R5, and very positive is that it is a very responsive 8-way type controller.

A fantastic focus point selection feature introduced on the EOS M5 is the tap, touch and drag AF touchscreen interface.

Canon EOS R Touch and Drag AF

To select an AF point or AF area position, simply tap the touch screen, or when using the EVF, touch and drag the AF point/area as desired. This interface quickly surpassed my joystick-based AF point selection speed, and it is especially well-suited for rapidly changing sides of the frame, such as needed when an animal turns its head the other direction. With such a huge number of AF points to choose from, tap and touch and drag AF point selection allows very precise AF point/area positioning. I typically drag the AF point selection while composing an image, maintaining the point on my subject as I adjust framing.

With the eye detection technology performing so well, I'm not using manual AF point selection as frequently.

Canon EOS R Focus Peaking

The focus peaking manual focusing aid is available. The Dual Pixel Focus Guide illustrated below can also assist in obtaining ideal manual focus.

Canon EOS R Dual Pixel Focus Guide

With RF-mount lenses utilizing electronic focus only, a variable adjustment rate manual focus ring can be implemented. Turn the focus ring quickly, and focus distances change very fast. Turn the ring slowly, and very precise focusing becomes available. Implemented properly, the variable rate manual focusing can be nice to use, but most often I find the difference in rotation rates to be too similar, and the variable speed becomes a frustration, making rocking the ring into precise focus a challenge. With the EOS R5, a menu option permits the variable rate feature to be disabled, linking the focus ring sensitivity directly to the degree of rotation.

A very useful feature first provided in the Canon EOS RP was Focus Bracketing. Now found in the R5, this feature has a LOT more details to be understood, and the Canon Focus Bracketing page delves into this topic.

Movies

Ultra-impressive is the Canon EOS R5's video capture capabilities, including up-to 8K RAW. Why 8K? Why not was the answer. The technology was available, and therefore, Canon utilized it. Also attention-garnering is the 4K HQ mode utilizing oversampled 8K video.

8K/4K/Full HD: AVC/H.265 variable (average) bit rate
Audio: Linear PCM 4K/ Full HD: MPEG4 AVC/H.264 variable (average) bit rate
Audio: Linear PCM 8K RAW: 12bit CRM Audio: Linear PCM
8K DCI (17:9) 8192 x 4320 (29.97, 25, 24, 23.98 fps) RAW, intra or inter frame
8K UHD (16:9) 7680 x 4320 (29.97, 25, , 23.98 fps) intra or inter frame
4K DCI (17:9) 4096 x 2160 (119.9, 100, 59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, 24, 23.98 fps) intra or inter frame
4K UHD (16:9) 3840 x 2160 (119.9, 100, 59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, 23.98 fps) intra or inter frame
Full HD (16:9) 1920 x 1080 (59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, 23.98 fps) intra or inter frame
Full HD (16:9) 1920 x 1080 HDR (29.97, 25 fps) inter frame
Full HD (16:9) 1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25) light inter frame

Notable is the 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording. Canon Log, featuring low contrast and saturation optimal for grading, is available, and RAW recording permits far greater flexibility.

A very high resolution 35.4 MP JPEG still image frame grab can be taken from an 8K DCI movie. While the quality of this image will not be as high as a still frame captured at the same resolution, shooting 35.4 MP images at 30 fps is quite impressive and useful. The resolution drops slightly to 33.2 MP at 8K UHD. Illuminating the dramatic difference between 8K and 4K is the 8.8 MP JPEG still image size made from 4K DCI movies frame grab (8.3 from 4K UHD movies).

The extreme bandwidth of 8K RAW and 4K 120p video requires internal writing (only) to a fast CFexpress card. This level of processing power is unprecedented in a Canon camera. However, processing power being used equates to heat, and heat becomes an issue in a non-cooled compact camera body.

In the past, Canon has taken heat for limiting the higher bandwidth video capabilities of its cameras, and I've heard them specifically mention that heat was one reason for such omissions. With the R5 and R6, Canon held nothing back, delivering very impressive specs. Now, they are taking heat for the heat these capabilities generate.

Canon was forthright regarding heat affecting performance, issuing the following statement:

Details Regarding Canon EOS R5/EOS R6 Overheating During Video Recording

The EOS R5, one of the latest additions to Canon’s full-frame mirrorless camera line, offers class-leading autofocus with high-resolution and high frame rate video recording options using the maximum width of the full-frame sensor at high bit rates. Inevitably, this combination of features has the potential to generate significant heat, which will limit recording time.

Canon has taken several steps to manage the potential for overheating, including:

  • Magnesium alloy was used in the body to dissipate heat away from internal components
  • An “overheat control” function to reduce heat generation when the camera is in standby

In regard to the installation of a fan: The decision not to install a fan within the body was made in order to maintain the EOS R5’s compact size, lightweight construction and weather resistance.

Before recording starts, the EOS R5 and EOS R6 display an estimate of the recordable time based on the current camera temperature and the set recording mode.

Canon has published and included below the approximate recording and estimated recovery times for 23°C / 73°F environments and ensure that the camera will warn users when it is getting too hot. Additionally, tips to reduce overheating as well as recovering time are listed below.

Timing:

Canon EOS R5 and R6 Approximate Video Record Times

How can you reduce heat buildup in the EOS R5?

  • Set Overheat Control function to "ON" (default). When the overheat control function is enabled, the movie size and frame rate are automatically changed while the camera is in standby mode to suppress the rise of the internal temperature
  • Between recordings, it is recommended to turn off the camera
  • Position the camera out of direct sunlight
  • Use an external fan to dissipate heat

How long will it take for the camera to recover?

Estimated camera recovery times are indicated below. The time until full record time is available will vary with ambient temperature, continued camera operation and the selected shooting resolution.

Canon EOS R5 and R6 Approximate Heat Wait Times

At room temperature, the R5 can record at 8K for approximately 20 minutes before high-temperature shutdown occurs. A warning is first issued, and the camera takes measures such as reducing the EVF or LCD display quality to extend the record time. At 4K 60p, video can be recorded for 25 minutes until heat shutdown, and the usual firm 29:59 limit remains (press the button again to restart recording immediately).

Additional reports are indicating that Canon's numbers are proving at least close to accurate with ambient temperature yielding only minor differences, and my experience is similar. When the R5 heats up, it feels warm in the hand, but not close to painfully hot (like some laptop computers). Canon has likely been conservative in the thermal limiting implemented in this camera.

Carefully note the long cool-down durations. The camera is expected to be powered off during this period, and any camera use just prior to recording will generate heat that shortens the record times. Those considering the R5 for professional video use must be aware of the serious time limitations heat imposes on the highest-quality recording options. If shooting stills and video, record video first.

For considerably better recording duration performance (improvement varies, but reportedly up to 50% or even unlimited in some cases), use (solely, no memory card inserted) an external recorder (not supported by 8K or 4K 120p) such as the Atomos Ninja V via the HDMI port.

Made possible by the fast processor and imaging sensor, less rolling shutter effect was promised for the R5 movies, including at 8K, than previous EOS cameras. The 8K 30p, 4K 30p, and 4K 24p modes still show moderate amounts of rolling shutter, the 4K HQ shows little rolling shutter, and the 4K 60p and 120p modes show very low amounts of rolling shutter.

A very useful feature is that the R5 can simulatenously write movies to a memory card and to the HDMI port. The R5 can also record timelapse movies.

Assisting in manual focusing, along with the Dual Pixel Focusing Guides, are focus peaking indicators. Aperture increments of 1/8 stop can be enabled, adding precise brightness control, and zebras are available for easy exposure control.

The R5 has a full range of movie modes, including three custom modes. Keeping all of the R5's available settings organized and easy to adjust is a new, very logical, movie menu that also shows available record time. While this menu is a big step up from previous implementations, I'd like to see it prevent unavailable options from being selected, making the set button always available. Note that pressing the set button (or tapping OK) is required to implement changed settings.

Important warning from the owner's manual: "When importing movie files exceeding 4 GB to a computer, use either EOS Utility or a card reader. It may not be possible to save movie files exceeding 4 GB if you attempt this using standard features of the computer's operating system.

The R5's IBIS can potentially eliminate the need for a tripod or gimbal in some scenarios, as long as the camera is in steady hands. The IBIS results can be slightly twitchy if hands are shaking, but the difference made by IBIS is substantial.

The R5's full technical movie specifications are extensive, consuming 5 pages in Canon USA's specifications PDF. I'll share the full details below.

Canon EOS R5 Video Shooting Specifications 1

Canon EOS R5 Video Shooting Specifications 2

Canon EOS R5 Video Shooting Specifications 3

Canon EOS R5 Video Shooting Specifications 4

Canon EOS R5 Video Shooting Specifications 5

This camera produces very high-quality movies with a vast array of adjustments available to refine the results as desired. The 4K HQ mode is my favorite.

Exposure/Metering System

On paper, the EOS R5's metering system appears similar to the EOS R's high-performing metering system, featuring 384 zones (24x16).

The R5's metering range specification is EV -3 – 20 (at 73°F/23°C, ISO 100), far-surpassing any EOS camera before the R (EV 0-20). The R can evaluate exposures from the night sky in my medium-dark location (a significant advantage for timelapse photography).

EOS R5 metering modes include Evaluative metering (AF point-linked), Partial metering (approx. 5.8% of the area at the center of the screen), Spot metering (approx. 2.9% of the area at the center of the screen), and Center-weighted average metering. Exposure compensation is +/-3 stops in 1/3- or 1/2-stop increments. Auto exposure bracketing uses those same numbers with 2, 3, 5, or 7 shots available.

I am increasingly impressed by EOS cameras' metering capabilities, and this one is very reliable, as good as any I've used.

Related to metering is Canon's Anti-flicker mode, a feature that has migrated to the EOS R5. This mode is a game-changer when photographing under flickering lights, especially when photographing fast action.

Viewfinder and LCD

It is a mirrorless camera and therefore lacks a TTL (Through the Lens) optical viewfinder. Our Comparing Electronic Viewfinders to Optical Viewfinders page discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each design, but the EOS R5 has two very high-performing LCDs.

The EOS R5's large, built-in 0.5" OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) EVF features an incredible approximately 5.76 million dots. That dot count is up from 3.69 million in the EOS R, and the difference is impressive.

The large R5 EVF features a 100% view, and it is impressively bright with high contrast and great color. Video feed lag, with the 120 fps refresh rate, is a non-issue for most uses.

The EOS R5's EVF has a bright, 23mm-high eyepoint design, and the dioptric adjustment of -4 - +2 facilitates viewfinder use without glasses.

An EVF makes a configurably-vast amount of information available for display and also makes that information rotatable for when shooting vertically. A quality EVF makes viewing images easy, especially when zooming in for sharpness verification, especially in bright daylight, and especially for eyes that otherwise require corrective optics (if you don't need glasses now, you will need them at some point).

A common EVF issue is a short pause in the video feed when an image is captured. The R had a slight amount of that pause, just enough to make fast-moving side-to-side subject tracking a bit challenging, and I was anxious to test the R5 in this regard. This camera is fast in many ways, and I was not surprised that the EVF continues to show the action during high-speed frame rate captures, allowing a fast-moving subject to be kept in the frame. As mentioned earlier in the review, following cantering/galloping horses was not a problem.

A feature I heavily rely on is an electronic level, and all full-functioned current-design cameras have this feature. The R5's upgraded level is excellent, featuring a reduced viewfinder presence and ideal tuning. Great is that the EVF image review time can be set independently from the rear display review time.

I was a big fan of optical viewfinders, but I'm now converted.

I know that the rear LCD described next is articulating, but it would sometimes be nice to be able to rotate the EVF upward, similar to using an angle finder on a DSLR.

The EOS R5's other fully-featured LCD is the rear 3.15" (8.01cm) Clear View LCD II, approx. 2,100K dot Vari-angle Touchscreen LCD. The Vari-angle feature of this LCD permits rotation of nearly 180° horizontally and 270° vertically, making hard-to-get shots and unique perspectives (including selfies) easy to capture. This feature has especially great appeal for vlogging. The image quality of this LCD is excellent, and with anti-smudge coating applied, it easily wipes clean. Anti-reflection coating has not been applied.

Note that the brightness of the EVF and LCD can be separately adjusted. Canon's touchscreens make changing camera settings easy, including via the always excellent menu structure and the handy "Q" button (showing the Quick Control screen).

Tour of the Canon EOS R5

We are next going to take a tour of the R5 referencing the functionality from a default settings point of view, but keep in mind that this camera is extremely customizable via the Custom Controls menu option. To compare the Canon EOS R5 with many other camera models, use the site's camera product image comparison tool. Opening that link in a separate tab or window will be helpful for following along with the product tour.

When discussing the EOS R with Canon's engineers, I requested more controls for faster, easier use. This camera design fulfilled that request. Spend the time to learn the features available, and configure the camera for your needs, taking advantage of all relevant features.

Canon EOS R5 Back

Back of the Camera

The Canon EOS standard location for the menu button has been on the top-left of the camera's back, and when two buttons were available in this location, the info button was the one to the right. Not this time. The EOS R had a single button (Menu) on the top-left. A second button was added to this position on the R5, defaulting to the rate function. I'm always up for positive changes, but I'm not a fan of this standard-breaking one. I don't use the Rate button very often, so my R5 Rate button may get reprogrammed to a different function (maybe the menu function). As the microphone graphic suggests, voice memos may be recorded.

Moving to the right, we find a large, slightly reconfigured (non-removable) eyecup that extends nicely behind the LCD screen, along with the eye-detection sensor. I appreciate the nose relief this design affords. The diopter control moved to the right side, where it is easier to access.

Moving farther to the right, we find the EOS R's innovative Multi-function Bar replaced by a joystick. Sometimes innovation is not an improvement or welcomed, and probably most will find more "joy" in the joystick than they found in the Multi-function Bar.

The top-right three buttons, AF-ON, Exposure lock, and AF point selection, are once again featured, but they are now horizontally aligned, similar to Canon's other 5-series models, clearing space for the larger dual slot memory card door. The AF-ON button is easier to reach in this location. The Playback and Delete buttons take their location cues from the EOS M5/M6 and EOS R, and a dedicated Trash button conveniently lands next to the Playback button. These buttons are flush with the back of the camera, requiring an intentional press to activate. For the same reason, they are not easy to find without looking.

The EOS R's Set button was located in the center of a 4-way cross keys controller and also functioned as the "Q" Quick control button. That was not my favorite design, and the R5 gets a 5-series-like rear control dial surrounding the dedicated Set button, the latter made possible by the addition of a dedicated "Q" button just above. Another button addition is the magnify button. This button alone is an excellent improvement to the EOS R design. The Magnify, Info, and "Q" buttons are also flush with the back of the camera, requiring an intentional press to activate. They too are not easy enough to find without looking.

Canon EOS R5 Top

Top of the Camera

From a top perspective, the Canon EOS R5 is very similar to the EOS R. They are so close that I found a regional Canon website using the EOS R top view image for the R5. The viewfinder diopter control showing on the wrong side of the viewfinder was the revealing detail.

Moving from left to right, we next find the power dial as seen on the EOS R but improved with a small extended area creating a more switch-like control. The location of this dial does not facilitate powering on or off the camera without involving the second hand while holding it. However, the dial is not in the way during use, and it works fine, better with the new shape.

Continuing to move to the right, we find the viewfinder bulge with, as mentioned before, plenty of nose relief being provided on the back and a standard flash hot shoe on top. Also, the RF lens mount shows itself prominently on the front.

Next to the right is the top LCD panel. Having camera settings instantly viewable from the top is a nice feature for this type of camera (current Sony alpha cameras do not have this feature, current Nikon Z models do).

Toward the top of the right side are the shutter release and top dial, features very similar in function and orientation as Canon's other EOS DSLRs and MILCs. Between them is the M-Fn button. Pressing the M-Fn button enables the last-used function to be changed using the Main (top-front) dial. Pressing M-FN repeatedly steps through the settings enabled for this feature, with again, the Main dial being used to change the setting selected.

With the additional Quick Control dial on the R5 and R6, the top Quick Control dial adjusts the ISO setting by default, without a button press required, a nice improvement. When in Manual mode with auto ISO selected and the camera's metering active, over- and under-exposure is adjusted by the top Quick Control dial. This is very helpful except when you want to select a specific ISO setting instead of auto ISO or want to select auto ISO instead of a specific number. That requires waiting for the metering timer to expire, pressing M-Fn and setting ISO (if ISO is included in your M-Fn configuration), touching the ISO setting on the LCD, diving into the menus for the ISO settings option, or my favorite, pressing "Q" twice. The touchscreen interface makes ISO easy to change, and configuring the lens control ring for ISO functionality is another option.

The red Movie shooting button provides instant access to video recording. I prefer the top position of this button vs. the rear position design often used.

The button with the light bulb beside it looks familiar, right? In this implementation case, assuming the R5 shares the R's design, a short press of the button toggles the top LCD information display, and a longer press reverses the display from white on black to black on white, making it backlit and readable in the dark. The Lock button prevents settings changes as configured in the Tools menu Multi-function lock option.

Where is the Mode dial? Gone from the top of the EOS R was the previously-ever-present dedicated mode dial, and it did not come back with the R5. However, pressing the mode button, a step similar to pressing the lock button in the center of many EOS mode dial implementations, enables the quick control dial's secondary function, making it become the mode dial. Thus, the same dial performs multiple functions, and the mode functionality is effectively very similar to other EOS cameras. Not having hardwired modes on a dial frees the camera's interface to enable touch selection of modes.

The EOS R5, as usual, has a fully automatic point-and-shoot mode. Complete beginners can open the box, charge and install the battery, insert a memory card, and select the green A+ fully-automatic Scene Intelligent Auto mode to have a camera ready to go, taking care of everything for point and shoot simplicity. This mode is simple from the user perspective, but it is far from simple from a technological standpoint as it uses powerful artificial intelligence algorithms to deliver excellent results in a wide range of situations.

Canon EOS R FV Mode

Fv, Flexible-priority AE mode appears to have become standard on the R-series.

Canon's always available P, Av, Tv, M, and Bulb modes are included along with three very useful custom modes. Missing on the R5 are the beginner creative modes (such as Portrait, Group, Landscape, Sports, Kids, Panning, Close-up, Food, Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene, HDR Backlight Control, and Silent). Pressing the Info button while viewing still shooting modes switches the camera to a range of movie mode options.

The camera's mode remains displayed on the LCD even when the camera is powered off.

Canon EOS R5 Left Side

Side of the Camera

The right side of the camera provides memory card access, and the left side has the accessory ports. Provided are Hi-Speed USB (USB 3.1 Gen 2), HDMI micro OUT terminal Type D (smaller than EOS R mini), External Microphone In / Line In (3.5mm diameter stereo mini-jack), Headphone socket (3.5mm diameter stereo mini-jack), and PC Sync Terminal.

Canon EOS R5, R6, R Front Comparison

Note that the bottom of the R5 and R6, like the R, features small accessory alignment holes. EOS R accessories such as custom L-plates utilizing these holes are not compatible with the R5 and R6.

Front of the Camera

The front of the R5 is modestly more feature-rich than the EOS R. Added is a programmable function button set to depth of field preview by default. Also new on the front is the N3 remote release port (the remote release ports on the EOS R and R6 are E3 types). This location is especially convenient for those of us using L-plates.

Note the increased size of the top of the grip.

Size of the Camera

A hallmark of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras is small size, and this feature alone is a reason to opt for such a camera.

When looking for an opportunity to save space in camera design, the grip, typically dimensionally protruding more than any other physical feature, is the easy target. However, if one spends much time with a camera in hand, grip ergonomics are critically important, and a too-small grip becomes, quite literally, a pain. While I love the compact size of Sony's current alpha MILCs, I've complained regularly about the grip being too small, even on the much-improved a7R IV design. My knuckles to press into the sides of all except the slimmest Sony FE lenses.

While designing the EOS R, Canon engineers performed extensive hand size research. The first R's grip design was a good one, including adequate depth for fingertips, especially with the thin dimensions of the R body. The EOS R5 and R6 have an enhanced grip geometry, featuring a larger shelf above the fingers on the front and a thicker grip base, both making the newer models noticeably easier to hold onto. Going from a 90D, a 6-series body, or similar to an EOS R5 or R6 seems natural.

Note that your tripod may seem a bit shorter with an R-series camera on it.

ModelBody DimensionsCIPA Weight
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III6.2 x 6.6 x 3.3"(158 x 167.6 x 82.6mm)50.8oz (1440g)
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV5.9 x 4.6 x 3.0"(150.7 x 116.4 X 75.9mm)31.4 oz (890g)
Canon EOS 7D Mark II5.9 x 4.4 x 3.1"(148.6 x 112.4 x 78.2mm)32.1 oz (910g)
Canon EOS 6D Mark II5.7 x 4.4 x 2.9"(144.0 x 110.5 x 74.8mm)27.0 oz (765g)
Canon EOS 90D5.5 x 4.1 x 3.0"(140.7 x 104.8 x 76.8mm)24.7 oz (701g)
Canon EOS 77D5.2 x 3.9 x 3.0"(131.0 × 99.9 × 76.2mm)19.0 oz (540g)
Canon EOS Rebel T8i / 850D5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0(131.0 x 102.6 x 76.2mm)18.2 oz (515g)
Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D4.8 x 3.6 x 2.7(122.4 x 92.6 x 69.8mm)15.8 oz (449g)
Canon EOS Rebel T7 / 2000D5.1 x 4.0 x 3.1"(129.0 x 101.3 x 77.6mm)16.8 oz (475g)
Canon EOS R55.5 x 3.8 x 3.5"138.0 x 97.5 x 88.0mm26.0 oz (738g)
Canon EOS R65.5 x 3.8 x 3.5"138.0 x 97.5 x 88.4mm24.0 oz (680g)
Canon EOS R5.4 x 3.9 x 3.3"(135.8 x 98.3 x 84.4mm)23.4 oz (660g)
Canon EOS RP5.2 x 3.36 x 2.76"(132.5 x 85.3 x 70mm)17.3 oz (485g)
Canon EOS M54.6 x 3.5 x 2.4"(115.6 x 89.2 x 60.6mm)15.1 oz (427g)
Canon EOS M6 Mark II4.7 x 2.8 x 1.9"(119.6 x 70.0 x 49.2mm)14.4 oz (408g)
Nikon Z 75.3 x 4.0 x 2.7"(134.0 x 100.5 x 67.5mm)20.7 oz (585g)
Sony a7R IV5.2 x 3.9 x 3.2" (128.9 x 96.4 x 77.5mm)23.5 oz (665g)
View the full Canon EOS R5 specifications to compare additional cameras.

The EOS R5 and R6 remain essentially the same size and weight as the EOS R.

If dimensions are everything to you, the Sony MILC cameras or one of the EOS M series options might have a stronger appeal, However, if you are going to be using the camera in hand a lot, the EOS R5's grip is excellent (the Nikon Z 6/7 grip is also very good).

Make the camera smaller, and the weight is typically reduced. While MILC weight reduction usually does not seem to be as great as the size reduction, the weight of the R-series cameras is noticeably lower than full-frame DSLRs. If you are carrying a camera a lot, lighter camera weight can help keep your energy levels up, and creativity stays elevated with energy levels.

Consistent with Canon EOS designs are the rounded edges of this camera, making it very comfortable to handle and providing a modern, sleek appearance.

Canon EOS R5 Magnesium Alloy Frame

Ergonomics, Build Quality and Durability

All of Canon's EOS models are well-built, but the mid and upper-grade models are especially so. The EOS R5 has a magnesium alloy chassis, providing a rigid and protective yet lightweight structure for the camera. All dials and buttons have a quality feel with good haptic feedback.

Check out the R5's position in this chart:

ModelShutter Durability Rating
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III500,000
Canon EOS 5Ds / 5Ds R150,000
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV150,000
Canon EOS 6D Mark II100,000
Canon EOS 7D Mark II200,000
Canon EOS 90D120,000
Canon EOS R5500,000
Canon EOS R6300,000
Canon EOS R200,000
Canon EOS RP100,000
Nikon D850200,000
Nikon Z 7200,000
Nikon Z 6200,000
Sony a7R IV500,000
Sony a7R II500,000
View the full Canon EOS R5 specifications to compare additional cameras.

It doesn't get better than this: the R5's electronically controlled focal-plane shutter is rated to approximately 500,000 cycles.

Canon EOS R5 Weather Sealing

In regards to weather sealing, this is what Canon said about the EOS R5:

"The EOS R5 camera is designed for use in a variety of weather conditions. Sealing materials are used in critical areas like the buttons, terminal covers, the battery compartment and the card slot cover. Precise design and construction help to minimize accidental penetration of dust and moisture in the rest of the camera body. Combined with an RF lens, or any other weather-sealed EF/EF-S lens, the EOS R5 camera proves to be a reliable partner in virtually any climate." [Canon USA]

Canon EOS cameras have a wide range of weather sealing levels, and the above could describe a significant number of them. Discerning the individual model's level of sealing can be more challenging, and Canon indicated to us that the R5's weather sealing is comparable to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, which is designed for sustained exposure to mid-to-hard rain. That is the same reference made for the EOS R sealing and a very positive one.

I have used the EOS R in saltwater spray, including on a sailboat, in the rain, and in snowstorms with no ill effects. Still, I recommend using a rain cover (for all cameras) when dust and moisture are expected, but when unplanned wetness happens, weather sealing can be a save-the-day/trip feature.

Roger's teardown shows this camera being very well constructed.

With an MILC camera's shutter always open for the use of the EVF (and no mirror in the optical path), there is concern about direct sunlight causing damage to the imaging sensor. Canon helps to avoid this issue with the R-series cameras by closing the shutter (which also helps keep the sensor clean) and by stopping down the lens aperture very tightly when the camera is powered off. When powered off, the R5 stops down the aperture when using RF lenses.

Additional Features

Like many of Canon's recently released EOS models, the R5 has built-in Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5 GHz available) and Bluetooth (NFC and GPS are omitted). These technologies provide easy transfer of images (including FTP) and movies to compatible devices.

Smartphones and tablets connect using Canon's free Camera Connect app. In addition to transferring movies and still images, this app provides some remote camera control features and provides a live view display of the scene.

Utilizing this camera's Bluetooth capability is the Canon BR-E1 Bluetooth Remote. Want to be part of your family picture? Or just don't want to deal with a remote release cord when using a tripod? You may want this accessory.

The R5 is able to use a smartphone for GPS tagging. If connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth, the coordinates are recorded at the time the image is captured. A downside is that your phone battery drains rapidly. A better GPS solution is the compatible Canon GPS Receiver GP-E2.

Note that the EOS R5 does not have a built-in flash. However, with a standard hot shoe available and an external flash control menu, the EOS R5 is fully compatible with Canon's extensive range of flashes. Note that, at least initially, the R5 LCD turns off in a short duration when using some third-party flash triggers such as the Godox XPro-C 2.4GHz Transmitter (Flashpoint R2 Pro).

Canon LP-E6NH Battery Pack

Battery

New with the R5 and R6 is the high capacity Canon LP-E6NH Li-ion Battery Pack (2130mAh), 14% more powerful than the Canon LP-E6N (1865 mAh) utilized in a large number of previous EOS camera models. An increased capacity battery helps offset a downside of mirrorless cameras relative to DSLRs, the reduced number of shots available from the same battery capacity.

The LP-E6NH battery's form factor is very nice, featuring a significant amount of power in a compact size – several fit comfortably in my pocket. Especially great is that the entire series of batteries, including the original LP-E6 (1800 mAh), are forward and backward compatible, including their chargers.

That I have accumulated a large supply of these batteries is especially useful. I love the simplicity of being able to share the LP-E6-series batteries and chargers across my kit and also appreciate that I can take a single, small, direct-plug charger when traveling, even when I have multiple camera models along. That I am accumulating a large number of these chargers is also convenient for those times I need to quickly charge a large number of batteries.

The R5 supports in-camera LP-E6NH battery charging with the Canon USB Power Adapter PD-E1. The R5 can be AC-powered using the Canon AC Adapter AC-E6N plus Canon DC Coupler DR-E6. "The USB Power Adapter PD-E1 is not compatible with powering the camera." [Canon]

The CIPA battery life rating is approximately 490 shots (at 23°C) with the LCD approximately 320 shots (at 23°C) with the viewfinder. In real world shooting, the CIPA numbers are often far exceeded, and getting twice as many shots per charge is not surprising. When testing the high-speed frame rates and buffer depth, along with other testing, the R5 had 1,733 images captured with 85% battery life remaining. A morning photographing birds netted 2,337 images with 10% battery life remaining. Those shooting sports with this camera should especially see the CIPA rating far exceeded. While photographing comet Neowise, the R5 camera was on for about 2.5 hours, capturing 249 13-sec. exposures with 51% battery life remaining. Later, the same battery drained down to 18% showed a 652 image count, easily exceeding the rating despite this use. Overall, I'm comfortable with this camera's battery life.

Using the higher viewfinder refresh rate will noticeably decrease the shots per charge. The LP-E6N provides about 1:20 of 8K record time or 2:20 at 1080P.

Remaining battery capacity (6-levels and % remaining) and recharge performance (3-levels) are indicated.

The LP-E6NH is a welcomed EOS improvement.

Canon BG-R10 Battery Grip

Dedicated Accessories

Optional for the R5 is the Canon BG-R10 Battery Grip. The battery grip accepts up to two batteries, effectively doubling the battery life in terms of shots per charge. At least as important for many is the vertical grip, including controls, this accessory provides, a substantial ergonomic advantage that makes vertical shooting much more comfortable. The downside to using the battery grip is the additional size and weight. However, the grip is easily removed, and the best option can be chosen for the current situation.

Canon BG-R10 Battery Grip Back

I added a BG-R10 to my kit, and have been appreciating the vertical shooting orientation advantages it offers.

Also compatible with the R5 is the new Canon WFT-R10A Wireless File Transmitter, shown below.

Canon WFT-R10A Wireless File Transmitter

WFT-R10A features include:

  • High-performance Pro Workflow Support via Wired/Wireless LAN with Integrated Vertical Battery Grip.
  • Supports FTP, FTPS, and SFTP for Various Options of Encryption and Secure File Transfer.
  • EOS Utility and Network Setting Tool support.
  • Easy to use Interface to help Create Wireless Configurations of all Levels of Complexity.
  • Enhanced Linked Multi-Camera Shooting and Wireless Time Syncing.
  • Durable and Dust- and Water- Resistance.

Compared to the internal Wi-Fi feature, the WFT-R10A, like the 1D X Mark III's WFT, is a far more powerful wireless transmission device, able to reach over 450' (137m). With robust networking capabilities for instant image transfer, photographers covering events can move their images to their final destinations fast. Like the BG-R10, the WFT-R10A accepts two batteries.

Canon EOS R5 Bull Moose Sample Picture

Lenses and Accessories — Which Lens Should I Get for the Canon EOS R5?

The lens matters, and the growing Canon RF Lens lineup is very impressive.

The EOS R5 is optionally available in a kit with the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens. This lens is an excellent-performing model that is the ideal general-purpose/standard zoom lens for a large percentage of photographers.

My choice for an R5 standard zoom lens is the Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens. This lens yields some focal length range advantage to the 24-105. However, with the f/2.8 aperture, this lens permits 2x as much light to reach the imaging sensor, and it can create a stronger background blur.

Those often shooting in especially dark environments may find the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM Lens to be their perfect standard zoom lens option. This lens is an ideal wedding and event lens, but its size and weight may suggest a second, lighter lens to be included in the kit.

Again, the Canon RF Lens lineup is very impressive, featuring many options for varied needs. The bull moose image shared above was captured with the Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM Lens.

Via one of the Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS Rs, ranging from relatively low to rather high-priced, Canon EF, TS-E, and MP-E lenses become compatible and perform as-native (with potential added benefits depending on the adapter model selected). EF-S lenses are also supported via the adapter, easing the transition from APS-C to full-frame for some. The EOS R5 will automatically use its crop mode when EF-S lenses are in use for a quality experience. Canon's EF-M lenses are not compatible with the RF mount, even with the adapter, and because of their shorter flange back distance, it is unlikely that we will see a Canon option to support this combination. Note that when using some third-party manual focus lenses on the adapter (Rokinon/Samyang for example), the camera may not take a photo unless "Release shutter without lens" is enabled in the menu (one of the first reasons I've found to enable this menu option).

Next, minimally add a telephoto zoom lens and a wide-angle zoom lens to your kit.

Which CF Express memory card reader should I buy? With the EOS R5 having both a CFexpress card slot and an SD card slot, the ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type B & UHS-II SDXC Dual-Slot USB 3.2 Gen 2 Card Reader makes perfect sense.

Canon EOS R5 Front Angle

Price

Not surprising is that the EOS R5 enters the market as the highest-priced Canon mirrorless interchangeable lens camera ever. That said, with the impressive features it makes available, this camera is still an excellent value.

Canon EOS R5 Chillin Moose Sample Picture

Wrap Up

Keeping a review of the incredibly-feature-laden Canon EOS R5 concise but complete is a difficult balance to find, and this review is not a complete description of every feature available. Canon has published an intimidatingly-huge, but well-designed owner's manual (a link to the manual is provided at the beginning of this review) that highlights all of the features found on this camera, explaining their use. Read the manual, use the camera, repeat.

Owning a Canon product gives you access to Canon support, and the support provided by Canon's USA division is excellent (sorry, I have no experience with the other Canon divisions). When I call for support, I get an intelligent person who sincerely wants to help me with whatever my question or problem is (I challenge them sometimes). Canon repair service, though I seldom need it, is fast and reliable.

One of the Canon EOS R5 cameras used for this review was loaned from Canon USA, and the other two were online retail acquired, becoming part of my permanent kit.

Canon EOS R5 Bull Elk Sample Picture

Alternatives

Is the EOS R5 the right camera for you? The answer to this question is going to be yes for a considerable volume of people.

For someone considering the EOS R5 purchase, the other current EOS models that should be considered include the EOS R6 and EOS R. Our Should I Get the Canon EOS R5, EOS R6, or EOS R? An Extensive Comparison page dives into the detailed differences between these cameras.

Also, use the site's tools to create specific comparisons:

Canon EOS R5 Compared to the Canon EOS R6
Canon EOS R5 Compared to the Canon EOS R
Canon EOS R5 Compared to the Canon EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R
Canon EOS R5 Compared to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Not all differences show up in the specifications, but the visual comparison tool can fill in many of the missing differences:

Canon EOS R5 Visual Comparison with the Canon EOS R6
Canon EOS R5 Visual Comparison with the Canon EOS R
Canon EOS R5 Visual Comparison with the Canon EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R
Canon EOS R5 Visual Comparison with the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon EOS R5

Summary

Best camera ever.

It has been five years since Canon introduced a camera that I wanted in my kit more than the Canon EOS 5Ds R. With the incredibly feature-filled EOS R5, Canon appears to have held nothing back, and many thousands of frames later, I'm certain that this is the camera I've been waiting for.

The provided set of controls and user interface make the R5 very easy to use, with a grip design that makes long-term use comfortable. This camera delivers sharp, ultra-high resolution image quality with excellent dynamic range (exposure latitude) and high ISO noise performance. The autofocus performance of this camera, especially eye detection AF, is incredible. Much about this camera can be described as fast, including the up-to 12 fps and 20 fps continuous drive speeds. The R5's high-resolution EVF performs excellently, showing a clear view of the scene and allowing action to be tracked during burst capture. Combine all of these performance factors, and getting the perfect image is now easier than ever.

Those interested in movie recording will find the R5's feature set to be very impressive, including many of the benefits realized with still shooting. However, heat and especially the slow cool-down times will be found limiting for application of the R5's highest-end movie resolution and frame rates.

I'll have a hard time going back to using DSLRs or lesser-featured MILCs. In many Canon RF Lens reviews, I stated that the specific RF lens was reason alone to buy a Canon R-series camera. The Canon EOS R5 is an outstanding reason to start acquiring those awesome RF lenses.

Bringing you this site is my full-time job (typically 60-80 hours per week). Thus, I depend solely on the commissions received from you using the links on this site to make any purchase. I am grateful for your support! - Bryan

My Recommended Canon EOS R5 Retailers

Where you buy your gear matters. You expect to get what you ordered, and you want to pay a low price for it. The retailers I recommend below are the ones I trust for my purchases. Get your Canon EOS R5 now from:

B&H Photo
Adorama
Amazon.com
Canon USA (new)
Check used inventory at MPB
(Using the links on this site to make any purchase provides support for this site)
Rent the Canon EOS R5
Do you need/want the Canon EOS R5 for only a short period of time? Or, would you feel more comfortable buying after having a hands-on trial period? Consider renting. Renting is fast and easy. The rental companies I recommend below are excellent to work with. Schedule your rental now:
LensRentals.com
LensProToGo
(Using these links for your rental supports this site)
The Tip Jar
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