Canon EOS R5 Review: The New Full-Body Champ

Canon EOS R5

MSRP $3,899.00

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


  • Glorious, 45MP pictures
  • Spectacular 4K/8K video modes
  • Responsive subject-tracking AF
  • Good 5-axis picture stabilization
  • Glorious construct high quality


  • Management format may very well be improved
  • Can overheat in video mode
  • Threat of banding at excessive ISO

It isn’t usually that we see a brand new camera with as a lot promise and hype because the Canon EOS R5. After the comparatively modest reception to the unique EOS R, the R5 was Canon’s probability to show it may make a full-frame mirrorless camera that doesn’t simply compete, however leads. The spec sheet reads like a gourmand menu, a meal assured to sate the urge for food of anybody who can afford it — and at $3,899 for the physique, or $4,999 with the RF 24-105mm f/4L lens (examined), that isn’t very many individuals.

However the EOS R5’s exclusivity isn’t an issue. This can be a high-end camera with a excessive worth to match, and whereas it’s simple to argue that it squarely targets solely skilled clients, I don’t consider that’s the total story. This can be a branding camera; it’s aspirational. It might not care in regards to the fanatic or novice when it comes to direct gross sales, however it nonetheless serves to reply the query that such clients usually ask: “Who makes the very best mirrorless camera?” For the primary time, “Canon” is a suitable reply.

Canon EOS R5 product photoDaven Mathies/Digital Tendencies

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

However for the purchasers who’re really going to purchase it, is the Canon EOS R5 worthy of the hype? Everybody within the photograph tech sphere — myself included — has been waxing lyrical about this camera lengthy earlier than we had our fingers on it. Now that it’s out within the wild, you could need to handle your expectations — if solely barely. Whereas it will not be precisely what we have been bought, that is nonetheless a superb camera.

A nonetheless camera first

Canon centered its early advertising on the EOS R5’s video chops, detailing the insane 8K RAW and 4K/120p options months earlier than we knew a lot about its nonetheless photograph capabilities. This shifted individuals’s expectations of what the R5 can be, and I can’t assist however really feel this was the incorrect strategy to hype it.


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

The aim with the R5 was clearly to maintain tempo with the likes of the Sony A7R IV, Nikon Z 7, and Panasonic Lumix S1R. These are all high-resolution, full-frame mirrorless cameras, and whereas they every have succesful video modes, they clearly goal the nonetheless photographer.

The R5 might be the very best nonetheless camera Canon has ever made, mirrorless or DSLR.

If the R5 had initially been marketed as a nonetheless camera, I feel the numerous complaints we’re now listening to about overheating in video mode wouldn’t have been so loud. However as a result of Canon emphasised video so strongly within the lead-up, reviewers are feeling slightly underwhelmed that the fact doesn’t match the promise.


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

Design and dealing with

The R5 will really feel at dwelling to anybody coming from a Canon DSLR, and I discovered it to be barely extra snug to carry than a 5D Mark IV — despite the fact that it’s solely a fraction of a pound lighter. It has a really acquainted grip, the identical shutter button placement, and a lot of the controls are precisely the place you count on them.

Canon EOS R5 product photoDaven Mathies/Digital Tendencies

One key change is the transfer to a three-dial setup, which permits for direct ISO, shutter pace, and aperture management. That is along with the multi-function lens ring on RF lenses.

There’s additionally an autofocus joystick, and whereas that is often vital characteristic for me, I don’t just like the R5’s. Its floor is just too sharp, making it uncomfortable, and it doesn’t present nice tactile suggestions. It’s additionally simply much less wanted, given how good the subject-tracking AF is, and the R5’s touchpad AF utilizing the LCD display screen works higher for single-point focusing, anyway.

Canon EOS R5 product photoDaven Mathies/Digital Tendencies

What Canon DSLR shooters will discover lacking is the AF/Drive button. Accessing autofocus and drive modes is a two-step course of that requires citing the short menu. Luckily, you may program both of those capabilities to the lens ring or different buttons, however you’ll sacrifice the default performance of a button by doing so. I set AF mode to the lens ring and drive mode to the depth of area preview button (as a result of who makes use of that, anyway?), and located this to be a reasonably good setup. Nonetheless, the R5 is a $3,900 camera physique, so for Canon to scrimp on direct entry management is a little bit of a letdown.

In any other case, there may be little to complain about within the design division. The physique is weather-sealed and solidly constructed, if heavy for a mirrorless camera at 1.62 kilos.

Canon EOS R5 product photoDaven Mathies/Digital Tendencies

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

Canon has additionally lastly adopted a contemporary media format by providing each SD UHS-II and CFexpress Sort B card slots, the latter of which is required for 8K video (and a few 4K modes). For any Nikon shooters occupied with trying out the EOS R5, word that, not like the Nikon Z collection, the Canon doesn’t help XQD playing cards in its CFexpress slot, so anybody with older XQD playing cards must ditch them earlier than shifting to the R5.

Pictures expertise

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

Canon EOS R5 lifestyle product photoDaven Mathies/Digital Tendencies

What sells it, nevertheless, is the autofocus. The EOS R5 makes use of Twin Pixel Autofocus II, Canon’s newest on-chip phase-detection technology that places 1,053 focus factors over all the body. It incorporates up to date face and eye-tracking for each individuals and animals, and in my expertise, it really works exceptionally effectively.

I would go as far as to say Canon’s face monitoring is even higher than Sony’s — and that’s enormous.

In apply, I used to be blown away with how rapidly the R5 would discover the topic inside the body in addition to how strongly it stayed glued to it. For photographing individuals, this meant I may focus solely on framing with out worrying about choosing my focus level. Having lately shot portraits with the Sony A7R IV, I would go as far as to say Canon’s face monitoring is even higher than Sony’s — and that’s enormous.

However what actually impressed me was the animal AF. When taking pictures birds in flight, the main focus field immediately jumped to the chicken’s head — not simply the chicken, however really its head. When photographing a canine, the AF continued to trace its physique even when its head and shoulders ducked down beneath a log. A wild rabbit let me creep up inside a few toes whereas it was consuming, and the R5 had no bother discovering its eye.


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

There’s one different subject with the AF. As I perceive it, DPAF focus factors aren’t cross-type, which means they’re delicate solely to strains in a single path. The R5 doesn’t seem like delicate to horizontal strains in any respect, and flat-out refused to focus after I occurred to level it at a slatted closet door. Confused, I attempted once more, however regardless of what number of occasions I pressed the shutter button, the R5 wouldn’t focus. As quickly as I rotated the camera into portrait orientation — which means the slats have been now vertically oriented from the camera’s perspective — it immediately snapped into focus. Different related topics — like closed window blinds — yielded the identical outcomes.

The dearth of cross-type AF factors is par for the course in on-chip phase-detection methods (with Olympus being one notable exception), however contrast-detection usually takes over in different cameras when phase-detection isn’t doable. Working the identical check on my private Fujifilm X-T2, I discovered that it centered, however solely after looking briefly — in portrait orientation, it centered with out looking. This means that, just like the EOS R5, the X-T2’s phase-detection struggles to detect horizontal strains, however it may depend on slower distinction detection in such a state of affairs, one thing the R5 appears unable to do.

I don’t understand how massive of a problem this is perhaps in the actual world — I didn’t have any bother exterior of my workplace. My general expertise with DPAF on the EOS R5 was very optimistic. Nonetheless, it’s a bit regarding that every one it took to make AF fail utterly was a topic with none vertical strains. I’ve reached out to Canon for remark and can replace this review after I hear again.


The opposite all-new characteristic the R5 introduces is 5-axis in-body picture stabilization (IBIS). Alongside the EOS R6, this represents Canon’s first try at sensor-shift stabilization, a characteristic that was sorely lacking from the EOS R and RP. It really works with each stabilized and non-stabilized lenses, and may present as much as 8 stops of shake discount, in response to Canon.

Now, that’s a tough declare to definitively check since “stops” are a relative unit. In my testing, carried out with the stabilized RF 24-105mm f/4 lens, I used to be in a position to shoot as gradual as 1/8 second with pixel-level sharpness about equal to what I achieved at 1/60 second. Nonetheless, at decreased decision, I felt snug pushing that to a 1/2 second. Completely different lenses, in addition to your method and steadiness, might yield totally different outcomes, however I’ve a tough time believing Canon’s declare of 8 stops.

The factor is, I don’t actually care. Simply having IBIS is the important thing right here. With the ability to handhold a 2-second publicity, as Canon demonstrated, isn’t what most photographers care about. Getting sharp outcomes at extra sensible shutter speeds is what issues, and that’s what the R5 delivers.

Video expertise

The obvious query in regards to the Canon EOS R5’s video mode is just: Who’s it for? RAW 8K video — which consumes 2,600 megabits per second (that’s 325 megabytes per second) — is much past what the common buyer wants. However past the hype and the endless sport of one-upmanship, 8K is just the consequence of demanding each a 45MP sensor and RAW video.

Canon EOS R5 product photoDaven Mathies/Digital Tendencies

The sensor was required to place the R5 in league with different high-resolution mirrorless cameras, however such a excessive pixel depend poses an issue for video. Usually, for 4K video, solely about 8MP is required with 12 megapixels feeling like a strong candy spot, and Sony, Nikon, and Panasonic all addressed this subject by making their lower-resolution cameras the extra video-focused fashions. However Canon clearly needed its flagship camera to really be the flagship, for each stills and video.

Then there’s the problem of RAW. By definition, RAW is unprocessed — so the camera both has to output each particular person pixel, or it has to do one thing like cropping or line-skipping, which deactivates pixels and drastically reduces area of view or element, respectively. Neatly, the R5’s sensor is 8,192 pixels large, precisely the decision for DCI 8K (which is a barely wider-than-usual facet ratio of 17:9). So with one-to-one pixel output, the R5 can absolutely make the most of its sensor space for RAW 8K video — however can’t do RAW at different resolutions in any respect. It additionally signifies that in Extremely HD (16:9) modes, there’s a very slight crop. (Only for reference, Blackmagic Design acquired round this limitation in its Ursa Mini Professional 12K cinema camera by utilizing a novel sensor design purpose-built for RAW scaling, however different cameras don’t have this luxurious.)

We nonetheless haven’t answered the query of who wants this characteristic. I beforehand wrote that 8K cameras are all however pointless, and taking pictures the R5 hasn’t modified my thoughts. I don’t personal a 4K show, not to mention an 8K show. The power to crop and reframe is sweet, however I’ve by no means wanted the intense vary that 8K affords. Then there’s the matter of storing and modifying the gargantuan recordsdata.

So it’s protected to say that 8K, particularly in RAW, is one thing regular individuals are unlikely to make use of. Skilled filmmakers are the one ones who might want it, and Canon even suggests the R5’s use as a “B” camera working alongside higher-end cinema cameras.

However the R5 isn’t prepared for that type of manufacturing. I can echo the complaints of others across the internet relating to overheating. You possibly can have all the nice high quality and options, however a camera that even has an opportunity of shutting down on set is just unacceptable in an expert setting.

Canon EOS R5 product photoDaven Mathies/Digital Tendencies

I haven’t even examined the 8K modes but as I’m nonetheless ready on a CFexpress card, however overheating is already an issue in some 4K modes. Taking pictures at 60 fps (the very best framerate accessible with an SD card), the camera made it by way of to the smooth restrict of 29 minutes 59 seconds. Nonetheless, the warmth warning indicator started flashing earlier than the clip ended. It remained on for almost 10 minutes after recording stopped. Even as soon as it turned off, my subsequent clip was restricted to only 4 minutes earlier than the camera shut down resulting from overheating.

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

Nonetheless, the excellent information is that the camera doesn’t seem like warmth restricted at 4K/30 or 24 frames per second. Even when it prevented me from recording a brand new 4K/60 clip, switching to 30 fps instantly eliminated the warmth warning indicator and allowed me to report a full 29:59 clip.

For these of us who shoot each venture in 4K/24p, and solely want larger framerates briefly for slow-motion, the EOS R5 is superior. And, in spite of everything, a few of its competitors — just like the Nikon Z 7 — can’t shoot 4K/60 in any respect, not to mention 4K/120 just like the R5 can, and none of its competitors can shoot 8K.

However that shouldn’t utterly let Canon off the hook. Once they introduced an 8K RAW camera, all of us anticipated a camera constructed for individuals who may use 8K RAW footage — specifically, skilled filmmakers. The EOS R5 falls wanting these expectations, however I take larger subject with how the camera was initially marketed to generate these expectations than I do the camera’s failure to dwell as much as them.

Picture high quality

Canon made a higher-resolution sensor prior to now, the 50MP chip within the EOS 5DS collection, however the EOS R5’s 45MP chip is a particular enchancment, particularly as you flip up the ISO. ISO vary is a powerful 100-51,200, expandable a cease additional to 102,400. Whereas these high few stops are of questionable usability, noise efficiency is in any other case excellent for the category.

yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7ISO 12,800 “banding” in a darkish scene Daven Mathies/Digital Tendencies

However there was one subject: Whereas photographing the evening sky, I seen seen banding artifacts at ISOs above 3,200, which turned a serious distraction by 12,800. I didn’t discover banding in another scene, together with in my indoor ISO check pictures. It appears to solely be seen towards a darkish and uniform background.

As with the DPAF focusing error, I don’t understand how usually this can have an effect on footage in real-world use. The astrophotographers I do know usually desire wider apertures and slower shutter speeds to maxing out the ISO, however it’s one thing to concentrate on.

In any other case, the R5 delivered stunning outcomes. The RAW recordsdata are very versatile, and I even pushed an underexposed ISO 1600 shot by 3 stops with out a noticeable improve in noise. It’s onerous to say with out evaluating cameras side-by-side, however this can be Canon’s finest sensor thus far. I feel it was held again barely by the RF 24-105mm f/4 lens, which simply wasn’t fairly sharp sufficient to resolve all these pixels, however I’d like to see what it may do with considered one of Canon’s glorious RF primes.

I’ve by no means been a Canon fan, however the EOS R5 has made me a believer.

Video high quality can also be excellent. Once more, I haven’t examined 8K or the oversampled 4K Excessive-High quality mode, however customary 10-bit 4K in Canon Log is gorgeous and grades very effectively. I truthfully am unsure why I’d ever want Excessive-High quality mode. At 470 megabits per second (about 60 megabytes per second), there may be loads of knowledge within the all-intraframe (ALL-I) compression to ship nice shade and element.

Canon EOS R5 log video frame ungradedCanon EOS R5 log video body ungraded Daven Mathies/Digital Tendencies

Canon EOS R5 log video frame gradedCanon EOS R5 log video body graded Daven Mathies/Digital Tendencies

Canon EOS R5 log video frame ungradedCanon EOS R5 log video body ungraded Daven Mathies/Digital Tendencies

canon eos r5 review sample dm 28Canon EOS R5 log video body graded Daven Mathies/Digital Tendencies

General, the EOS R5 is definitely Canon’s finest hybrid camera from a picture high quality perspective, and at the moment, nothing else in the marketplace matches its mixture of high-resolution stills and high-quality video.

Our take

I’ve to confess, I’ve by no means been a Canon fan, however the EOS R5 has made me a believer. Canon took all the things it discovered from the unique EOS R and carried out it within the R5. The extent of enchancment is astonishing, even when its highest-quality video modes are of restricted practicality.

The high-ISO banding, unusual AF conduct on horizontal strains, and overheating points could also be issues to some, however these points gained’t have an effect on most customers in most circumstances. The position and design of a few of the controls rubbed me the incorrect method (actually), however I’m positive I’d adapt over time, and I positively respect the usability of the three-dial setup.

The price of entry is excessive, however for individuals who can afford it, the EOS R5 gives an extremely rewarding photographic expertise, and firmly establishes Canon as a frontrunner in mirrorless cameras. It might have taken a few years to get the recipe proper, however Canon has served up a dish value ready for.

Is there a greater different?

Taking a look at different choices, they exist solely within the sense that there are a lot cheaper options, just like the Nikon Z 7 at simply $2,850 on the time of writing. The R5 has higher autofocus, higher-quality video, a higher-resolution EVF, and twin reminiscence card slots — however for a distinction of over $1,000, anybody not already firmly seated in camp Canon might need to contemplate the Z 7.

The Sony A7R IV is the opposite apparent comparability. At $3,200 on the time of writing, it doesn’t provide the financial savings of the Z 7, however its autofocus is neck-and-neck with the R5’s and it has an equally high-res EVF, twin SD card slots, and considerably higher battery life at a ranking of 520 pictures. The R5 has the sting in video and steady taking pictures pace, although.

How lengthy will it final?

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

Must you purchase it?

Sure, in order for you the very best tech at the moment on show in images — and also you don’t thoughts paying for it. That is the camera I at all times knew Canon may construct.

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