Hands-on with the Canon EOS R5
Canon has just announced the EOS R5, a 45MP full-frame mirrorless camera that we have to confess we’re pretty excited about. It’s the spiritual successor to the company’s 5D-series of do-everything DSLRs, and offers a mix of speed, resolution, autofocus capability and video features that will appeal to a lot of different types of photographers.
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We’ve been fortunate enough to get our hands on a pre-production model leading up to the official release, so follow along and get an up-close look at Canon’s newest high-end mirrorless camera.
Build and feel
The EOS R5 feels very well-built. Its bottom and front plates feel metallic, and the other parts of the body feel more plasticky. We suspect this is to ensure a better signal for the camera’s built-in 2.4 / 5.0Ghz Wi-Fi antennas, and frankly, polycarbonate could prove to be more durable in the long run.
Canon claims the EOS R5 is sealed to the same degree as an EOS 5D Mark IV; no official figures are given, but there are visible gaskets around possible points of moisture or dust ingress. Overall, we think the R5 succeeds at feeling solid while being appreciably smaller and lighter than an average high-end DSLR.
At the heart of the camera is an all-new Canon-designed-and-manufactured sensor, and its 45MP of resolution makes the EOS R5 the highest-resolution mirrorless camera Canon has to offer. Canon claims that increases in readout speed mean that rolling shutter won’t be a major issue if you want to use the silent electronic shutter (more on that in a moment). Canon also claims that EOS R5 should offer around one stop of dynamic range improvement over the EOS R. Of course, we’ll be looking at this more closely when we have a final copy.
As mentioned on the previous slide, the EOS R5 has a silent electronic shutter that can shoot bursts of images at up to 20fps with full autofocus and autoexposure. You can always switch to the mechanical shutter – shown here – if you’re in a situation where artificial lighting could cause banding. You can also choose whether you want an electronic first curtain shutter (EFCS), to minimize any chance of shutter shock, or a fully mechanical shutter to prevent truncating your out-of-focus highlights if you’re using high shutter speeds.
Using either EFCS or the mechanical shutter limits you to 12fps with AF and AE. A deep buffer means you’ll approach 100 shots per burst before the camera slows down, regardless of your image quality settings.
Also visible in this view are the front custom button, which defaults to depth-of-field preview, and the cover for a remote port.
Resting behind the R5’s shutter and supporting the new sensor is Canon’s first-ever in-body image stabilizer. With the right lenses, Canon claims it offers a jaw-dropping eight stops of shake correction, and the lowest rating with current RF lenses is still an impressive six stops. We’re particularly anxious to see how well it works to stabilize video footage, since video is another one of the EOS R5’s standout features…
8K video capture, rear screen and controls
With few exceptions, video shooters tend to prefer fully articulating touchscreens; and it’s a good thing the R5 has one, because it looks to be a serious video shooting tool. Capable of up to DCI 8K/30p capture, including in Raw, the video specs are the best we’ve yet seen (of course, we’ll have to wait until it’s tested to know for certain).
Otherwise, around the back of the camera is a well thought-out array of controls that will be pretty familiar for existing Canon shooters. Of particular note is that the R5, along with the R6, are the first RF-mount cameras with AF joysticks and a rear jog dial, both of which are staples of Canon’s higher-end DSLRs. The AF-ON button is a bit small for our tastes, but is in a good spot.
Thoughtfully, Canon’s also added menu options for the behavior of the eye sensor below the viewfinder. You can set it so that if the screen is flipped out, the eye sensor is deactivated, so you won’t accidentally trigger it if you’re shooting stills or video from the hip. Conversely, you can make sure it’s always enabled, if for example you want to be able to check critical focus at a moment’s notice for video shooting. And speaking of that viewfinder…
OLED electronic viewfinder
The EOS R5 comes with a 5.76M-dot viewfinder that uses an OLED panel and offers 0.76x magnification. It has a default refresh rate of 60fps, but you can boost it to 120fps in the menus; doing so will give you a more lifelike view of the world, and overall, the EOS R5 gives a great viewfinder experience. For glasses-wearers, the eye point is approximately 23mm.
Top plate controls
The EOS R5 comes with a top plate control scheme that’s all-but-identical to that of the older EOS R. This means you get an easy-to-read OLED display of settings that you can choose to light up if needed, and a mode button that you press before turning the rear dial to change your exposure mode. Incidentally, if you want to swap to video shooting, you hit the ‘INFO’ button on the rear of the camera to do so.
Everything else is pretty straightforward; the movie recording and M-Fn buttons can be customized in the menus, the deep grip is comfortable and your index finger will fall naturally over the shutter button. It’s a comfortable camera to hold.
Ports and connectivity
Along the side of the camera are a full suite of ports. For video shooters, you get headphone and microphone jacks for audio and a micro HDMI port for video and audio output. Micro HDMI ports tend to be a lot more fragile than the larger options, but then again the EOS R5 offers a plethora of options for in-camera recording.
The USB-C port is a high-speed, USB 3.1 Gen 2 port that allows for quick file transfer and in-camera battery charging using Canon’s USB Power Adapter PD-E1. You also get a dedicated flash sync port, and on the front is a better view of that proprietary port for Canon remotes that we got a glance at earlier.
The EOS R5 has one CFExpress card slot and one UHS-II SD card slot. The CFExpress slot is of course the faster option, and is the only type of media you can use if you want to record 8K video in Raw or All-I encoding. If you’re using one of the latest and fastest UHS-II SD cards, you can still get an awful lot of performance out of the camera, but expect the buffer to fill more quickly if you’re shooting bursts with Raw and JPEG files going simultaneously to the SD card.
A new, higher-capacity LP-E6NH battery powers the EOS R5, but the camera retains backwards battery compatibility with LP-E6N and LP-E6 units as well (but you may see reduced battery life or lose USB charging with the older models).
If you keep the LCD and EVF at their lower refresh rates, the camera is rated at 490 / 320 shots per CIPA, respectively. The higher refresh rates are beautiful to behold, but battery life drops precipitously to 320 / 220 CIPA-rated images for the LCD and EVF, respectively.
Tucked inside the battery compartment is also a gold-plated connector: this connects to two different battery grips for the EOS R5 / R6 cameras. One of which, exclusively compatible with the R5, comes with an ethernet hookup for wired uploading of images as they’re being taken.
Hands-on with the Canon EOS R5
And there you have it, a full tour of Canon’s EOS R5 mirrorless full-frame camera. We’re still awaiting a production copy that we can begin to test fully, but in the meantime, what do you make of it? What do you want to know about it that we haven’t yet told you? Let us know in the comments.
The EOS R5 will be available at the end of July for $3899 body-only, or $4999 with the RF 24-105mm F4L.