This “article” will give you a bit of an information about the Canon EOS R5. No, it is not a test down to pixel level and this is not a complete review. I’d say, this a story of my first impressions about the Canon EOS R5. Probably I should start the story from about 1, 1,5 years ago, when I decided to move from the world of DSLR, to mirrorless. I did not jump on the boat right after the introduction of the Canon EOS R. I waited a bit. As a first step, I have sold my Canon 5DsR, to make some money, and some space for the EOS R. At the time, I had my Canon 5D Mk IV as well, which (is) was a love for me.
So I started to work with the EOS R and 5D Mk IV. I quickly realized the advantages of the R, and the MILC category, and I used more and more the R instead of the 5D. Of course, it has some downsides as well, but today we are not here to talk about the heated topic of “DSLR vs MILC”. 😊
After a few months spent with the EOS R, the rumors started to raise about the next Canon MILC, which was meant to be a pro MILC. (Does not mean, that the EOS R cannot be used in a professional manner..) So, rumors started to circulate about a 45 mpix sensor, the first ever Canon IBIS, a new, higher level of autofocus, joystick, double card slot, 12FPS improved EVF, and similar ergonomics compared to the 5D MkIV.
In my mind, this did sound like a dream camera. So, I started to think about my next steps, and I have taken the decision. After 4 great years spent together, I have sold my 5D. Price was OKish for it, but hey, we have spent 4 years together, so I was expecting a loss (from many angles).
So, the long wait started…. But, it ended on the 30 of July 2020, when I walked into the store of Camera kft (https://camerakft.com/) to pick up my new Canon EOS R5!
I have read all articles before the launch, and I have viewed all videos about it. I am a photographer, so to be honest I was not really interested about the video features of this new great beast, though Canon put lot of effort into advertising this part. I thought that probably I will taste the cinematography a bit, but this will not be the main purpose of this tool.
When I first took it into my hands, my feeling was like: “Yes, I arrived back home!” All the buttons, the dials, the grip of the body felt very similar to the 5D Mk IV, just a tiny bit smaller. Smaller, but still the right size for me. I know that MILC bodies can be a challenge for people with larger hands, but for me (with an average hand size) it is perfect. Just to not to forget to mention, that the battery is the same format as well, “just” higher capacity, and called LPE6NH.
First step was to setup my camera. I have spent around 1 or 1,5 hours to customize it. I used to use back button focus, so that was one of first steps. By the way, the AF-ON button is relocated a bit, compared to the EOS R, and now it is more comfortable to use it. (see photos)
I configured most of the things, and I have created my C1, C2 and C3 settings, which are very important for me. I use those modes with the following setup:
- C1: In AV mode and AUTO ISO, limited to 6400 and 1/250 sec
- C2: Same as above, but with eye and face detect ON (so I can quickly enable eye and face detect.)
- C3: Same as C2, but the initial focus point is not in AUTO mode, but I show the R5 where to start to focus, and what to track.
When I have done with it, I was waiting for the first real world test. I was hired as the official photographer of a birthday party last Saturday. I thought this is a great opportunity to start to work with this camera. I have packed my lenses (most of them are RF) and the R5 and the R, so I have a backup camera in case the new one will not perform according to my requirements.
Of course, I had my expectations. And those were quite high. The first few pictures about the table, and the decoration were nothing special… I thought.. but when I investigated the details of the 45 mpix sensor, I was (positively) shocked! So, let’s say, it was a good start. Just look at the sunflower, and the details of it in 1:1 magnification.
Or the eyes of this lovely little girl, also in 1:1 magnification:
Next – and I think the largest – challenge was to see if the the new and improved autofocus system outperforms the 5D Mk IV and the EOS R as well. EOS R was good in it. Not the best, but good, especially after the 1.6 firmware update. Canon updated the DPAF in R5, and now they call it (really creative 😀 ) DPAF II. I will not write any details about the tech side of it, as most of those few, who will read this, already know all aspects the DPAF.
As an event photographer one of the major challenges is to catch the right moment, and put the focus to the right place, mainly on the eyes if we are talking about human beings. (BTW, same with animals.. 😊 ) In the past, one of the hardest things with my 5D Mk IV was, to catch the kids, running around on a weeding, or keep the right focus on the eyes of the couple while they are dancing. Well, with the R5, that is really the past. In fact, the R5 finds the faces and the eyes of people so quick, that I hardly could believe it. I hardly missed anything what I wanted to catch. At the end, I had way more “keepers” compared to any of my previous cameras. I was blown away by the performance of the DPAF II autofocus system. Just watch out, because DPAF II + 12 FPS can load your card really quick… J Just check out these 2 photos. This boy was quickly walking, against me, while I was looking at the other direction. I turned around, and nailed the focus so quick that was really magic.
And the next one.. He was sitting in this push car (is this the right expression?) and driving around.. I took the camera, but I had no time to raise it against my eye, so I used the screen to focus, and track. I think I took five shots while I was panning and using eye/face detect. All five shots were in focus.
I will not talk about portraits here, as the eye / face detect does its job, and detects them so fast, that it became the standard for me during the event. One “downside” maybe. I was not able to switch between the faces. I was expecting that I can do it with the joystick, but it did not happen. Maybe I will have to check the settings, probably that must be configured as well? No clue yet. But, as a workaround, I used my C3 setup, so I showed the R5 where to focus first. And it worked, so at the end it was not really an issue.
I felt a bit of a struggle (really very little) in situations when people were backlit. In such a “use case” the R5 lost the subject a few times. Nothing dramatic, but the keepers for such a situation was a bit less, compared to a “regular” scenario. Once I started to overexpose those shots, the situation improved a bit as well. One advantage of the MILC btw is, that you see immediately that you need to overexpose..
If you don’t do it, you will have to lift the shadows in post, and with this we arrived to the very fancy – at least nowadays – topic: the dynamic range. I had a bit of a fear, as I had a 5DsR in the past, and honestly, I was not impressed by its DR. Probably some will say, that I am stupid, but this was my opinion. 😊 So, I was a bit scared to check it. But it is gone. The DR of the EOS R is not the best on the market, but I think it is good, very good. The DR of EOS R5 improved despite the fact, that it has 1,5 times more pixels compared to the EOS R. No, I cannot translate it to numbers, but I see it. I try to show an example of how it before recovery was, and what the result is after post. I hope this helps.
One more critical item as a photographer may be interested: ISO. To make the long story short. There is a good improvement in this area as well. On high ISO (well, I am not brave enough to go above 6400) it performs better compared to it’s predecessor (at least as a MILC) the EOS R. I smell, that 12800 should not be an issue either, but I am a bit conservative on this topic..
I have taken around 1000 photos on this session, and I really enjoyed working with the Canon EOS R5! This is a great tool, and it will help a lot the photographers to have an easier job! In summary, I’d say that this Camera is a must (if you like MILC! If you are a DSLR lover, that is a different question!) It improved in so many areas, that it will change a lot in event photography, and in many other areas of photography as well. I know, that some of you is thinking about the overheat, as it is a very hot topic on the internet at the moment. I can say, that during this session, the camera was lukewarm, so I did not experience any issues. It was around 30 degrees Celsius outside, so it was not cold. I have to state, that I did not try to record any video, so this will be useless for any of the videographers, sorry.
- DPAF II is amazing
- This tool allows you to put more focus on composition that worry about nailing down the focus
- Amazing details can be found as a result of the new 45mpix sensor
- Improved DR (compared to 5D Mk IV and EOS R)
- Better ISO performance
- Focus works in low light situation as well. (when it is nearly completely dark!)
- 12 FPS (mechanical) and a large buffer – I forgot to mention this in the story!!
- EVF is nice and smooth
- Usual Canon colours
- Price (well, not cheap for sure..)
- 45mpix consumes lot of storage (but tons of details.. 😊 )
- CF express is not cheap
All in all, I am really happy with this camera and I did not regret that I bought it in the first batch. I really enjoyed working with it, and with it’s speed, color, details and accuracy it amazed me!
Great thank you for Camera Kft that I received the camera so quick, and I had a chance to use it on that event. Please note, that I am an independent photographer, and this was not a paid review. 😉
Thank you for reading, and all the best!
Gear: Canon EOS R5, RF35mm 1.8, RF24-70mm 2.8 IS, RF70-200mm 2.8 IS
Software: Adobe DNG Converter + LR, Canon DPP