Let’s Put it to the Test!

Well the Canon R5 is here, and I’m ready to put it through its paces. One of the things I wanted to know about this camera was its “4K NON-HQ” video recording mode. You see, the biggest criticism pointed at the R5 is its proclivity to overheat. Canon states the camera overheats at 8K, 4K HQ which is 4K downsampled from the 8K sensor, 4K 60fps, and 4K 120fps. But the camera doesn’t overheat in the full-frame 4K lineskipped/binned mode at 24, 25, & 30fps. This means this is the preferred recording setting for most videographers with this camera – because you no longer need to worry about the oppressive, and variable, overheating times in the other modes. With that being said, I wanted to know how good, or how bad, the “Low Quality” 4K really is. So I put it to the test!


After watching the video, I think it’s clear there is a noticeable difference in image quality between the downsampled 4K, and the “Low Quality” 4K. The image coming out of the 4KHQ is so god damn crisp and detailed. It’s easily some of the best 4K seen out of a small mirrorless hybrid. Easily. But the 4KLQ isn’t too far behind. Comparing the two images, the LQ is only a bit softer and a bit less detailed. You don’t lose any dynamic range, you don’t lose any motion data, you don’t lose color data. You just get a softer image, when compared against the BEST 4K on the market. There is, however, some noticeable aliasing or line-skipping, that you can see on my glasses at 100% scale – which may be the biggest criticism. But we are really pixel peeping here, and for the most part, the differences between the two are negligible.

I also decided to contrast the two modes externally with the Atomos Ninja V. Here, we can see pretty much the same story. Unfortunately, the addition of the Ninja doesn’t help increase the available recording time in 4KHQ too much, only giving about another 30 minutes before the camera overheats and needs almost 2 hours before completely cooling down. That said, utilizing a Ninja will allow you to record in 10-bit without needing to utilize the hard-to-render H265 video codec.

Finally, I think the Canon R5’s “Low Quality” 4K is not “Low Quality” at all, or what Tony Northrup called “unusable”. In fact, I think it looks great! If you found the 4K quality coming out of the older EOS R to be adequate, you will be very happy with the 4K quality coming out of the R5. It’s nearly identical, except now you have true full-frame with no crop, as well as the added 10-bit with internal recording. I think most people will be very happy with this upgrade.