It’s been a wild ride. The Canon R5 has been one of the most controversial camera releases I personally have ever seen. It started well before the camera was even released. We all first started hearing murmurs of a new Canon body coming, with (what seem now like) modest specs such as uncropped 4K and a new IBIS system. Then one day revealed some information most of the internet passed off as bullshit. Specs like “8K recording with no crop”, “8 stops of IBIS”, “4K 120fps”, “Internal 10-bit”. These rumors set the camera community ablaze, with many putting Canonrumors’ integrity under scrutiny. There was just no way Canon – a rather conservative camera company who have drug their feet into the mirrorless market – would release a camera that would cannibalize their top end DSLR’s, and maybe even some of their cinema cameras.

But alas, we are here, and the camera is in fact real. All the specs were correct, adding another notch to Canonrumors belt and the tears of Panasonic, Fuji, & Sony fanboys everywhere flowed into a river of revenue for the Japanese company.

Canon R5 Specs

  • Price – $3,899.00
  • 45mp Full Frame Sensor
  • Digic X Processor (Same in 1DX mk III)
  • Up to 8EV Stops of IBIS (with RF OIS Lens)
  • Dual Pixel Autofocus – 5940 AF Points, with improved Eye-AF, and new Animal Eye AF
  • ISO 100-51200
  • 12fps Mechanical / 20fps Electronic Shutter
  • Fully Articulating 3.15in / 8cm Screen with 2.1m dot LCD
  • 5.76m dot OLED Viewfinder up to 120fps
  • 5Ghz & 2.4Ghz Wifi with Bluetooth 4.2
  • 738g – 1.63lbs
  • 1x CFExpress Type B slot with 1x UHS-II SD Card slot
  • 3.5mm Mic Jack and Headphone Jack
  • Micro HDMI 2.0 Port
  • USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 port with Power Delivery
  • Removal of “Swipe Bar” for Joystick

Video Recording Specs

  • 8K RAW (29.97/25/24/23.98p) – 2600 Mbps
  • 8K (29.97/25/24/23.98p) – ALL-I = 1300 Mbps / IPB = 470 Mbps
  • 4K (119.9/100p) – 1880 Mbps
  • 4K (59.94/50p) – ALL-I = 940Mbps / IPB = 230Mbps
  • 4K (29.97/25/24/23.98p) ALL-I = 470Mbps / IPB = 120Mbps
  • 1080 (59.94/50p) ALL-I = 180Mbps / IPB = 60Mbps
  • 1080 (29.97/25/24/23.98p) ALL-I = 90Mbps / IPB = 30Mbps
  • All modes available in C-LOG
  • C-LOG = 10-bit 4:2:2 H.265
  • All modes uncropped
  • All 4K modes up to 60p can be sent external with 10-bit 4:2:2 C-Log
  • 4K 120p allows Auto-Focus, but no audio and is resolved in camera to 29.97p

A New Canon

So as you can see, Canon has thrown the kitchen sink at the new flagship mirrorless camera. There seems to be nothing left behind…well, for the most part (we’ll get to that). I find with the immense amount of options available in your hands, it’s hard to pick up this camera and not be inspired to use it. And this is what I believe to be the R5’s best asset. You’re given a swath of options to ensure you can not only get the shot, but that the shot is going to look as good as can be. What I also think is important is that this camera release (along with the R6) seems to ignite the flames of a new Canon. A Canon that doesn’t hold anything behind, something we haven’t seen from the brand since possibly the 5Dmk II.

But this camera is not without its faults. What comes with a more adventurous company, unfortunately, comes with more instability. For many who are fond of the way Canon has carried themselves, they may not take kindly to this new risk-taking. Myself, because this is my review, I haven’t been more excited for the future of the brand and their products. So now with all that said, let’s get into the nitty gritty.

Handling & Ergonomics

As with many other Canon cameras, the handling and ergonomics are quite good. The first thing I noticed when picking up the camera is its weight. It does seem considerably heavier than the EOS R, and also feels substantially more “thick”. Thicc, rather. While I wish it remained the same weight, I personally enjoy the thicker grip on the camera as it feels much more connected to my hand. Those with small hands may enjoy the slightly slimmer nature of the EOS R.

Some other little ergo upgrades include the addition of the joystick in place of the much hated “Multi-Swipe Bar”. This brings that classic feel to a modern device. Instead of directional buttons on the R, you are given the 5d-like rotating gear which some may not prefer, but I personally do. There’s also now a little notch on the ON/OFF switch for easy toggling. The Mic Jack is now positioned in a way that doesn’t interfere with the screen at all. And weather sealing is much improved, with now the “grip port” positioned near the battery to allow less moisture entry.

All these slight little upgrades improve the already excellent handling. I do think there is some room for improvement. I would like a few more customizable buttons, as things do feel a bit sparse. I would also like more metal in the build – maybe aluminum – to increase heat dispersion but keep weight down. And lastly, Canon has done something I may never forgive them for. They removed the Mini HDMI and replaced it with the absolutely despised Micro HDMI port. This means you should expect to go through at least one Micro HDMI cable a week, thanks to how utter shit they are. Whoever invented the Micro HDMI should be put in the gallows, and Canon should be reprimanded forever for this terrible, terrible decision.


Now lets get into the meat of this review. The first thing I want to dive into is video. If you’re looking at the R5, chances are you’re looking to make use of the insane video specs that headlines this camera.


First off, you can expect some really great, high quality, 1080p. Many reviewers and content creators like to ignore 1080p, not realizing it’s still the most popular resolution to shoot and view in. Well, I wanted to make sure that this camera’s 45mp sensor did not hinder the 1080p to much. The 1080p is very crispy & clean. You can record 1080p all the way up to 60fps (oddly Canon has omitted 120fps in 1080p – though they did state it may be added in firmware in the future), and best of all you are now capable of recording 1080p in 10-bit C-Log 4:2:2. This difference in color space will be much more noticeable than a resolution when viewed on smaller devices like smartphones, so it’s a huge advantage to have.


The 4K is where things get a bit more interesting. So there are many different modes in 4K. You’re first met with a standard 4K mode, which heads up to 60p. This mode employs pixel binning and line-skipping to produce the 4K image. The 4K standard image has around 11 stops of dynamic range in 10-bit CLOG, and is a bit soft on the edges. You can also notice some light line-skipping in really fine, moving edges. It’s not the cleanest nor sharpest 4K, but the added 10-bit allows you a much more color rich and accurate picture.

Now, if you’re going to be using this camera without an external recorder, this is the mode you’re most likely going to be shooting the most in. Through my testing, the image is very similar to the EOS R, with a slight boost in detail, and less “blocking” or “digital edge”. The reason you’re going to be in this mode the most is because this 4K mode does not overheat internally. So while there is a 30min software limit (I can’t believe Canon still puts this limit in their cameras), you will not be limited by heat and can immediately record afterwards – indefinitely.

So you should get comfy with this mode. And while you do lose a some detail when compared to the incredible 4KHQ mode, as you’ll see, you still gain a great looking 4K image that stacks up with many of today’s 4K capable cameras. Therefore, I don’t think you’ll feel as if you’re “missing out” by being limited mostly to this mode thanks to overheating. I own an external recorder and I find I still prefer using this mode mainly because of the ease of use and mobility.

So again, you won’t feel as if you’re “missing out” with this mode. And this alone – just the fact we get uncropped 4K up to 30fps, with 10-bit 4:2:2 C-Log internal on a Canon Mirrorless Body – is enough for the price of admission in my opinion. This is what I wanted from the EOS R, this is what I wanted from the A7III / A7RIV. This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for, for the last 6 years. And it’s finally a reality here.

But wait…there’s MORE!

4K Crop

So if that’s not enough for you, don’t worry. Things get even better. Next I want to talk about the “Crop Mode” that is offered. Because the sensor is so high in resolution, Canon was kind enough to offer a crop mode which crops into the sensor 1.6x and downsamples the 4K from a 5.1K sensor readout. This means you’re getting a slightly sharper, more detailed image when compared to the standard 4K mode. This also enables you to get more out of your lenses, since now you can punch in, give each lens a second set of focal ranges.

And lastly, what’s great about this mode, is that it also doesn’t overheat! I found myself using Crop Mode specifically for getting that extra focal length – something I loved on the Sony’s. There were multiple scenarios where I was using my RF 15-35mm, but I wanted a 50mm look and didn’t have my other lens with me. Well no worry, Crop Mode is there to save the day, and the added boost in detail and clarity obviously is welcomed. The other time I can see myself using this mode is if I wanted to record for a long time, didn’t need a FF image, and I needed that extra bit of detail in camera. A niche and rare occasion, but I’m happy the option exists.

4K 60p

Yes, that’s correct. This camera is able to shoot Full-frame or APS-C 4K DCI or UHD, in 10-bit. This was something I wished for, but did not expect on a mirrorless Canon hybrid. But here it is!

This mode is excellent for shooting sports or fast moving action sequences, as well as for slowing down footage to 50% or 40% in a 30p / 24p timeline respectively. I’ve used this mode a ton already, and honestly utilize it more than 4K 120p, mainly because I find 50% more versatile. Along with this mode, you still can keep the Auto-Focus and IBIS allowing worry free slow or smooth motion. Unfortunately, it does utilize the line-skipped / binned technique found in the standard 4K. Nothing a bit of sharpening can’t fix, but it does need to be stated there is no 4K HQ 60p.

Now, you can also crop in on this mode. However, I do not believe cropping in on 4K 60p produces a sharper, or downscaled image. I believe the camera still employs a binned read out. So the only advantage to using this mode in crop is to gain some extra length from your lens. Lastly, the worst aspect of this mode is that it does overheats internally, though not externally. So if you’re thinking about fully recording a football game or soccer match, or capture a full event, then you’ll need to do so externally. Now, I have found that using 4K 60p intermittently for B-Roll works rather well. Far better than 4K 120p. So if you plan on shooting 4K 30/24p for the majority of your shoot, and scattering in some 4K 60p B-roll, you’ll have an easy time doing this for many hours. It’s only when shooting exclusively in this mode, things start to get frustrating.

4K 120p

You read that correct. The Canon R5 shoots 4K in 120 frames per second! When this was seen on the rumored specs, we all laughed. But alas, it’s true. Unfortunately, it’s one of the most unreliable modes in the camera.

Some pros about the 4K 120 mode. One, it exists. Two, both IBIS and DPAF work in this mode, so no worry about manually focusing just to capture some super-slow-mo. A very welcomed addition. Three, yes it’s also in 10-bit C-Log internally. So you can match the footage with any other high quality mode in the camera. Unfortunately, this is where the pros stop.

Speaking on the cons, the 4K 120p, much like 4K 60p, employs the same type of binning process that produces a slightly duller image when compared to the full 8K readout. Not much of a big deal, again a little sharpening can make a big difference. Another con is that no audio is recorded in this mode. Thirdly, it’s not a true 120/100p – meaning the camera shoots in 120p NTSC 100p PAL, but conforms the footage in camera down to a 30p/25p file. So you can’t conform to other framerates like 60p, 48p, 23.97p or any other framerate in post. So this is more similar to the S&Q mode in the Sony cameras in that respect. Another con is that the files are massive. At 1.9g per second, a simple 15 second clip can reach upwards of 30Gb. Very unruly files to work with. And lastly, this is a mode that overheats, and overheats quickly.

With my testing, I was able to shoot around 10-15 minutes of 4K 120p on any given day. Unfortunately, any usage of the camera prior to shooting this mode, eats into its time allotted. This gives you a very unreliable timeframe to work with. Meaning, say you’re going out to a shoot, and you know you need exactly 15 minutes of B-Roll in 4K 120p. Well when you head out to the set, and start filming, taking pictures, using non-overheating modes, that timer starts to tick down. And depending on what type of use you were going through, you may only end up with 5 minutes of actual recording time. The reliability of those times is what I found most frustrating.

I’m willing to forgive this. I never expected this camera to have this mode – and it is awesome to have the option. Though, I think the temptation of shooting glorious 4K 120p may be too great for others, leading them down a path of frustration and disappointment.


Now on to the headline feature. 8K with 8K RAW internally recording. It’s a fucking nutty feature to have on a camera of this size, and its ambition certainly comes at cost. Now, when I first started using this camera, I had absolutely no intention of using 8K. But after some time, I found its cropability to be extremely useful. Being able to zoom in 200%, and still conform to a 4K timeline, allows for some insane composition ideas that can be edited down in post. Also, utilizing 8K RAW gives you the most versatility in all aspects of the image.

Now of course, this comes at a massive price. 1.3Gbps in 8K, and an excruciating 2.6Gbps for 8K Raw. To me, this is quite unusable, and this alone has led me to barely ever venture into this mode. On top of that, this is also a mode that overheats the camera, possibly more quickly than any other. I was able to net a very inconsistent 10-15 minutes of recording. Enough for maybe one scene. But given its odd novelty use case, that should be fine for most. Again, I rather have the option, than not have it. But overall, the 8K is quite a novelty, and I don’t recommend ever really using it – just because of how intensely it overheats the camera, which can lock you out of recording in a lot of modes.

Other Video Features

Now there are all your shooting modes. As you can see, there is not shortage of shooting options in this camera. Easily one of the most ambitious Canon cameras we’ve seen to date. They really left nothing behind. Now while not all modes work reliably, we mustn’t forget the other features that pack onto those modes, that make shooting with this camera such a pleasure.

Of course, I want to first talk about internal 10-bit 4:2:2 C-Log. It seems as if we’re finally starting to see 10-bit make its way to consumer hybrids. In the R5, enabling C-Log and the Neutral Profile gives us a log image with around 11 stops of dynamic range to work with, as well as an excellent color science that makes post products extremely easy.

On top of that, we get the IBIS. This is by far, the most exciting feature for me, and I think the cameras most underrated feature. Canon has been touting this new IBIS system for quite some time, and it’s been a sore point in the previous cameras. Now it’s finally here, and it was well worth the wait. I’ll just come out and say it, I think the IBIS is easily the best out of any Full-Frame camera, and possibly out of any Camera. My time with this IBIS produces an image that just “floats”, despite any shakiness, walking, or moving. Even pulling upwards to 105mm, the IBIS along with the OIS produces absolutely no visible shake allowing for an easy 5 stops, but possibly even the stated 8 stops. It’s a feature that I miss the most when using other cameras, and this feature alone, increases the value of this camera over many others.

Of course, we now have the famous Animal Eye AF in video. This allows you to easily track animals, whether its dogs, cats, birds, even insects. As someone who shoots their dog more often than I shoot any other subject, it’s a welcomed addition. I would imagine this to be particularly useful for birders. No longer needing to manually track the fast moving animal allows you to worry more on composition & exposure, than focus.

There’s a litany of other features as well. When you’re not shooting in 10-bit C-log, a few other options become available to you. First, we have HDR PQ mode, which enables an easy ready to display HDR image. There’s also the option to shoot in Canon’s profiles. You also have the ability to utilize the new “Clarity” slider. This seems to sharpen the image up in camera, but in a different way than compared to the “Sharpen” slider in C-Log. To put it simply, the new clarity slider acts the same way the clarity slider would work in Lightroom. So even when you’re not shooting in that 10-bit format, you’re still given enough features and options to get the absolute most out of your image.


Finally, we get to photography. I’m probably not the best person to look at for a photography review. My photos do not demand much from the camera. At least, not yet. My main photo camera before the R5 was the Sony A7R III. In terms of specs, very similar. However, in terms of performance, things are very clear. The R5 is possibly the best photography mirrorless camera on the market to date. Because it’s packing a heavy 45mp CMOS Sensor, photos are tack sharp. Combine this with the R5’s ability to shoot 12fps with its mechanical shutter and 20fps with the electronic shutter, and you have a powerhouse of a stills camera that’s sure to catch almost anything in your crosshairs. It also helps that you can utilize in insanely quick CFExpress card to never run into buffer issues despite the most demanding shoots.

Dynamic Range is quite incredible on the photo side of things. I don’t have absolute numbers or test results on this, but I find the dynamic range easily beats what you get out the EOS R, as well as my a7R III. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were around 14 – 15 usable stops. On top of the Dynamic Range, the ISO and low light performance has really surprised me as well. I did not expect this camera, due to its high MP sensor, to resolve low light detail as well as it does. Overall, there’s almost nothing to harp on in the photography mode.

Final Thoughts:

The Canon R5, in my opinion, is a (nearly) perfect hybrid camera. It’s a camera that perfectly fits into my type of content creation and workflow. Now, if you’re solely a videographer looking for a good handheld full-frame 4K video camera, this is not a camera I would recommend. In that sense, there’s no reason in getting any other camera other than the Sony A7S III. If you’re looking for a camera that can shoot 4K120 without issue, this is not a camera I would recommend. If you’re someone who wants the capability of shooting great 4K 24/30p with great IBIS and AF, as well as top photography specs and image quality, and may dip into 4K60p from time to time, then this is the perfect camera for you. And if you’re looking to shoot in 8K downsampled 4K, or want to shoot unlimited 4K60p, then I only recommend this camera if you plan to purchase an external recorder.

Now, if you are that hybrid shooter, who does want to invest into a Ninja to get the most out of this camera, you need to be wary you’re adding much more to the cost of the camera. I’d say around $5100 total. This means you’re reaching Cinema prices which are very hard to ignore. While I understand that most of us would prefer the usability and mobility of the SLR body, it does need to be noted you’ll get much more reliability out of a Cine. So make sure you’re very aware of the type of content you’re creating.

All in all, I’m giving the Canon EOS R5 a

4 / 5

This is because it does everything else perfectly. Internal 10-bit 4:2:2 C-Log in all modes is a dream. It has the best AF system I’ve used, the best IBIS system I’ve used, some of the best ergonomics and menu structures. Some of the best lenses in the mirrorless game. The best photography specs and features in a camera to date. And the best 4K image quality I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, the overheating issue is big enough to stain the “trust” in the camera. However, I have no doubt Canon will alleviate some of these issue in future firmware, which will then place this camera at a perfect score. Canon, you’re so close to the “perfect” hybrid camera. Do yourself a favor, and get there!



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