Archive for November, 2020

Is the EOS R5 all that?

Canon spent the better part of the the first half of 2020 teasing the world with a slow drip of stats on the new EOS R5 mirrorless camera body. This steady flow of juicy details however spent a fair bit of time oiling up the video features as opposed to its impressive still camera stats. This would prove to be a bit of a marketing error for the worlds largest camera maker as overheating and mandated maximum 30 minute clip size was a bit of a drag on the otherwise amazing machine.

I dug a little deeper and found what I thought to be a potential still camera juggernaut and anxiously awaited the announcement on my birthday in July of this year. The $3899 price was a bit daunting, and I spent the rest of July grinding out the reasoning on the cost benefit equation. On August 3rd I placed my order at Pro Photo Supply in Portland. I knew I would be on a long wait list as the cameras had already been available to pre-order for several weeks.

September rolls along and Canon delivered a small batch of cameras to USA retailers which moved me up on my list but not enough to take delivery. October was more of the same. Frustration was setting in as I had nearly four thousand bucks on the line and still no camera. Then at the end of October, Canon sent out a massive delivery presumably all across the fruited plains and I got the call. My EOS R5 was finally here!

It was just a day before the election and I figured if Trump won, they would burn the city down along with my shiny new EOS R5, so I cleared my schedule and immediately headed south along that perilous 7 mile journey between Vancouver WA and Portland OR 😉 Alas there it was, my EOS R5.

So is it all that? in a word, YES. Some people will complain that it took Canon too long to implement an IBIS system, and the features they pushed in the marketing blitz were not those they should have highlighted. I might agree actually since I like still photos more than video anyway. This camera is a solid video camera but it is a fantastic stills camera. Canon has delivered a camera that can match the speed of Sony’s a9 II and the resolution of Nikon’s Z7. They have the best still photo IBIS on the planet and an autofocus system that is once again on top. 

For those few who are not aware of the R5’s spec prowess, here it is:

  • 45 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • 5 axis IBIS with enough room to push the boundaries toward 4-5 stops
  • 20 FPS with full AF electronic and 12 FPS mechanical with full AF
  • Eye detection AF is improved over EOS R and added excellent animal eye detection
  • 5.76 m-dot EVF and 2.1 m-dot 3.2 inch fully articulating screen
  • Full width 8k 30p video, full width 4k 120p.

There’s quite a bit more to the spec sheet, but that sums it up well enough. I actually would have been happy with a “$2499 EOS R II” with IBIS and the animal eye detection. But canon decided the $2499 camera (EOS R6) would have the smaller 20 megapixel sensor from the EOS 1DX Mk II. I really didn’t want to go backwards on resolution although I did give it careful consideration. 

As a guy who reviews a lot of vintage glass on this blog, you can imagine just how awesome a few stops of IBIS means when shooting an old school Leica rangefinder lens in low light. I’m not really going to do a full blown review of this camera as that has been done to death on YouTube and all over the blogosphere. A great deal of negativity surrounded the 8K video mode and its overheating issue. I will not likely shoot 8k and frankly I rarely shoot 4k, so I won’t have to worry about that.

This new camera offers 50% MORE resolution yet delivers MORE dynamic range. Some still may say the 42mp Sony a7R III has better dynamic range, but I bet they are close enough at this point. The Canon is reputed to be on par with the 61mp Sony a7R IV as far as exposure range is concerned. I am not concerned with the extra mega pixels as I feel 45 will be more than most of my lenses can resolve anyway. I have some amazing L series lenses, but 45mp is about double the resolution of Kodachrome 64, so I’m good with that 🙂

The EOS R5 IBIS is excellent for still use. I shot the picture on the right with an 85/1.2 L Mk II at just 1/20th second hand held. Some folks may have steady enough shooting hands to do that without IBIS, but NOT ME. Here I am able to shoot this shot in available light at ISO 100 because the IBIS is there to help me stabilize the image. It is RAZOR sharp and thankfully Muffin the Cat didn’t move much 🙂 As good as the 85 L is, the sensor on this camera is more than a match for it. 

The camera also has rather excellent ISO performance. The camera delivers what seems to be noticeably superior results versus my EOS R across the board at least to ISO 12,800. Above that not sure if the smaller pixels start to hurt the R5. ISO 800 is as good on the R5 as 400 was on the R. I think the Digic X processor plays a big role in that.

This EOS R5 is the best all round camera you can buy right now. Seriously, it is everything the EOS 5D Mk V would have been and more. I doubt Canon will launch a 5D Mk V because… why would they? This camera can be used as a hard core sports camera if need be with 12 FPS and up to 20 electronic. This is almost as fast as the EOS 1DX Mk III which does 16 FPS mechanical and 20 FPS electronic. It delivers all this crazy raging speed with 45 megapixels not just 20 like the 1DX Mk III and more than the 24mp that the Sony a9 II has. Canon really lit the photo world up with this camera and I feel like I can hold on to this one for years to come.

Muffin the Cat, R5 with 24 L. ISO 800 1/50 second @ f/1.4

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