I have been thinking of the R5 as the successor to the EOS 5D Mark IV since the rumors started to flood in. But today, as I sit down to write this post, is the first time that I have put the two cameras side by side.
There are almost as many differences as there are similarities between the two. And it becomes clear how smart Canon were with the EOS R.
The original EOS R, released in 2018, was Canon’s first full frame mirrorless camera, and didn’t fit in to any existing product lines. This allowed Canon to try things that may have been seen as too adventurous on a successor to existing camera. The main things we saw were the touch sensitive Multi-function bar, a reimagined Quick control dial and relocation of the movie record button. All of this came wrapped in a smaller body than we’re used to seeing in a Canon full frame camera.
18 months later, with the release of the R5, we see how these changes have been married to an existing product line: gone is the poorly received Multi-function bar; the classic Quick control dial returns, but it’s joined by the new Quick control dial (cunningly called “Quick control dial 2”). In fact, the R5 has more control options than I know what to do with – two control dials, a main dial and the Multi-controller. And let’s not forget that Canon’s RF lenses all have a Control Ring on them.
In the hand it feels small and light compared to the 5D Mark IV, yet everything is instantly familiar. Even the new quick dial (which occupies part of the top deck LCD’s real estate on the 5D IV) is in a great place, and allows you to instantly adjust the ISO without having to hold down an extra button.
Enough about the ergonomics. Let’s get to what it’s like to actually use.
In single shot mode, it’s the most capable portrait and still life camera Canon have produced to date. Beautifully rendered colors are brought into crisp focus, and can be backed up to the second card slot. It’s a Golden Labrador – familiar, loyal, knows several good tricks and will not let you down.
In video mode, it’s more like a caged tiger. There’s so much power and capability housed within – uncropped 4K at 120 frames per second, 8K RAW – that if you’re not extremely careful you’ll end up getting hurt by it. Bring some large CFExpress Type B cards, a spare battery and plenty of fast hard drive space for editing and you’ll be fine though.
But set this camera to high frame burst mode, and be prepared to have your breath taken away. Up to 20 frames per second (with the electronic shutter, 12 with the mechanical), 100% Dual Pixel AF coverage, no EVF black out, and up to 30 seconds of buffer. This is a Kentucky Derby winning thoroughbred horse.