Canon EOS R5 Review
Canon EOS R5 First Impressions
We were given a very early opportunity by Canon UK to see the exciting new EOS R5 full-frame mirrorless camera at a briefing at Canon's headquarters in London with David Parry, Product Marketing Specialist.
While the camera that we saw was possibly a non-working dummy (Canon wouldn't turn it on or even open the battery compartment), it was fully representative of the camera that will eventually ship in 2020 in terms of its finalized size, design and control layout.
The New Mirrorless EOS 5 Series is Born
Canon told us that the EOS R5 is officially a 5-series camera. It's not a direct replacement for the EOS 5D Mark IV, rather the equivalent of it in Canon's mirrorless range.
So in future, we might expect to see a more professional EOS R1 and a more affordable EOS R6, if the DSLR naming convention is stictly adhered to.
Therefore, as with the incredibly popular EOS 5D, the new EOS R5 is intended to be an all-round camera for serious enthusiasts and pros, suitable for everything from wedding to sports photography.
Canon wouldn't comment on the level of weather-proofing that the EOS R5 will have, but we'd be surprised if it wasn't at least comparable to the EOS 5D Mark IV.
Half EOS R, Half EOS 5D Mk IV
The top of the EOS R5 bears more than a passing similarity to the EOS R - in fact, it's virtually identical, with exactly the same LCD status panel and control layout, just with a slight increase in thickness.
Meanwhile, the rear of the EOS R5 seems to have been lifted directly from the EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR, with an array of controls that will be instantly familiar to anyone who has used an EOS 5-series camera before, including the classic Canon control wheel.
The EOS R5 also benefits from both a tilting LCD screen and dual memory card slots for the first time in Canon's fledging full-frame mirrrorless system.
Clarifying the Speculation Around 8K Video
Canon have taken the very unusual step of publishing further information about the development of the EOS R5 in order to directly address online speculation about the camera's ability to record 8K video, principally whether or not it introduces a crop factor in order to do so.
The short answer is that it doesn't, instead using the full width of the sensor to record 8K video at up to 30p, and using Canon's renowned Dual Pixel CMOS AF system whilst doing so.
Compared to Canon's previous implementations of 4K on their other mirrorless cameras (the EOS R has a 1.8x crop when recording 4K), this is very welcome news indeed. If the specs pan out, the R5 should be the leading mirrorless camera for video, unless Sony can answer the challenge...
David Parry was also excited about the sheer processing power that the R5 will have under its bonnet in order to achieve such high-quality video, and what that might mean for other features, although he wouldn't elaborate on exactly what those features might be, other than the high-speed 20fps electronic / 12fps mechanical burst shooting that Canon have already revealed.
Intelligent Autofocus – Animal AF for Dogs, Cats and Birds
Canon UK's David Parry was especially excited about the R5's ability to track and auto-focus on birds, as well as dogs and cats, recognising everything from ostriches to sparrows.
Keen bird photographers will surely be chomping at the proverbial bit to try out the R5 and find out if it really can take a lot of the legwork out of what has always one of the more technically difficult photography disciplines.
The Mfn Bar is Dead (at least on this model)
The innovative / controversial (delete as appropriate) Mfn bar that made its debut on the EOS R is only conspicuous by its complete absence on the new EOS R5, with Canon explaining that a thumb-operated joystick was more appropriate for the new model's target audience.
While this may be true, we were struck by how high the joystick is positioned on the rear of R5 - almost inline with the centre of the viewfinder, rather than where the Info button is - which seems rather too high to find easily, especially compared with most other cameras that have this key control.
IBIS Makes its Debut on the R-Series
The EOS R5 is noticeably thicker than the EOS R when viewed from above, presumably to squeeze in the new, hotly anticipated IBIS unit, but it's not too thick.
It reminded us of the difference between the recently announced Fujifilm X-T4 and its non-IBIS predecessor, the X-T3, in that you can tell that the newer model is slightly thicker, but not objectionably so.
The new IBIS feature will work in conjunction with the lens' image stabilization system, although Canon haven't provided any clarification yet on precisely how the two systems will co-exist.
Perhaps even more excitingly, the R5 will be able to stabilise any RF lens that doesn't have its own stabilization, AND any EF lens that is fitted to the R5 via the Canon EF-EOS R mount adapter. Think of all that vintage EF glass which will instantly be stabilized when mounted on the new EOS R5!
We're not quite sure yet what will happen when you fit a stabilized Canon EF lens onto the R5...
The Mysterious Front Port
On the front of the EOS R5 at the bottom-right is a rather mysterious circular port protected by a rubber cover. It's mostly likely for a remote release, but Canon wouldn't officially confirm what it actually does when questioned. Suggestions in the comments below, please!
We may not have been able to touch it, turn it on, try it out, or even look at the bottom of it (no word of a lie), but our first encounter with the new Canon EOS R5 definitely leaves us wanting to find out much more about what will surely be a pivotal camera for the Japanese giant.
What do you think? Could this be one of the most important cameras in Canon's illustrious history? Leave a comment below...