Let’s face it you need some really good reasons to buy a Canon EOS R5. If you are not buying this camera for its video capability, and I am not. If you are not a professional photographer who needs the dual card slots and rugged build. How do you justify a spend of £4100 (Dec 2019) on a stills camera (body only)? I could buy a second hand car for that or at least five iPhone 12s. So let’s run through 10 reasons to buy the Canon R5.
R5 IBIS….Is it a Reason to Buy?
I know other camera makers have got there first, but fair enough Canon has caught up with in-body-stabilisation. Remarkably the 5-axis IBIS system achieves up to 8 stops. That is virtually like shooting in the dark. (Reason 1) Couple this with the remarkable ISO on this camera (Reason 2), and there is now no need to buy big glass for low light photography. The EOS R5 stabilisation and ISO can take care of it.
So How Good is the R5 IBIS?
Look at this real world example from Bluewater Photo
We took full advantage of this feature and even shot some of our photos as low as 1/13th of a second. Even at those speeds the images were as crisp as if they had been shot at the camera’s sync speed. IBIS also allows you to expand the limits of your camera by allowing you to shoot at lower shutter speeds instead of having to raise your ISO. The added detail and peace of mind that there will be no motion blur makes Canon’s IBIS system one of its top features.
So How Good is the R5 ISO?
For this, we have to cross to the pre-eminent camera reviewer Ken Rockwell. This is what he says:
As seen at normal image sizes below, the R5 pretty much makes the same images from ISO 50 (L) to ISO 25,600. ISO 50 is a “pull” ISO, and thus has more highlight contrast. This usually increases perceived highlight detail, and can lead to clipped highlights if you have too much subject contrast, as in the case of the window reflection in the glass of the clock face. ISO 51,200 starts to have some chroma mottling (colored green and magenta blobs) and ISO 102,400 (H) gets blotchier and grainier and the shadows are lighter than they should be, but still quite usable if I need it for normal-sized images.
What this means in practice is that you can shoot ISO 25,600 with little or no effect on image quality, and beyond that, up to ISO 102.400 the images are still useable. Follow the link above to see Ken’s example high ISO images.
The RF Flange…Is it a Reason Buy?
Two of my favourite lenses are the RF 35mm f1.8 macro, which has 5 stops stabilisation but has 7 stops on the R5, and the RF 24-240mm f4-6.3 which increases from 5 stops to 6.5 stops. These are both quality lenses but not wildly expensive and in my view are as sharp as any Canon EF lens. (Reason 3)
This is because of the redesigned flange on the R series cameras. This means that because these cameras do not have a mirror assembly the lens mount can be placed closer to the sensor. From 44mm on EF lenses to 20mm on RF lenses.
Why does this mean better lenses at a lower price point? Well, it allows for a large element to be placed at the rear of the lens, which reduces the scope for optical aberrations and means lenses can be designed with fewer overall elements, which means they can be made smaller and with less glass.
R5 Sensor….Is it a Reason to Buy?
The Canon EOS R5 has a 45MP CMOS full frame sensor. If you want to find out how good it is. Head off to DXOMARK where sensors from the major manufacturers are reviewed and rated. The R5 sensor is rated at 95. Is that good? Yes. How does it compare with other Canon sensors? It is the best. The 5D Mark IV scores 91 and the R6 scores 90. Is it the best sensor in its class? No the Luminex DC-S1R scores 100 and is the best. Some Nikon and Sony cameras also beat the R5. But!
Let’s dig deeper.
If you dive into the data here. Then it is apparent that in terms of dynamic range the R5 sensor is up with the best. Colour sensitivity is as good as the best at higher ISOs but there is a fraction more noise at lower ISOs. However, at higher ISOs the R5 performs as well as the Luminex.
As for sensor performance, the EOS R5 sensor represents a high water mark for Canon. Maximum dynamic range is competitive with the best in class, and the R5 sensor offers a useful advantage at some crucial ISO settings over its rivals. It also has excellent color and low noise at high ISOs, which all go toward making the Canon EOS R5 one of the most well-rounded performers in this important category. It may have taken a while to get here, but the Canon EOS R5 looks set to be the one to beat.
If you are a specialist photographer doing more studio work. Then you may want to hold off until the rumoured high megapixel R5 (96MP?) is launched next year. Otherwise, DXOMARK has proved that the R5 sensor is the best Canon yet, and a great allrounder in all lighting conditions. (Reason 4)
AF Capability… Is it a Reason to Buy?
The top line is that this camera can lock onto an animal’s eye, and hold focus as the animal moves while shooting at 20fps. That is a 45MP file being produced every 0.05 seconds. As a result the R5 is the world’s highest pixel-rate camera at 900 MP/s. (Reason 5)
This camera is capable of shifting pixels faster than any other camera, utilising the video capability of DIGIC X processor, and the new RF mount which can move data ten times faster than the older EF mount.
The autofocus will detect people, bird and mammal faces and eyes. Recognising and tracking these subjects as they move around a scene. Even if a subject turns away from the camera, their head continues to be tracked so that their face is sharp when they turn back towards the camera.
The autofocus can even do this in low light down to -6EF which is roughly the light provided by a half moon.
We are now half way through the 10 reasons to buy a Canon R5. Convinced yet?
You may be wary of moving to an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) from a traditional DSLR with a mirror. Have no fear the R5 is here.
The R5 EVF has a resolution of 5.76m dots and a 120fps refresh rate. This is getting much closer to the sort of detail you would expect from a traditional through the lens experience. (Reason 6).
There is also a flippy screen (Reason 7) which allows you to take pictures from those hard to get low and odd angles.
R5 Weather Sealing
There is weather sealing and there is weather sealing. It is not very exciting but the weather sealing on the R5 is reckoned to be as good as the Canon 5D Mark IV. (Reason 8)
Back in 2018 imaging-resource.com tested four ‘pro’ cameras for their weather sealing characteristics.
They subjected the cameras to a 15 minute rainstorm and 15 minutes of mist with fine water droplets. (That fine rain that soaks you through according to Peter Kay.)
This is the result:
Sony needs to up their environmental-sealing game if they want to compete in this high-end/professional market segment. We’d feel differently if all the cameras failed the test; we would have concluded that the test was just too harsh for the current state of the market, even though it was a reasonable representation of conditions a camera might be exposed to. That wasn’t the case, though; the D850 had a very minor problem with leakage into its viewfinder, that seems to be entirely solved by using the BS-3 hot shoe cover – and the 5DIV and E-M1II had no problems whatsoever.
It’s about the balance of risks. You probably never intend to stand in the rain in a muddy field in the Lake District shooting the landscape. Probably you will never be at the ocean edge on a beach in California photographing kiteboards. You will no doubt try and avoid the dust storms of Kuwait and Syria. However, there will come a day when you are thankful for the Canon professional level weather sealing in the R5.
R5 Voice Memo Recorder
Second lastly a small feature. There is a blue microphone button on the top left at the back of the camera which records spoken notes. (It can also be configured to rate exposures). This is a unique feature and can record voice memos up to 30 seconds. To play the memo (you will see a [♪] icon if one was recorded for an image), tap the mic button to start.
(Reason 9) This has to be a must for photojournalists, sports photographers and travel writers.
This is the last of the 10 reasons to buy a Canon R5
The R5 has both WiFi and Bluetooth. The camera uses an always on Bluetooth low energy connection to connect to smart devices, allowing images to be browsed edited and transmitted on phones and tablets from anywhere. (Reason 10) Send images directly to a client or post immediately on social media
Ten good excuses to part with a lot of money. 10 reasons to buy the Canon R5. However remember a new camera is not going to make you a better photographer, but the R5 may just give you the edge