Canon with great fanfare announced two flagship cameras last week. The Canon EOS R5 and the Canon EOS R6. They join their range of mirrorless full frame cameras which include the Canon EOS R and EOS RP. The R5 and R6 are not on sale yet but are available for preorder.
We ask which would you choose when selecting between the Canon EOS R vs R5 vs R6
Would You Preorder?
Both new cameras are available for preorder before the cameras go on sale at the end of the month. (July 2020). Unusually the cameras have not been available to independent reviewers. There is now some suspicion that Canon may have launched too early and there is now some kind of hitch, but that aside.
Would you preorder the R5 or R6 just based on what we know about their specification?
Furthermore, if you were already a Canon EOS R user would you preorder and replace your existing camera?
Specification: Canon EOS R vs R5 vs R6
The new EOS R5 and R6 certainly have some brilliant new features. 8K video is the big new innovation on the R5. No other camera has this. Remember though, I will be looking at these cameras as a stills photographer who does a little bit of video.
The R5 has been described as a computer with a lens. Certainly, the new DIGIC X processor will have to be beefy to handle 8K video. Whether it can do so without overheating? We await the reviews to find out.
The EOS R seems to be the Goldilocks of the three cameras, with a sensor that is neither too big nor too small at 30MP. The RAW files from the R5 45mp sensor could be too big for many workflows. This may mean upgrading hardware. The smaller 21MP sensor on the R6 is after all a similar sensor to the Canon 1D X III, which has worked well for thousands of professional photographers.
In Body Stabilisation
Motion sickness is when you pull up that special shot in Lightroom only to find that there is camera shake. Stabilisation has been on lenses for years, but now Canon has a system on the EOS 5 and 6 that can provide 8 stops of compensation, by combining both systems. Handheld shots at low shutter speeds will now be even more possible and passable.
Following the firmware upgrade to the EOS R. All three cameras now have similar face and eye AF detection capability.
Shoot in the Dark
The low light performance of the EOS R was already impressive at EV-6. The EOS R6 takes that a tad further to EV-6.5, coupled with an impressive maximum ISO of 102400. Add in IBIS, and the EOS R6 really can shoot in the dark.
Could it be that eventually, an electronic viewfinder will see the world more clearly than a traditional DSLR via mirror and prism? It must be getting close with the impressive 5.69 million dot resolution on the miniature OLED display on the R5.
Video Replaces fps.
Is video now good enough for stills? The 8K video on the R5 could be the biggest game changer for photography this decade?
Each frame in an 8K video is a 35 megapixel still image.
The fps on the R5 and R6 are impressive especially for sports and wildlife photographers. However, why not take a burst of 8K video and choose your optimal image from hundreds of frames. This is possible on the R5 which has a frame grab function that enables you to take high-resolution 35.4MP stills from 8K footage.
How well will this work? Again we await the reviews.
The EOS R has just one card slot. This was a contentious issue when the camera was first launched. Canon has however made amends. The R6 now has 2 SD card slots. The R5 has an SD card slot and a CFexpress card slot. A CFexpress card is however very expensive, a 256GB card could set you back £500.
Decision: Canon EOS R vs R5 vs R6
If I was choosing which camera to buy based on price, then the R wins hands down. It may be a couple of years old, and although it started out a bit shakily because it was a revolutionary step for Canon, it has now become a favourite of many photographers. If you are not bothered about IBIS. Plus if you can survive with just one card slot. Then the R is the choice.
What though if you already have an R and are looking to upgrade? Is it the R5 or the R6? There is no doubt that if you are a stills photographer, if you go for the Canon EOS R5, you are buying a lot of video capability that you may not need.
However, if you are a wildlife or sports photographer then the 8K to stills option on the R5 may be revolutionary. If that works it would make the R5 a worthwhile purchase.
If you go for the Canon EOS R6 you get most of the spec of the R5 but without the video capability. Although the sensor is smaller than the other two. It is a proven performer from the Canon 1D X III, but without the workflow concerns of the 45MP sensor on the R5.
For a photographer rather than a filmmaker. The R6 has a lot of photography capability, for two thirds the price of the Canon EOS R5. We await the reviews but the Canon EOS R6 is the choice.