Having created images and moving pictures since I was a teen, in my opinion, the Canon EOS line of cameras is the end all be all for filmmaking and photography.
It began with the EOS 5D Mark II (5Dm2) which was released in the late noughties. It set the tone for the next decade for DSLR cameras with Full HD video recording in the full-frame form factor. This gave rise to the hybrid cameras of today.
So it was with intense excitement that I got down to using the R5 for the purpose of this review… and deep down, I am hoping for it to live up to all its expectations.
On first sight, the visual build of the camera’s body alone is satisfying—the classic full grip of a Canon EOS camera is well-present. Easy handling of the body enables the quip equipping of of the kit lens (RF 24-105mm F/4), and it isn’t long before I was squeezing the shutter button.
The R5 comes with an articulating screen, making this camera good for vloggers. And, if for some unknown reason, you want to take a selfie. The touch screen is responsive and navigating the menus is easy.
The Canon R5 boasts up to 8K video in 30 frames per second (fps) on the 45-megapixel full-frame sensor and features an 8-stop in-body stabilisation (IBIS). It also comes with 2 card slots, a CFExpress Type B and an SDXC slot for your storage needs.
The buttons and dials were, mostly, at their usual places and are intuitive. The R5 also has a specific dial for each of the settings in the exposure triangle (shutter, aperture & ISO). Switching between modes is no more than a click of the mode button and a tap on the touch screen. Feel like squeezing off a few photos while in video mode or vice versa? Press the shutter button while in video mode for photos or press the record button when in photo mode.
Shooting 20 fps in electronic shutter mode for photos. Autofocus is also improved with the brand-new Dual Pixel CMOS AF II. In 4K and below, the R5 can do up to 120fps (100fps for us in PAL mode) for that buttery smooth slow-motion video. The R5 will not disappoint in the image quality and the specifications department.
Out in the field
We took the R5 out to a street soccer court to give it a run-out. All the main features that were promised in the spec sheet worked great. The Dual Pixel II autofocus was fast and natural. Slow-motion in 4k 100fps was smooth. The 8K video really looked crisp and sharp.
The R5 certainly fulfilled all Canon promised in the spec sheet…. until we hit a stumbling block.
One of the things in the Canon spec sheet was the recording limit on the R5 in video mode. Each clip you record will chip away at it. When it runs out, the overheating warning will start blinking on the monitor and recording stops. Touching the CFExpress card felt hot. We believe that this is done to protect the circuitry in the camera.
Turning off the camera and waiting for it to cool off did not work. In our experience, even after a day of leaving the camera alone, the timer did not reset fully. Canon did assure us that a firmware upgrade may extend it a little and the timer would reset, however, at the point of this review, the issue was still there.
The Canon EOS R5 does a great job bridging the gap between photography cameras and cinema camcorders, functioning as a fantastic hybrid camera. Unfortunately, the recording limit in video mode can be a real pain and using it exclusively for video can be frustrating at times.
The Canon EOS R5 retails at S$6,199 (body only) and S$7,898 (RF 24-105 f/4L IS USM kit)