Initial experiences with the new Canon EOS R5

Initial experiences with the new Canon EOS R5

So, now I was able to spend some days with the new Canon EOS R5. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I only had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to take some “wildlife” pic­tures of the bird life in my gar­den at home. You can find some pic­tures in this arti­cle.

But first I start­ed to con­fig­ure the cam­era, which was very com­plex due to the very exten­sive range of set­tings.

Configuration - What did I change?

I have been using Canon DSLR cam­eras for many years and have grad­u­al­ly opti­mized the menu set­tings for my pur­pos­es. For­tu­nate­ly, the new EOS R5 has also inher­it­ed many of the options of its old­er mir­rored pre­de­ces­sors, so I was able to restore my famil­iar con­fig­u­ra­tion as far as pos­si­ble. This is espe­cial­ly impor­tant to me because I want to keep using my EOS 5DS R with­out hav­ing to con­stant­ly rethink the han­dling. In the main, I have con­fig­ured the fol­low­ing set­tings in the menu of the EOS 5R:

Image quality (SHOOT1)

I only shoot in RAW for­mat, so I select­ed RAW as image qual­i­ty in the menu. In the RAW-for­mat, all infor­ma­tion of the chip is saved, what allows an exten­sive post pro­cess­ing of the pic­tures in the max­i­mum pos­si­ble qual­i­ty on the com­put­er at home. My stan­dard appli­ca­tion for edit­ing and man­ag­ing my images is Adobe Light­room Clas­sic*, that I already use for many years (since ver­sion 1.0).

I do not yet have any great expe­ri­ence with the com­pressed and much more space-sav­ing cRAW for­mat offered by the EOS R5, my pre­vi­ous EOS DSLR cam­eras did not sup­port it. The Canon RAW for­mat was already com­pressed before, but with­out a loss of image infor­ma­tion. The new cRAW for­mat now allows a small loss of infor­ma­tion. At first glance, how­ev­er, the image qual­i­ty hard­ly seems to suf­fer but the files become about 40% small­er, which also increas­es the num­ber of pos­si­ble shots until the buffer is filled.

By the way, Sony Alpha 7R cam­eras com­press their RAW files lossy by default, but this does­n’t bring any vis­i­ble dis­ad­van­tages. JPEG files are also always lossy com­pressed.

In RAW for­mat, the cam­era can take at least 45 frames at 20 frames/second accord­ing to the dis­play in the viewfind­er and at least 84 frames at 20 frames/second in cRAW for­mat before they are writ­ten to the card. The record­ing speed after­wards depends on the writ­ing speed of the mem­o­ry card. With my Wise 512GB CFex­press Card, the speed after the inter­nal buffer ist filled, remains at 5-7 fps in RAW and 13-14 fps in cRAW.

A detailed com­par­i­son between Canon RAW and cRAW can be found at The-Digital-Picture.com

ISO speed settings (SHOOT2)

I usu­al­ly work with Auto ISO. Here I left the default Auto range of 100-12800, as the EOS R5 gives good results even at high ISO val­ues:

Euro­pean robin (Sig­ma 60-600 bei 600mm, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 5000)

Shutter mode(SHOOT6)

I have includ­ed this menu item in the quick menu, since it has to be changed fre­quent­ly.

The EOS R5 achieves the fastest pos­si­ble con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing speed of 20 frames per sec­ond and is com­plete­ly silent only in ful­ly elec­tron­ic mode. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it is not pos­si­ble to set a slow­er speed, you can either choose 20 frames/second or sin­gle frame mode. The down­side of the elec­tron­ic shut­ter is that a dis­tor­tion of fast mov­ing objects, the so called rolling shut­ter, can occur. In arti­fi­cial light there can be stripes in the image and the dynam­ic range might be slight­ly reduced because the sen­sor is only read with 12bit. So I use the ful­ly elec­tron­ic mode only for action sequences / wildlife with­out arti­fi­cial light or if the cam­era should remain as incon­spic­u­ous as pos­si­ble.

Für alle langsameren sta­tis­chen Auf­nah­men ist hinge­gen der mech­a­nis­che Ver­schluss zu bevorzu­gen, Blitzen geht nur mit ihm. Ich ver­wende ihn meist. Er erre­icht bei Bedarf aber auch eine Serien­bildgeschwindigkeit von bis zu 12 Bildern/ Sekunde.

Disp. performance (SHOOT8)

I always set it to “smooth”, i.e. 120Hz, as the pic­ture in the viewfind­er is much more sta­ble, espe­cial­ly when pan­ning, and sub­jects can be fol­lowed more eas­i­ly. It uses a bit more pow­er for this. Any­way, the viewfind­er: The res­o­lu­tion is now so high, that for the first time I no longer miss the opti­cal viewfind­er of a clas­sic DSLR. In the dark, the view through the viewfind­er is even bet­ter (because it is much brighter) than with a DSLR.

AF operation (AF1)

As usu­al, I set the AF mode to “SERVO-AF” because I always sep­a­rate the focus from the shut­ter release. So, if I don’t want to change a focus any­more, I just take my thumb off the AF-ON but­ton and have the same effect as in “ONE SHOT” mode. With the EOS R5, I’ m now using the AF method for face detec­tion and track­ing by default. I match the pri­or­i­ty of the Scene Recog­ni­tion to the shoot­ing sit­u­a­tion (Ani­mals in the zoo and on safari, Peo­ple at fam­i­ly events). I have the eye recog­ni­tion always acti­vat­ed, which is one of the great strengths of the EOS R5. The con­tin­u­ous AF remains switched off.

Servo AF (AF3)

Here it is worth exper­i­ment­ing a lit­tle for your own shoot­ing sit­u­a­tions. I have cur­rent­ly set “Case 2”, and in doing so have fur­ther reduced the AI ser­vo response to -2, so that the focus sticks to the sub­ject once cap­tured.

Switching tracked subjects (AF4)

To increase the “stick­ing” to the sub­ject even more, I have entered “0” (Dis­able) here.

Customize buttons (C.Fn3)

As I am used to for years, I changed the but­ton assign­ment to back­but­ton focus­ing. Now the shut­ter release only serves for meter­ing and tak­ing pic­tures, the focus­ing is done sep­a­rate­ly by the cor­re­spond­ing thumb but­ton “AF-ON”. I have been using this method on all my cam­eras for many years.

A spe­cial fea­ture of the Canon EOS R5 is its intel­li­gent focus algo­rithm, which rec­og­nizes peo­ple, ani­mals, heads, faces and eyes. To be able to react quick­ly, I have there­fore even select­ed two but­tons for focus­ing this time. My stan­dard mode is now the intel­li­gent sub­ject recog­ni­tion with -track­ing, I have put this func­tion on the “AF-ON” but­ton.

Addi­tion­al­ly, I con­fig­ured the focus­ing on a freely selec­table spot focus field on the “” but­ton. This mode is very help­ful to focus exact­ly through a tree gap or fence, for exam­ple. So I can select both modes very quick­ly depend­ing on the shoot­ing sit­u­a­tion. Often I use the “” but­ton to focus on a sub­ject at first and then switch to the “AF-ON” but­ton to fol­low it up.

So I have con­fig­ured the fol­low­ing in the “Cus­tomize but­tons” menu:

Shutter button half-pressed

As men­tioned above, I do not use the shut­ter release to focus, I do this sep­a­rate­ly with my thumb on the “AF-ON” but­ton. There­fore I have select­ed “Mea­sure­ment Start” here. Alter­na­tive­ly, the “*” (AE lock while but­ton pressed) can be select­ed, then the expo­sure con­trol is saved and used for all fol­low­ing shots until the shut­ter but­ton is released com­plete­ly. How­ev­er, this has some­times cost me a few shots in con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing series, e.g. when ani­mals moved from shad­ow to sun­ny areas and the shots were sud­den­ly com­plete­ly over­ex­posed. Since then, I leave it at ” Meter­ing start”.

AF-ON

For this but­ton I have select­ed the first menu item ” Meter­ing and AF Start”. In the detailed set­ting, which is opened by press­ing the “INFO” but­ton, I have set:

  • AF mode: Ser­vo
  • AF method: face detect and track­ing
  • Ser­vo AF char­ac­ter­is­tics: - main­tain cur­rent set­ting

In this mode, you can first posi­tion the small vis­i­ble AF area in the viewfind­er where you want to focus. If a face is there, the cam­era tries to locate the eyes and focus on them. This is also very help­ful with birds:

Eurasian blue tit (400mm with 1,4 Exten­der, 560mm f4.0, 1/125, ISO 125)

The ini­tial focus field also allows you to select the per­son or ani­mal to be focused on from sev­er­al peo­ple or ani­mals. As long as the “AF-ON” but­ton is pressed, the focus remains locked on the select­ed sub­ject.

AE Lock button (*)

This but­ton allows me to focus on small sub­jects through gaps, for exam­ple a small bird in a tree. The fol­low­ing set­tings in the detailed set­tings via the “Info” but­ton allow this:

  • AF mode: Ser­vo
  • AF meth­ode: Spot AF
  • Ser­vo AF characteristics:maintain cur­rent set­ting

SET button

I have assigned the loupe func­tion to the “Set” but­ton in the mid­dle of the back dial.

Multi-Controller

The small joy­stick called “mul­ti-con­troller” to the right of the viewfind­er is used, among oth­er things, to move the focus point. For rea­sons that I have not been able to under­stand for years, this use­ful func­tion is deac­ti­vat­ed by default in Canon cam­eras. To use the joy­stick to select the focus point, the AF field but­ton on the right cam­era shoul­der must always be pressed first in the basic set­ting. There­fore I have always acti­vat­ed the option “Direct selec­tion AF field”.

Initial findings

After the con­fig­u­ra­tion, it went into the gar­den for the first tests, for which some gar­den birds had to serve. Some results are shown above. All in all I am very impressed by the han­dling and the image qual­i­ty of the cam­era.

Viewfinder

As writ­ten above, the EOS R5’s elec­tron­ic viewfind­er is excel­lent. The res­o­lu­tion is so high, that I can’t see any pix­els. I think that any­one who looks through it with­out any bias will not see much dif­fer­ence to the viewfind­er of a DSLR. Last evening, I took my 5DS R again and was shocked by how dark the opti­cal viewfind­er is in the twi­light - this is where the elec­tron­ic viewfind­er of the R5 clear­ly scores. In com­par­i­son with my SONY Alpha 7R III, which I have been using up to now, the very low switch-on delay of the Canon EOS R5 of less than one sec­ond is also very wel­come. With the Sony, I some­times had the feel­ing of miss­ing a shot until it was ready for use.

Autofocus

Aut­o­fo­cus is cer­tain­ly one of the EOS R5’s killer fea­tures. Dur­ing my exper­i­ments with those small gar­den birds, it almost was glued to them. After a few moments, the cam­era rec­og­nized the eyes and moved the focus with incred­i­ble speed, even when tak­ing a series of shots at 20 frames per sec­ond! The num­ber of mis­fo­cus­es pic­tures was almost non-exis­tent - this is a huge progress.

Compatibility

Since I already own a lot of EF lens­es and want to still use my Canon EOS 5DS R at least as a sec­ond body, I ordered noth­ing more than the EF-R mount adapter for the cam­era. At first, I plan to con­tin­ue using my exist­ing lens­es with this adapter.

Well, the good news: all the lens­es I’ve tried so far work at least as well as on the EOS 5DS R.

The 85 f1.2L II USM is now even more fun to use, as the focus is now exact­ly on the eyes in all por­traits. With the DSLRs, I always had more than 50% waste at open aper­ture because the phase con­trast AF was not accu­rate enough.

The 17mm TS-E is much more fun to use with mir­ror­less cam­eras any­way, because the result of the tilt/shift adjust­ment can now be viewed through the elec­tron­ic viewfind­er. With DSLR bod­ies, the opti­cal viewfind­er shows strong vignetting when the lens axes are adjust­ed, only the mon­i­tor in live view is usable. When the sun is shin­ing, it is dif­fi­cult to see any­thing on the mon­i­tor. In addi­tion, it can­not be moved on the 5D and 7D bod­ies. By the way, the TS-E was an major rea­son for my inter­mez­zo with the adapt­ed Sony Alpha 7R I-III bod­ies - but now I can do all this)with a Canon cam­era again 😉 . Very use­ful with the TS-E (and all oth­er man­u­al lens­es) is also the great focus assist tool of the R5, which can be dis­played in the viewfind­er. It reminds me of the split image indi­ca­tors from old ana­log times.

My Sig­ma 60-600 f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports* - Zoom also works great on the adapter, I took the pic­ture of the robin above with it - hand­held at 600mm. The eye AF also works very well with this lens. The focus area is slight­ly lim­it­ed, how­ev­er, it still cov­ers about 80% of the frame ver­ti­cal­ly and hor­i­zon­tal­ly. But this is still far more than with Canon DSLR cam­eras:

AF area with the Sig­ma 60-600

The EF 400mm f2.8L II IS USM - fan­tas­tic with or with­out exten­der!

After my good expe­ri­ences with the lens on the Sony a7R III, I have now bought the Samyang AF 14/2.8 again. Because I want to use it on my EOS 5DS R as well, I decid­ed to choose the EF ver­sion. I have pub­lished fur­ther infor­ma­tion about the lens in a sep­a­rate report.

Accessories

Every new cam­era requires new acces­sories, which should be con­sid­ered when buy­ing.

Energy…

It’ s nice that the EOS R5 can use any exist­ing bat­ter­ies of the EOS 5D/ 7D series. The some­what new­er LP-E6N bat­ter­ies, of which I for­tu­nate­ly already own three, can even be charged in the cam­era via USB-C, the cur­rent LP-E6NH, which comes with the cam­era and has a slight­ly high­er capac­i­ty, any­way. With the even old­er LP-E6 bat­ter­ies, this is prob­a­bly not pos­si­ble.

Due to the exor­bi­tant­ly high price of the orig­i­nal Canon bat­ter­ies, I bought addi­tion­al cloned bat­ter­ies. After exten­sive research on the Inter­net, I ordered two Blumax bat­ter­ies*, because these should be high­ly com­pat­i­ble with the orig­i­nals. The bat­ter­ies have arrived in the mean­time and work per­fect­ly in my cam­era. In the EOS R5’s ” Bat­tery info” menu they are rec­og­nized as LP-E6N bat­ter­ies and can also be reg­is­tered in the cam­era with their own iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­ber.

Charg­ing works both in cam­era by USB-C, as well as in the orig­i­nal Canon charg­er up to 100%. Both bat­ter­ies show three green bars in the bat­tery sta­tus menu of my cam­era. Accord­ing to the label, the capac­i­ty of the Blumax bat­ter­ies with 2040 mAh is close to the capac­i­ty of the new LP-E6NH bat­ter­ies (2130 mAh). I can­not check if this is real­ly true, but so far my ini­tial impres­sion is pos­i­tive.

Since the mir­ror­less cam­eras always need more pow­er than DSLR cam­eras, I also ordered the Bat­tery grip BG-R10*, which can be used with two bat­ter­ies. But this has not been deliv­ered yet.

As I wrote above, the cam­era can also be charged or oper­at­ed via USB-C. But for this it needs a pow­er sup­ply unit with PD - (Pow­er-Deliv­ery) - func­tion. There­fore I ordered the USB C charg­er AUKEY 72W*, which allows the simul­ta­ne­ous charg­ing of a mobile phone and a tablet via 2 addi­tion­al­ly inte­grat­ed USB sock­ets.

Memory cards

The EOS R5 fea­tures two mem­o­ry card slots. In the SD card slot, I use my exist­ing 128GB SD cards. But if speed is impor­tant or if you want to film in 8K-RAW, even the fastest SD UHS-II cards are not fast enough and a new CFex­press Card is need­ed.

Even if I only film very lit­tle - but I would like to try it. Fur­ther­more, it is pos­si­ble to take out sin­gle frames from an 8k movie with up to 30 frames per sec­ond, which then still have a res­o­lu­tion of 35 megapix­els. Thus, the EOS R5 even allows con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing at 30 frames per sec­ond with full auto focus!

But not all CFex­press cards are capa­ble of pro­vid­ing the nec­es­sary speed. Although the label always promis­es suf­fi­cient speeds of more than 1000MB/s, only the larg­er cards (> 512GB) can main­tain this speed over a longer peri­od of time, which is nec­es­sary for video record­ing. Since the usu­al flash chips cur­rent­ly store about 128GB, cards with a size of 512GB and above usu­al­ly have at least 4 chips to which they can write simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, they are there­fore much faster than the small cards with only one or two flash chips. The small­er cards there­fore become slow­er once their inter­nal buffer is filled, and the 8K RAW record­ing will stop.

After a long time of research I decid­ed to buy a CFex­press card from Wise with 512GB*, which offered by far the best price/performance ratio with a price of about 400,-€ (I have found a spe­cial offer). In a short test, I was able to record 16 min­utes of 8K-RAW on it, until the cam­era stopped due to over­heat­ing. The record­ed file had a size of 300GB! I can high­ly rec­om­mend the card. As a card read­er I bought a San­Disk Extreme PRO CFex­press Card Read­er*. Con­trary to some reviews at ama­zon, it works with­out any prob­lems for me. The reviews seem to refer to a mechan­i­cal prob­lem with the first ver­sion of the read­er, which has now been fixed.

Screen protector

As with the Touch-Dis­plays of my Sonys, I attached a screen pro­tec­tor to the R5, because the dis­play is also more stressed by the swiv­el move­ment than the fixed mount­ed dis­play of the Canon 5DS R. I decid­ed then to use the safe­ty glass from Kinokoo*, because this was the first one avail­able. The set con­tains two dis­play glass­es for the main and shoul­der dis­play, as well as microfiber and clean­ing cloths.

The pro­tec­tive glass­es can be eas­i­ly applied and adhere adhae­sive­ly to the diplays with­out any prob­lems. Below are a few pic­tures of the set and the mount­ed pro­tec­tive glass­es:

The glass is only 0.3mm thick and does not hin­der the com­plete fold­ing of the dis­play towards the cam­era. It makes a very valu­able impres­sion, and accord­ing to Kinokoo, it has a hard­ness of 9H, cor­re­spond­ing to the GGS glass, that I used on my Sonys before. The touch oper­a­tion of the dis­play is not affect­ed by the pro­tec­tive glass either.

Résumé

I am com­plete­ly hap­py with the cam­era. The han­dling is, as expect­ed from Canon, first-class intu­itive, the build qual­i­ty is flaw­less and it inte­grates seam­less­ly into my exist­ing sys­tem. The Sony bod­ies, which I had used in the mean­time, were always a com­pro­mise solu­tion, despite increas­ing­ly bet­ter adapters - but to be fair, I have to say that I also took some won­der­ful pic­tures with them. With the release of the Sony Alpha 7R IV, I had even briefly con­sid­ered a com­plete sys­tem change.

But now I am back at Canon at 100%. I hope this report helps one or the oth­er to make a pur­chase deci­sion or to con­fig­ure this great cam­era. I would be glad about com­ments or fur­ther ques­tions.

*=Affil­i­ate Link

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