Canon EOS R5C

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Yes­ter­day, Canon unveiled the video ver­sion of the EOS R5 that had already been announced in the rumor mill: the EOS R5C.

Even though video is not my pri­ma­ry field of inter­est, the new cam­era is still very impres­sive. When the Canon EOS R5 was intro­duced, it was pri­mar­i­ly the new video capa­bil­i­ties that were adver­tised. The R5 was the first full-frame sys­tem cam­era that could record videos in 8k format.

Nev­er­the­less, it was pri­mar­i­ly a cam­era that was designed for pho­tog­ra­phy and also achieved excel­lent results in this area. Here I would just like to men­tion the high res­o­lu­tion of 45 megapix­els with a max­i­mum con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing rate of 20 frames / sec­ond and the excel­lent dual-pix­el AF sys­tem with eye / body detec­tion for peo­ple and ani­mals. I’ve been using the Canon EOS R5 since mid-2020 and remain very impressed with its results.

Nev­er­the­less, the cam­era was quick­ly crit­i­cized for stop­ping record­ing after some time due to over­heat­ing in high-res­o­lu­tion video modes. This is a prob­lem with many oth­er cam­eras as well. Pro­fes­sion­al high-res­o­lu­tion video cam­eras, such as the Pana­son­ic S1H and the pre­vi­ous Canon Cin­e­ma cam­eras, use an active fan to cool the sen­sor for this reason.

Even though the record­ing dura­tion and cool-down time in video mode of the R5 could be improved by firmware updates, the basic prob­lem always remained on everyone’s lips. Com­plete­ly unfair in my opin­ion, since the video func­tion was nev­er the planned pri­ma­ry appli­ca­tion of the R5. But Canon has react­ed and now deliv­ers a ver­sion of the R5 that has been opti­mized for video oper­a­tion: the Canon EOS R5C (C for Cinema).

What has Canon changed in the R5C?

The most notice­able change in the new cam­era is obvi­ous when you look at it: it now has an active cool­ing posi­tioned between the sen­sor and the dis­play. This now allows unlim­it­ed record­ing time in video mode. The 29-minute record­ing time lim­it, which exists on the R5 in all video modes, is also elim­i­nat­ed. The active cool­ing increas­es the body depth by 22.5mm and the weight by 30g in com­par­i­son to the R5.

Oth­er changes con­cern the but­tons and switch­es. The R5C now has a ded­i­cat­ed switch on the left shoul­der to tog­gle between video and pho­to mode. The oth­er switch­es remain in their usu­al posi­tions, but have been rela­beled, and the shut­ter but­ton is now red. The R5’s acces­sories, includ­ing the bat­tery grip, can still be used. The flash / acces­so­ry shoe has been expand­ed, it now con­tains the addi­tion­al con­tacts of the R3, so that an XLR audio adapter or a micro­phone can be con­nect­ed there with­out fur­ther wiring. Fur­ther­more, the R5C has a sep­a­rate time­code port, which allows the syn­chro­niza­tion of mul­ti­ple cameras.

As a still camera

In pho­to mode, the R5C can be oper­at­ed large­ly iden­ti­cal­ly to the R5, but one sig­nif­i­cant change has result­ed from the active sen­sor cool­ing: the sen­sor sta­bi­liza­tion (IBIS) of the R5 is not avail­able on the R5C.

As a video camera

In video mode, the menu struc­ture changes a lot com­pared to the R5. The R5C then sup­ports the menu struc­ture of the larg­er Canon Cin­e­ma cam­eras. Video-spe­cif­ic func­tions like a wave­form dis­play or expo­sure time selec­tion via the 180° rule have also been implemented.

The R5C sup­ports the Canon Cin­e­ma Raw Light codecs of the oth­er Canon Cin­e­ma cam­eras in up to 12-bit res­o­lu­tion, C-Log3 and, in addi­tion to the R5, now even allows video record­ing in 8K/60P. How­ev­er, due to the increased pow­er con­sump­tion in this mode, con­trol of the elec­tron­ic lens func­tions (iris and, if nec­es­sary, focus by wire) is then only avail­able when an exter­nal pow­er sup­ply is con­nect­ed. Man­u­al lens­es, how­ev­er, also work with­out it.

As already writ­ten above, the IBIS is omit­ted from the R5C. If video sta­bi­liza­tion is desired, it has to be pro­vid­ed by the lens­es or a gim­bal. How­ev­er, the R5C also allows elec­tron­ic sta­bi­liza­tion in video mode, but only a part of the sen­sor is used for this, which results in a crop fac­tor of 1.1.

The price is hot…

The sec­ondary release of a still cam­era in a video ver­sion has his­to­ry at Canon. Canon first intro­duced one in Decem­ber 2012: the Canon EOS 1D C.

This was a spe­cial ver­sion of the EOS 1DX which had been expand­ed with video func­tions and was deliv­ered at the begin­ning of 2012. The 1DC sup­port­ed video in 4k 24/25p. But Canon charged a pre­mi­um for this func­tion expan­sion at the time. The 1DC was more than twice as expen­sive (ini­tial­ly US$15,000) as the 1DX (US$6,800), which was not exact­ly inex­pen­sive either.

Thus, my fears about the price lev­el of the R5C were high. How­ev­er, com­plete­ly unjus­ti­fied: The price pre­mi­um for the video func­tions is €500 / $600 and can be con­sid­ered very rea­son­able con­sid­er­ing the sig­nif­i­cant­ly expand­ed capa­bil­i­ties. The R5C has a sug­gest­ed retail price of €4,999 / $4,499

Will I buy the R5C?

Since I’m still main­ly inter­est­ed in pho­tog­ra­phy and only do very lit­tle video shoot­ing, the video func­tions of my R5 are com­plete­ly suf­fi­cient for me at the moment. A dis­ad­van­tage for me with the R5C would also be the lack of the IBIS. Also, it can be assumed that the seal­ing of the R5C is com­pro­mised by the ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem, so it might not be as weath­er­proof as the R5. So I’ll stick with my R5, but I’m very hap­py that the video sis­ter is there and has been well done.

If video func­tions are more impor­tant to you than they are to me, I would high­ly rec­om­mend the R5C. The miss­ing IBIS can be com­pen­sat­ed by opti­cal­ly sta­bi­lized lens­es, oth­er­wise you get a very pro­fes­sion­al pho­to cam­era with added pro­fes­sion­al video func­tions at an unbeat­able price.

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