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.