Which Camera is the Best for Wildlife Photography Out of The Canon R5 or R6?

Canon's mirrorless cameras released in 2020 caused quite the stir, and while it may seem at first glance that one is objectively better than the other, it's not necessarily the case. Moreover, you may not need to spend the extra money on the current flagship mirrorless as you won't see the benefits.

I moved my primary body from Canon to Sony a few years ago (although my second body is still Canon) because I wanted both mirrorless and better video capabilities. When Canon announced the R5 and R6, I immediately debated a return trip, and I still may do it at some point. Canon is back to its old ways of setting the pace — or at least trying to — when it comes to their new releases, and this year has been impressive from them.

The question is, if you're looking at buying one of the new Canon mirrorless bodies, which one do you go for? After all, the R6 is $2,499, and the R5 is $3,899; that extra $1,400 could be repurposed inside or outside of photography. Inside, that could get you some great glass to go on the front, or even a small selection of entry-level lenses. So, what are the difference, particularly when looking at wildlife photography?

I will let Brent Hall give us his first-hand experience, but there are key differences you should consider when deciding. Presuming that video specs aren't of interest, I would say one of the biggest factors is the sensor resolution; 45 megapixels on the R5, to just 20 megapixels on the R6. In wildlife photography, you'll often have to crop your images in as you were unable to get close enough to the subject, for whatever reason, and the extra resolution can be invaluable there. However, this is dependent on what exactly you're looking to shoot, and what glass you have for it, among other influences.

Which camera would you go for if you were going to shoot wildlife with it?

Robert K Baggs's picture

Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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4 Comments

For the money I'd rather pick up a Canon 90D.

I would choose the R5 over the R6 for my wildlife photography. For me, this is a no-briner, because the denser pixel count is so important when it comes to capturing as much of the detail in the individual hairs and feathers of the wildlife subjects I photograph.

If the majority of what I shot was sports/action/wildlife, I'd probably choose the R6. But that's not the case for me, so if my photo piggy bank suddenly saw a big spike, :-), I'd choose the R5.

I bought the R5 and after four weeks with it I was so impressed I sold my 1DX2 and 5dsr and bought the R6. I know from my old EF bodies that megapixels are not everything, the 1DX2 files looked so much better than the 5dsr most of the time. I haven't had the R6 long enough but the shooting I have done with it I'm happy with the image quality.

My one wish is for Canon to make a grip for the R5,6 that could take the 1DX2 battery. I would order two right away even though I already have grips for them.