The Canon EOS R5: Thank You, but No Thank You

The Canon EOS R5: Thank You, but No Thank You

This is not a negative piece on Canon, nor am I complaining about what Canon is or isn't doing. Now that I have that out of the way, let's get realistic about Canon cameras for a moment. 

The Canon EOS R5. Seriously, I'm still trying to digest what Canon has announced because it sounds unbelievably good. The specs on this camera are so good, it's the kind of stuff I'd expect to see on the 1st of April on a rumor site. This is such a huge leap in technology, that if the released camera does everything that's been announced, it would be incredible for the industry. Honestly, I am so happy with Canon right now, I'm glad I stuck with them throughout the "cripple hammer" era. Canon is set to do something truly wonderful with the EOS R5 and I really can't wait to see how this pushes the whole industry forward. 

It's going to be tough for Canon's competitors to keep up, especially if they weren't expecting something like this. There are features in this camera that many high-end, dedicated cinema cameras don't offer. The EOS R5 is in a whole league of its own, far above anything else that's on the market right now. Despite this, I probably won't be buying it and I'm assuming neither will most of you. 

Overkill

Once again, this is brilliant stuff from Canon and I'm genuinely happy with what Canon is doing right now. I will gladly continue as one of its customers because I think they produce the best equipment for me. Nonetheless, the Canon EOS R5 is completely overkill and almost no one needs it. 

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Every time I hear 8K being mentioned, my brain moonwalks away like Nick Miller from New Girl. I honestly don't care about it and I probably won't be filming professionally in 8K, for at least the next decade. The majority of people still have 1080p displays let alone 8K. We still need to move comfortably onto 4K. The lack of 8K displays in the market mean that it's pretty pointless to publish content in 8K. Unless you have a specific requirement to shoot in 8K, which I doubt the majority of us have, then it's pretty pointless. 

The other problem with having this much resolution, is the fact that most computers that creatives have, can't even process or manage the files. We're talking huge, huge files here and not anything the standard graphics card and processor is going to be able to contend with. I doubt the RTX 2080 Ti could manage 8K video files, without significant slow down. This kind of resolution is a practical nightmare and I have no desire to spend money on buying that feature anytime soon. 

I appreciate that it can be used to produce better quality 4K video and it gives you the flexibility to crop; however, the downsides are far too many for these minor benefits to mean anything to me. 

Storage

The cost of storage has been going down year on year and many people talk about how cards and drives aren't as much as they used to be. This would be beneficial if new cameras continued with old media cards and drives. I understand that this is obviously not feasible and manufacturers quite rightly needed to use better faster storage options.

The point I'm making is that the argument of storage being cheaper now, is only true if you're still using older media devices. If you're still using UHS-I SD cards or even some slower CF cards, then yes, the price of those have become extremely reasonable. This isn't the case for storage options like XQD cards, CFexpress, and many UHS-II SD cards. These options are still relatively new, therefore they are currently, quite expensive in comparison. 

The other thing to remember is the fact that you now need much larger storage cards in order to shoot the same amount of content. For example, you wouldn't go out shooting with a 2GB SD card, if you're shooting with any current full frame camera system. In the same way, a 64GB card may not be sufficient if you're shooting 4K at 120p, or worse yet, 8K raw video. I assume that the minimum sized cards required now, would be about 256GB. This obviously means that the amount you're required to spend on storage hasn't gone down, it's probably gone up. 

From a practical standpoint, storage costs are as expensive as ever, we're just moving onto different media devices. These costs really add up and genuinely need to be considered. It's great looking at the spec sheet of a new camera and thinking how wonderful it is, but the practical aspects need to be considered too. 

The Rumored R6

As mentioned above, most people, including myself do not need 8k in any form right now. What many of us do want or need from Canon, is a full frame camera that offers 4K at 60p using the full width of the sensor and with dual pixel autofocus. This is probably the most valuable feature that most creatives want from Canon. Of course there are options available on the market that offer that feature, but it's just not a Canon. Those options don't have DPAF, or the color profile, or native-ish support for EF lenses or whatever reason that keeps you from moving away from Canon. There are plenty of reasons many of us continue shooting with Canon and they're strong enough reasons to wait for a feasible option.

For this reason, I think that the rumored EOS R6 would be a better option in comparison to the R5, in terms of value. The rumors suggest that this camera will offer 4K at 60p and that's more than enough for most people. It doesn't make sense to spend so much more for the R5 when the R6 could offer everything most of us need. Once again, this is not just the cost of the actual camera but also the running costs of such a system. 

I'm interested to see what Canon has in store for us with the R6 because chances are that camera will be a far better fit for most of us. 

Final Thoughts

Once again, this is not an article complaining about what Canon has or hasn't done. I'm not at all suggesting that Canon shouldn't have produced the EOS R5. This is instead an article to discuss the reality of owning such a camera and why another option from Canon, may be a better fit.

If anything, I'm celebrating and applauding what Canon is doing by producing the EOS R5. I'm thankful that they've done this because of how it impacts the industry. The EOS R5 will more than likely, become a landmark camera that people will look back at for years to come. The issue, is that the R5 is well ahead of its time and most of us neither require it, nor are prepared for it. I think Canon may produce an option that's better suited for most of us with the EOS R6. This camera is probably going to be the one that sells the most, and the one I'll likely get for myself. 

For those of you with deep pockets and brave souls that purchase the EOS R5, please ensure you post all of your content; so that the rest of us can enviously (and hypocritically) proclaim, how no one needs the quality you produce. 

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186 Comments

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Usman Dawood's picture

Possibly, but the overkill points are within a certain context. It's relative to the potential R6.

Patrick Rosenbalm's picture

Yeah, Canon just can't win. Too little for too long to too much too fast. I think that certain people just like to bitch and complain to get attention. It's like a virus that came from DPReview. ;-) Where's my popcorn??

Usman Dawood's picture

Nope, it’s definitely a win for Canon.

Robert Smith's picture

Currently Apple offers a display with a resolution of 6016 by 3384 pixels. Retina 6K Pro Display XDR.
The High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), also known as H.265 and MPEG-H Part 2, Supports resolutions up to 8192×4320, including 8K UHD. My iPhone shoots in 4K.
Dealing with RAW files is always going to be challenging but that is our job as creators brother!!

Usman,

I love these opinion pieces because they get the conversation going about things most consumers are not aware of so you did your job. When I look at footage on Youtube at 1920x1080 i typically end the video long before its finished. I basically only want to watch 4k material at this point.

Capturing in 8K and then rendering to 4K is going to look outstanding. And it will look amazing on your phone.
80% of Youtube/Internet content is viewed on phones.

Also look at 4K upscaling its a thing!!

Don't be a decade behind everyone stay current!!

Just me's picture

Instead of segmenting between video with A7S or photo High resolution with A7R, Canon offers the best of both worlds in a simple box.
Overkill or future proof?

Usman Dawood's picture

Possibly very future proof.

Greg Hirte's picture

I find it strange that critics complained forever about Canon not having un-cropped 4K video. Now that Canon promises 8K video everyone says "whoa, that's way too much, I don't want it".

Usman Dawood's picture

Goldilocks zones.

Also not complaining, applauding whilst also discussing realistic requirements.

Jan Holler's picture

This kind of cameras do show us the dilemma of the camera companies: There is almost not development regarding the photography aspect (left aside the viewfinder aspect). Sure the new wider lens mount and the shorter flange distance make even better lenses available. But I feel I have to pay a lot more than necessary for all those video functions I will never use. Such cameras do not really improve photography but for sure they do improve video a lot. For me that just means: I stay with my 2 DSLR bodies from 2012.

Kirk Darling's picture

The video enhancements ride along with still enhancements. You want the buffer to empty faster? You want a faster frame rate? You want less shutter stutter in the viewfinder? All of that takes the same technology as the enhanced video. Solve one, solve the other.

Jan Holler's picture

Sure, I think it is a fantastic technical development. But where is the market? It one day will be there. This camera is (told to be) so advanced, it could be too early. In the past there have been products which were too advanced (and too expensive), they never sold well enough (e.g Sony Betamax)

Doug Walkey's picture

You know, I like this article. But the bottom line is I won't be switching from my current rig (brand and model doesn't matter) to a new Canon. Two reasons... first the new Canon won't add new capability that makes me money over my current system. Second, the conversion would cost about $20,000 all in. I guess I would recoup some of that by selling my current system, but then there are time and opportunity costs in doing that. Sorry Canon.

Nikolas Moldenhauer's picture

8K is really not that gig of a deal with modern systems. We have been releasing our YouTube Episodes in 8K for a Year now and until recently done so using a 5 year old mac pro. It is more of the anticipation than a real problem. If you want to try a 16K... now, that will kill your computer... here you go, 5 seconds ProRes444: http://bit.ly/2XRrnTB

Usman Dawood's picture

That's pretty awesome. I assume you use Final Cut?

How do you manage storage?

Nikolas Moldenhauer's picture

Mostly Premiere and Resolve... the 16K file was done in After Effects as Premiere and Resolve can't handle it.

I have three 4TB working SSDs and drop on cheap 10TB HDD for archive

Usman Dawood's picture

Thank you so much for the info, much appreciated.

Bill Kearns's picture

Nonetheless

Bill Kearns's picture

Nonetheless, the Canon EOS R5 is completely overkill and almost no **on** needs it.

Usman Dawood's picture

Appreciate it, thanks for pointing that out.

David Japka's picture

first and foremost this is a still photo camera. It’s very sad that you looked at it strictly from a video perspective. Folks if you’re planning on shooting video use the Cannon C-300 or other cinema form factor.

Usman Dawood's picture

The reason people are only discussing the video features is because Canon has only discussed the video features so far.

I'm looking forward to know what the stills specs are going to be :).

Johan Doornenbal's picture

With all due respect, I believe you have completely and utterly missed the point. Sure, nobody needs or wants 8K30, but the processing power for 8K30 is the exact same as the processing power required to do 4K120, which a lot of people want badly. Canon is hated for their video cropping, and to do a full-width sensor readout without weird artifacting you have to have a width that is either equal to or exponential of the video resolution. That means that their options are to go to the width required for 8K, or go to the width required for 4K, or have a crop. 45 megapixels is by no stretch too many for most people for still photography, while most people wouldn't appreciate the drop to the approximately 11 megapixels required for the sensor to be the same width as 4K.

You yourself say that "[w]hat many of us do want or need from Canon, is a full frame camera that offers 4K at 60p using the full width of the sensor and with dual pixel autofocus. This is probably the most valuable feature that most creatives want from Canon." What you seem to miss is that this is exactly what they're doing for you, in fact they are going one better with 120p. I am primarily a still photographer with very little interest in working with video, but even to someone who has little in video commercially, it's obvious that Canon is giving you exactly what you asked for.

Usman Dawood's picture

I think you may have missed the point here.

I'm not saying that Canon has done anything wrong by producing this incredible camera. I'm simply saying that for most of us, the potential Canon EOS R6 might be better value for money.

I'm very glad that Canon has produced this camera or is producing this camera I should say.

Johan Doornenbal's picture

For most people, the M6II is a better value for the money than the 1Dx III.

The R6 is going to have cropped 4K60, it's also 20-megapixels. Almost nobody who is currently shooting with a 5D IV or EOS R is going to be downgrading to the R6. It's a good incremental upgrade 6D II, and a nice upgrade from the EOS RP.

Nobody is buying this camera for the 8K functionality. They'll be buying it because of what it can do over the R6, which is a lot--over twice the resolution, full-width 4K, better weather sealing, better ergonomics, better EVF, etc.

Usman Dawood's picture

I guess we’ll have to see.

Patrick Rosenbalm's picture

"The R6 is going to have cropped 4K60"

Where are you getting your information? I haven't read this anywhere. I have yet to see where Canon has released any specs or even mentioned the R6. It's all Rumors.

I'm with you on the rest of your comment if Rumored specs are true.

Johan Doornenbal's picture

Fair, it is rumors at this point, but if the 4K60 rumor and 20 megapixel rumors are correct (and they likely are, considering that CanonRumors has stated those, and they nailed the R5 specs), 4K off of a 20 megapixel sensor has to be cropped to get a pixel-by-pixel readout.

Patrick Rosenbalm's picture

"4K off of a 20 megapixel sensor has to be cropped to get a pixel-by-pixel readout."

Good point!! I haven't done the math but I'm thinking 24 or 26mp. I guess we'll have to wait and see. ;-)

Jared Ribic's picture

I'm mainly a still image photographer also doing a bit of video on a regular basis, but I'm not as much into video. Almost all my video projects are 1080 24fps, I'm not even using the 4k video I have available.
I'm no marketing expert but I'd rather put 4k 240fps in a new camera than 8k.

For shooting images (not video) I'm glad to see that it has dual card slots and glad to be rid of the touch-bar. I'm happy to see that they added an extra button to the front (like the DOF button) because I depend on that button all the time on the 5D Mk4 bodies since it can be programmed.

CF cards are really expensive, but not as bad as CFexpress.

I'll still probably pick up a couple R5 bodies as soon as I'm able and upgrade my EOS R bodies.

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