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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Richard Vernick's picture

Totally worth $3500 for still wildlife photographers with an investment in Canon Glass. The frame rate, improved autofocus, and IBIS will be great. The 45 mp resolution will allow cropping with less loss of detail. Used in Crop mode, will still give reach with 18 mp resolution, about equal to what is expected from R6. Looks like a real win for us.

Przemek Lodej's picture

If $3500 is in fact the right price.

Kenneth Fleming's picture

People (for years): Canon lacks innovation. They're being left in the dust by Sony, Panasonic, and Nikon.
Canon: Here's out EOS R5
People: That's way too much innovation. Are you crazy?

Usman Dawood's picture

Oh not at all. I applaud Canon, but I’m also looking at this from the perspective of value. We don’t need to buy the best and most expensive gear every year.

Kirk Darling's picture

Right, we don't. I started skipping hardware and software generations 'way back in the late 80s with Wordstar. That does not mean the features of a new generation are ever "overkill." I'd never describe them as "overkill" because for someone else they are the solution to their problem. It just means I personally don't need that upgrade.

Usman Dawood's picture

Well I think it’s overkill for me and many in the industry. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who can benefit from this. I’m obviously not the target market for these features which is fine of course.

Having said that, being overkill isn’t a bad thing. Its brilliant what Canon has done here.

Steven Graham's picture

I just registered and made an account specifically to comment about how volatile and defensive the photography/videography community could be. People are downvoting and attacking you for claiming you're complaining about Canon's new release in a negative manner.

The tone of the article completely blew over the heads. I am apparently one of the few who agree that for the MAJORITY of users, the Canon R5 specs are overkill, yet it has fantastic capabilities for those who require 8K and it's a marvelous innovation that will set the standard for years to come.

For God's sakes people, he's not ranting. Personally I am a Sony user who has blown away by the R5 but will most likely be ordering the R6 as it's specs and lower price range will most likely fit all of MY needs, but OTHERS need the 8K for cropping, etc. Gear enthusiasts are the worst.

Przemek Lodej's picture

Couldn't agree more.

SS iMAGES's picture

I want Canon or someone else to make a high quality dedicated stills only DSLR. If you want to make videos you'll get far better results with a dedicated video recorder with all the bells and whistles.
CANON MAKE A STILLS ONLY DSLR PLEEEEEEEEASE?

David Pavlich's picture

It'll be priced according to how many they expect to sell. No video? A low volume camera. How much are you willing to pay?

Dave Haynie's picture

The things you can't get in your camera are always overkill. And yes, "most of us" may still have a 1080p monitor, but "most of us" never shoot video. If you're regularly shooting video, and in particular, if you have a 4K workflow today, you might be intrigued by an 8K option. There are already a few ~6K options in the market -- not for 6K delivery, because that's not a consumer thing at all, but because it increases the options for 4K editing.

And here's the other thing: Canon has been plagued with the Cripple Hammer for some time. As an electronics engineer, I pretty see Canon's lack of IBIS, their 4K crop, their lack of DPAF in 4K, their DR issues versus Sony, etc. as all the same thing. Everyone's kind of guessed that it was just Canon policy to set stills cameras off from Cinema EOS, and maybe there was a bit of that. But I think they just didn't have the IC chops. Their sensor tech was perpetually 2-3 generations begin Sony, and while they at least used to outsource their ISP (image signal processor), that, too, was behind the curve in performance.

Older tech means more heat. IBIS makes heat issues worse -- all those overheating Sony A7IIs testify to that. On-sensor heat is one motivation to crop, to not process DPAF in 4K (twice as many pixels to read), etc. Same with older chip technology -- slower read speeds, which can also explain these things. And older/lower-tech ISPs.

The specs on the R5 tell us all that Canon has pretty much fixed everything: sensor technology, readout speed, heat, and processing power. Just one of those not being fixed would put the kebash on this announcement. And Canon really, really needs to proclaim this. Particularly if Canon's Cripple Hammer was mostly driven by tech over marketing, they need to knock it out of the park on this, not just match Sony. In fact, not match Nikon, Fujifilm, Panasonic... heck even Olympus, all of whom have exceeded Sony's video chops at least in some elements over the last few years.

No one needed the EOS 5D Mark II... it was completely overkill for the kind of video everyone shot back in the day. But a few months later, every new thing was judged by the output of the 5DII. Why wouldn't Canon want that to happen again? And they've laid a wonderful lineup of really innovative RF glass to go with, plus easy adaptation of all the existing EF stuff.

I left Canon for good in 2018, and don't need this. Canon frustrated me for a decade, but over time, I started to believe it was less market-driven crippling (ok, some of that) and more that they were simply behind the curve. That's often the problem companies who do too much in-house development run into. Canon's sensor business was entirely driven by Canon's camera market, while Sony got paid for Sony, Nikon, Panasonic, Olympus, Fujifilm, and Pentax sensors, as well as 70% of the smartphone market, and a good chunk of P&S as well.

Mike Dixon's picture

How much disk space per minute are we talking about for 8k?

Usman Dawood's picture

I'm not sure you know. I'd say it's probably more than what 4k is in the 5D Mark IV, 400mbs

Momchil Yordanov's picture

Well, this is what camera manufacturers are selling us lately. Video. It's irrelevant for people like me, who shoot 99% stills, but I guess it looks sexy in internet articles and sponsored YouTube infomercials a.k.a. 'reviews'. What is better in the latest gen cameras in my opinion, compared to years back, is the accuracy of the AF system. No-body is talking about that in the tons of R5 'articles', that are written about a non-existing camera (lol). We'll see.

Usman Dawood's picture

The reason I think that's the case is because we've only been given information about the video features. We don't know how good the AF is or how good the stills capabilities are. Once that information is released I'm sure people will talk about those features too.

In my experience different people tend to cover different points. No one tends to cover absolutely everything about every single camera.

Patrick Rosenbalm's picture

I totally agree.

Robert Nurse's picture

I'm in the same camp: video isn't even on my radar. I guess keeping relevant features a secret for now is a marketing ploy. Who knows.

Bobo Bird's picture

I wonder what the reaction would be like if the R5 is priced at $999? /s

Just me's picture

IT will be at this price, but you have to wait 2030.

Bradley Occhipinti's picture

Headline: Nikon files for bankruptcy

Mark Hazeldine's picture

According to CanonRumors, the R5 will be 45mp and the R6 will be 20mp. In your recent Apalmanac article you said that even the 150mp Phase One IQ4 was not enough resolution for you, so how the heck can the R6 be more suited to your needs? Also, this will be the first Canon with 2 card slots, an EVF AND a screen the tilts and flips. For using tilt shift lenses and working professionally (wanting backup/redundancy), that is perfect. It's also likely to have the best dynamic range of any Canon camera to date. I think the R5 will be the best full frame stills camera for pro architectural photography ever. So, definitely NOT overkill. And if you don't need 8k, shoot in 4k and enjoy the no crop (another first for Canon).

Usman Dawood's picture

I'd still continue shooting with the 5DSR for my actual work, I have no plans in replacing that anytime soon. If Canon release a higher resolution replacement to that camera then sure, I'd upgrade to that.

The R6, I'd use for video so 20mp is not a problem.

Also, I don't think I said the Phase One was not enough resolution for me. I said the a7r IV wasn't, and a 150mp Canon FF camera would be great.

Patrick Garrett's picture

Having worked in technology, removing tech usually dosen't save much especially if a large part of the savings is in Software. So how much less can an R6 really cost? Perhaps a sensor with less resolution costs a few dollars less. Same with the processor. Most of the price being charged was in the R&D.... now a sunk cost. And do I really wsnt to give up resolution or dual pixel focus? If the R5 costs $3500, how much of a discount is necessary to have a 24mp senor and slower cpu. BTW a faster cpu might be necessary for the enhanced auto-focus. Just some things to think about.

Robert Sala's picture

Is 8k an overkill? Depends on the point of view, literally. If you watch your 65 inch TV from the sofa, 4k is more than enough. To see the difference between 2k and 4k, one needs to sit closer than one diagonal of the picture. The resolution of a typical human eye under optimal conditions reaches 600 ppi (pixels per inch). That's from the closest possible focusing distance of 10-12 inches. In such a case, the 8k image would reach the human vision acuity limits when shown on a 13 inch (horizontal) 600ppi display. How many pixels should a sensor have to be equivalent to the human eye's field of view, assuming conservative 120 degrees? The answer is around 600 megapixels. Much more, when peripheral vision is taken into account.
8k is just a small mark on the road to realistic image capture and presentation. And resolution is just one of the factors, eg. contrast ratio and color fidelity being another. And how about the frame rate for moving images and stereoscopy without glasses? Perhaps 30 years from now, thanks to "ImageWall" technology, people will be able to admire all of the best paintings and sculptures of the world at their homes-- as if they travelled to the museums. And that's only one of myriads of possible applications of realistic imaging.
PS. The best possible movie presentation today is still that from traditional IMAX film based acquisition and projection.
The resolution of the huge frame is rated at 12-14k (IMAX claims 18k). "Dunkirk" was shown that way in some theatres and that was the best visual experience in watching moving pictures I have ever had.

https://clarkvision.com/articles/eye-resolution.html

Ellie Grace's picture

Actually, this camera is the reason why I'm thinking about making the switch to Sony. I like my 5DIV, but I never reach for it unless it's for a job. It's just too bulky to carry around all day. The R5 is just too much. If I wanted a video camera, I'd buy a video camera. Just give me a smaller 5d with decent dynamic range and proper 4k. The RF lens lineup is the only thing that is making me hesitant about switching.

Usman Dawood's picture

Have you considered Fujifilm? I've recommended their cameras to a number of my friends who wanted something small but also brilliant. The thing that many people love about Fuji is the controls and the colours.

Then again, does depend on what you shoot.

Ellie Grace's picture

Thanks for your reply! I have had several people recommend Fujifilm to me, but I wouldn't know where to start. I live in Seoul and Fujifilm is much harder to come by over here. I also can't help but feel like I would regret downgrading from a 5div to an aps-c sensor with a lower megapixel count. I'm trying to establish myself as a professional, but due to the current circumstances I can't really get out much. My actual job is quite strict on us still despite how low the cases have been over here. In terms of work I've done, it's been product photography and portraits. I'm thinking a Sony A7Riii would be the most suitable for me.

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