The Canon R5 announcement has pricked up the ears of most of the industry for one reason or another. Already, however, we're seeing photographers claiming they might switch manufacturers for it. Is Canon domination on the horizon again?
I'm in a peculiar position for this discussion. The knee-jerk reaction of many commenters on here and social media to posts about Canon or Sony is to yell "favoritism!" I started photography comfortably over a decade ago with a Canon; it was not a researched decision. A guy I worked with found a good deal on a used 350D, and I bought it. However, I became loyal and entrenched in a "Canon is the best" mentality. The more I learned, however, the less I cared about the manufacturer. Then came a time where my Canon bodies just felt dated, and the newest and best Canon DSLRs were out of my price range. So, what did I do? Like so very many, I moved to Sony and their a7 III.
I couldn't have been happier, and I'm still using Sony mirrorless bodies and lenses (albeit with some Canon glass I couldn't bring myself to part with). When I made this switch back when the a7 III was released, many colleagues asked why I hadn't written an article on the switch. I'm not certain, in all honesty. There was a lot of talk back then of Canon falling behind, and I didn't feel I needed to add to it. Now, finally, Canon appears to have gone all in on their hand, and that hand is a strong one.
The Canon EOS R5
We don't know everything about the R5, but what we do know is alluring. Canon pitches this new flagship full frame mirrorless in the following way:
New standards in high-resolution stills and phenomenal 8K video quality to match. The EOS R5 advances image quality to a whole new level for stills and movies with a blistering 20 fps electronic shutter or 12 fps mechanically. The EOS R5 is accomplished, refined and built for magnificence.
The specs as per their press release is:
- 8K RAW internal video recording up to 29.97 fps
- 8K internal video recording up to 29.97 fps in 4:2:2 10-bit Canon Log (H.265)/4:2:2 10-bit HDR PQ (H.265).
- 4K internal video recording up to 119.88 fps in 4:2:2 10-bit Canon Log (H.265)/4:2:2 10-bit HDR PQ (H.265). 4K external recording is also available up to 59.94 fps.
- No crop 8K and 4K video capture using the full-width of the sensor. (When in 8K RAW, 8K/4K DCI modes.)
- Dual Pixel CMOS AF available in all 8K and 4K recording modes.
- Canon Log available in 8K and 4K internal recording modes.
- A Canon first, the EOS R5 will feature 5-axis In-Body Image Stabilization, which works in conjunction with Optical IS equipped with many of the RF and EF lenses.
- Dual-card slots: 1x CFexpress and 1x SD UHS-II.
Well, even without all the information, that is a heavy hitter. Comparing this R5 to any of the newest Sony mirrorless cameras (let alone my now lowly a7 III) is something of a whitewash. 8K internal video recording at 29.97 fps with no crop is a huge moment for consumer cameras, particularly ones that aren't dedicated video bodies. I mean, even Canon's C300 III can't shoot 8K, and that's a dedicated "digital cinema camera." Compare it to Sony's a7R IV or a9 II (as the latter is their flagship), and it comes out victorious in pretty much every category. One other noteworthy area to highlight is the in-body image stabilization (IBIS), which we weren't sure was ever going to be in the cards for Canon after some previous statements.
As Andy Day pointed out, there still are some blanks to be filled in. One of which is the sensor resolution, which is currently being guessed, albeit an educated guess:
Canon News took this to mean that the R5 will shoot 8K DCI. It explains: 'This means to fit the DCI full width on the sensor, the sensor width must be 8,192 pixels wide, and because full-frame sensors are a 3:2 screen size, that means the height is 5,461 pixels.' And critically: 'This translates to a sensor resolution of 44.7MP.'
So, now comes the question: will there be a mass migration back to Canon from Sony?
Do We Go Back, Tail Between Our Legs?
Many photographers, videographers, and YouTubers are already talking about going back to Canon, and it's easy to see why. The R5 is a staggeringly powerful camera, delivering in pretty much every area you could ask. The spec is far above what we've seen in prosumer bodies and now, despite Canon taking their sweet time about really swinging for Sony in the mirrorless market, we're left wondering how Sony can react. Their a7S III is still hanging in the balance with specs not confirmed, and frankly, no one can see them revealing a body that can match the R5 pound for pound, let alone better it.
For what I'm working on in the coming years and with video taking more of a front seat than ever before, I must admit I'm tempted. As Diongzon mentions above, few need 8K resolution, but it does offer creative freedom. So, what's the rub of this ridiculously impressive piece of kit? It's difficult to say before we get our hands on. Several people have worried about overheating, but personally, I think it's unlikely Canon will release this with a fundamental problem like overheating. For me, I think it's going to be price.
The Elephant in the Room: Price
For me, mass migration from Sony back to Canon will hinge on price. We have no word on how much this will be yet, but I suspect it's not going to be low. Sony is known for their aggressive pricing, and even their flagship a9 II is $4,498. Canon rarely scrap around in the mud of competitive pricing, and so my gut reaction was that the R5 will be north of $5,000, which might I add, isn't an unreasonable price for what you're getting. If, however, they launch it nearer $4,000, I think many will make the switch, myself included.
What do you think of the R5? Did you move from Canon to Sony, only to now be debating a return fare? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.