What's new and how it compares

With a new sensor, new AF system, new video features, a new in-body stabilizer and a whole lot more, there's quite a bit to cover here. Follow along as we delve into some of the details of the EOS R5's new tech.

Key takeaways:

  • All-new 45MP sensor gives good resolution and dynamic range, boosts readout speed over some previous Canon sensors
  • 8K video capture and a plethora of other modes will appeal to hybrid stills/video shooters
  • Built-in image stabilizer offers a market-leading claimed 8 stops of stabilization when paired with the right lenses
  • New 100%-coverage autofocus system looks impressive
  • Well thought-out controls and reasonable level of customization should satisfy most users

New sensor and processor

The sensor in the EOS R5 is all-new and comes paired with a Digic X processor that's related to the processor in the EOS-1D X Mark III. The sensor offers an expansive 45 million pixels of resolution and dynamic range gets a boost as well. Readout times and rolling shutter have also been minimized, which will be especially handy for those who want to take advantage of the camera's silent fully electronic shutter.

Expect a one-stop increase in DR over the EOS R

The sensor and processor combo enables burst speeds of up to 12 fps with the mechanical shutter and 20 fps using the electronic shutter with full autoexposure and autofocus. The camera also comes with a usefully deep buffer whether you use the camera's CFexpress card slot or the UHS-II SD card slot. Canon tells us that using the former will allow you to shoot 180 Raw images before the camera starts to slow, and the latter still gives you 87 Raw images at the 12 fps rate. The camera uses the CR3 file format with ~35-42MB file sizes, though using C-Raw will reduce file sizes to around half that.

The camera brings an update to the Dual Pixel Raw feature that debuted on the EOS 5D Mark IV. Using the Dual Pixel sensor design, you can adjust background clarity (which we're waiting to hear more on), as well as a 'portrait relighting' feature that is similar to some relighting options we've seen on smartphones. It uses facial recognition data and some depth information from the AF system, and we'll be taking a closer look at it when we have a full production unit.

8K video capture

With so many options, Canon has reorganized the menus to make them easier to find what you're looking for.

The EOS R5 is the first 'consumer-level' camera to offer 8K video capture in Raw, All-I or IPB compression, topping out at 30fps (24 and 23.98fps are also available).

Frame rate Compression type Bitrate (8-bit 4:2:0 mode) Bitrate (10-bit 4:2:2 modes) Bitrate Raw
8K DCI
  • 29.97p
  • 24.00p
  • 23.98p
Raw 2600 Mbps
All-I 1300 Mbps 1300 Mbps
IPB 470 Mbps 680 Mbps
8K UHD
  • 29.97p
  • 23.98p
All-I 1300 Mbps 1300 Mbps
IPB 470 Mbps 680 Mbps

4K DCI /
4K UHD

  • 119.88

All-I

1880 Mbps 1800 Mbps
  • 59.98p
All-I 940 Mbps 1000 Mbps
IPB 230 Mbps 340 Mbps
  • 29.97p
  • 24.00p*
  • 23.98p
All-I 470 Mbps 470 Mbps
IPB 120 Mbps 170 Mbps
Full HD
  • 59.98p
All-I 180 Mbps 230 Mbps
IPB 60 Mbps 90 Mbps
  • 29.97p
  • 23.98p
All-I 90 Mbps 135 Mbps
IPB 30 Mbps 45 Mbps
  • 29.97p
IPB Light 12 Mbps 28 Mbps

* 24.00p is only available for DCI 4K in both full-sensor and APS-C modes
• Green box indicates the option of oversampled footage:
In addition to full-frame capture, the R5 can shoot DCI or UHD 4K from 5.1K and 4.8K (approx) APS-C regions.
At 29.97/24.00/23.98p the camera has an 'HQ' option that provides 2:1 oversampling from full-frame 8K capture.

Temperature limits

As is common for uncooled cameras shooting high res video, there are temperature limits to the R5's highest quality video settings. Canon says the R5 will shoot 8K video for up to 20 minutes and full-width oversampled 4K for up to 30 minutes at room temperature.

Cropped 4K 60p capture, taken from a 5.1K (DCI) or 4.8K (UHD) region is likely to stop after around 25 minutes with 4K/120 stopping around 15 minutes.

The camera's video menu has an 'Overheat control' setting that reduces the quality of the pre-record preview, to reduce the heat build-up between clips.

It's worth noting that DCI 8K video is the only format in which you can shoot Raw with on the EOS R5. All other resolutions offer All-I or IPB compression, and you can shoot 4K/120p in a special high frame-rate mode. Canon also gives you the option to shoot perfectly oversampled 4K footage (versus either pixel-binning or line-skipping), which gives you extremely detailed results since it's derived from the 8K output, though it tops out at 30p. The camera offers HDR PQ or Canon Log 10-bit 4:2:2 recording with all video modes as well (more on this further down the page).

In addition, the camera can shoot oversampled DCI 4K from a 5.1K APS-C region of the sensor or UHD 4K from a 4.8K sub-set of this.

In terms of other video-related features, the EOS R5 comes with zebra warnings for exposure as well as focus peaking and Canon's focus guide feature. You also get full 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks, and a mini HDMI output. If you've only got SD cards on hand, you can record anything up to and including 4K given the card is fast enough. If it's 8K you're after, you'll need a CFexpress card for anything more than the most basic IPB encoding.

In-body stabilizer

The EOS R5 represents the arrival of Canon's first-ever in-body image stabilization system and with up to eight stops of shake correction, it looks like a winner. It also makes some of the larger, unstabilized lenses in the RF lineup look immediately more appealing.

As with some other systems, the effectiveness of the R5's IBIS depends on which lenses you have mounted to it. Here's what Canon claims you can expect based on the current lineup.

Lens Degree of correction
8.0 EV
  • 24-70mm F2.8 L IS
  • 24-105mm F4 L IS
  • 28-70mm F2 L
  • 85mm F1.2 L
  • 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS
  • 85mm F2 Macro IS
7.5 EV
  • 70-200mm F2.8 L IS
7.0 EV
  • 35mm F1.8 Macro
  • 50mm F1.2 L
  • 15-35mm F2.8 L IS
6.5 EV
  • 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS
6.0 EV
  • 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 IS

Part of the reason the IBIS system is so effective is that the Digic X processor in the camera works with gyro sensors and processors in each lens to maximize what the system is capable of. Similarly, the lens IS system receives and processes information from the camera body’s sensors. This is all made possible because of the faster throughput the RF mount provides compared to the DSLR EF mount.

Autofocus

The EOS R5's autofocus system is the most advanced we've seen yet on a Canon camera of any type. Dubbed Dual Pixel AF II, it offers fully 100% phase-detection coverage across the sensor (though this does depend on lenses to some degree) and the same selection of autofocus 'cases' we saw on the EOS-1D X Mark III. In addition, it uses deep learning technology to offer eye, head and face tracking for people, as well as eye, head and body tracking for dogs, cats and birds.

Screenshot of pre-production EOS R5 JPEG using Canon's Digital Photo Professional software with AF points emphasized for presentation purposes.

In our experience with a pre-production EOS R5, we found the camera's autofocus tracking to be impressive; read on to find out how a production camera fared in our autofocus tests. The camera could successfully track a human eye (even through glasses) and the animal tracking was likewise reliable. Impressively, the camera will recognize and track a human head even if the person's face is completely obscured (Canon's EOS-1D X Mark III also does this in live view).

Out-of-camera JPEG.
ISO 100 | 1/2500 sec | F2.8 | Canon RF 28-70mm F2L @ 39mm

There are some other niceties as well when it comes to taking control of the EOS R5's AF system. We now have an AF joystick with adjustable sensitivity and a well-placed (if a bit small) AF-ON button. We don't have the touchpad-like AF Smart Controller from the 1D X III, but you can use the touchscreen as a touchpad for AF point movement if you prefer that to the joystick. Although for some reason, Canon still thinks it's best to completely disable the joystick out-of-the-box – you'll have to enable it yourself in the menus to take advantage of it.

HDR stills and video

The EOS R5 inherits the ability to output 10-bit HDR files for stills and video from the 1D X Mark III. These exploit the capabilities of the latest HDR monitors and TVs to show a more convincing representation of the real world. Put simply, these 10-bit files that provide a wider tonal range than conventional JPEGs on certain displays that can show you brighter brights and darker shadow tones.

We look at these more in-depth in our image quality and dynamic range portions of the review.

Compared to...

The EOS R5 finds itself in the midst of a cadre of high-resolution mirrorless full-frame cameras that all have their respective strengths and weaknesses. Here's how they stack up against one another in some key areas.

Canon EOS R5 Panasonic S1R Nikon Z7 Sony a7R IV
MSRP $3899 $3700 $3400 $3500
Pixel count 45MP 46.7MP 45.4MP 61.2MP
Focus type On-sensor PDAF (Dual Pixel) Depth from Defocus
(Contrast Detection-based)
On-sensor PDAF On-sensor PDAF
Image stabilization In-body + in-lens* In-body + in-lens* In-body* In-body*
Max burst rate 12fps (mech shutter)
20fps (elec shutter)
9 fps (AF-S)
6 fps (AF-C and live view)
9 fps 10 fps (12-bit, compressed Raw)
~6 fps (14-bit uncompressed Raw)
High-res mode No 8-shot** No 4 or 16-shot**
Viewfinder res / mag 5.76M dots / 0.76x 5.76M dots
/ 0.78x
3.68M dots
/ 0.8x
5.76M dots / 0.78x
Rear screen 2.1M-dot articulating touchscreen 2.1M-dot two-way tilting touchscreen 2.1M-dot tilting touchscreen 1.44M-dot tilting touchscreen
Top-plate display Yes (OLED) Yes (LCD) Yes (OLED) No
Video capabilities Up to DCI 8K/30p (full width) UHD 4K 60p
(1.09x crop pixel-binned)
UHD 4K 30p
(Full width pixel-binned or oversampled APS-C)
UHD 4K 30p
(pixel-binned full-frame or oversampled from 1.8x crop)
Log video HDR PQ, Canon Log, 4:2:2 10-bit No N-Log over HDMI only (10-bit) S-Log 2, S-Log 3, HLG (8-bit)
Battery life
(LCD/EVF)
490 / 320 380 / 360 400 / 330 670 / 530
Card slots 1 CFexpress + 1 UHS II SD 1 XQD + 1 SD 1 XQD / CFe 2 UHS II SD
Size 138 x 97.5 x 88 mm 149 x 110 x 97 mm 134 x 101 x 68 mm 129 x 96 x 78 mm
Weight 738 g 1016 g 675 g 665 g

* Sony and Nikon conduct pitch and yaw correction with the lens IS when a stabilized lens is used, Panasonic and Canon combine the effect of in-body and lens IS for pitch and yaw.
** The Panasonic can merge its 8-shots in-camera, the Sony can't. Both then require a processing step to turn these merged Raws into final images.

Given the EOS R5's higher price of entry, it's encouraging to see it's at least competitive in almost every way (the lack of a high-res shot mode is the most obvious omission). But most significantly, it offers more speed, higher-resolution video and future-proof HDR video and stills capture over the other cameras here.