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Is this the camera I have been waiting for? Canon EOS R5 hands on review.

Once you have used the Canon EOS R5 for a few minutes, you will realise this is not just another upgrade.

Check out my Canon EOS R5 hands on review on my YouTube Channel and let me know what you think.

The lipstick on the teeth is intentional – see the part about a “Mirrorless shoot” at the end of the post :-)

For those who do not know me, I am a South African photographer shooting for a very diverse set of clients. On any given week I could shoot portraits, events, food interiors, products, corporate videos – you get the idea.

I love being outdoors and shooting landscapes, but due to my hectic schedule, I only get to shoot those on holiday. I also have another love – bird photography.

And of course, who can ignore video…

So, you can see that I need a camera that can do just about anything. At one stage I was looking at the Canon 1DX II for the bird photography which needs a really high frame rate and amazing autofocus to capture the action. But with a 20megapixel sensor, I felt it was too small for the jobs that needed more megapixels.

My one wish was a camera with a high frame rate and the amazing 5dmk4 sensor which I absolutely loved.

The EOS R was launched and once I had seen the quality the new RF mount lenses produced, I was hooked. I sold both my 5dMK4’s and bought 2 EOS R’s. It was the best decision I could have made.
I love, love the results.

I have to admit, I missed the feeling of my 5dmk4 in my hands, the EOS R felt a little skinny, but it was a great move – I have absolutely no regrets.


So here are a few points I would like to highlight on the new Canon EOS R5.

A few weeks ago, I held the EOS R5 in my hands and it was a strange feeling. It felt so much like my 5Dmk4 that I did a double-take.

There was a familiarity about the body that I instantly resonated with. The joystick was back, the quick control dial at the top of the body and the quick control wheel at the rear were brought back.

This was feeling more and more like a camera I had taken so many amazing images with. So straight away, it felt comfortable in my hand.

There is a new battery, apparently 50% more capacity than the previous version which I have not tested yet, the other cool thing is the LP-E6N batteries seen in the EOS R, 5dmk4 are all compatible with the EOS R5.

So let’s get to the features I love about this camera.

Please note – this is an early pre-production unit, the firmware is still beta I think, but even with that, could this be my dream camera?


So let’s talk about why this camera ticks the boxes for me.

Before I used dual card slots they were never an issue. Once I didn’t have them, I freaked out to be honest.
The EOS R5 has got 2 cards slots. Whew, one is for the new CF express card and the other is for an SD card.


Image quality.

Ok, so I haven’t been able to use the RAW files in Capture One yet but using Canon’s DPP I have been able to check out the detail and colour. I can see so much detail it’s ridiculous. That does come with a downside – storage. These files are ±50mb in size.
So check for landscapes, interiors, food and anything that requires huge detail.


Autofocus & Eyetracking.

The camera’s autofocus is programmed using a deep-learning AI, first developed for EOS-1D X Mark III. This enables the EOS R5 to recognise and track a subject’s face and eyes even more accurately.

The autofocus tracking is outstanding. I am so impressed with how quickly it locks on and it is spot on! You can shoot a portrait at 1.2 and almost guarantee pin-sharp focus every time unless there is operator error.

One of the issues I have been struggling with in my bird photography is making sure the eye is sharp. It is difficult when the birds don’t stay still for long and I need to try and position the focus point on the eye, recompose etc.

With the advent of the animal & bird eye-tracking, it grabs the body, the head and then the eye almost instantly.
Even when the eye is black on a black head. I don’t know how they did it, but thank you.

So, I am sorry, this makes bird photography with the eye pin-sharp easy. I will have to back that up when we can get back into the wild after lockdown, but this is a massive game-changer.

Portrait photography check.
Bird photography, half check.


Here is a Bee Eater with the eye tracking on the eye even though you cannot see the eye.
bee eater screengrab. New Canon EOS R5 hands on review

100% crop.
bee eater screengrab. New Canon EOS R5 hands on review

A Tawny flanked Prinia in DPP to show the eye-tracking.

Tawny flanked prinia screengrab. New Canon EOS R5 hands on review

A Tawny flanked Prinia -100%crop
Tawny flanked prinia screengrab - 100%. New Canon EOS R5 hands on review


Frames per second.

This is not important at all in a portrait, landscape, product or interior setting, but when I photograph birds, I have always wished I had more frames per second because you get the bird as it is about to leave the branch and then either just as they are about to leave the frame or out of the frame completely. With the electronic shutter, I can now shoot 20frames per second. If that doesn’t help me, nothing will.

Bird photography, full check.


In Body Image Stability (IBIS)

The other feature that is really cool is the IBIS. You can now have up to 8-stops of image stabilization with the combination of the IBIS and lens IS.

So potentially you can handhold a 4th of a second and get pin-sharp images.
For low light photographers, this is very cool. Now if we could just stop everyone moving in the scene…

I think this will be a feature I would use more on the video side.


A bit about video.

Let’s be honest, I am a video newbie. I can by no means speak categorically, but I am excited to see how the additional features are an improvement on the EOS R which I have used to shoot a few projects.

I am planning on doing a video series on moving from stills to movies and I hope you can join me in my journey to shooting more video.


My Mirrorless project.

So to commemorate the launch of the Canon EOS R5 I photographed a few people with the proviso that they did not look in the mirror when they got dressed. So hair, makeup, dressing was all done Mirrorless :-) The results are hilarious and everyone had a great time.

Here is my favourite – take a look at the amazing detail in the 45mp image. And this is still only a pre-production unit with beta firmware.

New Canon EOS R5 hands on reviewNew Canon EOS R5 hands on review 100% crop

I will be posting updates of the Canon EOS R5 when shooting my commercial work on an ongoing basis including reviews of the RF lenses I use.

I hope you enjoyed my Canon EOS R5 hands on review, if you have any questions, please let me know.

Thanks, everyone, hope you have an excellent day!


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