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Canon EOS R or Canon EOS R5? Which Is Better?

Perhaps you’ve heard about Canon’s R range, and you’re undecided whether you should go for the Canon EOS R, or the Canon EOS R5. If you’re not sure which one to buy, in this video I’m going to go into what each camera can do, and who should buy it.

By the way, as a quick note, each camera has filmed the B-roll for the other one. So when you see the Canon R5 on screen, it was filmed by the Canon R, and vice versa.

The footage from both cameras was shot in 1080p, with Canon LOG active. I’ll go into a bit more detail about what each can do video-wise later on in the article. First, let’s start with the size and build.

Which? Canon EOS R or Canon EOS R5?

Size & Build

The Canon R measures 136 x 98 x 84mm, and weighs 660g with battery and SD card, whilst the R5 is a little beefier, coming in at 138.5 x 97.5 x 88mm, and weighing 738g.

Ergonomically speaking, both cameras feel great in the hand, and they are both made with high quality materials. Despite being mirrorless cameras, both are obviously on the larger side, and they get even bigger once you add the RF glass that they both use.

More on RF glass a little bit later in the article.

Female model, photo taken with the Canon R5, and the Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM - 62 - 01
Taken with: Canon EOS R5 + Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM / Model: @andiee.grant

Image Quality

In terms of image quality, both are above a lot of other cameras out there on the market, but as you might have guessed, one of them is significantly better.

Whilst also significantly more expensive, the Canon R5 obviously will produce better images. For one, it has a newer, 45 MP sensor, whilst the EOS R has the same sensor as the 2016 EOS 5D Mark IV.

Both are great, and they can produce fantastic images, but the R5 has the clear advantage here. The gap is widened even further when you get into the fact that the R5 has in-body stabilisation, which works in tandem with the RF glass, to produce up to 8 stops of image stabilisation.

This is according to Canon, but you obviously won’t get that in every single situation. For me personally, as I shoot a lot of slow-motion B-roll, the in-body stabilisation was what caused me to return the EOS R to the store, and get the R5 instead.

Female model, screenshot from video taken with the Canon R, and the RF 15-35mm f2.8 L IS USM lens - 25 - 01
Taken with: Canon EOS R + Canon RF 15-35mm f2.8 L IS USM / Model: @kk.porto

Video

Now, let’s cover the video modes.

The R5 can shoot in 8K at 30fps, 4K at 120fps, and 1080p at 120fps. The EOS R can shoot 4K in 30fps, with a 1.8x crop, 1080p at 60fps, and 720p at 120fps.

Surprisingly, the 720p option may not be as useless as you might first think. If you want to know what I mean, check out my Canon R review, where I go into more detail about this aspect of the camera.

When it comes to Auto Focus, it’s the same legendary Canon Dual Pixel AF, which we’ve come to expect, and it works in all the video modes, even the 8K on the R5. The auto focus also works well in low light on both cameras.

When it comes to eye detection, you get that on the R, but on the R5 you get a lot more, including animal eye detection. Plus, using machine learning, you don’t have to tell the camera what to look for, it just knows what to find by itself.

As a funny aside, when I was testing the R5, I pointed it at a statue, and it detected the statue’s eye, and focused on it.

Canon R, no lens
Taken with: Canon EOS R5 + Canon RF 15-35mm f2.8 L IS USM

4K

At this point, you might be wondering why I don’t film my videos in 4K, but 1080p? It’s simple. Because the 4K and 8K produced by the R5 is incredibly heavy.

Not only does it take up massive amounts of space, we’re talking filling up 128GB cards with a few minutes of footage, but it’s also difficult to work with in Premiere, at least on my 2019 i9 MacBook.

I’m sure I’ll start shooting 4K at some point in the future, but for now, the 1080p looks so good, that I don’t need to bother.

If you’re wondering why the video itself is in 4K, it’s because I render my videos in 4K once they’re edited, and upload them as such, so that less detail is lost when YouTube compresses the file.

Coming back to the lenses for a minute, both cameras take RF lenses specifically. According to Canon, the reason for the change in the mount type is because it allows a great bandwidth for data, when the body communicates with the lens, thus achieving more intelligent image stabilisation.

Filming on an R5 with RF glass is truly a joy, and I’m getting some of the smoothest footage I’ve ever shot, so I believe them.

In terms of the lenses that I own, I have the RF 15-35mm f2.8 L IS USM, which I mostly use for video, and the RF 85mm f1.2 L USM, which I mostly use for portraits.

Here are some more photos taken with the Canon R, and the R5.

Display

At the back of the cameras, you will find two similar swivel screens. I could go into detail about each, but I don’t think it’s relevant for most people.

Take my word for it, they’re both really good looking screens, they’re touch sensitive, and you can turn them around so that you can shoot at odd angles, or vlog.

Canon R5, no lens
Taken with: Canon EOS R + Canon RF 15-35mm f2.8 L IS USM

Storage

When it comes to storage, this is where the cameras diverge even more wildly.

The EOS R has one SD card slot, whilst the R5 has a Type-B CFexpress card slot, in addition to an SD slot. The second slot had to be a CFexpress slot because 4K @ 120fps and above needs higher speeds than SD cards can provide.

If you’re shooting professionally, the R5 is the clear winner in this regard. Also, it may only be professionals that can justify paying the amounts of money that those CFexpress cards cost.

DON'T BUY The Canon EOS R Before Watching This!

Battery Life

In terms of batteries, the R uses the LP-E6N batteries, whilst the R5 uses the LP-E6NH ones. In terms of battery use when taking photos, neither are particularly impressive. When it comes to video though, they seem to perform better.

From my own experience, I can shoot on the R5 for a few hours before the battery is completely drained. How quickly it does drain depends on a myriad of factors though, so it’s usually a good idea to pack a spare battery, or at least a good power bank.

I’ve noticed that the R5 can actually be charged via USB-C, either from a laptop, or a power bank. I couldn’t find much info on this, but you might have to experiment a bit, to find what works for you.

The Canon R can also be charged via USB, but according to Canon, you need to buy a separate charger for them, in order to do so.

If you have more info on the USB charging when it comes to either cameras, please leave it down below.

Longevity

In terms of longevity, the Canon R5 is rated at 500,000 actuations. This means that you can theoretically take 500,000 photos before the shutter stops working.

In my initial review of the Canon R5, I said it had 300,000, as I was finding conflicting information online. As a result, I chose to go with the lower number.

When it comes to the Canon R, again, I’ve found conflicting information online. It seems that the camera is rated for either 200,000 to 300,000 actuations.

Now, these numbers are averages, and the actual number for you camera can be slightly higher, or slightly lower.

If you want a more day to day point of reference, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the Canon R5 over say, 10 years, you’d have to take around 136 photos every single day. In the Case of the R, that would be 75 photos per day.

Female model, photo taken with the Canon R5, and the Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM - 13 - 01
Taken with: Canon EOS R5 + Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM / Model: @andiee.grant

Weather Sealing

In terms of sealing, the R has environmental sealing, but it’s not waterproof, dust proof, etc. The R5 has weather sealing similar to that of the 5D series.

It’s usually difficult to quantify just how sealed a camera is, so if I were you, I’d do my best to shield them from the elements.

Also, as a quick side note, in terms of the potential overheating issues on the R5, this was mostly corrected with a firmware patch, so you need to make sure you have the most recent one on your camera.

In addition to that, the issue occurred mostly when shooting 4K and up, especially in 8K. Most cinema cameras which shoot 4K and 8K have built-in fans, to help disperse the heat, whilst the R5 does not.

I’ve actually ran a highly unscientific test where I recorded 3 x 30min clips in a row in 1080p at 60 fps. At the end of the test, the camera was noticeably warmer, compared to it being cold when I started, but it was by no means overheating.

In other words, I wouldn’t worry about overheating in 1080p, unless you’re shooting continuously for hours at a time, with no breaks, in a very hot climate.

Just like with everything else, your mileage may vary.

Watch This Before You Buy the Canon R5 in 2022!

Conclusion

In conclusion, should you buy the Canon R, or the Canon R5?

If you’re a professional, such as a wedding photographer for example, I’d get the Canon R5, and maybe the R as a second, backup camera. This is for a few reasons, but the two card slots confers the R5 a huge advantage.

If you’re a YouTuber, and you need to shoot a lot of handheld footage, again, I’d go for the R5, due to the in-body stabilisation. In case you want the camera to be on a tripod, then the R would do a great job, provided you’re filming in 1080p. If you’re filming in 4K, the 1.8x crop will require you to move the camera a lot further back.

If you mostly want to do photography, with a tiny bit of video here and there, honestly the R might be the more logical choice, especially if you shoot with a tripod. The R5 is by far the better camera overall, but if you’re not shooting handheld, and if you don’t use the video features that much, I’d be hard pressed to justify spending the difference between the two.

If you’re a mid-level enthusiast, you mostly do photos, and you’re starting to dabble in videography, again, I’d probably go for the R, and spend the difference in price on some more glass.

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Thank you for reading my review of the Canon EOS R vs Canon EOS R5. I invite you to have a look at some of my other articles. We have something for everyone, whether you’re interested in audio, or cameras and lenses. Alternatively, if you prefer video reviews, feel free to have a look at my YouTube channel.

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