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Canon’s EOS R5: Why Are Video People Going Bananas About This Camera?

“It’s difficult to over-stress how much of a technical challenge it is to capture and record 8K footage.”

More than six years after Sony first challenged the DSLR market with their mirrorless full-frame A7 line, Canon and Nikon, who had staunchly defended their own DSLR lines, cried uncle—with the introduction of Nikon’s Z series cameras and lenses and then, within weeks, Canon’s EOS R camera and RF lenses.

The companies made a point that EVFs could finally be produced with sufficient resolution for Canon and Nikon shooters and that the lightness, efficient optics and greater feature set allowed by the removal of that reflex mirror finally enabled those two manufacturers to push their top-tier camera systems devoid of the ground glass optical finder photographers have loved for decades. The new camera systems were well received, especially by still shooters who loved the lighter body and lenses but they didn’t really disrupt the video and still/video hybrid market.

With the info and specs Canon’s been slowly releasing about its upcoming EOS R5, there’s a lot of very excited speculation that something very important is afoot. The specs aren’t all available yet but is has a lot of people taking notice. Jaron Schneider at Petapixel declared it the “most exciting camera anyone has released in over a decade.

Canon EOS R5
Canon’s EOS R5

“Canon,” Schneider says, hasn’t “been at the leading edge of imaging technology since pretty much the 5D Mark III, with the exception of the 1D X Mark II that was priced above what was competitive at the time, didn’t stay in the technology lead for long, and came with many caveats.”

“The 1D X Mark III didn’t blow any of us away, Schneider continued. “It impressed, don’t get me wrong, but we aren’t staring slack-jawed at it. But the EOS R5—that’s an entirely different story. This camera is shaping up to be the most impressive technological leap between models, nay compared to what is currently on the entirety of the market, that we’ve ever seen.” To read the full article, click here.

Read more: The Canon EOS R5 is the Most Exciting Camera Anyone Has Released in Over a Decade

What’s it got that the EOS R didn’t? A lot, according to the spec sheet. Of particular interest to video shooters: Full-frame, uncropped 8K at 24p and 30p in RAW (presumably to a DDR), Canon Log H.265 or HDR PQ H.265. Also, it can shoot 4K at 120p, something that has to date been only possible with a much-higher-end category of camera.

Canon promise’s internal video recording (without DDR) up to 29.97 fps in 4:2:2, 10-bit Canon Log H.265 and HDR PQ H.265. 4K internal video recording at up to 119.88 fps. (to the same specs). It also promises “zero crop” 8K and 4K, using the full width of the sensor. That’s makes for some robust files!

The R5 will also make use of Canon’s very popular Dual Pixel autofocus in all recording modes. They’re also introducing five-axis in-body image stabilization, which works in conjunction with the Optical IS in many Canon RF and EF (usable via an EF-to-RF adapter) lenses.

“Canon confirmed that the R5 will capture both 4K and 8K video using the full width of the sensor,” reports Steve Dent, “though it didn’t say whether 4K would be captured using line-skipping or (preferably) down-sampling. Either way, you’ll be able to benefit from the shallow depth-of-field capability of the full-frame sensor, with greater low-light capability to boot.”

Dent sees the use of Dual Pixel autofocus in all recording modes as a feature that should make “the camera desirable for run-and-gun documentary shooters and independent filmmakers. The company also confirmed that it will have 5-axis in-body stabilization that will work in concert with many of the RF and EF lenses.”

Richard Butler at DP Review emphasizes, “It’s difficult to over-stress how much of a technical challenge it is to capture and record 8K footage. Just four years ago virtually every camera maker we interviewed said that 4K was really difficult because of the heat generated in the process and there are many models that stop recording or become very hot if they shoot for extended periods. Canon is promising a camera that can capture four times as much data, from the full width of its sensor while still being able to run its dual pixel AF system in parallel.

“If that doesn’t strike you as ground-breaking, consider that the EOS R5 can shoot 4K at up to 120 fps,” Dent continues. “Then look around the current batch of large sensor cameras and count how many can achieve 4K/60. It’s a short list, and one that gets even shorter if you mark off the ones that can only do so using a cropped region of their sensor. The EOS R5 almost certainly sub-samples to achieve this, but that’s still a lot of data.”

Read more: Canon EOS R5: Everything We Know About the Revolutionary 8K Camera

James Artaius at Digital Camera World shared the excitement and also offered breakdown some of what’s still unknown about the R5: “The biggest mystery, next to the R5’s sensor resolution, was the memory card format supported by its dual card slots. Well, it turns out that it supports two formats: SD UHS-II and CFexpress. The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III 
supports two CFexpress cards, leading many to assume that the R5 would do likewise. However, by still supporting the SD format, the new camera is capable of premium professional performance while not forcing users to upgrade to the pricier new format wholesale.”

Artaius goes on to add, “The manufacturer is being incredibly coy about the resolution of the Canon EOS R5. While a hi-res version of the camera is long-rumored to be in the works (with recent reports suggesting a Canon EOS with a 150MP sensor) that is expected to be a different model. The R5 will have a more modest resolution—and the full-readout 8K video gives us a big clue as to what this will be.” To read the full article, click here.

As alluded to by Gordon Laing at CameraLabs, “16:9 8K video on a standard 3:2 sensor would require 7,680 x 5,120 pixels— which would work out as a 39MP sensor. However, if the video is DCi (as the 1D X III offers) then it would require 8,192 pixels – and that means a 44MP sensor. It remains to be seen if this napkin [math] is accurate, but it seems likely.” To read the full article, click here.

Laing and others are also speculating at this point if the R5 will feature Deep Learning AF  in addition to animal-recognizing Animal AF, as explained in DP Review. And if so, will Deep Learning AF be available all the way up to over-cranked 8K shooting.

Read more: Canon EOS R5: Big News for Filmmakers

“We keep waiting for the other shoe to drop,” says Andrew Collins at Cinema5D, “for Canon to reveal the flaw, the catch, the Achilles heel of this camera, and so far they keep failing to do so. The 8K video could easily have been limited to 8-bit 4:2:0 at a pitiful bitrate, but that seems not to be the case here. Dual Pixel CMOS AF could have been restricted to 1080p, or lower frame rates. There could have been a massive crop in 8K mode.

“Every time they pull the curtain back a little further, the picture only gets better,” Collins continues. After many years of falling behind Sony, Fujifilm, and Panasonic, Canon has leapt ahead of the competition. Now all they have to do is stick the landing.” To read the full article, click here.

Read more: 4K for 8K? Canon EOS R5 Said to Arrive in July for Under $4,000

Also on the horizon: The R6. And information about that follow-up project might just come out concurrent to the R5 release, according to Digital Camera World. “We wonder whether there might be a dual announcement of the R5’s launch and the R6’s development,” says Louise Carey. “Some of the rumored specifications for the Canon EOS R6 include a 20MP full frame CMOS sensor, IBIS, 12fps mechanical and 20fps electronic, 4K at 60p and dual card slots.” To read the full article, click here.

The R6 is expected to offer a 20MP full-frame CMOS sensor, 4K at 60p, Full HD at 120p, and an EVF that is likely a step up from the R but definitely will be lower-resolution than the R5’s. Given Canon’s historical approach to its 5- vs 6- models, the R6’s body will likely be a bit of somewhat lower-quality materials, with somewhat less weather sealing.

No matter what, it definitely sounds like Canon is readying for a 5D MK II-level breakthrough.