Canon R5 C Review: Canon at Their Best?


Pierce Codina

May 20, 2022

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Have the disappointments, overheating, and dynamic range issues that plagued Canon's R5 model been resolved. We've got Gerald Undone on the case for a deep dive into the new R5C.  

1. Design and Ergonomics

Design aesthetics of any camera body can obviously be influenced by the stylized preferences of its user. In the case of the R5 C, Canon continues on its modern design path focusing on a simplified, sleek design. As Gerald notes, at times this came come across as a bit "toyish," but hey, cameras are fun right? Now style is one thing, but what about substance? Unfortunately, the sleek design can at times be a bit too sleek for practicality. The grip could be a tad longer to accommodate bigger hands and overall the buttons could also use a size bump. Now, if you're familiar with the R5 this shouldn't be much of an issue as their location and functionality are in similar spots. One difference you will notice however is the bulkiness of the new fan. However, considering this solves many of the creators of the overheating issues found with the R5, we can't see a reason to complain.

2. Battery Life

Admittedly, the R5C's biggest flaw is its battery life. The run time with the LP-E6 battery system is totally outpaced by the new model. Expect to get less than an hour of run time in most recording modes. In more taxing codec combinations it's not uncommon to have less than 30mins record time. *Hint* bring external power sources (USB-C works beautifully in this instance).

3. Autofocus

Autofocus on the R5C differs greatly when switching between photo and video. In photo mode, the subject detection works a bit better its tracking is much more robust for more than just the human face and eyes. That is to say, all the great autofocus features in previous Canon R5 models carry over and are upgraded. So what about video?  Gerald can attest here that the face and eye detection in video mode is probably the best in any Canon cinema camera. However, if you are trying to track other subjects, it's just not as reliable as the photo mode. Luckily, Gerald found some workaround when using the tap focus method. For starters,  do not use the default settings of 0 speed and 0 responsiveness. You'll probably find that if you keep these settings, your subject will drift in and out of focus if it's moving. Go ahead and max those settings out. When it comes to face and eye-tracking however, the R5C is perfectly equipped to track humans with ease.

4. Codecs and Recording

Here's the part where we get a bit technical, so bear with us.  To put it mildly, this camera is fully loaded and that includes customization options for codec and color. You've got two additional crop modes: super 35 and super 16 as well as the choice between NTSC, PAL, and DCI frequencies, codecs for H.264, H.265, internal and external raw, and the much-appreciated addition of XF-AVC in both Intraframe and Long GOP. Even though it uses mixed media with one CFexpress card and one SD, redundant backup recording is available for the codecs that the SD card is fast enough for. And for the codecs that the SD card can't support you can instead use it as a proxy drive, which is handy for the raw files. In the frame rate selection, you can choose from 24p up to 60p and all of those are oversampled from the 8K, including the 60p, which is terrific. And if you want 120p, you can access that from the slow & fast motion mode, which does allow you to optionally record an audio track as well, so it's not as hindered when compared to the R5, but you will still see a slight reduction in video quality compared to the 60p and lower. And then just like you'd expect from a Canon cinema camera, you have control over your picture profiles with options for 709, Log, HDR, EOS Standard, and Neutral, and empty slots for you to customize.

5. Dynamic Range

We're all aware of the overheating issues that plagued previous R5 models. But to Gerald's point here, the dynamic range on the older model was substantially worse than that of the competition. Considering the R5C has the same sensor, it's the outcome also the same?  Well, good news. In short the dynamic range here is substantially better than the R5. Not only is it easily visible when just shooting a simple outdoor scene, bright skies seem impervious to clipping while maintaining shadows that are rich and full of detail. Synthetically, Gerald is happy to report back he frequently scored over a stop and a half better than the R5 using the Xyla 21 and Imatest.

6. Final Thoughts

Canon might have created a damn near-perfect hybrid camera when it comes to image processing. While the R5 was a great camera that suffered a bit in video mode, here Canon has integrated a top photo camera with full cine interface, 4k60 oversampling (with no overheating), much improved dynamic range, useful raw recording options, robust codecs, and autofocus improvements. Of course, these come at the cost of damn-near obliterating battery life, something we hope to see upgraded in the future. We all know no camera is perfect, but here Canon has come close to creating the ideal hybrid camera.  

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