Canon R and Canon R5 – Spoilt for choice

by Paolo Mazzanti

A week with the Canon R side by side with a Canon R5
Canon RF 24-105mm F/4 L IS USM and Canon RF 50mm F/1.2 L USM lenses

Pure fun and the joy of being able to photograph everything you want in all possible ways. With the arrival of mirrorless, the art of photography has become a mix of play and profession made easy coming together to give total control on the image with all the necessary discretion. The discretion comes from the absence of noise of these devices combined with a non-invasive design that suggest that the object you’re holding is not dangerous nor intimidating but a delicate and harmless tool that fits well into any social context.

Two very similar cameras in size and setting, a Canon EOS R and the more advanced Canon EOS R5.

The Canon R features a 30-megapixel full-frame sensor with excellent sharpness and detail, silent shooting, 8 frames per second, 4K video, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and ISO 100-40000.

While the Canon R5 is a 45-megapixel full-frame with the ability to shoot sequentially up to 20 frames per second, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, ISO 100-51200, 12-bit 8K video in RAW format with full sensor width full, or 4K / 120P.

An intuitive approach

We want to start photographing without reading the manual but using an “intuitive approach”,  in order to obtain field experience and not theoretical or notional knowledge.

The first thing that catches the eye is a small display in the upper part of the camera body and even if the camera is off it allows us to see which shutter priority we have set.
The body ignition wheel is clearly visible on the upper left side of the camera body; the handle of both mirrorlesses is perfect and balanced, so much so that, walking, it can be held with the fingertips without clutching the handle, as if it were glued to the hand or even one with it.

The first thing a photographer does is bring his eye close to the viewfinder: just perfect!

A great view with a wide and well-defined viewfinder, also perfect with a pair of sunglasses on very bright days. The information is simple and clear with the possibility of customizing the info with the many options available.

A truly professional use

At last, the regulation logic of these cameras is set on the use of the right hand. The left hand has the sole role of supporting the weight of the object on his palm while the right hand is free to shoot or adjust the various keys.
This setting allows you to have continuous control of the subject because the left hand does not have to do any operations and just holds the lens and the camera body, allowing us to keep the eye inside the viewfinder.

In the Canon R, adjustments are made with the thumb on the wheel labeled MODE (Quick Control Dial) and on the cross keys located further down. On the back, next to the viewfinder we find the double right/left arrow called by Canon multifunction bar. On the top, near the shutter button, we find the main dial that is controlled with the index finger.

High ISO when moving

One of the critical situations for a photographer is scarce low brightness of the scene which involves having to raise the ISO with increased grain and image degradation as well as having to use wide apertures with slow shutter speeds.

We went around the city where the evening light brings a challenging scene to be photographed with people moving vertically to the shooting point, putting a strain on the focusing system and where the exposure control, with the dark road, the sky still lit and the various luminous signs, becomes of fundamental importance.

These images were taken with the super-bright Canon RF 50mm F/1.2 L USM lens while walking holding the camera down and looking at the rear display for framing control, looking for the best moment to shoot.

The camera (the R5) was perfectly responsive shooting at ISO 1600 f /4  1/160 s.

Image below: ISO 1600 f/4  1/40 s.

Canon RF 24-105mm F/4 L IS US

This is the most faithful travel companion for any photographer. Unless you are going on a specific mission such as wildlife photography where you would need a 1000mm, a lens with 24-105 optical excursion will cover 95% of situations, from wide-angle without strong distortions such as 24mm, to medium 105mm zoom in a single device.

We don’t need to stop and change lenses to photograph a new scene, we already have everything in hand, we just have to frame and shoot! After we can also stop to “think” and possibly redo some shots with greater attention but you will see that the first idea is always the best one! So in our bag there will be only one camera and one lens already on it: the Canon RF 24-105mm F/4 L IS US.

Canon RF 50mm F/1,2 L USM

Wanting to test the Canon RF 50mm F/1.2 L USM at its extreme aperture with the value 1.2, we tried many situations, obtaining truly amazing results with fascinating images that only certain lenses can give.

This lens allows you to have softness and sharpness at the same time.

To make it clear in practice, always with the diaphragm fully open, just look at the following two images, which were not taken at close range where any lens would have produced blur, but with these wide scenes we see that the maximum aperture renders a good blur with an excellent bokeh result.

The first image focuses on the main subject in the background while the person in the foreground is out of focus. While in the second the focus falls on the foreground subject thus highlighting an out-of-focus background scene that allows you to “detach” completely from the foreground.

This second image was not built but just taken as it was happening and, in this case, we were really surprised by the use of the small yoke of the Canon R5 which is controlled with the right thumb and acts on a green square corresponding to the point of focus. The rapidity and naturalness of this gesture allowed precise control of the focus which was set immediately on the smartphone/hand of the portrayed lady.


Below is the Canon R5 where the main control buttons are highlighted.


In conclusion

We took hundreds and hundreds of photos in many extreme situations, day, night, indoors and outdoors, of people, things, in the studio with Broncolor flashes, from the car, running, at the seaside, on the hills.

There are no situations these cameras, defined as mirrorless, with the new optics (the RF series) specially designed and manufactured for them, are not able to face. The image quality is always excellent for the Canon EOS R and becomes outstanding for the Canon EOS R5. We did not test the videos here but I assure you that only a few years ago we did not even dream of these results!

What is missing?
The creativity of the photographer-author that no one will ever be able to design and create for you. Creativity is always inside of you, just bring it out!


Canon EOS R with Canon RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM lens


Canon EOS R5 with amazing Canon RF 50mm F1.2 L USM lens


Shot with Canon RF 50mm F1.2 L USM lens


The back of Canon R with display


The back of Canon R5 with display


Display opened externally to the Canon R5 camera body


Top view of the Canon R


Top view of the Canon R5


© 2021 Paolo Mazzanti


June 22, 2021

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