So it is finally here! The new Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Full Frame Camera and also its baby brother the R6 have arrived.
Now I am not going to use this blog to go into the specs, they can be found on Canon's website and for a more in-depth review then check out Jarard Polin's video on YouTube by following this link.
What I will cover though is the reaction to the price, which has made a few people take a sharp intake on breath and others to express their views on social media. The release price of the EOS R5 in the UK will be ..........£4199. Slightly more than I expected as I predicted £3999. However remember that this is the launch price and we are sure to see it fall a little bit over the coming months.
So is it worth it. Well I think it is important to understand that this is Canon 1st Professional Mirrorless Camera. The specs look amazing but only time will tell if they live up to the hype. Sure on the press launch today, known photographers were waxing lyrical about its ability however remember they are Canon Ambassadors and would have been chosen for a reason. Once testing takes place from independent reviewers then we will get a much clearer picture. Back to the camera itself. For me the question that you need to think about is who is this camera aimed at. It is a professional camera, therefore by the very nature it will be used by professionals who expect the best from their equipment and will not compromise. Likewise they are earning a living from photography and need the best. When you look at it in those terms then is the £4199 price tag too expensive?
To give you an example, I earn some of my annual income from photography but the majority of it comes from my day job. I have invested a lot of money in an Canon 1DX, Canon 5DSR and Canon 5D mk 111. But none of them owe me anything. They have paid for themselves with the work I have done with them and they have also been tools to help me grow my business. They still work perfectly, have been well looked after and still have a value attached to them. Could I have done the same work with a cheaper camera body? Probably. Would the results have been as good? Possibly? Would I have had the same confidence in a cheaper camera? Defiantly Not.
And that is the main point, I rely on my camera bodies to perform exactly how I need them too when I need them too. I won't compromise on that, there is too much at stake. I have also said on many occasions that you should always invest in better quality glass as opposed to a better quality body. You will always get better images this way. When you put all of these things together along with the specs of the R5 then is it over priced. Probably not if you are earning an income from it. Will I be buying one?
Now don't get me wrong, if Canon send me one for free, I will be jumping through hoops and be the happiest person alive. It's not the price that puts me off, it is that I won't use it to its full potential. 8k video I am sure is amazing, 20 frames per second, amazing but I am a landscape and dark sky photographer. I don't shoot video, I look for compositions and take images when conditions are right, I might only take 20 images in a 4 hour session let along per second. Professionally then it doesn't make financial sense to me. Now there are rumours at a 80+ megapixel landscape and portrait EOS R5S is due out in early 2021. That I can't wait for and yes I would pay the price, if it did everything that I wanted it to.
My final word on the R5 is, if money is no object then buy one. It will be amazing. Provided you know how to use it. If you don't have the skill level to maximise its ability then save your money, book yourself on a workshop, travel to a new location, invest the money in getting out there and improving yourself as a photographer. Trust me it will be worth it.
There is another option
Canon have also launched the EOS R6. At £2499 it is a lot of camera for the price. Again in the same YouTube link that I shared earlier, the EOS R6 is covered. Yes it is does not have the same specs as the R5, you wouldn't expect it to. However, do you really need 8k video and some of the other specs. The R6 has a 21 megapixel sensor v the R5 which is 45 megapixels.
I am sure that some people will look at this an be put off. The megapixels are less than some APSC cameras, it's a step backwards, the images won't be as good. However lets just think about it for a minute. The top of the range Canon EOS 1Dx Mk 3 has a 20 megapixel sensor and a digic X processor. So does the R6 and Canon says it is very similar. File sizes will be about 20mb per picture in RAW. On the R5 you are looking at 45+ MB. If you shoot lots of images then storage comes at a cost. Also what are you going to do with your pictures when you have taken them? Share then online - well Facebook and Instagram compress when you upload them so the quality goes out of the window. Share them with friends and family via e-mail or look at them on your computer screen, Again you will not notice any noticeable difference in image quality. Do you print your images? Well unless you are printing images at A2 and larger then again you are not going to see any noticeable difference.
More megapixels can make a difference when printing large images. Take my 5DSR for example. It has a 50.6 megapixel sensor and the image quality is amazing when using a professional lens. I have images which are over 1.2m in size on my wall at home on both fine art paper and canvas. The quality is brilliant and no I couldn't have printed at this size with the 5dMk 3 without degradation in the quality. But I have got amazing prints at uptown A2 size with the 5D Mk 3. Again, the bodies are coupled with L series lenses to get the best quality and then I sound photography technique and understanding to get the best possible results.
With that in mind, for 90+% of the population who take photos then the R6 has to be the best option if you want to spend some of your money.
But wait..... is there another option. Well yes. With the release of the R5 and R6 then I am sure there will be some amazing deals on the EOS R and EOS RP. Both are full frame, no they won't shoot at 20 frames per second or have the video capabilities. But they are still amazing cameras. If you can live with only 1 card slot which the majority of cameras have then this could be they way to go in the first instance if you want to go mirrorless; and remember since their launch there was be a fantastic firmware update which took the autofocus to the next level.
In summary then, the R5 and R6 both look amazing on paper. Time will tell if they live up to expectations once independent reviewers get to test them. They will both produce amazing results especially when paired with the new RF range of lenses. They are expensive but then you get what they pay for in this world. Will they make you a better photographer instantly if you don't know the basics or how to maximise their potential?