It is fairly often that someone drops in some comments regarding the R5 into another thread, so, rather than always commenting in those threads, I thought I would start this one. I picked mine up in October 2020, so I am going on ~18 months and ~60,000 images of use and I am pretty sure there are about 5 of us in the forum that now own the R5.

My overall take, it is the best camera I have ever owned, it is simply incredible, and I am very happy with my purchase. Is it perfect, of course not.

As I have known that is my opinion for a long while know, as I have read some comments, I have been asking myself why?

So, some thoughts as to why I like my R5 so much:
  • Programmability. It has been discussed, but perhaps not enough, but you can program different functionality to 12 different buttons and 3 to 4 different wheels (4 if you have a control ring on your lens or adapter). My R5 is so programed, I hesitate to hand it off to someone else to say, take a picture of me, or to "try" the R5. I have 3 different AF modes depending on which button I pick so I switch between AF modes in a flash. I honestly do not use all the programmability. But I use enough that it far distinguishes the R5 from any other camera I have owned.
  • Speed. I usually shoot in "H" mode, so 7-9 fps depending on battery charge. This is more than enough for most circumstances. But I greatly appreciate the ability to switch to "H+" mode and 12 fps or even fully electronic mode and 20 fps. I do not use either of those modes all that often, but when I want them, they are there. Plus, the 7-9 fps is almost ideal for most of my shooting, even wildlife.
  • Ergonomics. The R5 fits my hand better than any other camera I have owned. Maybe the 7D was close. The button layout is very intuitive. Even using all the different buttons I do, each is obvious from the others as the button sizes, amount they stick up from the surface and even the topography of the R5 is distinctive enough that you know where your fingers are without looking. This is very subtle, but Canon did an amazing job.
  • AF spread. It is great to be able to AF in almost any part of the frame. I need to use this more. But I very much appreciate that.
  • AF-Eye detect. My experience, this works best with birds. Not sure why. But it is absolutely amazing with birds. People and other mammals, it is good, maybe even very good, but it has room to improve. But, especially during the pandemic, I have taken a LOT of pictures of birds. Quick guess, 30,000 to 40,000. And the eye-AF for birds is so good, Busted Knuckles (Mike) and I were using gun sights to track ospreys, not even looking through the EVF or at the LCD. Just tracking the osprey with the gun sight and the Eye-AF was locking on the eye and giving us great images on action shots. Totally superior way to track moving subjects.
  • Resolution. I think my thoughts are well established. Not that I do not appreciate it when I need it, it is just complete overkill for me the vast majority of time. But, there are other times when I can crop small and still have a good sized image and it is appreciated.

    • Biggest thing about additional resolution that I appreciate is finer noise and the noise on the R5 is very fine making high ISO shots look better.

  • Sound. Odd as it sounds, I love the shutter sound.
  • Battery life. CIPA ratings seem to mean nothing for MILCs. Battery life is more of a timer for how long the camera is on, not an image counter. Per battery, the R5 will likely be turned on 4-6 hours (I have not tested this, just an impression). That could be spread over 3 days and 200 images. Or a morning shoot and 3,000 images.

  • Battery and FPS. I am surprised I do not hear this grip enough. But, if/when I move on from the R5, this will be the primary reason. It is ridiculous to be shooting at 12 fps and then have your speed drop just because your battery drained below 60% and then drop even more at below ~10%. This means, for when I want 12 FPS, I am actually changing batteries a couple times a day. Is this the worst? No. At Laguna Seca I typically used one to two batteries in the morning and the same in the afternoon and recharged at lunch/overnight. Just unfortunate to be blazing away at a fast moving scene that you want and suddenly your camera slows down.
  • Bit depth and FPS. 12 FPS is 13 bit, 20 fps is 12 bit. Looking at tests, these are both still better than 14 bit files from the 5DIV, but still, you are compromising some level of IQ for speed.
  • File size. Yep, I'll always say it, the R5 frequently crashed my old computer. My new computer it works amazingly well with it. But the increase in file size is absolutely noticeable in terms of space on memory cards, transfer times, processing, etc. Buying newer everything has made it essentially a nonfactor, but if you are thinking about the R5 and have older things....yep, it was absolutely noticeable. BTW, I likely do need to try CRAW more. But I still shoot RAW.
  • AF. Not a true con, as it is very good, but this can always be better. Lots of little things, like I have lost shots I was holding vertically because it would not AF, but it would AF when I held horizontally. An issue with dual-pixel AF being oriented in a single direction. I've since decided I will hold out for a solution, such as quad-pixel AF, for my next body. Canon still has a tendency to jump to subjects that are closer. This is programmed, but, especially when I am already locked on to a subject, why does it jump?
  • People/mammal eye-AF. Good, really very good. I have a better hit rate than otherwise, but it is not as good with birds, so room to improve, IMO. Based on comments I've heard, I have looked, and I think Canon defines the zoon as in focus as the front of the eye. So, starting at the eye and moving toward the nose. It would be nice if the definition of the focus area were programable.

  • Image quality. So what I like about the R5 are things that help me get the shot. The actual images, I think they are better than the 5DIV here or there. But, my opinion, but even IQ before ~2016 was amazing, but after 2016 (5DIV/1DXII/etc) the IQ is so good it is difficult to distinguish. So, if you primarily shoot landscapes, for example, do you need an R5? I will say, the files are a bit easier to work with (now with my new computer), I think the highlights recover a bit more, and you can do more with shadows. But, we are also in the range that you are potentially tweaking photos to the point they may not look natural. So, small improvements, but we are in the range of diminishing returns for Image Quality, IMO.
  • Top LCD. I have heard people complain about it. And I get it. But I am indifferent. The new top LCD is ok. I do not get worked up about it, but I will say, I do not use it much at all where I used to use the top LCD of the 5D.
  • EVF. The fact that this is in the indifferent category is actually a huge win for the R5. I am to the point where I see pro's and con's to the EVF. I love having all the information available too me, like a histogram, level, etc. Seeing my exposure is great. But every time I look through an OVF, I enjoy it more. So, the R5 EVF is very functional and likely improves my ability to get good images, but I enjoy an OVF more.
  • Non-eye detect AF modes. These are really about the same as the 5DIV. The single points are larger, but the spot AF works better, so I tend to use either Eye-AF or spot point and occasionally use expanded point AF.

So, there you go. I am very glad I picked up my R5. The functionality of it has absolutely made taking many types of pictures much easier, at a minimum, and made taking other types of pictures that where unlikely or nearly impossible before, possible (20 FPS, eye-AF, etc). Other types of photography, I think the R5 makes very little difference in terms of final IQ. But, I am still very happy to have it.

An absolutely amazing all around camera. In my opinion.