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Thread: R5- Longer term thoughts

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    R5- Longer term thoughts

    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.


    Cons:
    • 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.


    Indifferent:
    • 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.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
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    Great summary and great idea to start this thread. I'll add some more comments to this later I'm sure, but right now I just want to say that I agree with you on all of those points.

    For now, just one comment on the EVF: I'm definitely torn about this. I do love the fact you can see the exposure and know when you need to make quick adjustments. And the image quality in the viewfinder is much better than I thought it would be. But then I grab my 1DX and look through the optical viewfinder, and immediately love it even more. For the entire lynx encounter I had last month, I watched the cat on a miniature TV screen in the viewfinder, instead of seeing it "for real" through an optical viewfinder. But I guess I'll have to get used to this, because EVF is obviously here to stay. But also, I know that I'll never sell my 1DX because I will always be nostalgic for the real thing. Maybe it's the same thing as an audiophile who prefers vinyl over compact disc?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Fast Glass's Avatar
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    It's a hate love relationship with me and the R5 and the 5Ds R for that matter.

    I agree with what Kayaker has said about the R5, but I have been spoiled with 1-seires AF and it's really hard to use them now. The R5 hit rate is definitely better than the 5Ds R that I'm using, but it's still very much a 5-series. I do love the IQ for sure, it is excellent and better high ISO performance in the real world. I love having high resolution, I can do heavy crops and still get 8mp and 10mp images and as long as the ISO is low still usable images. Very handy.

    But I have used it quite a bit, and thin DOF portraits kill it. For a lot of people focusing on the eye lash is acceptable. It is not for me, and while a bit better using manual focus points it's a long ways away from being useful to me. It's actually exceedingly frustrating.

    It's why I still use my 1D III sometimes over the 5Ds R in birding or my 1Ds III for portraits. Because I get frustrated with the low hit rate in certain situations. As Bryan has said many times before, "All the IQ in the world is useless if the image is OOF."

  4. #4
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    My opinion as of right now is one of indifference, it really hasn't set the world on fire.
    Even worse my opinion of the body keeps falling.


    I see may positives with the R5, and it is an exceptional camera in may ways.
    Eye tracking is a positive for humans.
    Flippy Screen is wonderful.
    Frame rate is great for a high resolution body.
    However:
    I bought the 5Ds R at release so the resolution of the R5 feels like a compromise and step back.
    I am not seeing an increase in the hit rate for in focus pictures, it seems close if not less to than the 5DsR. But then I do not spend hours doing an AFMA to make sure it is just right. It seems about equal to the 5DsR when all its AFMA settings are correct. Overall I do not see the AF of the R5 as a gain, more of a lateral move that may be more convenient. Still it is not on par with the 1D IV so I doubt it is on par with the 1Dx series.

    I had mentioned I took a few shots at my sons wedding, the R5 had several misses that were in no way difficult for an AF system and really just inexcusable.

    So here is todays R5 story. Sitting in the living room a Tom Turkey walks buy in the yard and he has a huge long beard. I have the RF and 600mm F/4 and monopod sitting ready for such an situation. I step out the side door to the house and wait for him to come in to view. Settings are for tracking and animal. Unfortunately he caught a glimpse of me and wouldn't strut when I yelped. I was able to get 10 shots before he made it to the woods. At less than 20 yards I had a total of 10 shots and only 3 had acceptable focus. All the shots would have been poor composition and of no value, but still it should have hit 10 of 10.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Fast Glass's Avatar
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    I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels like the R5's AF is not all it is cracked up to be.

    It's fine, it works pretty well for a lot of stuff. But I can't tell you how many times I heard statements of it completely blowing away anything else including 1-series and it being phenomenal.

    It's ok, what I would expect from a 5-series. Definitely easier to use for the novice as long as you use it within It's limits it works. Like say a 24-105mm. It works great, plenty of DOF to work with and the eye detect makes it super easy for a less experienced user. But it doesn't nessarily perform better, it behaves really differently.

  6. #6
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    AF. Was surprised that I had a far greater hit rate by slowing down the acceleration. Maybe the up/down movement of a bird flapping was giving it a chase that wasn't there.

    I do love the twisty flippy and touch screen for when the set up gets clumsy - low/high level flowers/macro/ close ups, haven't used it for portraits as I don't do portraits though it seems that might be a decent application.

    I don't use the 'thumb' point selection feature on the screen when looking through the viewfinder as much as I had thought I would, once to my eye the joystick is where my thumb goes.

    For BIF i learned the 12 bits is plenty and I love the sound of the fully electronic shutter .

    It would take an awful lot for me to move the R1 if/when it comes out.
    If you see me with a wrench, call 911

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    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Another pro, I am using manual focus and focus peaking. As it also approximates DoF, I have used it for a few portraits to make sure the entire face was in focus. But, also, I am using it for times with AF is having difficulty locking on.

    Quick example:

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    For this one image, the palm dropped below the face. But usually it was obscuring the face and AF was trying to lock onto the palm. So, I dropped to MF, and used focus peaking to get AF on the sloth.

    I do not recall, but this image is either a triumph of the AF, or I might have done something similar:

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  8. #8
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    ...and crop mode. I do use crop mode too.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Busted Knuckles View Post
    It would take an awful lot for me to move the R1 if/when it comes out.
    I would definitely jump to a mythical R1 for these features:
    - Bigger battery (like the R3)
    - Track-pad style AF-ON button (ditto)
    - Dual CF Express cards
    - At least 30 MP. I like the R5 resolution but something in between the R3 and R5 would be perfect.
    - Unlimited buffer at about 20 fps uncropped in RAW.
    - Better eye detection on animals (It has to keep getting better, doesn't it?)
    - Heck, I'll jump to the R1 mainly because I'm sure it's going to be uber-cool and I simply can't resist that

  10. #10
    Senior Member Fast Glass's Avatar
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    @JH

    Lol, the R1 will definitely have that cool factor. I definitely hope it still has the 45/50 MP. As has mentioned before, worst thing it hurts is file sizes but it does allow you to have more resolution and can aid with noise reduction and if you don't want or need full resolution you do have S-RAW. Besides having lots of cropping headroom which I really like having for birding.

    I hope they keep it at higher resolution then I don't have to swap back and forth between bodies. I'd like to have two R1's and that be all I need. I'd MUCH rather shoot in S-RAW if I didn't need the resolution and gain the functionality of the not having to deal with two different bodies. Was doing that the other day with an amazing evening and beautiful views, and since I was trying to shoot quickly between two different bodies (1Ds III and 5Ds R) it was quite an adjustment I ended up just using the 5Ds R because I was tripping over myself and the different controls and it was easier to swap lenses. I'm sure I could get used to it, but if Canon makes the R1 with high resolution. That would be amazing and having one form factor that can do everything really well.

    That's just me.
    Last edited by Fast Glass; 05-01-2022 at 09:33 PM.

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