Canon EOS R5 C

The Canon EOS R5 C Full-frame 8K Cinema EOS System camera can capture beautiful footage in 8K RAW video while also excelling as a high-resolution stills camera. The problem is this: It has horrible battery life. You might be able to take advantage of its 15 stops of dynamic range, but only if you have enough batteries to support your shoot. We’ll cover this issue and more in this review of the Canon R5 C for video production, so read on.

Introducing the Canon EOS R5 C

Before we dive into the meat of this review, let’s get to know the Canon EOS R5 C with a quick tour. Starting at the heart of the camera, the image sensor for the EOS R5 C is a 45-megapixel full-frame CMOS image sensor. The sensor is paired with Canon’s DIGIC X image processor. This full-frame 8K cinema EOS camera accepts lenses from the Canon RF lens group, or it can be adapted for EF lenses with an EF-EOS R mount adapter.

The camera offers both still image capture and video recording. It offers several different video resolution and aspect ratio options. These include 8K RAW video recording as well as Super 35 mm and Super 16 mm cropped sensor recording modes. It also includes Canon Log 3. The EOS R5 C uses Dual Pixel CMOS AF II, but it doesn’t include any in-body image stabilization.

This mid-sized full-frame mirrorless camera weighs in at around 1.7 pounds with battery and media but no lens. It has both an OLED viewfinder and a 3.2-inch rear LCD, and for media, it offers one CFexpress card slot and one SDXC slot.

That’s our quick tour of the camera’s main features; now, let’s start talking about how the EOS R5 C performed in the field.

Canon R5 C side

Pros and cons

Now that you have a better understanding of this camera and its features, let’s take a look at what worked for us and what didn’t. Throughout our review process, we noted the pros and cons of using the Canon R5 C. Here’s a rundown of the perks and quirks that most impacted our shooting.

Pro: Internal 8K RAW video recording

First things first, we love that this camera can shoot internal 8K RAW video. That’s using the Canon RAW Light format, which offers 12-bit color depth. The quality of the video and the flexibility of the RAW Light workflow match our previous experiences with other Canon cameras. Now, however, we get to record at resolutions as high as 8K.

Pro: 15 stops of dynamic range

The second show-stopping feature of the Canon EOS R5 C is its impressive 15 stops of dynamic range. That’s awesome. If you need a little bit of extra information in your shadows, this camera can give you the extra dynamic range you need to make it happen. This is a feature we noticed right off that bat when shooting with this camera.

Pro: 10-bit 4K up to 120 fps

Next up, we have 10-bit 4K video recording at frame rates up to 120 frames per second. This is more than satisfactory for capturing cinematic slow-motion footage with great color. That’s a higher frame rate than what most shots would call for, and everything above that will be specialty slow-motion video. If you’re showing humans or anything that’s falling in normal gravity, 120 fps is probably where you’d want to top out.

Pro: 45 MP stills

Our last pro is for photographers — or videographers who also want to shoot photos on the side. The EOS R5 C features a full-frame 45-megapixel image sensor, making it great for capturing stills. In that way, it’s almost like you are getting two cameras in one package: the photography-focused Canon EOS R5 plus the cinema features that make the EOS R5 C a cinema camera.

If you want to switch to photography, the camera offers a photo mode that focuses the menu and options for still image capture. When you want to get back to filmmaking, use the camera’s cinematic mode to access the familiar cinema camera menu and video assist tools. It’s rad; you can have both a stills and a cinema camera. That’s definitely something s lot of people doing hybrid photo and video shooting are looking for.

Con: Horrible battery life

Now, let’s get to the cons. Our first and biggest complaint is that the EOS R5 C has horrible battery life. We’re talking 40 minutes tops on any battery we used — and that was what we considered a good result. We’ll go more in-depth on why this is such a big issue a little bit later in the review. The takeaway, however, is that this camera requires either a lot of batteries or a full-on battery strategy to keep it powered throughout a typical shooting day.

Con: Poor low light performance

Next on our cons list is the EOS R5 C’s low light performance. Canon cameras usually struggle in dimmer conditions, and this camera is no exception. Through our tests, we found it to have subpar low light performance, which is especially disappointing given the camera’s mirrorless form factor.

Con: No sensor stabilization

Along with poor low light performance, another disappointment is the fact that the EOS R5 C does not offer in-body image stabilization. Again, though, this is not surprising for a Canon camera. It does offer electronic image stabilization, which others have praised. We prefer to avoid electronic stabilization and the resulting image crop.

Even though the camera offers 8K RAW and a lot of other nice features, we still would have liked to see sensor stabilization included in this new camera.

Con: Two different media card slots

Canon R5 C media

And then last in our cons list, the camera uses two different media card slots, CFexpress and SDXC II. That’s okay; they’re both fast media. However, we would have preferred that both slots used the same media. Using one type of media makes it a lot easier to stay organized. Plus, you’ll know you always have an extra card on hand during a shoot.

Canon EOS R5 C field tests and performance

Now that we have a high-level understanding most exciting features of the Canon EOS R5 C — as well as its major pain points — it’s time to talk details. We’ll start with the most important aspect of any camera: image quality.

Image quality

We highlighted resolution, bit depth and frame rate as some of our favorite features of this camera. You can shoot 8K video using Canon RAW Light at up to 2,570 megabits per second with 12-bit, 10-bit or 8-bit color. Or, you can opt for DCI 4K 422 10-bit Intra at up to 120 fps. Let’s talk about what those options actually get you in terms of image quality.

To put it plainly, we are super impressed with the video we got out of the EOS R5 C. It looks really nice. As we have come to expect based on our experience with other cameras in Canon’s cinema lineup, the image ends up being beautiful. The camera’s 15 stops of dynamic range is especially notable. This expansive dynamic range combined with the high bit depth means you have plenty of latitude when it comes to color grading. On the other hand, you can use the image straight out of the camera to get that classic Canon look.

Crop modes

In addition to the various resolutions available with the EOS R5 C, the camera also offers two cropped-sensor modes: Super 35 mm and Super 16 mm. These modes aim to emulate the frame size and aspect ratio of these classic film formats. Practically speaking, that means that if you want to punch in for a tighter shot, you can do that. Of course, since the Super 35 mm and Super 16 mm modes restrict what part of the sensor is being used, those modes come with resolution restrictions. You can’t shoot all the way to 8K like you can when using the entire full-frame sensor. With Super 35 mm, you can shoot resolutions up to 5952 x 3140, while in Super 16 mm, you can go up to 2976×1570. We think that’s okay in a lot of workflows, and these modes certainly give you more options when it comes to framing and lens choice.

Dynamic range

Another highlight of the EOS R5 C is its impressive dynamic range. This is an important spec to consider for any cinema camera on your wish list. Being able to capture details in both the shadows and highlights is crucial to creating that cinematic look and feel. To determine the dynamic range that the RS C can actually capture, we used our DSC Labs Xyla 21 chart. This backlit chart tells us how many stops of dynamic range you can expect while shooting.

During our testing, we saw up to 15 stops of dynamic range. That’s pretty awesome. Once graded, that number drops to maybe 13 stops, but still, that’s pretty awesome. Depending on how you grade the image, though — without crushing your blacks, for instance — you could probably retain information in all 15 stops.

Low light performance

Now, let’s talk about the EOS R5 C’s low light performance. When we talk about low light performance, what we’re really talking about is noise. For this test, we ramp up the ISO levels while keeping the overall exposure the same. As we incrementally raise the ISO, we look for the point at which noise is introduced into the image. We also consider how distracting that noise is — when does the image start to look so bad that it can’t be used for a professional production? For the EOS R5 C, we did an ISO ramp from ISO 100 all the way to ISO 12,800.

Our conclusion is that the camera can shoot up to ISO 1,600 without much noise showing up. In a pinch, you might be able to push it up to ISO 3,200. Above that, the noise begins to color shift, which will be very distracting to your viewer. We would have expected a clean image up to ISO 3,200 or even 6,400 from a mirrorless camera. That’s what we’ve seen from other cameras in the full-frame mirrorless category. That places the EOS R5C a stop or two below what we would have liked to see. On the other hand, the camera does still offer impressive dynamic range, which balances things out somewhat.

Image stabilization options for the Canon R5 C

As we pointed out earlier, the Canon R5 C does not have in-body image stabilization. That’s a big bummer. The camera does have the same electronic image stabilization as other Canon cinema cameras, but this system relies on cropping the image slightly to offset any camera shake.

To avoid using the camera’s electronic stabilization system, you’ll have to rely on optical image stabilization from your lens. Otherwise, you’ll be tied to a gimbal or other camera support. Luckily, the camera’s small enough that using a gimbal shouldn’t pose a challenge. However, as always, it would be nice to have the option to turn on in-body image stabilization in situations where you just need a little bit more steadiness.

Media

Now for media, the camera uses two different types, as we said earlier in the review. The Canon R5 C is equipped with one CFexpress card slot and an SDXC II card slot. While we typically think of this as an inconvenience — because it is — the R5 C allows you to use these two card slots in pretty interesting ways. There is a lot of flexibility regarding how you can use them.

For instance, you can record 8K RAW video to the CFexpress card while recording proxy files to the SD card — a pretty standard setup. Alternatively, if you wanted a higher quality option, you could still shoot 8K RAW to the CFexpress but then use the SD card to capture higher quality video files, such as 4K 10-bit MP4s. This gives you the option to provide dailies that are a little bit nicer than the usual proxies.

Having these sorts of options allows you to develop a nice workflow. And fortunately, the Canon R5C has lots of codecs options, giving you lots of flexibility. We thought that was great. But even with all of that said, we still would have liked to see the same media used in both card slots. This makes it a lot easier to organize and keep track of your footage. It’s all more convenient when it comes to building up your kit and making sure you have what you need. Instead of making sure you have a backup of each different type of card, you can just buy a few of one type of card and know that you’ll be covered.

Besides organization issues, there’s another perhaps more significant downside to a camera that uses two different types of media. And that’s that the cards don’t offer equal performance. While the Canon R5 C is an 8K capable camera, if you only have SD cards, you’re out of luck. The SD card slot can’t capture 8K video footage. That means it’s likely that you will mostly be using the CFexpress card slot if you plan to maximize the camera’s performance. Since you won’t have the option to hot-swap media or record onto a second card when shooting 8K, you’ll have to opt for a card with a larger capacity. And these are not cheap these days.

Battery system and battery life

All right. It was first on our cons list, and it’s our biggest barrier to using this camera. It’s finally time to talk about the battery life. This is a bummer. The battery life — or lack thereof — is easily the worst thing about the EOS R5 C, and might be a big deal-breaker for most.

For our testing, we used three different types of batteries, including Canon’s newest offering: the LP-E6NH. We also tested the LP-E6N and the older LP-E6. As you might expect, the newest battery lasted the longest, at around 40 minutes. That was when shooting with the most optimized settings and a brand new battery. On average, we got 25-35 minutes of shooting out of each battery, depending on the resolution and codec we used. The camera does allow the use of the older Canon LP-E6N and LP-E6 batteries. They perform even worse.

In our tests and real-life shooting situations, we weren’t impressed. As we were shooting some B-roll — maybe six different shots, all tight product shots — we went through three different batteries. We also burned through several batteries just while filming the A-roll for the video version of this review. That’s crazy — and frustrating.

It is common to shoot video in a series of small clips, and we don’t tend to do long shoots here at Videomaker. Still, the battery life for this camera made shooting with it a total pain the whole time. Frequent battery changes wasted our time and took us out of our creative flow. It just was a total disappointment. Here’s what we would recommend: If you are bothered by short battery life, don’t even think about this camera.

Unless you are using some kind of external power source connected through USB-C, the EOS R5 C will probably be quite disappointing and pretty much a non-starter for many.

Final thoughts

The Canon R5 C was very impressive. We love the feature set, and it only had one major flaw: extremely limited battery life. Unfortunately, for us, this flaw is a deal-breaker. The battery life was a big hassle when shooting, and our shooting situations weren’t even stressful compared to the demands of a professional shoot. Having to pause production to replace the battery is no good. It ruins the flow and makes shooting take longer. Unless you plan on rigging the Canon EOS R5 C with a different power source, we wouldn’t recommend this camera.

Summary

Canon

$4,800

What we like

  • 8K RAW video recording
  • 10-bit 4K up to 120fps
  • Shares tech with photo-focused Canon EOS R5

What we didn’t

  • Unacceptable battery life
  • Two different media types
  • No in-body image stabilization

Bottom line

The Canon EOS R5 C is a great camera with a fatal flaw. We’re excited to see internal 8K RAW recording from Canon, and we were impressed by the image quality overall. However, the short battery life meant we couldn’t get into a flow and enjoy using this camera.

Specs

Lens MountCanon RF
Sensor resolutionActual: 47.1 Megapixel; Effective: 45 Megapixel (8192 x 5464)
Sensor type36 x 24 mm (Full-Frame) CMOS
Image stabilizationDigital
ISO sensitivityPhoto: 100 to 51,200 in Manual Mode (Extended: 50 to 102,400), 100 to 12,800 in Auto Mode (Extended: 100 to 51,200); Video: 100 to 51,200 (Extended: 50 to 102,400)
RAW recordingRAW, Cinema RAW Light
8192 x 5464 at 23.98/24.00/25/29.97/50/59.94 fps [1030 to 2570 Mb/s], 5952 x 3140 at 23.98/24.00/29.97/50/59.94 fps [544 to 1360 Mb/s]< 2976 x 1570 at 23.98/24.00/25/29.97/50/59.94 fps [138 to 344 Mb/s]
Recording modesRAW 12-Bit: DCI 8K (8192 x 4320) at 23.98p/24.00p/25p/29.97p [2600 Mb/s], AVC-Intra/AVC-LongG/XF-AVC 4:2:2 10-Bit, DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) at 23.98p/24.00p/25p/29.97p/59.94p/100p/119.88p [160 to 810 Mb/s], UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.98p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p [160 to 810 Mb/s], Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 23.98p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p [50 to 310 Mb/s], HD (1280 x 720) at 50p/59.94p [8 to 12 Mb/s]
AVC-LongG/MP4 4:2:2 10-Bit
DCI 8K (8192 x 4320) at 23.98p/24.00p/25p/29.97p [400 to 540 Mb/s], UHD 8K (7680 x 4320) at 23.98p/25p/29.97p [400 to 540 Mb/s], DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) at 23.98p/24.00p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p [100 to 225 Mb/s], UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.98p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/119.88p [100 to 225 Mb/s], DCI 2K (2048 x 1080) at 23.98p/24.00p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p [35 to 50 Mb/s], Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 23.98p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p [35 to 50 Mb/s], HD (1280 x 720) at 50p/59.94p [8 to 12 Mb/s]
AVC-LongG/MP4 4:2:0 8-Bit
DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) at 23.98PsF/24.00p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/119.88p [100 to 225 Mb/s], UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.98p/24.00p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p [100 to 225 Mb/s], DCI 2K (2048 x 1080) at 23.98p/24.00p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p [35 to 50 Mb/s], Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 23.98p/24.00p/29.97p/50p/59.94p [35 to 50 Mb/s], HD (1280 x 720) at 50p/59.94p [8 to 12 Mb/s]
Sensor crop modesSuper35 / APS-C: 5952 x 3184, 4096 x 2160, 3840 x 2160; Super16: 2976 x 1570
Gamma curveCanon Log 3, HDR-HLG, HDR-PQ, Rec2020, Rec709
Recording limitUnlimited
Media/memory card slotSlot 1: CFexpress Type B; Slot 2: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II)
Video I/O1 x Micro-HDMI Output
Audio I/O1 x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm TRS Stereo Mic/Line Input, 1 x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm TRS Stereo Headphone Output
Power I/O1 x USB Type-C (9 VDC at 3 A) Input
WirelessBluetooth Control, 2.4 / 5 GHz Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n), Wi-Fi (802.11b/g), Wi-Fi Video Output, Control
Monitor3.2”, 2,100,000 Dot, Free-Angle Tilting Touchscreen LCD
ViewfinderBuilt-In Electronic (OLED), 5,790,000 Dot
Battery typeCanon LP-E6N
Dimensions (W x H x D)5.6 x 4 x 4.4″ / 142.2 x 101.6 x 111.8 mm
Weight1.5 lb / 680 g (Body Only), 1.7 lb / 770 g (with battery, recording media)

Nicole LaJeunesse is a professional writer and a curious person who loves to unpack stories on anything from music, to movies, to gaming and beyond.