Canon R5 — First Impression

Canon R5 photo taken at 1/40 of a second shutter speed, f/4, ISO 1600, hand held. See below for 100% enlargement.

A RAW file that is a whooping 51MB to 54MB! That’s huge.

Let Me Concentrate on the Body:

On/Off switch is on the top left. Perfect placement for left thumb activation.

View finder is incredibly bright.

With meter balanced, I love that the viewfinder lightens and darkens as the camera is pointed at lighter and darker areas.

If you are too close to focus on your subject, there are tiny, thin orange lines along each corner of the viewfinder. Those lines turn white when the subject is close enough to focus on.

Focus indicator boxes are blue in Servo and green when the camera is set to One Shot. I don’t often shoot in One Shot but this is a nice visual reminder for those who move between the two auto focus modes.

The icons for front dial or back dial are visible through the viewfinder. These are visible as well on the back of the camera if using live view.

M-Fn button on the top right front just like in the 5D Mark IV. Push the M-Fn button, and you can quickly change ISO, white balance, drive, focus, or exposure compensation. Click the M-Fn button with the tip of your finger, lean the finger over, and rotate the quick dial on the front. Simple to change often used items. All this can be seen through the viewfinder without taking your eye off the subject.

M-Fn button and other controls on the top of the Canon R5.

ISO is also adjustable with the back Quick Control Dial 2. I loved the ISO button on the 5D Mark IV and the 1DX. It was so easy to access. The adjustment via the Quick Control Dial 2 looks just as easy. Remember, we can also change ISO with M-Fn button.

Menu layout is exactly the same as we’ve seen on Canon cameras from the Rebel to the 5D Mark IV to the D1X. There are 30 menu items plus the green My Menu favorite.

Multi-controller button (little toggle joy stick) on the back is like the one on other Canon cameras. Lots of functions depending on what you’re doing with the camera. Convenient for my thumb on the back of the camera.

The rear focus button is right next to the multi-controller. Ergonomically, this is the right position for my hand.

The top display panel has basic information when shooting. Mode, battery level, f/stop, ISO, shutter speed, ISO are all there on top. Press the Illumination Button, though, and lots of icons appear. One glance and I can see AF mode, drive mode, white balance, release mode, meter mode, picture style, and recording card. Icons, of course, because the space is small but everything I need to know when shooting.

There’s a new “Control Ring” on the front of RF lenses. Rotate it and nothing happens. Rotate it while holding the shutter button half-way down and I can change the exposure compensation. Of course, the Control Ring is customizable.

Control ring on the front of the 24-105mm RF lens

The INFO button on the back of the camera has moved to the right of the rear display screen. Easy to access with your right thumb. Press the INFO button once for classic display screen, press again for live-view screen, press again for live-view with icons, press again for live-view with level and histogram, press again for uncluttered clean screen for live-view.

Classic display screen that’s familiar to those using Canon Rebel, 7D, 5D, and 1D models.

In one of those live-view screens, press the Q button and all the common icons show on the back of the camera for easy changing.

Live view screen with icons accessible by the Q button.

Touch screen on the back of the camera is activated with the Q button, too.

Video is activated with the touch of a button. Push the red button with your shutter finger and video is on. This is a great improvement over the twist lever and push on the Canon 1Dx and the Canon 5D Mark IV.

The R5 has in-body image stabilization. We’ve seen this in other mirrorless cameras but it’s a first most Canon cameras. This means we can hand-hold the camera and shot at lower shutter speeds. See below — I enlarge the file to 100% using 1/40th of a second shutter speed and ISO 1600.

100% enlargement at ISO 1600 and 1/40 shutter speed hand held. Should be grainy and blurry but it’s not.

Thanks to Hunt’s Photo & Video for getting this camera and lens to me. I know equipment is in short supply so my sincere thanks.

Author: kathyadamsclark

Professional photographer leading workshops and tours.

6 thoughts on “Canon R5 — First Impression”

  1. Enjoy the new camera! As you know, I’ve been shooting mirrorless for several years now with Sony’s and love it. To my workhouse Sony A7Riii I recently added the Sony A9ii. Wow! And the thing I really enjoy with mirrorless is the lighter weight body and lenses when I go out shooting. The R5 looks like a great camera, have fun!



    Anthony R Gargano


    Mob 609-221-4899


    1. It’s been a hard wait for me. I knew I wanted to go mirrorless but wasn’t sure if I wanted to change to Sony or Olympus or stick with Canon. When I tested the Canon R two years ago it stole my heart. The Olympus was okay but it wasn’t Sony or Canon. My choices were narrowed down to Sony or Canon. I’m glad I waited because I’m super happy with the first impression. Yes, lighter and smaller is so nice. Can’t wait for the day when we’re out shooting together again.


      1. Hi Kathy,

        I hope all is well with you. I am on the waiting list for a Canon R5 with Mike’s Cameras here in California… I think those who ordered the kit are getting their camera first. I already had a 24 – 105 lens, so I am waiting for a body only. I think Canon finally did something right. I have been waiting for them to come up with something to replace my 7D Mark II, which was getting long in the tooth. I am still photographing a lot, not doing workshops because of Covid-19, but getting out a lot around the Bay Area, by myself. I hope to go to Southern Oregon with my travel trailer next week, and photograph birds. All the best, Bruce.


      2. I got my R5 as a kit, Bruce. I tested the new 24-105mm that goes with the R5 two years ago. That’s when I realized that Canon was moving in a new direction with all their equipment. It’s a bit like the move to auto focus years ago. We could use our old lenses on the new camera but the new lenses were better. I’m still waiting on other equipment to arrive. It’s a slow process because the supply chain has been so disrupted my Covid. Agree that the 7D Mark II is getting old. I sold mine years ago and went with the 5D Mark IV for birds. Better auto focus but a bit more cropping due to the full frame sensor. Hope you get your R5 soon! Enjoy Oregon. I’m envious.


    1. The video feature is super nice but I understand not using it. Some will and some won’t. That’s up to the user. I’m happy with the camera. Still waiting for a lens but that will come in time. Thanks for the nice comment.


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