Canon R5 Compared with R6

I’ve been on a selling and buying frenzy over most of 2020 and now find myself with a Canon R5 and R6. Considering the wait time to get each camera I feel pretty lucky. So what’s the difference?

Shooting wise I don’t see any difference. Let’s get that out of the way first. Both cameras feel, focus, and shoot the same in the field.

The Canon R5 is on the top and the R6 is on the bottom. The obvious difference is the R5 has a LCD panel on the top. This is a nice feature that we’ve had since the early days of the 10D and through to the 7D, 5D, and IDX. The R6 has the mode dial typically seen on Canon Rebels. Buttons and dials are in familiar places for Canon users.
Canon R5 on the right and R6 on the left. Both have rotating swivel LCD panels on the back. Buttons and controls in the same locations. All icons familiar to Canon users. The R5 has more video features so you’ll notice the microphone icon next to the Rate button.
R5 on the left and R6 on the right. Note the same size. The R5 weighs 1.63 lbs and the R6 weighs 1.5 lbs.
R5 on the left and R6 on the right. Familiar back and top view for Canon users.

The big difference between these two cameras is the file size.  (Video features are not mentioned in this post.). The R5 on the left has a 45 mega-pixel sensor. The R6 has a sensor half the size at 20.1 mega-pixels. For comparison, the 5D Mark IV has 30.4, the 7D Mark II 20.2, and the 6D Mark II has 26.2. So the R6 and 7D Mark II have the same file size.

It’s so easy to crop into the R5 files when the bird is small. 

Sure, we can crop the R6 files as well just like we’ve done with the 7D Mark II. Happy with your results with the 7D? Maybe the R6 is for you.

The R5 files are huge so they eat a lot of computer space.  People with an older computer might find processing drags.  (Oh, no! New camera = new computer)

How about frames per second? The R5 and the R6 both shoot 12 frames per second. The 7D Mark II shoots 10 fps. My 5D Mark IV shot 7 fps. My D1X Mark III shot 16fps.

Then there’s the money.  $3,899 for the R5 and $2499 for the R6.  That’s $1400 that some people might want to put into  RF lenses. (Future blog post because you need the RF lenses.)

Conclusions: The R6 is not a “baby” camera. It’s equally robust when compared with the R5. The R5 excels in file size and video capabilities.

Author: kathyadamsclark

Professional photographer leading workshops and tours.

6 thoughts on “Canon R5 Compared with R6”

  1. Thanks for an excellent breakdown on the differences between the 2 cams. I am still on the fence trying to decide which way to jump. Look forward to your next post.


  2. Interesting info as always, I have an R6. I’ve noticed that almost all your bird pictures are taken with the RF100-500 (I’ve got one and also the RF800 f11) combined with the 1.4x Extender. I was wondering how you like the 1.4x extender and if you have considered the 2x extender. I can see why you use the extender as I find the 500mm length kind of short for birds, especially the little ones. I have been surprisingly happy with the 800mm lens for little birdies, but the 800mm reach spoils you :). The 1.4x changes the 100-500 to a 420 f7.8 – 700 f10 nearly matching the 800mm reach, the 2x would make it a 600 f11.2 – 1000 f14.2. Do you think the 2x extender would be a bridge too far?


    1. I’ve always found the 2x extender too much. With a DSLR, the 2x reduced the number of focus points you could use. The 1.4x doesn’t do that. All the focus points from edge to edge can be used. That’s a super advantage when photographing birds. Second point, the 1.4x on the 100-500mm is lovely. I used the 1.4x on my old 100-400mm lens and never had a problem with it. Yes, the bird would be small sometimes but I was shooting with a full-frame camera so there was plenty of room to crop. I’ve found the same with the 100-500mm. Third point, the 100-500mm gives me the ability of zoom in and out. Over the weekend I was in a photo blind and needed to zoom back when the golden-fronted woodpecker came in. I would have cut off his tail with the 800mm lens. That happened to me often when I used to shoot with a 500mm f/4 lens. I had a “who cares if you cut off the tail” attitude because I regularly couldn’t get the entire bird in the frame. Once I started using the 100-400mm (and now the 100-500mm) I’m much more aware of getting the tail in the photo. I’m pleased you like the 800mm. I think it’s a nice lens to have in the bag. I looked at it when buying the 100-500mm but I think I made the right decision for me. Maybe someday I’ll get the 800mm lens and give it a try. Thanks for writing. Good discussion points.


      1. Thanks for the insight, I might pick up one of those 1.4x for use with my 100-500, would be nice to be able to focus across the screen and up close, and have a little out zoom. Or I could turn my 800 into an 1120mm for the heck of it.


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