Now that Canon has entered the full-frame mirrorless world with their EOS R, it’s time to see how this new camera compares to Canon’s current generation of professional DSLRs – specifically, the Canon 5D Mark IV. Both the EOS R and the 5D IV share a number of similar specifications, but their differences are enough to target two relatively different groups of photographers. Here’s what you need to know.
Canon EOS R vs Canon 5D Mark IV Specifications Comparison
|Camera Feature||Canon EOS R||Canon 5D Mark IV|
|Mount Inner Diameter||54.0 mm||54.0 mm|
|Mount Flange Distance||20.0 mm||44.0 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||30.4 MP||30.4 MP|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Pixel Size||5.36µ||5.36µ|
|Image Size||6,720 x 4,480||6,720 x 4,480|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||DIGIC 6+|
|Max Buffer Capacity (Rated, RAW)||47 images with UHS-II card||21 images with CF card|
|Native ISO Sensitivity||ISO 100-40,000||ISO 100-32,000|
|Boosted ISO Sensitivity||ISO 50, ISO 51,200-102,400||ISO 50, ISO 51,200-102,400|
|Dust Reduction / Sensor Cleaning||Yes||Yes|
|Viewfinder Type||OLED (Electronic / EVF)||Pentaprism|
|Viewfinder Coverage and Magnification||100%, 0.71x (0.76x with 50mm lens at infinity)||100%, 0.71x (0.76x with 50mm lens at infinity)|
|Storage Media||1x SD (UHS-II)||1x CF, 1x SD (UHS-I)|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||8 FPS max with autofocus locked, 5 FPS with full AF||7 FPS|
|Max Shutter Speed||1/8000 to 30 sec||1/8000 to 30 sec|
|AE Bracketing Range||±3 EV||±3 EV|
|Number of AF Points||5655 AF points selectable||61 AF points, 41 cross-type|
|AF Detection Range||-6 to +18 EV (assuming an f/1.2 lens; less range with smaller aperture lenses)||-3 to +18 EV; -4 to +18 EV in live view with dual pixel enabled|
|Smallest AF Detection Aperture||f/11||f/8|
|Video Maximum Resolution||3,840 x 2,160 (4K) @ up to 30 FPS||4,096 x 2,160 (DCI 4K) @ up to 30 FPS|
|1080p Video Max Frame Rate||60 FPS||60 FPS|
|HDMI Output||4:2:2, 10-bit||4:2:2, 8-bit|
|Video Crop Factor||1.74x||1.74x|
|Audio Recording||Built-in stereo microphone|
External stereo microphone (optional)
|Built-in stereo microphone|
External stereo microphone (optional)
|LCD Size and Type||3.15″ Tilting Touchscreen LCD||3.2″ Touchscreen LCD|
|Dual Pixel AF||Yes||Yes|
|Dual Pixel RAW||Yes||Yes|
|LCD Resolution||2,100,000 dots||1,620,000 dots|
|Battery Life (maximum)||Worst-case: 350 (Power saving off, EVF only), Best-case: 560 (Power saving on, Eco mode on, Rear LCD only)||900 shots (CIPA)|
|Weather Sealed Body||Yes||Yes|
|Weight (Body Only)||580 g||800 g|
|Dimensions||135.8 x 98.3 x 67.7 mm||150.7 x 116.4 x 75.9 mm|
|MSRP Price||$2,299 as introduced (check prices)||$3,499 as introduced, $3,099 today (check prices)|
The Canon EOS R has not yet shipped, so we still need to do a hands-on comparison at Photography Life, but the specifications above give us a good idea of how these two cameras fit in the market.
First, they are very similar. Although there are the expected differences between a DSLR and mirrorless – viewfinder type, autofocus system, battery life, weight, and size – the rest of the specifications are quite similar. The EOS R has about twice the buffer, while the 5D IV has dual card slots. The EOS R’s tilt-flip screen can flip 180 degrees, while the 5D Mark IV’s screen is fixed. The EOS R has 10-bit HDMI video output, while the 5D Mark IV has 8-bit instead. And a few minor differences such as LCD resolution, bluetooth, and USB version swing in the direction of the mirrorless camera.
One difference that may grab some people’s attention is the -6 to +18 EV autofocus range for the EOS R. Although that is indeed an impressive range, keep in mind that it assumes you are using an f/1.2 lens with the EOS R. If you are using an f/2.8 lens instead, for example, you’ll really only be able to autofocus in light levels of -3.5 to +18 EV, which is about the same as that of the 5D Mark IV. Essentially, this just means that the EOS R can take advantage of ultra-wide-aperture lenses for autofocusing, while the 5D IV cannot to the same degree. Note also that the EOS R can focus even when the lens’s maximum aperture is just f/11, which provides even more flexibility when using f/5.6 telephoto lenses with a 2x teleconverter (since the 5D IV maxes out at f/8 lenses).
So, given all the similarities in their specifications, and a number of improvements leaning in the mirrorless camera’s direction, it is very impressive that the EOS R is selling for more than $1000 less than the 5D Mark IV did upon launch! The EOS R is coming onto the market for $2299, while the 5D IV sold for $3499 at launch and sells for $3099 today.
Which One Should You Get?
The most noteworthy benefits of the 5D Mark IV are its higher battery life and dual card slots. If you need either of those features, it really is no contest, especially for something like wedding photography. This is the same issue that surfaced when Nikon announced its Z6 and Z7 cameras; if you need dual card slots, get the 5D IV instead.
However, the remaining EOS R’s specifications appear to have a slight edge overall. The smaller and lighter form factor will impress a lot of users, and the vari-angle LCD screen is ideal for taking pictures at odd angles. It also has a larger buffer and access to the new lineup of Canon RF lenses – some of which look quite interesting (like the 28-70mm f/2). That’s not to mention the electronic viewfinder, preferable for certain types of photography because of its what-you-see-is-what-you-get factor.
Still, keep in mind that there are still plenty of unknowns about the new mirrorless camera, and it will take some testing before we know which one comes out ahead in certain areas. For example, based on the autofocus specifications alone, it is hard to know which camera comes out ahead. Although there is a good chance that the tried and tested system on the 5D IV will win out in the end, the EOS R could surprise us with its crazy high specification of 5655 autofocus points. This is something that will need to wait until we see them side-by-side.
So, based on what we know now, who should get each of these cameras? It will take some real-world tests to know for sure, but here is how the specifications look. Personally, if I were a wedding or portrait photographer, I would likely pick the 5D Mark IV due to its dual card slots, battery life, and proven autofocus system. For video, the EOS R has an edge, at least on paper, because of its electronic viewfinder, 10-bit output, and tilt-flip screen. For travel and landscape photography, the EOS R is ahead, mainly for its light weight and tilt-flip screen; after all, it is 220 grams (half a pound) lighter and noticeably smaller, which is not bad at all. Lastly, for sports and wildlife, the better option depends upon your preference for a field-tested autofocus system and dual card slots on the 5D IV or a larger buffer on the EOS R (based on rated buffer figures and not real-world tests). Keep in mind, too, that although the EOS R shoots 8 FPS rather than the 7 FPS of the 5D Mark IV, it locks autofocus above 5 FPS. To me, that makes the 5D IV the winner here, but it depends upon your needs.
Of course, the price leans the equation closer and closer to the EOS R, which represents an impressive value at $2295. As I’m sure you can see, the two cameras are very, very similar. Canon appears to have done as much as possible to create a “mirrorless 5D Mark IV,” aside from price, and it shows! So, if one of these cameras works for you, there’s a good chance the other one will as well. In a sense, the answer boils down to whether a mirrorless or DSLR camera in general is better for your work, and that’s something you have to determine for yourself.
Then again, the 5D IV is already on the market, while the EOS R won’t ship for another couple months. So, if you need one of these cameras now, there’s your answer.