The Canon EOS R5 and the Canon EOS R3 are both high-end cameras from Canon, capable of shooting almost anything. However, there are some signficant differences between them, perhaps the most noticeable being the integrated grip and the novel eye autofocus point control on the R3. In short, the R5 is a bit more of an all-purpose camera whereas the R3 is more finely-tuned to action. Which one of these cameras is better for you?
Canon EOS R5 vs Canon EOS R3 Specifications Comparison
|Camera Feature||Canon EOS R5||Canon EOS R3|
|Announced||July 2020||September 2021|
|Sensor Type||CMOS||Stacked CMOS|
|Image Processor||DIGIC X||DIGIC X|
|Resolution||45.0 MP||24.0 MP|
|Sensor Dimensions||36.0 x 24.0 mm (Full Frame)||36.0 x 24.0 mm (Full Frame)|
|Sensor Pixel Size||4.39µ||6.00µ|
|Low Pass Filter||Yes||Yes|
|IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization)||Yes||Yes|
|Base ISO||ISO 100||ISO 100|
|Max Native ISO||ISO 51,200||ISO 102,400|
|Extended ISOs||ISO 50-102,400||ISO 50-204,800|
|High-Resolution Sensor Shift||Yes (JPEG only)||No|
|Focus Stack Bracketing||Yes||Yes|
|Fastest Shutter Speed||1/8000||1/64000|
|Longest Shutter Speed||30 seconds||30 seconds|
|Continuous Shooting (Mechanical Shutter)||12 FPS||12 FPS|
|Continuous Shooting (Electronic Shutter)||20 FPS||30 FPS|
|Notes for High FPS Shooting||None||195 FPS is possible, but only for 0.25 seconds of shooting. Auto exposure is locked at high FPS.|
|Buffer Size (Raw)||180 (12 FPS), 83 (20 FPS)||420 (30 FPS)|
|Autofocus System||Hybrid PDAF||Hybrid PDAF|
|Low-Light AF Sensitivity (f/2 Lens, ISO 100)||-4.5 EV||-6 EV|
|Standard Flash Sync Speed||1/250||1/250|
|Maximum Video Bit Depth (Internal)||12 bits||12 bits|
|Maximum Video Bit Depth (External)||12 bits||12 bits|
|8K Maximum Framerate||30 FPS||N/A|
|6K Maximum Framerate||N/A||60 FPS|
|4K Maximum Framerate||120 FPS||120 FPS|
|1080P Maximum Framerate||120 FPS||240 FPS|
|Additional Video Crop Factor||No||No|
|Video Recording Limit||30 min||360 min|
Physical and Other Features
|Slot 1 Type||CFExpress Type B||CFExpress Type B|
|Slot 2 Type||SD (UHS-II)||SD (UHS-II)|
|Rear LCD Size (Diagonal)||3.2 in||3.2 in|
|Rear LCD Resolution||2.1 million dots||4.2 million dots|
|Articulating LCD||Fully Articulating||Fully Articulating|
|Viewfinder Resolution||5.76 million dots||5.76 million dots|
|USB Type||Type C 3.1||Type C 3.2 Gen 2|
|Battery Life (Viewfinder)||220 frames||440 frames|
|Battery Life (Rear LCD)||320 frames||760 frames|
|Battery Life (Eco Mode)||490 frames||860 frames|
|Weight (Body Only w/ Battery + Card)||738 g (1.63 lbs.)||1015 g (2.24 lbs.)|
|Dimensions (LxHxD)||138 x 98 x 88 mm (5.4 x 3.8 x 3.5″)||150 x 143 x 107 mm (5.9 x 5.6 x 4.2″)1|
|MSRP, Body Only||$3900 (Check Current Price)||$6000 (Check Current Price)|
|Used Prices||Canon EOS R5 Used Prices||Canon EOS R3 Used Prices|
|1The Canon EOS R3’s official dimensions do not include the depth of the protruding viewfinder. To match the typical standards today, 20mm were added to the EOS R3’s depth measurement in this table.|
Summary and Recommendations
I think it’s hard to go wrong with either of these cameras, but there are some important differences between them. It’s akin to the differences between the classic Canon 5D Mark IV and the Canon 1DX Mark III. In other words, the R5 is a higher-resolution camera with an excellent autofocus system capable of almost anything, whereas the R3 tuned with even better autofocus and other features to be a true action camera, but a lower resolution sensor.
In this case, the R3 has a lower resolution of 24MP, whereas the R5 has 45MP. As a wildlife photographer, I immediately favor the R5 in this case, especially since there are very few scenarios where the R5 lags significantly in the autofocus department. Sports photographers, or other photographers who don’t crop much, may actually prefer the 24 MP of the R3 because of the smaller file sizes.
The EOS R3 has some major advantages over the R5 such as its much larger buffer and 30FPS continuous shooting speed over the 20FPS of the R5. Users of the R3 who upgrade their firmware will get an even higher 195 FPS mode, although in this mode you can only shoot for 1/4 second at a time (50 photos). In most cases, you will not need such a high framerate, and 30 FPS will be plenty. But with very fast action, the 195 FPS option can be worthwhile.
The R3 is also has a rather novel feature which allows the photographer to select AF points with their eye, just by looking at the spot in the viewfinder at which they want the AF point to be. Many people love this feature, and indeed I myself have often wished for it on my other cameras. But it only works for acquiring the initial AF point, so you can’t just track a subject across the frame by looking at it.
In terms of video, the EOS R3 is slightly ahead, being able to shoot at 1080P 240 FPS (with a firmware upgrade) rather than 60FPS, and 120FPS instead of 100FPS in 4K mode. Yet, because of its higher resolution sensor, the EOS R5 is capable of 8K video, which is not possible on the R3 – the EOS R3 maxes out at 6K.
It would be hard to go wrong with either camera. But unless you know you really need the extra features like higher FPS, bigger buffer, and a bit better autofocus, the R5 seems like the right choice that will also save you about two thousand dollars.
What does the Canon EOS R5 offer over the Canon EOS R3?
- 1.88 times more megapixels (45.0MP vs 24.0MP)
- 8K Video
- Substantially lighter weight (277 g, or about 1.4 times lighter)
- Much lower price, costing $2100 less – you could buy a bunch of cool lenses!
What does the Canon EOS R3 offer over the Canon EOS R5?
- Better autofocus system, buffer, and continuous shooting speed
- Higher resolution rear display, with about 2.0x more dots, making image review in the field easier
- Better battery life when using the viewfinder, with approximately 220 more shots according to CIPA measurements
Want to discuss these two cameras with other photographers? If so, head on over to our forum to start a conversation!