The EOS R5 offers several different connectivity options. WiFi and Bluetooth can be used to connect to a smartphone, tablet, computer, FTP or the image.canon service. The USB-C connector can be used for data transfer as well as for in-camera charging, which is certainly beneficial when trying to reduce weight. Additionally, there’s a micro HDMI port for outputting video, 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks, flash and remote-control port. When the R5 was announced, there was some concern about the micro HDMI port used. I found those complaints to be valid. If you want to use HDMI, I’d advise you to get some sort of clamp to keep the cable in place, as it’s really easy to accidentally pull out the cable while shooting.
WiFi and Bluetooth with an Android Smartphone
I used both WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity with my LG V30 running Android 9 to look at images on my camera or transfer them to my phone for a quick edit to send off to friends and family. To me, this is quite a useful feature, as it allows me to share photos of a trip much quicker. Unfortunately, the connection between the R5 and my phone is very unstable. I’ve often had to reset the communication settings on my R5 to get it to work again. The frustrating part here is that I’m not even sure if it’s just me doing something wrong or if the functionality is simply not implemented well. I find the instructions the camera and the accompanying app give quite unclear and hard to understand.
Another useful feature is the automatic geo-tagging of photos using your smartphone. To me, it makes a lot of sense to outsource the GPS functionality to a device that most of us have with us all the time anyways. This way you can save battery and cost. In fact, that’s the way I’ve been geo-tagging my photos for the past few years. I just record my GPS location using my smartphone and let Lightroom (Classic) extract the corresponding location from that file afterwards.
However, I find the feature has been implemented in a suboptimal way. If you want to geo-tag your photos on the R5, you constantly have to have your smartphone connected via Bluetooth. Having this connection turned on all the time consumes a lot of battery on both devices. In fact, I’ve reverted to my original way of geotagging photos most of the time because it consumes much less battery. The Canon app also provides the option to record the GPS location and add the location data to photos on the camera after the fact, connecting to the camera just once at the end of the day for instance. However, this feature isn’t available with the R5, or that’s at least what the app says. Again, it might be me misunderstanding the app, but I feel like connecting camera and smartphone should be a more fool-proof process.
Together with the release of the R5 and R6, Canon introduced image.canon, a service that lets you upload your images and videos to the cloud directly from your camera. Additionally, you can set up third-party services to fetch the files from image.canon, including Google Drive and Adobe Lightroom for instance. The files are kept for 30 days, there is no storage limitation and the service is for free. This is a unique feature and one I can see play a key role in improving many people’s workflows.
For instance, it makes backing up your files very simple when either on a critical shoot on-location or when traveling for a longer period of time. You can simply set up Google Drive to get the files from image.canon and you’re set with a great backup of all the photos you take on a trip. Simply connect your camera to a WiFi and it’ll automatically upload all your photos. On top, you can automatically import them into Lightroom. Using this you could set your workflow up in a way that doesn’t require you to insert a memory card into your computer even once. Even better, you can have all your photos on your computer and ready to edit before you even get home.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found a way to set up Lightroom such that it automatically puts the imported files into a synced collection. If Adobe adds this feature, it would make image.canon an even more powerful service, as you could immediately edit photos on-the-go on your smartphone or tablet, too. One issue I found when using the service is that it couldn’t distinguish the files written to the two memory cards and so I ended up with duplicate files in my Lightroom catalog. However, I haven’t used the service since, and Canon may have fixed this issue already.
In conclusion, these new features – connecting the camera to your phone via Bluetooth or WiFi, geotagging using a smartphone and image.canon – are all very useful, when they work. However, they all still seem to have a few bugs or could be improved in a way and I hope Canon will do so the future.
The R5 offers customization options for many of its controls. All three wheels can take custom functions, and there’s the additional control ring of the RF lenses, giving the user many options to tune the camera to his/her liking. However, I would appreciate some more freedom in the type of functions that can be assigned to each of the customizable controls. For instance, it’d be helpful to have a button assigned to switching between people and animal eye-AF. I could see myself putting that on the movie recoding button, but that button cannot take that function and no other can either, as far as I know.
The few times where I used the video features of the R5 I found myself having to fiddle around with the menu more often than I would’ve liked. For changing framerates and resolutions you always need to dive into the menu, you can’t easily adjust these settings via control buttons or dials. You can, of course, define the three custom modes (C1-3), but I think Canon could’ve done a better job with giving us access to these settings. Additionally, if you want to record at higher frame rates, you first need to turn on high FPS before being able to select 60 or 120 fps (or 50/100 fps, respectively). I don’t understand this extra step when higher frame rates are so frequently used.
The EOS R5 features a CFexpress and an SD card slot for recording media. Images can be recorded in RAW, compressed RAW and different sizes of JPEG (Large, Medium, Small 1 and 2). When two cards are inserted you can choose to record images to both cards, either of the same or of different formats and sizes. Videos can also be recorded to both cards simultaneously, but the SD card will only record lighter MP4 files. Due to the lower write speeds, certain video settings can only be chosen when the CFexpress card is selected as recording media. If you want to make use of the 8K feature of the camera, you’ll have to invest in some expensive CFexpress cards, as only the larger cards will have fast enough write speeds for recording 8K. Canon has published a list of cards that they have verified to work for 8K recording. While I only own a 64GB SanDisk that is listed as unsupported, I could record about 10s of 8K video before the camera stopped recording, telling me that the inserted card had insufficient speed.
One of the drawbacks of mirrorless cameras is their increased power consumption which generally results in significantly reduce battery life. To combat this issue Canon released a new battery that they say should last about 14% longer than the older LP-E6N, which is rated at 320 images per full charge. Still, when coming from a DSLR, the rate at which the battery empties can be a bit shocking. I learned this when I took the camera on a four-day camping trip in the mountains, where I almost ran out of batteries. However, turning off the LCD screen helped quite a bit in decreasing battery drain.
There’s an Eco Mode that first darkens and then turns off the LCD screen after not using the camera for two seconds, which also helps a bit with battery consumption. I think Canon could still improve battery life by implementing a few things differently. For instance, when the camera records a dark frame for long exposure noise reduction it prints “Busy” on the LCD screen, if you forgot to turn off the screen before taking the image. This drains the battery unnecessarily and I don’t understand why the Camera is programmed this way.
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