OFFICIAL: the Canon EOS R5 can now shoot 400MP images

Canon EOS R5
(Image credit: James Artaius)

Is this the best firmware update ever? I think so. The Canon EOS R5 can now shoot 400MP images – almost a tenfold increase over the camera's native 45MP resolution.

Firmware update v1.81 adds pixel shift technology to the Canon EOS R5, enabling the camera to capture staggeringly detailed high-resolution images. 

"The v1.81 firmware for the EOS R5 enables the in-body IS [image stabilization] mechanism to move the sensor incrementally to replicate the effect of smaller pixels, producing images with higher resolution – up to 400MP," says Canon.

"Such precision is perfect for photographers who want to capture stunning architecture and landscapes on the go."

Indeed, this new resolution capability not only gives the R5 quadruple the resolution of the Fujifilm GFX 100S and Hasselblad X2D 100C, it even matches the 400MP pixel shift capabilities of Fujifilm's 100MP cameras. 

This is where things get interesting. You see, pixel shift technology is nothing new – it was pioneered by Olympus (now OM System) ten years ago, with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. However, what Canon has done here is nothing short of extraordinary. 

Pixel shift traditionally gives a fourfold resolution increase – so a camera like the OM System OM-1 goes from 20.4MP to 80MP, the Sony A7R V goes from 61MP to 240MP, the GFX 100S goes from 100MP to 400MP, and so on.

But Canon, despite being the latest to the party when it comes to adopting in-body image stabilization (IBIS), has now eclipsed everybody in the industry with the technology, using pixel shift to increase resolution by almost nine times (an 888% improvement, to be precise). 

Canon's supremely clever IBIS system possesses some dark magic that enables it to squeeze up to 8 stops of compensation out of EOS R cameras, which is the best in the industry (competitors top out at 6 or 7 stops). It's no doubt it is this extra bit of compensatory horsepower that acts like PEDs for the new pixel shift mode. 

I'm looking forward to installing the firmware on my R5 and seeing just what kind of a difference it makes… and how big the files are!

If you enjoyed this article, you might be interested in the highest resolution cameras on the market today. You might also be looking for the best Canon RF lenses to use with the new 400MP mode, or maybe this feature is making you consider switching – if so, check out our Canon EOS R5 review.

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.