Canon EOS R5 C review: the ultimate hybrid?

The EOS R5 is a brilliant stills camera that happens to have impressive video skills and is more than a little handy at capturing stills

Canon EOS R5 C video camera on a white background
(Image: © Will Cheung / Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

You could argue that if Canon had got the Canon EOS R5 right in the first place, there would have been no need for the EOS R5 C. After all, the EOS R5 is a truly excellent stills machine and while it has an impressive array of video features, its appeal was compromised by overheating issues, although a firmware update helped. But no, Canon has gone much, much further with the EOS R5 C and the result is a potent and serious video camera that’s essentially an entry-level Cinema EOS with the bonus of great stills capture. In other words, the EOS R5 C is two first-class cameras for the price of one.

Pros

  • +

    Great value

  • +

    Internal Raw recording

  • +

    Cooling fan

  • +

    Overall handling

  • +

    AF system is impressive

Cons

  • -

    Off/video/photo switch could be more positive

  • -

    Battery capacity nothing special

  • -

    Micro HDMI where a full-size HDMI would be better

  • -

    No IBIS

  • -

    No integral ND filters

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The Canon EOS R5 is a hugely popular and successful mirrorless full-frame that excels in both stills and video shooting. That said, excellent though the EOS R5 is, it’s fair to say that it is arguably better at still capturing than video where its tendency to over-heat compromised its appeal.

Using the Canon EOS R5 as a starting point, Canon has packed it with video features without compromising its stills skills, although it has lost its very effective five-axis in-body image stabilizer. The most obvious physical change is the body’s left side is much deeper to allow the space to install permanent cooling fan and vents which, in theory, means the camera has the ability to shoot 8K video until the battery dies or the media is full without any overheating issues.

The back-plate control layout is typically Canon with a large command dial supported by a good number of push buttons and their usability rates highly. (Image credit: Will Cheung / Digital Camera World)

The EOS R5 C is the result, making it the smallest, most compact camera in Canon’s Cinema range, which includes the EOS C70 ($5,499 / £4459 body only) at the budget end of the range and the EOS C700 FF and C500 Mark II at the top end. 

In effect, the EOS R5 C is two very powerful cameras in one. For stills, you can enjoy its 45-megapixel output, high ISO performance, exceptional AF skills, and the ability to shoot full-res Raws at 20fps with the electronic shutter. 

Its headline video features include its ability to record 8K video at 30p (60p with a compatible external power supply) with three 12-bit Cinema Raw Light footage options internally but also MP4 for usable out-of-camera footage, XF-AVC with 10-bit 4:2:2 files and oversampled 4K at 120fps. 

Being equipped with the EOS RF mount means the EOS R5 C can accept a growing collection of RF lenses and a massive range of EOS EF and Cinema lenses via an adapter.

There’s the option of having the shutter blind closed to protect the sensor from any airborne debris when lens changing. Along the base of the mount are the  RF mount’s 12 pins that provide ultra-fast communication between the lens and body (Image credit: Will Cheung / Digital Camera World)

Although the EOS R5 C does not have IBIS it does have the same Advanced Five-axis Electronic IS found in the pro Cinema EOS cameras for stable, smooth hand-held footage and this facility is also available with non-stabilized Cinema lenses.

Finally, Canon released a firmware update (v1.0.61) in December 2023 with extra features including compatibility with RF Mount Cinema prime lenses and the recently introduced RF 24-105mm f/2.8. 

Canon EOS R5 C: Specifications

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Sensor36x24mm CMOS full-frame
Effective resolution45 megapixels
Image processorDIGIC X
AutofocusVideo: Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with Eye EF and EOS iTR AF X | Photo: Dual Pixel CMOS AF II 1053 phase-detection points
Face detectAF Face priority, face only, eye AF
ISOVideo: IS O100-25,600, 102,400 expanded | Photo: 100-51,200, 102,400 expanded
ShutterVideo: off, speed, angle, clear scan, slow | Photo: mechanical, elect 1st curtain, electronic
Video recording formatsCinema RAW Light: 12 bit RAW XF-AVC 4:2:2 10bit HEVC (MP4): 4:2:2 10-bit/ 4:2:0 10-bit H.264 (MP4): 4:2:0 8-bit
Internal recording modesCinema RAW Light/Raw 12-bit 8192x4320 at 23.98/24/25/29.97/50/59.94fps 5952x314023.98/24/29.97/50/59.94fps
Internal recording modesAVC-Intra/AVC-LongG/XF-AVC 4:2:2 DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) at 23.98/24.00/25/29.97/59.94/100/120 fps 
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.98/25/29.97/50/59.94/100/120 fps
Internal recording modesAVC-LongG/MP4 4:2:2 10-bit DCI 8K (8192 x 4320) at 23.98/24.00/25/29.97 fps 
UHD 8K (7680 x 4320) at 23.98/25/29.97 fps 
DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) at 23.98/24.00/25/29.97/50/59.94/100/120 fps 
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.98/25/29.97
External recording modes4:2:2 10-bit via HDMI, DCI 4K (4096x2160) up to 59.94fps UHD 4K (3840x2160) up to 59.94fps
Image stabilisationDigital
ScreenArticulating 3.2in touch panel 2,100K dot
EVF0.5in OLED, 5.79K dot
Storage1xCFexpress Type B, 1x SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II
Size142 x 101 x 111 mm (5.6 x 4 x 4.4 in)
Weight770g (1.7 lb) with battery and cards

Canon EOS R5 C: Design & Handling

Given the EOS R5 C’s design heritage, it’s no surprise that it handles very similarly to the EOS R5 especially the right side of the body. The magnesium alloy body itself has a robust, reassuring feel and it’s weather-sealed to a pro standard. 

The contoured handgrip provides a secure and positive grip and quick access to all key controls. The three control dials are positive in use and there are no fewer than 13 assignable buttons, which means there is huge potential for setting up the EOS R5 C to your needs. In stills set-up, the number of customizable buttons drops to 12 with number 10 (the record button on the EOS R5) not having any function. It is a bit of a memory test recalling which button does what.

Something the EOS R5 C doesn‘t want for is assignable buttons No fewer than 13 are marked on the body. The same buttons are on the EOS R5 but they are labelled differently. (Image credit: Will Cheung / Digital Camera World)

Continuing the tour to the left-side top plate, you can see that the EOS R5 C has a dedicated on/off switch with the option of photo and video. It is clearly marked but a better physical differentiation between the three positions would be a benefit. It was too easy to go straight from video to photo skipping the off position and I did this several times, so this needs watching if you don’t want to arrive on location with a drained battery. A more positive or lockable off setting might be better or greater travel between the three settings.

The off/shooting mode switch is poorly executed. When turning the camera off it is far too easy to slip straight across to the opposite shooting mode, so care is needed to avoid that; you could turn up at a shoot with a flat battery. The accessory shoe accepts a multi-function adapter to take Canon’s Directional Stereo Microphone DM-E1D and XLR plugs via the Tascam CA-XLR2d adaptor. (Image credit: Will Cheung / Digital Camera World)

On the plus side, in Photo mode, the EOS R5 C’s menu and its contents are essentially identical to the EOS R5’s but when you switch over to video shooting, you get Canon’s Cinema EOS menu with its video-oriented workflow. A smaller font and many more options means you have to be a little more deliberate when using the video menu touchscreen, but at least with the two completely different interfaces that have been optimized for the two shooting modes there’s no chance of any confusion, so it makes sense.

The EOS R5 C’s cinematic menu is deep and complex to work through for content creators more familiar working with cameras that are more stills-focused. There are features not found on the EOS R5 including waveform, vectorscope monitors, and false colors.

In Photo mode (left), the EOS R5 C has the same menu structure as the EOS R5; in video mode, there are Cinema EOS style menus with a smaller interface and is a little more fiddly in touch operation.  (Image credit: Will Cheung / Digital Camera World)

We’ve already mentioned that the EOS R5 C has a much deeper body on the left side. It’s not especially elegant but it’s there for a good reason and at least we haven’t lost the really useful 3.2in vari-angle touch monitor that swings out for easy viewing from many angles including from the front.  

There are vents on both sides of the fan housing plinth and it seems air is drawn from the right vents and this takes any generated heat from the sensor and expels it through the left-side vents. When running, the fan is audible even at the low setting and it is much more obvious at the high or maximum settings. Fan levels can be set independently in standby and record modes. It did its job well in typical UK winter shooting conditions. 

For internal recording, EOS R5 C has dual card slots, one for CFexpress Type B and the other for UHS-II SD. For this test, I stuck with CFexpress Type B cards, ProGrade Gold, and Sandisk Extreme. 

Power is supplied by a single LP-E6 NH Lithium Ion battery. This provides sufficient energy to access most of the camera’s features, the exception being the ability to shoot 8K at 60p. For that, you need the optional CA-946 with the DR-E6C external power supply or a suitable power bank.

Canon’s LP-E6NH Li-ion battery is standard for its full-frame cameras. Charged spares, or a separate power supply, will almost certainly be needed for location shooting. A suitable power bank or the BG-R10 Battery Grip that can take two batteries are options worth considering. (Image credit: Will Cheung / Digital Camera World)

The EOS R5 C is blessed with dual card slots, CFexpress Type B, and UHS-II SD. Two CFexpress slots might have been a better option (Image credit: Will Cheung / Digital Camera World)

Canon EOS R5 C: Performance

For this test of the EOS R5 C, I used a selection of Canon RF prime and zooms including the RF 24-105mm f/4, 14-35mm f/4, and RF 50mm f1/8. I had also a Canon C N-E 50mm T1.3 L F lens to try on the EOS R5 C via a Canon EF to RF adaptor. The retail price of this lens is $3,950 / £3699. Canon announced a family of seven RF cinema primes last autumn and these are due reach to the shops early in 2024.

Canon’s EF Cinema lenses work happily on the EOS R5 C with the help of an EF-EOS R lens adaptor. The CN-E50mm T1.3 L F has industry-standard manual controls and gives first-class 4K image quality. (Image credit: Will Cheung / Digital Camera World)

As you would expect the camera performed solidly producing fine-quality results. I thought not having IBIS would be an issue particularly when shooting stills but it wasn’t really. Most buyers of the EOS R5 C would probably have the camera on a gimbal or some other support, so it’s probably a non-issue anyway. 

With IS-equipped RF lenses, the camera gives the option of Digital IS, and the two work together for steady shooting for those who want to use it. 

Shooting 8K footage with the EOS R5 C loaded with a fully charged battery and at an ambient room temperature of around 18°C I got a recording time of 55min before the battery finally expired. However, battery capacity out on location when the temperature was around 8°C was less impressive I got about 30 minutes shooting time. 

Shooting on location or an event such as a wedding, you’ll very likely need spares and an option to consider is to buy the BG-R10 Battery Grip (current street price is $349 / £379) that takes two LP-E6 NH cells. 

The cooling fan expels warm air from the vents on the left side of the body. Also shown here are the separate headphones and microphone ports you would expect on a camera of this caliber and the same applies to a USB-C port for in-camera charging. Oddly, however, for a cinema camera for this level, you’d expect a full-size HDMI port which would be more convenient, not a Micro HDMI. (Image credit: Will Cheung / Digital Camera World)

In-body charging is possible via the camera’s USB-C port and if you have a suitable power bank it can run camera from it. I tried a Charmast 100W/20,000mAh PD power bank with a PD cable and the PD icon appearing on the LCD display and monitor showed that it worked fine. The freshly charged power bank kept the EOS R5 C running for three hours and was down to about 50% at the end. 

During those three hours, I had the EOS R5 C filming in different modes on my desk with the fan in its auto setting and although the handgrip and base got rather warm, the camera didn’t shut down. It is worth noting that the ambient temperature of my home office was about 18°C so I can’t vouch for how the camera and fan would perform in warmer climates.

In terms of movie formats, resolutions, and frame rates, the EOS R5 C is blessed with a great selection. The EOS R5 C’s sensor obviously shares many of the attributes for the EOS R5 but there are key differences such as Dual Gain ISO at 800 and 3200 for C-Log 3 and there’s the option of audio with 4K/120p. 

I shot MP4 and Raw format shooting in 4K and 8K with footage put through Final Cut Pro. In both file types, color reproduction looked spot on and whether you like a punchy or more natural look, the potential is there. With noise reduction and stabilization added during the edit the final results looked excellent.

Raws from the 45-megapixel EOS R5 C are packed full of detail and processed sympathetically and are capable of serious enlargement. Canon EOS R5 C | RF 24-105mm at 24mm | 1/640sec | f/14 | ISO 400 (Image credit: Will Cheung / Digital Camera World)

The EOS R5 C’s autofocus worked well for both stills and video. There are many more AF options in stills shooting and the system has a wide choice of focus zones and subject-detect modes is the same as that found in the EOS R5. For video shooting the AF frame options are small, large, and whole frame and fine-tuning options include AF Speed that can be varied from +2 to -7 and a selection of human-based modes such as Face Detect & Tracking and Eye Detection which proved sensitive and tenacious as the subject walked at normal pace towards the camera position. Shooting indoors under typical domestic lighting was no problem either and AF was snappy and accurate.

The EOS R5 C’s still photography output is first-rate, as you’d expect. This is an out-of-camera JPEG of a challenging scene featuring deep shadows, a side-lit swan, and a high ISO. Canon EOS R5 C | RF 24-240mm lens at 240mm | 1/2500sec | f/6.3  | ISO 1600 (Image credit: Will Cheung / Digital Camera World)

Canon EOS R5 C: Verdict

The Canon EOS R5 C is a fine and capable camera that can deliver very effectively on two fronts, stills and video. 

For the serious content creator and video professionals, there is no denying its appeal and it is a better investment than the EOS R5. Obviously, much depends on your aims and how you like to work. The EOS R5 has better battery life and IBIS and while overheating (which I have experienced even when shooting stills) is a potential pain, but it can be managed. On the other hand, the EOS R5 C has its integral fan and a huge range of movie features but it is a chunkier camera although it is just over 30 grams heavier. 

Money-wise, on the street the EOS R5 C body costs £4149 while the EOS R5 is £3879 so the difference is just £270. The other option for serious content creators is the RF mount but smaller sensor EOS C70 which is currently around £4600 body only but this is a dedicated video camera. At this level of spend, that difference between the three cameras is unlikely to be a deciding factor so which one you go for depends on your needs. Go for the EOS R5 C body and you’re not going to be disappointed.

In its basic configuration without any external recording device, microphone, gimbal, and so on, the Canon EOS R5 C behaves just like other EOS R mirrorless camera; it’s just over 30g heavier than the EOS R5 body. The body’s left side is deeper to accommodate the cooling fan and vents but it doesn’t compromise handling greatly. (Image credit: Will Cheung / Digital Camera World)

Canon EOS R5 C Alternatives

Panasonic Lumix S5 IIX

In our test, the Panasonic Lumix S5 IIX proved itself a very skilled hybrid that comes in at an attractive price too, and key video features include HDMI Raw output, SSD recording, Apple ProRes, and streaming functionality. Add to that a compact design, Phase Hybrid AF, impressive image stabilization, and compatibility with the growing band of L-Mount lenses, and the Lumix S5 IIX is a serious hybrid

Sony A1

Let’s kick-off with the Sony A1’s major negative: it’s frighteningly expensive. That said, there is no doubt that the Sony flagship is an incredibly capable and well-endowed camera for stills and video. For video, it can capture 8K/30p video and 4K video up to 120fps, and raw can be saved to an external recorder via HDMI. What it lacks though is an active cooling solution so its video capacity is compromised.

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