Summer is starting to heat up for new releases. We mentioned in our recent article about new Nikon releases that Canon had a major announcement coming and did they ever!
It’s official, the long awaited and anticipated Canon EOS R5 and R6 are here. Canon also announced four new RF lenses, two new RF lens extenders, and a new printer. For Canon users, this is a very exciting announcement, as the EOS R5 and EOS R6 look to be an excellent addition to Canon’s full-frame mirrorless line.
The EOS R5 is a professional grade body that features a new 45-megapixel CMOS sensor and uncropped 8K video capabilities up to 29.97 fps. Canon describes the EOS R6 as a camera for ‘advanced amateurs.’ It features a 20.1-megapixe full-frame CMOS sensor and 4k video recording up to 59.94 fps. Both these cameras slot in very well with Canon’s current mirrorless offering of the EOS R, EOS RP, and EOS Ra. The EOS R5 and EOS R6 have some awesome additions and upgrades though that really make them the premier choices in Canon’s mirrorless line. The battle is really heating up between Canon, Nikon, and Sony, which is great for us. Honestly, you cannot go wrong with a mirrorless camera from either of the major manufacturers at this point. But, let’s focus on Canon’s new releases…they are exciting and huge steps forward for Canon.
The EOS R5 – $3,899
The EOS R5 is Canon’s new premier camera, the equivalent to the successful 5-series professional DSLR bodies offered by Canon. It features a brand new 45-megapixel CMOS sensor with the same Digic X processor from the 1DX Mark III. This allows the EOS R5 to offer incredible stills, but also the insane ability to capture 8K RAW video at up to 30fps, 10-bit 4:2:2 and 4K at up to 120fps.
The EOS R5 can capture full-resolution images at up to 20fps with the electronic shutter or 12fps with the mechanical shutter. That is seriously impressive and on par with the industry leading Sony A9 II, plus you get an additional 20 or so megapixels with the EOS R5.
It also gets a new focus system with Canon’s new “Dual Pixel CMOS AF II” which offers 100% coverage of the focus area made up of 1,053 automatically selected AF Zones. Canon states that the focus system has new machine learning AF tracking algorithms as well, which combine with the new sensor system to provide excellent focusing performance. Head and eye detection are included in the systems and support dogs, cats, and birds. I would imagine it will work on certain wildlife species as well.
Another huge addition is the introduction of 5-axis in-body stabilization (IBIS). One of my biggest criticisms of the initial EOS R was the lack of IBIS, but Canon has addressed this now with the new models. The IBIS works together with the lens stabilization on some RF lenses, which means you can get up to 8 stops of stabilization with a supported lens.
I have said it many times, but I think IBIS is one of the great mirrorless features and one that really helps us nature photographers. So, I think it’s great news that Canon was able to fit IBIS in the new bodies.
Some additional exciting specs of the EOS R5 are a 5.76M-dot OLED EVF with 120Hz refresh rate, a 2.1M-dot fully-articulating LCD, one CFExpress and one UHS-II SD slot, a mic port, headphone jack, micro HDMI port, and built-in WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, and a weather resistant body similar in peformance to the EOS 5D series.
Additional features of the EOS R5 camera includes:
- Dual-card slots: 1x CFExpress and 1x SD UHS-II
- Built-in 0.5-inch OLED EVF with approximately 5.76 million dots and a 119.88 fps refresh rate
- 3.2-inch 2.1 million dots vari-angle LCD touch screen
- 5GHz/2.4GHz Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Technology with the ability to utilize the image.canon application, as well as optional WFT-R10A wireless file transmitter with Ethernet support
- Enhanced operating controls such as rear-dial, multi-controller
- The ability to voice tag photos and videos
- Weather, drip and dust sealing on par with the EOS 5D series
EOS R6 – $2,499.00
The EOS R6 also became a reality during Canon’s announcement. The EOS R6 is a 20.1-megapixel camera featuring a CMOS sensor based off the 1D X Mark III and the same Digic X processor as the 1D X Mark III and EOS R5. The EOS R6 has great video capabilities too, although just a step below the EOR R5. It can record 10-bit 4:2:2 4K video up to 60 fps. Same great burst rate as the EOS R5 too, with stills at 20fps using the electronic shutter or 12fps using the mechanical shutter
Leaks also suggested that there might not be a top LCD and that was confirmed with the announcement. No top LCD and a lower resolution EVF at 3.69million-dots and back LCD at 1.62million-dots. The EOS R6 also have two memory slots, but the slots are both UHS-II SD. The mic port, headphone jack, micro HDMI port, and built in WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity for wireless control or image transfer are all there like the EOS R5. The body is weather resistant as well, “weather, drip and dust sealing on par with the EOS 6D series.”
Additional features of the EOS R6 camera include:
- Dual UHS-II SD card slots
- 3-inch 1.62 million dots vari-angle LCD touch screen
- 2.4GHz Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Technology with the ability to utilize the image.canon application
- Enhanced operating controls such as rear-dial, multi-controller
- Weather, drip and dust sealing on par with the EOS 6D series
Thoughts on EOS R5 and R6
I think this is a huge announcement for Canon. These cameras are stacked in the specs and feature departments. Hopefully the dynamic is on par with Nikon and Sony’s competing models, but there’s no doubt these two cameras should be great. If I was in the market for a new camera and a current Canon user, I would absolutely consider the EOS R5 if budget permits. The video capabilities of both cameras is extremely impressive, hopefully the stills quality is also on par. But, I think it will be. We should see the classic Canon colors and a bump in noise handling and dynamic range. Also, the continuous burst rate on both these cameras, wow!
I think the high resolution EVF is nothing to scoff at either. Anyone who shoots mirrorless knows how important the EVF is and I think the 120Hz refresh rate and high resolution will really make the EOS R5 a joy to use. These are really exciting cameras and great for the whole market, competition is good for us. But, without a doubt, I would consider both these cameras immediately if I was a Canon user.
Pretty amazing to finally have these cameras on their way to market finally, we have been hearing rumors about them since April.
New Lenses & Extenders
Canon also announced some new, very interesting models in their press release.
Canon RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM – $2,699
The Canon RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM is a high-performance and versatile super-telephoto zoom lens. The 100-400mm for Canon’s DSLR series has to be one of the best telephoto lenses ever. The RF 100-500mm looks to outdo it. I think this is a very exciting lens release and it should work great for wildlife if you don’t want to adapt EF lenses. The new 100-500mm is f/5.6 at 400mm, matching the 100-400mm model, AND you get an extra 100mm of length up to 500mm, where the max aperture will be f/7.1. This lens should be great for landscapes too. It also has lens stabilization, which will work together with the IBIS of the EOS R5 and R6 for up to 8 stops of stabilization.
No doubt, this will be an incredible lens, but it does come at a hefty price tag of $2,699.
- Rotation-Type zoom ring and torque adjustment allows for precision control and feel
- Customizable control ring that enables photographers to adjust exposure compensation, shutter speed, aperture or ISO
- 12-pin Communication System
- Canon L-Series grade dust and weather-resistant construction with a fluorine coating
- Lens hood with side window allows specialty filters to be adjusted even while Lens Hood is attached
- Compatible with the new 1.4x and 2x RF lens extenders (from 300 to 500mm focal length)
Canon RF600mm ($699) and 800mm F11 IS STM ($899)
The Canon RF600mm and RF800mm F11 IS STM lenses are the first fixed focal length super-telephoto RF lenses and are incredibly compact and lightweight.
The 800mm f/11 is priced at $899 and the 600mm f/11 is $699, so both very affordable for a super telephoto lens.
They are not only the first super-tele RF lenses, but they are also the first super telephotos to be fixed at f/11 for Canon. It is an interesting design, as most super tele users are sports and wildlife photographs who need as many stops of light as they can get via wide open apertures. Will f/11 be limiting in a lot of situations, absolutely, but at the same time, being able to achieve 800mm at f/11 in very lightweight package is pretty amazing. The 600mm weights 2.05 lbs and the 800mm 2.78 lbs, while Canon’s latest 600mm f/4 EF mount is right under 9lbs.
I am not sure what to think of these lenses, but it does excite me that we are seeing a lot of new lenses never seen before due to the engineering possibilities with the new mirrorless mounts, this goes for Nikon as well.
Will portability trump aperture? With new bodies being able to handle higher and higher ISOs, it’s possible that these lenses could be good options for wildlife photographers. At the same time, it’ll be noteworthy to see how the bokeh and quality is for these lenses. Both lenses have lens stabilization as well.
- Compact size, RF600mm measures approximately 7.85inch and RF800mm with measures approximately 11.09inch when retracted, respectively
- Fixed f/11 aperture
- Optical image stabilization of five stops* for the RF600mm and four stops* for the RF800mm of Shake Correction
- Lead screw-type STM enables smooth auto focusing for still-image and video shooting
- Customizable control ring that allows photographers to adjust exposure compensation, shutter speed, aperture or ISO
- 12-pin Communication System
- Compatible with the new 1.4x and 2x RF lens extenders
Canon RF85mm F2 MACRO IS STM – $599
The final lens announced is an 85mm f/2 lens. This lens is less applicable to nature photography, but it is still worth mentioning. At f/2, it should produce excellent bokeh and be a create option for those of you out there who also shoot portraits or family. It is also an affordable option at $599, compared to the f/1.2 version at $2,699.
- Optical Image Stabilization with up to five stops* of Shake Correction
- Hybrid IS compensates for angular and shift camera shake during macro photography
- Control Ring for Direct Setting Changes.
- 12-pin Communication System
- Nine blade Circular Aperture
RF Lens Extenders
Two native RF extenders were also announced, Extender RF 1.4x ($499) and Extender RF 2x ($599). These could be great when used with the new 100-500mm RF lens. Granted, you will lose quality, but extenders seem to be getting better and better. Adding an extender to your R kit is a good solution now while we wait for a fast RF super telephoto, which could be a long way out.
The extenders just make the RF lens lineup more practical and useful for wildlife photograph. One of Canon and Nikon’s shortcoming with mirrorless right now is their lack of a native wildlife lens lineup. Canon has addressed that here with the 100-500mm and these extenders. It really is exciting – take the EOS R5, a 100-500mm, and a 1.4x extender. You get 45-megapixel stills that you can crop, 700mm in length, 20 fps, and hopefully 8 stops of image stabilization.
I can’t emphasize enough how big of a splash this is for Canon. In the few days since the announcement, I have noticed many friends who switched from Canon to Sony already talk about going back to Canon, and for good reason. The EOS R5 looks awesome in terms of specs, I’m hoping Canon has finally taken a step forward with expanded dynamic range and better noise handling too, and I think they have…we need to see some testing and image samples though. The video capabilities alone are truly innovative.
I think the EOS R6 is excellent at its price point as well. These are both great cameras and what everyone was hoping for with the second iteration of mirrorless models. The lens releases are great too, with the highlight being the 100-500mm. It instantly makes the Canon mirrorless setup viable for wildlife. Of course, you can adapt EF lenses, but these releases make a native setup possible. If you are a current or former Canon user, it is a great time. I would definitely consider upgrading to the EOS R5 if you are looking for a new pro-grade body, you will enjoy the excellent image quality and reduction in weight.
Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin. His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special. Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image.
Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world.
As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals.
You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com
Don’t Miss the Next Session of BCJ “Live”
Backyard Bird Photography: Simple Techniques for Wildlife Close to Home
with Russell Graves
Tuesday, March 9th, 2021 at 11 am (Mountain)