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EOS R5 and Future Thoughts
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EOS R5 and Future Thoughts

Well now that we have some basic specifications are confirmed about the R5 we can then speculate on other cameras in the lineup.  There are two notable missing cameras from the ecosystem that are most certainly going to be addressed by Canon.

Some confusion exists on the R5 that I should address first of all.  We know that to support 8K the camera needs to be at least 40MP to 45MP.  There are two resolutions for 8K that this camera can support:

8192 × 4320 = 35.39M pixels
7680 × 4320 = 33.18 Mpixels
Both of these formats though are not in the same aspect ratio as the full frame sensor.  So to have these resolutions the sensor would need to be the width of the video output, with the corresponding height being larger;

8192x5461 = 44.7MP (ie: 45MP)
7680x5120 = 39.3MP (ie: 40MP)

This is the reason we’ve seen both numbers from the rumors.  Therefore when we discuss throughput we will use 40 or 45MP as our basis.  As of right now, we don’t know which one Canon will choose.

1 series RF

First let's consider the 1 series ergonomics.  This is the EOS-1N (right camera), announced 26 years ago in 1994, and compare it to the latest the 1DX Mark III.  We can see that there’s a striking amount of similarities between the camera ergonomics carried over from the film days to the latest digital 1 series camera.

The image of the EOS R compared to the 1DX Mark III is shown below.  As you can see there's no ergonomic similarities between the two.  The ergonomic differences between the current EOS R and R5 and the 1 series is the most tangible evidence we have that there’s another camera coming above the R5.  This is why some things are missing off the R5.  Such as the 1DX Mark III AF-on joystick control.  The R or R5 was never meant to supplant the 1 series.

We also have other confirmation of the 1 series RF camera from this source, where it was stated;

Canon will introduce the highest model of mirrorless camera using a 35mm full-size image sensor in 2021. The communication function between the camera body and the interchangeable lens will be higher than the high-priced “EOS R” released in October 2018.

Canon isn’t going to abandon the 1 series ergonomics that have lived through the entire EOS history up to this point in time.  They will carry it over in the RF system.

A lot of questions today about what a 1 series RF camera could possibly have to make it worth the $6500 1 series price tag.  It’s hard to say fully without knowing the exact specifications but we can hazard a guess.

  1. 1 series ergonomics. This is obvious. It will be exactly like a EF mount 1 series camera, except use the RF mount. I really doubt Canon will do anything other than offer a seamless transition to the RF mount for the professionals.
  2. Most likely use the LP-E19 for better battery life.
  3. Weather-sealing / body construction.
  4. More durable shutter assembly (if it doesn’t have a global shutter).
  5. Most likely a higher resolution EVF / faster refresh.  Maybe continual liveview such as the A9 series camera bodies.
  6. Better AF performance because there’s room for more than one DIGIC

Other than that, I would expect a lot of the R5 guts to end up in the R1.  There’s going to be some sharing between the two cameras because the release dates are so close but the later release date on the R1 will allow Canon to perfect the AF that would be expected from a 1 series camera body.  Canon could do away with 20MP for its top line sports and decides that something around 40-45MP is good enough.  With a 1 series shutter assembly hitting 16 fps with a mechanical shutter such as what the 1DX Mark III can do is a no brainer.  Perhaps even faster modes such as what the D6 is doing – maybe a 5MP 60 fps mode 😉

High Resolution Rs (or now: R5s)

It really sounds like Canon is going to keep the 5 moniker as a serious professional/prosumer camera.  If so, then we also do expect an R5s (basically a high megapixel version) of the R5.

Why? Because the R5 makes a statement, but without an R5s, the statement is incomplete. Canon will not let Sony (or any other company) have the high MP crown for long.

What kind of performance could we see out of this camera? It’s dizzying, and downright exciting.

The 12 fps on the R5 is most likely limited to 12 fps because of the shutter assembly used, either because of power, size, cost or weight.  Mechanical is limiting it in the R5 which is 12 and 20 fps for mechanical and electronic respectively.  We know this because the 1 series 1DX Mark III can shoot 20 fps mechanical as well as electronic.

Electronic versus mechanical shutter speed difference simply means the mechanical shutter is getting out of the way because it can’t move quick enough.  If the mechanical shutter in the R5 is rated up to 12 fps, then it can easily still do 10 fps in a larger MP camera.  The megapixels don’t matter. It’s the physical speed of the shutter.

If we look at the maximum performance the R5 can deliver which is around .8 to .9 Gigapixel per second (40-45MP x 20fps) then we could be looking at a 90MP full frame camera that could still chew out images at 10 fps.  Since that’s under the top speed of the R5 mechanical shutter (12 fps), then it will be able to shoot around 10 fps at 90MP using the mechanical shutter.

I’ll pause for a second and allow everyone to digest that 😉

32GB memory cards need not apply for this camera.  I think even 64GB cards shouldn’t show up to the party.

Conclusions and thoughts

The R5 not only is a huge leap forward for Canon, its a huge leap forward as far as what Canon can now accomplish.  This is Canon serving notice that they are not going to sit back and let others dictate the pace of innovation any longer.  They now have the capability of creating some pretty awesome cameras over the next few years.

Will these observations and predictions come true? I think so – or I think cameras very close to these will emerge as time goes on.  Of course, with all of this, it’s a bit of guesswork, but the potential is now present for the first time for some really incredible cameras for the RF mount.

Exciting times are ahead.

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