The EOS R5 – The Best Canon Camera To Date – Period (Podcast 714)

The EOS R5 – The Best Canon Camera To Date – Period (Podcast 714)

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It’s Here! On August 6, a week after the initial release, I picked up my new Canon EOS R5! As usual, I have watched with a smile as most of the online photography community has bashed this camera and looked for reasons not to buy it. The video overheating issues we’re hearing about is the most common and seems to have somehow been extrapolated out to give people what they feel to be a valid reason to spout negativity about a camera that hardly any of them have even held.

Well, it gives me great pleasure to tell you that this is without a shadow of a doubt, simply the best camera that Canon has ever made, in all respects, including video. If you need an 8K video camera, buy an 8K video camera, but if you need a stills camera that does everything it was designed for, including up to 20 frames per second stills photography at 45 megapixels, you can’t go wrong with the EOS R5. The 8K video features are awesome, as is the ability to shoot full-frame 4K video at up to 120 frames per second! But these are, in my opinion, bonus features, and should be treated as such.

If Canon intended the R5 to be a video camera, they would have added fans and vents to keep the sensor and memory card cool, but guess what? Adding vents on a stills camera compromises the weatherproofing, and personally I prefer to own a camera that I can use in bad weather rather than a camera that allows me to shoot unlimited length 8K video. I’m excited about the 8K video and high frame-rate 4K video, but as I said, this is a bonus and I’ll use it as it allows.

Main Points

I’m not going to list all of the features of the Canon EOS R5, mostly because you can get a full rundown of this amazing camera on Canon’s websites worldwide, but I do want to quickly mention the main points and the reasons why I ordered this camera as soon as it was possible to do so. To me, the two most exciting features of the EOS R5 are the fast frame rate and high-resolution images. These two things never used to come together. For the first two decades of mainstream digital photography, we could have one or the other. Fast frame-rate and lower resolutions, or higher resolution and low frame rate.

The Canon EOS R5 Body
The Canon EOS R5 Body

When I saw the specs for the EOS R5 I knew that Canon must have moved to a new card format, but I admit that I did not have my antenna out to catch information on the CFexpress standard until I saw the specs for the R5. It was not much of a surprise for me to learn that ProGrade Digital, the memory card manufacturer that I have been using exclusively for the last few years, was on the bleeding edge of this new technology. In the spirit of full disclosure I would like to mention that although I bought my first 512GB ProGrade Digital CFexpress card and their Thunderbolt 3 card reader, they were kind enough to send me the other cards that I have tested and reported on in the previous post and will also be using for the tests that I report on in this review as well.

Back to my point though, it is completely awesome that the Canon EOS R5 has delivered both high frame rate shooting with high-resolution 45 megapixel images. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but as my test results have showed, it absolutely is, and I’m completely excited about this.

The other thing that I knew would happen, is the improved refresh rate and clarity of the electronic viewfinder. I really enjoyed shooting with the EOS R bodies over the past two years, but it was without doubt a stepping stone camera, and using it to shoot wildlife worked, but it required patience to work with the viewfinder for fast paced shooting, and on occasion would cost me a shot or two as the camera simply wouldn’t be able to keep up with the pace of shooting and my often very quickly moving subjects.

I can’t share footage of this, but I have had my wife dart around our apartment and disappear behind sofa and doors, and I am completely confident that the improvements that Canon has made to both the viewfinder and the autofocus system are worlds ahead of what we have in the EOS R, and I knew that would be the case.

I have also been highly impressed with the ability of the new autofocus system to track with the eye of not only humans but with animals now. I found that the EOS R worked well with monkeys because they are similar to us, but the EOS R5 now supports tracking of a number of animals, including dogs, cats, and birds, so I’m looking forward to getting out in the field more with the R5 and really putting these new features to the test.

Last, but not least, I was somewhat excited by the addition of In-Body Image Stabilization, and have been blown away to find that this works incredibly well with my RF 50mm f/1.2 L lens, despite it not having IS built into the lens itself, and I’ll touch on this more in my review as well.

Note that when I moved to mirrorless with Canon I made a decision to no longer buy the battery grips for my cameras. I sometimes miss not having the vertical grip, and I have found that with the R5 the batteries do run out relatively quickly, probably due to the in-body image stabilization and perhaps also the extra power needed to run the CFexpress cards. I’ve not checked on this, but the CFexpress cards are generating heat, and that has to come from somewhere, so I assume they are using more power. I’ll correct myself later if I’m wrong on this. I decided keep my cameras lower profile from now on though, and initially wondered if this might prevent the camera from reaching the maximum frame rate, but that was not the case, as I’ll share with you shortly.

Articulated LCD - Yes!
Articulated LCD – Yes!

Thinking about it, one other thing to note is that I was at one point concerned that the EOS R5 might not have an articulated LCD, as this somewhat compromises the weatherproofing, and Canon have historically only used an articulated LCD on lower-end cameras, so I was happy to read a while back that the R5 does indeed have an articulated LCD. I have become accustomed to pulling out and using this for low angle shooting, and also for video when I have to see what I’m shooting from the front of the camera, so I didn’t want to lose the functionality in the R5. OK, so with those observations out of the way, let’s jump deeper into this, as I share some of my findings, having actually used the camera.

Problem with Adobe DNG Workaround at High ISOs

The first thing I noticed and wanted to talk about is the workaround that most people are using to process EOS R5 raw files. Most photo editing software, such as Capture One Pro, my personal choice, does not yet natively support R5 raw files, and I initially used the Adobe DNG Converter software to convert my images to DNG files and they can then be imported into Capture One Pro. However, when I compared the results of my ISO performance test, pitching the R5 against the EOS R, it became obvious that as the ISO increases, the DNG converted files are not being processed correctly in Capture One Pro.

High ISO Color Degradation of Converted DNG files in Capture One Pro
High ISO Color Degradation of Converted DNG files in Capture One Pro

Here is a screenshot of Capture One with a converted DNG file starting at ISO 100 and working up to ISO 102400, which is the second to last image. The final image in the bottom right corner though is the same ISO 102400 image processed in Canon’s Digital Photo Professional, and Adobe Bridge and Photoshop display the image with the correct colors too. So, if you use Capture One Pro and high ISOs, be aware that you may not be getting accurate color until Phase One releases an update with official support for the Canon EOS R5.

Image Quality / Resolution

So, as I work on this review, there are a number of things that are really important to me. The first two being image quality and ISO performance, and then I’m going to test the frame rate, as this camera is opening up some very interesting doors for wildlife and sports photographers. I will also test the raw image buffer, and see if it’s possible to fill it, and if it is, how long it takes to free up and enable us to continue to shoot. Let’s start with a look at image quality.

Because Capture One Pro does not yet support the EOS R5 images and there is a problem with using converted DNG files with Capture One Pro, I’m faced with a bit of a dilemma. I tried outputting TIFF files from Canon’s Digital Photo Professional, but the image quality is not as good as Capture One Pro, which is, of course, why I use Capture One Pro, but I need to show you an apples to apples comparison. What I’ve decided to do for this test, is to share a high-resolution screenshot of four images displayed simultaneously. The top left image is the EOS R5 raw file converted to DNG, and for this test that’s not a problem because the image has no color to get messed up.

EOS R and EOS R5 Resolution Comparison (RF 50mm Lens @ ƒ8, ISO 100, 4 second exposure)
EOS R and EOS R5 Resolution Comparison (RF 50mm Lens @ ƒ8, ISO 100, 4 second exposure)

The top right image is the raw image from the EOS R as a direct comparison for the top left image. The bottom two images are TIFF files processed in Digital Photo Professional with no processing except the standard raw sharpening, which is the same processing as Capture One Pro. What I then need you to do is to click on the image to open it in the Lightbox, and then click on the cloud icon with the down arrow in the top right of the Lightbox, and that should enable you to download the image to your computer for closer inspection.

What you’ll find is that apart from the EOS R5 image being obviously higher resolution, as in, it is larger than the EOS R image because both are zoomed in to 100%, but apart from that, the image quality as such is pretty much the same. This is to be expected because the EOS R with RF lenses is also incredibly good image quality. I’d also like you to look at the bottom two DPP processed images, and you’ll be able to confirm that they are slightly softer. They aren’t as sharp, and that is why I could not do an apples to apples comparison using these TIFF files. I think you’ll agree though that as far as the resolution is concerned, there is nothing to be concerned about. Both images were shot with the RF 50mm ƒ/1.2L lens at ƒ8, ISO 100.

ISO Performance

My dilemma continues now as I try to show you the ISO Performance Test results. What I’ve decided to do is to share pairs of images from each camera, the EOS R5, and the EOS R. The first image of each pair is a 100% crop from a TIFF file with both sharpening and noise reduction applied in Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software. The second image has only Sharpening applied so that you can get a better idea of the actual amount of grain in the image, as well as seeing how well this can be cleaned up with DPP. Capture One Pro also cleans up the images nicely even with its default settings, but I’d rather not share the images from the DNG converted raw files because of the color issues at high ISOs that I mentioned earlier.

I’m also going to group all of the images by ISO, so as you click through these in the Lightbox, you’ll see four ISO 100 images first, starting with a pair from the EOS R5, with one image having had DPP Processing, and a second with just sharpening, and then the same processing options for another pair of images from the EOS R for comparison. I selected the area of the image that I focussed on to zoom in to 100% on because it shows both detail and the noise levels in the shadow and darker areas of the image. Note too that I am exposing to the right for these shots, with almost two stops of exposure compensation to ensure that the whites are white. This is how I shoot everything, and it does result in less grain, and therefore better ISO Performance, which is the hole point of this test.

I think you’ll probably agree that there is no real visible noise in any of the images up until ISO 6400 with the noise reduction turned off, but in the images that had DPP noise reduction turned on, it doesn’t really start to be visible until ISO 12800, and even that is very usable from both cameras. ISO 25600 without noise reduction starts to look pretty nasty, but again, very respectable when noise reduction is applied. At ISO 51200 both cameras start to show a lot of grain, although could arguably be used at a push, and then from the massive 102400 that is the highest ISO that both cameras will shoot at, it seems that the Canon noise reduction is actually a little too heavy-handed on the R5 images, as we start to lose detail in the flowers, and the EOS R actually looks slightly better. For the final set I’ve also added a Capture One Pro processed version as I think Capture One is slightly kinder on the detail, but keep in mind that the colors are messed up without official support yet for the EOS R5.

The verdict from my ISO Tests is that the ISO performance of the Canon EOS R5 is, pretty much across the board, very similar, even close to identical to the EOS R, but when we consider that the EOS R5 is 45 megapixels compared to the 30 megapixels of the EOS R, keeping the ISO Performance on par with the EOS R is an incredible feat in itself. Based on my tests I always commit to memory a soft and hard ceiling for how high I will take my ISO in the field, and for the EOS R5, as with the EOS R, I’m going to consider going as high as ISO 12800 a no-brainer, and will use ISO 25600 when necessary, and probably also 51200 at a push. I will probably turn off the expandable High ISO of 102400, as I doubt I’ll ever use it, but with a usable 51200, who cares!?

Frame Rate and Raw Buffer Observations

I have also tested the Frame Rate and Raw Buffer so let’s take a look at the results of these tests now. I haven’t had an opportunity to shoot any wildlife yet, so these results are from tests in my studio, but I think you’ll still find this useful. The first observation is that using ProGrade Digital’s Cobalt cards, with the Electronic 1st Curtain shutter, it is not possible to fill the raw buffer. To simulate some fast-paced shooting settings in conditions that I often work in, I increased my ISO to 800 and I used a shutter speed of 1/250 of a second. That could have been faster, but I didn’t have much light and wanted to actually record images rather than black frames so that the camera had some processing to do. When I started to shoot, the raw buffer was displaying as 56, and I mashed down on the shutter button and kept it pressed down for around 200 frames, and with no sign of it slowing down, I released my finger, and the raw buffer still said 56, so the camera was emptying its buffer to the card as quickly as I could shoot them, and that is very impressive.

9 FPS at ISO 800 Electronic 1st Curtain

I counted the number of images that I was able to shoot each second, and for the first burst, shot with Electronic 1st-curtain shutter, I was seeing a constant switching back and forth between 8 and 9 frames, for a fraction over 20 seconds and ended up with a total of 181 images, so my frame rate at ISO 800 was slightly under 9 frames per second, and that is very nice. Just under what Canon claims but with the ISO increased that’s to be expected.

Constant 20 fps with Electronic Shutter!

I then switched to the Electronic shutter and found that even at ISO 800, I was able to get 20 frames per second for the first five seconds. The camera didn’t skip a beat, giving me more than 100 frames at 20 fps, and then I did hit the full buffer from around frame 113, giving me just 13 frames for sixth consecutive second in a burst. That then dropped to 7 frames for my seventh second, then just one frame during my eighth second, and then back up to six frames for my ninth second.

Basically, the 20 fps is available for bursts of up to 5 to 6 seconds, or just over 100 frames, and that is amazing! What’s more, with the CFexpress card, if you give the camera just a second or two, it writes the frames in the buffer to the card, and you are ready to shoot again. I haven’t tested this with wildlife yet, and I do not yet know if there will be any problems caused by the rolling shutter, but I imagine with some fast-moving subjects there will be some tracing of movement during the exposure, so we may have to drop to the Electronic 1st-Curtain shutter anyway. I will still give this a try when possible, and report back on my findings.

Honestly though, if I can get around 8 to 9 frames per second with Electronic 1st-Curtain, that is plenty for me to nail my wildlife shots. I’ve been nailing shots based on good timing and technique with as little as 2 to 3 frames per second for the last five years or so, so anything above that is a bonus for me anyway.

Mechanical Shutter Frame Rate

Finally, I tested the Mechanical Shutter Frame Rate, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is pretty much identical to the Electronic 1st-Curtain frame rate, giving me 9 frames per second for 4 out of 5 seconds, and dropping to 8 once every five seconds, so we’re talking an average frame rate of 8.8 frames per second. Again, for a mechanical shutter, that is incredible, especially when we consider that the images are 45 megapixels!

ProGrade Digital Gold CFexpress Cards

All of the previous frame rate and buffer tests were performed with the ProGrade Digital 325GB Cobalt CFexpress card, so I ran the same tests with their 512GB and 1TB Gold cards as well, as these are less expensive, but come with slower write speeds, as I mentioned in my recent review. I’m really pleased to report though, that with the Mechanical Shutter, the frame rate was the same as the Cobalt cards, coming in at 9 frames per second for four out of five seconds, and drops to 8 frames for one second out of five, so we’re still looking at an average frame rate of 8.8 frames per second.

ProGrade Digital CFExpress Type B Memory Cards and Workflow Readers
ProGrade Digital CFExpress Type B Memory Cards and Workflow Readers

The buffer did not fill while using the Mechanical shutter, and after shooting a burst of around 80 images, I took my finger off the shutter button and the buffer showed that it was around five frames down from 66, which is my buffer at ISO 100, as I had a little more light for these tests. My shutter speed was still at 1/250 of a second as with my earlier tests. With the Electronic 1st-Curtain shutter, I actually got more seconds at 9 frames per second, and once again, the buffer was just a few frames down after a burst, and replenished almost instantly.

With the Electronic shutter, I continued to get straight 20 frames per second for the full 66 frames of my buffer, but when the buffer filled, the camera pretty much locked up and it took around 12 seconds for the camera to write the full buffer of images to the Gold card, compared to just a few seconds with the Cobalt card. When you consider that this was following a burst of 66 images at 20 frames per second though, in practical terms I really don’t think this is a big deal.

It basically means that both the ProGrade Digital Cobalt and Gold cards work incredibly well with the Canon EOS R5. I will use the Cobalt cards for critical frame rate fast-paced wildlife work, but the Gold cards are a chunk of change less than the Cobalt cards, and with these results, I’d say that they are a very good alternative, giving excellent results if you are watching your pennies.

ProGrade Digital Cobalt SDXC Test

Note too that I also tested shooting stills with the ProGrade Digital Cobalt SDXC card, and got 83 frames in a single burst, and once the buffer filled, it took just six seconds to write the images to the card and the camera was ready to shoot again with an empty buffer. That means it took half the time to empty the buffer than the CFexpress Gold card, so if you don’t need to shoot 8K video or high frame-rate 4K video, and you want to save even more pennies, then a Cobalt SDXC card is a viable alternative, even compared to a Gold CFexpress card!

This is also good to know if you already have a fast SDXC card, and makes using the SDXC slot a valid option for switching cards, and even as the first choice to store your images to, say for example, if you want to store just your videos on the CFexpress card, and automatically write your stills to the SDXC Card. Under the Record func+card/folder select option on SET UP1 screen in the R5’s menu, you can tell the camera to record stills and video to separate cards, or have either stills or video automatically switch cards when one is full. You can also save raw format video on the CFexpress card MP4 compressed video to the SDXC card. I’ve had video cut-out due to a full card on the EOS R because it only had one slot, so I will be leaving a Cobalt SDXC card in the second slot and allowing at least video to spill over to the second card when necessary, assuming it doesn’t overheat first, of course, and we’ll get to that in a moment.

Lightening Fast Workflow

I was so impressed with the speed at which I can transfer my images and video to my computer that I created a short video in which I monitor the time required to copy a 107.5GB 8K video file and just short of 200 50MB image files from the ProGrade Digital 325GB Cobalt CFexpress card using the their Thunderbolt 3 card reader. The video is to provide proof rather than for entertainment, so to be a blatant spoiler, the video file takes just 1:07 seconds and just under 200 image files take a hair under 10 seconds to copy across, which is about 20 images per second!

Overheating When Recording Video

Although stills are my main gig, I do shoot video sometimes, and as I mentioned earlier, I am excited about the 8K video and high frame rate 4K video, so I’ve done limited tests of recording video, to see roughly how bad the overheating issues that everyone is complaining about really are. In my studio with the air-conditioning on, and the temperature still sitting at around 32° C (90° F) and using the fastest ProGrade Digital 325GB Cobalt CFexpress card, I recorded about a minute of 8K-D 29.97 ALL-I video, stopped it, and then recorded another 11 minutes, at which point the overheat icon displayed on the LCD of the EOS R5. I was holding the camera with both hands, so not letting much air circulate around it, but that’s all I got.

After letting the camera cool down for an hour or so, I switched to 8K-D 29.97 IPB video, and this time also used the 1TB Gold CFexpress card from ProGrade Digital and was able to shoot for just over 17 minutes before the overheat icon started to flash on my screen. I could probably leave it running a while longer, but the manual says to turn the camera off when that icon is displayed, so I have been doing just that and allowing the camera to cool down for an hour or so.

As a third test, I switched to the 512GB Gold card from ProGrade and started to shoot some 119 frames per second 4K video, which is also very demanding on the camera and memory card, and I was able to record without any problems speed-wise, but I had only given the camera about 10 minutes to cool down this time, so it started to overheat again after just four minutes. Once again, my studio was warm, and I didn’t give the camera long to cool down, so this is about what I expected.

I’m going to stop my video tests there because I’ve found that I can shoot clips that are probably plenty long enough for my usual video work, as it’s usually not a big part of my work, and I have also confirmed that I can write to the ProGrade Digital Gold cards pretty much in the same way as I can write to their Cobalt cards. I do still intend to pick up a 650GB Cobalt card, probably in September when I get the 100-500mm RF lens, and sell my EOS R and my 100-400mm EF lens, as they along with what’s left on my camera store point card, will cover the cost of a second EOS R5. And, of course, because I do always travel and work with two identical bodies if one overheats for video and I really need to continue shooting, I can always switch bodies while the other cools down.

Overheating Does NOT Prevent Shooting Stills

One thing to note, and this is a very important aspect for me, is that you can always shoot stills. If the camera is in an overheat state from shooting video, and you switch to stills, you can continue to shoot without any problems. The overheating applies to video shooting only and does not hinder the shooting of still photographs.

The Cocoon Building in Shinjuku
The Cocoon Building in Shinjuku

Example Photos

Before we start to wrap this up, I’d like to share a handful of example photos that I shot on the day that I got the camera and the following day, to start to get used to shooting with the Canon EOS R5. Again, these are converted to DNG and processed in Capture One Pro, but the ISO was down at 100, so the colors shouldn’t be out of whack.

I would usually make the blues a little more vibrant, as I was shooting towards the sun a little, but I’ve left this as it was shot so that you can see what we get in these conditions straight out of the camera. I was impressed with how well the EOS R5 handled the contrast, with the starburst on the tower and the shadow side details looks great, as does the detail in the dark green summer leaves.

I was disappointed that Canon decided to leave GPS out of the R5. I know that they’ve built in the ability to link the camera to a phone and use the GPS data from the phone, but I honestly cannot imagine that this is much better on the camera’s battery than simply running an internal GPS unit. I’m honestly tired of attaching the GP-E2 to the top of my camera all the time, and every camera that Canon has released for the last eight years or so that I have not bought, has had GPS built-in, and I find that really annoying. Luckily, that is the only thing that I find annoying about this camera. Everything else is nothing short of amazing!

Here (below) is another test shot, this time looking down the stairs of the Cocoon Building. I like to shoot this as a test because it gives me a good idea of how well the camera handles contrast and shadows. I increased my ISO to 160 for this to get a shutter speed of 1/100 of a second. I was using my new RF 15-35mm f/2.8 L lens with IS, which, coupled with the new in-body IS of the R5 gives me a total of 7 stops of image stabilization, but I didn’t want the person walking up the stairs to blur more than this.

Incidentally, Canon has announced that the RF 24-105mm f/4 lens gets 8 stops of stabilization, and even my RF 50mm f/1.2 lens gets 7 stops of stabilization despite it not actually having its own internal image stabilization. That’s all from the in body image stabilization.

The Bowels of the Cocoon
The Bowels of the Cocoon

Kind of as a test of the old 100mm Macro L lens that I have, along with the Control Ring Adapter, I shot a few frames of the flowers that I bought to use in my tests as well. I absolutely love the soft tones that we get with the EOS R5, and at f/4 at these close shooting distances, the bokeh is beautiful.

White Chrysanthemum
White Chrysanthemum

Capture One Pro R5 (and R6) Support

UPDATE: Note that on August 25, 2022, Phase One released an update for Capture One Pro that includes support for the EOS R5 and R6 cameras. The Shinjuku images above look OK without something to compare them to, but having reprocessed them in Capture One Pro as opposed to converting to DNG, the images came to life! I released another short post to share four of the images from the first day again with before/after sliders etc. You can see that post here:

Sharing My Settings

I’ve been asked a lot about my settings for the EOS R5, so kind of as a second podcast embedded in this one, I have created a video to walk you through every settings screen on my Canon EOS R5 and included specifically my settings for wildlife and fast-paced shooting, so I hope you find this helpful. Note that I do not go into the video settings screens. Video is not my core competence, so I’ll leave that for other reviewers. I don’t go into full detail on every option either, but I do talk about all of the areas that I feel are important, and why I make the selections that I do. The video also has chapters, so you can check out each set of settings screens individually if you prefer.

Note that I have since figured out what the difference between Auto 1 (only screen) and Auto 2 (auto switching) is on the Set up 3 screen, Screen/Viewfinder display option. I couldn’t figure out what was different initially, but since found that Auto 1 switches between the viewfinder and the LCD based purely on whether or not the LCD is folded out into an open position. Basically, if the LCD screen is visible, it will be used, and the Electronic Viewfinder will only become active after you fold the LCD screen away completely. In Auto 2 mode the LCD screen can be visible when you put your eye to the Viewfinder and the viewfinder will activate regardless, so that’s my mode of choice from now on.

Conclusion – 10 Stars out of 5!

OK, so there will be other things that I want to talk about, but I want to get this review out into the world, especially as the camera was a week late, and frankly not having support for the Canon EOS R5 in Capture One Pro caused me more headaches than I’d anticipated, so we’ll blast this out now and I’ll follow up with other findings as time and our not-so-friendly neighborhood virus allows.

I would like to say though in closing that I have literally not been as excited about any camera in Canon’s history as I am with the Canon EOS R5. I’ve been a Canon user since 1991, and I’ve owned some of their best cameras, such as the 1Ds Mark III and 1D X, but the R5 beats them all, in almost every respect. Of course, the 1 Series Canon cameras have much better weather-sealing and they are built like bricks, but that aside, the specifications and image quality of the R5 beats them all.

I don’t usually do star ratings etc. but if I was to rate this camera on a five-star rating system, I’d honestly want to give it ten stars! It really is a stellar camera. Even just using it every day in my studio over the last week has been an absolute pleasure. I’m sure that my wife is sick of hearing me say that Canon has really made something special this time.

As I mentioned earlier, I was enabled by the kind folks at ProGrade Digital by sending me some of their amazing memory cards and a second card reader to test and include in this and my previous review, although that does not affect how I report my findings to you in any way. Canon gives me zip. No gear, and no preferential treatment. I buy all of my camera gear from a camera store in Tokyo, with my own hard-earned Yen, and I still can’t say enough about this camera, so hopefully all-in-all, you’ll trust me when I say that all of the opinions I have shared in this review are simply me telling it how I feel it is.

A Word on the Naysayers

I would like to just add that although I am aware that there is a lot of negative feedback going around about the EOS R5, I want you to be careful as you read or watch some of that stuff. I have always created my reviews straight from the heart, and tell you exactly what I think about my gear, but that is not always true of people reviewing gear. Although I will skim the headlines, I don’t read other reviews, because I want to report my own findings without being influenced by others.

One trend that I am noticing more and more though, is that some reviewers will use negative reviews as a way to draw an audience. Why does this work? Because human nature is essentially flawed and people generally like to hear bad news, but also, many people that are sitting on the fence over new technology want to hear something bad about a product so that they can decide not to buy it.

Personally, I like to make up my own mind. I’m a lone-wolf in that respect, but some people need a push, and the negative reviews provide that push. I’ve also noticed that people with negative opinions can be very vocal. You’ll see more people complaining about the overheating of the R5 than singing its praises for the amazing things that it brings us because people like to defend their decisions not to buy it. I’m not a psychiatrist, but I’d bet there is a term for someone that deep down really wants the R5 but they protect their credit cards and probably their egos too, by gathering and spreading negativity. My advice to you is for you to make up your own mind, but be aware, that the naysayers say it louder and generally based on flawed motives.

Support Our Efforts

If you want to help to support the work I do in bringing you these reviews, please consider buying using our affiliate links, a selection of which I’ve placed below.

B&H Affiliate Links

Canon EOS R5 Body –

Canon EOS RF 24-105mm f/4L Lens –

Canon RF 50mm f1.2L USM Lens –
Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM Lens –

Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM Lens –

Canon LP-E6NH Battery –

ProGrade Product Links

650GB CFexpress Type B Memory Card (Cobalt): and on B&H
325GB CFexpress Type B Memory Card (Cobalt): and on B&H
512GB CFexpress Type B Memory Card (Gold): and on B&H
1TB CFexpress Type B Memory Card (Gold): and on B&H
Thunderbolt 3 CFexpress Type B card reader: On Amazon and on B&H
USB 3.2 Gen 2.0 Dual Slot CFexpress and SDXC UHS-II Reader: On B&H

Show Notes

Visit the ProGrade Digital Website here:

Music by Martin Bailey


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New Apple Photos on Mac OS X and iPad Rocks! (Podcast 681)

New Apple Photos on Mac OS X and iPad Rocks! (Podcast 681)

Having updated my Mac machines to Catalina and my iPad Pro to iPadOS 13 I’ve continued to be very impressed by the Apple Photos app on both operating systems. I don’t use these apps for processing my raw images, which continues to be the job of Capture One Pro, and I remain very happy with it. In the past though, I have spoken about how I use Apple Photos, as well as applications that I use to arrange and display portfolios on my iPad, but these latest releases from Apple have changed all that, so I figured I’d post some information today to let you know my current thinking.

Amazing Layout

I updated my iPad to iPadOS 13 first, as it was released a few weeks before Catalina, and the first thing that struck me as I opened the Apple Photos app was the amazing layout in the Days view. I thought initially here about saying thumbnail layout, but we are no longer looking at thumbnails. The screen fills with an arrangement of tiles, so that no space is left unfilled, and although the cropping is sometimes a little harsh, it really is a visual treat to scroll through your photos.

It’s also very cool that quite often, videos and Live Photos, you know the ones shot with an iPhone or iPad that move, actually come to life right there in the tiled layout.

I’ve put together a short video to show you what it looks like to scroll through my photos on the iPad, mostly to give you a sense of how nice the layout is, but also to show you how cool it is to have the videos and photos come to life when they have some movement in them.

As I upgrade my Mac machines to Catalina I’m also really happy to see that the Photos app on the Mac OS has pretty much mirrored that of the iPad, so we can see images in much the same way, regardless of the device. Even on the iPhone the layout isn’t very different, and that’s good to know, because I probably show people images on my phone more than any other device, unless I’m meeting them to show them some images of course.

Square or Aspect

I had hoped to see if more widespread use of the tiled image view that we see in the video, but once you are out of the Days tab you get either a square image or your native aspect ratio view. The other views are still nice, and when you are in the All Photos view, there is an option to switch between the Square and Aspect thumbnail views. On the iPad it there is a text button at the top of the screen, and on the Mac, there is a small icon on the left of the top toolbar of the Photos app, so it’s nice to have a choice.

No More Dedicated Portfolio Apps

In the past I’ve also posted about how I have been using an iOS app called Portfolio, and before that I used Folio Book, both of which are great apps, but I have decided that with the ease of synchronizing my images and the beautiful layout of the Apple Photos apps now, I have deleted the Portfolio app from my iPad. This will also enable me to save some disk space, as I had 15GB of JPEG images in my Dropbox just to sync with the Portfolio app, and that is duplicated data because the same images are in the Photos app as well, so I have deleted the images from my Dropbox now as well.

I’m a big believer in streamlining processes, so being able to cut out an extra arm to my workflow is great, while helping me to save on disk space. It’s not such a big deal on my iMac Pro, where I have 2TB and can store additional files on external drives, but on my laptop, where I only have 1TB and generally like to keep everything I need on the local drive, every gigabyte I can save really helps.

My Portfolios via Apple Photos

Now my process to get my portfolios into Apple Photos and synched to all of my devices is as simple as exporting a JPEG of all of the final select images from my tours and other shoots onto my desktop, and I then drop them into Apple Photos, and I’m done. Within minutes they’re uploaded to the cloud and moments later I see them on my other devices.

Albums in Photos on the iPad
Albums in Photos on the iPad

If I’m adding a portfolio, to organize my images I actually create an empty album first, and then drag my images into that album. That way they are already in the album that represents my portfolio, and they also get added to the Photos area, so I can see the images in chronological order as well.

The Benefits of Geotagging

For almost ten years now, I’ve been geotagging my images, by attaching a GPS unit to my cameras, and that embeds the location information into all images I shoot. It drives me crazy that Canon has almost without fail decided not to include this functionality in the cameras that I buy, but I’m still happy that I have been tagging my images, as it allows Apple Photos to do a number of additional things that I’m really happy with.

The first of these is the Memories feature. Now, I’m sure this works to a degree even without the GPS data, but because Photos can see exactly where I was when I shot all of my images, it can organize them into trips based on the location, as you can see in this screenshot from my iPad. Sometimes the name is a bit long and includes various images in an “over the years” collection, and other times, it’s a specific location at a specific time.

Memories in Photos on iPad
Memories in Photos on iPad

When you open up these Memories, again, they look great, and Apple has done a really good job on the AI that decides what to include. The top image with the title on it now cycles through a slideshow of images from the collection right from the start, and there is a play button in the bottom right corner of the title image that launches a slideshow with music that can be customized to the mood of your images.

Namibia Portfolio
Namibia Portfolio

The music can be a little bit like an Apple commercial, and some of the more upbeat stuff is positively corny, but I’ve spent hours watching slideshows in this format when I’m away from home. It’s no accident that these are called memories, as they often seem to magically include all of the imagery from trips or locations that make watching them an extra special experience.

If you scroll down through the beautifully laid-out images toward the bottom of the Memory, you’ll find a Related section that shows, as you’d expect, similar collections or collections from the same location at other times. The other benefit to geotagging your images though, is above that, in the Map section. Tapping on the map shows all of the images in the Memory on a map, and if you tap the Show Nearby Photos link, all other images in the Photos app are also displayed on the map. If you are lucky enough to travel, seeing all of the images that you’ve shot around the globe on the map is an amazing way to enjoy your images.

World Map with Geotagged Images
World Map with Geotagged Images

It’s also a great way to remember locations that you’d like to revisit. If I’m driving along and see something that I’d like to go back to later, I generally just grab a quick shot with my iPhone, as these are automatically geotagged and added to your map, so you can tap on them and reference the map later if necessary. My only regret is that I don’t have many countries such as India, China and Australia geotagged, or Spain and Greece for that matter. It would be great to see a visual representation of my entire life on the map, but I guess I was born a few decades too late for that to happen.


One other feature that deserves a mention, because this is especially useful for photographers, is the Sidecar feature, which enables you to use an iPad as a second or even third display for your computer, but because it’s an iPad, you can also use the Apple Pencil. Sidecar works either wired, with a Lightning cable or wirelessly, and having tried both methods, there really isn’t a lot of difference in performance.

You can also use the Touch Bar and there is a sidebar that you can use with additional functionality, but I found that I just turned both of these features off. It was just great being able to use the Apple Pencil directly on the screen, and these will be incredibly useful for working on images, although I am starting to use Affinity Photo and Designer on the iPad as well on occasion, and they open the same files that the desktop app does, so there really isn’t a need to work on them in a Sidecar shared screen.

I have been using the little Luna dongle for the last year or so, as that basically enables the same functionality, but with this now built-in to the OS, I guess I can leave my Luna at home. I’m not overly pleased about things that I buy becoming obsolete, but I do like to streamline my workflow, so having less things to do to achieve the same goals is great. I have found myself using the iPad as a second screen for my MacBook Pro when working down in my family living space. I already have a second screen hooked up to my iMac, but the iPad Pro is pretty much the same screen size as my 13-inch MacBook Pro, so it’s really nice to be able to double that up, and so far, all of the applications that I have tried in multi-screen modes have worked seamlessly, just like there was a real second display hooked up.

Somewhat Buggy

I should note as well though, that both the Mac OS X Catalina and the Apple Photos app are, as of October 2019, still somewhat buggy. Apple Photos has crashed on me multiple times just while preparing for this post, and although that never seems to damage or cause any loss of data, it is a little bit unnerving to see it crashing regularly, especially if you are new to an application.

While I was testing the iPad as an additional monitor, it crashed twice, and both times I was logged out on my iMac and when I was logged back in again I had to rewrite the previous few paragraphs of this post, because my browser had also been restarted, and that was a bit of a pain. In fact, as I started to record this episode, I found that the software I use to record does not yet support Catalina, and so I’ve had to record in a completely different way this week, which took more time than I’d hoped.

With Catalina basically rendering any old 32-bit applications useless, as well as stronger sandboxing of apps to prevent them destabilizing the system, it seems to have caused more email asking me to hold on the upgrade than any other Mac OS upgrade that I can remember, and I have definitely seen more things that stopped working, so it’s certainly an upgrade to make with caution.

Have Fun!

Despite that though, if you use Mac computers or an iPad, and are not making use of these apps, I hope this post will give you a nudge to take a look. I really do think that as far as synching images around your devices goes, this is absolutely the easiest way to go, and the presentation and design, in my opinion, is now better than anything else available in the App Store. Apple gear can be costly, but getting access to apps like these as part of the deal certainly makes up for that, at least to some degree.

Show Notes

Music by Martin Bailey


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Almost Too Easy!

Almost Too Easy!

Things are getting so easy! This is a good thing of course, most of the time…

When I first bought my Canon Pixus Pro 9500 printer, the first time I had to change an ink cartridge I was lost. I’d been used to having to press buttons for a number of seconds etc. to get the print head into a position that allowed me to change the ink cartridge. Once done, I had to press a button to get the head back to the home position and ready to go again. This of course is easy enough, but when I first got my old printer, I had to read the manual to find out how to do this.

With the Pixus Pro 9500 I opened the digital manual and started looking and it still wasn’t obvious. Being a tad on the impatient side, I stood up and lifted the top cover of the printer to see if there were any instructions in there. As I did so, the print head moved into the cartridge changing position and the cartridge that was empty was flashing at me!

A little cautious, because it really did seem too easy, I flicked the little plastic latch to pop the cartridge out, and dropped in the new one. The light in front of the new cartridge started flashing, and as I lowered the lid, the heads started to move and I could hear the mechanical sound of the heads doing their stuff to intake the ink from the new cartridge. (Probably wasting a load from the other good ones too!)

The point is, it was so easy, it was almost difficult!

Conversely, I actually like to open the top of the printer and look inside as my print develops. Of course, I can no longer do this, because I get shouted out by the printer for opening the top cover while printing! I guess a youngster could stick their hand in there as well, so it’s probably for the best. Ho hum.

Anyway, I was just reminded of this when this evening I printed a CD label, and started wondering again how I do it with the 9500. I don’t do this often, and had momentarily forgotten. I recalled that you have to pull a flap down on the front of the printer to reveal the CD tray slot. The tray itself is stowed neatly underneath the printer in special grooves.

As I pulled the flap down, again the printer started jiggling around readying itself for the CD. I cranked up the Canon CD printing software, attached the artwork from the new Paul Potts CD from iTunes, and arranged a makeshift label, pressed print, and got a message telling me not to put the CD tray into the slot yet. I whipped it back out quickly, because of course I’d already impatiently crammed it in, as you do. Then a few minutes later the message changed showing me where to stick my CD tray. In it went, and a minute or so later I had a beautiful new printed CD.

Easy as anything, and definitely much better than a few years ago, but really, sometimes things are so easy that until I get used to things, I sometimes find myself floundering.

Printing on a CD with my Canon Pixus (Pixma) Pro 9500.

Printing on a CD with my Canon Pixus (Pixma) Pro 9500.