The Canon R5 is the New Sony A9

The headline is a bit in jest.

But it seems that with each drop of new information about the upcoming Canon R5, the Internet hype world goes a little bit crazy again, just as they did when various Sony A7/A9 models appeared with a tantalizing feature not seen before. 

bythom canon r5

If you haven't already heard, the R5 will record full frame (no crop) 10-bit 8K 4:2:2 video (using some codec form of H.265) internally. And likewise, the R5 will record internal 4K video at up to 120 fps, again at 10-bit 4:2:2. 

Those new tidbits do indeed push the state of ILC video to new numerical heights. Woo-hoo. 

But I have to wonder after reading all the blog hype and the fora back-and-forth over this new information whether any of those commenting about this could actually demonstrate that they've achieved the maximum of what they can do with their existing gear

We've seen this same giant debate over another number, megapixels: 2.5, 6, 12, 16, 24, 36, 45, 61, 100. The number of people I know who are producing 100mp images that outshine the best possible 24mp images are so few I can count them on one hand at the moment. 

The same will be true for the 1080P, 4K, 5.9K, 8K, and the inevitable 16K video. 

It's not that there aren't folk that can make use of 100mp or 8K video. But those people are few and far between. What's really happening is that the camera makers—in lieu of having any other ideas—are simply going for bragging rights now. The same reason why folk who could only drive 55mph on the freeways buying big V8 engines is the same reason why folk by 45mp+ and 4K+ cameras. Canon promoting the R5 to the masses is no different than Dodge using the phrase "up to 707 horsepower" in their advertising for the Charger or Challenger. The Charger, by the way, actually comes with 300HP standard, and that's way more than you need to drive America's roads. 

The reality is this: most of you would be very well served by a well-designed 24mp camera (and maybe even an APS-C one). At 300 dpi, you'd still be producing a 20" print where the individual pixels are so buried that you're not going to see them without a magnifying glass. The good 24mp cameras also would provide you 4K video, too, though maybe not at 60P (slow motion). 

Personally, I'll be looking at the R5 in a different way than its maximum numbers. Canon still needs to show that they've conquered both the full UX necessary to command a mirrorless camera to perfection, as well as boost their game in terms of things like inherent dynamic range of the image sensor. The R seems a lot like an experimental placeholder, not a fleshed out product. The R5 needs to fix that, regardless of what the "maximum numbers" are. 

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