Chillout TGIFridays: Photographs from the Canon EOS R5 – with notes on image quality and performance

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We took a close look at the recently released Canon EOS R5 and lenses – the RF 50L f1.2, RF 15-35L f/2.8 and EF 100L f2.8 Macro. Today, we share some of the photographs we took when the camera was with us for about two weeks. 

Canon EOS R5

As described in the review article last week, I was rather thrilled with the performance of the R5.


My main use case is of course macro photographs of watches in a studio or mini-studio environment, where the lighting is under full control of strobes. In this use case, the camera is only required to perform well at base ISO.

The EF 100L f/2.8 Macro is the mainstay for watch photography. The lens throws a 1:1 image on the full frame sensor.

During the two weeks the R5 was with me, I photographed the following reviews with the R5 with the EF 100L f/2.8 Macro. The lens is superbly sharp, resolving fine detail very well. The images are beautiful, and contrasty. Out of focus areas are nicely rendered with a soft bokeh, but in-focus areas are bitingly sharp.

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual. Canon EOS R5 with EF100L. Full hands on review coming soon.

The following reviews were photographed with the R5:

Out and about

The camera had very fast autofocus, which was also very accurate – nails the shot everytime. The ISO performance is excellent, and can be put into use for all kinds of photography.

The RF 15-35L is a useful zoom lens for the EOS R system. It is able to go from ultra wide to wide at constant aperture. The lens is very sharp for a ultra wide angle lens, and gives up little to primes of the same range.

In bright sunlight, the images are very nicely captured. The Fullerton Hotel in Singapore is a magnificent colonial building, formerly used as the General Post Office and now a luxury hotel. With 45Mp at its disposal, the R5 captures a very detailed image, with good resolution of the micro tones and micro contrasts.

Autofocus is very good. A friend of mine, Calvin, a professional photographer who is currently using Canon’s former flagship 1Dx mkii (now superseeded by the mkiii), remarked that he thinks it is faster than his camera.

My friend Calvin shooting with the Leica SL2, while I photographed him with the EOS R5 at f/1.4 1/2000s with the RF50L. Note the sharpness of the image at his face and camera, while the bokeh of the background is very pleasing.

This lens used to photograph Calvin is the RF 50 f/1.2L. Very sharp, even when wide open at f/1.2, and beautiful bokeh. The depth of field at f/1.2 is very thin on a full frame sensor. I shot at f/1.4 just to give some room for error, but the R5 has no problems nailing focus at f/1.2.

The RF 50 f/1.2L.

Calvin then used the R5 to shoot the following runner, also with the RF 50L.

Tracking a moving subject, the R5 nails focus well.

But to take the camera out for a walkabout, especially in the evenings, will require ISO performance which is more extended – ideally without chroma noise or luma noise up to at least 3200 for large prints, and 6400 for web use. The photograph below was taken at ISO2500. Noise is very well controlled, and the image is usable in quite large prints, even A2 size. Resolution, colour accuracy and rendering of tones are excellent.

A chocholate bar. Evening. Shot at ISO2500, there is little noise and the colours are rendered accurately. This was photographed hand held, at f/4, 1/80s with the RF 15-35L.

Pushing the ISO a bit more, I turned the camera to the right, and photographed the whisky shop right next door. Here you can see the noise. Especially in the darker areas, like on the floor of the foreground where it shows up like grain. However, inside the shop, the image is well resolved, and the colours are accurate. Note on the right the colourful panels show up nicely. Inside the shop, the labels on the whisky bottles can be read easily in the full resolution photograph.

R5 with EF 15-35L at f/4, 1/60s. Note that what may seem like the lens clouding in front of the four whisky bottles displayed by the door is actually condensation on the glass.

And the R5 performs excellently at higher ISO, showing little noise and retaining not only details but also colour accuracy. And underexposed images can easily be fixed in ACR or Ps, and up to 3 stops can be rescued with good detail and color. Below are two images, the first is as shot. And the second is with some editing in ACR.

The image is exposed for the signboard. This renders the rest of the image in almost total darkness. ISO was set at 100, and the dark areas show almost no noise at all.

With simple adjustments in ACR, the following image is recovered from the almost unusable image as shot.

To correct the image, I added 2 stops to the exposure, brought down the highlights, and recovered the shadows. A 2 minute manipulation in ACR. Literally. Now the signboard is still well exposed, and the writing on the chalkboard on the lower left can be read. This board was in complete darkness as shot, but when recovered, even the colours of the chalk markings are accurately rendered.

Though ultimately, the malleability of the files are not quite as good as full 16 bit sensors of the medium format cameras like the Phase One IQ4 or the Fujifilm GFX series, or Hasselblad H6D, X1D and 907, I think they are very good for a 14 bit sensor, and more than sufficient for real world usage.

Concluding thoughts

Overall, this was a camera system I really enjoyed the using the R5. It excels as a professional camera. It does everything right, and well. The image quality out of the camera and its native lenses or adapted EF lenses are excellent. The files are very malleable and there is sufficient room to edit. The body is very robustly built. Both the lenses and body are weather sealed and feels good on the hands. The system’s ergonomics are well designed so the buttons are useful and well placed. An excellent camera indeed, and worthy of the currently crown in Canon’s range of mirrorless cameras. Until the EOS R1 is released, which may or may not be in Canon’s plans, at least.

Next week, I will compare it with it sibling which was released at the same time – the Canon EOS R6.



  1. Eugenio Demmenie on

    Hi Peter and you all,

    Thanks for the post. Great camera and lenses. Great photos. I especially liked the Breguet pictures (I have always had a soft spot for the brand).