If you're anything like me, the thought of choosing/updating digital photography gear can be a bit overwhelming. Personally, I appreciate knowing the practicality of each piece that I'm using, rather than simply a list of specs. And for that reason, I'm writing this post as a 'first thoughts' on the Canon R6 and the Canon R5 mirrorless cameras.
* Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
To understand my perspective on the Canon R5 and R6, it's best to understand the gear that I have already been using, as well as the gear that I've recently considered in comparison to the Canon R series cameras.
For the majority of my photography career, I have used Canon digital cameras. I appreciate Canon's brand loyalty in continuing to bring updated, practical features to its new camera models, including smaller camera bodies (R series being a bit lighter weight/smaller than the past Mark series), as well as faster and more accurate auto-focusing capabilities which is a must if you're a wedding photographer.
Previously, I used the Canon 5D Mark ii and Canon 5D Mark iii. Both of which, at their times, were excellent cameras. But in comparison to the Canon R5 and R6, these cameras seem vastly outdated and almost 'clunky' in build.
Camera Build: What it Feels like to Shoot the Canon R5 and R6
When considering whether or not to purchase the Canon R5 or R6, its important to consider the weight and build of each camera. Compared to the older Mark series, these cameras are a bit lighter weight as well as a bit smaller in build, making them wonderful for wedding photographers carrying 2+ cameras around for hours on end. The R5 is just slightly larger/heavier (almost negligible difference), however I should say that the overall quality and build of the R5 is noticeably better and higher quality compared to the its cheaper R6 counterpart.
If given the option to shoot with either the R5 or the R6, I generally prefer the R5 in that it has more megapixels (higher quality image/ability to zoom in further without losing detail/etc). However, its important to note that despite the large difference in price, the R6 quality is still wonderful. I occasionally prefer to shoot with my R6 over the R5 when shooting in very dark scenarios without added light sources.
New CF Cards + Faster SD Cards
If you opt to get the Canon R5, you'll notice that this camera houses both an SD card, as well as the new CF Express card (think - a smaller, faster version of the older CF cards used in the Canon Mark ii). The bummer: these cards are a bit more expensive. Make sure to consider this added cost when purchasing your Canon R5.
If you're using the R6, you'll need to get 2 relatively fast SD cards. Although I haven't seen this verified anywhere, I've found that the Canon R6 and R5 can't record to cards that are slower than 117mb/s. I highly recommend getting the cards below for your new mirrorless cameras:
CF Express Card (for Canon R5)
Other Cameras I Considered
When considering a digital upgrade, I also considered the Fujifilm GFX50r/50s. I used this camera for approximately a year alongside my older Canon 5D Mark iii. Although the quality of this camera was spectacular, I felt that practically, I wasn't using the GFX for anything other than backing up my Contax645 medium format film images. And 9 times out of 10, I would end up using my medium format film images, rather that the backup GFX images.
I also briefly considered trying the Leica Q2. Though I've never personally used this camera on a shoot, I have heard that it's a wonderful, one of a kind camera, and perfect for those great candid shots. However, I have also heard that it's not a great 'catch-all' camera in that it's low-light capabilities are not good. It's also a fixed lens camera; this has its benefits (think - limiting your artwork can actually help produce better, more interesting results). However, being a wedding photographer, I felt that this addition (in addition to my 3-4+ film cameras and Canon digital bodies) wasn't a practical addition in the moment. Maybe one day, I'll add that on, too. ;)
It can't go without saying: both the Canon R5 and R6 have insanely good autofocus capabilities. The difference between the Canon Mark iii and the R5/6 focusing is huge. Personally, I've found that using the Face Detector in the R5/R6 has been so helpful in getting perfect focus on most images. The only time I opt not to shoot with this mode tends to be the moments when there are tons of people around, and the camera may choose to focus on the wrong set of eyes before I notice it.
One of my favorite features (that should've been implanted earlier in my opinion) is the in-camera cropping. Since I almost always crop my images at 4:3 or 1:1 in post, I can now shoot in 4:3 or 1:1 in-camera. The best part is that it still keeps its larger, un-cropped RAW, allowing you to make slight cropping adjustments if needed in post.
But What if I Still Love my Canon 5D Mark iii/iv?
I've heard many photographers voicing that they simply don't want to upgrade to mirrorless; that they still love their Mark iii/Mark iv camera bodies, and don't want to make the investment into the Canon mirrorless system.
For those arguments, I want to say that I completely understand, and I was also in that camp before switching to the R series. While you can get away with sticking with the 5D series at the moment, eventually you'll be forced to upgrade to mirrorless or switch camera systems entirely. DSLR cameras are becoming more and more obsolete, and you'll find an advantage in selling your DSLR camera sooner, rather than waiting until they're no longer worth anything.
Looking to sell your used Canon camera in order to afford an updated mirrorless? Consider selling to KEH.com here.
Tips on Purchasing (Save that $)
Before you jump in Amazon to purchase your new Canon camera, I highly recommend considering the following ways of purchasing:
- Purchased (lightly) used cameras. You'll instantly save a decent amount of money, and still get a great, high-quality camera. I recommend buying from somewhere like KEH.com with a great quality guarantee or from a trusted friend or colleague.
- Get the Canon R5 Used here or the Canon R6 used here.
- Make sure you are using Rakuten before purchasing on KEH. They almost always have at least 2-3% cash back.
- Purchase through Greentoe.com.
- I have purchased 2-3 new cameras from Greentoe, and I can't recommend them enough. You'll make an offer on the camera/equipment you want that's lower than market price, then you'll be able to communicate or barter anonymously with stores in the US that sell that product. These products are always new, come with standard warranties, and have a 30-day no hassle return policy.
Example Images: Canon R6
Example Images: Canon R5 (more coming soon)
NEXT ON THE BLOG: Wishing I Had Purchased This Tripod Earlier