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Canon EOS R5, a few Quick Impressions

We’re in the middle of an atmospheric river rain-dump, which started last night around midnight. Rainstorms and snowstorms are awesome (to a point, no hurricanes for me please). This one is just-right, with high winds but not too high and a steady delivery of much-needed moisture—I’ve measured 2+ inches since last night at 11PM. The winds are doing a major autumn cleaning, ripping off small branches and old leaves, strewn everywhere. I’m amazed we still have electricity, but a lot of pruning near power lines was done for the past 6 months all over the area and that seemingly was worth it.

Canon EOS R5

Canon EOS R5

I shot a some frames with the Canon EOS R5 from the shelter of my breezeway (normal RAW format, not dual pixel RAW). Several things I noticed immediately:

  • As with many cameras, the auto metering consistently underexposes by 1.5 to 2 stops, as proven with RawDigger. This greatly increases noise, making even base ISO 100 images look slightly grainy; it’s like shooting at ISO 320-400 or worse—automatically robbing you of noise performance equivalent to the last 8 years of sensor improvements! Dial in a lot of +exposure compensation, or shoot on manual and monitor the RGB histogram. What a mindlessly stupid implementation here in the age of “AI” it’s unbelievable that a camera is detuned for image quality in this anachronistic metering way. But most cameras behave this way, maybe all, it’s a matter of degree. No, I don't have highlight priority or some such setting turned on.
  • Focus accuracy across the three zooms (14-35/4L, 15-35/2.8L, 24-70/2.8L) is so badly matched (spot AF, 100% Live View) that it looks like it is going to be a huge headache to compare them, probably demanding manual focus and careful near/far assessment. If it can even be done well at all. The 24-70 in particular has a massive wave-type field curvature at some focal lengths.
  • A distinctive orange-peel texture to images which I have not seen for years since the Sony A7R and also the Sony A7R III. Not not something you’d see with the Sony A1 or the Fujifilm GFX100S and not something I can get on board with. I noticed it immediately; it just leapt off the screen to my eyes.
  • The default multi-area autofocus is an anti-feature: it will pick up any foreground leaf or whatever, making it nearly impossible to take a shot at distance—all shots ruined even at f/8. Of course this can be solved by spot AF or some other focusing setting, and maybe there is a setting to favor distance, dunno yet. But as a default it is godawful. Probably there is also a strong forward focus shift with the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L too, because the results are just ridiculously massively biased to the foreground.
  • I miss the blackout free super-speed all electronic shutter of the Sony A1 and its 9MP EVF. There isn’t really any going back once you get used to it. But I suppose it’s not fair to compare an about $3899 camera to an about $6500 camera.

Below, I knew the camera had picked up focus on the tree at right, but I thought that f/8 would mitigate it. Not so—the entire backyard remains blurry. Instead, the immediate foreground to the tree is sharp right up to the bottom of the frame. Maybe the lens has a strong forward focus shift that when combined with the maniacally foreground-favoring AF just screws you in total. TBD. I wonder how any average user just doing point and shoot could ever gets a sharp picture with behavior like this. So be careful with the default focusing algorithm—I recommend spot AF (or Eye AF if photographing people).

Backyard, Heavy Rain
f8 @ 1/25 sec handheld IBIS=on EFC shutter, ISO 100; 2021-10-24 12:53:55
Canon EOS R5 + Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM @ 24mm ENV: 62°F / 16°C

[low-res image for bot]

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