Long-time Canon users have probably noticed a shift in brand strategy lately, especially when it comes to Canon firmware updates. Dear old Canon has sometimes left a bitter taste in people’s mouths with repeated product launches aimed at a specific market segment while ensuring that it will not compete or cannibalize another segment. It was difficult to get a perfect all-rounder because the most popular features tended to come at the expense of others. They wanted you to get multiple pieces of gear instead of just one. But Canon R5 firmware updates show us something different.
At the time
In the days of DSLRs, Canon’s camera lines created segmentation in several ways. If you wanted speed, you had the 1DX, but you had to give up resolution and size. If you wanted resolution, you had the 5DSR, king of detail but not the top performer in ISO or dynamic range. We couldn’t help but feel angry that Nikon had a D850 that didn’t give you a trade-off between detail, ISO and dynamic range, whereas in Canon land you had to choose. The same logic was applied to their range of lenses. F2.8 zooms had no IS, unlike f4 zooms. Again, you couldn’t get both; you had to choose. Fortunately, the Tamron G2 trinity gave us the best of both worlds. Between the rise of third-party manufacturers on the lens front and the incredible competition from Sony, perhaps Canon realized that they couldn’t continue to charge so much while giving so little.
This is where we started to see how they responded by making the Canon R5 a better camera over time.
Fast forward to 2022
In 2022, the photography market is very different from what it was. Fujifilm brought Kaizen to the community, and now camera bodies are living organisms. They mature and evolve over time, and more often than not, you get a much better body two years later than what you paid for at launch. The Canon R5 is perhaps the only camera to demonstrate a shift in Canon’s market segmentation habits.
In fact, we’ve been reporting on Canon R5 firmware updates for quite some time and have constantly updated our review accordingly.
Canon R5 firmware updates change things up
In the beginning, Canon did what Canon does. They gave us speed, decent ISO, dynamic range and detail in a single body, so they had to pack something. In addition to the 30-minute recording limit, overheating made it less appealing for video work despite attractive specs on paper. As various workarounds were found by the creator community, the idea that Canon deliberately limited usability to protect sales of the R5C and C70 began to make a lot of sense. This may no longer be the case. After the introduction of the Canon R3, firmware 1.5 transferred all new detection algorithms to the Canon R5 (glasses, helmets, vehicles, etc.). More recently, Canon R5 firmware 1.6 removed overheating limitations in most scenarios. And suddenly the Canon R5 appears as a whole new offering. Are we finally getting the perfect all-rounder? Presumably.
There is now little to complain about with the Canon EOS-R5 due to improvements. The sensor is not stacked, so the roller shutter is always something to worry about. Also, Canon hasn’t lifted the 30-minute recording limit. That said, there’s little you can’t do with this camera. Thanks to Canon R5 firmware updates, the product was not held back. It delivers near 5DSR-level detail, near Canon EOS R3 autofocus performance, and near R5C video performance. We finally get a camera body from Canon that doesn’t feel like you’re giving up some features to get others. This in itself is something to be welcomed. As a community, we’ve complained about this for years, and it’s fair to recognize when Canon does good for its consumers. Please, Canon, keep it up.