Canon EOS R5c – hybrid cinema camera preview

Canon’s first hybrid cinema camera is an unusual device. It is quite in the spirit of modern trends. Cameras are becoming more compact. The lines between cameras and film cameras are blurring, and the market demands 8K and certainly in RAW.
After the announcement of the Nikon Z9, the feature of increased resolution and uncompressed video ceased to seem something impossible. Before the Z9, to be fair, there was a Canon EOS R5 camera, but 8K shooting was overshadowed by frequent overheating due to an unsuitable cooling system. The new hybrid Canon EOS R5c promises to correct the mistakes of its predecessor. Let’s take a closer look at the camera:

Canon EOS R5c - body

Reminiscent of the Canon EOS C70

The body of the Canon EOS R5c is reminiscent of the Canon EOS C70 movie camera. First, in terms of thickness. Due to the active cooling system, which should eliminate the risk of overheating, the R5c case looks impressive. Secondly, due to the presence of programmable buttons. By the way, there are only thirteen of them and you can set specific functions on them in the corresponding menu.

If we compare the Canon EOS R5c with its brother – EOS R5 – the difference does not seem too impressive. Although these cameras are almost identical in weight – 738 grams (R5) versus 770 grams (R5c). In general, this is a fairly unique figure for a movie camera (RED Komodo weighs 952 grams, Canon EOS C70 – 1.1 kg).

However, in the absence of matrix stabilization (IBIS), the light weight of the camera can become a problem when shooting handheld without additional body kit. The Canon EOS R5c, on the other hand, is a camera specially made for Run&Gun shooting. Logically, it should not require any additional body kit. Except for the microphone. There are no mounting holes on the body for installing a cage or accessories (unlike the Sony FX3). The hole is provided only for the platform under the tripod.

Electronic stabilization is proposed as a solution. This standard, seemingly simple, solution can actually make the situation worse. There may be a “jelly” on the sides of the frame, which will make it impossible to try to stabilize the footage on post.

Therefore, in the case of the Canon EOS R5c, I would not experiment with electronic stabilization, but would try to add a little stabilization in Davinci Resolve.

Quite monolithic camera body

The camera body turned out to be quite monolithic and stylish in my subjective opinion. Canon reports that despite the presence of an active cooling system, the Canon EOS R5c has high-quality dust and moisture protection. The Panasonic S1H, which also has a fan, also has dust and splash protection – and this also raises questions, namely: how is it protected from large particles, such as sand or water drops, entering the cooling system, since the radiator is completely open? On the left side of the camera body – blowing. And on the right – drawing in air.

Another interesting nuance to keep in mind is that there is no full-sized HDMI port. It’s a strange decision. However, ProRes RAW support is announced for the Atomos recorder even via microHDMI.

On the left side of the Canon EOS R5c body there is a professional Timecode port, USB Type-C (3.2 Gen1) with support for charging, power and data transfer through a special application, a headphone and microphone input. As well as a power port. The entire entrance group is closed with rubberized plugs to protect it from moisture, dirt and other elements.

Canon EOS R5c - cooling

The Canon EOS R5c has two memory card slots: CFexpress and SD UHS-II. In order to write 8K at the highest bitrates (in RAW), you will have to use CFexpress standard cards.

For example, in Cinema RAW Light ST 12-bit (8192×4320) 25fps, the bitrate will be 1650 Mbps. And when increased to 50fps (Cinema RAW Light LT) 2140 Mbps. In this mode, a 512 GB memory card will allow you to record 31 minutes of video. 

Canon EOS R5c – Mode switch – Photo & Video

The hybrid camera has a mechanical shutter – just like the Canon EOS R5 (with a mechanical shutter, the burst speed is 12 fps, and with an electronic shutter – 20 fps). Moreover, in the upper part of the case there is a special menu mode switch: photo and video. It is located on the left side of the case.

The photo mode uses an advanced autofocus system – Dual Pixel CMOS AF II. In video mode, by the way, first-generation autofocus. The following types of metering are also available (when shooting still images): evaluative, partial, spot, center spot, AF point metering, center-weighted.

In photo shooting mode, shutter speeds are available: 30–1/8000 sec. (in 1/2 or 1/3 step increments). The following photo modes are available: Auto/Standard/Portrait/Landscape/Fine Detail/Neutral/Fine/Monochrome/Custom (x3).

The Canon EOS R5c has a hot shoe. An essential factor that can make life easier for operators shooting with an adapter from Tascam. And the EOS R5c supports connecting this adapter and sending audio through a hot shoe, thus saving the setup from additional wires.

The adapter must be protected when shooting without using it. For this purpose, there is a special rubber plug.

LCD touchscreen display with aspect ratio 3:2 and size 3.2 inches. Its resolution is 2.1 million dots. Using the display, you can select the focus point, set shooting parameters, start / stop recording (activation through the menu). You can display false colors, zebra, apply LUT on the display.

This camera provides a fairly extensive selection of video recording formats. RAW video is available in various compression ratios (ST, LT), XF-AVC (4:2:2 10 bit), MP4(HEVC), MP4 (H.265) and others. In general, there are no problems with variations of possible formats and codecs. You can choose to record both full frame and Super 35mm and Super 16mm formats.

47.1 megapixel full-frame high-resolution sensor

The Canon EOS R5c has a 47.1 megapixel full-frame high-resolution sensor. However, when shooting video, a maximum of 35.4 MP is used – at a resolution of 8192 x 4320, 4096 x 2160 or 2048 x 1080. You can use 45 MP only in photo mode: 8192 x 5464.

Canon claims that when using Canon Log 3, the dynamic range will be in the order of 14 stops. There are no Canon Log and Canon Log 2 modes in the camera. Whether they will be added to the camera firmware in the future is unknown.

Available ISO range: 100-51200, expandable up to 102400. In video mode (it is switched by a special knob on the top of the camera), double base ISO is available. This is a good enough help for shooting in low light conditions. Given that the camera is full-frame, the double base ISO can provide an excellent opportunity to shoot a scene that is complex in terms of light without noise.

A bit surprising is the lack of anamorphic shooting modes in the hybrid movie camera. There are only anamorphic display modes on the x2.0/x1.8/x1.3 display, but they just compress the image for proper viewing.

We plan to fully test the hybrid camera in a large review in the future. It will be interesting to explore the possibilities of autofocus (they are different in photo and video modes), shoot 8K RAW and see if the camera will warn about the heating of the memory card (there is such a function in the Canon EOS R5c), how high quality 4K 120fps will look. In this mode, the camera, by the way, writes sound, but to a separate file.

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