Canon EOS R3 vs Canon EOS R5: 9 key differences between the mirrorless beasts

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In a year when we’ve been treated to a wave of high-end cameras, we’ve been looking forward to the full disclosure of Canon’s much-anticipated EOS R3 since the development was announced in April.

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It technically sits in between the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS 1DX Mark III DSLRs, but also includes the camera giant’s most advanced mirrorless technology to date. With an array of category-leading specifications, it’s likely to be overkill for the average photographer – especially with its pretty eye-watering $5,999 / £5,879 / AU$8,599 price tag.

Still, there will undoubtedly be plenty of people who want the best money can buy – though even last year’s Canon EOS R5 is pretty nifty in most scenarios, and likely to be powerful enough for most.


With that in mind, here we’ll compare the two models by their key specifications and features to see what you’ll get for the extra investment in the R3 – or whether it’s worth saving your cash and going for the cheaper R5 .

  • Canon EOS R3 Release Date, Price, Specs & Features

Sensor: A new stacked chip takes the Canon EOS R3’s speed up a notch

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Designed for professionals and action shooters, the R3 has a relatively modest pixel count of 24.1MP, compared to the R5’s ultra-high 45MP resolution. But that low count enables other things the typical user of the R3 will crave, like blisteringly fast burst shooting and better low-light performance.

The EOS R3 also features a new backside-illuminated stacked design, which ups the former in terms of responsiveness and image capture speed – again something professional snappers will appreciate most.

Both the EOS R3 and EOS R5 offer in-body image stabilization (IBIS) that provides fast shooting handheld and eight stops of compensation (using a compatible lens) in low light conditions.

  • Read our in-depth review of the Canon EOS R5

Focusing: Eye-controlled AF is a unique Canon EOS R3 genius

The EOS R5 is no slouch, but once again the EOS R3 takes things up a notch by promising the already great Dual Pixel CMOS AF II an AF speed of 0.03 seconds. Still, the EOS R5 offers 0.05-second autofocus, and that difference isn’t likely to be observable in most real-world scenarios.

However, the EOS R3 also brings several other improvements to autofocusing, some of which seem almost science-fiction. Perhaps the most exciting is the addition of Eye Control AF, which, as the name suggests, lets you change the AF point by looking in the appropriate direction. Magic!

For news, sports and action photographers, not messing with physical buttons, joysticks or touchscreens can be the difference between really getting a shot and not getting it. While this sounds like cutting-edge technology, it’s interesting to note that we’ve seen it before with Canon’s own film SLRs in the ’90s. Everything eventually comes back in fashion, right?

Other technical AF nous include the ability to lock in focus at -7.5EV (very low light), an improvement from the R5’s -6EV (slightly brighter, but not much), and deep learning algorithms that give you the ability to track something. Huh. such as vehicles, animals and humans.

You also get the kind of nuances that would enable a racing car to differentiate between a driver’s helmet and a vehicle, which would normally be an extremely difficult subject to nail, which takes a lot of guesswork out of it.

All that said, unless you’re really an F1 photographer, it’s great to have this technology on board, but may very well be unused by the average photographer. The Canon EOS R5, meanwhile, still delivers extremely admirable performance for more general subjects, and is capable of focusing on the eyes of both people and animals.

  • The Sony A1 shows that a ‘no compromise’ camera isn’t possible, but it comes pretty close

Speed ​​Demon: It’s nearly impossible to miss a shot with the R3 – but the R5 is also no slouch

The Canon EOS R5 offers burst shooting of up to 20fps (with the electronic shutter) and up to 12fps with the mechanical shutter. It’s here again that the R3 steps things up, offering a maximum of 30fps with full AF tracking via the electronic shutter.

What’s more, Canon promises that the traditional problems with using the electronic shutter have been “all but eliminated” thanks to specs such as flicker detection and high-frequency anti-flicker shooting.

Both the R3 and R5 offer 12fps shooting when you switch to the mechanical shutter, but if Canon’s promises about that electronic shutter capability hold true, professionals may be more than happy to stick with shooting using it. can.

Another big advantage of the EOS R3 is the ability to shoot at super-fast shutter speeds of up to 1/64000 sec. The ability to capture split-second action and make it really freeze is fantastic, and clearly steps up and down the R5’s 1/8000 second; Although again, this is likely to be a specific requirement.

Connectivity: R3 delivers super-fast transmission for the professional user

It’s pretty unheard of for cameras in the current lineup to not have any sort of wireless connectivity, and naturally both the R3 and R5 come fully connected with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

However, as always, those pesky pros demand just a bit more, so you’ll find an inbuilt Gigabit Ethernet port for the R3, allowing for super-quick transfer of all-important images that need to be broadcast in the news immediately. is required. Desk on the fastest wired connection via FTP and so on.

You can also access the FTP server wirelessly by connecting a wireless file transmitter (WFT-R10), which is available as an accessory for the R5 or R3. Those who already have an EOS R5 and/or EOS 1DX Mark III can share FTP settings seamlessly between their cameras if they also have WFT-R10.

Video: The R3 is a true hybrid camera offering 6K and oversampled 4K, while the R5 hits 8K

Video content is often just as important to pros as static content, with the R3 being able to handle both equally well.

Although the R3 doesn’t have the R5’s title 8K specification, it still offers above average 6K at 60p, as well as the possibility to record oversampled 4K at 60p. The advantage of oversampling is usually that it brings in more detail and less noise, so it will be interesting to see how it performs in real-world tests. Stacked sensors should also mean that we see little in the way of rolling the shutter.

Furthermore, you can also record 4K at 120fps with the R3, bringing slow motion functionality that will surely be a boon for action and sports photographers. Being able to shoot in CRM (Cinema Raw Light) is another benefit of the R3, which helps keep file sizes on the right side of manageable.

Although eventually rectified through a firmware upgrade, the EOS R5’s issues while recording video have made headlines for all the wrong reasons. This is much less likely to be a problem with the R3, with its lower-resolution sensor and lower maximum resolution for video; In fact, Canon promises that the R3 can record up to six hours of “regular” video.

Essentially, the R5 and R3 are both powerful video tools, but it’s the R3 that can be considered the more practical all-rounder, especially for those shooting a wide variety of content.

EVF and Screen: The R3 and R5 share the same viewfinder, but the R3 wins out for screen resolution

Both the R3 and R5 are packing nearly identical 0.5-inch OLED electronic viewfinders, with 5.76m dots and 0.76x magnification. It’s a great viewfinder that impressed us greatly on the R5, and it’s hard to find a better one elsewhere (aside from Sony’s A1).

What the R3 adds here is OVF Simulation View Assist, which gives you the option to check what’s happening outside the frame, and will probably be of great use to sports, action and news photographers who want to make sure That they capture the action at the perfect moment.

Canon EOS R5’s in-body image stabilization system.

In terms of the screen, there is a more clearly defined difference between the R3 and R5. The R5 includes a very nice 3.15-inch, 2.1 million-dot fully articulated touchscreen, but the R5 almost doubles that resolution with 4.1 million dots, putting it ahead of not only the R5, but the Sony A1. Like it is above the rivals.

It maintains full articulation, which is useful for video shooters and for capturing shots from awkward angles, far more than the tilted screen, and a lot higher than a fixed screen, as you would typically find comparable. You’ll find it on DSLRs such as the Canon EOS 1DX Mark III.

Design: Existing Professional R3 . feel at home with

Familiarity and a smooth transition is something most pros upgrading to the latest camera will crave, and the good news is that’s exactly what they’ll be treated to with the R3 if it’s coming from the 1DX Mark III.

The idea is apparently to entice DSLR shooters to the mirrorless side, providing them with essentially a smaller and lighter version of what they’re used to.

While it’s noticeably smaller and lighter than the 1DX Mark III, the R3 is larger than the R5 due to its built-in grip. This is likely to be welcomed by a range of photographers, who prefer vertical controls as well as horizontal ones, so the extra bulk is probably worth it for those users.

Additionally, the R3 is tougher than the R5, with a fully weatherproof magnesium alloy constructed to the same standard as the 1D X Mark III. It also includes a battery with a higher capacity than the R5 (the LP-E19, which is usefully similar to the 1DX Mark III’s battery), so it should last longer in the field.

Both cameras have dual card slots, one each for CFExpress and UHS-II SD.

Accessories: R3’s new multi-function shoe is compatible with a range of useful accessories

Canon a new…

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