Last Updated on February 6, 2022 by Devaun Lennox
In today’s post, we will compare two flagship Canon cameras, the Canon EOS R5 and R6. Both are the latest high-end releases in Canon’s RF lineup. But, considering these cameras share so much in common, is the price difference worthwhile? Or should you save the extra money? Today, we will explore their similarities and differences. And we’ll provide insight on which, ultimately, is best for you.
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Size & Dimensions
In physical size, both cameras measure in at 138 x 97 x 88mm. However, the 6 is slightly smaller at 598 g compared to 650 g, an 8% reduction. Considering this is only a 50 g difference, you’re unlikely to notice the weight in hand, however. So in this regard, while not 100% identical, the cameras are mostly the same.
Physical Controls & Ergonomics
In controls and ergonomics, both cameras are identical. They both provide three control rings, an AF joystick, and the standard DSLR-styled setup. And both have large comfortable grips with a slight update from the EOS R for added comfort.
This is the first area the cameras differ.
Firstly, the 5’s rear screen is larger, 3.2 inches versus 3.0 inches, a 7% increase. And it also has 23% more resolution at 2.1M dots versus 1.62M dots. Otherwise, both cameras use vari-angle displays with Canon’s Clear View II coating. And both are equally bright and accurate.
Secondly, the 5 offers a higher resolution viewfinder at 5.76M dots versus only 3.69M dots, a 36% improvement. Otherwise, both cameras have variable refresh rates of 60 or 120 Hz, 100% coverage, and the same 0.76x magnification.
Lastly, the 5 also keeps the top-deck status LCD from the EOS R, a feature the 6 lacks.
Overall, the 5 offers a superior display configuration.
This is the second area they differ.
Both cameras have the latest DIGIC X processor, which offers the best performance in the series yet. But, the 5 provides a much larger 45MP sensor, while the 6 uses the same 20.1MP sensor from the 1DX Mark III. Both have anti-aliasing filters, which reduce moiré and artifacts in certain scenes. But the 5 offers a 55% increase in total resolution, which means its superior in imaging performance when it comes to fine details or cropping.
However, the 6 offers slightly better low light high ISO performance. And it can provide usable images up to ISO 25,600 with minor processing versus only 12,800 with the 5. It also has a one-stop larger native ISO range on the high-end, moving from ISO 51,200 to 102,400. So, in general, it’s a better low light option. The 6 also offers a 33% deeper buffer when shooting continuous bursts. And it provides 240 RAW images and 1000+ JPEG versus only 180 RAW or only 350 JPEG.
Otherwise, Both cameras offer the same continuous shooting speeds of 12 fps mechanical or 20 fps electronic shutter. And both shoot in the 14-bit RAW, Compressed RAW (C-RAW), or the new HEIF JPEG formats. They both also offer extensive in-camera processing to add effects, or convert images.
Overall, the 5 offers better resolution, but the 6 makes up with better low light and a deeper buffer.
The 5 takes the edge in video capabilities, and it delivers several features the 6 lacks. These include 4K HQ, All-I compression, RAW, DCI, 8K, and 4K 120 fps videos. The only advantage the 6 provides is that it offers 1080p 120 fps recording, a feature strangely missing on the 5. Otherwise, the 5 is easily better in video capabilities.
Both cameras do, however, share many things in common, including C-log, 4K HDR PQ, 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording, clean HDMI outputs, Frame Grab, Zebras, and 30-minute video record limits. Both cameras also support the new H.265 and standard H.264 formats.
Overall, if video is essential and you want the best Canon offers, the 5 is the better option.
Both cameras use Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with Face, Eye, Body, and Animal detection. And both have 100% AF coverage over the sensor. However, the 6 offers slightly better low light focusing at -6.5 EV, rather than just -6.0 EV. Otherwise, both cameras are identical here.
Both cameras also have focus magnification, peaking, and Focus Guide.
Both use the same battery. However, the 6 has an advantage here with its smaller sensor, and it offers superior longevity. It delivers 380 shots per charge, a 19% improvement over the 5’s 320 maximum.
User Interface & Menus
These are identical.
- Both cameras offer 5-axis in-body image stabilization systems rated for up to 8.0 EV stops.
- Both cameras have dual card slots, but only the 5 has the higher-end CFexpress card.
- Both have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
- Both have 1.6x APS-C crop modes, though their resolutions differ.
- Both have HDR.
- Both have time-lapse.
- Both have multiple exposures.
- Both have three custom shooting presets.
- Both have headphone and microphone ports.
- Both cameras are weather-sealed, but the 5 is more rugged due to a full magnesium alloy construction.
- Both cameras have Digital Image Stabilization (IS), which offers added electronic stabilization for smoother footage.
- The 6 lacks the 5 GHz Wi-Fi band, which offers faster file transfers than just 2.4 GHz alone.
- The 6 lacks the Voice Memo function.
- The 6 lacks the new 4K HQ Mode, which supersamples the sensor for sharper 4K videos.
- The 6 lacks the new Dual Pixel RAW shooting modes, which provides the Portrait Re-Lighting and Background Clarity modes.
So which is best?
Well, both cameras are extraordinarily capable. This decision ultimately comes down to whether you want the larger resolution sensor, better video capabilities, and displays. If you don’t need these features, the EOS R6 provides exceptional value for money. Sure it trades a lower-resolution sensor, but it ups the continuous shooting, low light performance, and battery life. And for the vast majority of users, it’s the better option. If that isn’t enough, though, the EOS R5 is Canon’s best mirrorless option to date. So there’s your camera.