We Handheld the Canon EOS R5 at 105mm for Over a Second

A bunch of lenses got a firmware update today and perform even better with the Canon EOS R5.

I’m a photographer trained to not rely on image stabilization–and I’ve seen that this training has helped so much with my photography. Today, all of Canon’s RF lenses with image stabilization are getting a new firmware update. The Canon EOS R5 and EOS R6 now work with the internal stabilization systems to produce more steady results. Canon has stated that with specific lenses, you can get up to 8 stops of image stabilization. So if you’re one of those photographers that loads up on too much coffee, can’t control their breathing, or just has shaky hands, you now have a better chance of producing sharp results at slower shutter speeds. And for those of us who do things the old school way, we’re now able to do a whole lot more. We took the Canon EOS R5 and the Canon RF 24-105mm f4 L IS USM onto our Brooklyn rooftop to shoot the sunset. Our findings: we’re very impressed even when we go beyond 8 stops of IS.

What Was Possible Before

For what it’s worth, the Canon RF 24-105mm f4 L IS USM is already really solid. In our review, we were able to handhold it down to around 1/15th and still get very stable images with the Canon EOS R. To refresh, the Canon EOS R doesn’t have IBIS, so we were just relying on what was possible with the lens. Quite a bit was already capable if you took the right steps with the image stabilization that it had. Using the motion stopping abilities of a powerful light also helped a lot. So if you’re not too steady, you can use a flash with a fast flash duration to stop the motion. Combine it with second curtain flash, and you’ll get the motion blur from the trains.

What’s Possible Now

With the new firmware update and the features of the Canon EOS R5, you can get up to 8 stops of image stabilization with the 24-105mm f4 L IS USM. So if you consider the reciprocal rule of shutter speeds and you kept the aperture and the ISO the same, that’s going from around 1/100th at 105mm down to 3 seconds. Of course, that’s tough for anyone to do, and it all depends on focal lengths and a bunch of other things. As it is, I don’t know many people that can handhold a 105mm lens at 1/100th. Amongst the photography reviewers and journalists I know and regularly associate with, Steve Huff (does he really need an introduction?) and Jeanette Moses (DPReview, Pop Photo) are the only two I think could do it without image stabilization. Steve’s a Leica guy, and Jeanette is a trained photojournalist. Gear Editor Brett Day and Copy Editor Mark Beckenbach can do it too. But amongst the working photographers I know, the list is still pretty small.

Just think about this: 105mm, and according to the reciprocal rule of shutter speeds, you need to be able to handhold it at 1/100th or 1/125th. How many of you can do that? Well, let’s take a look at what we did.

The Wide End

Starting at the wide end at 24mm, we’re in easy mode. Brett will have more of this come later today, where he handheld to around 5 seconds and got super steady results on the Canon EOS R6. (Stay tuned for that to come at 6AM EST today.) I didn’t dip as far down, but even at 1/8th of a second at 24mm, I’m sure that most people who call themselves photographers would have trouble getting a blur-free shot. So let’s do a torture test, shall we?

The Telephoto End

We’re doing this all at different times and with different subjects. With these two images, I was focusing on the white stable on the chessboard style rooftop. There’s undoubtedly camera shake, but it’s still pretty impressive. Handholding at a focal length that long for this period is pretty tricky to do. I’m sure anyone would agree.

For this image, I was focusing on the door. Again, very impressive.

Focusing on the window here with the guitar in it. Still able to get a ton of great details. The 45MP sensor helps here.

These two shots above are still pretty slow for 105mm in the eyes of the modern photographer. Yet it gave us no trouble. Again, we’re very impressed by all this.