Canon EOS R7 vs Canon EOS R5 vs Canon EOS R: How Do They Compare?

We’ve been actively testing a bunch of Canon cameras. With the Canon EOS R7’s announcement, folks are bound to be curious about how the Canon EOS R5 holds up against the Canon EOS R7. And they’re bound to be curious as to why their cameras don’t have some features. But also on the sideline is the Canon EOS R, which is still an incredible camera. So we decided to compare the three against one another. How do they fare? We’re exploring the question of Canon EOS R7 vs Canon EOS R5 vs Canon EOS R in this informal test.

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Gear Used

For this test, we used the following. You can see more of the technical specifications of each product in our linked reviews.:

For more about how we test camera gear, we encourage you to take a look at our Editorial Policies and make informed decisions for yourself.

Ergonomics and Build Quality

Thankfully, all three of these cameras have positively stellar build quality. If you’ve followed our reviews in the past, you know we more or less push camera gear to its limits. We’ve used all of these cameras with weather-resistant lenses in the rain before and they all survived. But the most impressive test I’ve done came recently.

A few weeks ago, I used the three cameras in the dirt on a kickball field. At times I’d put the cameras down in the dirt and grass and change lenses. Because Canon’s shutter comes down to protect the sensor, not a single speck of dust affected the cameras or their performance. What’s more is that Canon L-glass is just so durable to begin with. So all in all, these cameras can endure rain and dirt with no trouble. 

Because we’ve had the Canon EOS R5 and the Canon EOS R for a longer period of time, they’ve survived in the snow with barely any issues. If anything, it’s only now that one of the dials on my Canon EOS R is starting to have problems. After four years, I’d expect that to happen, considering all the abuse it’s been through.

Ease of Use

Our tech columnist Alex-Michel Ngningha wrote about this before; Canon’s layout changes all the time. The Canon EOS R had two exposure dials on the camera. The Canon EOS R5 had three. And the Canon EOS R7 has two with the traditional Canon back dial now being around the joystick. It’s true; you can’t go from one camera to another and continue to use the same muscle memory. It gets really annoying to do, but that’s the issue with lots of cameras, with the exception being Leica.

This aside, all the menu systems are similar. The Canon EOS R has the smallest menu while the Canon EOS R5 is larger and the Canon EOS R7 is largest. Even as you cycle through the information overlays on the back of the screen, you’ll notice different info is shown. For example, on the Canon EOS R5, you can’t quickly access the scene detection modes. So if you want to switch from autofocus detection with people or animals, you have to enter the menu. 

However, this isn’t the case with the Canon EOS R7. You can just press the info button and switch the scene recognition. Granted, it’s not as simple as Sony’s or OM-System’s setup where you can more or less press buttons and get to where you need. Indeed, comparatively speaking Canon is still lacking on a lot of customization.

Autofocus

Here are some notes from our tests:

  • The R7 is wonderful.
  • The R5 is pretty good but still lacking compared to the EOS R7’s implementation of autofocus from the EOS R3.
  • The EOS R is only okay, and that’s because of scene recognition.
  • None of them are that great at tracking moving subjects when the scene is extremely underexposed
  • The R5 is nowhere as good as the R7 when it comes to ease of use. You might want to get the R7 as a supplemental camera instead. Comparatively speaking, the Canon R5 is between the Canon R7 and the EOS R. But since the R5 is a higher end camera, why can’t some of the R3 come down to the R5?
  • The R5 can track subjects for sports very well, but it does so in a completely different way.
  • The EOS R still kept up with moving subjects during a sports shoot with little to no problems. Any errors that happened are due to the electronic shutter function. But in mechanical shutter mode, this test confirmed that my purchase of the Canon EOS R was one of the best I’d made.
  • For birding, the R7 is by far the best. It applies face detection to every single autofocus type. It takes this from the R3.
  • For birding, the EOS R5 is very good and can keep up with subjects with little to no issue. But it doesn’t apply face and body detection to every autofocus type the way the R7 does. So instead, you have to use scene detection in full auto-mode and pray that it gets the subject in focus. Otherwise, you can give it an assist via the settings. The best practice here is generally to get your subject in the center, focus on it, track it, and keep shooting photos. But you can also do it via any of the focusing points. The R5 lets you focus on the subject with a single point or lets it adapt to the subject in scene detection mode. Overall, it’s the most complicated to use.
  • For birding, the EOS R doesn’t have animal AI autofocus. So instead, I told the camera to go to something like face detection and let me choose a focusing point. Once I told it to track a bird, it kept it in focus with little to no problem. I could’ve done this with any mode, but this was my preferred way to do it. By all means, the EOS R is absolutely no slouch compared to the Canon R5 and the R7.

Image Quality

Amazingly, the 32.5MP APS-C sensor in the R7 can hold its own with the 30.3MP full-frame sensor in the EOS R. 

Personally speaking, I like the quality of the original EOS R a lot. The Canon R5 is also quite good, but there’s something magical about that first sensor that did it so nicely. It’s got to be the colors.

Here are some extra sample images. All photos here are unedited.

Canon EOS R

Canon EOS R5

Canon EOS R7

Conclusions

Canon has created some really great cameras. The reason why I’m specifically focusing on these three in this post is because of just how prevalent they are. The Canon EOS R5 is arguably one of the best mirrorless cameras on the market right now based on various parameters. The Canon EOS R is still used by many professionals and semi-pros for the work they do. And the Canon EOS R7 is priced to tempt enthusiasts but is arguably the most essential of the three. It boasts the most advanced autofocus system of the them. And honestly, if you get the Canon EOS R7, you can do almost all the work you need with that and one of the other camera bodies. I wouldn’t particularly use the Canon EOS R5 for photographing wildlife or vehicles when I’ve got the Canon EOS R7. Instead, I’d use the R5 for portraits and photographing people. At the same time, the Canon EOS R just has better colors in my eyes and even that of other staffers that I’ve talked to.

If you’re a Canon EOS R5 owner, getting either one of these cameras would make sense. The Canon EOS R is a fantastic second camera. And the Canon EOS R7 will enable you to photograph so many different things. Years ago, I used to use the Canon 5D Mk II and the Canon 7D as my workhorses. The Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R7 are an equivalent combo.

If you own the Canon EOS R, either body will also work just fine.

Overall, all three of these cameras are awesome and I continue to use them with great results. And if a journalist can do that, then so can you.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.