Long-time Canon users have probably noticed a shift in the brand strategy as of late, especially when it comes to Canon firmware updates. Dear old Canon has sometimes left a bitter taste in peoples’ mouths with repeated launches of products aimed at a specific market segment while ensuring it will never compete or cannibalize another segment. It was challenging to get a perfect all-arounder as most popular features tended to come at the expense of others. They wanted you to get multiple pieces of equipment instead of just one. But the Canon R5 Firmware updates are showing us something different.
Back in the Day
In the DSLR days, Canon camera lines created segmentation in many ways. If you wanted speed you had the 1DX, but you had to give up on resolution and size. If you wanted resolution you had the 5DSR, king of details but not the most outstanding performer in ISO nor dynamic range. We couldn’t help feeling angry as Nikon had a D850 that didn’t make you compromise between details, ISO, and dynamic range, while in Canon land you had to choose. The same logic was applied to their lens lineup. F2.8 zooms had no IS, while f4 zooms did. Here again, you couldn’t get both; you had to choose. Thankfully, the Tamron G2 trinity gave us the best of both worlds. Between the rise of third-party manufacturers on the lens front and the incredible competition from Sony, Canon may have been realizing that they can’t keep charging so much while giving so little.
This is where we’ve started to see how they responded by making the Canon R5 a better camera over time.
Fast Forward to 2022
In 2022, the photography market is quite different than what it was. Fujifilm brought Kaizen to the community, and now camera bodies are living organisms. They mature and evolve with time and, more often than not, you get a much better body two years down the line than the one you paid for at launch. The Canon R5 may be the one body demonstrating a shift in Canon market segmentation habits.
In fact, we’ve reported on the Canon R5 firmware updates for quite some time and have consistently updated our review accordingly.
Canon R5 Firmware Updates Are Changing Things
At first, Canon did what Canon does. They gave us speed, decent ISO, dynamic range, and details in one body, so they needed to take something away. On top of the 30-minute recording limit, overheating made it not so appealing for video work despite attractive specifications on paper. As various workarounds were found by the community of creators, the idea that Canon deliberately limited the usability to protect sales from the R5C and C70 started making a lot of sense. It might not be the case anymore. After introducing the Canon R3, firmware 1.5 transferred all the new detection algorithms to the Canon R5 (goggles, helmets, vehicles, etc.). More recently, Canon R5 firmware 1.6 removed overheating limitations in most scenarios. And suddenly, the Canon R5 appears as a whole new offering. Are we finally getting the perfect all-arounder? It seems so.
There is now little to complain about with the Canon EOS R5 due to the improvements. The sensor is not stacked, so the rolling shutter is still something to worry about. Also, Canon hasn’t lifted the 30-minute recording limit. Having said that, there’s little you can’t do with that camera. Thanks to the Canon R5 firmware updates, the product hasn’t been held back. It boasts almost 5DSR-level details, almost Canon EOS R3 autofocus performance, and nearly R5C video performance. We’re finally getting a camera body from Canon that doesn’t make you feel you’re giving up on some features to get others. This in itself is something to salute. As a community, we have been complaining about this for years, and it’s only fitting to acknowledge when Canon does right by its consumers. Please, Canon, keep it up.