With its pioneering combination of high-resolution stills and 8K video capture, the Canon EOS R5 is set to deliver exciting new creative possibilities for photographers and filmmakers alike. In fact, the flagship Full Frame mirrorless camera's 8K video capabilities will enable all kinds of users to push the boundaries in their work, opening up dynamic new ways of telling stories and different mediums of expression.
The Canon EOS R5 has a future-proof video specification, supporting full-sensor-width 8K recording internally at up to 30p. It also offers full Dual Pixel CMOS AF performance in all of the 8K video modes. All this and more has been made possible because the Canon EOS R System is built from the ground up as the next-generation camera system, and Canon is working hard to roll out the practical advantages of Full Frame mirrorless for both stills and video.
"We decided to go back to the drawing board and to think more long-term," says Mike Burnhill, European Technical Support Manager at Canon Europe. "The Canon EOS R5 isn’t a box-ticking exercise. This is real 8K, in a small body at a fraction of the price of what current rival 8K cameras cost."
One hybrid photographer-filmmaker already looking forward to using the Canon EOS R5's 8K video is Canon Ambassador Clive Booth, a fashion specialist whose clients need cutting-edge quality.
"The resolution alone is a game-changer," enthuses Clive. "The pixel density means that curved lines will look smoother and images will have more depth, and it will also render colours better because you’ve got more pixels firing.
“Being able to view an 8K image natively will approximate reality – the image will look more real. 8K monitors are starting to appear at the point of purchase in stores, and brands behind make-up and skin products will be really interested in showing their products better than anybody else can."
Of course, recording in 8K doesn’t mean you have to output in 8K. One of the big practical advantages of shooting in 8K right now is that you can oversample the 8K down to 4K in order to produce an image with more detail and better dynamic range than a native 4K one. Alternatively, you can choose to crop a 4K frame from the full 8K image in order to have more creative freedom in post-production.
"Say you were filming an interview where the final output is going to be 4K," suggests Clive. "If you're smart with your light and with your shooting angle, you could start with a wide 8K shot and then just grab a 4K section of the frame for a close-up headshot later. So one camera angle and one take will give you two cuts. For someone who's working alone with a single camera, that's a massive bonus.
"Using a 4K crop also has many other benefits,” Clive adds. “It gives you the option of reframing your shot, tracking subjects within the frame, and digitally reducing camera shake. If your production includes visual effects, then any additional room in the frame that you can give to the VFX artist will be welcome. Resolution makes a huge difference when it comes to green screen work. If you're cutting somebody out of a background at 8K, then you can almost go down to the individual hairs. If you’ve got more pixels to work with then the end result will look more realistic."
"Some people will be still be happy with outputting in Full HD," adds Mike. "Not only does this give you massive oversampling for a better quality image, you've also essentially got a 15x zoom to make use of in post-production. You could, for example, shoot wide at a wedding, and then later crop in to get the reaction of the bride, the groom, the parents and guests. You could cover everything from a single camera and 28mm lens positioned at the back of the church. It just gives you more options – and it really is just the start."
Increasingly, stills photography and video are seen as complementary facets of any project with ambitions to reach an always-on audience. Now, the ability to record high-quality 8K video also opens up the future to a whole new type of photography – one where you can grab stills from movie clips without any compromise in resolution.
"When we launched the Canon EOS 5D Mark II in 2008, we started to see that people were increasingly shooting both video and stills during a job," explains Mike. "Back then, while it was possible to extract stills from video footage, the resolution difference was considerable: the camera was capable of shooting 21.1MP photos, but stills from HD video are only 2MP.
"An 8K still frame, however, has a resolution of around 33MP. So, with the Canon EOS R5 we’ve reached the point where you’re able to essentially shoot video and extract billboard-quality stills later."
With four times the resolution of 4K video, 8K generates a lot of data, and understandably there will be extra demands on computer processing power and storage.
"If you’re going to go to 8K, you need to think about the hardware that goes around it," says Mike. "But we saw the same thing with Full HD and we saw the same thing with 4K – technology is catching up fast. Memory and hard drives are all going solid state, so they’re much faster, capacities are increasing and prices are lower, and cloud storage is now much more mainstream."
Video editing software is already ahead of the game, with the ability to work natively in 8K being a distinct advantage. As Clive explains: "Faster computers mean that potentially you can work with your content on the fly. Being able to potentially edit in 8K and have a more straightforward workflow without having to create proxy files will be important for a lot of people."
"Often what’s interesting for me is that we put these features into cameras, but users have a much better vision of what some of these technologies can do than we do,” Mike concludes. “They are the creative people and they are challenging the new limits, trying to create new and interesting forms of communication and media. They set the limits, they drive innovation the most. We just try to produce the technology to make those visions possible."