In March 2021, Canon released new firmware for the Canon EOS R5, R6 and 1Dx Mark III which brings a selection of updates based on user feedback. Canon gave me a few days head-start to do some tests, but by the time you see this, firmware v1.3 for the R5 and R6 and v1.4 for the 1Dx III should be available for everyone to download from the Canon support websites.
The EOS R5 benefits from the most updates, now supporting 1080 120p slow motion, C-Log 3 for better video grading, and the chance to save custom settings to a card for backup or for loading onto another body. Both the R5 and 1Dx III gain a new lower bit-rate RAW mode, along with the chance to display the status of an FTP transfer. Meanwhile the R5 and R6 both now support full-time manual focus over-ride on (firmware-updated) RF lenses during Servo AF mode, while all three bodies gain new IPB Lite options for lower bit rate video. Canon has also promised C-Log 3 will be added to the R6 and 1Dx III in a future update.
In the video below I’ll check out an updated EOS R5, concentrating on the lower bit rate movie options, C-Log 3, and Full HD slow motion, showing it in action and compared to 4k slowmo.
The original EOS R5 was one of the first cameras in its class to film 4k beyond 60p, indeed up to 120p for usable slow motion and as you can see here it can look great, but the high bit-rate requires CF Express cards and not everyone needs 4k resolution or wants to waste resources storing and downsampling it. I was one of many who requested 120p at lower 1080 resolutions out-of-camera and now firmware 1.3 for the R5 brings it to you and I’m delighted to report the lower bit rate can now be recorded onto SD cards. I measured the 4k 100p rate at 1572Mbit/s versus a much more reasonable 327Mbit/s for 1080 100p. I have a compilation of clips in my video above.
Support for C-Log 3 was another popular request that now makes it onto the R5, as well as promised for future updates on the R6 and 1Dx III. C-Log 3 is the curve used on Canon’s cinema cameras and provides greater dynamic range, plus of course better matching with cinema camera footage.
And finally as a quick demonstration of the new lower bit rate modes, I filmed 10 second clips of a test chart with the updated EOS R5 in all of the 8k DCI and 4k HQ modes with C-Log off, comparing their file sizes to calculate bit rates. Starting with 8k DCI in the original RAW format, I calculated the bit rate as 2474Mbit/s. Switching to the new compressed RAW Light saw the bit-rate fall to 1647Mbit/s, so roughly two thirds the size but still too much for SD recording and too hard for my current computer to open too.
Next for non-RAW where I calculated 8k All-i at 1188Mbit/s, standard IPB at 449Mbit/s, and the new IPB Light mode at 219Mbit/s. Viewing them all side-by-side with a static subject shows no loss in resolution, although obviously lower bit rates will impact subjects in motion.
Switching to 4k HQ mode in the UHD format, I calculated All-i at 444Mbit/s, standard IPB at 116Mbit/s and the new IPB Light at 59Mbit/s, arguably a bit low for 4k, but fine for mostly static subjects like interviews or pieces to camera when you need to eek-out limited storage. Again viewed side-by-side at high magnification, all three shared the same resolving power on a static test chart but lower rates will invariably suffer more with motion.
So those are my tests with the March 2021 firmware updates so far. I was unable to try out Full Time MF due to my test lens not having updated firmware. I am however pleased to find the R5 now supporting C-Log 3, 1080 120p and some more storage friendly movie bit rates, so thanks for the update Canon. In the future I’d love to see 1080 240p on the R5, as well as All-i video modes on the R6. I hope you found that useful and if you’re interested in the R5 or R6, check out my in-depth reviews of both cameras: Canon EOS R5 review and Canon EOS R6 review.Check prices at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, eBay or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!