Canon’s Excellent EOS R5 Has One Huge Flaw

Illustration for article titled Canon's Excellent EOS R5 Has One Huge Flaw

Photo: Brent Rose/Gizmodo

There once was a badass Greek warrior. Indeed, he was the badassiest of them all. He was the perfect killing machine, except for one little thing which took someone who was otherwise invincible and made him…vincible. Now, Achilles isn’t a perfect metaphor for the EOS R5, which I think is the best camera Canon has ever made, but it does have a weak spot—a vulnerable heel, if you will. Many won’t even notice the issue. For others, it will be a fatal flaw.

Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera, the EOS R, came out in 2018, and I really wanted to like it, but I couldn’t. It felt a bit thrown together, as if Canon knew it was last to the full-frame mirrorless game, and had to just get something out there, even if it was missing a lot of stuff. I am happy to report that the EOS R5 corrects virtually every one of those issues, and then some. It shoots 45-megapixel uncompressed RAW stills at a very respectable 12fps clip with the mechanical shutter engaged (or 20fps compressed RAW with the electronic shutter), with excellent image stabilization and autofocus tracking. Generally speaking, these photos look phenomenal.

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But let’s dive into the hardware. The EOS R5 has some serious heft to it. There’s a big, beefy grip that DSLR shooters will generally love. The EOS R had a capacitive touch-bar as one of its control mechanisms, and it was pretty terrible. It’s gone now! Yay! Instead, the R5 has a standard joystick which is much easier to use—though it does depress a little easily which would lead to accidental clicks when I was just trying to scroll. The R5 also adds a lower thumb wheel on the back, which I love, but I prefer Sony’s implementation, in which it doubles as a four-way D-pad. All of the other buttons and wheels have a good amount of click and enough separation that I was able to adjust settings even when wearing heavy winter gloves. I mostly shot with Canon’s workhorse 24-105mm f/4.0 zoom and its incredible 50mm f/1.2 prime. Both lenses are heavy and chonky, but they are so good I genuinely didn’t care (especially that 50mm).

Illustration for article titled Canon's Excellent EOS R5 Has One Huge Flaw

Photo: Brent Rose/Gizmodo

The R5 has an electronic viewfinder with 5.76 million dots of resolution and a refresh rate of 120Hz, so things look smooth and very sharp, but it’s still a ways behind from the Sony A7S iii’s EVF with a bananas 9.44 million dots. The R5 now has two memory card slots: one SD UHS-II, and the other for a CF Express Type B. CF Express is newer and more expensive, but it’s also a hell of a lot faster, and you’ll need it for some of the higher-end video modes, which can’t be shot to the SD card. I made the mistake of buying a 128GB Hoodman Steel CF Express card for this review and I kept getting an error saying: “Movie recording has been stopped automatically. Slow card write speed.” On paper the card should be fast enough, but I later read other reviews saying they had this same issue with this camera and this card, so spend the extra $20 or so for a Sony card if you would like to avoid this headache.

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Illustration for article titled Canon's Excellent EOS R5 Has One Huge Flaw

Photo: Brent Rose/Gizmodo

The EOS R5 is the first camera to get Canon’s new autofocus system, dubbed Dual Pixel CMOS AF II, and it somehow covers 100% of the image sensor. It is absurdly good. Its Eye-AF was incredibly accurate, nailing the retinas of subjects, both human and animal. It’s now at least as good as Sony’s Eye-AF, but then it goes one better: When it can’t find an eye, it diverts to subject tracking automatically. It does this in still and video mode, and you can adjust how sensitive you want it to be and how smoothly you want it to shift focus. It also works at up to six stops below optimal exposure (-6Ev) if you’re shooting with a f/1.2 aperture lens, meaning it can focus in the dark better than a lot of humans. In busy scenes with more than one potential subject, it was prone to getting confused about which was the important thing to you, but that was easy to fix with a quick tap on the back of the screen.

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1/8 sec at f/1.2, ISO 12,800

1/8 sec at f/1.2, ISO 12,800
Photo: Brent Rose/Gizmodo

The original EOS R didn’t have any in-body stabilization, and that was not so great. The R5 has five-axis stabilization that’s as good as any I’ve used. It has a maximum compensation of between 6.5 and 8 stops, depending on what lens you’re using. I wasn’t able to measure that metric scientifically, but I can tell you that I was able to take handheld photos that I had no business taking. The shot above, with the focus on the icy needles at the top of the tree and the stars in the background, was shot with a shutter speed of 1/8 of a second. My hand is not that steady! I typically try to keep things above 1/60.

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Generally speaking, photos look excellent. When the lighting was good, many photos I took needed almost no tweaking at all. They looked sharp and vibrant, and while they came off as realistic, they also have a film-like quality that I love. The only way that it doesn’t measure up to my current go-to camera (still the Sony A7R iii) is in dynamic range (meaning the difference between the lightest thing and the darkest thing within a photo where both are still usable). It isn’t quite as good at recovering blown-out highlights, but even more importantly, the shadows aren’t nearly as flexible. When attempting to push shadows back up to recover detail, noise becomes a real problem, and it frequently has a purple-ish hue. I had to lean on the Noise Reduction panel in Lightroom way harder than I would like to, which can’t hide all sins and sacrifices sharpness, too. Dynamic range on the EOS R5 is good, but it isn’t great.

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“OK, OK,” you say. “This all sounds quite good! Where’s the damned Achilles heel you teased?” Well, if you’re strictly a photographer, there isn’t one. And if you’re almost exclusively a photographer who just takes a tiny bit of video here and there, then you’re probably OK, too! But if video is important to you, well, here comes the poison arrow.

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The EOS R5 is capable of shooting 8K RAW video at 30fps, something even the mighty Sony A7S iii can’t do. Most of us don’t really need 8K yet, but the camera has a neat trick where it can take that whole 8K frame and compress it into a super high-quality 4K image (HQ mode) at up to 30fps. Best of all, the massive 1.7x crop from the EOS R is gone, so you’re able to really use all of that Canon glass as it was intended. If you’re shooting in Canon Log (a flat color profile) you can shoot 10-bit 4:2:2 video in camera, which gives the footage a lot of flexibility for color correction and applying cinematic looks. That is all great news. The 4K HQ C-Log mode is truly gorgeous and is what I would recommend using all the time…except you can’t, because the EOS R5’s overheating issues are mind-bogglingly bad.

Let me qualify this. If you’re out in the field, mostly shooting photos, and occasionally shooting short 4K HQ videos, you’re probably going to be just fine. If you want to shoot longer videos, though, it’s a non-starter. I found that the camera overheated after just 24 minutes of shooting in HQ mode. That’s bad, but what’s worse is how long it takes to recover from overheating. We’re talking upwards of an hour until it’s fully back to normal and you can shoot more than a minute or two of video again. If you are shooting for a client, or at a wedding, that will get you fired on the spot. I shoot interviews and documentary-type stuff, and here, again, this camera would be useless. Same for vloggers.

Now, it does have a regular 4K mode, and that mode doesn’t suffer from overheating problems. It looks…fine, until you compare it to the HQ footage and then you realize how much detail you’re missing. It’s significant. The regular 4K mode looks downright mushy by comparison. There are other drawbacks that indicate that video was really an afterthought for Canon, despite the fact that the company hyped 8K and HQ 4K at launch. Changing from stills mode to video mode is kind of a pain. You can hit the record button in stills mode and snap a quick video, but instead of defaulting to your last-used video settings, it shoots 1080p30 for some stupid reason (if there is a way to change this, I haven’t figured it out, and Canon didn’t respond when I asked). It has a high-frame rate mode that shoots 4K at 120fps, but then it slows it down in the camera to 30fps, which is annoying if the rest of your project is 24fps. Changing between video modes (HQ, high-speed, C-Log, etc.) is unintuitive and takes way more clicks than it should.

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This is all tremendously frustrating. This was poised to be the camera that would bring me back to the Canon ecosystem with all its tasty glass, and on paper it really looked like it would. I consider myself a hybrid-shooter, though, meaning I shoot a lot of photo and a lot of video. More and more that’s becoming the rule, not the exception, for content creators. This camera simply cannot keep up with those demands, and ultimately, I don’t think it should have launched until it could. Sony took forever to come out with the A7S iii, but when it launched you could shoot 10-bit 4K120 until the cows came home in slow-motion and the thing wouldn’t overheat. It just feels like Canon fumbled and face-planted on the one-yard line, and that really sucks.

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Again, if you really only care about shooting stills and just want to shoot a bit of video here and there, I recommend this camera without hesitation, especially if you already have Canon lenses. I loved shooting with this camera and the photos it produces are beautiful. For everybody else, I’m sorry—this camera is just a massive tease. It showed what it’s capable on the video side, with truly beautiful 8K and HQ 4K footage, but it can’t be relied on to produce enough of it, at least not for those of us who want to capture high-quality 8K video on a regular basis. Canon has received a massive amount of criticism for the overheating issues, and I’d bet good money that its engineers are working hard on solving it for the Mark II version. I think that camera would eat everybody else’s lunch (as this one could have done), but we’ll just have to wait and see.

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README

  • Gorgeous 45MP RAW photos at up to 12fps uncompressed (20fps compressed)
  • Best eye and face focus-tracking I’ve used
  • Optical image stabilization is excellent for stills
  • 8K and HQ 4K video looks stunning, but camera suffers from debilitating overheating issues

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What’s the Best Projector for Your Home Entertainment Needs?

Illustration for article titled What’s the Best Projector for Your Home Entertainment Needs?

Photo: Alex Litvin (Unsplash)

I’ll always remember the first time I saw someone use a projector in place of a TV. I went to a friend’s apartment in college for a little gaming party and discovered that my bud had no proper screen in his apartment. Instead, he was just projecting everything onto a gigantic wall. Here I was, a lowly college freshman, playing Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games on a full wall. I’ll chase that high for the rest of my life, friends.

So today, I come with an important question: What’s the best projector for your entertainment needs? We’re not strictly talking about gaming here, though that’s definitely a consideration. Movies and TV also benefit from a nice projector, bringing movie theater-style size to your little home. Best of all, a projector can help reduce clutter in your home too. You won’t need a TV or a big stand to put it on, so it’s a great option for those looking to live a minimalist furniture life.

There’s quite a bit to consider when it comes to projectors though. Do you want something that works indoors or outdoors? What devices can it connect to and how? Then, of course, you need to do some digging to find one with the proper mix of brightness, resolution, input lag, etc. There’s actually a fair amount that you have to keep in mind if you go this route, so it’s a little more involved than just buying a nice TV and plugging that bad boy in. But if you can pull it off, the result will be fully worth it.

Do you have a projector you swear by? Let us know in the comments and check out these rules for submitting nominations.

1) Your nomination should contain the name of a specific projector, why you think it’s the best, a link where it can be purchased, and an image.

2) You can nominate multiple products, but please put each one in a separate comment.

3) Vote by starring someone else’s nomination.


Sony’s New FX3 Puts a Cinema-Quality Camera in Your Pocket

Illustration for article titled Sony's New FX3 Puts a Cinema-Quality Camera in Your Pocket

Image: Sony

For a while it seemed like Sony’s high-end digital filmmaking cameras were on a collision course with its Alpha mirrorless cameras as those shooters became more capable at capturing video. Today the inevitable was confirmed: Sony officially revealed its FX3 with features from both the company’s digital cinema and Alpha lines, giving creators a more affordable way to capture Hollywood-caliber content.

An image of the FX3 leaked a few weeks ago led to speculation that Sony’s compact cinematography tool would be able capture video at 8K resolutions, but the full-frame, back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor the camera is using is limited to resolutions of up to 4K, or 16:9 QFHD at up to 120 frames per second. Although even with a cooling fan and a vent design that encourages natural heat dissipation, the FX3 can only record uninterrupted at 4K, 60P. Higher frame rate shooting is limited so the camera doesn’t overheat. Skipping 8K is a choice Sony made to either keep the FX3’s price tag down, or to ensure it doesn’t compete with the company’s pricier digital cinema cameras—or both.

When shooting video, the FX3’s ISO settings can be pushed to an impressive 409,600 which might come in handy the next time you find yourself filming on the dark side of the moon and can’t see the sun. The camera’s 627-point autofocus system includes features like AF Transition Speed, which ensures that automatic focus changes happen smoothly so as not to be jarring to audiences, and Touch Tracking, which allows operators to simply tap an object on the FX3’s flip-out touchscreen display to tell the camera what it should keep focused in frame, even as the subject is moving around.

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Illustration for article titled Sony's New FX3 Puts a Cinema-Quality Camera in Your Pocket

Image: Sony

With the battery and memory cards installed (both dual CFexpress Type A and SDXC cards are supported), the FX3 weighs just 1.58 pounds and includes a hot shoe mounted grip, making it easier to hold, operate, and maneuver the camera at low angles. Keeping a lightweight camera steady while shooting handheld is a real challenge, so the FX3 employs five-axis in-body image stabilization for smooth videos even while filming with a lens lacking any stabilization of its own. The applied stabilization is also captured as metadata while filming, allowing it to be tweaked during post-production.

Most filmmakers will want to keep the optional grip attached, because it not only offers quick access to several controls, including ISO, iris, white balance, and zoom, it also features 15 custom buttons that can be programmed as shortcuts to 140 different functions normally buried in a software menu. The grip also has a mount for a microphone, a pair of balanced XLR/TRS audio inputs, and a 3.5-millimeter stereo two-channel jack while the camera can capture four-channel 24-bit audio when multiple mics are attached.

Illustration for article titled Sony's New FX3 Puts a Cinema-Quality Camera in Your Pocket

Image: Sony

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The FX3 will officially be available starting sometime in March with a price tag of around $3,900. That isn’t pocket change, but it’s also $2,600 cheaper than the new $6,500 Sony Alpha 1, which many people will be considering as their next video shooter. It is, however, $1,400 more expensive than the recently announced $2,500 Blackmagic Design BMPCC 6K Pro, which offers 6K shooting and an HDR rear display, although 120 fps high-speed recording is limited to 2K. But for video content creators who already have a bag full of Sony E-mount lenses, or already have a workflow involving Sony’s higher-end digital cinema cameras, the FX3 sounds like an easy choice.

A New Docuseries Will Examine the Spectacular Failure of MoviePass

Illustration for article titled A New Docuseries Will Examine the Spectacular Failure of MoviePass

Photo: Daniel Boczarski (Getty Images)

A new docuseries from Mark Wahlberg’s production company will examine the spectacular failure of subscription service MoviePass.

Wahlberg’s company Unrealistic Ideas has partnered with Assemble Media and Insider on the limited series, Deadline reported Thursday. The project will draw from Insider senior entertainment reporter Jason Guerrasio’s coverage of MoviePass’s dramatic collapse and will feature “exclusive first-hand accounts from the MoviePass founders who watched the company they built destroyed by Wall Street greed,” among other subjects, according to Deadline.

Guerrasio confirmed the project in a tweet on Thursday, writing that it had “been an insane year working on this but so excited with what [Assemble Media] and [Mark Wahlberg’s] Unrealistic Ideas has cooked up.”

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According to Deadline, the project will specifically dig into the company’s founding by Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt, who started MoviePass in 2011. Originally a monthly subscription service costing around $30 per month, MoviePass exploded in growth after it dropped its monthly cost to just $10 to see a movie a day—which, given the normal cost of a single movie ticket, is obviously a hell of deal and not sustainable in the least. The trouble seemed to start after Helios and Matheson bought a controlling stake in the company in 2017.

The way that Spikes tells it, the $10 price model was “thought of as a promotional thing” to reach 100,000 subscribers—but that happened virtually overnight.

“Where things started to divide is: Myself and a handful of others were methodical about testing price points,” Spikes told Guerrasio in an interview in 2019. “The lowest we ever got down to was $12.99 and as high as $75, where we added Imax and 3D. We knew what was sustainable. But the overriding voice was ‘No, this is awesome, look how fast we’re growing.’ And it was this moment of ‘but $10.’ It doesn’t fly. Now the plane is falling.”

The docuseries will offer “an inside look at how players in the investor class can rig the game to ensure their payday regardless of the carnage they leave behind,” Deadline reported.

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MoviePass remains one of the most astonishing startup failures in history, so Wahlberg and company will have plenty to work with.

Blackmagic Announces Updated BMPCC 6K Pro Cam with New HDR Display

Illustration for article titled Blackmagic Announces Updated BMPCC 6K Pro Cam with New HDR Display

Image: Blackmagic

With Sony having teased a new cinema camera launch next week, it seems Blackmagic Design is sneaking in a new product ahead of Sony’s announcement with its updated Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro.

Starting at $2,500, the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro costs $500 more than the previous model, and in exchange for that extra cash, the big upgrade on the BMPCC 6K Pro is a new HDR rear display that now tilts out (instead of being locked in place) and tops out at an impressive 1,500 nits of brightness.

in case the BMPCC 6K Pro’s new HDR display doesn’t cut it, you can also add on Blackmagic’s optional $450 EVF.

in case the BMPCC 6K Pro’s new HDR display doesn’t cut it, you can also add on Blackmagic’s optional $450 EVF.
Image: Blackmagic

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Aside from the new display, the BMPCC 6K Pro also comes with a new built-in IR ND filter to help users better control their footage’s exposure, with the camera able to block 2, 4, or 6 stops of light. And to help to ensure the camera doesn’t run out of juice, the BMPCC 6K Pro now supports larger NP-570 batteries, with Blackmagic having also made an optional $145 Battery Pro Grip that can hold another two NP-F570 batteries, delivering up to 3 hours of recording time.

And while it’s not part of the BMPCC 6K Pro’s stock config, Blackmagic also made a $500 optional 3.68 million dot OLED EVF that can tilt up and down up to 70 degrees.

Elsewhere, the BMPCC 6K Pro is pretty much the same as the previous model, with the camera’s dual native ISO 6K sensor (6144 x 3456) still offering up to 13 stops of dynamic range, a 25,600 max ISO, and 6K/60 fps video recording (or 120 fps at 2K). Port selection also remains unchanged, with the BMPCC 6K Pro featuring USB-C, a full-size HDMI port, dual mini XLR ports, and separate headphone and mic jacks.

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Illustration for article titled Blackmagic Announces Updated BMPCC 6K Pro Cam with New HDR Display

Image: Blackmagic

The only real problem for Blackmagic is that next week, Sony is expected to launch its take on a portable cinema camera in the FX3, which is rumored to support native 8K video capture. However, with the cost of the FX3 still TBA, ultimately choosing between the BMPCC 6K Pro and the Sony FX3 will probably come down to pricing and how invested people are in a specific ecosystem.

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Slow-Mo Footage of an Old Movie Camera Reveals Why Film Strips Had All Those Holes

The pandemic has limited The Slow Mo Guys’ ability to film grand experiments with their high-speed cameras. But while safely staying home, they’ve found other fascinating things to shoot, including an old 16-millimeter movie camera that when torn apart finally reveals why film is punched full of holes.

If your age means your experience in movie making has been limited to shooting with a smartphone, this look at the inner workings of an old film camera might not be as satisfying as it is to those of us who grew up with grandparents making home movies on loud contraptions that look like they hearken back to the olden days of Hollywood.

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Long before digital video was a thing, long strips of film were run through a camera while a series of complex mechanisms exposed single frames 24 times every second. Unlike a modern DSLR camera, which uses a shutter that opens and closes not unlike a garage door, film cameras used a spinning wheel as a shutter, exposing film every time a gap in the wheel passed by. But one question that a lot of people ask about old film cameras is why the images weren’t always blurry as the strips of film appeared to be in constant motion as they ran through the camera?

The simple answer, as revealed in this slo-mo footage captured at 1,000 frames per second on a Phantom Flex 4K camera, is that the film wasn’t constantly moving, it only seemed like it was. Instead, a mechanism that was perfectly synced to the spinning shutter activated a small arm that reaches up, grabs onto one of those holes in the film, and then pulls it down to reveal the next area that hasn’t been exposed yet. This action happens every time the rotating shutter is blocking light, but it then leaves the film stationary for 1/24 of a second during an exposure, so there’s no motion blur.

It seems simple enough, but old film cameras are a remarkable feat of engineering given the speed and accuracy at which they run. The complex mechanisms also explain why the cameras were so loud and required those giant boom mics on set to record the audio of performers without picking up all the extra racket.