top of page

To Mirrorless or Not?

Many photographers are toeing the line of "do I buy a mirrorless camera or stick with my current camera?" There are more options than ever when it comes to digital cameras, so you should choose a camera, not based on trends, but one that works best for your business! With that said, lets jump into this review!

I have been shooting Canon for 15 years, I have gone from the Canon 20D, 50D, Mark III and finally the amazing Mark IV. I love my Mark IV, it's fast, crisp, has amazing dynamic range and is incomparable in low light! So needless to say, I was a little nervous to make the switch to mirrorless. I did a TON of research and finally decided to pull the trigger and buy the Canon R5 mirrorless.

Image shot with R5/RF 50mm

You may ask..."Why not the R6?"

Here are some reasons I went with the r5 over the r6

1) The r5 has double the megapixels. 45mpx for r5 vs 20mpx for the r6. More megapixels means more fine details which gives a crisper picture

2)The r5 takes the CF express card, which will allows the images to process faster. It also has a slot for the SDHC card.

3) The r5 has the High-Resolution OLPF feature which stops high-frequency image information and reduces the effects of moiré and false color caused by high-frequency waves in images. So no more magenta outlines with backlit images!

The question isn't whether you should get the R6 or R5....both are great cameras, it really comes down to price and great quality images (r6) and super great quality images (r5)...

Image shot with R5/RF 50mm

The REAL question is... "should you go mirrorless or not???"


- it's the next phase in photography and the image quality is superb.

But lets start with what I DON'T like about the R5:

  1. The super large files (45mpx) means they take longer to process. And when using High Shutter setting, the buffering takes a good minute (which seems like an eternity during a session) So I use the regular multi-shot to avoid the dreadful "busy" icon. *also wedding photographers may not like the super-sized file size when having to save and edit thousands of photos. The quality of the R6 is still good enough to deliver to clients...just avoid cropping in too much in post!

  2. The R5 battery life sucks! Well at least compared to the Mark IV... The R5 utilizes the live view a lot more and the larger file sizes drain the battery faster. The R5 battery lasts about 4-5 hours...but I messed around with the settings to make sure the LCD screen turns off, the wifi is off and the auto-shut off was on. My Mark iv lasts 10+ hours as long as I wasn't using the live view all day.

  3. Learning where all the settings were...there is a bit of a learning curve, the cameras are laid out a little different...but it's NOT like switching from Canon to Nikon...the language is all the same, just the buttons from the Mark iv are now digitized on the LCD screen and viewfinder.

  4. You are going to need a RF lens mount or to purchase new lenses for the mirrorless. I chose to get new lenses, since the new RF lenses are amazing also...but that might be a whole other blog post!

  5. Price...whooweee, it's an expensive camera...and like I said above the R6 might be a better price for you, depending on your budget!

  6. I needed new connections for my computer. I usually connect my Mark IV to my laptop via USB cord provided with the camera...however the R5 didn't come with a compatible USB cord, so I ordered a CF express reader from Amazon.

Image shot with R5/RF 50mm

Now onto the Positives! What I LOVE about the Mirrorless R5

  1. Insane Quality:

    1. The r5 has the dual pixel raw feature, which allows photographers to perform incredible micro adjustments to the images while editing. You can adjust sharpness, bokeh and lighting in portraits, and use background clarity to get images looking their best.

    2. The r5 has the High-Resolution OLPF feature which stops high-frequency image information and reduces the effects of moiré and false color caused by high-frequency waves in images. So no more magenta outlines with backlit images!

    3. Huge file sizes...this can be good and bad...bad because it take longer to process and takes up more space on HD...but GOOD because you have more info to work with and thus better quality images! You will see below that when I zoom WAY in, colors are not affected by editing or pixelation.

*I used my donkey Maurice as a model to show detail, the fur makes a good comparison and I doubt any of my clients want me to zoom in 200% on their faces! lol

*You can see fine details in the fur on the R5. But on the Mark iv, color distortion and pixelation starts to happen from editing and zooming in. The colors on the R5 are stabilized from that High-Resolution OLPF feature

Canon R5 RF 50mm on a cloudy day: zoomed in to show details of Maurice's cute fuzzy nose!

Positives continued....

2. Easier to grip than the Mark IV. This last year I struggled with carpal tunnel and tennis elbow from all the shooting and editing and it became extremely painful to grip my Mark IV. But the grip on the R5 is much smaller allowing me to curl my fingers and cup the grip with my palm. I am hoping the easier grip will help with the wrist pain!

3. The digital preview is so helpful when you are in a hurry or get flustered with settings. The mirror in a DSLR is showing you the subject through the lens (the reflection) without settings. The mirror snaps up when the shutter is triggered. But the R5 doesn't have a mirror, so it shows you a digital preview with settings. You can literally see the final product BEFORE you press the shutter, allowing you to have perfect exposure every time!

4. The R5 is super quite compared to the Mark iv...there is no SNAP of the mirror going up when you press the shutter. I never really minded the noise of the Mark iv...but newborn photographers might be interested in the lack of sounds from the mirrorless camera.

So in conclusion...if you are in NEED of a new camera, definitely go mirrorless...the photographer geek in you will love the color and quality!! The Mark iv is still a great camera and the R6 is a wonderful mirrorless for a much lower price.

But I go by the motto..."go BIG or go home..." So I went BIG for the R5!

Image shot with R5/RF 50mm

Missie Lafrenz Photography

Indianola, Iowa


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page