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Canon R5 and NA-R5

 The Canon R5 and the more video oriented sibling, the R5C are two amazing hybrid cameras. They share many of the same features including 45mp stills and internal 8K Raw video. The R5 originally received some bad press when it was first released due to overheating issues but that has been mostly resolved with the latest 1.6 firmware. The R5C is part of the Canon cinema line and includes a cooling fan and some additional video controls like one touch white balance and auto iris. It also has more video recording and quality options like 8K 60fps Raw when using an external power source. So what is the right camera for you? If you are a still shooter or a hybrid shooter focused mainly on stills than the R5 is probably the better choice. The camera and housing is smaller, more affordable and offers impressive video performance. On the other hand if you are a video shooter or a hybrid shooter more focused on video than the R5C is a better choice. In this article I will take a look at some of the features of the R5 and Nauticam NA-R5 housing and why I like this system for both stills and video.

 Canon R5, EF16-35mm f/4L @16mm, 1/125, f/14, ISO 160, Nauticam WACP-2

R5 and NA-R5

 If you are coming from a NA-5DIV or similar housing than the NA-R5 controls will feel very familiar. Nauticam is known for great ergonomics and this housing is no different. One big control change over the 5D series is that the R5 has three control rings. You now have a direct control wheel for ISO or exposure compensation as well as shutter and aperture. The R5 electronic viewfinder is bright and responsive. Unlike optical viewfinders, EVF’s also allow you to review images and even shoot video with them. This makes them a perfect candid for an enhanced viewfinder. The NA-R5 can accommodate both RF lenses and EF lenses using one of the three Canon RF to EF adapters. EF lenses use the exact same ports and extensions as they would with a DSLR. There is no need to add an extension ring for the adapter. That spacing is designed into the housing. The NA-R5 also an additional control wheel to give access to either the Canon control ring or neutral density adapters. You can assign numerous camera controls to the controls ring. An underwater camera system is only as good as the optics and Nauticam has the largest selection of underwater optics available.

Canon R5, RF100mm f/2.8L Macro, 1/250, f/14, ISO 160, Nauticam EMWL

R5 Stills

 At the heart of the R5 is a new 45 Megapixel full-frame sensor with superb image quality. This is Canon’s best high res sensor to date. The R5 has 5-axis in-body image stabilization that adds approximately 8 stops of stabilization. This is perfect for dark conditions or shooting topside with longer lenses. The Dual Pixel auto focus has tracking for people, animals and vehicles. The coverage for the AF area is approximately 100%. This means fast precise focusing even when your subject is far from the center of the frame. The AF on the R5 is very impressive in both stills and video this is one of the most noticeable areas of improvement over older bodies like the 5D MKIV. The full line of EF lenses are available along with the impressive new RF lenses. 

Canon R5, EF28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 @28mm, 1/8, f/22, ISO 3200, Nauticam WACP-1


 As mentioned earlier, the overheating issues with the R5 have been largely solved by the 1.6 firmware update. Record times for 8k Raw have increased to approximately 45min and even longer record times are posable for 4k. This is more than most would need during a dive and the camera should have plenty of time to cool down during a surface interval. The 8k Raw and 4K HQ setting look amazing but you are limited to a maximum frame rate of 29.97. If you are interested in shooting at a faster frame rate and slowing down the footage in post the R5 records standard 4K at both 60 and 120fps. There is also cropped (super 35) 4K 30 and 60 settings. These modes take the 4k footage from an oversampled 5.1K area of the sensor. This gives you similar quality to the 4k HQ mode but up to 60fps! This mode also gives you the option to use the amazing Sigma 18-35 lens with the Nauticam WACP-1 or use the crop mode with any full frame lens for extra reach. Other notable video features are 4:2:2 10-bit Canon C.LOG and C.LOG3 settings. Dual Pixel CMOS auto focus in all modes with tracking and eye tracking for both people and animal.

4K 60fps, Super 35 crop, EF 16-35mm f/4 and Nauticam WACP-1

 Canon R5, RF100mm f/2.8L Macro, 1/160, f/11, ISO 160, Nauticam EMWL


The R5 is an impressive stills camera that is also capable of very high quality video. The NA-R5 has great ergonomics and can easily be customized with viewfinders, external monitors and water contact optics. Canon’s new line up of RF lenses continues to grow but we have already received several lenses perfect for underwater, including the 15-35mm f/2.8, 14-35 f/4 and the 100mm f/2.8 macro with a magnification ratio of 1.4x!

Canon R5, RF100mm f/2.8L Macro, 1/250, f/9.0, ISO 100, Nauticam EMWL