I've been using my Rebel T3i for about a decade now and it's a great APS-C camera. I've mostly spent photography money on nice prime lenses and so have been happy with spending less on the camera itself, thinking I'd upgrade to full-frame camera some time in the future. That time has now come.
When I last looked into DSLRs the hot shot camera every professional was buying was the 5D Mark IV. Doing my research now it seems that not only is that camera considered old but also that DSLRs aren't the future. So, for someone looking to get the 5D Mark IV, is the modern equivalent the R5?
It's on sale right now and I'm considering picking it up. I see that it has a bunch of video features and is sort of marketed as a hybrid video/photo camera so trying to understand if this is the right choice. I did initially buy the T3i for it's video features (along with magic lantern) so it was somewhat of a consideration then though it isn't much of one now.
Yes, there is no further development in the DSLR series - either for bodies or lenses. The future lies with the R-series camera bodies and the RF lenses.
If you look at the numbering hierarchy of the DSLR series the new R-series is, to a degree, echoing that, certainly for the top levels:
DSLR ...... R-Series .... Comment
1D R1 Yet to be announced uber Flagship
R3 Flagship Sports and events camera, initial version current
5D R5 Best all-round pro level camera. Initial version current
However it is not as simple as that list might suggest.
The R1 is expected to be the flagship MILC model, but with no R-series unit specs firmly announced, comparison of those is speculative at this stage.
The EOS 3 a 35mm film camera, was designed for sports and some action applications, and its major feature was eye control for focus - there was no DSLR equivalent. At the time this was a somewhat unsuccessful attempt to sense where the photographer was looking and focusing on that. The current digital MILC version of that, the R3 is built to the flagship standard and is certainly skewed for the same applications with a very successful eye focusing system where the focus point will lock on anything it senses the photographer is looking at. This works very well with the subject face and eye tracking that all of the high-end R-series have: such as the R5, R6 (and MkII) and R7. It has a relatively small capacity 24MP sensor, but has a stacked sensor for fast image-gathering and processing to capture fast action, and has enhanced abilities to process and transmit data - a great asset for real-type sports photography from the field to a publishing agency, for example. It is great for publications and event photographers, but may not be so good where super detail is required. It has dual memory cards. Both the R1 and R3 should have built-in battery grips and take the large batteries specific to that system.
The R5 is the current flagship general purpose FF sensor camera. In these days of frenetic development of the R range, is getting relatively long in the tooth, so while it has a 45MP sensor, it is not stacked, but has a spread of features for a much wider range of applications. It has the more conventional build, using the higher capacity LP-E6NH batteries and can take a battery grip to provide balance, more energy reserve and the dual portrait controls.
You can compare the specs for the 1D, 5D and the R3 and R5 HERE . The R5 has undergone multiple firmware updates since its release to fix initial bugs and to improve performance. You can get a cumulative list of those by looking at the R5 firmware update description page. It DOES have subject eye and face tracking - I shoot wildlife and it's very effective but does not have the photographer eye focusing system of the R3. There is also a R5C variant that is much more biased for video work, although you suggest this is no longer a priority.
So, much depends on what PRECISELY you want from the camera itself. Compared to the camera you are coming from, which is not only a consumer-level unit, but also quite old, ANY of these units is a huge step forward, as would a lot of other models.
As regards your lenses. If you have Canon lenses for the DSLR body, then you should be able to adapt them fine via the Canon EF-RF adapter and they should do so fine. If you have 3rd party lenses, you need to make sure that they will work as expected - Canon makes absolutely no warranty that lenses made by other manufacturers will work on their cameras. They want to make sure that everything in a developing platform works well, and (like Nikon) will authorize makers to create R-series lenses on a case-by-case basis.
What I suggest you do is consider the comparisons, and if necessary, come back to us with very precise description of what you want from the camera. The thing is, it is not a strict hierarchy per se, it's a series of high-performing units, each biased for a particularly set of applications.
The R3 is the current professional flagship mirrorless body. As Trevor pointed out, it has a stacked sensor and 24 megapixels.
The R5 shares some of its capabilities in a much smaller package. It doesn't have eye tracking, but does have a 45 MP sensor.
They are different body's geared for different types of users. If video is not a high priority, and you're looking for a camera with more than 24 megapixels, the R5 is the current top end offering. Its around 3.5 years old. It remains a very capable camera and I wouldn't hesitate buying one. If still photography will be your primary use, the R5 is hard to beat. I will say owning a R5 series body has been very satisfying.
What's up next. The R1 and R5mkII. Both of these cameras will likely be announced in Dec/Jan time frame with release expected in Q1 next near.
Bay Area - CA
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12/05/2023: New firmware updates are available.
09/26/2023: New firmware updates are available.
08/18/2023: Canon EOS R5 C training series is released.
07/31/2023: New firmware updates are available.
05/18/2023: New firmware updates are available.
03/30/2023: New firmware updates are available.