The Canon R5 has some pretty impressive specs with a ton of capabilities. It features a dual memory card setup with slot one using a CFexpress Type-B card, and slot two using a UHS-II SD card.
You can shoot with redundancy but there are some limitations with the UHS-II cards that you do need to be aware of.
For this guide, I tested and reviewed each individual memory card in the Canon R5, to get their true speeds for the real benchmarks, not what is just listed on the cards.
Table Of Contents
- Best Memory Cards Canon R5
- In-Camera Memory Card Benchmarks
- Best Cards For 8k Video
- Tricks To Saving Money As A Video Shooter
- How To Avoid Counterfeit Memory Cards
Best Memory Cards Canon R5
There are several different ways of configuring your memory cards for the Canon R5. Here are the basics of what you need to know.
Canon R5 Memory Card Compatibility
The Canon R5 features two memory card slots and is compatible with two different types of memory cards. It has one CFexpress Type-B card slot, and one UHS-II SD card slot. CFexpress Type-A cards will not work.
SD cards that are UHS-I or UHS-II rated, and CFexpress cards are all compatible with the Canon R5, but not all speed classes of SD cards will be compatible with the video settings the camera is capable of and you may need fast v90 UHS-II cards or CFexpress cards for recording higher bitrate video.
For shooting stills, choose the type of card based on how quickly you need the buffer to clear when bursting if you even do bursting.
For video, the type of card you choose depends on what bitrate you want to record in which I will go over.
If you just want to record 8k or 4k video with the lower IPB bitrate settings, you can use the UHS-II memory card slot, which can potentially save you some money if you’re looking for large-sized cards.
The higher quality 8k and 4k record settings will only work with CFexpress cards.
For shooting backup to SD cards, a video setting with a bitrate of 720Mbps or lower will require a v90 UHS-II memory card, but any bitrate of 480Mbps or lower will require a v60 UHS-II card.
CFexpress Memory Card Recommendations For The Canon R5
There are many different specs for CFexpress Type-B cards and the cards typically run faster as the card capacity increases, however, our benchmarks show that Canon R5 doesn’t seem to care about the number written on the card.
Most brands are only making CFexpress memory cards with a minimum size of 120GB, however, a few companies do offer a 64GB CFexpress memory card which is great for photographers using the camera for studio or landscape work where larger capacities aren’t needed.
Here is a list of all the best CFexpress memory cards and their rated speed taken from our in-camera tests.
|Recommended CFexpress Cards||In-Camera Speeds||120-128GB|
|Delkin Power||338.55 MB/s||Amazon / B&H|
|Lexar CFx||337.69 MB/s||Amazon / B&H|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro||334.80 MB/s||Amazon / B&H|
|Wise Advanced||339.65 MB/s||B&H|
|Sony Tough 128GB||—||Amazon / B&H|
*Right now I’m not recommending ProGrade cards. In my recent tests, they were not performing well. I could not get the latest Sony cards in time for the tests. Sony cards are usually top performers.
XQD cards do not work.
UHS-II Memory Card Recommendations For The Canon R5
To record your photos and video with redundancy the Canon R5 offers a UHS-II memory card slot. You can use this as your primary slot as well if you want to just shoot with a single SD card.
Can you use UHS-I cards in the Canon R6? Yes.
Can you shoot 8k RAW video to UHS-II cards? No
There are various specs for UHS-II memory cards and they all run at different speeds, but these speeds are nowhere near as fast as CFexpress cards. UHS-II cards will bottleneck the performance of the CFexpress cards if you record them in a backup configuration. In order to keep the camera clearing the buffer as quickly as possible when running in a backup configuration, it will be important to buy the fastest UHS-II memory cards possible.
If you just want to shoot casually as a photographer, you can use just the UHS-II memory card slots, and even the slower v60 cards will work fine for casual work.
This list shows UHS-II memory card in-camera performance in the Canon R5.
|Recommended UHS-II Cards||In-Camera Speed||See Price|
|Sony G Tough||213.63 MB/s||Amazon|
|Kingston Canvas React v90||212.83 MB/s||Amazon|
|Delkin Black||207.46 MB/s||B&H|
|ProGrade V90||203.32 MB/s||Amazon|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro 300MB/s||198.50 MB/s||Amazon|
|Sony M Tough||134.67 MB/s||Amazon|
|ProGrade V60||83.42 MB/s||Amazon|
Canon R5 Memory Card Setup
The Canon R5 has a few different settings on how you can set up a dual memory card configuration.
You can record video with redundancy to a second card, however, if you’re shooting RAW only the highest bitrate version of the RAW file will go to the CFexpress card and a lower bitrate will go to the second SD card.
If you are recording H.265 at a bitrate that is compatible with both CFexpress and SD cards, then the recording will go to both cards.
You can record stills with the usual redundancy. RAW+RAW or RAW+JPG. There is even the new HEIF option available as well.
Keep in mind, if you are bursting RAW+RAW, the system will slow down to the speed of the SD card. So you will still need fast UHS-II cards for the second card slot if you’re doing a lot of bursting. This isn’t as important when shooting RAW+JPG since JPG files are smaller.
Do XQD Memory Cards Work For The Canon R5?
No. XQD cards will not work in the Canon R5.
In-Camera Memory Card Benchmarks
I tested each memory card in-camera and recorded the speed at which they clear the buffer. Also included are the USB-C read and write speed taken with Crystal Disk in Windows 10.
ProGrade cards were not working properly in the copy of the Canon R5 we used. I even tried two different variants of the Prograde cards, both the old design and the new design
Prograde UHS-II cards were flawless.
These camera memory card speeds are taken by shooting a series of continuous bursts, then recording the time the buffer clears against how much data was written.
|Memory Card||Speed Class||In-Camera Write||USB Read||USB Write|
|Sandisk CFx 128GB||CFexpress||334.80||979.7||500.8|
|Sony CFx 128GB||CFexpress||--||984.2||923.5|
|Lexar CFx 128GB||CFexpress||337.69||977.2||677.6|
|ProGrade CFx 128GB||CFexpress||190.84||800.8||708.7|
|Delkin CFx 128GB||CFexpress||338.55||967.0||962.6|
|Hoodman CFx 128GB||CFexpress||339.20||927.4||543.9|
|Wise CFx 128GB||CFexpress||339.65||984.9||569.6|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro 300MB/s||UHS-II||198.50||293.7||242.2|
|Toshiba Exceria Pro||UHS-II||175.90||259.6||218.1|
|Sony G Tough*||UHS-II||213.63||270.6||229.1|
|Sony M Tough||UHS-II||134.67||282.4||129.5|
|Delkin Black v90||UHS-II||207.46||259.9||225.4|
|Delkin Power v90||UHS-II||199.81||280.2||221.6|
|Delkin Prime v60||UHS-II||90.28||252.8||89.1|
|Fujifilm Elite II||UHS-II||149.97||290.3||173.2|
|Hoodman Steel 2000x||UHS-II||145.22||280.7||169.1|
|Hoodman Steel 1500x*||UHS-II||92.16||289.2||105.8|
|Amplim 1900x V60*||UHS-II||91.61||289.3||104.2|
|Angel Bird V90*||UHS-II||202.92||290.4||219.5|
|Angel Bird V60*||UHS-II||89.75||166.5||104.5|
|Freetail V60 64GB||UHS-II||88.71||238.5||102.8|
|Kingston Canvas React V90||UHS-II||212.83||283.3||243.2|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro 170MB/s||UHS-I||72.17||99.2||88.3|
|Sandisk Extreme Plus||UHS-I||71.72||99.3||88.2|
|Sandisk Extreme U3||UHS-I||49.59||99.3||56.8|
|Sandisk Ultra U1||UHS-I||26.39||99.5||34.3|
|Kingston Canvas Go! U3||UHS-I||74.26||99.6||82.5|
|Kingston Canvas Select! U3||UHS-I||77.34||99.6||74.0|
|Lexar 633x U1||UHS-I||33.96||95.0||54.6|
|Sony Professional U3*||UHS-I||77.55||98.5||60.2|
|Sony U3 94MB/s||UHS-I||58.22||96.7||57.5|
|Sony U3 95MB/s||UHS-I||73.90||96.6||85.4|
|PNY Elite Performance U3||UHS-I||60.59||96.7||66.9|
|Delkin Black U3||UHS-I||77.99||94.8||87.5|
|Delkin Advantage U3||UHS-I||70.58||99.6||78.8|
|Toshiba Exceria Pro U3||UHS-I||68.72||97.8||74.7|
|Toshiba Exceria U3||UHS-I||29.48||97.2||29.9|
|Verbatim Pro+ U3||UHS-I||67.44||98.5||83.7|
|Verbatim Pro U3||UHS-I||57.46||96.6||68.0|
|Amplim 667x A1 V30*||UHS-I||48.18||99.6||52.2|
Best CFexpress Memory Card Readers
There are a lot of different CFExpress memory card readers on the market now but not all of them will also take UHS-II cards.
Some support CFexpress + XQD, some support UHS-II. There are Thunderbolt options, USB-C options, and USB-A options.
Here is a list of all the best CFexpress memory card readers and what other formats and interfaces they accept.
You’ll likely want one of the readers that can take both CFexpress and UHS-II cards which is currently only offered by Prograde.
|ProGrade XQD+CFe – Thunderbolt||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Wise CFe + UHS-II||No||Yes||No||No||Yes|
*With the Lexar reader, you can use USB-C with a USB-C to USB-C cable. You can also use your Macbook Pro charging cable with these USB-C readers, so you don’t have to carry around an extra USB-C to USB-C cable.
Canon EOS R5 Specs
|Sensor: Full Frame 45MP CMOS
Processor: Digic X
Continuous Shoot: 12fps Mechanical, 20fps Electronic
Est. Buffer Size: 2.5GB
RAW Shots To Fill Buffer: 180 RAW | 350 JPEG @ 12fps
Max Memory Card Size: Any size, no limit.
Time To Clear Buffer: 5:42 Delkin CFx Card
Variable Size Of RAW Shots:
8k Datarate: 2600 Mbps | 325MB/s
4k Datarate: 1880 Mbps | 235 MB/s
1080p Datarate: 230 Mbps | 28.75 MB/s
Best Cards For 8k Video
To shoot the maximum quality 8k video in the Canon R5 you will need CFexpress cards.
You can record 8k or 4k60 to a UHS-II memory card but you’ll have to record at the lower IPB bitrate settings.
The slowest CFexpress card has a rated write speed up to 600MB/s and the Canon R5 will record 8k RAW at 325 MB/s, so you don’t need to be too worried about which CFexpress card will work for 8k video.
Can you record 4k video to the UHS-II memory card slot?
We’re not yet sure which video formats Canon allows to record to the UHS-II memory card slot. You’re definitely going to be limited since even the Canon 4k bitrates are very high.
Based on the specs, it looks like only some of the 4k 10-bit or 8-bit modes (likely the IPB settings) will work with UHS-II memory cards.
Canon EOS R5 Video Specs & Recording Modes
The video quality of the Canon R5 is very impressive with a maximum bitrate of 2600Mbps with 8k and a max bitrate of 1880Mbps in 4k.
It also will have some of the best 1080p in-camera recordings with 230Mbps using H.265 at 10-bit 4:2:2.
Record Limit: 30Minutes.
Audio FIle Format: AAC, Linear PCM
8K Recording Modes
4k Recording Modes
1080p Recording Modes
What’s the difference between DCI and UHD? Frame size.
You’ll see 4k or 8k thrown around a lot, but there are two different standards. DCI and UHD and these two different standards have dramatically different frame sizes.
DCI true 8k, or true 4k, UHD is more of what you would see as a broadcasted spec.
8k DCI: 8192 x 4320
8K UHD: 7680 x 4320
4K DCI: 4096 x 2160
4K UHD: 3840 x 2160
Canon R5 Memory Card Capacity – Record Times
There is no limit to the size of cards that you can use with the Canon R5. Meaning, you can use a 1TB memory card if that is what is required.
To figure out what size memory card for the R5 is best for you, here are the record times for the various bitrates based on a few memory card sizes.
This table shows the memory card capacity with different record settings.
The camera won’t tell you which bitrate it is recording at. You’ll have to match the bitrate and the setting with the chart above to know which setting produces which bitrate.
|Canon R5 Record Times||64GB||128GB||256GB||512GB||1TB|
|8k 2600 Mbps||3 min||7 min||13 min||26 min||53 min|
|8k 1300 Mbps||6 min||13 min||26 min||51 min||103 min|
|8k 680 Mbps||13 min||25 min||50 min||100 min||201 min|
|8k 470 Mbps||18 min||36 min||73 min||145 min||290 min|
|4k 1880 Mbps||5 min||9 min||18 min||36 min||73 min|
|4k 170 Mbps||50 min||100 min||201 min||402 min||803 min|
|4k 120 Mbps||71 min||142 min||284 min||569 min||1138 min|
|1080p 230Mbps||37 min||74 min||148 min||297 min||594 min|
|1080p 180Mbps||47 min||95 min||190 min||379 min||759 min|
|1080p 28Mbps||305 min||610 min||1219 min||2438 min||4876 min|
|1080p 12Mpbs||711 min||1422 min||2844 min||5689 min||11378 min|
Canon R6 Bitrates Written as MB/s
Cameras typically write their bitrates as Mbps yet our memory card speeds are written as MB/s. There is a bit of a difference here between the two that must be understood.
This chart shows the Canon R5 bitrates written as MB/s. Even the slowest CFexpress memory card can write at a rated data rate of 600MB/s, which means, even the slowest CFexpress memory cards (from the trusted brands) will be fast enough to record 8k RAW internally.
|Canon Bitrates Converted to MB/s|
|12 Mbps||1.5 MB/s|
|28 Mbps||3.5 MB/s|
|120 Mbps||15 MB/s|
|170 Mpbs||21.25 MB/s|
|180 Mbps||22.5 MB/s|
|230 Mpbs||28.75 MB/s|
|470 Mbps||58.75 MB/s|
|680 Mbps||85 MB/s|
|1300 Mbps||162.5 MB/s|
|1880 Mbps||235 MB/s|
|2600 Mbps||325 MB/s|
Tricks To Saving Money As A Video Shooter
CFexpress memory cards are very expensive and the data rate for the different 4k modes is massive. This means if you need to shoot a lot of video, you’re going to have to spend a lot of money on large CFexpress cards.
Option #1 Use External Recorders
Atomos has announced that their Ninja V and Shogun 7 records are compatible with the Canon R5.
The Atomos Ninja and Inferno records take SSD drives which you can buy all day long at $80-$100 per 1TB.
You can get fully set up with a Ninja recorder with a 1TB SSD drive for about the same cost as a single 1TB CFexpress card. Maybe even less if you buy it when it’s on sale.
I got fully set up for under $700. See how I did it in this guide.
Pros and Cons of using an Atomos Record on the Canon R5
SSD drives are way cheaper than CFepxress cards,
Various ProRes recording options to choose from that all run at different bitrates. ProRes LT 350Mbps, ProRes, Prores 422 503Mbps, ProresHQ 745Mbps.
Footage recorded is ready to go and edit with, no need to transcode into an intermediate working codec.
Limited to 4k shooting modes and limited to 4k 60. No 4k 120 with either the Ninja or Shogun.
ProRes is significantly less efficient than H.265 in terms of how much data it can pack. Meaning, you’ll get away with way more data packed into the H.265 than you would a ProRes file.
The H.265 will look much better as a master since it holds so much more information.
If you care about maximum quality, I do recommend you stick with the internal H.265 recordings. But if you need to save money, ProRes HQ looks amazing and there could be a tremendous cost benefit to buying SSD drives over internal CFexpress cards.
There is an option to record 4k video at 170Mbps, 10-bit 4:2:2 with H.265. Because of the efficiency of H.265, this potentially could still look better than the 503Mbps ProResHQ file. Testing is needed.
Option #2 Use An NVMe Adapter
I have not tested this process so I don’t know the exact reliability or durability of the system.
Since CFexpress is just PCIe 3.0, you can buy adapters that can power an NVMe external drive. The only thing you need to be careful of is the power draw of these drives. A very fast, high-performing drive may not work, but a simple 1TB less power-hungry drive may work fine.
Judging from how the Canon R5 writes to cards, my guess is the system is actually a dual-lane PCIe 2.0 system. Not a PCIe 3.0 system. So buying high-end NVMe drives will be pointless anyway.
Here is a link to Zitay who makes this system. Zitay CFexpress to SSD.
*do this at your own risk, I have not tested this system, but it looks amazing for videographers.
How To Avoid Counterfeit Memory Cards
Counterfeit memory cards can be an issue. It’s one of the big reasons photographers have become paranoid about having dual memory card slots over the last few years. You’ll hear, “I’ve had three memory cards fail just last year.”
Do you need to be worried about memory card failures and counterfeit cards?
No, your memory cards won’t fail. But your counterfeit memory cards will fail.
How do you avoid buying counterfeit memory cards?
Avoid buying memory cards from non-official sources. Sandisk, ProGrade, Sandisk, have certified dealers that they ship their cards to. If you just buy cards from Joe Shmoe’s camera shop on eBay, you could be looking to get yourself into trouble. The same goes for shopping on Amazon.
You can buy cards from eBay, just be really careful about which store they come from. Look for certified camera shops like Adorama selling cards.
Or just buy from BHphoto, Sammys, Roberts any of the big-name companies. In Japan, you have Yodobashi, Bic, etc.
How Counterfeit Memory Cards Work
There are a couple of things counterfeit sleaze bags can do to trick you and make money off cards. They can just mislabel the card, giving you a v60 card that they’re calling a v90 card and you can usually catch this right away by doing a speed test.
The more popular thing these counterfeiters will do is to hack the memory controller to tell you the card is bigger than it really is.
What they’ll do is sell you a 128GB card, but it might only have 32GB of flash memory in it. You can put the card in your camera or in your computer and format it, and it will tell you it’s a 128GB card. The card functions normally until you cross that 32GB flash threshold.
The problem is the card will work for weeks, maybe months just fine, until you cross that 32GB threshold, then it fails catastrophically.
This is why you see people say in reviews online, “Card worked great for 3 weeks, then it failed.”
How To Test For Counterfeit Cards
The best way to test for counterfeit memory cards is to do two things.
First – run a speed test on your computer. You can use the Black Magic test or the AJA system test. Your card should run with specs similar to what I’ve listed if you’re using UHS-II cards with USB-C readers that you can find in this guide. Different readers run at different speeds so you will have to compensate for that. I test my cards with USB-C readers.
Second – Max out your card capacity. Completely fill your card by shooting video. It should hit very close to the rated size.
If both of these tests check out, you’re good to go and your card is likely not counterfeit.
Be sure to do these tests right when you get the card so that you can raise hell with the store you bought it from if it doesn’t pass these tests.
Best Memory Cards Canon EOS R5 Conclusions
If you’re just a photographer buying memory cards for the Canon R5 is pretty cut and dry. You’ll likely want a CFExpress card, 128GB will be fine for most people, and a UHS-II for backup if needed. Many photographers don’t always need a backup, especially since CFexpress cards are fantastic, but that’s up to you.
If you are buying the Canon R5 as a hybrid camera where you also need to shoot video, you need to get familiar with which bitrates and settings work best for you. You need to decide if you need 8k or if 4k is fine. If 4k is fine, you have the option to save a ton of money on storage by buying SSD drives with an Atomos and recording externally to ProRes.
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