Choosing the right memory cards for the Canon R5 isn’t cut and dry, there are two different types of memory cards that the camera can use which could introduce some limitations depending on how need to configure your system.
This guide will help you find the best memory cards for the Canon R5 and covers all the nuances you’ll need to know for recording video or shooting with redundancy.
Table Of Contents
- Best Memory Cards Canon R5
- Best Memory Cards For 8k Video In The Canon R5
- How To Save A Ton Of Money As A Video Shooter With The Canon EOS R5
- How To Avoid Counterfeit Memory Cards
Best Memory Cards Canon R5
Highlights – What you need to know.
The Canon R5 features two memory card slots, a CFexpress Type-B slot, and a UHS-II SD card slot.
The CFexpress card slot is much faster and CFexpress cards offer durability advantages with advanced features such as thermal throttling.
UHS-II memory cards are not as fast but depending on spec, can be a lot cheaper. This means if you just want to record 8k or 4k video with the lower IPB bitrate settings, you can use just 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, and you may still need V90 UHS-II cards for even the lower IPB bitrates, which are often similar in price.
You can record backup video to UHS-II memory cards, but only the highest bitrate version or the RAW file will go onto the CFexpress card.
You can record stills with the usual redundancy. RAW+RAW or RAW+JPG. There is even the new HEIF option available as well.
CFexpress Memory Card Recommendations For The Canon R5
There are many different specs for CFexpress Type-B cards and the cards typically run faster with the bigger capacity cards. However, the difference in real-world speeds will likely be negligible.
Most brands are only making CFexpress memory cards with a minimum size of 120GB, however, Sandisk does 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.
|Recommended CFexpress Cards||USB Write Speed||USB Read Speed||64GB||120-128GB|
|Sony Tough 128GB||1480 MB/s||1700 MB/s||—||Amazon / B&H|
|Lexar||1000 MB/s||1750 MB/s||—||Amazon / B&H|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro||800 – 1200 MB/s||1500 – 1700 MB/s||Amazon / B&H||Amazon / B&H|
|Delkin Power||600 MB/s||1600 MB/s||—||Amazon / B&H|
|Wise Advanced||1050 MB/s||1700 MB/s||—||B&H|
*Right now I’m not recommending ProGrade cards. In my recent tests, they were not performing well. I’ll have benchmarks up soon.
XQD cards do not work.
UHS-II Memory Card Recommendations For The Canon R5
To record your photos with redundancy the Canon R5 offers a UHS-II memory card slot. However, you can use this as your primary slot as well.
Canon you use UHS-I cards in the Canon R6? Yes.
Can you shoot 8k video to UHS-II cards? No
There are various specs for UHS-II memory card 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 to 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 the UHS-II memory card and their performance in the Canon R. We expect to see an increase with the R5 with the new PCIe interface.
|Recommended UHS-II Cards||In-Camera Speed (EOS R)||See Price|
|Sony G Tough||98.22MB/s||Amazon|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro 300MB/s||97.39MB/s||Amazon|
|Hoodman Steel 2000x||97.77MB/s||Amazon|
|Sony M Tough||79.70MB/s||Amazon|
*We will be testing all the popular UHS-II memory cards in the Canon R5.
We will be testing UHS-II performance in the Canon R5 in order to see which video record settings will work with the less expensive v60 cards.
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||B&H|
*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: unknown
RAW Shots To Fill Buffer: 180 RAW | 350 JPEG @ 12fps
Max Memory Card Size: Any size, no limit.
Time To Clear Buffer: unknown
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 Memory Cards For 8k Video In The Canon R5
To shoot the maximum quality 8k video you 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.
More clarification to come on this in the future.
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 Record Times – Memory Card Capacity
Here are the record times for the various bitrates based on a few memory card sizes.
Use this table to see 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||3min||7min||13min||26min||53min|
|8k 1300 Mbps||6min||13min||26min||51min||103min|
|8k 680 Mbps||13min||25min||50min||100min||201min|
|8k 470 Mbps||18min||36min||73min||145min||290min|
|4k 1880 Mbps||5min||9min||18min||36min||73min|
|4k 170 Mbps||50min||100min||201min||402min||803min|
|4k 120 Mbps||71min||142min||284min||569min||1138min|
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|
How To Save A Ton Of Money As A Video Shooter With The Canon EOS R5
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 CFexpress cards.
There is an alternative!
Use an Atomos External recorder.
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 from 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.
Canon may offer some lower bitrate options in future firmware updates as well.
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 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.
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. You 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 of Joe Smoe’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 counterfeiter scumb bags of the earth 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. 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 test 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 need. I don’t personally always shoot with 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.