August 18, 2021

Two cameras for the price of one

A hidden feature in the Canon R5/R6 menu gives you two cameras for the price of one. Find out how in this week’s blog

This week’s blog is going to be quite a short one, but if you’ve laid out serious cash for the Canon R5 or R6, then it will give you the satisfaction to know that you’ve bought two cameras and not one!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the difference between full-frame cameras and the various cropped versions. When buying a camera, you’d need to decide if you wanted the wide-angle advantage of a full-frame or the extra reach that a cropped sensor provides. Both have their benefits, and quite a few photographers will carry one of each so that they get the best of both worlds. Wouldn’t it be great to have the best of both worlds and a wee bit less weight? Now you can!

How do I get two cameras in one?

I found this little workaround in one of the menus and realised there is a hidden gem for use in emergencies. Head to the Shooting Menu, and on the first page is the option Cropping/aspect ratio. Click on the option, and then you are given five different ways to crop photos.

By default, the camera is set to use FULL. It means that a 50mm lens will give a pretty good equivalent view as what our eyes see. Your 16-35 EF lens will provide a fabulous wide-angle view in this mode. It’s here you can now tell your expensive full-frame camera that it should now be a cropped sensor camera as well by taking the second option labelled 1.6. You now have a cropped sensor camera as well as a full framed one! When you look through the lens, the zoom is multiplied 1.6 times. So, your 70-200mm zoom lens now effectively becomes a 112-320mm super zoom.

When will I use this?

You might be asking why you’d want to turn an expensive camera into something you could have bought for over half the price. However, let’s say that you’ve gone out to take a few snaps and only brought one lens with you, but you spot something a distance away that you’d want to capture, but it’s just too small in the frame. Switch to the cropped version, and you have almost half the reach again.

There must be a downside?

As always, you don’t get anything for free, which is the case with this feature. Switching to 1.6 is also going to reduce the file size as well. Essentially, the camera is doing exactly the same as you could do by cropping inside of an editing program such as Lightroom. But when you are framing the picture in the camera, having that ‘extra’ zoom gives you a better indication of what you’ll receive. Don’t forget the R5 is a 45-megapixel camera, so you’ll still get a 20 mega-pixel photo even when it’s cropped. That’s going to be good enough for most uses. The picture below was taken at the 200mm end of the 70-200mm lens using the R5, and I think you’ll agree that the quality is still excellent! You can see the full-sized version by clicking here.

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About the author

As well as running Edinburgh Photography Workshop, Rich Dyson is a professional photographer. His photographs are regularly used in newspapers such as The Times, Guardian and Daily Telegraph. He also had two solo exhibitions as well as being featured in a members sponsored exhibition in the Scottish Parliament. You can see and buy his photography at

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