Will Canon recall the EOS R5? I asked retailers today, and the picture is grim

Is the lemon a goner?! As a journalist and filmmaker I like to find out the stories behind the scenes, and when it comes to a big camera launch like the Canon EOS R5, it is interesting to get an idea of how popular it is by speaking to retailers, how many pre-orders there are and how many units are in the first shipments. I have done this a lot over the past few years and now have a wide spread of sources for my information in the UK and Europe.

Here’s what they told me today about the Canon EOS R5 release.

Cameras were due to be handed over to customers today 30th July and tomorrow 31st July. However, one of the largest photographic retailers in Germany received only 5 units of the Canon EOS R5 at their store in the capital city Berlin. The country as a whole received just 70 units in the first shipment and there hasn’t been any since. This is an extremely small number and makes me think that further shipments are on hold

The only firm date that seems to come up now is mid-August. A smaller store told me that in the middle of August they are expecting their first shipment, but that they haven’t had anything up to now. This is probably not surprising considering a huge specialist photographic retail chain with 300 pre-orders received just 5 in a city the size of Berlin.

The next retailer I talked to about the EOS R5 is the largest chain of consumer electronics stores in Europe. They have not received any units whatsoever and said that the camera won’t be released to them until late October ‘due to bugs’. When I pressed on this, he didn’t have any more info but to say that the retail chain has also been asked to sign a new contract with Canon, of great complexity and that this would result in delays as well. The store manager was extremely unhappy at Canon’s behaviour and said ‘they will end up like Olympus’.

A medium sized store in Berlin had expected to receive 1 or 2 units only from Canon. None arrived whatsoever.

One store has received the first shipment of cameras in the single digits, 2 weeks ago and none since. As far as they know, they are allowed to pass this small number of cameras onto the first customers on the list tomorrow.

Another source I asked actually works for Canon. They are saying that up and down the chain of feedback and professional testers including Canon ambassadors the problem of overheating in video mode was played down or not even reported.

The online retailers I checked do not currently have any available units in Germany or the UK. I haven’t yet checked other countries. The camera was due to ship today from online retailers in various regions and I am sure a very small quantity of cameras will indeed arrive with customers, but this doesn’t rule out a recall.

Usually with a big release like the Fuji X-T4 for example, enough stock was available to fulfil all pre-orders and allow WEX and Park Cameras in the UK to label the item “In stock” on the first day of release. This hasn’t been the case with the Canon EOS R5 and I saw that in Germany, Amazon.de were at one time taking pre-orders with a set despatch date of 30th July, and after the overheating news was more widely known the retailer stopped taking orders with a message “We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.”

This could just be because they ran out of their small allocated stock for pre-orders – but one common theme runs throughout this launch. Where did the larger shipments go? It could be that Canon has chosen to suspend continuous shipments of further batches of the camera, ahead of a global product recall.

I don’t know for sure what happened with online retailers so this is just my speculative opinion. But it isn’t looking good, and retailers are extremely unhappy with the small amount of units they have received for such a big release.

Surely Canon has manufactured a large enough number of cameras? So where are they?