Canon’s EOS 5DS R is the highest-resolution full-frame camera yet made. Andy Westlake investigates

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Canon EOS 5DS R

Features:
Build/Handling:
Metering:
Autofocus:
AWB Colour:
Dynamic Range:
LCD viewfinder:

Pros:

  • + Extraordinary image quality with huge levels of detail
  • + Highly refined control layout and user interface
  • + Excellent, extremely accurate autofocus system
  • + Rugged, professional-level construction

Cons:

  • - Fixed rear screen is inconvenient for tripod work
  • - Relatively limited ISO range
  • - Huge file sizes

Product:

Canon EOS 5DS R review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£3,200.00 (body only)

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Canon EOS 5DS R review: Introduction

At a glance:

  • 50.6MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-6,400 (standard), 50-12,800 (expanded)
  • 61-point autofocus
  • 5fps continuous shooting
  • Full HD video at 30, 25, 24fps
  • £3,200 body only
Canon EOS 5DS R front

The 50MP EOS 5DS R is built around the same body design as the 5D Mark III

In the early 2000s, Canon’s EOS-1Ds series was unchallenged in the high-resolution DSLR stakes, from the original 11.1MP version of 2002 to the 21.1MP Mark III of 2007. But in 2008 Canon lost the crown to the 24.6MP Sony Alpha 900, and has lagged behind ever since. Indeed, more recently both the Nikon D800 series and the Sony Alpha 7R have upped the ante to 36 million pixels, outstripping the 22.3MP Canon EOS 5D Mark III. Now, though, Canon has struck back with its own 50MP full-frame sensor, which powers its new twin DSLRs, the EOS 5DS and 5DS R.

Based on the proven EOS 5D Mark III design, the two cameras are identical in almost every respect, aside from the fact that while the 5DS has a conventional optical low-pass filter in front of the sensor, in the 5DS R its anti-aliasing effect is ‘cancelled’. This is the same approach as Nikon employed with the D800 and D800E in 2012, and means that while the 5DS R should give the very sharpest detail, it will also be more prone to image artefacts such as maze-like aliasing and colour moiré. The ‘S’ models supplement, rather than replace, the 5D Mark III in Canon’s line-up, being optimised for studio work where resolution is paramount.

Aside from the new sensor, the 5DS cameras gain a range of tweaks and refinements to help get the most out of all those pixels. A new mirror assembly eschews any use of springs in favour of fully motor-driven operation, to minimise resolution-sapping vibrations. The JPEG-processing parameters include more sophisticated sharpening options to render fine detail better, with a new ‘fine detail’ picture style added too. A USB 3.0 connector facilitates faster image transfer from the camera, although this comes at the expense of a headphone socket for video work. Even the tripod mount has been reinforced. The impression is that Canon has thought hard about all this, rather than just dropping a high-resolution sensor into an existing body design and hoping for the best.

Canon EOS 5DS R sample images

Canon5DSRgallery

See our Canon EOS 5DS R image sample gallery

  1. 1. Canon EOS 5DS R review: Introduction
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Screen and viewfinder
  4. 4. Build and handling
  5. 5. Focusing
  6. 6. Performance
  7. 7. Image quality
  8. 8. ISO sensitivity and Noise
  9. 9. Canon EOS 5DS R compared to 5DS
  10. 10. Conclusion
  11. 11. Page 11
Page 1 of 11 - Show Full List
  • Michal Rosa

    Honesty is good.

  • Stefan Stroebele

    Thanks for the good review. the 5DS offeres also 2 modes of reduced resolution. What would the dynamic range be in the reduced resolution mode? If Canon engineers did a good job it should go up by an entire stop. But on my current model (60D) it does not. did anyone already look at this aspect?

  • I’m trolling and clueless both

  • Michal Rosa

    Are you paid for trolling or just clueless?

  • Prob is that you can’t trust Sony too much, what they are saying does not always translate in what is actually true. An acquaintance of mine told me with no doubts whatsoever that Nikon and Canon are getting ready to fight the fight at open arms with Sony and we will be thankful to Sony for the “gifts” as he put it, they we are going to get thanks to them. We will see, but I’m tired of waiting I need to shoot high ISO at fast shutter speeds and so far neither 5D3 or 1DX are giving me that. I cannot go over 16000 ISO which is already pretty noisy. I read that 5DM4 will have a substantial improvement in high ISO, that would make me get one right away and forget Sony for a bit:)

  • John Tharp

    I’m actually thinking the same thing, at some point. I’m shooting a 6D now; the 5Ds is more of what I don’t need and less of what I do (not that it wouldn’t be a suitable replacement, just not really an upgrade).

    It really depends on what happens with the 5D IV. If Canon can make gains in terms of DR at lower ISOs while also making general improvements, a la the newer features in the 7D II and 5Ds, while putting in a bit more 1D X DNA, I could easily be won over for the better handling and better system and support.

  • John Tharp

    I’ve seen that; of course, the issue is that we’ve only seen a few samples with a few lenses in a few situations.

    Are we talking Rebel-level tracking (still better than most mirrorless) at a dog park or are we talking 1D X-level tracking at a sporting event, etc.?

    That’s the question that will hopefully be answered soon!

  • EXACTLY! I’m stuck with Canon sadly, if that AF will actually work fast with Canon lenses I’m in! I’ll get a7r II and a7s II whenever that will be

  • Sigma

    Actually, Sony has been showcasing the a7rII’s ability to AF and track quickly and reliably with Canon adapted lenses. There are a few bloggers/reviewers who have had a chance to test it out, and they reporting that this is indeed the case. There are a few videos starting to trickle down.

    So 42mp A7rII with backlit sensor (greater sensitivity vs the 5DSR which caps out at ISO6400), greater dynamic range, in body image stabilization, native 4K, 399 AF points, and the ability to AF Canon lenses quickly. The only thing Canon has going for it is a modest MP advantage

  • John Tharp

    That A7r II that can be mounted behind the best telephoto lenses made with fast and accurate AF while tracking moving subjects in less than ideal conditions?

    The A7’s may have better shadow-levity at 100-400 ISO, and that’s great and all, but they’re still limited by Sony’s system. A better comparison will be the Nikon D800-series body that is eventually released with that same 42MP sensor.

  • Arkarch

    I got the 5DS a few days ago and love it. Works, feels and uses the same accessories as my old friend the 5D3. The same great Canon User Interface with an optical view finder you can compose and filter with. I might quibble a bit with the 5DS/5DsR choice; the nature impulse is the 5DsR, but I actually am in the 5DS camp for a more pleasing and smooth image – Adding blur to a sampled image is not the same as subtle anti-alias using the actual image. But this is a subjective choice and either choice based on your needs and shooting/post styles will work well. DR does seem to be better. Color is wonderful. Thank-you for the review!

  • lol the camera barely came out and it’s already killed buy the sony A7r II another boring camera from Canon reusing older sensors….whet are they gonna wake up and innovate?!?