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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Conclusion

Canon EOS 5DS R back 3/4

Canon’s menu system is complex, but reasonably clearly laid out

There’s little doubt that the Canon EOS 5DS R is one of the most impressive cameras we’ve ever seen. With its 50.6MP sensor, robust build, and reliable metering and autofocus, it’s sure to become a favourite with working photographers for whom ultimate resolution really matters. Indeed, with 20% higher linear resolution than 36MP cameras, it lays down the gauntlet to Sony and Nikon to play catch-up again, although it would be naive to expect this to take long.

When shooting with the 5DS R, it is also striking just how mature the design has become. While no camera is perfect, and different photographers have different preferences, few models work quite so well out of the box. In part this is due to the fact that the large body gives plenty of space for controls, but the layout is also exceptionally well considered, placing everything you need at your fingertips. Unusually, the camera works almost as well in live view as when using the viewfinder, although an articulated LCD would have made it even better.

Image quality is superb, and the ‘fine detail’ picture style is capable of packing practically all the captured detail into the camera’s JPEGs. I’d still expect most users to shoot raw, but it’s great that JPEGs are much more usable than on recent Canon DSLRs. The only caveat is that low ISO dynamic range still doesn’t quite match its peers, so you can’t dig as much detail out of deep shadows as you can from cameras such as the Nikon D810.

So is the EOS 5DS R the best DSLR on the market right now? It’s certainly got to be close. But despite this, I can’t help but feel that for a great many photographers, the EOS 5D Mark III is still a more practical all-rounder, with its much easier-to-handle file sizes and significantly higher ISO range. But landscape and studio photographers in particular will surely love the addictive level of detail that the 5DS R can deliver.

TESTBENCH GOLD 5

  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 10 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?!?