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

AWB Colour:
Dynamic Range:
LCD viewfinder:


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


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


Canon EOS 5DS R review


Price as reviewed:

£3,200.00 (body only)

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Canon EOS 5DS R top

The top plate hosts a locking mode dial and status LCD

To support its headline-grabbing 50.6MP sensor, the 5DS R has an impressive spec. It is capable of shooting at 5 frames per second – not world-beating, but a match for the Nikon D810 and Sony Alpha 7R – and dual DIGIC 6 processors are used to handle the huge amount of data that’s generated when working at this speed.

The standard sensitivity range covers ISO 100-6400, with extended ISO 50 and ISO 12,800 settings also available. This is a bit limited compared to either the EOS 5D Mark III or EOS 6D, both of which would therefore be a better choice for low-light work. Metering employs a colour-sensitive 150,000-pixel sensor, and uses subject analysis for more accurate results. Autofocus employs the same 61-point sensor as the 5D Mark III, but in concert with the metering sensor can now identify faces and focus specifically on your subject’s eyes.

Shutter speeds range from 30sec-1/8000sec, and in bulb mode you can program in exposure times up to a second shy of 100 hours. Thanks to the new mirror mechanism, the shutter sound is very quiet by DSLR standards, and a ‘silent’ mode softens it still further, but at the cost of slightly longer viewfinder blackout and slower continuous shooting.

Canon EOS 5DS R EF mount

The EF mount accepts a vast range of lenses, but not APS-C specific EF-S optics

With 50MP raw files weighing in at 65-70MB a shot, many users will probably prefer not to shoot at full resolution all the time. Thankfully, Canon has provided several means to do this. Raw shooters can choose 28MP MRAW and 12MP SRAW modes, which still allow full flexibility in post-processing, but with smaller file sizes.

It’s also possible to shoot in 1.3x and 1.6x crop modes, giving 30.5MP and 19.6MP respectively, with the unused areas of the frame masked off in the viewfinder. Note, though, that Canon’s EF-S lenses still can’t be used, although third-party APS-C-format lenses should work just fine in 1.6x mode. For photographers who regularly output different aspect ratios, 1:1, 4:3 and 16:9 formats can also be selected, although oddly the latter two can only be used in live view. Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t shoot any faster in crop mode, and will still record a full frame raw file alongside cropped or non-3:2 JPEGs.

Canon EOS 5DS R battery

The 5DS R uses the familiar LP-E6N battery, which is good for 700 shots per charge

The 5DS R also gains many of Canon’s latest features that we saw on the EOS 7D Mark II. Intervalometer shooting, additional viewfinder information and a user-configurable Q menu all find their way onto the new high-resolution flagship. Sadly, though, it doesn’t inherit the 7D Mark II’s customisable lever around the multi-controller that can be used as a shortcut to various controls. The 5DS R is also one of the few cameras we’ve seen recently that doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi, which these days comes as something of a surprise.

The EOS 5DS R has no built-in flash, but the hotshoe accepts Canon EX-series flashguns and third-party E-TTL alternatives. A receiver on the handgrip is compatible with Canon’s RC-6 infrared release for wireless remote control. The EOS 5DS R also includes Canon’s E3-type remote release connector, a PC flash socket and 3.5mm stereo microphone jack; mini-HDMI and USB 3 connectors round off the list. The LP-E6N battery is good for around 700 shots per charge.

  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
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  • 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?!?