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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Build and handling

Canon EOS 5DS R controls

The body is covered in buttons and dials, placing all key settings at your fingertips

While the EOS 5DS R is based on, and physically near-identical to, the 5D Mark III, its core design can be traced back a decade to the original EOS 5D. With multiple generations of refinement since then, it has evolved into one of the best-handling and most rugged cameras on the market. It is festooned with buttons and dials to place all the key shooting controls at your fingertips, and many of them can be customised to suit your preferences. The result is a camera that works really well, and never gets in the way of shooting. Anyone who’s used a high-end Canon DSLR before should feel immediately at home.

Exposure settings are controlled using two twin electronic dials, one under your index finger and the other under your thumb. The focus point can be easily moved around the frame using Canon’s excellent multi-controller, and there’s a dedicated AF-ON button on the back of the camera that can be used to initiate autofocus, for photographers who prefer to separate this from the shutter button. The rear dial can be set to work as a touch-sensitive silent four-way controller for video shooting, and a sliding switch on the camera’s back locks the dial against accidental operation.

A row of buttons on the top-plate gives quick access to drive, focus and metering modes, along with ISO and white balance, and the new viewfinder overlay means these can now all be easily changed with the camera to your eye. A column of buttons beside the LCD predominantly deals with playing back your images.

Canon EOS 5DS R back

The onscreen Q menu gives quick access to a wide array of functions

Less-used functions are easily accessed from the quick-control screen, by pressing the Q button on the camera’s back. There’s also a second, customisable Q screen, but its usefulness is limited as almost all the 21 available functions that can be added are easy enough to set already. The main menus are huge, but attractively designed and relatively logically laid out. As with other Canon cameras, you can add your most-used items to a ‘my menu’ section, which now allows multiple named tabs to satisfy the most of avid of tinkerers.

At 152×116.4×76.4mm in size and 930g in weight, the 5DS R is one of the largest and heaviest full-frame DSLRs on the market. It is robustly made with a magnesium-alloy body shell and extensive weather-sealing, meaning that it should survive almost anything you can throw at it. Of course, it’s highly advisable to use weather-sealed lenses to match, which includes most of Canon’s professional L-series optics.

  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 4 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?!?