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