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


See our Canon EOS 5DS R image sample gallery

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