The Canon EOS 5DS R’s 50.6MP sensor represents a real step-change for Canon users, compared to the 22.3MP offered by the 5D Mark III. The increase in detail is striking, and improved in-camera sharpening means that it can all be delivered in the camera’s JPEG output. This does come at the cost of high ISO capability, but even at the extended setting of ISO 12,800 images are perfectly useable. This suggests that the limited ISO range available is a rather conservative decision on Canon’s part, presumably to help differentiate the 5DS twins from the 5D Mark III.
Colour rendition is typical Canon, with an attractive palette in the default JPEG mode that’s saturated without being unrealistic, aided by reliable auto white balance. Dynamic range, while not class-leading, is still very respectable, with plenty of detail recoverable in the shadow regions of low ISO images. Overall the 5DS R gives exceptional images.
As we’d expect from a 50MP sensor with no optical low-pass filter, the 5DS R gives remarkable results in our resolution tests. At ISO 50 it resolves very close to its theoretical maximum of 5600l/ph, although with some aliasing and false colour around this point, and plenty of false detail at higher frequencies. This impressive resolution drops only slightly as the sensitivity is increased, with 5200l/ph still attained at ISO 800, and 4800l/ph at the top setting of ISO 12800.
Below are 100% crops from our resolution chart, shot using the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM at f/4. Note that because of the 5DS R’s high resolution we’ve shot from double the distance as usual, and the numbers on the graph need to be multiplied by 200 to get the resolution in lines per picture height.
The EOS 5DS R gives very good results in our Applied Imaging tests, if not entirely class-leading. At ISO 50 it returns 12.4 stops of dynamic range, indicating that there should be plenty of additional shadow detail retrievable from raw files. Initially this drops only slightly as the sensitivity is increased, but beyond ISO 400 it falls off more rapidly. But even at the highest standard setting of ISO 6,400, it still produces a very respectable 8.1EV of dynamic range, which should give perfectly usable images.