Review: Canon EOS 5DS

Review: Canon EOS 5DS

Introduction and features

Canon’s 5D line of DSLRs has been an important one, bridging the gap between professional and amateur photography, giving enthusiasts an affordable route to full-frame shooting and pros a smaller, lighter camera to back-up their fully professional-level model. It is also the line that kickstarted the whole DSLR video thing, with many film makers choosing to use the 5D Mark II and then the 5D Mark III.

Now we have the 5DS and 5DS R, both of which have 50.6 million effective pixels on their full-frame sensor. Neither is set to replace the 5D Mark III; they are designed to give a higher resolution alternative to the more general-purpose older camera.

50.6 megapixel implications

The benefit of having a high resolution sensor is that, provided noise can be controlled, it enables the camera to capture more detail and for images to be printed at larger sizes. At 300ppi, for example the 5DS’s 50Mp images measure 73.56 x 49.04cm or 28.96 x 19.31inches. The downside, however, is that the photoreceptors (often called pixels) on the sensor have to be made smaller than on lower resolution sensors and this means they produce a weaker image signal that requires greater amplification. This can be a recipe for low dynamic range and lots of noise, so camera engineers have their work cut out to produce high quality images.

Another issue with having a high pixel count is that each image demands a lot of processing power and this can slow continuous shooting rates and reduce burst depths. Canon has addressed this by giving the 5DS and 5DS R dual Digic 6 processing engines.

Canon EOS 5DS

As high resolution cameras produce large files, memory cards fill up quickly, image transfer times increase and hard drive capacity is eaten up as images are downloaded. Full resolution Canon 5DS raw files are around 52-82MB and the JPEGS are 10-29MB. You may also find that your computer isn’t able to render thumbnails or process images as quickly as it does more standard resolution images. If your computer is already struggling it’s maybe time to upgrade, adding extra cost to the purchase of a 5DS. You may also need to buy better lenses to match the camera’s resolving power.

Features

As the 5DS and 5DS R are identical apart from a small but significant difference with the sensor, unless otherwise stated, we’ll use the 5DS model name to refer to the 5DS R too.

The difference between the two cameras is that the 5DS R is designed to get more detail out the 35 x 24mm 50.6-megapixel CMOS sensor. Both the cameras have a low pass filter over the sensor, but the 5DS R has a secondary ‘cancellation’ filter that that enables it to resolve a little more detail. It’s an alternative approach to the one we have seen with manufacturers such as Nikon and Sony that have removed the low pass filter to achieve the same thing. Canon claims that removing the filter would alter the camera’s focal plane and require an internal redesign. As yet Canon hasn’t been able (or willing) to explain why removing the filter would cause this, but adding a second filter does not.

Canon EOS 5DS R

A low pass filter is used over a sensor to reduce the risk of moire patterning by slightly softening the image. Hence removing or cancelling the effect of the filter makes it possible to resolve more detail, but brings increased risk of interference patterns when shooting fine repeating patterns. With very high resolution sensors this interference is less common and only likely with extremely fine patterns.

As mentioned earlier, the 5DS has two Digic 6 processing engines instead of the single Digic 5+ processor of the 5D Mark III. This enables a native sensitivity range of ISO 100-6,400 with expansion settings taking this to ISO 50-12,800. For comparison, the native range of the 5D Mark III is ISO 100-12,800 and the expansion settings take the range to ISO 50-102,400.

Despite all the processing power the 5DS is restricted to a maximum continuous shooting speed of 5fps (for up 510 Large Fine JPEGs or 14 raw files with a UDMA CompactFlash card installed) rather than the 6fps and 16,270 Large Fine JPEGs or 18 raw files of the 5D Mark III with the same card.

Other significant changes from the 5D Mark III include a 150,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor with 252 zones and Intelligent Scene Analysis in place of the iFCL device with 63 zones in the 5D Mark III, a new M-Raw images size that records 28Mp images (as well as the 12.4Mp S-Raw option) and a USB 3.0 port instead of a USB 2.0 port for speedier image transfer. There’s also an Intelligent Viewfinder II with AF point illumination in AI Servo mode instead of the original Intelligent Viewfinder in the 5D Mark III.

Canon EOS 5DS

Like other Canon DSLRs, the 5DS has a collection of Picture Styles that tailor the look of JPEGs, setting the saturation, contrast and sharpening to suit the subject. The 5DS, however, has a new one called ‘Fine Detail’. This seems a sensible introduction given that the 5DS is likely to be used to shoot landscape, still life and macro subjects. With this in mind, the new camera also has a collection of mirror lock-up options which trip the shutter after a set delay following the shutter release being pressed (and the mirror lifting). These are accessible via the menu along with the standard option that requires two presses of the shutter release. It would be nice if Canon took a leaf out of Fuji’s book with a firmware update that rolled out this capability to the 5D Mark III.

While the 5D Mark III has a headphone socket, this is missing from the 5DS, making the older camera better suited to serious video shooting. However, the new camera has an intervalometer built in as well as the ability to shoot timelapse movies which are merged in-camera.

Wi-Fi connectivity is notable by its absence, although there is an optional Wireless File Transmitter add-on.

Build and handling

Outwardly the 5DS looks the same as the 5D Mark III, but there have been some changes to the build of the camera to reduce vibrations which could have significant implications for such a high resolution camera. Canon has used a more rigid resin for the body, for example, and the both the base plate and tripod mount have been strengthened to give a more solid platform.

Shutter damping

In addition, the mirror movement is controlled by a cam mechanism to avoid the slap that is typical of DSLRs and can lead to blur-inducing mirror-shake. It makes a noticeable difference to the sound and feel of the camera in use. The 5D Mark III used to seem impressively quiet, but in comparison to the 5DS it’s quite loud. The movement inside the 5DS also sounds slower and there were a few occasions early on in this test when I had to check the shutter speed to make sure I hadn’t set it lower than I intended. When you’re hand-holding the cameras the mirror movements of the 5DS do feel a little less violent than the 5D Mark III’s. I could still feel that there was something going on inside, but it feels steadier and better dampened.

Canon EOS 5DS

Controls and layout

Externally, the only thing that separates the 5DS from the 5D Mark III is the name badge on the front. The cameras have exactly the same shape and control layout. This means that you can slip seamlessly between the two if you want, perhaps using the 5D Mark III to shoot sport and action or video, and the 5DS for detail-rich subjects like landscape, still life and macro.

With a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens mounted you wouldn’t describe the 5DS a lightweight, but the deep front grip and rear thumb ridge make it feel very secure and comfortable in your hand.

I spent some time comparing the texture of the rubber-like coatings on the 5DS and 5D III and I think the 5DS’s is slightly finer, but there’s very little in it.

Canon EOS 5DS

On the top-plate there’s the familiar mode dial giving a quick route to the available exposure modes including Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter priority, Manual and Bulb. Although it is an advanced camera there is still the option to use Scene Intelligent Auto mode. When this is selected the camera analyses the scene and selects appropriate settings automatically.

As usual with a high-end camera, the 5DS has a secondary LCD screen on the top-plate that displays key settings. This useful when shooting low-level or table-top subjects because, unlike on the screens on some Canon DSLRs, this one is fixed.

Focus modes

By default the autofocus point is set by pressing the AF Point Selection button near the thumb rest on the back of the camera and then using the mini-joystick-like Multi-controller. However, I find it useful to use the Custom Controls settings to enable me to use the Multi-controller to set AF point directly.

There are six AF Area Selection modes; Single-point Spot AF (Manual Selection), Single-point AF (Manual Selection), AF Point Expansion (Manual Selection), AF Point Expansion (Manual Selection, Surrounding 8 Points), Zone AF (Manual selection of Zone) and 61-Point Automatic Selection AF. These are selected by pressing the AF Point Selection button on the back of the camera and then using the Multi-function (M-Fn) button near the shutter release to toggle through the options. This is straightforward and the AF points illuminate in the viewfinder to indicate which option is selected.

Like the 5D Mark III, there’s also a dedicated autofocus section in the main menu. The first page of this has a collection of options to set the AI Servo (continuous AF) mode characteristics, varying aspects such as tracking sensitivity, acceleration/deceleration tracking and AF point switching. Although there are six sport-orientated ‘Case Studies’ or setup arrangements that enable users to select the correct options for the subject, some of the differences between them seem very subtle and you need to have a good understanding of the subject, the camera and your own capabilities to get the best from it. Thankfully for many, the ‘Case 1’ is a ‘versatile multi purpose setting’ that makes a good starting point until you’re more comfortable with the controls.

Viewing system

Being a full-frame DSLR, the 5DS has a large optical viewfinder. This is nice and bright and shows 100% of the scene so there are no nasty surprises hidden around the edges of images. Like the 5D Mark III, it’s possible to display an electronic level in the viewfinder as well as on the main screen, but unlike the 5D Mark III, the 5DS viewfinder uses a dedicated icon rather than using the AF points. This means the level stays visible even when the shutter release is pressed to focus the lens and you can ensure the camera is level at the moment the shutter release is pressed home.

Canon EOS 5DS

The 5DS’s viewfinder is also capable of indicating the cropping when shooting 1:1 (square) format as well as the 1.3x and 1.6x crop images. For some reason it’s not possible to shoot 16:9 or 4:3 images when using the viewfinder, only when using Live View.

While it is possible to focus manually while looking through the viewfinder, it’s easier to see fine details on the 5DS’s main screen and use Live View mode. Live View mode is especially well suited to shooting still life and macro scenes when the subject is motionless, and these are high on the list of likely uses for the camera. This makes it especially disappointing that Canon hasn’t given the 5DS a vari-angle touch-screen like some models further down its line-up, including the 750D, 760D and 70D. Vari-angle screens make it much easier to compose images in Live View mode when you’re shooting at awkward angles. The touch-control afforded to these cameras wouldn’t go amiss here either.

When using manual focus in Live View mode, the on-screen image can be magnified by 6x or 16x. This makes details clear, but you become acutely aware of how much wobble is introduced by touching the camera – it’s a good reminder to engage Mirror Lock-up mode. The ability to set the shutter to fire following a set delay after the shutter release is pressed means that a remote release is unnecessary in many situations. Of course if there was Wi-Fi connectivity built-in the camera could be controlled remotely using a smartphone.

Customization

I found it was useful to assign Mirror Lock-up to the My Menu list. Helpfully, you can create up to 5 My Menu tabs in the Menu and each one can have up to six features assigned to it. To help with remembering what’s where, the My Menu tab names can be customised. It’s also possible to set the Menu to open at the My Menu tab.

Canon EOS 5DS

Canon EOS 5DS

I find the options in the 5DS’s Quick menu logical and use it on a frequent basis to change key settings, however, it’s possible to customise the screen to remove any options that you don’t use and change the size of the icons representing those that you do. It’s a nice touch.

I also appreciate the Rate button that allows you to add a star rating quickly to your best or favourite shots when you’re out shooting so you can find them speedily once they are downloaded. If you don’t use it for rating, however, it can be customised to reach something else.

The HDR Mode, accessed via the Creative Photo button above the Rate button on the back of the camera, is also useful because it can be used as a form of exposure bracketing, recording raw and JPEG files simultaneously if you choose. This means you can create your own HDR image if you don’t like the automatically created composite the camera produces.

Canon EOS 5DS

Although the 5DS isn’t the natural choice for videographers, it’s worth noting that like the 5D III, the large Quick Control dial on the back of the camera can be used as a touch-control so that near silent adjustments can be made to aspects such as exposure and audio recording level.

Performance

With 50 million effective pixels on its sensor the 5DS is set to compete with medium format cameras like the Pentax 645Z and Hasselblad H5D which have the same pixel count on a much bigger sensor. This should give the medium format cameras an advantage because the photoreceptors (aka pixels) are larger and noise should be better controlled.

Too sharp to test!

Both the 5DS and 5DS R out-resolve our resolution chart for much of their sensitivity range. The 5DS R resolves a teeny-tiny bit more than the 5DS in some situations, but the difference doesn’t leap out at you. I sent several hours comparing images from the two cameras and I was only able to see slightly more detail in a few areas with very fine detail in the 5DS R’s when examining them at 100 or 200%. If you plan on shooting subjects with lots of super-fine detail and making very large prints the 5DS R may be a better choice, but for the vast majority of people the 5DS delivers more than enough resolution and few will ever spot a difference in their images. Noise levels are the same from each camera.

Canon EOS 5DS sample image

Sample image: Shooting at f/5.6 at 100mm has restricted depth of field sufficiently to blur the background while getting the most important part of the flower sharp. Click here for a full size version.

Canon EOS 5DS sample image

Sample image: Even with a shutter speed of 1/60sec and with the camera on a solid tripod, using mirror lock-up produced a sharper result than not using it here. Click here for a full size version.

Both cameras manage to maintain the high level of detail throughout their sensitivity range – even the ISO 12,800 expansion setting produces images with a high level of detail.

At lower sensitivity settings very fine details and subtle tonal gradations are visible at 100% in JPEG files. Much of this is also visible in images taken at ISO 6,400, but there’s a fine texture of luminance noise. Chroma noise is visible at 100% in simultaneously captured raw files when all noise reduction is turned off, but it’s not objectionable and I would have few qualms about using this setting if the lighting demanded it.

There’s a suggestion of luminance noise in darker even-toned areas of JPEG and raw files captured at ISO 400, but you really have to look for it at 100% on-screen. This noise becomes a little more noticeable in ISO 800 images, with chroma noise becoming just visible in raw files when all noise reduction is turned off.

Our tests indicate that Canon could have given the 5DS higher sensitivity settings and image quality would have been acceptable, but it seems the company has decided to concentrate on delivering the best stills images possible.

Improved metering

In some respects the 5D Mark III has an excellent metering system, but in high contrast situations the exposure can be skewed quite dramatically by the brightness of the subject under the active AF point.

Canon EOS 5DS sample image

Sample image: Taken at 24mm on the EF24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM, this shot has an impressive level of detail and excellent exposure. Click here for a full size version.

The 252-zone RGB+IR metering system with Intelligent Scene Analysis of the 5DS also applies a weighting to the exposure required by the subject under the active AF point, but it does a better job of assessing the rest of the scene and recommending exposure values that work for the scene as a whole.

Shooting speeds

As the 5DS has the same autofocus system as the 5D Mark III it was no surprise to find that it’s extremely capable and can lock on to fast moving subjects even in low light. When shooting a cycling event and shooting continuously at the 5fps maximum, I noticed that the camera starts to warm up around the card port – I was using a UDMA 7 CF card. It doesn’t become hot, just slightly warm.

Canon EOS 5DS sample image

Sample image: It may not be intended as a sports photographers’ camera, but the 5DS can still get moving subjects sharp and keep them in focus. Click here for a full size version.

When shooting JPEGs the buffer clears almost instantly, so there’s no waiting around before you can shoot again. With raw files, however, you have to wait a couple of seconds or so for the images to write to the card. After shooting seven or eight long sequences of images for 30-60 seconds each, the camera’s burst depth dropped significantly, presumably because of the heat being generated. It ‘s something I’ve encountered before, most notably with the Nikon D4S. Leaving the camera to cool restored the burst depth to the quoted figures or better. I found Canon’s quoted figure for the JPEG burst depth somewhat conservative and racked up 750 shots in two and half minutes before taking my finger off the shutter release.

If you’re shooting a moving subject you may find that you need to use a faster shutter speed than you’re used to because although the images look sharp as thumbnails, and even at normal viewing sizes, they aren’t completely sharp at 100%. The small pixels mean that even tiny movements can cause some blur. You might scoff at this degree of pixel peeping, but you have to question the reasoning for buying a 50Mp camera if you don’t make full use of all the pixels.

At the other end of the shooting rate scale, I found there’s a clear benefit to using mirror lock-up when the camera is on a tripod, even with shutter speeds of around 1/60 sec and 100mm focal length. I set the camera to take the shot one second after the shutter release was pressed and this produced sharper images than those taken without mirror lock-up. The latter shots don’t show obvious signs of movement, they look just a little softer and lack the ‘pop’ of the other shots.

When hand-holding the camera with the Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L II USM lens mounted I would generally try to keep shutter speed at 1/125sec or higher to be sure of getting pin-sharp results. It is possible to get sharp results at slower shutter speeds, but 1/125sec or faster delivers the goods more consistently.

Visual resolution

Canon cameras generally produce images with pleasing colours and the 5DS is no exception. However, probably as a result of the extra pixels delivering the huge level of detail and smooth tonal gradations, some of the files have a bit more pep about them. Using the new Fine Detail Picture Style boosts micro contrast a little, bringing out small details and giving edges a naturally sharp look.

Canon EOS 5DS sample image

Sample image: Using the Standard Picture Style and Daylight whit balance setting has produced pleasantly warm, vibrant colours in the early evening shot. Click here for a full size version.

The incredible detail resolution also brings out the effect of restricted depth of field because the sharp areas look super-sharp in comparison to the out of focus areas.

According to Canon all lenses produced within the last four years will deliver the resolution that the 5DS demands. This means that while the EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM will get the best from the sensor, the original EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM may not. There’s a list of recommended lenses here http://www.canon.co.uk/for_home/product_finder/cameras/digital_slr/eos_5ds_r/.

Canon quotes a battery life of 700 shots at room temperature for the 5DS; this dips to 220 shots if you’re using Live View mode. I’ve found this to be a fairly conservative estimate and have got considerably more images out of a single charge of the battery.

Lab tests: Resolution

We chose three rival cameras for the 5DS to see how it measured up in our lab tests:

Canon EOS 5DS R: This is the ‘non-antialiased’ version of the 5DS, though can has taken the unusual step of adding a ‘cancellation filter’ rather than removing the anti-aliasing element itself.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II: The 5D Mark III carries on alongside the 5DS and 5DS R as a faster alternative that’s better in low light and has more features for videographer – but how big are the performance differences?

Nikon D810: For three years, since the launch of the D800, Nikon ruled the roost with the highest-resolution full-frame DSLR. So does the 5DS beat the D810, and by how much?

We’ve carried out lab tests on the 5DS and 5DS R across their full ISO range for resolution, noise (including signal to noise ratio) and dynamic range. We test the JPEGs shot by the camera, but we also check the performance with raw files. Most enthusiasts and pros prefer to shoot raw, and the results can often be quite different.

Canon EOS 5DS resolution charts

We test camera resolution using an industry-standard ISO test chart that allows precise visual comparisons. This gives us numerical values for resolution in line widths/picture height, and you can see how the 5DS compares with its rivals in the charts below.

Canon EOS 5DS lab tests

JPEG resolution analysis: This is where we see the main benefit of the 5DS and 5DS R’s high pixel count as they out-resolve the Nikon D810 and 5D Mark III, even the medium format Pentax 645Z (not shown) – in fact they out-resolve our chart for much of the sensitivity range. The resolving power drops significantly as sensitivity reaches the maximum, but these cameras still achieve a high score even at this level.

Canon EOS 5DS lab tests

Raw (converted to TIFF) resolution analysis: Raw files give you the ability to apply just the right level of noise reduction to get the very best from your images. The 5DS R resolves a tiny bit more fine detail than the 5DS, but both out-resolve our test chart. The difference between the two cameras is very hard to spot because its only in areas with the very finest details.

Sample resolution charts

This is the chart we use for testing camera resolution. The key area is just to the right of centre, where a series of converging lines indicates the point at which the camera can no longer resolve them individually. We shoot this chart at all of the camera’s ISO settings, and here are two samples at ISO 100 and ISO 6400.

Canon EOS 5DS lab tests

ISO 100: Click here for a full size version.

Canon EOS 5DS lab tests

ISO 6400: Click here for a full size version.

Lab tests: Dynamic range

Dynamic range is a measure of the range of tones the sensor can capture. Cameras with low dynamic range will often show ‘blown’ highlights or blocked-in shadows. This test is carried out in controlled conditions using DxO hardware and analysis tools.

Dynamic range test

Read: Noise and dynamic range results explained

Dynamic range is measured in exposure values (EV). The higher the number the wider the range of brightness levels the camera can capture. This falls off with increasing ISO settings because the camera is having to amplify a weaker signal. Raw files capture a higher dynamic range because the image data is unprocessed.

Canon EOS 5DS dynamic range charts

Canon EOS 5DS lab tests

JPEG dynamic range analysis: Canon cameras tends to have quite conservative JPEG dynamic range scores, but this is a feature of their pleasant level of contrast. The 5DS and 5DS R don’t hold any surprises other than the fact that they dip slightly below the 5D Mark III at ISO 3200.

Canon EOS 5DS lab tests

Raw (converted to TIFF) dynamic range analysis: While the 5DS and 5DS R’s dynamic range is good at the lower sensitivity values it doesn’t quite match the D810 and falls slightly behind the 5D Mark III at the upper values.

Lab tests: Signal to noise ratio

This is a test of the camera’s noise levels. The higher the signal to noise ratio, the greater the difference in strength between the real image data and random background noise, so the ‘cleaner’ the image will look. The higher the signal to noise ratio, the better.

Canon EOS 5DS signal to noise ratio charts

Canon EOS 5DS lab tests

JPEG signal to noise ratio analysis: While it beats the Nikon D810, the smaller size of the photoreceptors on the 5DS’s sensor’s is likely to explain why it can’t quite match the medium format Pentax 645Z (not shown) and lower resolution Canon 5D Mark III for signal to noise ratio at the low to mid-range sensitivity settings. The newer sensor and processing engine, however, enable it to beat the competition at higher settings. There’s no real performance difference between the 5DS and 5DS R.

Canon EOS 5DS lab tests

Raw (converted to TIFF) signal to noise ratio analysis: These results indicate that the 5DS and 5DS R produce noisier raw images (after conversion to TIFF using the supplied software) than the 5D Mark III. Nevertheless, they put in a good performance, beating the Nikon D810.

Sample Canon EOS 5DS ISO test results

The signal to noise ratio charts use laboratory test equipment, but we also shoot a real-world scene to get a visual indication of the camera’s noise levels across the ISO range. The right side of the scene is darkened deliberately because this makes noise more obvious.

Canon EOS 5DS lab tests

ISO 100: Click here for a full size version.

Canon EOS 5DS lab tests

ISO 6400: Click here for a full size version.

Verdict

With 50.6 million effective pixels on its full-frame sensor, the Canon 5DS has the highest pixel count of any small format SLR and it matches that of several medium format models. We often remind people that there’s much more to a camera than pixel count, but a highly populated sensor is enticing because, provided that noise is handled sensitively, it enables images to be viewed or printed much larger or heavy crops to be made. The 5DS produces images that measure 73.56 x 49.04cm or 28.96 x 19.31inches when they are sized to 300ppi. In comparison the 22.3-million-effective-pixel Canon 5D Mark III produces images that measure 48.77 x 32.51cm or 19.2 x 12.8inches at 300ppi. This could be a significant advantage to professional photographers and anyone wanting to produce large, high quality prints for exhibition.

Having a full-frame sensor also enables much greater control over depth of field than is possible with APS-C or Four Thirds format sensors.

Apart from the large file size, one often overlooked issue with using a high pixel count camera is that you need to take more care over how images are captured. It’s important to focus carefully, and follow the guidelines about avoiding camera shake, either using high shutter speeds or ensuring that the camera is securely mounted on a decent tripod and mirror lock-up is employed. The 5DS makes it much easier than most other cameras to use mirror lock-up because the exposure can be set to take place automatically after a short delay following the shutter release being pressed and the mirror lifting. This does away with need for tedious double-pressing, using the self-timer or even using a remote release.

Having a high pixel count means that the photoreceptors must be very small and this is a challenge for image quality. However, Canon’s engineers have met the challenge head-on because the 5DS and 5DS R produce superb quality images that have fantastic amounts of detail, even beating that of 50Mp medium format cameras like the Pentax 645Z. Noise is controlled very well and dynamic range is good, at least at the lower sensitivity settings.

Canon EOS 5DS

We like

Anyone who has used a Canon 5D Mark III will find switching to use the 5DS very easy because it has exactly the same sensible control layout. This is good news for those photographers who wish to swap between the two cameras, using the 5D Mark III for action and low light and the 5DS or 5DS R when maximum detail is required.

Canon has clearly put a lot of thought into how photographers like to use their camera, enabling quick access to key features. There are also niceties like a Rating button and an HDR mode that records raw and JPEG images.

While the 5DS has a lot in common with the 5D Mark III, the metering system has been improved and it’s a little more reliable in high contrast conditions or when the subject is very dark or bright.

We dislike

While I am perfectly comfortable using Canon’s control system, I am drawn towards traditional controls offered by the likes of Fuji and Sony. An aperture ring is a quick and easy way of setting aperture and an exposure compensation dial gives a fast and direct way of adjusting exposure. But it would be impossible to have these controls and be able to switch smoothly between the 5DS and the 5D Mark III.

Although Wi-Fi connectivity is available in cameras lower down Canon’s DSLR line-up, and the 750D and 760D even have NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, Canon has been stubborn about putting it in its advanced models. This is a shame, because although images would need significant resizing for transferring to a smartphone, Wi-Fi connectivity also provides a great way of controlling a camera without touching it and thus avoiding introducing vibration. It also adds a convenient means of geotagging images, which some photographers might find useful as there no GPS system in the camera.

While the 5DS is best suited to shooting large still images, there are some who will be sorry that it lacks a headphone port for monitoring sound while recording video, and some will wonder why it’s not possible to record 4K video.

Verdict

While it has an autofocus system that can keep up with fast moving subjects even in low light and can record high quality video, the 5DS/5DS R isn’t designed to be either a video or sports camera. It’s designed to take high quality still images. It does this brilliantly. The images from the 5DS have an incredible amount of detail and look superb, but if you have to have the absolute maximum level of detail go for the 5DS R, but there are few instances where you will be able discern a difference so I would opt for the 5DS and save a bit of cash. Whichever model you opt for, you may need to upgrade your lenses to get the benefit of the cameras’ resolving power.

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