Who’s Getting in Line for the New Canon EOS 5DS or 5DS-R Cameras?


It’s that time again. Canon has announced their newest in the 5D line-up – the 5DS and the 5DS R. At a whopping 50.6 megapixels and starting prices rumoured around $3699 and $3899 respectively – are you taking the plunge?

People were all gaga over the EOS 7D MarkII and headed out in droves to pre-order one for themselves. I know several people personally who picked one up – either as an upgrade or as a backup to their full frame body.

So the question is – who is this camera designed for? Clearly it’s for the professional photographer who needs maximum sharpness and detail. Have a look at this video from Canon to see if it’s for you:

The main difference he mentions between the two new models is the removal of the anti-aliasing filter from the 5DS R. That means even more sharpness.

There are also many similarities to the 5D MarkIII that users of that camera will find familiar such as: body design and layout of controls, same 61-point focusing system, and it even uses the same battery pack which is refreshing. Yay for once you don’t need yet another battery and charger!

For an outside opinion on the new cameras, see what Matt Granger had to say in this video:

So I ask you these questions:

  1. How many megapixels is too many? Opening the RAW file as 16-bit gives you approximately a 288mg file.
  2. What is the advantage of these cameras over a large sensor medium format camera?
  3. If you buy this camera will you likely need a computer upgrade to handle the processing power needed for such large files? Never mind massive amounts of more memory cards.
  4. Are you interested in this or is it way out of your league? Is it a wish list item for “one day”?

Canon-EOS-5DSTell me in the comments below. I personally own the 5D MarkIII and am NOT considering getting one for myself. Perhaps if I were doing commercial studio product work still I might – but then I’d likely already have a medium format like many of my commercial photographer friends.

Let’s talk, is this for you?

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Darlene Hildebrandt is the Managing Editor of dPS. She is also an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through articles, online photography classes, and travel tours. Get her free ebook 10 Photography Challenges to help you take better pictures or join a photo tour to some exotic places.

  • I want one. … The reason I do is the extensions of options for the final print. I do know that I strive to get the shot I planed for, or saw at the shooting time, in camera in the first place. But I still find new images in shot images during processing that were unseen, or unplanned for, at the time of capture. The ability to pull secondary images out of an image would be very good for me.

  • Wim Stolwerk

    Just one question. My raw files from a 36Mp D810 are 72Mb in size. The new 5D gives 50Mb at 50Mpp (as does the Hassie H5D-50C). Why are they already throwing some 50Mb away in compression or so?

  • Tod Davis

    The rumour is is that there is a 5Dmk4 in the pipeline for later in the year which is more of a replacement for the mk3. I would be more inclined to see if that comes through. These two models seems to be more aimed at particular market segments and not as a multi purpose unit. The max ISO 0f 6400 is a case in point

  • Not me…who needs 50 megapixels. I’m planning to buy a M3 this year, unless M4 comes out and has an articulating display or other goodies.

  • D Caswell

    It seems the question of how many Meg’s is too much is moot. More Megs always seems to add some improvement in quality possibilities. The real question is how many Meg’s are enough and that will depend on what your goal for your final product is. As an enthusiast I don’ need 50 Meg’s but probably need 18 or so. I have a well published friend who is a professional and only recently gave his 8 meg D1.

  • zva

    If you make a habit of printing your images or like to crop, as mentioned , then give me all the pixels you can….I may hold out for a pro body though.

  • Morgan Nelson

    Canon is fragmenting their market for profit. This is a horrible product lineup. Just because Sony created the A7 series with 3 different products for different “disciplines” doesn’t mean it is a good idea.

    I want a Pro Body from Canon that packs the MP density AND HD Video capability into one body. If Canon persists with this fragmented lineup I believe it will open the door for someone to steal a significant portion of their customer base.

    Specialization is NOT what the industry needs – it needs increased flexibility AND technical improvement.

  • Stoffers

    What is a “288mg” file?

  • Stoffers

    That’s odd, my 20.2 MP 70D gives me anywhere from 16-28 MB RAWs.
    Not sure why you always get twice your MP in MB on your Nikon, maybe Nikon RAWs hate SD cards?

  • Wim Stolwerk

    I don’t think this has anything to do with SD-cards (which Nikon also uses), it’s a matter of in camera processing software and compressing which is an old and still existing Canon problem.

  • After an eternity of using slow 120 films, I’d love a 5ds r. It’s out of my price range right now, so that isn’t going to happen. The thing that appeals to me is elimination of the AA filter (5d mkiii has two of them.) I also wonder if the 50.6Mpix sensor does any better with noise in the shadows than 5d mkIII. I selected 5d mkIII over D800e a while back because of the larger sensor sites, but still get mediocre at best performance in the shadows at any ISO due to noise. I can fix shadows with lights to some degree in a studio, but not so much with landscapes.

  • I’ve ordered a 5ES-R. It will replace my 5D III. Just because.

  • Carlos J Encarnacion

    Let those who have money to burn pay that price, I will wait and see how computer technology keeps up with 50Mp. It is a gorgeous body, though. But Sony and Pentax offer more features for the money, and the Pentax FF is near, although, the A7 is ugly. I read somewhere that in order to reach an equivalent to a ISO 200 film grain resolution a sensor would have to be 80Mp.

  • JohnChapin

    I’m looking for better resolution for birding, but my knee jerk reaction is that there’s not a lens to take advantage of a 50 M sensor. I’m interested in your opinions.

  • guest

    The files are getting so huge that now they’re measured in gramms, they weight all the electrons they contain. So these 50MPix files will be 288 miligrams heavy.

  • Jerry

    If one actually shoots 50.6 megapixels per shot, I fear you will have to buy a very expensive card that can handle all that data, especially if you shoot RAW files. In stead of ,”shall we go photographing today?” ,it will be ” shall we go Tethering today”. You may find that you need your laptop to download immediately after each shot.

  • LarryW

    Every site I know of (B&H, Adorama, Amazon) won’t even accept pre-orders yet. I would love to know where one could actually “get in line” already. How did you manage to actually order a 5DS-R? (or did you just register to receive email when they *do* start accepting pre-orders?)

  • LarryW

    Flash cards are huge and fast now, and fairly cheap. I don’t think file size on the cards will be an issue. File size of archived shots on the computer might be, though!

  • LarryW

    I also wonder/worry about that.
    DxOmark.com gives a “perceived megapixel” resolution rating (P-Mpix) to lenses, and even the highest-rated ones (even Zeiss lenses) only achieve ratings in the 20 P-Mpix range. That probably doesn’t mean that you won’t see benefit from a higher-resolution sensor — obviously folks have been raving about Nikon 800/810’s for a while, so clearly they saw a difference, using existing lenses. But still, it does raise a question.

    There is also CLEARLY a question of how to take advantage of that much resolution. Normal technique won’t cut it (esp handholding), as the tiniest vibration will render the extra resolution useless. No wonder Canon beefed up the tripod mounting plate, added the delay-after-mirror-flip-up feature, and worked on the mirror motor/mechanism to further dampen the mirror slap — all that is *needed* for the user to get full benefit out of all that resolution on a (relatively small) 36mm x 24mm full-frame sensor.

  • A2_tha_MFK

    I currently use the 5D MK III. I tend to upgrade every 2nd or 3rd release to keep current, without going to overboard. If the talk of 5D MK4 are true, I’ll wait and see how it looks.

  • Robert Newman

    I am not too concerned about the modest ISO spec since I rarely shoot above 3200. Also, I think you’ll see that this has artificially been throttled back in firmware for positioning purposes. Magic Lantern will resolve that when a version is released for the 5DS/5DS R. I am a bit more concerned about the dynamic range which is still a couple of stops less than the Sony sensor on the Nikon D810. Since I already own a 5D Mark 3, either of these cameras would be great to have available for producing very large prints while serving as a backup, albeit on steroids, for most of my shoots.

  • I don’t know why B&H and Adorama are not accepting orders. I placed mine with Camera Canada, a retailer who’s consistently provided me with exceptional service at more-than-fair prices.


    I believe that placing this “pre-order” simply places me in a queue which determines the order in which customers will have their units shipped once the retailer starts to receive the cameras from the manufacturer.
    I recall similarly placing my order with Camera Canada when Canon announced the 500mm f/4L II. It was quite a few months before the lens started to ship but I recall that I got mine almost as soon as the first units hit these shores.
    My credit card gets charged only when my unit ships.

  • LarryW

    Thanks much for the info! I’ll check them out. If you are located in the U.S., what are the warranty issues, since Camera Canada ships with a “North American” (not U.S.) warranty?

  • samir kr sinha

    Very true…. It has been my experience that at best of times, companies, like individuals, suffer from a collective ‘fuzzy logic’, and act in a manner which defies all rationale.
    To get the best out of a 50+ mega pixel sensor, one not only need lenses which can do justice to such staggering resolution but also ‘rock-steady’ tripods, which inter alia means a work-approach of the medium format cameras – a point already mooted by the editor in her article.

  • I live in Canada LarryW. Reading through the “North American” Canon warranty on the Canon USA site, it would appear that a camera purchased in Canada or the US will receive full warranty service at a Canon repair facility in either country.
    I’ve purchased from Adorama in the past and my understanding was that I would seamlessly receive warranty service in Canada.

  • ITN

    A large pixel count in the sensor means that line skipping is needed to read and process the data into 2K to make the video feed. Line skipping results in increased noise and aliasing artifacts in the video. Thus this camera could never have the best quality video. Sony also make their 4K video from a 12MP sensor in the A7s but doesn’t offer it in their 24MP and 36MP models because the quality of the video would be lower. Camera design, like most fields of engineering, involves compromises to meet the needs of specific applications. A general purpose camera is a “jack of all trades, master of none” and what many users want is the best possible quality in their specific application. Canon does make general purpose cameras, as well.

  • ITN

    The definition of detail depends on both camera and lens. By increasing the sensor pixel count, the images from all lenses are made sharper. There may be more benefit observed by using very high quality lenses than in consumer optics but using any reasonable lens, the definition of detail in the image improves by using the high resolution sensor. This does assume any or all of 1) high shutter speed, 2) tripod, or 3) flash is used to make sure movement doesn’t severely limit the system resolution and (very importantly) focus is set correctly. Improvement in system definition will continue until gigapixel sensors are used in which case it may be that lenses fail to give a perceptible improvement in definition when the sensor resolution is further improved. The main drawback of high resolution sensors is the large files that result, and the slow camera speed and workflow as well as the high capacity that is needed to store large volumes of images. Today another issue is that most images are viewed at modest resolution computer screens and mobile devices. In that case there is very little benefit from using high resolution sensors. For wall size prints, yes, it is useful to have high resolution. In practical use each user will have to draw their own line as to how large files they’re willing to work with on a routine basis, and scale this with the frequency of making large prints and the ultimately subjective importance of image quality improvements. But at the moment lenses are not really the problem in taking advantage of high resolution sensors.

  • Roger Lambert

    What you need may not be what others need.

  • Roger Lambert

    Says the Nikon user.

  • Wim Stolwerk

    ..and Hasselblad and Mamiya and … even Canon! The question was about MP and MB, nothing speifically to do with brands.

  • Very impressive! I like what Matt Granger had to say, which is true – technology will progress with or without us. Needs change, and probably will for some of the readers here. I’m not a Canon user, but I’d gladly switch if and when my needs change. This would be a very useful tool, provided that I actually needed this tool to get whatever desired results I sought. It’s just that – a tool. A saws-all isn’t necessarily the right tool for the job when a jigsaw would be better. The 5DS, to its credit, provides basic and advanced options. But it’s still not an all-in-one solution for everyone. Sweet piece, though, IMO!

  • James Donahue

    Not Me, I’ll stick with my Nikon D7100 and Fuji X100T.

  • Roger Lambert

    Do you really think that Canon’s RAW files contain that much less information than Nikon’s? 50% less? Seriously???

    Maybe I’ve been out in the wilderness. I would suspect that Nikon giving 100% more information than Canon per pixel count would be a scandal, and not just “an old and existing problem” as you describe it.

    Or, just maybe, whatever information loss you attribute to Canon, is not that at all, but just some weird artifact of your camera/computer system that you are misrepresenting here?

  • Greg

    The higher end lenses will work fine with these camera’s, and by higher end, I am talking the big primes and newer telephoto’s and the new wide angle just released. Lenses such as the 24-105 L F4 will not do the job with these monster pixel cameras. That is why Canon is coming out with a new line of lenses for these high mega pixel cameras, or so the rumor goes!

  • Wim Stolwerk

    Dear Roger, I don’t believe anything. I just asked the question why there is a huge difference in the size of the output. I didn’t invent that, both Canon and Hasselblad state that in their own specs. For Hasselblad (and Nikon) I can only agree, based on the files on my pc. This matter has to do with software, with translating the sensor data into images and the main issue here is (lossless) compression. Meanwhile I’m still awaiting a decent reply to my question.

  • Steve

    Waiting for the Sony A7RII / A9 or whatever it’s called. It should refine the (few) bugs in the initial A7 lineup and I suspect push the boundaries even further. Canon have already reported that the dynamic range of the 5DS/R will be equivalent to the 5DMKIII, which is significantly inferior to the A7R. Couldn’t be happier with my switch to Sony (after 25 years of Canon).

  • Roger Lambert

    Please show me an article talking about the fact that Nikon raw files have twice as much information per pixel than Canon. I just did a quick Google – there was zero on such topic.

    You didn’t just claim that this was a valid concern for you and your computer, you said it was:

    ” an old and still existing Canon problem.”

    I really don’t know what else to say until you can show me a proof source.

  • Wim Stolwerk

    Quick search (not in my native language) gave me for the new 5D’s a.o. http://www.kenrockwell.com/canon/5ds.htm You can of course also check the specs as given by Canon on their website.
    For Hasselblad I refer to http://www.hasselblad.com/medium-format/h5d-50c (65Mb for 50Mp sensor).
    For Nikon, see an image of a screenprint from my pc, every raw file of a D810 is 70-75Mb. See image.

    I suggest you dig a bit deeper next time. I’m leaving this topic untill someone answers my original question.

  • Roger Lambert

    You have provided nothing here that addresses whether Nikon gives twice as much information per pixel.

    I don’t blame you for leaving the topic.

  • Jason

    I shoot mainly landscapes and currently use a 5Diii with a mix of canon and Zeiss glass. I have waited patiently for canons new line up hoping it would match the Dynamic range advantages that Nikon and Sony shooters have enjoyed for a while now (11.7ev vs 14.ev). I must admit that I was disappointed with this release and the reports that the new cameras dynamic range performance will be similar to the 5Diii. I believe that the big numbers are more designed as a marketing ploy to sell cameras. A modest increase in MP count would have been sufficient in my opinion.

    As a result of this release, this week I have purchased a Nikon D800e to use for my landscape shoots. I intend to keep my Canon kit in the interim and wait and see what the 5Div looks like. I will make a decision as to the best way forward for my needs and preferences. I am however looking forward to throwing everything I am used to out the window and trialling the Nikon system.

  • Law_dog1

    I will stick with my Canon 5d III, I do have a Nikon d750 too. I’m all good. No need to get the 5DS I do lots of photos in the studio and I will wait a while to see how the camera will do when it gets released.

  • David Andrews

    My problem with this camera, of course, is one of economics. If I buy a 7DII and equip it with $4K of the best lenses I can and and then compare images from the 7DII to those from a 5DS with $2K of lenses covering the same focal range, will the extra 25MP of resolution on the 5DS overwhelm the quality of the lenses on the 7DII? I really doubt it!

    Today, camera makers are selling new camera after new camera, even offering to equip it with a kit lens. Professionals, I would think, would study and test lenses and buy the best lenses they could afford, and then buy the best camera they could afford to maximize the lense selection.

    Of course, if money is no object……

  • Christoph

    All lenses which are able to deliver a sharp picture on an APS-C camera with 20MP (e.g. 70D, 7D(MKII)… ) will work perfectly!


    The pixel density (and pixel size) of the 5DS is practically the same (even a little lower) compared to a 70D or 7DMKII. The sensitivity of a camera with regards to camera movements, the signal/noise ratio, max. ISO… depends on the pixel size. The difference between a 5DS and 7D is mainly the size of the sensor (1.6. times bigger in each direction). The quality of the images captured by a 5DS is therefore pretty much identical. Due to the larger sensor some lenses show more vignetting and little softer corners when used on a full frame but at least in the center the result is identical.

    If you were able to get sharp pictures (hand held) with an APS-C then you will have no problems with the 5DS – if you had a full frame before then you need maybe a little practice but it will work. The posts which claim that the 5DS will require a tripod or 2000+ USD lenses are wrong.

    The advantage of this camera depends on your usage – if you need a camera for fast action shooting you’re better of with a 7DMKII or 1DS. If your printouts do not exceed 50cm or you only display the picture on a monitor you will not find this body any better than a 5DMKIII. If you shoot moving objects in low light then again a 5DMKIII or 6D is better (larger pixels = higher maximum ISO with less noise). This camera excels however with large and very large printouts under “normal” light conditions (studio, architecture, landscape, macro) and/or if you need the ability to crop in post processing without giving away image quality.

    File size(s) produced by the 5DS are large, but computers get faster and storage gets cheaper – the discussions in this regards are the same when we upgraded from 12MP to 20MP.

    ps. the larger plate for a tripod is not because of camera movements but because many 5D users have complaint in the past about damages when using large and heavy lenses (just google a little within the various support forums)

  • Christoph

    don’t understand – why you need higher dynamic range???

    If you’re exposure is ok in the first place then the dynamic range of any Canon EOS is more than sufficient. If you shoot under extreme light conditions you probably use a graduated ND filter or do some bracketed shots and HDR.

    I never need to adjust exposure in post processing, I make a test picture, check the histogram, adjust my setting and done.

  • BillieBoyd

    There are a number of higher rated cameras, I recommend seeing http://www.consumerrunner.com/top-10-best-cameras/ among others.

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