Canon has added to its EOS 5D range with the launch of two 50MP cameras, the 5DS and the 5DS R. Both cameras are high resolution full frame models, primarily aimed at stills photographers. The only difference between the models is that the 'S' has an optical low-pass filter, while the 'S R' has a self-cancelling filter (the same relationship as Nikon's D800 and D800E models shared).

The two cameras will exist alongside the EOD 5D Mark III, acting as dedicated high resolution cameras primarily intended for studio, landscape and wedding shoots, rather than the all-round capability offered by the existing model. The Mark III still trumps the S and S R in terms of maximum ISO and continuous shooting speed.

Canon EOS 5DS / 5DS R key features

  • 50MP CMOS sensor
  • 5 fps continuous shooting
  • ISO 100-6400 (Extends to 12,800)
  • 61-point AF module with input from 150k pixel metering sensor
  • Dual Digic 6 processors
  • 3.0" 1.04M-dot LCD
  • CF & SD slots (UHS-I compatible)
  • 1080/30p video
  • M-Raw and S-Raw downsampled formats
  • 30MP APS-H crop and 19.6MP APS-C crop modes
  • USB 3.0 interface

Most of the big new features on the high-res 5Ds are about ensuring you're able to get the best of the cameras' extra resolution. Our experiences with the Nikon D8X0 series cameras has shown us that simply having a high resolution sensor isn't enough: to take full advantage of it you need to really obsess about stability.

To this end, Canon has reinforced the tripod socket and surrounding area to allow stable engagement with a tripod. It has also used a more controllable, motorized mirror mechanism, like the one in the EOS 7D II, that allows a deceleration step before the mirror hits its upper position - reducing mirror slap.

The third change is a revised mirror lock-up mode that allows you to specify an automatic delay between the mirror being raised and the shutter opening to start the exposure. It allows the user to choose the shortest possible delay that has allowed mirror vibration to subside: maximizing sharpness while minimizing the loss of responsiveness.

Although the S and the SR can both shoot movies with the same choice of frame rates and compression as the 5D III, they don't offer clean HDMI output or headphone sockets. The message is pretty clear - if video is a major concern, these aren't the cameras for you.

Canon EOS 5DS
Canon EOS 5DS R
Canon EOS 5D
Mark III
Pixel count 50.2MP 50.2MP 22.1MP
Processor Digic 6 Digic 6 Digic 5+
Minimum ISO ISO 100
(50 ext)
ISO 100
(50 ext)
ISO 100
(50 ext)
Maximum ISO ISO 6400
(12,800 ext)
ISO 6400
(12,800 ext)
ISO 25,600
(102,400 ext)
Maximum frame rate 5 fps 5 fps 6 fps
Autofocus 61 point, of which 41 are cross type and 5 are double-cross type 61 point, of which 41 are cross type and 5 are double-cross type 61 point, of which 41 are cross type and 5 are double-cross type
Metering sensor 150k pixels (RGB+IR) 150k pixels (RGB+IR) 63-segment (RG/GB)
Optical low-pass (anti-aliasing) filter? Yes Self-cancelling Yes
Uncompressed HDMI output No No Yes
Headphone jack? No No Yes
USB connection USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 2.0

A series of features in the EOS 5DS and S R are ones we first saw in the EOS 7D Mark II. This includes the flicker detection function that warns you of lighting flicker and can synchronize the camera's continuous shooting so that it only fires at the brightest moments to ensure consistent exposure (rather than the constant variation you can otherwise get in such situations).

Two other 7D II features to make an appearance in a 5D camera for the first time are the built-in intervalometer function that can be used to shoot time lapse sequences. And, as a first for Canon, these can then be combined in-camera to create a 1080/24p time-lapse movie.

Canon EOS 5DS / SR overview video