Body & Design

The bodies of the EOS 5DS and SR are identical to one another, and essentially identical to the 5D Mark III. The controls are positioned in exactly the same locations as the 5D III, itself a logical evolution of Canon's long-held approach to ergonomics. As such, it's a camera that anyone familiar with the brand will be able to pick up and start using instantly.

That consistency with the 5D III means the high-res cameras don't gain the sprung thumb switch that we rather liked on the EOS 7D Mark II. Overall, though, these cameras are exactly the solid and durable-feeling devices that you'd expect of models costing this much money.

You can find out more about the way these cameras handle and are operated by reading the body section of our Canon EOS 5D Mark III review.

In your hand

One thing pictures alone can ever really describe is how a camera will feel in your hand, and the 5D Mark III is one of those cameras that just feels 'right'. There's a sculpted 'channel' on the rear of the camera that provides a positive grip for your thumb, and helps make the camera feel completely secure in your hand.

Control points

The consistency with the 5D Mark III is almost absolute: the 5DS and SR have exactly the same buttons in exactly the same positions. This will make for a seamless experience if you're already used to shooting with an EOS 5D Mark III and a very familiar one if you've been using other Canon bodies.

The left-hand shoulder of the camera plays host to the power switch, mode dail, menu and info buttons. It's a locking mode dial, so you can't accidentally change exposure modes - you need to hold down the central button while rotating the dial to have any effect. The menu button does exactly what you'd expect, while the 'Info' button cycles between display modes.

The right-hand corner is where most of the major control points reside, with three dual-function buttons, and LCD panel illumination button and, just beyond the front control dial, the M-Fn button, that can be used to cycle between AF point selection modes. The three dual-function buttons work in conjunction with the camera's two control dials: pressing any of them re-purposes the control dials.

As with the camera shoulders, the main shooting controls are arranged down the right hand side of the camera, with the playback controls mostly on the left. The Live view/video switch nestles next to the viewfinder, with AF-On, AEL (*) and AF point selection mode buttons to its right. It's worth noting that the AF-ON and AEL buttons are customizable. The AF point selection button can be pressed to repurpose the main dials to move the selected AF point left/right and up/down quickly, and to change AF area modes in conjunction with the M-Fn button. Further down is the joystick used mainly for AF point positioning (although this is perplexingly not enabled by default) and menu navigation, with the Q.Menu button and the camera's second control dial below. The SET button contained within this jog dial is customizable, with one of our favorite functions for it being instant magnification of the AF point (this requires setting the 'Magnification (apx)' setting to 'Actual size' under the Playback settings menu).

The left hand side is primarily left for playback controls: only the 'Picture Style' button (which is also used to access HDR and multi-shot modes), has any effect while shooting. The 'Rate,' zoom, play and delete buttons do what you'd expect, making it easy to review and prune your images, on the go. Oddly, none of these buttons are customizable.

Mirror mechanism

Canon has redesigned the camera's mirror mechanism to reduce the amount of vibration it causes when it flips up. Using a similar system to the one employed in the EOS 7D II, it is motor, rather than spring driven. This means its upward motion can be decelerated as it approaches the top of its travel, rather than smacking against a stop at full speed. We're fairly convinced that this new design helps maintain image sharpness despite the high resolution of the camera, especially in Silent Shooting mode. However, it's not foolproof: the mirror actuation can still induce image softening vibrations, as we cover in our dedicated page on mirror and shutter-induced shock.