Steve's Conclusion

Steve's SnapShot

  • 50.6-Megapixel Full-Frame CMOS Imaging Sensor
  • Dual DIGIC 6 image processors
  • Canon EF-mount
  • 1.3x and 1.6x crop shooting modes
  • Full 1080p HD video capture
  • Intelligent Auto shooting mode
  • Live View shooting
  • 61-point AF system
  • 150,000-pixel RGB-IR metering system
  • In-camera HDR and Multi-Exposure
  • 3.2-inch, 1.04-million dot LCD
  • Intelligent Viewfinder II
  • In-camera RAW processing
  • Dual SD/CF card slots
  • AF and Metering are both incredibly fast and accurate
  • Live view allows you to shoot with the LCD
  • Full 1080p HD video capture produces beautiful videos
  • Outstanding overall image quality
  • Amazing detail from loads of resolution
  • 3.2-inch, 1.04 million dot LCD is great in all lighting conditions to check focus and detail
  • Great shooting performance considering the image size
  • Good Battery Life
  • Dual memory card slots
  • EF lens collection cannot be beat
  • HDMI and USB 3.0 ouputs
  • Audio input
  • Very large, heavy camera
  • Camera must be in video capture mode to capture video
  • No GPS or WiFi built-in
  • Battery seemed to go quickly during our tests
  • No 4K video capture
  • Dual card slots are SD and CF, not the same media (some may see this as positive)
  • No built-in flash unit
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 0.7 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 2/10 to 4/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 0.38 seconds
  • Normal burst = 3.1fps
  • High Speed Burst = 5fps
  • High Speed Burst RAW = 5fps (slows after approx. 40 images
  • Our tests were completed using a Sony UHS-1 (94MB/s) 32GB SDHC memory card, 24-70mm 1:4L IS USM lens, Program mode, ISO Auto and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
The Canon EOS 5Ds is a professional dSLR providing and amazing 50.6-Megapixels of resolution, great performance from the dual DIGIC 6 processors and Full 1080p HD video for those looking for more than just still images.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking to upgrade you current EOS camera, or you are in need of a very high resolution camera with the quality you expect from a Canon. Great for those already sporting an EF lens collection.
Canon's Megapixel leader with a huge 50.6-Megapixel Full-Frame CMOS imaging sensor, the EOS 5Ds leads the way in the high-resolution battle of DSLR cameras. Complimenting this sensor is a slew of leading-edge features that will have everyone, pros and amateurs alike, drooling over this camera. Dual DIGIC 6 image processors work with the sensor in order to provide the 5Ds with the excellent overall performance that you would expect from a top-of-the-line Canon EOS camera. A 61-point AF system, featuring 41 cross-type AF points and a 150,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor provide you with the sharpest and best exposed images possible. Some of the camera's other features include Full 1080p HD video capture, in-camera HDR & Multi exposure modes, a high-quality Optical Viewfinder, 3.2-inch LCD, Scene Intelligent Auto, and Dual Memory Card Slots. While this is not all of them, Canon did finish off the camera with an USB 3.0 port for extremely fast file transfers.

Working with Canon's 5Ds is one of the most complete lineups of lenses in the world. Their fantastic EF lenses provide the best in optical image quality and image stabilization (on select lenses). Ranging from $125-$13,000; there are multiple lens options for every shooting situation and every budget. Adapters are also available to use your older Canon lenses with today's EF-mount system. Many third-party lenses are also available from just about every distributor, further increasing the amount of glass available, something to consider when deciding which camera and brand to choose.

The EOS 5Ds is a very large DSLR, fitting very well in big hands. With its size comes weight. And while it definitely feels like a solid and reliable camera, a long day of shooting with it in hand is going to wear you out. If you are familiar with other non-Rebel DSLR cameras, you will feel right at home with this camera as well. While the camera body looks intimidating and complicated, once you figure out where your setting and shortcut buttons are, the controls are easy and quickly become second nature. Under the door on the right side of the camera are the dual memory card slots, allowing for easy access and changing at all times. The only drawback may come if you only own one type of memory card, as the dual-card slots accept one SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card and one CF Type I memory card. If you do not have both, it will be an extra expense in order to take advantage of this great feature. When using both cards, there are several recording options for maximum storage or auto image backup.

Composing your images is accomplished mainly with the Eye-Level pentaprism optical viewfinder; featuring approx. 100% field-of-view, dioptic adjustment and approx. 0.71x magnification. Overlaid with a transparent LCD that shows a great deal of shooting information and camera settings, it is not necessary to take the camera away from your eye in order to change your settings confidently. Again once you are comfortable with the camera. Your other option for composing and viewing your images is the 3.2-inch, 1.04-million dot Clear View LCD II. Live view shooting and all video shooting is accomplished with this LCD. Its high resolution and adjustable settings provide sharp and colorful representations of your scenes. Viewing your captured images is also a pleasure in all lighting conditions, allowing you to zoom in and check focus and fine details without a computer or monitor.

Performance from the EOS 5Ds is excellent. The camera is able to capture its first image in just 7/10 of a second after being turned on. There is almost no shutter lag with the camera pre-focused and just 2/10 to 4/10 of a second when allowing the AF to work with an Ultrasonic lens. Shot-to-shot delay in single show mode was just about as fast as you can press the shutter release at less than 4/10 of a second with the single AF (good lighting conditions). Turing the burst shooting modes on lets the camera capture images at 3.1fps in the normal burst mode and up to 5fps in high speed burst shooting (ISO 3200). Even turning on RAW shooting, the camera was able to maintain approx. 5fps for almost 40 images before the camera started to slow. Our tests were completed using a Sony UHS-1 (94MB/s) 32GB SDHC memory card, 24-70mm 1:4L IS USM lens, Program mode, ISO Auto and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.

Our outdoor image samples were everything that we expected from the 5Ds. Sharp and vivid, and with its amazing resolution, the 50.6-Megapixel image shows even the smallest of details within the image. Such a large image gives you plenty of room to crop or trim your images as well, leaving you with an image that is still just as large as most common cameras. This feature is also available while shooting with the camera's 1.6x and 2.0x crop shooting modes. While they produce smaller images, they allow you to compose your images with the crop zoom factor. Along with the incredibly sharp images, we did not see any major flaws in the image like aberrations or softness anywhere.

Looking closely at our indoor sample images, we see the same incredibly sharp, incredibly accurate images. At f/8, the images depth is shallower than we are used to seeing in this sample. Throughout the standard ISO settings, the images show very little noise for each ISO setting. This allows you to capture usable images from ISO 100 through ISO 12800. These higher ISO images, 3200-12800 are far from perfect and you will see some softer images, softer colors and less fine detail; but for most sized prints these images will look great. Canon's high ISO noise reduction does an amazing job at the highest ISO settings, greatly reducing the noise within the image. With this, the sharp details in your image will soften slightly, but in our sample images it seems to be worth it. To assist with indoor and low-light images, Canon offers a great selection of external speedlite flashes. These units come with a variety of features and varying power, letting you choose exactly what you need. This camera does not come with a built-in flash, so you will have to carry an external unit or be creative with your available light.

For most people, shooting portraits will be just like any other DSLR or SLR, with the photographer focusing the best he can on the face and eyes through the optical viewfinder. With Live View, the camera does offer face detection which works very well detecting and following faces. The drawback here is how slow the contrast-detect AF system is, which does not compare to the Hybrid AF systems featured on most of ILC cameras. Our sample portrait shots were all taken via the optical viewfinder. If you have a subject willing to sit still, Live View shooting may be a viable option for you.

Two common shooting styles that normally rely on some intense post-production work are available as shooting modes on the 5Ds. Multi-Exposure and HDR shooting can both be turned on and completed just by pressing the shutter release, no post work required. There are several adjustable settings for each mode, which give you some creative control over these images. These controls do not give you the amount of control that you will find or be used to when combining these images yourself, but they do provide good results for those who are unfamiliar or as previews for those who will take the time to make all the fine adjustments in post later. There are several HDR images and a Multi-Exposure image on our sample images page.

Along with the huge 50.6-Megapixel images, the 5Ds has the ability to capture wonderful Full 1080p HD videos as well. Offering full automatic to full manual, you will find almost as many control options for video as still image capture. With the camera having a mirror inside, it must be set to the video capture mode in order to record. It cannot just start recording from any shooting mode like most ILCs. Our sample videos play back flawlessly on the camera, HDTV via HDMI and on a computer. This lets you watch them just about anywhere if you are prepared. The camera captures great color and detail throughout, leaving the sound from the onboard mic as the weak point. The same as any onboard mic, its small and sensitive to the sounds closest to the camera. An audio input is built into the camera to add more accurate and better sound. Unfortunately, Canon did not include 4K video capture, which is becoming more readily available on consumer cameras. This is a big missing feature on a camera that offers the best of everything else.

Powering the 5Ds is a 7.2V, 1865mAh (LP-E6N) rechargeable Li-Ion battery, the same that is shared by many of the more powerful Canon EOS cameras. During our tests, the battery allowed us to capture over 400 images and several short videos before needing to be recharged. While it did pretty well, it seemed to drain quickly for a DSLR, coming up a little short of the 660-700 shots Canon claims it can handle. As with all of the camera EOS models, there is an optional battery grip that allows you to have two batteries working at once. This doubles the amount of images the camera can capture without you having to stop. It also makes the already large camera body quite a bit bigger. The camera comes with a portable charging unit, making it easy to keep you battery and a spare or two charged and ready to go. Additional batteries and chargers are also available from Canon and other photography supply stores.

Bottom Line - The Canon EOS 5Ds is a powerful, resolution rich DSLR that produces excellent results in both image quality and shooting performance. Producing one the of the largest images of any DLSR on the market, the resolution provides amazing amounts of detail while leaving you plenty of room to crop and adjust your images in post. Its dual DIGIC 6 processors provide professional performance, getting 5fps shooting in both JPEG and RAW (slows after approx. 40 images). The only drawback that some might find is the overall size and weight of the camera, especially when combined with Canon's bigger and heavier "L" lenses. With a MSRP of US $3,699.00 for the body only, this camera is definitely an investment, but worth the money if you need professional image quality on a larger scale.

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