Canon's 5DS R and 5DS Are 50-MP DSLR Monsters

We're going to need bigger memory cards. With Canon's 50-megapixel EOS 5DS and 5DS R, the DSLR megapixel war has two new champions.

The $3,699 5DS and $3,899 5DS R (body only) start with the chassis and layout of the 5D Mark III. But they make some drastic changes to the insides, resulting in cameras with full-frame 50.6-megapixels sensors and dual DIGIC 6 image processors, boasting more than double the resolution of the $3100, 22-MP 5D Mark III. The former highest-res DSLR is the Nikon D810, which features a suddenly less impressive 36.3-MP, while on the mirrorless side, the Samsung NX1 tops out at 28.2-MP.

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Canon is quick to point out that the Mark III isn't going away; Canon claims it will still be the camera of choice for people who want the best all-around features for pictures and videos, with its slightly faster burst shooting (6 fps for the Mark III vs. 5 for 5DS/5DS R) and much wider ISO range (100-25,600 versus 100-6400). The only new video feature of note for the 5DS/5DS R is the Time Lapse Movie mode, which creates an HD video in camera (up to 2 minutes 30 seconds in length) from a specified set of interval shots, a first on all Canon cameras.

The 5DS and 5DS R target studio and landscape photographers looking for super detailed pictures with every last bit of sharpness. The 5DS R even lacks a low-pass anti-aliasing filter, which was used for reducing jagged lines and moire (wavy patterns), but at the cost of detail. This the first time a Canon EOS DSLR will ship without a low-pass filter, although this technique has already been employed on Nikon's D810 and Samsung's NX1.

In the quest for ultimate sharpness, the 5DS and 5DS R also have a built-in unsharp mask-like feature called “Fine Detail” for improving JPEG photos, with adjustable settings for strength, fineness and threshold. These settings look to be a match for the kind of adjustments you would find in Photoshop or Lightroom.

While the button layout on the 50-MP beasts remains identical to the 5D Mark III, Canon has added a new Quick Control Screen for customizing the function of commonly used buttons and making specific settings easier to access.

With DSLR-leading resolution and additional features such as improved vibration control, and a new time lag mirror lock-up setting, the 5DS and 5DS R look to potentially replace medium format cameras from makers such as Hassleblad and Mamiya, which often have price tags well north of $10,000.

Finally, the 5DS and 5DS R borrow the auto-exposure system from the 7D Mark II for detecting and adjusting to difficult lighting situations such as sodium vapor lamps.

If you’re already drooling over the prospect of 50-MP Canons, you’ll have to wait until June to purchase them from the nearest authorized dealer. question

Sam Rutherford is a Staff Writer at Tom’s Guide. Follow him @SamRutherford on Twitter, and Tom’s Guide on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Sam is a Senior Writer at Engadget and previously worked at Gizmodo as a Senior Reporter. Before that, he worked at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag as a Staff Writer and Senior Product Review Analyst, overseeing benchmarks and testing for countless product reviews. He was also an archery instructor and a penguin trainer too (really).

  • Nuckles_56
    I don't think they have enough megapixels :p
  • TwoDigital
    Canon and Nikon (amongst the other DSLR players) have gotten away from the "it's about the megapixel count.) It's interesting to see what Canon has done with the 5DS (and Nikon with their D810.) Maybe they'll roll some of that sensor MPx goodness into the 7D Mark III. :)