Canon EOS 5DS Review

When the EOS 5Ds was released, Canon photographers all around the globe exclaimed in unison, “Yes!” and “I want it!” You are looking at a set of digital single-lens reflex cameras that hold the world record for their category, the Canon EOS 5Ds together with its almost identical twin, the 5Ds R:

At the time of this review, these 35mm format DSLR cameras had the greatest resolution that has ever been created. In the past, we have witnessed some respectable advancements in terms of the number of megapixels, but… These cameras have a pixel count that is more than twice as high as that of Canon’s next highest resolution models, the T6i and T6s, which were launched at the same time.

There have been persistent rumors for a long time that Canon is considering entering the market for medium format cameras. The majority of those expectations, if not all of them, were for an entirely new camera model with bigger sensor size, as well as for a new range of lenses that could give an image circle that covered the larger sensor.

Although I have my doubts that this myth will ever be put to rest entirely, it is undeniable that at least a substantial portion of its prophecy has been realized in regard to the 5Ds. The 5Ds do not give the extremely shallow depth of field that is produced by a medium format camera; however, the 5Ds do offer medium format resolution in a considerably smaller footprint along with a more comprehensive feature set and are compatible with a large range of lenses and accessories.

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Canon EOS 5DS Digital SLR (Body Only) (Renewed)

Last update was on: February 5, 2023 12:48 am

Have you ever fantasized about having a medium format resolution for your nature and sporting events photographs? That capability is included in this camera.

An EOS 5Ds may be created by starting with an EOS 5D Mark III, adding a sensor with an incredibly high resolution, some of the more recent capabilities found on the 7D II, and a few entirely new features (and 5Ds R).

The Canon 5-series range has been following an upgrading cycle of around three years in length. The original Canon EOS 5D DSLR was the first full-frame DSLR that was also reasonably priced. It was a model that was both well-acclaimed and extremely successful.

Three years later, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II was released, and it was an instant hit. It had an outstanding 21.1-megapixel full-frame sensor. This model has a remarkable image quality to price ratio, and the Canon 5D Mark II is often credited with being the impetus for the current surge in the popularity of DSLR video cameras.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III was introduced around three and a half years after the 5D II was first made available to consumers. Even while the 5D III brought about another boost in image quality, the change, notably in resolution, was very little in comparison to the change that the “II” version brought about. The 5D III offered a lot of fantastic new features, but the one that really stood out was its incredible new autofocus technology.

The 5Ds models bring us back to the key upgrading feature that was initially introduced with the 5D II, which was a fairly considerable boost in the camera’s resolution.

For the past three years, I have relied heavily on a pair of Canon 5D Mark III cameras as my primary workhorses. They are incredible cameras, and I was in no way disappointed to find out that the 5Ds, the ultra-high resolution camera I have been requesting, shares a very significant number of features with the 5D III, including essentially identical body exteriors. This is because both cameras share a very significant number of features in common.

It is a very helpful feature because all 5D III attachments, such as batteries, battery grips, L-brackets, and so on, are still compatible with each other (though USB-attached products need a replacement cable to accommodate the version 3.0 port). The features that were carried over from the 7D II as well as those that were added will be covered throughout this review.

The other model of the 5Ds is called the 5Ds R. There are two different versions of the 5Ds. The main distinction between the 5Ds and the 5Ds R is that the latter model has an optical low pass filter effect cancellation, which, in practice, cancels out the effects of the low pass filter.

Chuck Westfall from Canon USA explains the distinction in the following way: “The EOS 5DS employs a conventional low pass filter design, in which a single point of image data entering the filter is first separated into two points, and ultimately into four points by the time the data reaches the image sensor. This process is repeated until the image sensor receives all of the data.

The EOS 5DS R, on the other hand, utilizes a different design for its low pass filter, one in which the one point that enters the filter is first split into two points, and then, by the time the data reaches the image sensor, the two points are merged back into a single point.”

Instead of completely removing the filter, using the optical cancellation approach results in a significant reduction in the expenses of research and execution. The “R” setting produces pictures that are clearer, but there is a possibility that moiré and aliasing will occur, particularly in settings that have patterns that repeat at a particular frequency.

Fortunately, Chuck anticipates that this phenomenon will seldom occur, and he emphasized that “If it occurs, it can typically be minimized during post-processing.” In my evaluation of the Canon EOS 5Ds R, I directly compare these two cameras.

What do the letters “s” and “R” stand for in this phrase? The following is what Chuck Westfall claims: “The letter “S,” which may represent either “Super” or “Superior,” was appended to the model’s name to denote that it is a high-resolution variant, just as Canon did in the past with models that were related to one other and were marketed together.

Regarding the letter “R,” the effect of the low-pass filter has been removed, and because it denotes a model with an even higher resolution, the initial for “Resolution” has been used “At the time of this review, the 5D Mark III was still part of the lineup, and I compare the features of the 5Ds and the 5D Mark III toward the conclusion of this article.


If the shot is not correctly focused, then even the highest quality camera and lens in the world won’t be able to rescue it, regardless of how good the image quality is. This is something that I have stated several times, but it is a very essential notion and bears repeating:

If the subject is not in sharp focus, the picture quality of the camera is irrelevant and of no concern (with exception of intentional artistic blur effects of course). The precision of the autofocus is of utmost significance for the majority of photographers, and in particular for photographers who capture sports/action and wildlife. For that purpose, Canon included an upgraded version of the autofocus (AF) technology that was included in the 5D Mark III in the Canon EOS 5Ds. This AF system is a highly beneficial component of the 5Ds.

The autofocus (AF) system of the 5D Mark III has been praised by its manufacturer as “… the most advanced DSLR AF system Canon has ever offered.” I’ve never used an AF system that provides the % of photos that are in focus that this system delivers, and I’ve tried a lot of other AF systems (including the similar systems in the 7D II and 1D X). The autofocus system that the 5Ds inherited is a tried-and-true one, so the fact that it is being featured once more is, in my opinion, quite promising.

The new 150,000-pixel, 252-zone RGB+IR Metering Sensor that comes standard on the 5Ds is where the majority of the system’s enhancements can be found. The Canon 5D Mark III contains an iFCL (Focus, Color, and Luminance) dual-layer ambient/flash metering sensor with 63 zones on a 9×7 grid. One layer of the sensor is sensitive to just red and green, while the other layer is sensitive to only blue and green.

The 5Ds’ 150k-pixel full RGB plus IR-sensitive metering sensor, which was originally seen in the 7D II, works in concert with the autofocus system to identify faces and discern colors and forms for enhanced AF point auto selection, which ultimately results in increased AF precision.

The EOS iTR AF is a feature that should not be overlooked (Intelligent Tracking and Recognition). When trying to track specific subjects, such as people’s faces, yellow tennis balls, and other subjects, iTR definitely makes a very noticeable difference by utilizing color in addition to face recognition technology in order to help track subjects within the selected AF Area while in AI Servo AF mode. This helps track subjects within the selected AF Area.

Enabling iTR might potentially result in a slightly lower maximum frame rate, which is perhaps the feature’s most significant drawback. Live View mode does not make use of the iTR technology since the elevated mirror blocks the iTR sensor in the viewfinder. However, Live View does make use of its own face tracking technology, which likewise functions quite well.


The ground-breaking EOS 5D Mark II became famous in large part due to its extraordinary ability to produce high-quality video images, and the 5D III pushed video to an entirely new level with its release. Even though it is intended to be the pinnacle of still photography, the 5Ds keeps the video capabilities of its predecessor, the 5D III. The following is a breakdown of the video specifications for the 5Ds:

The following are the recording sizes and frame rates that are available:

  • 1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps) (actually 29.97, 25, 23.976 fps)
  • 1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps) (actually 59.94, 50 fps)
  • 640 × 480 (30, 25 fps) (actually 29.97, 25 fps)

Why no 4k video? Chuck Westfall cites a number of issues, including price/performance, heat, and the demand for a great deal more circuitry as some of the causes.

The.MOV file format may be used in conjunction with the H.264 codec and either the new IPB (Bi-directional compression) or ALL-I (Intra-coded Frame) compression techniques, depending on your preferences. IPB is able to achieve a better compression rate because it combines the compression of numerous frames, whereas ALL-I compresses each frame independently, which enables more exact editing. The ALL-I compression method will result in a video that is approximately three times bigger (but will use less processing power) than the IPB compression method.

The 5Ds is compatible with the timecode standard established by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), which is written as Hour:Minute:Second: Frame (0-29 for 30 frames per second), and it offers four different choices (as well as additional sub-options) for this counter. There is a menu option to lower the frame count that may be used to make up for the loss of counts when employing frame rates such as 29.97 frames per second.

It is now possible to start new video files while shooting, which means that the restriction of 4 gigabytes for a 12-minute HD movie clip has been broken. “Legal considerations” (to fall below the EU’s higher tax rate video camera classification) now limit the maximum total HD clip length to 29 minutes and 59 seconds. This is the longest clip that may be recorded in high definition (generating three files).

Video exposure control is either Program AE or completely Manual exposure. It is possible to adjust the exposure compensation in increments of either a third or a half of a stop, and the ISO range goes from 100 to 6400 (the greater ISO range is not accessible while shooting video).

Either the 3.5mm stereo input connector or the internal microphone may be used to record audio; both of these choices record at a frequency of 48 kilohertz and a bit depth of 16 bits. There is an option for manual audio level adjustment with 64 different levels, and the rear LCD screen will provide a live audio level meter while you are recording video. A capacitive touch pad called the Quick Control Dial is located inside the new Silent Control Function, which allows users to make adjustments to the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and exposure compensation while the video is being recorded. Additionally, the audio recording level can now be adjusted.

During video recording with the 5Ds, chromatic aberration correction and peripheral illumination correction are both accessible in-camera.

The pre-video recording focusing choices on the 5Ds are identical to those available when shooting in live view. Movie Servo AF is available, and its use is made feasible by the computational capability of the camera’s two DIGIC 6 processors. However… It is likely that the vast majority of users will conclude that the functionality of this feature is insufficient for monitoring subjects while video recording.

There is no jack for headphones included. The transition to USB 3.0 connectivity freed up the necessary space for the removal of this connector from the device.

According to Chuck Westfall, HDMI out was not intended to be used for capturing clear external video. “… the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R are more prone to moiré and skewing, making them less ideal for high-end video production.” [CPN] Sensors with a lower resolution have an edge when it comes to their video capabilities. The rolling shutter, sometimes known as the jello effect, is very evident on the 5Ds.

The capacity to analyze data at a speed that made it unnecessary to use a line skipping approach was a significant improvement in the video capabilities of the 5D Mark III over its predecessor, the 5D Mark II. Now that all of the data from the sensor is read, it is reduced to fit the video format that has been chosen, which results in less moiré.

If the required amount of time is spent learning how to operate it, the 5Ds are capable of producing video quality that is on par with that of cinematic production. People who want to use their camera primarily for video recording will almost certainly go with a different model.


The viewfinder of the 5Ds has been upgraded to have the same large, brilliant all-glass pentaprism that is found on the 5D III. This viewfinder allows you to see 100 percent of your composition. The viewfinder on the 5Ds has been given the moniker “Intelligent Viewfinder II,” and it can optionally superimpose a wide variety of shooting information (exposure, white balance, metering, drive, image quality, and AF modes), as well as shooting aids such as a dual-mode electronic level display and grid.


The most noticeable difference between the 5Ds and the 5D Mark III in terms of the camera’s exterior is the new name badge (and a slight chassis change camera left). Aside from that, these two cameras are exactly the same, which is something that I think is positive. As a result of the newly introduced 7D Mark II acquiring a design that is comparable to that of the 5D Mark III, the 5Ds and the 7D II are now highly comparable in terms of their functions and applications.

The fact that the two bodies have identical designs makes switching between them relatively simple and eliminates the need to reevaluate the relative positions of their respective functions. In addition, upgrading to the 5Ds from a 5D III or 7D II requires only a little amount of additional training.

The excellent ergonomics of Canon cameras are only one of the numerous reasons why I choose to use Canon brand cameras in the first place. I am able to maintain a firm grasp on EOS bodies for extended periods of time without experiencing any soreness in my hands or fingers. In this aspect, it is an especially beneficial characteristic that the 5Ds did not stray from other previous body designs, as other recent designs have.

The comparative photographs that follow will show you that the bodies of the 5-Series cameras are the largest non-integrated-grip Canon DSLRs that are currently available, but they are only very slightly larger than the bodies of the 7-Series cameras. When equipped with the BG-E11 Battery Grip, which is sold separately, the 5Ds takes on a form factor that is comparable to that of Canon’s EOS 1D X, which is the company’s flagship DSLR model.


“A Revolution in Resolution” is what Canon Professional Network (CPN) refers to it as. When it comes to DSLR cameras, the Canon EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R provide us with a degree of detail that we have never witnessed before. After hearing about the 5Ds and 5Ds R, many people had high hopes, and when the cameras finally arrived, there were not many surprises to be found. It was promised that the Canon 5Ds would have great performance, and it has delivered on that promise.

It was a personal decision for me to upgrade to a pair of Canon 5Ds R bodies from my previous setup of two Canon 5D Mark III units. These are the cameras that I use for anything save for capturing quick action, for which I use either my 1D X or my 7D Mark II.

It is the commercial, studio, portrait, still life, landscape, nature, and architectural photographers that are especially interested in this camera’s resolution combined with its pro-grade package of features including its rugged build quality. While the majority of photographers will find the 5Ds to be ideal for their needs, commercial photographers, studio photographers, portrait photographers, still life photographers, and landscape photographers are also interested.

A word of caution before I let you go: using this camera can make you want to retake some of the photos that you consider to be your all-time favorites.

Canon EOS 5DS Specs

MSRP$3699/£2999/€3999 (body only)
Body typeMid-size SLR
Max resolution8688 x 5792
Image ratio w:h3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels51 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors53 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (36 x 24 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorDual DIGIC 6
ISOAuto, 100-6400 (expandable to 50-12800)
Boosted ISO (minimum)50
Boosted ISO (maximum)12800
White balance presets8
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, normal
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousFace DetectionLive View
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points61
Lens mountCanon EF
Focal length multiplier
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3.2″
Screen dots1,040,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeClearView II TFT-LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeOptical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.71×
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
Subject / scene modesNo
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe and PC sync port)
Continuous drive5.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 secs)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpotPartial
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p), 640 x 480 (30p, 25p)
Videography notesSupports ALL-I and IPB compression
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I compatible), CompactFlash
USBUSB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
HDMIYes (mini-HDMI)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portNo
Remote controlYes (Wired and wireless)
Environmentally sealedYes (dust and water-resistent)
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLP-E6 lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)700
Weight (inc. batteries)930 g (2.05 lb / 32.80 oz)
Dimensions152 x 116 x 76 mm (5.98 x 4.57 x 2.99″)
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes

Canon EOS 5DS Price


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