Tuesday, September 8, 2015

REVIEW: Canon 5DsR–The Value of 50 Megapixels (Part I of II)

Canon EOS 5DS R DSLR Camera
Canon EOS 5DS R DSLR Camera

I liked the Canon 5Ds a lot more than I expected to when I first reviewed it, but I had that burning question that every 5Ds user has – is the 5DsR better? Fundamentally the two cameras are identical with one major exception – the 5DsR removes the optical low pass filter which in theory means you should get much sharper images as the risk of possible moiré pattern issues under certain circumstances. In my testing of other cameras without the low pass filter like the Nikon D810 and Sony Alpha A7R, I have never had any issues so I figured the extremely hard to find 5DsR was going to be awesome. In fact, the early preview I got of it at WPPI suggested it would be excellent.

Rather than repeat everything for the identical body found on the 5Ds, I’d encourage you to read my 5Ds review. This article will focus primarily on image samples and observations while shooting with this camera. Part II will focus on differences between the models.

Real World Samples

The following images come straight from in-camera JPEG’s using the camera default noise reduction settings. Most camera settings are the default with the exception of RAW+JPEG, a desired White Balance (only Shade or AWB), and a desired focus point.  I chose to use the Standard Picture Style for all except for the California coast shots (I used Landscape) and where noted.

Click here for a full gallery of unedited images.

All images are copyright Ron Martinsen – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may not save, print, edit, modify or otherwise use any images featured in this article or the gallery without expressed written permission.

f/4 @ 102mm for 1/640 sec at ISO 125
using 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
Notice the detail in Mackelmore’s earpiece and Ray-Ban logo!

f/4 @ 105mm for 1/640 sec at ISO 200

It’s hard to get a sharp shot with a long lens and a high megapixel camera, but when your subject cooperates the result is some pretty impressive detail (at full size) and a pleasing bokeh even at f/4

Wanz - Copyright Ron Martinsen - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
f/4 @ 115mm for 1/640 sec at ISO 160

The tough part about shooting at concerts is the inevitable distractions that end up in the frame, but there are so many megapixels that if you pull off a sharp shot like this one of Wanz you can still have a nice size file when you eliminate the distractions as shown above
(click the image for the uncropped original)

f/5.6 @ 30mm for 1/500 sec at ISO 100
 using the 24-70mm f/2.8L II
The detail in this shot illustrates why this camera is a landscape shooters dream

f/7.1 @ 44mm for 1/320 sec at ISO 200

Again, details galore make this a fun camera to capture the details of the California West Coast

f/5.6 @ 44mm for 1/1000 sec at ISO 100

With good dynamic range, sharp foreground detail and smooth out of focus regions, this is an ideal camera for capturing scenes where you want the context of the background but the sharpness of the foreground to jump out at you. In this respect, this camera and the 5Ds don’t disappoint!

f/5.6 @ 70mm for 1/1000 sec at ISO 100

Backlit subjects on a sunny day is a scenario where lesser cameras meters fail miserably, but in this case I got what I’d call typical Canon results. While some fill flash or exposure compensation (in-camera or in post-processing) would have helped, this was a reasonable starting point for tough conditions on a very sunny day

f/4 @ 70mm for 1/500 sec at ISO 160

Afraid of photographing bees? 50 Megapixels means you can shoot from a comfortable distance like this and crop to get your desired result yet still have a large file for printing

f/5.6 @ 70mm for 1/640 sec at ISO 100

In super bright sun my handheld landscape shots had pretty good detail even out in the distance like you can see here, but as the shutter speeds dropped below 3x to 5x the reciprocal of the focal length later in the day the background got super soft

f/5.6 @ 24mm for 1/250 sec at ISO 125

I was pleased with the detail in the shadows and color in this tough backlit shot

f/4 @ 70mm for 1/400 sec at ISO 320

I took about 10 of these shots, but only one came out this sharp. It was clear that 1/400 sec wasn’t nearly fast enough for even for the minimalistic movements of a bag piper

f/22 @ 47mm for 1/400 sec at ISO 6400

Toss in some diffraction, the softest aperture for this lens, and high ISO and you end up with a shot that’s pretty useless for anything but small images on social media.

f/7.1 @ 70mm for 1/640 sec at ISO 400

I found myself fearing to go beyond f/7.1 with this camera and lens combo as I was often disappointed when I went to a larger f-stop number or  ISO than what you see here. Notice the detail and dynamic range improvements of this shot over the one above though!

f/4 @ 61mm for 1/500 sec at ISO 400

Sunset was a joy with this camera as it captures a nice tonal range of greens on the course

f/5.6 @ 33mm for 1/640 sec at ISO 100

This is a fun shot to pixel peep at full size to see all of the detail it captures from this one man band setup on the pier in San Francisco

f/5.6 @ 70mm for 1/1000 sec at ISO 160

My focus point for this shot was the boat which meant the shallow depth of field didn’t leave me with a sharp shot of the flock of pelicans in the scene. I suspect I would have got a much better result for the birds with a 5D Mark III but at the expense of the detail of Alcatraz in the background.

f/5.6 @ 41mm for 1/500 sec at ISO 125

There were a lot of things going on in this shot, but I thought the wide dynamic range really showed its value in the dark areas

Click here for a full gallery of unedited images.

All images are copyright Ron Martinsen – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may not save, print, edit, modify or otherwise use any images featured in this article or the gallery without expressed written permission.

AF Microadjustment Required?

One of my readers who read my 5Ds article posted on social media that she had to make a significant AF Microadjustment for each of her lenses when using the 5DsR. I didn’t see this issue with the 5Ds, but I decided to double check with the 5DsR unit that I received for testing. As you can see below a slight adjustment was required for my 24-70mm lens to correct some forward focusing issues but it wasn’t extreme from what I could see using my SpyderLensCal:

Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid
100% view of Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid

If you are seeing the problem my reader described which is more significant than what I see here, then please feel free to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that I have to approve comment due to spambot attacks, so you only need to comment once – it may be a few days before the comment is approved as I have to filter out the noise from the valid comments.

The 50 Megapixel Advantage

I strongly encourage you to read my 5Ds review (especially part II) where I show the value of 50 megapixels even when you are downsizing to web size images, but here’s another well-known practical use of 50 megapixels – cropping.

In this particular case I was walking along the beach in California with my family when my 16 year old son, Taylor, spotted what he claimed to be a whale breaching.  It was so far out that I couldn’t really see it and I thought he was mistaken. Using the only lens I had – the 24-70mm f/2.8L, I decided to take a shot to see what was really out there. Here’s one of the frames that I got:

f/7.1 @ 70mm for 1/1000 sec at ISO 100
using the 24-70mm f/2.8L II

I couldn’t see anything, but when I zoomed in on my LCD it became clear he was right as you can see below (slightly enhanced via the raw original in Lightroom):

Whale breaching at 100%
100% crop of the whale in the shot above

This reminded me of what my wildlife friends tell me they love about high megapixel cameras – the extra reach via cropping! Well, this definitely illustrates this point even if this is a rather extreme case – and the value of good light (to freeze your subject at a low ISO).


Click here to see my conclusion in part II.

If you haven’t done so already, please read my 5Ds review.

Where to order

Click here to learn more or order on the 5Ds or 5Ds R on the B&H web site.

Other articles you may enjoy

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy these articles about other Canon products:

Here’s also some other articles on this blog that you might enjoy:



If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you a penny more, but it does help to support future articles like this.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

No comments: