Canon has a fever, and the only prescription… is more Megapixels! Okay, Christopher Walken impressions aside, Canon is dominating photo news headlines today with the release of its newest, record-breaking full-frame DSLRs: the Canon EOS 5DS and 5DS R.

Not to be confused with the rumored Canon 5D Mark IV, which has still not been released yet, the 5DS and its brother are basically super-high-res versions of the 5D Mark III with some video features stripped out.

But before we dive into the specs, let’s take a closer look at the new “world’s highest resolution full-frame DSLRs”:






The crowning spec is for these two cameras is, of course, the brand new 50MP sensor that Canon packed inside both the 5DS and 5DS R. The reason we have two models is that the 5DS R, much like the Nikon D800E, ‘cancels out’ the anti-aliasing filter built into the 5DS. This should produce even sharper images at the cost of moire patterning in certain situations.

Beyond the megapixel counts, the rest of the spec list reads a bit like a downgraded 5D III with the exception of the Dual Digic 6 processors and the 150,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor inherited from the Canon 7D Mark II.

ISO has been downgraded to a max of 6400, the fixed 3.2-inch 1.04M-dot LCD is the same, the burst mode has been slowed down to 5fps at full-res, and while they can still shoot 1080/30p video, the 5DS/SR don’t have headphone jacks or clean HDMI outputs.


Instead of padding other specs, Canon focused on making sure shooters could get the most of that 50MP sensor. The chassis, baseplate, and tripod lug have all been reinforced to ensure no shake; the mirror vibration control system has been re-designed to reduce mirror-bounce; and a new “Arbitrary Release Time Lag” setting in Mirror Lock mode lets you release the shutter at a designated interval after the mirror has been locked up.

All of this together is meant to ensure that you get the sharpest possible image out of your insanely high resolution camera. Which might have you asking, “what does an image captured with the Canon 5DS actually look like?” Lucky for you, Canon released a full-res sample (click on image to see it in all its pixel-peeping glory):


Unfortunately, the landscape and studio photographers this camera is designed for will have to wait a while longer before they can actually get it. While you can pre-order the Canon 5DS and Canon 5DS R already for $3,700 and $3,900 (respectively), the cameras aren’t scheduled to ship until June.

In the meantime, if you’d like to dive even deeper into the specs or find out more about each camera and how they differ from one-another, check out the video below from CanonUSA:


Canon has received a great deal of criticism ever since the 5DS and 5DS R were leaked last week — and not without merit. It’s hard to look at the 5DS and 5DS R megapixel count and not see a gimmick… an excuse to slap “world’s highest *insert spec here*” onto the press release and hope for the best.

To exacerbate the issue, both cameras max out at a native ISO of only 6400, making it seem like the resolution benefits (which few will ever need) come at a steep cost.

That being said, for landscape and studio shooters who actually need/want the added resolution, Canon has put a lot of work into ensuring they get the most out of it. Those who would like to use a medium format system but just can’t afford to drop $8.5K on the Pentax 645z (currently the cheapest CMOS medium-format option on the market), can now get the same resolution, albeit on a smaller sensor, for less than half that price.