Canon just made headlines again this week with the release of the worlds highest resolution 35mm DSLR, the Canon EOS 5DS and the 5DS R. Designed for commercial, studio, portrait, landscape, and architectural photography, this camera is also being positioned as an alternative to medium-format. At roughly $20,000 less than traditional medium-format cameras like PhaseOne and Hasselblad, the ultra-high resolution of these new models allows for larger printing and extensive cropping capability, while maintaining fantastic image quality.

5DS Features

The 5DS is positioned in Canons full-frame lineup above the 5D Mark III, but below the 1DX. This 50.6 megapixel camera features a full-frame CMOS sensor and next generation Dual DIGIC 6 image processors – the next generation of processors needed for superb image quality and processing speed.

Speaking of speed, the 5DS shoots at 5 frames per second, which is pretty good for such high-quality. In comparison, the Nikon D810 also shoots at 5 fps, Pentax 645z shoots at 3fps and the PhaseOne iQ250 medium format camera shoots at 1.2 fps.

Canon redesigned the mirror to include a vibration control system. This helps to reduce the mirror bounce and camera shake when shooting tripod-mounted long exposures.

Following in Nikons footsteps, Canon introduced an timed-release shutter setting (called Arbitrary Release Time Lag Setting) in Mirror Lock mode. You can set the camera to take a picture 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1, or 2 seconds after pressing the shutter. I frequently use this when shooting long exposures and don’t have a remote shutter release. It keeps my hands off the camera, drastically reducing camera shake.

If you like shooting JPEGs (I don’t recommend it – Raw is much better), Canon introduced a new Fine Detail picture style to help sharpen the high-resolution images.

Video modes on the cameras didn’t change. You can shoot 1080p Full HD up to 30p or 720p HD video up to 60p. Nikons D810 can shoot 1080p Full HD up to 60p.

Canon is catching up to Nikon, introducing a built-in intervalometer for time lapses. No longer do you need to buy an external intervalometer. There is also a creative time lapse movie function, taking a continuous series of still images and combining them into a Full HD movie file. Interval adjustments can be set from 1 second to 99 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds taking 2 up to 3,600 images. When combined into a movie, the maximum of duration would be 2 minutes, 30 seconds of playback time.

5DS R Features

Similar to Nikons D800 / D800E scenario, Canon introduced the 5DS R. There are two differences: $200 and a cancelled low-pass filter effect. The cancellation of the low-pass filter allows you to capture even more fine edge sharpness and detail in landscapes and other situations where getting the sharpest subject detail is a priority by squeezing the most sharpness out of every pixel. However, there is a possibility of moire and color artifacts due to the cancellation of this filter.

Is this camera medium format?

No, the sensor is still 35mm but Canon is marketing to shooters looking to get the most out of their images without spending $25,000 to upgrade their equipment to medium format. The best way to tell if the camera is for you is by renting it and testing the images. Although its not available just yet, Canon has a bunch of sample images and video to look. View 5DS sample images here: and 5DS R samples images here:

Both cameras are expected to be on the market in June 2015. Prices vary from $3,699.00 for the 5DS to $3,899.00 for the 5DS R. You can learn more about the cameras by clicking here to read the press release.

Click to view the 5DS Product Page or click to view the 5DS R product page.