The Canon 5DS R may seem like the natural successor to the ageing Canon 5D Mark III. But it's not.
This is an ultra-high-resolution 50.6-megapixel full-frame DSLR designed for times when maximum resolution is what’s needed, above all else. It can produce incredible photos, and it’s also deeply unforgiving of poor technique and limited lens quality. But its dynamic range and high ISO performance also just don’t quite match the 5D Mark III and Nikon D810.
It’s an amazing camera. But unlike cameras such as the Sony A7R II that reach into the pro space from the consumer market, this is a pro camera that doesn't try to be all things to all people. At this point it’s unmatched, but only in certain areas. It's not the ultimate camera, but for some the £3200 price will be easy to justify.
SEE ALSO: Best Cameras 2015
Three years have passed since Canon released the 5D Mark III, but we see essentially the same body style used in the Canon 5DS R. It’s large, bulky and heavy, sure to be reassuringly familiar to the pro photographer hands likely to get hold of this camera.
Measuring 152 x 116.4 x 76.4mm and weighing 930g, it’s among the chunkiest full-frame cameras. However, given the quality and size of glass the Canon 5DS R is likely to be paired with, it’s sensible Canon decided not to modernise the look or feel too much. Or at all, really.
With a deep, sure grip and fantastic construction, the Canon 5DS R feels like it could withstand years of punishment. It has a magnesium allow shell and is fully weather-sealed. When matched with a weather-sealed lens, it’s ready to shoot in just about any conditions you might come up with.
TrustedReviews Awards 2015: Winners announced
Manual control is, predictably enough, superb. A comprehensive wealth of dials, buttons and switches around the body grant not just direct control, but customisation of how that control works across the body.
We also like that effects of the controls on the top plate can be read off on the OVF, providing a very complete shooting experience without ever needing to take your eye away from the viewfinder. As is to be expected of a camera this grade, the Canon 5DS R has a bright, clear pentaprism viewfinder that covers 100 per cent of the field of view. It's excellent.
You can choose how much extra information is fed out through the viewfinder too. Gridlines, an electronic level and all the basic shooting parameters can be placed here, and the x0.71 magnification makes sure there’s enough room for it not to appear a cramped mess. The Canon 5DS R probably has the most information-rich OVF we’re ever seen in a DSLR.
The rear screen is good too, although as is standard for a top-end DSLR, it’s perhaps, to some, surprisingly poor on features. It’s a non-touch display and doesn’t articulate at all. These are simply not considered ‘pro’ features by Canon, but it seems a shame when as a camera likely to be used on a tripod an awful lot of the time, the option to tilt the rear screen would have been handy.
Quality-wise the rear display is very good, though, offering 1.04-million-dot resolution across its 3.2 inches. It also has an ambient light sensor that lets it alter brightness to suit whatever environment the Canon 5DS R finds itself in.