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Canon 5DS R review

Andrew Williams




  • Recommended by TR

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Our Score:



  • Incredible detail
  • Great build and handling
  • Excellent AF performance


  • Limited video modes
  • Narrow native ISO range
  • Very limited wireless features

Key Features

  • 50.6-megapixel full frame sensor
  • 100-6400 native ISO range
  • 5fps burst shooting
  • Manufacturer: Canon
  • Review Price: £3,199.00

What is the Canon 5DS R?

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.

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Canon 5DS R: Design and Handling

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.

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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.

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Canon 5DS R: Viewfinder and Screen

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.

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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.


June 26, 2015, 7:39 am

This camera is already outdated,bring on the Sony Alpha A7rII


June 28, 2015, 6:04 pm

I have a 5DMKIII, this 5DS R is what I really need to make a best suite in any circumstances. The pair are much more perfect than A7 RII. I dont care about the slight difference of DR because I always shoot in RAW, and with PS it doesnt matter. So let A7RII go away.

Neil Fiertel

June 29, 2015, 4:54 pm

I own this camera. What I theorized and have proved to myself that the presumption that such a super high resolution camera demands only the best glass . it is an incorrect assumption! Indeed..the file size is huge and thus the dimensions of a file native raw is already roughly 19 by 28 inches and thus would require minimal re- sampling to obtain a 24 by 36 print size as an example. There is thus much less chance to find oneself with colour fringing due to chromatic aberrations or other optical anomalies and so forth with a sensor that is essentially the equivalent to a "contact" print from a large format film camera of old! The sensor is incredible and my experience is that at ISO 500 which is more than I used with my 5 D Mark 2 due to its noisy files on the 5 DS R is completely invisible in at that ISO and re- sample size. It is, in other words, a most perfect camera image wise. All the features otherwise of which there are many more than I care about are moot to me as what I want is accurate and fast focussing which is amazing on this camera..nearly instantaneous and no hunting even on an elderly but optically great Tamron Maco lens of f2.8 aperture. I am in awe of the functionality of this camera and its improved ergonomic shape compared to my earlier model,is welcome. Sure, it is quite the handful but the battery grip accessory adds an excellent alternative hand position. I suggest doing some upper body strengthening to use this camera however. It is no toy but with the soft and vibration free mirror mechanism it now employs, it is an easy hold. It is a wonderful professional camera and I emphasize that people need to see if their lenses are worthy of it. You might be surprised that they are!

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