Photography / News

CP+ 2015: Up Close with the Megapixel-Packed Canon 5DS and 5DS R DSLRs

Fifty megapixels is a lot of information, and it’s about to be available to 35mm-format digital photographers. The Canon 5DS and 5DS R represent such a significant jump in resolution for the format that even photographers who balked at high megapixel counts as insignificant to their images could be rethinking that position. With the amount of detail coming from these cameras comes the ability to make huge, mural-size gallery prints and crop images while still maintaining detail.

It means a wildlife photographer can photograph a bird in flight more easily with wider telephotos and crop the image, rather than trying to fill the frame using extremely long lenses. The new Canon 5DS R might turn more fine art photographers into full-frame DSLR converts, too. How these cameras compare to the already high-megapixel medium format DSLRs and large format film will be the topic of many discussions once the cameras get into the hands of photographers.

At the annual CP Plus Photo Show, in Yokohama, Japan, we were able to see and handle the two new 5D cameras. The longest line on the expo floor, by far, was for those waiting to get their hands on the new Canon 5DS and 5DS R, even during the “Premiere Time” two-hour preview for the press.

So, what was the most common question Canon being asked at the expo? “Why do I need 50 megapixels?”—the question that most photographers who don’t have unlimited budgets are thinking about right about now.

Canon’s booth at CP Plus addressed that question in a big way, with a huge rear-projection 4K screen. A well-rehearsed presenter, perfectly timed with the images on the impressively sharp screen, lifts his hands and a model’s face appeared on the screen, in stunning detail. One more wave of his arms and the image zoomed in to reveal even more fine detail, and that was the point: fine detail. As he repeated the process with wildlife images and food photography, the answer became clear—if you are a professional still photographer with an eye for the future of digital advertising and display, you will want 50 megapixels.

The amount of information in the image was incredible to see presented that way, and one couldn't help but think that even an extreme crop of the image would still be impressively sharp and would have enough information for a large print or high-resolution screen.

The two cameras also include crop mode, down to an old favorite APS-H 1.3x crop and APS-C 1.6x crop. But the crop modes are only for stills, and are not available in video mode.

That brings up the question, “Who doesn’t need 50 megapixels?” Canon seems to have answered that one for us also. And the answer from Canon seems to be: video shooters. The long-time go-to camera for Full-Frame HDSLR video is the Canon 5D Mark III, and Canon is keeping that camera in the lineup. If one thing was missing from the Canon SLR counter at this year’s CP Plus, it was the lack of buzz surrounding video that has been the main talking point in previous years. At Canon's CP+ 2015 booth, the focus was clearly on stills photography, and there was only one Canon C-Series Cinema Camera on display, rigged and on a tripod in a far corner. 

Canon seems to be aiming squarely at the professional still photographer with these two new 5D bodies. Although you can still shoot Full HD internally with both cameras at the same frame rates, they don’t have a clean HDMI out signal and are missing the headphone jack, both of which the 5D Mark III has.

The other group probably not clambering for the 50MP sensor is the photographers who prefer larger pixel size over smaller pixels. Anyone like that out there? Yes, the 5D Mark III has decidedly larger pixels and performs better for high ISO shooters. But I suspect a lot of the photographers buying these new bodies spend most of their time shooting at ISO 100.

So, is this what some people call the “medium-format-killer?” It’s true that Canon SLRs have been making their way into more and more studio and high-production location shoots, and at 50 megapixels, it seems like these are the people Canon wants to impress.

To achieve the greatest possible sharpness and contrast for this target audience, Canon has produced the 5DS R body. This body still has sensor glass in the same places as the 5DS to maintain compatibility, but it negates the effect of the first low-pass filter by replacing what is normally a secondary low-pass filter with a low-pass-canceling filter. Much of the discussion at the Canon 5DS/5DSR counters at CP Plus was about this difference. In short, it’s for shots with post production, or nature photographers who want maximum sharpness of non-manmade scenes. When photographing manmade items with fixed pattern, there is a chance of moiré appearing in the image, but an expert digital tech can reduce those in post production. Some other manufacturers have introduced similar cameras, and for the extra sharpness and contrast, it can be worth it.

The Canon 5DS and 5DSR might have been the most talked-about news from CP Plus in Yokohama this year. We all knew the day would come when 50 megapixels could be packed into a small SLR, and now it’s official. 

Follow all of the exclusive coverage from B&H of the CP+2015 Show in Japan at this link.

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I can't wait to start working with this new tool

We were seriously considering a Pentax medium format digital for our higher resolution requirements but with the announcement of these new Canon's it sounds like they may do just the trick and we already have all the lensees and accesories we need - Awesome!

How about infrared?

Neither are natively designed for infrared use.

I have paid for the camera at your store.  Could you please check your records?  I am looking forward to using this camera.

We appreciate your business and thank you for your order.  If you have questions regarding the details of your order you would need to contact our Customer Service Dept. directly as the agents and myself responding here do not have access to orders or customer details here.  Currently Canon anticipates the cameras to be released in June of 2015.  You may contact our Customer Service Dept. directly via email at

I'm really looking forward to use this camera. Currently using Canon 5d Mark3 and 2.

With this many pixels I think any lens aberrations and any lack of sharpness would be revealed.  I would like to see some discussion of which lenses are worthy of being mounted on these high resolution bodies.

Bob, I can tell you that shooting with the new Nikon D810 two things become very evident: Camera shake and Lens shortcomings. You need to use the absolutely best lenses you can and shoot rock solid. I would imagine with the 50 megapixel Canon it will be even more evident.


Someone who is saying that amount of pixels will replace medium format obviously is not a photographer. It is not about sharpness, its different perspective, its different format, it is as you said: cars will replace motocycles because they have more wheels.

i am mainly a sports photographer. What advantages besides the extra megapixels wiuld the new 5d have over my 1Dx. ?  Thanks  

Denny, The biggest advantage is cropping abillity, you can shoot a scene with a 70-200 and crop it as if you shot it with a 400. Also focus correction, you have the ability to sharpen and recue those shots you wish were spot on.

Doug,  Please explain a little further what you mean by "focus correction".  It sounds interesting to me.


It will have disadvantages, because pixel size.

to take full advantage of pixel resolution in this camera you need to photograph sports like... CHESS

These are not models I would commonly recommend for sports shooters.  You're better off with a 1Dx or 7D Mk II for sports as these two new models are not really fast by comparison (only 5 frames per second) and the file sizes they generate will become a workflow nightmare for shooters who are used to outputting at lower resolutions for online/print publications.  The added computer processing power, backup storage space and other demands this camera would cause would not be beneficial in the long run in my own opinion.  These cameras are geared towards shooters who require the utmost detail in their shots i.e. ladscape photographers, product photographers, and studio portrait photographers who all have much control over all aspects of their shooting environment and subjects etc. 

>>The added computer processing power, backup storage space and other demands this camera would cause would not be beneficial in the long run

Sorry, the computer and storage you purchased last year may have been adequate for 20MP, but not for 50MP!

This is so cool

Having been a life-long Nikon shooter, Canon has certainly raised the bar.  I have been contemplating the D810, but after seeing the 5DS, it made me stop to rethink that.  Upon reflection, however; as is the nature of tech, I am thinking that Nikon will eventually reciprocate with say a D1000.

In any case, a hardy congratulations to Canon.  Well done.

I would say that is almost certain.  I understand the 50MP sensor is made by Sony.  That means, subject to any contract deals made with Canon, that sensor will show up on Nikon and also Sony cameras.  Don't you think?

Canon has made it very clear that these new bodies are using a Canon-made sensor, not a Sony-made sensor.  So this sensor will not be showing up in Nikon or Sony bodies.

Although Sony may be working on its own 50+ mp sensor.  I would not be surprised.  I'm just glad to see that Canon is fully back in the ball game -- not that pixel ***** is everything (it's not), but Canon is now fielding an offering in the hi-red market.

I am a street photographer type, mainly, so many MP are very desireable, indeed. ! This is a Bargain ! I wish Canon would make a PowerShot G series camera with more than my G10 has..a favorite Point and Shoot Canon im my collection..


Santa Barbara ******, California..

Is the Canon EOS 5DS R still compatible with all cannon lens?

It is compatible with Canon EF lenses and other lenses made for the Canon EF system (full-frame lenses).

Abraham ( please forward)

i am interested in the fifty Meg's but I am also in remote shooting possible drone .... I prefer very high res. with medium format such as IQ250 back for the Hassey? 

Which camera do you recommend .... I still like to shot a lot of high res stills? I was thinking the SDS R SLR

I was or am  Nikon man all my life in 35 mil. Format; I already have the whole range of lenses, will a lens converter adapter work with this new camera and with same function and result or will I require new line of Cannon lenses?

Ed kenny

full frame? realesed when?

Yes, both models are full-frame cameras.  Currently Canon anticipates them to be released sometime in June 2015.  You may click on the images of each at the end of this article in the section marked "Items Discussed in Article" to view them on our website and select the email notification feature for when they are due, and also other product details. 

Remember when Bill Gates asked "who needs more than 64k of RAM?"  Yes: 64kilobytes.

'Nuff said.


Remember when Bill Gates asked "who needs more than 64k of RAM?"  Yes: 64kilobytes.

'Nuff said.


Remember when Bill Gates asked "who needs more than 64k of RAM?"  Yes: 64kilobytes.

'Nuff said.


I think it is time to buy stock in Drobo and other raid devices. 12 terabytes will suddenly be way toooooo small to store all those high res images.

No 4K video when everyone else is has it from the simple GoPro to Panasonic.

Shame on you Canon.

---- although it looked like they had no problem throwing their picture up on a 4K screen to show the detail of the still. Sort of an oxymoron IMO.

Another 4K hype lover that doesn't understand the purpose of this camera.

I would bet a dollar to a doughnut that you don't even come close to having the necessary hardware to edit, colorize, post process, snd distribute your toy camera (gopro) video.

People that truly shoot 4k hVe tens of thousands invested in computer hardware and odds are you are not one of them, an as far as Canon is concerned neither you or your opinion matter in the least. This is a camera for pros, not plastic $400 camera shooters

You forgot to mention that of all those fine cameras you list that shoot 4K video, none have a 50 MP sensor for video OR stills. Everyone with experience realizes there is no one camera that has everything. You sound like the guy who wants an inexpensive pickup truck that can carry 10,000 pounds in the bed, but complains because it can't go 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds like a McLaren, or get 48 miles per gallon like a Prius.

So.. it has a much larger sensor area? and a WAY fast processor? Imagine buffering that kind of file size.. and the supercomputer to work with an image file this big.

When do you plan on having these camera's to ship?

Currently Canon anticipates them to start shipping sometime in June of 2015.  You may click on either model at the end of the article to take you to its product link on our website where you may opt to use the email notification feature to receive an email once they arrive into our inventory. 

Can I use current lenses on this cannon body?

The 5DS and 5DSr are both full-frame DSLRs and are compatible with Canon EF series lenses, and any third party lenses which are designed for use on Canon full-frame models.  If your lenses fit that criteria they would be compatible with it.  If you have EF-S series lenses or lenses designed for use only APS-C model cameras, then they would not be compatible with these new models. 

So, does this mean there will not be a 5D Mark IV anytime soon? Was this it? 

While 50 megapixels sounds cool, I'm not sure this is the camera that I need. 

No it doesn't necessarily.  Neither of these is intended to be a replacement for the 5D MK III camera.  A Mark IV will likely be introduced later in the year or early 2016 (that's up to Canon) but these new models are merely new tools for the photographers which need the higher pixel advantages for their work. 

Wow! I now know destiny of those L-series lenses on my Canon 1V, and they are meant for migration to 50MP.

I have the Nikon D810 at 36 M pixel.  I can say that even with this amount of pixels the limitation now becomes camera shake, the lens itself, or subject movement.  You can crop to a point in post but then you start to lose it and it doesn't matter if you are using a tripod and/or VR.  Memory is somewhat of an issue in that each one of my photos uses 72 MB of memory (RAW + jpeg) so downloading and loading during post is something you should consider.  IF the end goal is huge poster size prints then maybe more pixels are justified.  However, for the average photographer 36 MPs or even 24 MPs to me is sufficient.  I suspect just like Nikon did a few years back Canon is trying to get a "one up" on Nikon with this announcement.  

24 or 36 is enough yet you shell out more money for the d810 

which people would stop this we don't need more megapixel and yet they have upgraded thier 5,6,12,16 mp camera . I can bet the ones gripping about no more mp will buy this one too as soon as the money is aquired

Chris briley wrote:

which people would stop this we don't need more megapixel and yet they have upgraded thier 5,6,12,16 mp camera . I can bet the ones gripping about no more mp will buy this one too as soon as the money is aquired

These pixel wars are a big waste of time and energy.  No amateur needs I pre ordered the day of the announcement.  It's not a question of need.  Remember 450HP muscle cars?

Cool ! I reckon digital has just about caught up  to FILM resolution ?:)


Will the 5DS R have built in HDR and multiple exposure