Rumours of Canon’s 50 megapixels CMOS sensor have been around for a couple of years now, but the imager has finally broken cover in a new enthusiast/semi-pro D-SLR… well, to be precise, two new D-SLRs. In fact, Canon has broken its D-SLR draught with a deluge because, in addition to the EOS 5DS and 5DS R, it has also announced two variants of a new mid-range models called the EOS 750D and 760D.

EOS 5DsDesigned to slot between the flagship EOS-1DX and the EOS 5D Mark III (which continues), the EOS 5DS is based on a 53 MP full-35mm CMOS sensor which is designed and manufactured by Canon. The effective pixel count is 50.6 MP, giving a maximum image size of 8688x5792 pixels. The sensitivity range is equivalent to ISO 100 to 6400, expandable to ISO 50 and 12,800. Utilising the high resolution, there’s a choice of in-camera crops – 1.3x, 1.6x and 1:1 – which are delineated in the camera’s ‘Intelligent Viewfinder’. Even with the 1.6x crop, the resolution is still 19 megapixels.

The sensor is mated with dual ‘DiG!C 6’ processors employing 16 channels of read-out which enable, among other things, continuous shooting at up to 5.0 fps with AF tracking. The EOS 5DS R is essentially the same camera, but employs what Canon calls a “low pass cancellation filter” which appears to be a similar arrangement to what Nikon used on the D800E… in other words, an LPF is fitted, but there’s the option of cancelling out its effect to further optimise the massive resolution on offer.

Canon sensor

The key features of both models include a 61-point autofocusing system (as used on the 5D III, and with 41 of the points being cross-type arrays), a 150,000 pixels ‘RGB+IR’ metering system, a 8.1 cm ‘Clear View II’ LCD monitor screen, dual memory card slots for both the CF and SD types, a sealed magnesium alloy bodyshell and a shutter speed range of 30-1/8000 second with flash sync up to 1/200 second.

Obviously the ultra high resolution places extra demands on lenses – Canon has a list of L Series models that are recommended for use with the 5DS/R – but also on physical aspects of the camera’s design, most notably the reflex mirror mechanism.

Canon has completely redesigned it, replacing the conventional spring-actuated levers with a set of cams which control the mirror’s movement so it actually decelerates right before the moment of impact, significantly reducing the collision shock.

In addition to this ‘Mirror Vibration Control System’, the chassis is made from a new, reinforced composite material designed to reduce internal vibrations, plus the tripod mounting socket is set in a reinforcing plate. There’s also a new ‘Picture Style’ preset called Fine Detail which processes JPEGs to optimise fine detailing.


On the video side, the EOS 5DS models record Full HD resolution in the MP4 format using the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 codec with the choice of IPB or ALL-I compression regimes. There’s a choice of 30, 25 and 24 fps frame rates. They both have built-in stereo microphones and a stereo audio input but no stereo audio output. 

Certain to be on the list of suitable lenses for the 5DS models is the new 11-24mm f4.0 L Series ultra wide-angle zoom. It’s the widest angle zoom available for a D-SLR with a full-35mm sensor, and its diagonal angle-of-view spans 126 to 84 degrees. The lens' 16-element construction includes four aspherical types, one made from ultra-low dispersion (UD) glass and one made from Super UD glass. The barrel is sealed against the intrusion of dust and moisture, and a fluorine coating is applied to the front element.

Local availability for the EOS 5DS and 5DS R is expected to be from June. The 11-24mm wide-angle zoom will be available from March. Pricing has yet to be finalised.

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