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February 2015

The EOS 5DS & EOS 5DS R explained

The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R represent a new line of ultra high-resolution EOS DSLR cameras – featuring 50.6 Megapixel sensors – that are ideal for photographers who want to capture an extraordinary amount of detail in their images. The new cameras will be popular with those shooting landscape and architectural photography, as well as those shooting commercial or high-end editorial work in the studio. The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R sit alongside the EOS 5D Mark III in the EOS range, and use new technologies to make the most of both of the cameras’ high-resolution capabilities.

The two cameras differ only in the construction of their sensors. The EOS 5DS features a low-pass filter in front of its main sensor, which protects against digital artifacts such as moiré and false colour. This makes it a great choice for general-purpose photography, when high-resolution image files are required.

In the EOS 5DS R the effect of this low-pass filter is removed. This has the effect of slightly boosting sharpness and image resolution, though this is at the expense of an increased risk of moiré and false colour appearing in images. For this reason the EOS 5DS R is recommended for photographers who specialise in landscape photography, or for those who prefer to closely control shooting conditions in a studio environment.

In this article CPN takes a look at the capabilities of both of the cameras and the technologies that underpin their performance. Please click on the section headings below to find out more about the high-resolution EOS 5D S and EOS 5DS R cameras.


The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R are impressively specified DSLR cameras that take the heritage of their legendary EOS 5D-series predecessors and add significantly upgraded specifications, most notably their high-resolution 50.6 Megapixel sensors for shooting stills.

  • EOS 5DS: 50.6 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor with a low-pass filter.
  • EOS 5DS R: 50.6 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor with low-pass cancellation filter.
  • Dual DIGIC 6 image processors.
  • 5 frames per second with selectable burst speeds and silent shutter mode.
  • 61-point wide area AF including 41 cross-type AF sensors, with EOS iTR, AI Servo AF III, AF Configuration tool.
  • 150k pixel RGB+IR metering sensor; 252-zone metering system.
  • Approx. 100% magnification Intelligent Viewfinder II with electronic overlay.
  • 8.11cm (3.2”) 1.04 million-pixel Clear View II LCD screen.
  • 1.3x, 1.6x and 1:1 ratio crop modes with masked viewfinder display.
  • Mirror Vibration Control System to reduce mirror vibration blur.
  • ‘Fine Detail’ Picture Style; in-camera sharpening adjustments: ‘Strength’, ‘Threshold’ and ‘Fineness’.
  • CF and SD (UHS I) dual memory card slots.
  • Peripheral Illumination and Chromatic Aberration Lens Correction in-camera.
  • In-camera Multiple Exposure and HDR modes.
  • Customisable Quick Control screen.
  • +/- 5 stops of exposure compensation.
  • Weather resistance.
  • Built-in timer functionality – BULB timer and interval shooting timer.
  • Time-lapse Movie function.
  • Super Speed USB 3.0 for high-speed tethering and image/movie transfer.
  • 150,000 shutter cycle life.
  • ISO 100-6400 sensitivity; expandable to ISO 50-12,800.
  • Full HD Movie shooting.
  • Microphone connection.
  • Dual Axis Electronic Level.
  • Compatible with most EOS 5D Mark III accessories*

* Firmware updates and replacement cables may be required, owing to USB 3.0 connectivity.


The EOS 5D S and EOS 5DS R both feature 50.6 Megapixel full-frame sensors that offer superb image quality in easy-to-handle DSLR bodies.


At the heart of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R is a 50.6 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor that delivers new levels of image quality in DSLR photography. Subjects are captured in incredible detail, and file sizes are large enough for printing at huge sizes. Dual DIGIC 6 processing ensures accurate colours and natural variations in tone.

Full-frame 50.6 Megapixel CMOS sensor

The full-frame CMOS sensor in the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R cameras features no fewer than 50.6 Megapixels, delivering image files that measure 8688 x 5792 pixels when opened for editing in post-production. For this kind of file size photographers have previously had to resort to working with larger medium format cameras, but the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R deliver this level of detail alongside the convenience, speed and creative flexibility of a DSLR.


The full-frame CMOS sensor of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R offers increased light sensitivity, image noise reduction at higher ISO speeds and a wide dynamic range.


The EOS 5DS’ and EOS 5DS R’s sensors use gap-less microlenses located above each photodiode to maximise the light gathering capability, no matter what angle the light arrives at the sensor from.

The naming of the cameras follows those of previous Canon EOS models such as ‘EOS-1D/EOS-1DS’, with the ‘S’ added to indicate a high-resolution camera and meaning ‘Super’ or ‘Superior’. To help to indicate the model in which the low-pass filter has been cancelled – the EOS 5DS R – ‘R’ for Resolution was chosen in order to reflect its extra resolution ability over the EOS 5DS.

To get so many pixels on to the cameras’ 36x24mm sensor, each photodiode must be made much smaller, which presents its own engineering challenges. Improvement in semiconductor manufacturing ensures image quality isn’t compromised by excessive digital noise. The sensor uses optimised gap-less microlenses with a reduced distance to the photodiode to improve the light gathering efficiency. The sensor’s design also enables the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R to offer the same wide dynamic range as the EOS 5D Mark III.


Diagram showing the path of the 14-bit data from the sensors of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R cameras to the memory cards via four analogue-to-digital converters.

16-channel, high-speed output

Shooting five 50.6 Megapixel frames every second presents significant engineering challenges when it comes to the electronic architecture inside the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R. To cope with the vast quantity of data coming from the cameras’ sensor, a 16-channel readout is used to transfer the 14-bit RAW data to four analogue-to-digital converters. These converters pass data to the cameras’ Dual DIGIC 6 processors where it is turned into RAW and JPEG files. This delivers the type of fast, responsive performance you’d expect from cameras shooting much smaller files.

Which camera for me? EOS 5DS or EOS 5DS R?

Also available is the EOS 5DS R – a variant with a low-pass cancellation filter, resulting in extra sharpness and image resolution.

Traditional digital camera designs – including the rest of the EOS range – use a low-pass filter to prevent against digital artifacts appearing in images, such as moiré and false colour. Such filters work by slightly softening the image so that repeating patterns in the subject do not coincide with the grid-like pixel pattern on the sensor. However, this effect involves a small sacrifice in sharpness.

With its low-pass cancellation filter the EOS 5DS R can use its massive 50.6 Megapixel resolution to the full; delivering that extra bit of critical sharpness when it really matters. This is done at the expense of an increased risk of repeat-pattern artifacts, meaning the EOS 5DS R is best suited to users working in the studio, where conditions can be carefully controlled, or for those photographers shooting landscape and nature images that do not feature such regular patterns.

Rather than physically removing the low-pass filter from the camera in the EOS 5DS R, a cancellation filter is used to negate its effect. This ensures the distance from the lens mount to the sensor is exactly the same for both the EOS 5DS and the EOS 5DS R, allowing the cameras to share the same AF sensor mechanism and mirror box assembly.


The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R DSLRs utilise Dual DIGIC 6 image processors which offer a number of advantages including incredibly accurate reproduction of colours and variations in tone, as well as low noise at high ISO settings.

Dual DIGIC 6 image processors

At the heart of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R are Dual DIGIC 6 processors that deliver fast, responsive performance and handle the massive amount of RAW data coming from the cameras’ sensors. Sophisticated image processing ensures accurate reproduction of colours and variations in tone, as well as guarding against noise at high ISO settings.

ISO sensitivity

Even with such high resolution, the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R still perform superbly in low-light situations. Standard ISO sensitivity can be set between ISO 100 and ISO 6400, giving you the creative freedom to use the most appropriate aperture and shutter speed combination. And when the situation calls for it, the expansion settings extend the ISO shooting range between ISO 50 and ISO 12,800.

White Balance settings

The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R feature a choice of Auto White Balance (AWB) settings that take a different approach to artificial light:

  • ‘Ambience Priority’ aims to retain some of the warm colour tones from artificial light sources in order to preserve some of the atmosphere of a scene. This is similar to the conventional AWB setting on other EOS cameras.
  • ‘White Priority’ eliminates most of the warmth from tungsten lighting and tries to give colour-neutral images where possible. This is the first time such a setting has been included in EOS cameras and if shooting under lighting with different source characteristics from tungsten lighting the expected effect may not be obtained.


The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R Auto White Balance ‘Ambience Priority’ and ‘White Priority’ settings offer different choices for shooting under artificial light conditions.

In-camera lens correction

To optimise image quality from the high-resolution sensors of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R two different types of lens correction are available when shooting JPEGs. The first is Peripheral Illumination Correction, which corrects any light fall-off towards the edges of the frame, ensuring an even exposure. Secondly, Chromatic Aberration Correction removes any coloured fringing or halos from high-contrast edges. Working together these technologies ensure the very highest performance from your Canon lenses when shooting with the optically demanding EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R cameras.


EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R DSLRs offer SD and CF card slots to use fast UDMA 7 cards and allow for a write speed of up to 167MB per second.

Memory cards

The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R use fast UDMA 7 memory cards to write large image files quickly, freeing up the cameras so you can keep shooting. A write speed of up to 167MB per second can be sustained. UHS-I SD memory card support is now included, providing faster SD writing speeds than the EOS 5D Mark III, so you can make use of two of the world’s most common memory card formats. Configure the cameras to write the same file to both cards for an ‘on-the-go’ back-up solution, or JPEG files to one card and RAW files to another. You can also simply configure an SD card as an overflow, so you don’t have to stop shooting to change cards just when things are getting interesting.

Image playback

Reviewing images on the cameras’ 1.04-million dot Clear View LCD II screen is a pleasure. While reviewing images you can overlay gridlines to check composition and alignment, and zoom in at the touch of a button to check for critical sharpness. Magnification control works in the same way as with the EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III, allowing you to zoom instantly to a pre-set level (1x, 2x, 4x, 8x or 16x magnification or actual size). The maximum pre-set level has been increased from 10x to 16x to still provide an approx. 100% magnification with the new, higher Megapixel images.

When you need to review pictures, a two-image comparative display option allows two photos to be shown side-by-side. Pressing the SET button switches between each image and the Main and Quick Control dials and zoom controls are used as normal to magnify and change the image.

EOS Integrated Cleaning System

The EOS Integrated Cleaning System (EICS) was pioneered with the introduction of the EOS 400D in 2006, and has evolved to become a highly effective method for dealing with sensor dust, which can spoil image quality when left unchecked.

EICS operates on three principles: to reduce the formation of dust in the first place; to repel dust from the surface of the sensor; and to remove any dust that does remain behind. The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R include a fluorine coating to repel dust, while ultrasonic vibrations are used to shake dust from the sensor’s surface.

The EICS system isn’t just mechanical, but also uses a software element in the supplied Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software that accompanies the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R to remove any stubborn dust spots that remain.

In-camera creativity

Capturing RAW and JPEG files simultaneously allows users to capture one file for post-production and another that can be used for proof layouts, client editing and concept development. The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R offer new levels of control over in-camera JPEG files, meaning fewer surprises for you and your creative team as your shoot progresses.

Crop shooting


Menu screen showing the crop options – including 1:1, 1.3x, 1.6x, 4:3 and 16:9 – that are available in the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R DSLRs. The 4:3 and 16:9 aspects are only available when using Live View mode.

The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R allow you to choose from three crop options which are shown in the viewfinder to help you to compose – choose either to see these as outlines or as a masked area. JPEG images are captured at the selected crop setting while RAW files are captured full-frame with the crop shown in DPP, allowing for fine adjustment afterwards.

The 1.3x and 1.6x crops are convenient for those times when a teleconverter is not available. Shooting with the 1.3x crop will give you a 30.5 Megapixel still, whilst using the 1.6x crop option gives a 19.6 Megapixel still. A 1:1 aspect ratio setting allows square-frame images to be composed accurately, producing images with a ratio similar to that used by some medium format cameras. Additional 4:3 and 16:9 aspects are only available when shooting using the Live View mode of the cameras.

Controllable sharpness

A new ‘Fine Detail’ Picture Style has been developed to maximise the amount of detail captured by the cameras’ 50.6 Megapixel sensors. This setting prioritises gradation of tones and emphasises fine detail. Saturation is similar to the Standard Picture Style but the contrast is lower than that used in the Standard setting. Fine Detail is intended for images that will be used straight from the camera, without post-production.


Picture Style menu screen showing the Fine Detail option of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R DSLRs selected.

All of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R’s Picture Styles now feature three adjustable sharpening parameters, which give more control over the sharpening performed in-camera on JPEG files. The parameters are similar to those found in the Unsharp Mask filter in Adobe Photoshop and Canon’s DPP software:

  • The ‘Strength’ slider adjusts how much sharpening is applied to edges in the image.
  • The ‘Fineness’ slider determines the size of the details that are sharpened. Move it to the left to sharpen smaller details.
  • The ‘Threshold’ slider specifies how much contrast there needs to be in a part of the picture before it is considered an edge and sharpened. At low settings even subtle edges can be sharpened.

Built-in timer functions

The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R feature a built-in interval timer, which can be used to shoot images over a pre-programmed period of time. It’s a great way to record a slowly evolving scene, like changes in scenery, buildings or even the night sky. Intervals can be as short as 1 second or as long as 99hr 59min 59sec.

The cameras also feature a new time-lapse Movie mode, which shoots still frames at specific intervals before combining them in-camera to create a movie clip that’s saved to the camera’s memory card as a .mov file. Up to 3600 frames can be captured automatically and merged into a single clip, with intervals ranging from 1 second to 99hr 59min 59sec. See the ‘Full HD Movies’ section of this article for more information on how to use this function.


Please click on the window above to watch the short film ‘A Day in Tokyo’ that was created using the time-lapse Movie mode of the EOS 5DS.

The built-in timer can also control the length of bulb exposures, enabling very long shutter speeds of up to 99hr 59min 59sec (that’s over four days) to be used.

Flicker detection


The diagram above shows how the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R can combat irregular exposures and colour banding caused by a flickering light source.

Shooting with a fast shutter speed under artificial light can result in irregular exposures and colour banding, caused by changes in brightness as the light source flickers. Such a flicker usually happens at 100Hz or 120Hz, depending on the nature of the mains electricity supply.

The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R feature flicker detection technology similar to that found in the EOS 7D Mark II. When a flicker of 100Hz or 120Hz is detected, the cameras time each exposure to match a peak in brightness, in order to ensure constancy of exposure and White Balance between frames. In Scene Intelligent Automatic mode, anti-flicker shooting takes effect automatically without intervention by the photographer.

Multiple exposure shooting


An image created using the multiple exposure shooting setting of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R DSLRs.

The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R allow up to nine frames to be stacked on top of each other in-camera, as they are captured. The composite image that’s produced can be saved as either a JPEG or a RAW file. There are a few different ways of capturing such a multiple exposure, with each method suiting a different creative scenario.

  • In Additive mode shooting a multiple exposure is much like it would be on a film camera: the total exposure of the overall image is a sum of the component frames. This means that each frame must be underexposed, or against a black background, in order to achieve the correct final result.
  • The Average setting automatically adjusts each component frame so that the end result appears correct. Unlike the Additive setting, images shot with the average setting are taken with the same exposure setting, which is determined by the first frame.
  • The Comparative Bright setting works well with bright objects illuminated against a dark background, such as a bright moon tracking across the night sky. In this setting only the brightest objects from each image are carried across to the final frame.
  • The Comparative Dark setting, on the other hand, is used to overlay dark parts of the scene, eliminating the bright parts from subsequent frames. This can be used to eliminate reflections from transparent surfaces, letting the detail beneath show through.

In-camera HDR


An example of an HDR image that was created from three exposures using the creative Art Embossed setting of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R DSLRs.

In addition to multiple exposure shooting, the EOS 5D S and EOS 5DS R can also combine different exposures to extend the dynamic range of JPEG images. The cameras capture three frames in close succession – one correctly exposed, another overexposed and a third shot underexposed – which are then combined into a single image that shows more detail in highlight and shadow areas than a conventionally shot JPEG file.

The exposure difference between the source images can be selected by the photographer (in an exposure range of between +/- 1-3 EV), or the cameras can work this out automatically for each scene. The look and feel of the combined exposure can also be selected from a series of tone maps, such as Natural, to more creative effects like Art Standard, Art Vivid, Art Bold and Art Embossed.

Autofocus SYSTEM

The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R take the 61-point AF system from the EOS 5D Mark III and combine it with the advanced exposure metering technology found in the EOS 7D Mark II. The result is astonishing autofocusing performance that is on a par with that of the EOS-1D X.

61-point AF system

Like the EOS 5D Mark III and EOS-1D X, the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R feature 61 focusing points spread out across the frame in a wide-area pattern. Depending on the lens in use, up to 41 of these focusing points are cross-type in nature, offering enhanced sensitivity (NB: lenses with slower maximum apertures may not allow enough light flux across the AF sensor, which can mean fewer focus points are available).

For enhanced focusing accuracy, all of the 61 focus points feature a dual-line, zigzag arrangement that uses two focus sensors slightly off-set from each other. One provides high accuracy while the other is tailored for high-speed, especially when performing predictive AF on moving subjects.


Diagram showing the AF sensor configurations of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R cameras.


Diagram of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R viewfinder display showing the cross-type, vertical-line and horizontal-line AF points of the cameras.

Five of the central focusing points, arranged vertically down the middle of the frame, function as dual cross-type AF points with f/2.8 or faster lenses. Such focus points comprise a cross-type point positioned diagonally as an ‘X’, plus a second cross-type point positioned as a ‘+’, which is sensitive to horizontal and vertical lines. Working together, these points offer increased focus precision, especially in low-light conditions.

With lenses that have maximum apertures of f/4 or faster, up to 41 cross-type focus points are available: 21 in the central bank and two sets of 10 in the banks on either side of this.

Certain combinations of lenses and teleconverters can result in a maximum aperture of f/8. Under these circumstances only the central AF point is active. This is supported by the surrounding four AF sensors, which act as assisting focus points. This effectively expands the size of the AF detection area – essential for moving subjects that appear small in the viewfinder and are difficult to track, such as small animals and birds in flight.

iTR autofocus

The EOS 5D S and EOS 5DS R use iTR (Intelligent Tracking and Recognition) technology to track moving subjects more accurately. Working in tandem with the cameras’ Intelligent Subject Analysis (iSA), information from the cameras’ 150,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor is used to identify faces and coloured objects and track these around the frame as they move.

Both cameras feature new algorithms that improve the automatic selection of AF points as the subject moves and boost performance when tracking coloured, non-human objects. In order to function properly, the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R need to be set to Zone AF or 61-point Auto Selection.


The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R’s iTR (Intelligent Tracking and Recognition) AF focusing system uses colour and face information to recognise and track subjects as they move around the frame.


Menu screen showing the initial AF point selection option of AI Servo AF in the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R cameras.


When shooting action and moving objects the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R use AI Servo AF III – this feature was introduced in the EOS-1D X, the professional camera of choice for sports and news photographers the world over. AI Servo AF III continuously monitors the subject, predicting where it will be in the future based on its motion so far. If the subject’s position cannot be determined at any one time, this negative result is ignored and the next focus measurement is based on the previous accurate result.

When tracking focus, the cameras assume that large jumps in AF are because the object has passed behind another object nearer to the camera and is obscured momentarily from view. Under these circumstances the autofocus does not jump to the new object, but stays near the previously established distance so that tracking of the original subject can continue when it comes back into view.

However this behaviour may not be correct for all subjects, therefore Canon has enabled this behaviour to be customised, according to the type of scene being photographed, using the AF configuration tool...

AF configuration tool

As with the EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III, the autofocus system found in the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R cameras is a sophisticated and highly capable piece of technology. To ensure you get the most from the AI Servo setting, you should ensure it is correctly tailored for the subject you are shooting, especially when that subject is moving (note: the AF configuration tool settings have no affect when you’re using One Shot AF mode).

Customising the cameras’ AF behaviour is simpler than you might think: all of the focusing settings (including Custom settings) are grouped into a single AF menu for easy access. Changes are made using three simple slider controls:

1/ - Tracking sensitivity changes the speed with which the cameras react when a subject moves away from the currently selected focusing point. At negative settings this happens more slowly – ideal for subjects that are obscured occasionally by foreground objects. At positive settings the cameras switch to a new focus subject/distance more quickly.

2/ - Acceleration/deceleration tracking alters the response to changes in subject speed, including when a subject stops suddenly. This setting prepares the cameras’ algorithm for these unexpected changes, which may otherwise be ignored as errors, and therefore delaying any change in focus to track the subject. For subjects that change their speed often (for example, footballers or dancers), try setting this option to +1 or +2 for motorcycle racing at the corners of a circuit. For subjects that move consistently, a setting of 0 will deliver the best results.

3/ - AF point Auto Switching takes effect when using 61-point auto selection, Zone AF or AF point expansion, and governs AF point switching in response to a subject’s movement. A value of 0 is the standard setting, balancing focus stability with tracking. At the +1 and +2 settings, focusing points will be switched when smaller changes in focus are detected.

Customising AF behaviour in this way gives the photographer a great deal of control, however it still requires some experimentation to come up with the right combination of settings. To make things easier, the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R both feature six AF ‘case studies’ that are designed for commonly encountered shooting scenarios:

  • Case 1 is the default setting and is ideal for general-purpose photography. It delivers fast and accurate focusing, but if this is the only option you use then you may not be getting everything that the cameras’ AF systems can offer.
  • Case 2 is designed for situations where a subject may move away from the active AF point momentarily, or is obscured briefly from view. The cameras will continue to track the subject – a great option for sports like tennis, swimming and skiing.
  • Case 3 allows the photographer to focus instantly on a new subject or to switch between different subjects quickly, for example when photographing cycling. Setting the Tracking Sensitivity to +2 boosts the speed of focus acquisition even further, but requires some practice to use.
  • Case 4 is designed for subjects that change direction rapidly, as happens in motorsports, football or basketball. The cameras will prioritise the speed of tracking to keep up with these changes in speed, even if a large change in focus distance is required.
  • Case 5 is meant for use with automatic AF point selection, Zone AF and AF point expansion modes, and is designed for subjects that change direction suddenly – moving up, down, left or right erratically. These settings allow the cameras to switch AF points quickly to keep up with the motion. It’s ideal for photographing dancing, gymnastics and figure skating, as well as aerobatic flying.
  • Case 6 is rather like a combination of Case 4 and Case 5. Even if the subject starts or stops suddenly or makes erratic changes in direction the cameras will respond quickly to keep focus on the subject. Again this setting is only for use with Automatic AF point selection Zone AF and AF point expansion.

AF point selection

AF points can be selected individually, used as groups, or the cameras can chose focus points automatically on your behalf. Users can even select different focus points depending on how the cameras are being held – handy when switching between vertical and horizontal shooting.


The menu screen on the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS shows the AF Point selection options available.

  • Single AF point selection allows users to select just one AF point, in order to specify exactly where in the frame to focus.
  • Spot AF mode allows even more specificity, by using even smaller AF points. This can give much more precise focusing less affected by objects around the focus point but will increase the time it takes to focus on a subject.
  • Expanded AF surrounds the selected focus point with other active focus points, so that focusing is maintained if the subject moves. The selected point can be surrounded by four additional points (top, bottom, left and right) or by eight additional points.
  • Zone AF uses larger groups of AF points, which can be positioned in the frame.
  • Auto Selection AF activates all 61 of the focus points, with the cameras’ algorithms selecting the points to use automatically.

AF Microadjustment

The very high sensor resolutions of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R DSLRs make focusing precision and accuracy even more important. To this end, the cameras’ AF Microadjustment feature becomes more important than on previous cameras. Although all Canon cameras and lenses are made to extremely high specifications, there is a manufacturing tolerance range. In some cases a camera could be at one end of this range and the lens at the other, which can lead to focusing inaccuracies with this combination. The AF Microadjustment function allows the exact point of focus to achieved by setting the appropriate compensation setting for any tolerance differences between camera and lens.


The AF Microadjustment menu screen of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R - in this case the adjustment option for a specific EF50mm f/1.4 USM lens is selected.

Often such a mismatch is barely noticeable but when shooting with very shallow depth-of-field, or when shooting with high-resolution sensors, the problem will become more apparent.

AF Adjustment in the cameras is similar to the system contained in the EOS 5D Mark III. The cameras can detect a lens’ serial number and remember up to 40 lenses, enabling specific Microadjustments to be made for each lens in your bag. If the serial number of your lens isn’t detected automatically it’s possible to enter this manually be saved for future use.

When making AF Microadjustments with zoom lenses, it is possible to register settings for each end of the zoom range, ensuring that images are accurately focused whatever focal length your are shooting with.

Metering and exposure control

The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R use an intelligent 252-zone metering system that measures both visible and infrared light for more accurate results. The metering systems of the cameras works hand-in-hand with the autofocus and White Balance systems.

252-zone metering sensor

The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R use the same 150,000-pixel RGB+IR sensor as is found in the EOS 7D Mark II for evaluative exposure metering and evaluative flash metering. The sensor also detects faces and the colour of objects, and passes this information to the iTR autofocus systems of the cameras.


The 252 metering zones, and 61 AF points, of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R as they appear in the cameras’ viewfinders.

Infrared (IR) light is detected as well as visible light, which improves the precision of the iTR AF system and enhances the accuracy of exposure metering. Often yellow and green objects in nature reflect a lot of IR light and can confuse a camera’s metering systems. By detecting this IR the cameras can eliminate it from its exposure calculations, for a more accurate result. The IR detector also reduces AF errors caused by different light sources and improves the precision of the Auto White Balance, Auto Picture Style and Auto Lighting Optimizer.

When performing evaluative exposure metering, the 150,000-pixel RGB+IR sensor is split up into 252 zones – an improvement over the 63 zones offered by the EOS 5D Mark III. The brightness of each zone is analysed individually and used to calculate the correct exposure. As well as colour information and face detection the system uses distance information from the cameras’ AF systems for a more accurate result. As well as evaluative metering, the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R offer spot, partial and centre-weighted metering patterns.

Colour information is also used for flash exposure metering when shooting with a Canon Speedlite flashgun, making the E-TTL flash system on the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R more accurate than that found in the EOS 5D Mark III.

Exposure compensation and bracketing


Menu screen showing the exposure compensation (AEB) options of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R DSLRs.

Exposure compensation can be applied in 1/3-stop or 1/2-stop increments, up to a maximum of ±5 stops. This can be combined with Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) to capture two, three, five or seven-shot sequences at different exposures – great for making HDR sequences or for making sure you have the right exposure in critical situations.


The shutter inside the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R is the same reliable shutter used in the EOS 5D Mark III, which has been used by professional photographers in all environments. A brand new Mirror Vibration Control System reduces camera shake from internal movements, helping to preserve critical sharpness.

Shutter durability


The shutters of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R are built to the same standard as the shutter in the EOS 5D Mark III.

To cope with the demands of professional use, the shutters in the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R are designed for a life of up to 150,000 cycles – the same standard as the EOS 5D Mark III. It is capable of delivering shutter speeds from 1/8000sec down to 30sec in 1/3-stop or 1/2-stop increments, plus a BULB setting for long exposures that can be timed using the cameras’ built-in timer.

Shutter lag is reduced to just 59ms, almost as short as the default 55ms lag time of the EOS-1D X camera.

New mirror mechanism

Achieving critical sharpness at such a high (50.6) Megapixel resolution means that every source of vibration and movement must be identified and reduced. A significant source of vibration in DSLR cameras comes from the movement of the main reflex mirror, which is moved out of the way when the shutter opens. For this reason, the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R use a newly-designed Mirror Vibration Control System to minimise such vibrations.


Please click on the window above to watch a short film that shows how the Mirror Vibration Control System of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R cameras works.

Traditional reflex mirrors, which are fired at high-speed by a spring, cause vibrations when they collide with the stops at the end of their motion. But the mirror in the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R is driven in a fast-but-controlled fashion using motors and a series of cams – the mirror is pushed up and pulled down and vibrations are minimised (a welcome side effect is that the cameras’ shutter sound is also reduced). The suppression of mirror vibration ensures the full resolving power of the cameras can be utilised.

Other aspects of the cameras have also been designed to reduce the effect of vibrations on image quality, including thickening the steel chassis bottom plate and tripod socket.

High-speed and silent shooting

Even with such a high pixel count the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R can still shoot continuously at 5 frames per second, which is equivalent to over 300Mb per second. Using a UDMA 7 CompactFlash card, it is possible to shoot over 500 full-resolution JPEG images or 14 full-resolution RAW files in one single burst. In Silent Shooting mode shutter noise is reduced even further (similar to the sound of the silent mode of the EOS 5D Mark III), for those times when you need to be discreet.


The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R feature a host of different shooting modes and technologies that help you create great images – no matter where you are or what you are shooting. Scene Detection aims to recognise the type of subject being photographed, allowing systems like Auto White Balance and Auto Lighting Optimizer to react according.

EOS Scene Detection System

The EOS Scene Detection System is a feature of many cameras in the EOS range. It’s used to tailor the cameras’ systems to the subject being photographed, ensuring the optimum results are produced in terms of colour contrast and sharpness.

On the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R, the EOS Scene Detection System automatically analyses shooting conditions with relation to a subject’s face, colour, contrast and brightness. It also looks at focus distance and assesses if the subject is moving.

In addition to the normal Picture Style settings (Standard, Landscape, Portrait, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome and Fine Detail) the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R feature an Auto Picture Style mode. Based on information collected by the EOS Scene Detection System, this Auto Picture Style adjusts contrast, colour, tone and sharpness depending on the subject being photographed. It’s an excellent choice for general-purpose shooting, but excels with nature and landscape images, particularly those taken at sunset.


Diagram showing the EOS Scene Detection System of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R cameras.

The EOS Scene Detection System also improves the accuracy of Auto White Balance settings. Skin tones look more accurate, sunset colours are more vivid, and photos shot under artificial light sources, like tungsten lighting, look more natural.

Highlight Tone Priority

Loss of highlight detail is often one of a photographer’s greatest concerns when shooting in brightly lit and high-contrast situations. Canon’s often overlooked Highlight Tone Priority feature can come to the rescue, increasing an image’s dynamic range by approximately one stop and retaining details in the brightest parts of the image. Highlight Tone Priority adjusts how the metering system interprets the scene to ensure that more detail is preserved in highlight areas. Using Highlight Tone Priority limits your lowest ISO setting available to ISO 200.

Auto Lighting Optimizer

Auto Lighting Optimizer (ALO) is featured on every camera in the current EOS line-up. It aims to smooth out high contrast so that detail can be seen in both highlight and shadow areas. ALO uses tone curves adjustments to modify a photo during image processing. Photographers using the EOS 5DS or EOS 5DS R can choose from three levels, plus a ‘Disable’ setting that turns off the effect.

When using the EOS 5DS or EOS 5DS R, ALO gives particularly good results when shooting sunsets, backlit portraits and scenes with highlights that would otherwise look over exposed. ALO can give unexpected results when working in manual shooting mode, so an option to disable the effect automatically when the camera is switched to manual has been included. Auto Lighting Optimizer and Highlight Tone Priority cannot be used in combination with each other.

Custom shooting modes


Screen showing where to select the three Custom shooting modes within the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R menus.

The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R feature Custom shooting mode options that enable photographers to recall favourite combinations of settings quickly and easily. This is particularly useful when photographing different subjects that require the cameras to be set up in different ways, for example indoor and outdoor settings for a wedding.

Three Custom shooting modes are available: C1, C2 and C3. The cameras’ Custom modes behave like those on the EOS 5D Mark III, with a choice to retain any changes made to the settings in the Custom mode or to revert to the original Custom settings once the shooting modes are changed or when the cameras are switched off and on again. This ‘auto update set’ feature avoids a situation where the EOS 5DS or EOS 5DS R can reset to stored Custom settings if they are left for a while and go to sleep.

Full HD Movies

The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R shoot video in similar way to the EOS 5D Mark III, however the design priority of these cameras was to produce the highest possible stills resolution, therefore some video functions were sacrificed. Both cameras retain some of the video features found first in the 5D Mark III for users who want to shoot video to accompany their still images.

Frame rates

The cameras offer the ability to shoot 1080p Full HD video at 24, 25 and 30fps, for maximum compatibility with your editing workflow and footage from other sources. Additionally, 720p HD video can be captured at 60fps, allowing half-speed slow-mo effects in post-production.


Screen showing where to select Movie Servo AF within the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R menus.

Footage can be recorded continuously for up to 29min 59sec, although this is written as a series of files because of the 4GB file size limit of the FAT32 format used by memory cards.

One feature available on the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R but not found on the 5D Mark III is Movie Servo AF, allowing the tracking of subjects when filming. This is possible thanks to the processing power of the Dual DIGIC 6 processors used in the cameras.

Movie compression methods

Like the EOS 5D Mark III and EOS-1D X, the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R record footage using the H.264 codec, and offer a choice of two compression methods within this codec – IPB or ALL-I. When shooting video, the frames that are captured can be classified as either Intra-frames or predicted frames. The Intra-frames are key to how video compression works.

  • The IPB standard works by describing predicted frames only in terms of what changes between them, referencing previous and future Intra-frames to do so. It’s an ideal technology for longer length clips, ensuring smaller file sizes for streaming and portable viewing.
  • The ALL-I compression technique treats each frame as an Intra-frame, without referencing other frames. This preserves image quality throughout the editing workflow and is the ideal approach for broadcast-quality applications.

When filming with ALL-I compression, file sizes will be around three times larger than with IPB, although it’s easier to edit an individual frame without degrading image quality. Despite its larger file size ALL-I footage requires less computer power to play back and edit than IPB, since it doesn’t have to be decompressed as much.

The uncompressed HDMI output found on the 5D Mark III has not been included on either of the cameras as the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R are more prone to moiré and skewing, making them less suitable for high-end video production.


Please click on the window above to watch a short film that explains how to shoot time-lapse movies with the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R.

Time-lapse Movie shooting

The cameras also feature a new time-lapse Movie shooting mode, which shoots still frames at specific intervals before combining them to create a .mov movie file. Up to 3600 frames can be captured automatically and merged into a single clip, with intervals ranging from 1 second to 99hr 59min 59sec. The movies created by the cameras will be either with Full HD (1980x1080) 29.97p ALL-I if the camera is set to NTSC or Full HD (1980x1080) 25.00p ALL-I if set to PAL. A sequence of 3600 shots will produce a movie with a playback time of about two minutes at Full HD 29.97p ALL-I or about two minutes 24 seconds at Full HD 25.00p ALL-I.


Please click on the window above to watch the short film ‘Art-lapse’ that was created using the time-lapse Movie mode of the EOS 5DS.

Audio control


The outputs and inputs of the EOS 5DS R DSLR include HDMI out and a mic port.

The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R record 16-bit digital audio at a 48KHz sample rate – in mono through the camera’s built-in microphone, and in stereo through a suitable external microphone. Sound recording level can be adjusted manually, even while the camera is recording, and a live audio levels meter is displayed on screen during filming. A headphone socket, for monitoring audio, is not included. This is due to a lack of space inside the cameras, caused by the move to USB 3.0 connectivity.

To prevent the ‘click’ noise of the cameras’ controls appearing on the soundtrack, the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R feature a touch-sensitive Silent Control Function located inside the Quick Control Dial. This can be used to adjust settings silently while recording, including shutter speed, aperture, ISO and exposure compensation.

Viewfinder and LCD screen

The viewfinder in the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R offers a bright clear view of everything that will appear in the frame, so you can compose each shot with confidence. Information is presented clearly, but without distracting you from the creative process of photography. A 3.2-inch Clear View LCD II screen is great for reviewing and shooting stills and video.


The viewfinder in the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R is similar to that found in the EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III cameras. The eye-point is 22mm and coverage is approximately 100%, meaning you can compose images accurately and with confidence. Both cameras use the Intelligent Viewfinder II technology based on a translucent LCD sandwiched between the focusing screen’s layers. The Intelligent Viewfinder II is used to overlay information in the viewfinder screen area, such as a selected/active focus points, a grid to help composition, warnings about functions in use and cropped areas displays. Other information is shown underneath the main viewfinder in a separate display.

The translucent LCD is unable to generate light, so the viewfinder features red LEDs that illuminate entire LCD in dim conditions. By default, the red LEDs will light automatically in low light in One Shot AF, however this can be set to ‘always on’ or ‘always off’ by using settings located within the AF menu area. To activate the AF points in AI servo you will need to activate this in the VF display illumination sub-menu. When activated in AI servo the red LED will blink to prevent the cameras’ exposure metering from being affected.


Diagram showing the information that can be viewed within the central part of the viewfinders of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R cameras.


Diagram showing the information that can be viewed within the bottom area of the viewfinders of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R cameras.

Clear View LCD II screen


Rear shot of the EOS 5DS R DSLR which, like the EOS 5DS, has a large, 8.11cm (3.2”) Clear View LCD II screen.

A large Clear View LCD II rear screen is identical to that found on the EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III cameras. It measures 8.11cm (3.2 inches) diagonally and features 1.04 million dots. The screen’s construction features no gap between the protective glass and the LCD itself, which helps to combat reflections. An anti-reflective coating is also included. Being a 3:2 ratio screen means it identical matches the ratio of images taken allowing them to be shown larger on the screen than other cameras which use a 4:3 ratio screen that can only show a crop or the full image with black bands top and bottom.

A dedicated Live View/Movie control is positioned on the back of the cameras. Turning it to the Photo or Movie position selects that form of shooting, and pressing the START/STOP button lifts the main mirror and shows the scene through the cameras’ lenses on the main screen.

Dual Axis Electronic Level

A Dual Axis Electronic Level helps photographers to keep the cameras level when shooting – a bonus for landscape photographers striving for straight horizons, or those shooting architecture. Both pitch (forward-backward) and roll (side-to-side) movement is detected in 1˚ increments, and the level is shown both in the viewfinders (above the focusing points) and on the LCD screens, making it a useful tool at night when reference points are hard to see in the viewfinder.

Operation and construction

The designs of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R combine ergonomics, durability and customisability for a shooting experience that encourages creativity. Set up the cameras just as you like, with their customisable controls and Custom Quick Control screen.


The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R feature an identical control layout to the EOS 5D Mark III, meaning the cameras will fit perfectly into your existing workflow. You’ll be able to swap between any of the camera bodies quickly and easily, without searching around for any controls.

The cameras’ main ON/OFF switch is positioned on the left side of the top plate behind the mode dial, which features a lock to prevent accidental movement. A separate lock also de-activates the Quick Control Dial, and can be set to lock the Main Dial and Multi-Controller too.


Diagram showing the key front and top plate controls and features of the EOS 5DS.


Diagram showing some of the key rear controls, features and output/input ports of the EOS 5DS.


Diagram showing some of the key rear, side and base plate controls and features of the EOS 5DS.

Custom Functions

A huge number of the cameras’ controls and functions can be customised to suit your style of shooting or the subject being photographed. Most Custom Functions are grouped together under the Custom Functions menu tab, except for those that affect focusing. These have been moved to the AF menu so they are easier to find when making autofocus adjustments.

Custom Quick Control screen

New to EOS cameras is a Custom Quick Control screen. By default this looks very much like the Quick Control screen seen on the EOS 5D Mark III, however the contents, size and placement of the information fields can now be changed and customised, so only the functions you really need to see are shown.


Please click on the window above to watch a short film that explains how to use the Custom Quick Control screen option of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R.



A dedicated Super Speed USB 3.0 cable connected to the EOS 5DS with a cable protector that screws into the camera body and stops it being pulled out.

The cameras can both be connected to a computer using a Super Speed USB (USB 3.0) connection for tethered shooting, remote control and file transfer. A dedicated USB 3.0 Interface Cable (IFC-150U II) is provided, along with a cable protector that screws in to the camera body and holds the cable tight to the camera body, preventing it from being damaged or pulled out of the body accidentally.

The increased speed of USB 3.0, compared to the USB 2.0 technology used in other EOS cameras, is invaluable when transferring the large file sizes produced by the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R. The larger connector and chipset required for USB 3 meant that there was not enough room for all the connectors featured on the 5D Mark III to be included on the EOS 5DS or EOS 5DS R, as a result that movie performance was not considered a priority of these cameras the headphone jack was omitted to make the extra room required. However both cameras do feature an HDMI Type C output and a microphone socket.

Body construction

In addition to the product logo being different to the 5D Mark III, several other changes to the bodies have been made. The colour of the cameras is titanium black (a dark grey colour compared to the 5D Mark III) to distinguish the extra refinement of these cameras over the 5D Mark III. Other changes include the front of the pentaprism area being flatter (to display the Canon logo better), an addition of a finger rest on the camera's left size (where previously the Mark III badge was), and the Mode Dial was has had subtle changes such as the removal of the silver trim and the knurling of the dial is now irregular for a better grip.


The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R both feature a magnesium alloy body shell.

The bodies of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R are made from a combination of the same durable materials as the EOS 5D Mark III – a steel base plate and a magnesium alloy body shell. These three cameras are also weather-sealed to protect against dust and moisture in harsh environments. Body panels interlock, rather than just join, and all seams buttons and dials are protected with rubber sealing. The weather protection provided by this design is high enough to endure exposure to rain of up to 10mm of rain per hour for a duration of up to approximately three minutes.

The chassis and tripod sockets on the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R are thicker than those found on the EOS 5D Mark III and the improved rigidity of body parts that connect to the chassis helps to maximise the performance of the cameras by isolating and reducing any internal vibrations that could cause blur and affect resolution.


The accessories for the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R are the same as those designed for the EOS 5D Mark III, meaning the cameras will fit in easily with your existing equipment. A Wireless File Transmitter enables remote control over WiFi, while a GPS unit geotags images with your current location. A battery grip enhances handling and provides space for an extra battery.


Please click on the image above to view the system chart for the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R cameras.

WFT-E7 Version 2 Wireless File Transmitter

The WFT-E7 Ver. 2 Wireless File Transmitter uses WiFi (802.11 a,b,g,n compatible) to enable cable-free remote control of the EOS 5DS or EOS 5DS R from a computer, tablet or smartphone.


The WFT-E7 Ver. 2 Wireless File Transmitter.

The WFT-E7 Ver. 2 also provides a linked shooting ability. This means that a master camera equipped with a WFT-E7 Ver. 2 can control up to 10 ‘slave’ EOS cameras fitted with compatible WFT units over a range of approximately 100 metres. This makes it simple to photograph a single event from different angles, with all cameras capturing the same moment in time.

Using the WFT-E7 Ver. 2’s built-in WFT Server mode, the EOS 5DS or EOS 5DS R can be controlled over a wireless network using a web browser, including those on a tablet or smartphone. This means you can see what your camera sees remotely and control settings and shooting functions – perfect for capturing images from awkward angles or for shooting when the presence of a photographer would cause disruption.

The WFT-E7 Ver. 2 can also synchronise time settings between several cameras – a great bonus if you are shooting an event with more than one camera body and you want to organise images by the time they were captured when you start to edit the image files.

The WFT-E7 Ver. 2 also features Bluetooth technology, which enables it to communicate wirelessly with a Bluetooth equipped GPS device in order to geotag images with location information.

Existing WFT-E7 owners can update their model to Version 2 to be compatible with EOS 5DS and EOS 50DS R, via a firmware update, and will need to obtain a new USB 3.0 connection cable (IFC-150AB II or IFC-40AB II).

GP-E2 GPS unit


The GP-E2 GPS unit is compatible with the EOS 5DS and the EOS 5DS R and fits on to the cameras via their hotshoes.

The GP-E2 GPS unit is Canon’s universal GPS unit, which makes it compatible with the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R as well as current EOS models. It can be mounted on a camera’s hotshoe or stored in your pocket/bag when in logging mode. The unit features a digital compass, a GPS receiver and allows you to geotag photo with location data, which is saved in the EXIF data of each image file.

The device is powered by a single AA battery and will function even if not connected to the cameras. In this way it can log your movements at regular preset intervals, and this data can be married up to pictures using the provided Map Utility software.

BG-E11 Battery Grip

Shoot for longer, using the BG-E11 battery grip to add an extra LP-E6N/LP-E6 battery to the cameras. Plus add the extra flexibility of using AA batteries as an emergency back up.


The same battery grip - the BG-E11 - as originally designed for the EOS 5D Mark III is also compatible with the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R cameras.

For those photographers who often hold their cameras vertically – when shooting portraits, for example – the BG-E11 also duplicates some of the camera’s controls: AF-on, Focus point select, and AE-lock accompany Main and Secondary Dials and a duplicate shutter release. The slightly larger grip will also suit bigger hands.

In keeping with the durable construction of the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R, the BG-E11 is weather-sealed against dust and moisture – ideal for working in harsh shooting environments.