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Ambassadors Programme

Explorer

Clive Booth

Mar30

The EOS 5DS: a DSLR for advertising photographers

By Clive Booth, Monday March 30, 2015
Senior Stillman Duncan McFadyen in the 40˚C heat of the Bruichladdich Distillery Stillroom, Islay, Scotland. The tone and detail of the 16-bit processed files feel more like medium format than DSLR. Taken on a pre-production Canon EOS 5DS with an EF85mm f/1.2L USM lens; the exposure was 1/400sec at f/1.8, ISO 1600.

Senior Stillman Duncan McFadyen in the 40˚C heat of the Bruichladdich Distillery Stillroom, Islay, Scotland. The tone and detail of the 16-bit processed files feel more like medium format than DSLR. Taken on a pre-production Canon EOS 5DS with an EF85mm f/1.2L USM lens; the exposure was 1/400sec at f/1.8, ISO 1600. © Clive Booth

For years I have been quietly fighting a battle with ad agencies and clients, regarding the use of DSLRs for advertising shoots. “There is not enough res” is the usual response, or “what if we want to crop?”. Yet the DSLR allows us to work quickly, efficiently and in any environment with unrivalled reliability. Plus it is possible to upscale the files and deliver work that’s acceptable even for poster sites.

For the majority of shoots, media requirements are for online or screen delivery and if work is to be printed then it’s mostly for newsprint or magazines. So where is the market for a camera that has a 50.6 megapixel sensor, a resolution of 8688 x 5792 pixels and can deliver a 300Mb 160-bit TIFF? Well, me for one! Finally I have a camera that has the benefits of medium format, with the ease of use and reliability of a DSLR. A camera that will not only silence the critics but can also satisfy my own demands for ever better quality, large format, fine art prints.

This year I’m working in collaboration with Canon Europe’s Large Format Printer team on a deeply personal project which will glimpse - through the medium of photography - the life, culture and landscape of a small inner Hebridean Island in Scotland. The aim is to produce a limited edition book and print exhibition, entirely on Canon 12 colour large format printers. With a twenty-year career in design for print before becoming a photographer and filmmaker, I have an ingrained love of putting ink on paper. Even in my own office I have the capability of producing a full A1 print at 600ppi at 14-bit in 12 colours and now, finally, I have a camera that can produce files that can do it justice.

In my experience it’s always better to shoot more, as it gives a greater selection in the edit and art directors love choice. The 5DS’s price for this choice is paid by the requirement of large capacity CF, SD and portable hard drives. In just one day of intense shooting with the 5DS I racked up 150GB. But all the challenges of data management are forgotten once the files hit Lightroom. Prior to the 5DS I have only ever seen detail like this from medium format cameras. It's so good that it has changed the way I shoot, and for the first time with a DSLR, I look in the frame and think that I can allow generous space around the subject matter, because even when cropped I’ll have more than enough data from which to make a print.

The 5DS is not revolutionary in the way the EOS 5D Mark II was for filmmakers, but I believe it is a big evolutionary jump for photographers, allowing those who use a DSLR to now compete with medium format, and for those who already shoot medium format to now consider DSLR.

Retired fisherman Robert Baker, Islay, Scotland. This Lightroom screengrab illustrates the differences between the relative resolutions of the EOS 5DS 8688 x 5792 (left), Canon EOS-1D X 5184 x 3456 (middle) and a Canon PowerShot S200 3648 x 2736 (right). Taken on a pre-production EOS 5DS with an EF50mm f/1.2L USM lens; the exposure was 1/320sec at f/2.8, ISO 800.

Retired fisherman Robert Baker, Islay, Scotland. This Lightroom screengrab illustrates the differences between the relative resolutions of the EOS 5DS 8688 x 5792 (left), Canon EOS-1D X 5184 x 3456 (middle) and a Canon PowerShot S200 3648 x 2736 (right). Taken on a pre-production EOS 5DS with an EF50mm f/1.2L USM lens; the exposure was 1/320sec at f/2.8, ISO 800. © Clive Booth