Canon took a huge leap in digital SLR world last week when they announced the world’s highest resolution 35mm format cameras – the 5DS and 5DS R, available in June 2015.

Canon 5DS 5DSRThese cameras will feature Canon’s new 50.6MP sensor and not one but dual DIGIC 6 processors to handle the higher resolution.  This is over twice the resolution of anything Canon has ever released, and almost twice that of Nikon’s D800.

These cameras will be very welcome for professional photographers who print in large scale but can’t afford the $40,000 high-end medium format cameras.  The 50.6MP sensor is found in both cameras to increase sharpness in these larger prints, but the 5DS R goes one step further – it removes the low pass filter effect to get even more superfine detail out of the images.

The low pass filter is found in all other EOS cameras, and its purpose is to reduce moiré.  Moiré is that undesirable effect that when you shoot superfine repeating textures, textures of higher resolution than the camera sensor, colored wavy patterns will appear on the texture as a result of the sensor’s Bayer Filter.

Low pass filters significantly reduce this effect, but they also reduce the sharpness that the camera sensor captures.  The new 5DS R will have a second low-pass filter to cancel out the effects of the first one, increasing sharpness (if they removed it altogether they’d have to almost completely redesign the camera).  The sensor has a high enough resolution that it should be able to capture these fine textures without introducing moiré.  That means that the 5DS will be softer than the 5DS R, but with a resolution like that, will you even notice, especially after post-processing?

Not everyone will want to shoot 50MP images all the time, so these cameras have 1.3x and 1.6x crop factor options, for 30.5MP and 19.6MP images.  This means that you can get the same effective “zoom” out of your EF lenses as you would by mounting them on a camera with an APS-C sensor.  So, put your 400mm lens on this camera with the 1.6x crop option and you get an effective 640mm field of view at 19.6MP size.  Not bad, right?

In addition to retaining HD movie recording availability, this camera also adds a time-lapse function.  Intervals can be set from one second to one second short of 100 hours, recording from two to 3,600 images, which are then combined by the camera into an HD movie up to two minutes and thirty seconds long.

While you’re waiting for these cameras to come out, you may want to invest in some memory cards with more storage and a larger hard drive…and refine your technical abilities since those small errors will really be magnified now!  If you’re going to be shooting with a camera like this it’s assumed that you probably have some L-series lenses; anything else won’t have the resolution for this sensor.

Just the Numbers

Available: June 2015
Price (body only): $3,699 (5DS), $3,899 (5DS R)

Resolution: 50.6 megapixels
Continuous shooting: 5 frames per second
Autofocus points: 61 points, 41 cross-type sensors, 5 dual cross-type sensors
Metering: 150,000 pixel RGB+IR 252-zone metering
Video: 1080p @ 30fps, 720p @ 60fps
Shutter life cycle rating: 150,000
Memory card slots: Both CF and SD

More details will be available closer to the release date.

Canon also just announced the release of a rectilinear (no distortion) EF 11-24mm L-series ultra-wide zoom and two EOS Rebel cameras with 24.2MP sensors and wireless functionality.

Full press release here.


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