Canon 5DS R Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Canon 5DS R's image quality to its OLPF-equipped sibling, the 5DS and to the Canon 5D Mark III, as well as against several of the highest resolution cameras we've tested to date: the Nikon D810, Pentax 645Z and Sony A7R Mark II.

NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved: click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page: Canon 5DS R, Canon 5DS, Canon 5D Mark III, Nikon D810, Pentax 645Z and Sony A7R Mark II -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Canon 5DS R to any camera we've ever tested!


Canon 5DS R vs Canon 5DS at Base ISO

100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 5DS test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 5DS test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 5DS test image taken at ISO 100
Canon 5DS R at ISO 100
Canon 5DS at ISO 100

As expected, image quality is very similar from these two close siblings, however the 5DS R's lack of an optical low-pass filter does produce slightly better sharpness than the 5DS. But more aliasing artifacts are visible as well, such as the stronger moiré patterns in the Samuel Smith bottle label logo (click on the crops to access the full resolution images).

Canon 5DS R vs Canon 5D Mark III at Base ISO

100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 5D Mark III test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 5D Mark III test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 5D Mark III test image taken at ISO 100
Canon 5DS R at ISO 100
Canon 5D Mark III at ISO 100

The 5DS R's 50-megapixel resolution advantage over the 22-megapixel 5D Mark III is clearly on display here (pun intended), with the 5DS R capturing significantly more detail. The 5DS R's Fine Detail Picture Style setting is also very evident, rendering the image with fantastic sharpness and clarity without the unsightly sharpening halos seen around high contrast edges from the 5D Mark III.

Canon 5DS R vs Nikon D810 at Base ISO

100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D810 test image taken at ISO 64
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D810 test image taken at ISO 64
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D810 test image taken at ISO 64
Canon 5DS R at ISO 100
Nikon D810 at ISO 64

The resolution advantage compared to the 36-megapixel Nikon D810 isn't quite as stark as the previous comparison, but the 5DS R easily resolves more fine detail with fewer sharpening artifacts to boot, though the Nikon's rendering looks a little more contrasty and vibrant. Moiré patterns are much more evident from the AA-filterless D810 in the red-leaf fabric as well, though that's because the pattern's frequency happens to match the D810's resolution better, and we'd expect to see the subtle moiré patterns in the 5DS R image to become stronger at a different distance.

Canon 5DS R vs Pentax 645Z at Base ISO

100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Pentax 645Z test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Pentax 645Z test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Pentax 645Z test image taken at ISO 100
Canon 5DS R at ISO 100
Pentax 645Z at ISO 100

In terms of raw pixel count, the resolution from the 51-megapixel Pentax 645Z is closely matched to the Canon, but its 4:3 aspect ratio gives it more of an advantage here over the 3:2 5DS R (we frame this shot vertically, and the Pentax's vertical resolution is 6192 pixels vs 5792 pixels for the Canon, about 7% higher). The Pentax also doesn't have an optical low-pass filter but has larger pixels thanks to its medium-format sensor, giving it an overall edge in detail here especially when combined with Pentax's more aggressive processing. The 5DS R produces more accurate colors and fewer sharpening artifacts, but the 645Z is still the king among cameras we've tested thus far in terms of resolving power. Still, it's amazing the Canon 5DS R is able to challenge this medium-format camera!

Canon 5DS R vs Sony A7R II at Base ISO

100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony A7R II test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony A7R II test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony A7R II test image taken at ISO 100
Canon 5DS R at ISO 100
Sony A7R II at ISO 100

The 42-megapixel Sony A7R II compares well to the 50-megapixel 5DS R, but as expected, the Canon resolves a bit more detail in most areas. Both do a great job with sharpening, producing very crisp images with few sharpening artifacts, however the Canon image looks perhaps a touch more natural with slightly lower contrast and more accurate color. It's really a personal preference, though, as both cameras produce truly outstanding image quality at base ISO.

Canon 5DS R vs Canon 5DS at ISO 1600

100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon 5DS test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon 5DS test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon 5DS test image taken at ISO 1600
Canon 5DS R at ISO 1600
Canon 5DS at ISO 1600

Like we saw at base ISO, the two close siblings show very similar results at ISO 1600, however the AA-filter-less 5DS R still produces slightly better detail and sharpness, but the subtle moiré patterns in the red-leaf fabric are a little more visible.

Canon 5DS R vs Canon 5D Mark III at ISO 1600

100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon 5D Mark III test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon 5D Mark III test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon 5D Mark III test image taken at ISO 1600
Canon 5DS R at ISO 1600
Canon 5D Mark III at ISO 1600

The resolution disparity between these two models is still quite stark here at ISO 1600, with the 5DS R easily continuing to out-resolve the 5D Mark III despite the image degradation due to noise and noise reduction processing. Unsurprisingly, noise is quite a bit higher from the 5DS R, however the 5D Mark III appears to be applying slightly more aggressive default noise reduction.

Canon 5DS R vs Nikon D810 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D810 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D810 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D810 test image taken at ISO 1600
Canon 5DS R at ISO 1600
Nikon D810 at ISO 1600

At ISO 1600, the 5DS R continues to out-resolve the D810, though luminance noise from the Canon is higher. The 5DS R however seems to do a bit better at controlling chrominance noise, while still doing a slightly better job at rendering the red-leaf pattern. (The much stronger moiré pattern is interfering quite a bit in the D810 image.)

Canon 5DS R vs Pentax 645Z at ISO 1600

100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Pentax 645Z test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Pentax 645Z test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Pentax 645Z test image taken at ISO 1600
Canon 5DS R at ISO 1600
Pentax 645Z at ISO 1600

The Pentax 645Z still manages to produce slightly better detail overall at this sensitivity, thanks in part to its larger pixels and the lower noise they produce, however the Pentax's default noise reduction softens the image a bit more than the Canon's, and smears the pattern in our tricky red-leaf fabric. The Canon continues to offer more accurate colors.

Canon 5DS R vs Sony A7R II at ISO 1600

100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A7R II test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A7R II test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A7R II test image taken at ISO 1600
Canon 5DS R at ISO 1600
Sony A7R II at ISO 1600

This comparison is harder to call. The 5DS R still captures marginally better detail at ISO 1600, but it produces a noisier image. The Sony image is cleaner, however its noise reduction processing generates slightly unnatural artifacts in flat areas while the Canon's noise "grain" is more consistent and film-like. The Sony's rendering of the red-leaf pattern is also softer, but it does a little better with the pink fabric. Both cameras produce subtle moiré patterns in the red-leaf fabric, but the 5DS R's is more visible (again, the appearance of moiré patterns will vary with subject and distance, as well as lens and aperture).

Canon 5DS R vs Canon 5DS at ISO 3200

100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 5DS test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 5DS test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 5DS test image taken at ISO 3200
Canon 5DS R at ISO 3200
Canon 5DS at ISO 3200

Once again, the two siblings produce very similar results at ISO 3200, but the 5DS R still has a slight edge in sharpness at the expense of more aliasing artifacts.

Canon 5DS R vs Canon 5D Mark III at ISO 3200

100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 5D Mark III test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 5D Mark III test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 5D Mark III test image taken at ISO 3200
Canon 5DS R at ISO 3200
Canon 5D Mark III at ISO 3200

The 5D Mark III produces a much cleaner image at ISO 3200, though the 5DS R is still able to hold onto better detail in most areas, but it's really smearing the red-leaf fabric at this sensitivity. (When eyeballing their raw files without noise reduction applied on screen at 100%, the 5D Mark III looks to have roughly a one stop advantage over the 5DS R in terms of noise at higher ISOs.)

Canon 5DS R vs Nikon D810 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D810 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D810 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D810 test image taken at ISO 3200
Canon 5DS R at ISO 3200
Nikon D810 at ISO 3200

Noise levels are higher from the Canon at ISO 3200, and while the 5DS R continues to out-resolve the D810, at least in higher-contrast detail, its default high ISO noise reduction produces more unwanted artifacts than the Nikon's, and blurs our red-leaf fabric much more as well.

Canon 5DS R vs Pentax 645Z at ISO 3200

100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Pentax 645Z test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Pentax 645Z test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Pentax 645Z test image taken at ISO 3200
Canon 5DS R at ISO 3200
Pentax 645Z at ISO 3200

Both cameras here produce significant amounts of noise "grain", with the Canon producing slightly more. The Pentax's processing produces a more natural-looking image in most areas, particularly in the mosaic crop, but the Canon still delivers more accurate colors. Both cameras struggle with the red-leaf fabric, however the Pentax manages to resolve the thread pattern much better, though contrast is a bit better from the Canon.

Canon 5DS R vs Sony A7R II at ISO 3200

100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A7R II test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A7R II test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A7R II test image taken at ISO 3200
Canon 5DS R at ISO 3200
Sony A7R II at ISO 3200

At ISO 3200, the Sony produces a cleaner, more contrasty image than the Canon, though the 5DS R's noise "grain" remains more consistent and natural-looking. But this time the Sony arguably does a better job at rendering fine detail than the Canon in most areas. And the Sony clearly wins in the red-leaf fabric.

Canon 5DS R vs. Canon 5DS, Canon 5D Mark III, Nikon D810, Pentax 645Z, Sony A7R II

100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 5DS test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 5D Mark III test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D810 test image taken at ISO 64100% crop from Pentax 645Z test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony A7R II test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 5DS test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 5D Mark III test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D810 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Pentax 645Z test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A7R II test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 5DS R test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Canon 5DS test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Canon 5D Mark III test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Nikon D810 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Pentax 645Z test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Sony A7R II test image taken at ISO 6400
Canon
5DS R
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
5DS
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
5D Mark III
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Nikon
D810
ISO 64
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Pentax
645Z
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
A7R II
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. High-contrast detail is also important, pushing the camera in different ways, so we like to look at it, too. Here, the others in this group produce better contrast than both the 5DS R and 5DS, but all easily resolve the fine lines inside the lettering and show very little degradation as ISO sensitivity rises to 6400. Sharpening halos are more evident from the 5D Mark III, D810 and 645Z, though, particularly at base ISO.

 

Canon 5DS R Print Quality Analysis

Fantastic, highly-detailed prints up to 30 x 40 inches all the way up to ISO 800; Very good 20 x 30 at ISO 3200; Impressive 8 x 10 inch print at ISO 12,800.

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageISO 50 through 800 prints, shockingly, all look fantastic up to 30 x 40 inches, or larger depending on how far you want to push the sensor's resolution -- at 50 megapixels, the camera should have little trouble with even larger prints. Beginning at expanded ISO 50, images are strikingly crisp with sharp fine detail. Even as the sensitivity rises to ISO 800, noise is practically nonexistent. Upon very close inspection, there is a very minimal hint of noise-related softness in certain areas of our test target print, but nothing nearly significant enough to warrant a decrease in print size.

ISO 1600 images still display lots of fine detail, but there is, at last, some visible, finely-grained noise in shadow areas, yet impressively large 24 x 36 inch prints are the top size for this ISO. Larger 30 x 40 inch prints would be acceptable for less critical applications or wall display.

ISO 3200 prints top out at 20 x 30 inches. Shadow noise is slightly more apparent, and troublesome lower contrast areas like the red-leaf fabric swatch in our test target, for example, appear soft with smudged detail.

ISO 6400 images look great up to 13 x 19 inches. As expected, noise is more visible now, but it otherwise remains very finely-grained and not all that detrimental to the overall print. Prints are still impressively detailed at this ISO sensitivity.

ISO 12,800 prints reach the limit at a very respectable 8 x 10 inches. Detail is still very good, especially in higher contrast areas, and colors are vibrant.

Wow. Color us impressed. We expected the Canon 5DS R and its OLPF-less 50-megapixel sensor to have a good showing at base ISO, but we weren't expecting the camera to maintain 30 x 40 prints -- the maximum print size we test -- all the way up to ISO 800. Detail is fantastic and noise is practically nowhere to be seen. There's a hint of it in the shadows at ISO 800, but nothing objectionable. Print sizes start to decrease at ISOs beyond 800, but not by much. ISO 1600 tops out at 24 x 36 inches, and ISO 6400 manages a fine 13 x 19 inch print. Even the camera's maximum expanded ISO of 12,800 offers a very usable 8 x 10 inch print. Impressive indeed.

About our print-quality testing: Our "Reference Printer"

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageTesting hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer, which we named our "Printer of the Year" in our 2015 COTY awards.

The Canon PRO-1000 has a lot of characteristics that make it a natural to use for our "reference printer." When it comes to judging how well a camera's photos print, resolution and precise rendering are paramount. The PRO-1000's more than 18,000 individual nozzles combine with an air feeding system that provides exceptional droplet-placement accuracy. Its 11-color LUCIA PRO ink system delivers a wide color gamut and dense blacks, giving us a true sense of the cameras' image quality. To best see fine details, we've always printed on glossy paper, so the PRO-1000's "Chroma Optimizer" overcoat that minimizes "bronzing" or gloss differential is important to us. (Prior to the PRO-1000, we've always used dye-based printers, in part to avoid the bronzing problems with pigment-based inks.) Finally, we just don't have time to deal with clogged inkjet heads, and the PRO-1000 does better in that respect than any printer we've ever used. If you don't run them every day or two, inkjet printers tend to clog. Canon's thermal-inkjet technology is inherently less clog-prone than other approaches, but the PRO-1000 takes this a step further, with sensors that monitor every inkjet nozzle. If one clogs, it will assign another to take over its duties. In exchange for a tiny amount of print speed, this lets you defer cleaning cycles, which translates into significant ink savings. In our normal workflow, we'll often crank out a hundred or more letter-size prints in a session, but then leave the printer to sit for anywhere from days to weeks before the next camera comes along. In over a year of use, we've never had to run a nozzle-cleaning cycle on our PRO-1000.

See our Canon PRO-1000 review for a full overview of the printer from the viewpoint of a fine-art photographer.

*Disclosure: Canon provided us with the PRO-1000 and a supply of ink to use in our testing, and we receive advertising consideration for including this mention when we talk about camera print quality. Our decision to use the PRO-1000 was driven by the printer itself, though, prior to any discussion with Canon on the topic. (We'd actually been using an old Pixma PRO 9500II dye-based printer for years previously, and paying for our own ink, until we decided that the PRO-1000 was the next-generation printer we'd been waiting for.)

 



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