Canon 5DS R full-res, full-frame First Shots: Still officially beta, but WOW (Update: RAWs available)


posted Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at 6:14 PM EST


(Editor's Note: RAW files from this 50MP camera, as you can imagine, are very large. We've posted staight-out-of-camera JPEGs for the moment; RAW file downloads will be available tomorrow provided our ISP connection doesn't melt down in the process now. :-) 

Update, 05/06: RAW files for our First Shots are now available. 

We had our first, very early sample of the Canon 5DS R 50MP monster a few weeks back, but the firmware was at an earlier stage of development, so we could only share crops with readers. We've now received a unit that produces fully-shareable images, although it's still considered a "beta" sample. Image quality could therefore still change between this and shipping retail samples, but it looks awfully darned good, and we've posted a First Shots set of lab sample images for readers to download and pixel-peep to their hearts' content. Per the note above, RAW files are uploading now, and we'll post an updated thumbnails page tomorrow with links to them. (We should also have some other sample images posted by the end of tomorrow as well.)

Image quality based on our early assessment of these new lab samples looks very good. Images shot at lower ISOs, which is this camera's sweet spot, are especially impressive, with tons of crisp, fine detail.

In this go-round, we used the new Fine Detail Picture Style introduced with this camera across the board, with just one shot for comparison's sake, captured with the Standard Picture Style setting. The Fine Detail Picture Style takes advantage of the newly-refined sharpening settings to deliver much crisper, finer detail than we're accustomed to seeing from in-camera JPEGs, with little or no oversharpening. (The new sharpening controls are quite similar to those for Photoshop's Unsharp Mask, in that you can tweak and control the strength, fineness and threshold all in-camera.)

We found a noticeable difference in detail rendering between the two modes in our first sample, but alas, didn't discover the difference until we'd had to ship the camera back, and had only a single shot captured in that mode. Going forward, we'll be shooting all our images with the 5DS R with this Picture Style applied.

As mentioned above, we also shot a base ISO image with the Standard Picture Style, which you can see in 1:1 crop example below. The Fine Detail Picture Style works really well at resolving very fine detail, and at a much finer, more precise way than with the Standard Picture Style. At first glance, the Standard style image looks sharper to the eye, but closer inspection reveals that this comes at the expense of fine detail, and a lot of the apparent sharpness is the result of the oversharpening and haloing. The Fine Detail mode also dials down the image contrast, accounting for the brightness/contrast differences between the two images; they were shot with identical exposure settings.

The Fine Detail processing is much closer to what we do personally, when converting images from RAW files. It's frankly a little surprising that we haven't seen this sort of control over sharpening in a camera before, but it's possible that that sort of control required more processing power than had previously been available. The results are such a significant improvement over typical in-camera JPEGs that we'll be surprised if more manufacturers don't incorporate this kind of feature in future models.

Canon 5DS R (beta), ISO 100 -- Fine Detail Picture Profile (left) vs. Standard Picture Profile (right)

Below, we also have a side-by-side 1:1 crop at base ISO with the 36mp Nikon D810 for an initial comparison. We'll have much more in the way of crop comparisons and analysis in our High Resolution Comparisons section, hopefully by the end of the day tomorrow, but for the time-being, the images there are still based on earlier "pre-beta" images from our first 5DS R review unit.

Canon 5DS R (beta), ISO 100 Fine Detail Picture Profile (left) vs. Nikon D810, ISO 100

Stay tuned for more of our Canon 5DS R review, including real-world galleries, our hands-on Shooter's Report and full lab performance testing.

Canon 5DS R OverviewLab Samples

Dave Etchells contributed to this story.