The Canon EOS 5DS is the world's first 35mm format camera to come with a 50.6-megapixel full-frame sensor.
Canon says that the new CMOS image sensor, making its debut in the camera and its sister model -- the EOS 5DSR, not only delivers a new level of image quality, but is so good that it offers an affordable alternative to a medium format camera.
"Canon is always looking to deliver the absolute best in image quality and push our technology to the limits," said Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A., Inc. "As photography becomes more specialized and more images are captured than ever before, the burden is on the photography equipment to keep up with the demands of today's artistic talents. These new camera models will provide many photographers with new options to deliver their vision to clients, fans, and the world."
As well as offering a multitude of megapixels, both cameras have a 61-point auto focus array and are capable of shooting at 5 frames per second, which, though not that fast, is still impressive considering how much data crunching the image processors need to do between each shot to capture it and save it to the memory card.
A huge image sensor makes the cameras the ideal tools for super high-resolution photography -- architectural, landscape close-ups, studio and portrait work -- rather than snapping extreme action. And when the image sensor is that big and that sensitive, even the tiniest vibration or unintentional bodily movement can have a huge impact on the resulting image. To mitigate these problems, each camera has a reinforced chassis and a more substantial baseplate and tripod lug so that they feel firmer and more balanced in the hand like a chef's knife.
This physical weighting is complemented by some technological tricks. Canon has added a re-designed mirror vibration control system and a clever time-lag feature. Sometimes, simply hitting the shutter release button can be enough to upset a camera. So with the EOS 5DS and 5DS R, pressing the shutter release button will first lock the mirror in place before pressing the button a second time to capture the shot.
This feature can be adjusted so that the user can set an arbitrary time between mirror lock and shutter release -- from 1/8 to 2 seconds -- to ensure that any internal movements caused by the mirror's movement has completely dissipated before releasing the shutter and exposing the image sensor.
All of this performance comes at a price: the EOS 5DS will cost $3,699 (€3999.99) and the 5DSR $3,899 (€4249.99) when they go on sale in June. However, even though those retail prices are for the bodies only (lenses are extra), they're still significantly cheaper, smaller and easier to use than a medium format camera.