Recently Canon announced the upcoming Canon EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R DSLRs, 50.6MP full frame cameras that should provide extremely high system resolution for those of us using full frame DSLRs for our photography. I just got word from site-affiliate B&H Photo that pre-orders are now available for both models of the camera. Yes, I pre-ordered mine…
The two models are nearly identical with the “R” model canceling the anti-alias (“AA”) filter that is present in the non-R model. The R model should be capable of slightly higher resolution, though it could be slightly more susceptible to aliasing and moire effects when shooting certain subjects that contain very small and regular geometric patterns.
Which should you get? Beats me! If you are mostly a landscape photographer the R model might be a good choice. If you photograph subjects that are not natural and which tend to have repeating patterns, the “regular” model might be a safer choice. In the end, I believe that both will produce excellent resolution.
Do you need a 50MP DSLR? That is also a good question. (It extends to asking whether you need a DSLR or a mirrorless camera, whether you need a full frame camera, and more — always important things to consider when making expensive photography equipment purchases.) For most people, such a high resolution sensor will probably not make their photographs visually any better. You certainly are not going to see the difference in web, email, or other images that are displayed on a computer screen. The primary advantages of a 50MP sensor will be for those who work very carefully — typically using excellent lenses and good technique and shoot from the tripod — and who make very large prints that already push the upper boundaries of what is possible with 20+ MP sensors.
How good is it? It is too soon to know for certain, though the picture is becoming clearer as review copies get into the hands of photographers and writers and as more sample images begin to appear on the Internet. Canon has made some sample .jpg images available, and I did some resolution testing with one of them a few weeks ago. I downloaded it and applied some minor post processing of the sort that I would typically use. I resized the image to 30″ x 45″ and and then make a print of a letter-size section of this image — it looked very good. The detail was excellent and I could not see any concerning distortions or artifacts in the image. Encouraged, I went back to the computer and resized to a truly huge 60″ x 90″ size (!) and made another letter-sized print. Things still looked good for such an extreme enlargement. (You can read more about this test here.)
The estimated release date for the cameras is currently given as “June 2015.” I’ve seen dates as late as June 29 suggested and I’ve also seen speculation that it could be a bit earlier.