Several months ago Canon announced that it would release two new high-megapixel DSLR cameras in the 5D series, the 5Ds and the 5Ds R in June. June is now only a couple of days away. Although I don’t have any inside information, there are hints that the release could come as early as the first week of the month.
I think there will be a large pent-up demand for these cameras from Canon photographers, some of whom have watched from the sidelines as companies like Sony and Nikon have introduced higher MP camera bodies. Those who want to get early copies can preorder — here are links to site-sponsor B&H:
The primary value proposition of the new camera series is the 50.6 megapixel sensor. This is a higher sensor resolution than on any other current full-frame DSLR, and it more than doubles the number of photo sites on earlier Canon DSLRs. For photographers who make big prints from DSLR photographs, and especially for those who work with a great deal of care and focus on subjects in which image resolution may become critical, this will likely be significant advance.
In February 2015 Canon announced the new EOS 5DS DSLR bodies in two versions: the EOS 5DSand theEOS 5DS RThe “R” model does not apply anti-alias filtering (AA-filtering) to the image. This is said to have the potential to optimize image sharpness in some cases, though it increases the risk of aliasing/moire artifacts in photographs that include fine patterns such as fabric, screens, and similar. Both versions of the camera have 50.6MP sensors, which more than double the number of photo sites compared to previous Canon 21MP and 22MP full frame sensors.
A big question for people considering this camera is how much potential for image improvement will come from the higher-MP sensors. My feeling is that the improvement should be meaningful for photographers who already push the upper boundaries of potential print size from full-frame image files, but that the increase in MP will not likely mean amuch to photographers who don’t do this. Since I’m in the former category — and therefore quite interested in the new bodies — I wondered how this might play out in an actual print. (Prints, after all, are where the rubber meets the road with high MP cameras.)
I did not have access to raw files from the new camera at the time of this test, however Canon had made full resolution jpg files available online. (RAW files were not available at the time I conducted the test, but they are not necessary for creating a high quality print, as long as extensive post processing is not used.) I downloaded “Image 2″ from the link, which appears to be a straight-from-camera jpg image made with the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS lens at f/11, 1/500 second, at ISO 200. The image is an aerial photograph of a dense downtown area, with many buildings and other details, including some that should reveal moire artifacts if they are going to be an issue.
My entire workflow with the image was as follows:
Open the Canon jpg file in Photoshop CC.
Resize to 30″ x 45″ at 300 ppi
Select a letter-size section of this resized image and crop it out of the full image. Since I am interested in detail reproduction and how the non-AA-filtering body handles potential moire, I took a section that included the radiating spokes of a ferris wheel against the linear forms of buildings.
Apply my customary output sharpening for prints.
Keeping the resolution of the 30″ x 45″ image, I printed the small section on 8.5″ x 11″ Epson Ultrapremium Lustre paper using my Epson 7900 printer.
If I handed most people the letter-sized print they would probably think, “Not a bad print — not great, but fine.” But they would not likely notice that they were looking at a tiny fraction of an original 30″ x 45″ print. Skillful photographers and printers who looked closely would be able to see some things suggesting this… but once they heard that it was from a 30″ x 45″ inch print, I’m positive that they would join me in being very impressed. Detail is excellent, especially so for such a gigantic print size. I see no obvious examples of moire artifacts, and I’ve looked closely. I do not not see any smearing of colors, and I can see no noise whatsoever in the print.
Since this looked so good, I decided to take things to further and repeat the process — but this time resize to 60″ x 90″ at 300 ppi. For those who don’t know, that would be a very, very big print — four times the print area of the 30″ x 45″ print. Again I selected a letter-size subsection of the final huge image and printed it.
At this huge size I can certainly see that the image is softer — though whether that is a result of using a 16-35mm ultra wide lens or from the resizing or a combination of the two is open for debate.If you looked at the letter sized print and did not know that it was a crop from an image 5 feet tall and 7.5 feet wide, you would think it was soft. If you made the full print (which I’m not equipped to do!) you would be very impressed. I still see no aliasing/moire artifacts. I do see some slight color smearing in a few areas where there is a sharply delineated edge to a colorful area.
Bottom line: I’m confident that photographers using full frame images to make very large prints are going to like the results from this camera a great deal. I am certainly going to get one — in fact, I have pre-ordered a 5DS R from B&H. (You can do the same using the following links — the cost to you is the same, but you’ll help support this website and article like this one. Thanks in advance!)
Update 5/15/15: Since I first posted this article much more information about the cameras has become available, including reports and raw files from parties using late-beta versions of the camera. I have had a chance to look at some raw files and they seem quite good to me in every way that matters to my photography.
You may feel differently, but the most interesting announcement to is that of the two versions of the EOS 5DS, a 50.6mp full frame DSLR that seems optimized for image quality. While not everyone will need 50MP in a full frame body, some of us will most certainly benefit from sensor resolution that more than doubles what was previously available from Canon. There are two models, the 5DS and the 5DS R — the 5DS R doesn’t apply anti-aliasing filtering. This has the potential to maximize image sharpness for certain kinds of photographers, and the potential risk of some moire artifacts in photographs of certain types of patterned subjects. The cameras are supposed to begin shipping in June, and I plan to get one — most likely the R model.
For those who like really wide angle zoom lenses, the EF 11-24mm f/4L lens is arguably going to be king of the hill. Early reports are that it is optically excellent, and 11mm is 1mm wider than the excellent 14-24mm Nikon f/2.8 zoom. This lens (as noted above) can apparently now be pre-ordered.
The Rebel T6i and T6s are the newest updated models in the family of consumer Rebel DSLRs. These are fine cameras at a good price, and Canon will no doubt sell tons of them. They use 24mm cropped format sensors, and they are available in body-only version and it kits that include a basic zoom lens. The T6s is said to have a few more “advanced” features added.
Canon recently released the successor to their venerable 100-400mm telephoto zoom lens, the new EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens. I have relied on the older model for some time now… but my copy of the new lens arrived a few days ago. Now that I have used it for a day of wildlife and landscape photography I would like to share some first impressions
First, a few technical details. The new lens covers essentially the same range as the older model — a focal length range of 100mm to 400mm and a variable aperture range of f/4.5 (at 100mm) to f/5.6 (at 400mm). Both lenses use a zoom mechanism that extends at longer focal lengths. However, there are some technical differences:
The lens it replaces has been a very valuable “go to” lens for many photographers who wanted more reach, a reasonably small package, good optical quality, and the flexibility of a zoom. I’ve been an enthusiastic user of the older version for some time now.
Recently Canon has updated or augmented their lens line-up to improve the offerings in certain categories. For example, earlier this year they introduced their ultra wide angle zooms by adding a new EF 16-35mm f/4L ISlens. That lens has been a real success, not only adding image stabilization to lenses in this class for the first time, but also providing excellent resolution across the frame — more so than either of the lenses that many photographers used before it was introduced.
For some time, many have felt that there was a lot of potential for updating the 100-400. Although it is good performer in many ways, there has been room for improvement. More modern IS systems can provide up to 4 stops of stabilization, while the older lens only provides perhaps two. The older lens has good image quality, but it could be better in keeping with more recent lenses from Canon. In fact, rumors about the introduction of the updated 100-400mm zoom have been floating around for years.
We don’t know what the optical performance of the new lens will be yet. As I write this I have seen no real reviews. (I have seen some “reviews” that are mostly lists of specifications and speculation.) When we do see them, it will not surprise me at all if this lens provides valuable improvements in the same way that the 16-35mm f/4 has. Here is some of what we do know from Canon specifications:
Rather than the “push-pull” design of the earlier lens, this one has a more familiar rotation ring to change the focal length.
As was the case with the older model, the front of the lens extends as you zoom. This means that the lens is more compact when packed.
Image stabilization has been updated to provide up to four stops of stabilization — especially important with longer focal length lenses.
Other features include 9 blade diaphragm, the familiar 77mm filter thread diameter, and more.
The list price of the lens is $2,199. That may seem like a lot of money, but if it provides the sort of image quality we all expect it is actually a rather good deal for a lens with these capabilities.
Update: I have now had a chance to look at the MTF charts for the new lens (available at the Canon web site) and they suggest that the new zoom should be a very good performer in terms of image quality. The chart suggests better image quality than the existing 100-400 (which is quite decent) and the 400mm f/5.6 prime.
I expect that this lens will be in short supply at first — for the usual reasons related to any new product introduction, but also because of a pent-up interest in the update. The lens has been announced but is not yet available — though you may preorder it if you want to be first to get one.
As for me, there is a very good chance that I will get a copy of this lens before too long. In fact, I’m leaning more and more towards placing a pre-order — something that I rarely do.
Three of the four lenses that I’m selling have now found new homes, but the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II prime is still available.
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II – This is the newest version of Canon’s wide-angle, large-aperture 24mm prime lens know for its excellent image quality and performance at large apertures. This lens is in essentially “like new” condition — no scratches or blemishes, as it was purchased for a particular project and only used minimally for that purpose. Lens, caps, hood, pouch, original box. Reduced to $1300.
Canon EF 135mm f/2 L – The Canon 135mm f/2 is classic Canon lens and highly regarded for image quality and its ability to produce narrow depth of field and smooth bokeh. This lens is in excellent “near mint” condition — no scratches or blemishes. Lens, caps, hood, pouch, original box. $875. – SOLD
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 – This is one of Canon’s best non-L lenses, and many regard it as a worthy (and much less expensive!) alternative to the excellent 85mm L. It is in excellent condition — no scratches or blemishes. Lens, caps, 3rd party hood*, original box. $300. (Canon does not include a hood with this lens.) –SOLD
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L – This is a fine workhorse landscape lens, and it is a core lens in the kit of many Canon landscape photographers. The lens is in excellent condition, with some cosmetic blemishes on the lens hood. Lens, caps, hood, original box. $610. –SOLD
I prefer an in-person sale to someone in the San Francisco Bay Area, but I may consider other arrangements. Email email@example.com.
Recently someone posed — for the 11,535th time — a question about camera brands: Who is truly winning when it comes to the sensor game?
The context of the question had to do with recent advances in digital camera sensors from Sony, found in certain Sony cameras and in Nikon DSLR bodies. (These recent sensors have pushed a few boundaries forward, as always happens when new components are developed and released. In this case, they increase the photo site density and dynamic range.)
As a sometime Bay Area baseball fan, I understand that the concept of “who is winning?” is a nebulous and ephemeral one. Take the Oakland A’s, one of my SF Bay Area teams. A few months ago no one could touch them — they were on a record-breaking winning streak and were the hard-scrabble, underdog heroes of baseball. By the end of the season they couldn’t win and they slipped inexorably from a sure bet to “ain’t gonna happen,” barely scraping out a chance to get one wild-card playoff game… which they lost.
The other Bay Area team, the SF Giants (my emotional favorite, since I grew up following them) was up, was down, and never, even at their best, looked like a sure bet for anything. They had been in the lead, but not by that much, and in the end they came out just a bit behind the (evil, nefarious) Dodgers… but also qualified for a wildcard spot. And they won that wildcard game in fine fashion and go on to a division playoff today. (Giants fans have a word for this, though the full context perhaps only makes sense to those who have watched the team for a while: Torture.)
So, the answer to “who is winning?” is either a very much “in the moment” answer that means virtually nothing over the long run OR there could be some final competitive event at which a final winner is determined… for this year. And then the process starts all over again, and someone else “is winning.”
Extrapolated to photography equipment, right now I would say that Nikon is something like one of the two teams in our California Giants/Dodgers rivalry. Depending on which week you check, one of them is doing better than the other in some ways, but neither will ever be proven (says the Giants fan… ;-) to win in a a final, ultimate, never-to-be-challenged way. Ahead? Yes. How long? Probably not very? The winner? No.
Right now Nikon has an edge by some measure. On the basis of other factors, it doesn’t. A few months or a year from now… who knows? And, really, when it comes to photography — as differentiated from fawning over gear specifications — who cares?
But, yes, the Dodgers won the division title. This year. I’m not bitter. Yet.
Morning Musings are somewhat irregular posts in which I write about whatever is on my mind at the moment. Connections to photography may be tenuous at times!