Tag Archives: dslr

New Canon EOS 5Ds In Stock

Canon EOS 5Ds DSLR
Canon EOS 5Ds DSLR

As of this morning, the new Canon EOS 5Ds is in stock right now at various dealers, including site-sponsor B&H Photo.

The 5DS (including the 5DS R variant) is Canon’s new 50.6MP full frame DSLR. The camera provides the highest resolution sensor of any current full frame cameras, along with several other improved features.

(The 5DS R model cancels the anti-aliasing filter that has long been a standard feature of digital cameras. The “R” model is back-ordered, so those who want that version and don’t want to wait should consider putting in an order.)

(You may use the links in this paragraph to order/reserve either the 5DS or the 5DS R from site-sponsor B&H photo. I have reserved mine — I’m going with the “R” model.)

Articles on the 5Ds and 5Ds R on this website:

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email

All media © Copyright G Dan Mitchell and others as indicated. Any use requires advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Looking at Canon 5Ds Raw Files: Noise and Dynamic Range

(Note: The images were not included in the original post, which instead included text links only. The images are now part of the post.)

I just took a break and had time to play with a Canon 5Ds raw file that I found on the web. (Anyone wanting to look at files from the 5Ds should head on over to that link right now — there are something like 90+ files to look at.) It was made with the 5Ds at ISO 100, f/8, 1/400 second. It isn’t clear what lens was used, but it appears that it could have been either the 50mm f/1.8 STM lens or the 24-70mm f/2.8 II.

I opened the file in ACR. I made no adjustments to curves, color, etc. I let ACR automatically correct for CA. Default ACR sharpening used at 15 with masking at 50.

I brought the converted file into Photoshop as a smart object to allow for non-destructive re-editing in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). I confirmed that shadow areas along the waterline of the boats have luminosity values of 0 — I did this by checking the Lab color representation and watching the L value, which hits 0 in several spots. The general area is shown by the rectangle in the following image: Continue reading Looking at Canon 5Ds Raw Files: Noise and Dynamic Range

Canon EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R Release Near?

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.

Canon EOS 5Ds DSLR
Canon EOS 5Ds DSLR

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.

Continue reading Canon EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R Release Near?

New Canon 5DS R DSLR: A Printing Test

(Updated: May 2015)

In February 2015 Canon announced the new EOS 5DS DSLR bodies in two versions: the EOS 5DS and the EOS 5DS R The “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 much 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:

  1. Open the Canon jpg file in Photoshop CC.
  2. Resize to 30″ x 45″ at 300 ppi
  3. 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.
  4. Apply my customary output sharpening for prints.
  5. 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.

The results?

If I handed most people the letter-sized printed extract 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 of this detailed image. (I cannot say whether or how much noise would be available in an image of a subject with continuous or smooth gradient tones.)

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 printfour 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.

The results?

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.
  • Update: The cameras are now available for pre-order (as of 3/23/15), and I posted an article with more information more about the cameras.
  • The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Canon’s example file was made with the new EF 11-24mm f/4L USM lens. The article has been edited to correct this error.
  • As a side note, the level of detail in the sample image speaks very well for the resolving power of the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS lens.

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email

Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Canon 50MP 5DS Body, 11-24mm Lens, and Updated Rebel DSLRs

I’ll start with a list, and I’ll add a few comments below.

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.

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email

Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Digital Exposure: Some Basic Rules (Morning Musings 1/10/15)

Earlier this week I read Alan Ross’s fine article about the zone system and the possibility of adapting it for use with digital photography. (“Can the Zone System Go Digital“) It is a fine summary of some very important principles of exposure, and it is one of the most straightforward and readable explanations of the basics concepts of zone system exposure I’ve seen. It also offers a useful way to apply zone system principles to shooting with digital cameras.

Shoreline Reflections, Tenaya Lake
Shoreline Reflections, Tenaya Lake

I don’t use the zone system, but I do expose in ways that often have the same goals, especially when faced with subjects that have a very wide dynamic range (risking a loss of shadow and/or highlight detail) or, oddly, a very narrow dynamic range (where metering systems can try to turn everything neutral gray.) As I read his article I thought it might be fun to try to distill some of my basic principles for exposure down to a very short list. Here it is:

  • Protect the highlights! — Overexposed highlights and bright areas can completely lose detail if they are overexposed with digital photography, and these details may not be recoverable in post.
  • Watch out for dark tones that are too dark — If dark tones go too dark, they may need to be pulled back up in post, and noise, banding, and other artifacts can be the result of radical lightening of dark areas.
  • Consider the most important values in the scene, and adjust exposure to favor them — You may want to compensate for the camera’s tendency to want to make black and white tones end up gray in narrow dynamic range photographs
  • If important, subtle tonal variations are found in the shadows or in the highlights, consider offsetting exposure to protect them — You may want to underexpose just a bit to retain differences among tones in the bright areas. If there are a lot of important details in very dark shadows, you may wish to overexpose a bit.
  • Use the danged histogram — The RGB histogram display quickly tells you a lot of important things about your exposure.
  • Use the camera as the meter — Go ahead and make an exposure to test your settings. While there is a certain historical macho that says you should get it right in a single exposure, or that you should use a handheld meter, modern digital cameras can provide just as much information as external meters.
  • Don’t be afraid to bracket — Sometimes it is simply faster to make several bracketed exposures rather than to figure out one “perfect” one. That may sound like a photographic blasphemy to some… but it works!

Do you have other basic exposure rules that can be applied in a general way?

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email

Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Switching. And Patience. (Morning Musings 9/18/14)

Friday Night, Manhattan
Friday Night, Manhattan*

Today I’m going to muse about equipment, and how to respond to the ongoing and inevitable continuing improvements in the capabilities of photography gear. My primary context is the Canon DSLR gear that I use, though the issue that I’m “musing” about is a more general one.

I shoot mostly with a Canon 5D Mark II camera body, typically using four or fewer lenses. (I also use a Fujifilm X-trans camera for situations where small and light gear is more important than having a full frame sensor.) The 5DII is a 21MP full frame DSLR camera and can produce marvelous photographic results, including quite large high quality prints.

Recently Canon-using photographers have become acutely aware that full frame cameras from Sony (such as the A7r) and Nikon (the D800 and D810 models) incorporate important advances in digital sensor technology. These include greater photo site density (36MP sensors) and increased dynamic range (or “DR” in photospeak), and these cameras have gotten the attention of many serious photographers. (Today the issue came up in the context of a forum discussion of a vague and unsubstantiated rumor of a new Canon camera.)

Since photography relies on the technology of cameras and lenses, photographers are almost always interested in technological improvements. In fact, some folks can become so interested in this that the technology becomes more important to them than the photographs, and it be a challenge to keep things in perspective. Continue reading Switching. And Patience. (Morning Musings 9/18/14)