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Friday, July 10, 2015

Canon EOS-5Ds vs EOS-5D Mk III Camera Comparison

My readers know, I have been a Canon user for about 25 years. Through the decades, I have used almost all of Canon's cropped and full frame, film and digital cameras, plus the EF and EF-S lenses. You can see my works on

The recently released Canon EOS-5Ds and the EOS-5D Mk III are descendants of the original EOS-5D, released in 2005. It was the first 'affordable' full frame digital camera and the official list price was roughly the same as the current list price of the EOS-5Ds. Considering inflation and the monumental advancement in technology packed into the new camera, I must say it is a very good deal, indeed.

The following comparison covers the two cameras' major features, and assumes the reader is already familiar with the functionality and capabilities of Canon cameras. It is intended to help those trying to decide whether to buy or keep their present EOS-5D Mk III or upgrade to the new EOS-5Ds or EOS-5DsR.

EOS-5Ds and EOS-5DsR full frame cameras :

  • 50.6 MP sensor powered by dual DIGIC 6 processors
  • Optical low pass filter on EOS-5Ds. Self cancelling on EOS-5DsR
  • 1.3x (30.5MP) plus 1.6x (19.6MP) with 1:1 ratio crop mode 
  • 3.2 inch, 1040K dot LCD screen.
  • Dual card slots, one CF, one SD
  • Burst rate 5 fps. Burst depth, up to 510 JPEG and 14 RAW files
  • ISO range from 100 - 6400, 50 - 12800 with expansion
  • 61-point High Density Reticular AF, 41 cross type points, 5 double cross type 
  • 150,000 pixel RGB+IR metering sensor, 252 zone
  • Custom Functions - 16, USB 3.0
  • Number of cross-points depends on the speed of the lens used.
  • 59 ms. shutter lag, 150,000 cycle shutter and .71x viewfinder.
  • DxOMark overall sensor score - 87
  • Low light ISO - 2381 ISO

EOS-5D Mk III full frame camera : 

  • 22.3 MP sensor powered by dual DIGIC 5+ processors
  • Optical low pass filter
  • 3.2 inch, 1040K dot LCD screen
  • Dual card slots, one CF and one SD
  • Burst rate 6 fps. Burst depth, up to 16270 JPEG and 18 RAW files
  • ISO range from 100 - 12800, 50 - 102400 with expansion.
  • 61-point High Density Reticular AF, 41 cross type points, 5 double cross type 
  • iFCL metering sensor, 63 zone
  • Custom Functions 13, USB 2.0
  • Number of cross-points depends on the speed of the lens used
  • 59 ms. shutter lag, 150,000 cycle shutter and .71x viewfinder
  • DxOMark overall sensor score - 81
  • Low Light ISO - 2293 ISO

Those who presently own the EOS-5D Mk III will find the two cameras surprising similar in looks, feel, functionality and ergonomics. This is by design because Canon is looking for a 'seamless' transformation and upgrade for users as much as possible. Of course, the big difference is the massive increase in pixel density of the EOS-5Ds, accompanied by a slower burst and depth rate.

The most puzzling and unnecessary feature to me on the EOS-5Ds is the 1.3x and 1.6x crop mode. With a 50MP sensor, there is plenty of pixels available for cropping during post processing. I do not own either camera because as a wildlife photographer, neither camera fits my needs plus I already have a few full frame bodies - EOS-1V, EOS-1Ds Mk III, EOS-5D and EOS-1D X.

For those who are into wedding, portrait and landscape/architectural photography, require massive amount of pixels for large photos and shoot in generally good to medium light conditions, the EOS-5Ds is a good choice. Its megapixel sensor offers resolution approaching those of medium format cameras and the camera is packed with unmatched functions and features.

Photographers who want a full frame camera with a 20+MP sensor, an advance AF system and superior high ISO performance for travel or occasional wildlife photography should consider the EOS-5D Mk III. I am waiting for the EOS-5D Mk IV and the EOS-1D X Mk II, coming out later this year.

1 comment:

Michael Daniel Ho said...

Guess what. After much deliberation and thought, I have replaced my venerable EOS-1Ds Mark III (the most expensive Canon pro camera to date - $8,000 in 2007) with the EOS-5Ds.

The 5Ds will be used primarily for nature and travel photography but occasionally for wildlife that don't move too much. The resolution of its impressive sensor, the ability to crop the image (in the camera) to 1.3x and 1.6x are great advantages for me when it comes to wildlife photography, offsetting its main disadvantage - the slow 5 fps burst rate.