Photo & Specs from Canonrumors
For Canon EOS users, there are going to be some epic announcements in the coming week that will really shake up the DSLR market. Canon has lost a great many landscapers for two reasons, namely the lack of high resolution cameras and the relatively poor dynamic range (and high pattern noise) of their sensors. I have personally invested in Sony A7/A7R cameras to fill this void, while also benefitting from the small size these cameras offer. While 36MP is a clearly visible hike upon the 22 MP of my 5D III, its not the most important part of the equation as far as I am concerned: that is dynamic range! Like many, I have been amazed at Canon’s lack of movement on this issue and is has surely cost them dearly.
There have been a lot of rumours lately, one (which I am particularly interested in) suggesting that Canon may be using Sony sensors in their next generations of DSLRs. This may turn out to be untrue, however, which would leave people asking how a 50MP Canon developed sensor is going to look in terms of dynamic range and pattern noise. If its a Canon sensor, I’m confident that I will be disappointed, but you never know!
The specifications below (cited on both canonrumors and canonwatch) provide one clue as to where this camera is pitched and thats in the max. ISO of only 6400. This has been made for product photographers and landscapers. It sure as heck isn’t for sports! There are indications that the 5D IV will indeed come and cater for racier applications and come with only a small increase in megapixels from the 5D III. Great, suits me. It will also suit a lot of people. Retaining a camera with lower MP and fantastic responsiveness makes sense, because most people don’t need 22 MP never mind 50.
Canon has tested the patience of its loyal customers and I am one of the people who have not abandoned ship, despite the lure of the D800 and D810. I just prefer the ‘Canon way’ and have a bunch of lenses I have great faith in. I have no interest in going through the utter misery of buying an entire lens line up again, sending back decentered samples, finding some which had bad AF etc…. but I have been close to going through with it, because for some time there has been little hope of Canon sorting their sensors out. I said to myself that if the next generation does not make large gains in DR I will be out. And I will be, so for me, a lot hangs on this.
In the background, however, canon has been releasing some very impressive optics lately. The 24-70L f2.8 II and 16-35 f4 IS come to mind. Nikon had relatively few zooms able to cope with the D800 upon release and it would seem that Canon will not be in that position as their new L series zooms are the best out there. This means existing users, or those wanting to buy into a high-res system will be able to hit the ground running. For some time I pondered whether to sideline the wonderful (but gigantic Tokina 16-28) in favour of the Canon 16-35 f4 L IS…. or get the Sony Zeiss 16-35 f4 OSS. Well, that decision is still not easy, but if I do buy such a lens, it looks increasingly likely to be a Canon, which I can use with both my Canon and Sony systems (via Metabones).
I understand that the 7D II has much lower pattern noise than any other Canon DSLR and so there is hope that even if the 5DS uses a Canon sensor (rather than Sony), it will still be a big step up from the banding generator that is found in the 5D III (so much so that I ended up buying Nik Dfine just to deal with this problem). Try shooting night time cityscapes on a Canon and tell me if it does not drive you insane. You expose to retain highlights and end up having to lift shadows and the result is awful banding. Exposure blending is fine…. except where you have moving clouds, water, vehicles and all sorts. There is another possibility and that is that the new camera will use a Sony sensor, which Canon will deny being the case until the cows come home. I don’t care, as long as banding is manageable and dynamic range north of 13-13.5 stops.
(update on 10 July 2015: DxO testing has shown a dynamic range of 12.4 stops, which although better than the 5D III by just over half a stop, is still nowhere near what Sony and other competing sensors can offer).
Sony is likely to release their 50 MP FE mount camera within the week also, while Canon will also announce their third incarnation of their mirrorless M-series! These are very interesting times, because Canon lacks a high MP body, lacks any DSLR with dynamic range within 2.5 stops of the Nikon/Sony offerings and they have no credible mirrorless options. If only Canon and Sony would jointly develop entire systems. They really would be the dream team. Canon are fantastic at producing well integrated, reliable, well made, well thought out products that just work. Sony has the technology, but they can be a bit ‘hit and hope’ when it comes to the functionality and utility part. Their QC on optics is also comparatively poor – an area where Canon seems much more consistent.
So there we go: 50Mp is soon to be the new 36, but you had better have the lenses! The Sony FE mount clearly doesn’t. Nikon is closer by far, but Canon is, IMHO, the best positioned of the lot. Is there a white rabbit in their hat? For many exasperated users waiting on the sidelines since the D800 and now D810, there needs to be!
I’m in no rush to spend more money, but I have lots of Canon kit and just want to see that it has a future!
Canon EOS 5DS & EOS 5DS R Specifications
50.6MP full frame CMOS sensor
5DS R has the low pass filter removed
Magnesium Alloy Body
Dust and weather sealed
Dual DIGIC6 processor
ISO Range of 100-6400
5FPS continuous shooting
High precision 61-point AF
EOS Itr AF
“fine detail” added to the Picture Styles
1.3x and 1.6x crop shooting mode
Customizable “Quick Control screen”
via Canon Rumors.