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Why did I buy the 5 year old Canon 5Dsr camera?

What’s so great about the Canon 5Dsr?

The Canon 5Dsr DSLR camera was released in February 2015 and on sale for around £3200. It holds a 50 megapixel sensor in the footprint of a Canon 5D MkIII. That’s a resolution of more than twice the 22.3 megapixels the Canon 5D MkIII offers. Being the ‘R’ version, this camera body has an additional low pass filter which cancels out the first one. This in theory means slightly sharper images than the Canon 5Ds (also 50 megapixels), but at the risk of potential moire with fine repeatable patterns.

How do the Canon 5Dsr and 5D MkIII compare?

I’m still quite new to the 5Dsr, but essentially the two cameras look and feel almost identical. They have very similar menus, and the same button layout (but no headphone port on the 5Dsr). Since I have started to use the 5Dsr, I have noticed there is more of a delay viewing images after taking them due to the added filesize, but I don’t think this will be a huge problem when balanced with the resolution you are gaining. Images from this camera are significantly larger than those from the Canon 5D MkIII.

Personally I use Capture One to edit my photos and I haven’t noticed any slow down when working with the images. I moved away from Adobe Lightroom a few years back as the lag was utterly appalling. It’s a relief to find that even with much larger images, Capture One is handling them like a champ!

So why buy a 5 year old DSLR camera?

If you like Canon cameras you may be aware that July this year, Canon, after months of teasers, finally announced the Canon R5 and the Canon R6.

What has this got to do with the Canon 5Dsr? Well the R5 is a 45 megapixel camera and the R6 is a 20 megapixel camera. Ever since the Canon R first came out with its disappointing specs, I have been waiting for Canon to bring out a camera that every Canon user has been waiting for; a mirrorless version of a Canon 5D but with up to date features.

You could say Canon have achieved that with the R5 and the R6. However, the R5 is overkill for my needs. I don’t need 8K video and I certainly don’t have a computer powerful enough to handle that video resolution.

The R5, along with an SD slot, also has a CFast slot. I actually already own a Canon 1DX MkII that has a CFast slot, and I have never used it because the cards are prohibitively expensive!

So by the same token, I am unlikely to use a CFast slot in the R5, and buying such a camera when I wouldn’t use the 8K video capabilities would mean I was paying more than was commercially viable for my use case.

So the logical answer is to go for the R6 right? Well yes and no. The R6 offers all that I need for video as well as in body image stabilisation (IBIS), a flip out screen, electronic viewfinder, face tracking af, silent shooting, improved dynamic range etc. However, it actually has a slightly LOWER megapixel count than my Canon 5D MkIII.

So are you going to buy a Canon R6?

Yes that is the plan, and I still haven’t decided yet whether to let go of the 1DX MkII. I prefer to have two small body cameras as long as they are capable. Canon’s offerings now allow a high frame rate in a compact body size, so the 1DX MkII, although a fantastic camera, seems an unnecessary bulk to lug around; and you certainly feel it. You could say it makes you look ‘professional,’ but I only care what people think of my photos, not what camera they see me using.

Currently my 1DX MkII has around 50,000 shots on it so not much use really, and that’s because of its bulk. The 5D MkIII on the other hand is on around 115,000 shots. I always reach for the 5D MkIII as it is smaller/lighter, and it has a quiet shutter like the 5Dsr. Not so with the 1DX MkII. The R6 though has a silent shutter mode, which for the work I do at Millfield School is a massive bonus.

I don’t need a Canon R5 at around £4000, but the R6 would tick a lot of boxes at a cost of £2500. The R6, 5D MkIII and the 1DX MkII all have megapixel counts around 20MP however. After some research I decided that the 5Dsr was a cheap way to fulfil the desire for a high megapixel option, maintain a small camera body size, and still be able to afford an R6 if I sold one or more of my older cameras.

Model photographed at a London fashion event held by Canon the year of the 5Ds and 5Dsr release

The above photo is very heavily cropped. The right photo I actually took on a Canon 5Ds, but the results would be very, very similar to the Canon 5Dsr. I overlaid the 5D MkIII image on the larger 5Ds image and matched the scale. This allows you to see the difference in resolution. Taking into consideration the image has been compressed quite heavily for fast web viewing, the difference is still quite stark!

What did you pay for the Canon 5Dsr?

I picked up a Canon 5Dsr for £1190 from HDEW cameras. I’ve bought cameras from there before. They have a limited range, but the prices are fantastic and I have never had a problem with their service or the cameras they sell. Currently, elsewhere the same camera body is being sold for £2350!

So up until now, all the images on my website have come from cameras up to 22MP. I shall now though be able to shoot higher resolution images which will come in handy for scenarios where I want to crop in, or like in the case of macro photography, simply want more detail.

So what do you think, is 50 megapixels overkill or do you think there are times when it is needed?

When would you use 50 megapixels, and if you have been doing so already, what has been your experience?

Whilst you’re here, why not have a look around my website.

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