A Practical Praise of the Canon 5DS R

A Practical Praise of the Canon 5DS R

Full disclosure, Canon is the sponsor of the TV show I’m on and I do a lot of work with them. However, they have never asked me to write any reviews of their products and I was a Canon user long before my TV show every happened.

I’m not a very technical guy so I don’t discuss much on technical specs nor will you find any charts, Bunsen burners, or lab coats in my reviews. I go off of feel, intuition and real assignment experience.

A little bit about me, I work independently as a photojournalist (most notably for The New York Times), I own a destination wedding photography business, and a commercial photography and video production studio. You can see all my work HERE.

Enough about me, lets dive into this camera.

Why I Bought It?

I purchased the 5DS R solely for my commercial business. We shoot a lot of luxury resorts all over Asia and beyond and I was looking for a high-resolution camera for these shoots. The 5DS R packs 50mp on a full frame sensor so you can see the appeal. I wanted a camera with great files because I’m always looking for more details and beautiful colors and when my clients need to print the images huge, I want those images to look stunning.

The Good

The best thing about this camera is the delicious files it produces. You still need to take nice pictures with your eye and brain but if you do get a nice shot you will be wildly impressed with the file, wow, just wow. The details and colors are like no camera I’ve ever used before, simply amazing.

For resorts I shoot a lot of inside out, meaning balancing light in a gorgeous room with the rooms view of the beach. You could always light the room and expose for the outside but I’m all about natural light and I try to avoid artificial lighting at all costs to maintain a sense of reality.  

The camera has a built in HDR mode, like a lot of new cameras, but I still prefer to get one middle ground exposure and then move the file in post production to get a more natural feel. The files on this camera can move a ton in post-production without compromising quality.

Here is a sample of a room shot we did for Intercontinental Pattaya, no artificial lighting at all we just ran the image through processing twice in Lightroom. This is all from one file, this isn’t a multiple exposure.

Some images I shot last week for the luxurious 5 star Intercontinental Sun Peninsula Danang resort.

For cropping, you can crop in so close and the files still look amazing, see below. This comes in handy more than you think.

The Bad

It’s not as fast at processing as the Canon 5D Mark 3 or obviously the 1D series but I don’t need it to be. If you are firing off shots quickly the camera lags a little bit and takes that extra second to buffer. Put it up against medium format cameras and I’m sure it crushes them. If you are use to a performance action camera like the above mentioned the one extra second it takes will annoy you a little bit at the beginning but you’ll get over it.

The other thing is this camera is not a beast in low light. You can’t crank it up to 4K or 8K ISO like the 1D and expect the files to be crisp. It’s not horrible in low light but obviously it doesn’t compare to the Canon 5DM3 or the 1DX series.

This camera eats memory because the files are gigantic. It’s not a huge deal but get used to big files.

Ok this isn’t really the camera’s fault but I shoot predominantly with primes so I use a two two-body camera system. This camera destroys others with the files and I couldn’t match it up with others so went back to shooting with one camera at a time.

Some Advices

Buy the fastest cards you can get, I am a huge fan of SanDisk cards. Pay the extra money for the fastest cards, time is money. 

I don’t recommend this camera as a one camera for wedding photography because the files are so huge and unnecessary but if you dial down the file size to Camera RAW medium then it becomes a fantastic number 2 camera, I use it all the time.

Who Needs This Camera

Obviously anyone working in commercial photography will love this camera, but it’s not just for professionals. Anyone interested in fashion, portraiture, pre-wedding, landscape, fine-art, food photography, basically anyone that loves color and fine details at any level will adore this camera.


I’d buy this camera again and again. Even when I shoot commercially I’m rolling around in the sand, dirt, trees, etc. so I’ve put this camera through the stress test and after over 100,000 shots and it still performs flawlessly. It’s a medium format camera packed into a DSLR body and not at a budget breaking medium format price. If you love gorgeous colors, printing your images, and fine details you will be hooked on this camera the second you load the files into your computer.

I use to hate when people say to me, wow those are nice images you must have a great camera. I have to admit that still annoys me but with the 5DS R I do have to give credit where credit is due.

To see more images shot with the 5DS R please visit HERE.

Here are some of my favorite images, all shot with the 5DS R, from my commercial assignment last week for Intercontinental Hotels at Intercontinental Sun Peninsula Danang.

5DS R Specs:

·       50.6MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor

·       Dual DIGIC 6 Image Processors

·       Low-Pass Filter Effect Cancellation

·       3.2" 1.04m-Dot ClearView II LCD Monitor

·       Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 30 fps

·       61-Point High Density Reticular AF

·       ISO 100-6400; 5 fps Continuous Shooting

·       150,000-Pixel RGB+IR Metering Sensor

·       User-Selectable Shutter Release Time Lag

·       Anti-Flicker Compensation

Purchase Online HERE.

Color Me Gone |  New Photobook on Vietnam by Kevin German

Color Me Gone | New Photobook on Vietnam by Kevin German

My Photography Kit: Resort Shoots.

My Photography Kit: Resort Shoots.