The Canon 5DSr – Their best yet – Part 1 A hands on practical review for wedding photography
***Eos Mirrorless Update 20/01/2019 – Please check out my Canon EOS R Mirroless Review for my latest Canon review***
Since writing this post the Canon 5Div was released. Many people will come to this page asking about the 5DSr vs the 5Div – I have purchased two and will have a write up ready just as soon as I have the time. In short, I am keeping my 5DSr as a backup camera while running two 5Div’s for my work. It would be great to say there’s a stark difference between the two but I have to put some serious testing through the iv’s first.
On the surface though, the 5Div has better shadows, but not by much because the 5DSr already beat the 5D3 in that respect by a fair amount. The Canon 5Dsr not only has more resolution but also sharper images due to the AA canceling filter and while the 5Div has better noise performance how much so…I’m not so sure on as the 5DSr has smaller pixels and in turn, much smaller, finer grain. The real differences between the 5DSr and the 5Div are in the live view, that is a huge leap. But the AF performance through the viewfinder is pretty much the same between both bodies and the 5Dsr is a lot lower in price right now. The 5Div vs the 5Diii is a massive improvement however and if you don’t need 50mp and have the funds available then the 5Div is the body to get.
I’m going to start this review by saying that I’m not sponsored or supported by any manufacturer. Sure, it would be nice to find a surprise camera in the post but whenever I write these sort of reviews it’s to cut through some of the hype, mystery and herd mentality that populates the internet.
A lot of opinions about cameras are from people with no real world day to day use and who do not operate at a professional level.
The Canon 5DSr is very, very good and I’m no longer considering jumping brands to Nikon as a result. That’s the short of it and what follows is the long.
Firstly, here is the list of cameras I have experience with:
- The Canon 40D, 7D, 5D I, II and III, the Canon 1Ds3, the 1DIV and the 1DX.
- The Pentax 645z (Which I will touch upon in this review). My 645z Review is HERE.
- The Sony A7ii with and without native lenses.
- The Olympus OMD EM-5 and the Fuji Xpro-1
- The Mamiya RZ67 ProIID (Film), the Mamiya 645DF+ (Film and Digital using the Phase P25 back).
- All three Sigma DP Merill cameras (worth a go as they are excellent value for money).
- The Hasselblad H1 with film and a Leaf Aptus 22 back, the H3DII 39 and finally the H4D50.
As someone who shoots manually and in RAW 100% I do not use any features that affect the image output. No noise reduction, Highlight Tone Priority or anything like that. I want my files as pure as possible straight from the camera.
by Chris Giles Photography[/caption]
There were many reasons why I bought the 5DSr. I shoot about 50 weddings a year, very long days are involved and my usual setup was a Canon 5D3 on my left and a Canon 1DX on my right. I use all the L series primes and zooms from 14mm through to 200mm and I’ve always been very happy with this setup.
That being said, the constant weight of the 1DX was starting to cause problems and despite being a camera which was ‘always there before I was’ this speed was becoming the only reason I continued to use it, that and the ability to program the buttons into custom settings.
The 5D3 was good but imperfect in that I had a 12 shot raw only buffer which was ok but always seemed to fall short at the worst time. This was down to the write speed of the camera, fire a high speed burst on a 5D3 without cards and it keeps on shooting… and doesn’t stop. I wasn’t forever shooting in burst mode but I was always hitting the buffer. The 5DSr can do 18 in a burst even though it reports 12 because of the speed it can clear the buffer and even when the buffer is full you still get 2 fps. Considering this is pushing 50mp files that’s a big jump. Shooting Mraw (28mp) gets you even more (around 22 and 2-3 fps).
Then of course there was the sensor which at the time was great but compared to what is now available is starting to age a little. That being said it’s more often mentioned by the pixel peepers of this world and I’ve never had a bride and groom complain about sensor banding, they seem much more concerned that I got a picture of Grandma when she was Moonwalking to Billie Jean. It’s not like older cameras stop working when a new one comes out or anything.
I mostly ignored the 5Ds announcement. I had the opinion of ‘nice, but no cigar’ and continued to drool over the a7rii instead, a camera I’ll cover and one I intend on explaining why I’m not interested in it further down.
What pushed me to buy the 5DSr was the ability to assign a custom setting to the AF-on button. As someone who shoots manually most of the time having a split second save all button is golden for me. This function is responsible for some of my best ‘moment’ shots and is something I can’t work without.
So I ordered a 5DSr. I went for the R version because I’d rather not have any AA interference and at 50mp you’ll have to really push to get moire, I’ve only seen it once and had to shoot through some strongly backlit mesh trying to deliberately get it for this review. Even then, although I thought I had some, it was pointed out that it was just a bit of purple fringing.
No moire in 8000 frames is superb, even the Canon 5D3 with an AA filter gets moire.
My initial impressions in the hand and during use were that it’s a 5D3 which has been turned up to 11. Forgetting the sensor swap this is how the 5D3 should of been.
All the 5D3 issues are gone, the card write speeds are massively improved, (you can format a 128gb SD card instantly vs 3-4 seconds on the 5D3) and there is no difference in card buffer write speed either using dual or single cards.
The whole operation of the camera is a bit quicker, the AF system is better in operation. I don’t know if that’s the dual digics in action or new algorithms but I was shooting the dancefloor with my 85L in Ai servo mode at F2 last week (AF setting 4) and it was hitting target, and quickly too. I also only use cross type af points in my setup, it helps speed the af cursor along when setting focus.
Update – The autofocus is definitely improved across all lenses in spot and servo mode.
Power consumption is roughly the same, I used the supplied battery when it arrived and later quipped on Facebook that whenever I used live view the hotel room lights dimmed and the TV switched off but after a few charges we’re looking at 800 shots per full charge, no live view. This is roughly the same as a 5D3 and while not as long lasting as the 1DX I don’t have to carry around the extra weight. (I never understand why people use the V grips).
Another big change is the shutter which is just god damn sexy. Compare a 5D3 silent shutter to the 5DSr normal shutter and you’re hard pressed to tell any difference, in fact I prefer the 5DSr shutter as the sound is over quicker. Silent shutter on the 5DSr is more drawn out and no quieter so I never use it. There is sadly, no global truly silent shutter on this body. I read somewhere that it has a silent EFCS (Electric First Curtain Shutter) in live view thinking it was a new thing but it’s the same as the 5D3.
To be honest though the shutter itself is completely inoffensive anyway.
There is something that might surprise you at first which is if you shoot and chimp immediately by pressing the play button you’ll find it shows you the previous image taken. But if you shoot and just wait for the preview to appear then you’ll get the image you want on screen. I guess shoving 50mp around takes a little longer and I put this down to the personality of the 5Ds. When I shoot the dancefloor in manual focus I still half depress the shutter to lock af when it’s irrelevant. Just old habits!
Dynamic range is much improved. This is Canon’s best sensor ever, the colours are great as always but these are good straight out of the camera.
I’ve always been someone in the camp of ‘If you need to shoot 5 stops under you’re doing it wrong’ and I still maintain this. And yes, I do own a 645z and yes, it’s freaking awesome and yes, I shoot that 3-4 stops under for sunset shots… and that’s it. At ISO100 too.
Here’s the rub, people are screaming for dynamic range, not that they need it, it’s just the in thing right now. We have super huge megapixel sensors, great user interfaces on the cameras so there’s few gaps left to be filled…. so in comes dynamic range. Often over-looked is that at around ISO 400-800 dynamic range falls off across all sensors and here I am shooting at ISO100 with a 645z when I could pretty much get away with using the 5DSr at ISO100 as well. I just like the bigger sensor, the shape of the sensor and the feel I get from those images. So use both.
The 645z and 5DSr are in their prime for formals and couple shoots, those 50-51 million pixels allows a higher degree of editing and file flexibility which is a great reason to go 50mp. It’s actually quite a complimentary setup as Canon has fast glass and Pentax doesn’t with Canon having better focus tracking and the Pentax has a flip screen. And yes Canon, I would like a tilting screen please or even an accessory that allows it.
The high ISO of this camera is inoffensive in the extreme. I never shoot above 6400 anyway because if the lighting is that bad you fire a flash, doh. Even 12800 is relatively pleasant and with files that huge noise reduction works really well which says a lot as I’m not into smearing detail away.
Next, Part Two5Div review, Canon 5D3, Canon 5Div, Canon 5Ds, Canon 5DSr, card 1.2, comparisons, Dynamic Range, err99, Nikon D750, Pentax 645z, raw files, raw files download, review, Sony A7ii, Sony A7rii, User review, vs, wedding photography