Updated: Nov 1, 2020
Camera manufacturers, in a quest for supreme image quality and more sales, embarked some years ago on a megapixel arms race, starting at 36 megapixels and gradually ascending to the Canon EOS 5DS, with its incredible 50.6 megapixels. Though it's a natural choice for portrait and landscape photography, this high-res DSLR is surprisingly adept at navigating the streets of New York, amongst other subjects that aren't normally associated with a high megapixel count. Is this camera all it claims to be - a medium-format rivalling pro camera that will transform your photography - or do the issues associated with such a powerful sensor hold it back?
Though high-resolution sensors are often associated with increased noise levels, as long as the ISO is kept below 12,800, the 5DS produces surprisingly clean images - perhaps even better than those produced by a 20 or 30 megapixel image sensor. The above image was taken handheld on a dark night at ISO 6,400 - and there's not a trace of grain in its deep shadows.
One of the largest issues with the EOS 5DS is the sheer density of pixels. This can accentuate blur and diminish the impact of the sensor, but using a relatively fast shutter speed (at least 1/500 of a second) means that you can capture sharp images with ease - though the best results will be achieved on a tripod, the resolving power of the 5DS is incredible however you shoot.
Many reviews of the Canon EOS 5DS, and its sibling, the 5DSR, claim that you must use Canon's pro-quality L-series lenses to produce images worthy of the camera, I've found that incredible images can be achieved with even the $125 EF 50mm f/1.8 STM, one of my favorite lenses. Though it is worth investing in a pro-grade lens if you want optimum image quality, don't feel like you have to spend thousands on incredible lenses or 'glass' unless you've got the budget.
Though it lacks the benefits of mirrorless cameras - in-body image stabilization, focus peaking, and incredible autofocus, the 5DS shares many features with Canon's 5D Mark IV and 5D Mark III - some of the most popular pro cameras in the world. It has custom shooing settings, dual Digic 6 processors, two memory card slots, and a USB 3.2 port for better connectivity.
The 5DS can now be found for around $1300 at some retailers, and for just $1000 used or refurbished. Compared to other, similar cameras, it's a brilliant deal, and a brilliant DSLR. You shouldn't buy it if you want the latest features of the latest models, but if you really want that 50.6 megapixel sensor, then it's a great choice.