The Canon EOS 5DS' resolution still blows away every other Canon camera

Canon EOS 5DS
(Image credit: James Artaius)

Eight years after launch, the Canon EOS 5DS is still the highest resolution camera made by Canon

Indeed, when it was launched back in 2015, the Canon EOS 5DS' pixel-packed 50.6MP sensor made it the highest resolution full frame camera made by anybody. However, while cameras packing more than 50MP are pretty common these days, with Sony and Sigma boasting 61MP bodies, Canon has yet to bring a higher resolution option to market. 

• The are the highest resolution cameras you can buy right now – and 50MP is conservative!

Even the mighty Canon EOS R5 only packs 45MP (although Canon insists that, due to clever resolution technology, it has offers detail on par with 50MP sensors), meaning that the company's most detailed sensor isn't found in its cutting edge mirrorless cameras – it's found in a DSLR from getting on a decade ago.

So there's got to be a good reason, right? The Canon EOS 5DS must be a pretty incredible camera, for the manufacturer not to replace it in an age where every Canon DSLR is getting upcycled for the mirrorless market.

The truth is, the Canon EOS 5DS is a very niche product. It's a studio camera, more than anything; everything about it is geared towards supporting that headline resolution above everything else. In fact, there's a whole sister model – the Canon EOS 5DS R – that doubles down on resolution by nullifying the anti-aliasing filter. 

(Image credit: James Artaius)

Crucially, the camera does not feature Dual Pixel AF. Its autofocus isn't bad, per se, but it's so odd that such a powerhouse product eschews it – though this was during the period where Canon was being more rigid about keeping specific technology for specific product lines.

Its 5fps burst mode isn't going to win the Canon EOS 5DS any footraces, and while its 1080p 24/25/29p video is very solid, Canon was very up-front during the camera's launch that it was never really intended for video – and the AF system certainly attests to that. 

What the Canon EOS 5DS definitely is intended for is photography. Studio, still life, landscape – any genre you can lock it down on a tripod and crank every ounce of detail out of every last pixel. And if that is still what you need from your imaging today, it remains a truly outstanding camera. 

The Sony A7R V offers over 20% greater resolution. The Hasselblad X2D 100C gives you twice as many megapixels. And rumor has it that the EOS R5 is about to get firmware that makes it capable of 400MP images. And they all offer in-body image stabilization and state-of-the-art autofocus. 

But they're all significantly more expensive than buying a Canon EOS 5DS – which is an absolute steal on the used market. With the camera having been discontinued for a while, it feels like an EOS R-series replacement is inevitable. Until then, though, Canon's wily vet still packs all the old man strength you could ask for. 

If you enjoyed this article, you'll probably be interested in the best Canon EOS 5DS deals. We'd also recommend checking out the best Canon cameras and best Canon lenses

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.