Phew, wow, this blog post was a long time in the making. Crazy how long I have not posted anything… I guess a lot has happened in my life recently which somewhat prevented me from writing much. Besides, writing has always been something I’ve done to improve my mental state or let off steam so to speak and lately, everything has been going really well.
First off, I have a new job. I am not a full time photographer yet but certainly not a “hobbyist” either. Isn’t that the ultimate insult? I think it is. I also think most other photographers say that to make themselves feel better “Aha, you do photography as a hobby don’t you?”. This always makes me feel inadequate. However, the money and effort I spent to buy gear and improve my skills far exceeds to be called a hobbyist. I have done paid jobs too and go to the Photography Show in Birmingham as a pro.
So don’t tell me, I am only a hobbyist. If you do, you are just patronising and I have no time for that.
Anyway, I digress. Don’t know why I’m even ranting… haha. I scored a job at a tech company, working as a consultant. Massive improvement and very good money. Just in time for our wedding in the summer to bolster the wedding fund.
What this post is actually about is an ode to a camera. You know when you have a camera that you just get along with. When everything just comes together and you just love using it.
That camera to me is or was the Canon EOS 5DS R.
Wait. What? I hear you ask. Not a Leica M, a Nikon F or something else iconic?
I bought the 5DS R alongside my 5D Mark IV and loved it from the start. It felt great in my hands, the shutter sounded really good and solid (yes, that is important to me) and the images I could produce with it matched my style and creative ideas perfectly. I had been enticed by that camera the moment it was announced by Canon. I thought: 50 megapixel in a DSLR, how much better can it get? On top of that it had some nice features, I really appreciated such as the anti flicker, the newly designed mirror box which is motorised and extra dampened as well as the ability to change the format to square and see the grid lines for that in the viewfinder.
Granted, many people will tell you that 50mp in a camera is total overkill. I disagree with that, as high resolution sensors will be the norm going forward. Just look at the Sony and Nikon offerings and 36 – 42mp are normal.
The files sizes of the 5DS R are massive. We are talking about around 70MB per photo which is a lot. However, you can shoot in MRAW which gives you a 28mp file and that also works really well.
I think the 5DS R is a greatly misunderstood camera which I attribute to negative media hype and most online photographers not doing their research and not actually using the camera. There were some real world reviews but they felt quite biased. Many people thought the camera is too slow, doesn’t have enough dynamic range (I read that comment before the camera was even released… I mean, come on, really?! I am not going into a dynamic range debate right now, let’s just agree to disagree and dynamic range has a lot do with how much a photographer is actually willing to work for their images…) and is mainly for fashion/studio and landscape photographers. Some claimed it’s not possible to shoot candidly on the streets, or shoot events like weddings with it. The biggest gripe some seemed to have was the fact that the native ISO only goes from 100-6400. Shock, horror. The world ends. A camera that can’t do 102400 ISO natively? No, that can’t be a good camera can it?
I had to laugh.
Reviewing my images, I rarely ever go above 6400 and try to stay under that value as much as possible. The image degradation in digital becomes very strong from ISO 400 upwards, so keeping the ISO as low as possible is key for photography in general I think. Don’t believe me? Check this: http://mattgranger.com/tutorials/item/238-the-real-downsides-to-high-iso (it’s an old video but the facts are still true today)
Also: Who are these lunatics doing 102400 ISO and think that’s still useable? Get a grip please.
So, for me, it was a great camera. I actually used it more than the 5D IV which made me feel a little ashamed, considering how much money I had spent on it (I got the 5DS R for cheap by trading stuff in and getting a good price generally.
I used it for all sorts of general photography and the claim that the camera is too slow is a flat out lie. It has a dual processor set up just like the super fast 1DX and the autofocus is the exact same than in the 5D III (and also 1DX) making it very versatile and quick.
I am generally not a pixel peeper and I don’t mind when images are a bit blurry, however, if you follow the rules for shooting with a high megapixel camera such as keeping the shutter speed high enough, your photos will be sharp.
Here are a couple of examples of a street photographs.
When I shot an event in the U.S., I used the 5D IV with a wide angle lens and the 5DS R with a telephoto lens. Everything was shot off the cuff and I had to work quite fast to capture the moments. The 5DS R proved to be a fantastic events camera, shooting in MRAW at 28mp this image of a little family moment is one of my favourites of the day:
Of course, I used it for landscapes and similar types of images as well.
Here are some more examples(This is a rather random example of a test product photo… 🙂
It is a camera that hasn’t failed me once so you may wonder: Why have I sold it? In the end, I needed to future proof my set up a little bit and the 5D IV is the ideal companion for that. I just love the touch screen, dual pixel autofocus in live view and the wifi connectivity. Coupled with a fantastic image quality I reluctantly decided to sell the 5DS R and got a 16-35 lens in return (the latest 2.8L III. What a lens. Highly recommended!)
In conclusion, the 5DS R is a fantastic camera that I found to be very versatile and great to work with. I loved the images I was able to produce, not only because of the vast amount of detail but also the general look of the images. In hindsight, I regret having sold it off but ultimately, I had no choice. However, if Canon come out with a Mark II of that camera I will be looking at it very closely and maybe, just maybe… who knows?!
(Note: All images shot on Canon EOS 5DS R and processed in my usual way)