June 15, 2015

Canon EOS 5DsR First Thoughts (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia)

I’ve assembled some of my thoughts after a handful of sessions using the Canon EOS 5DsR – a little bit of a long post with few images, but perhaps of interest to some considering the camera.
Digital original
On the camera side:

The camera demands solid technique – the discussions about the shutter speed and camera shake are totally relevant, and with shutter speeds (hand-held) between 1/125 and 1/400, I had about 1 in 3 exhibit motion blur – more than that in portraits and images of people.

With large apertures (f/1.2 to f/2 on 85mm and 135mm lenses respectively) when the focus is accurate, it is stunning, and yields tack sharp points of focus, but even with static subjects, when working hand-held, only a portion of images were tack sharp – three or four images in a row would yield only one or two images…well under 50% over a couple of hundred images. The definite take-away from the 800+ images I’ve made to date is that this is a camera that begs for a tripod!

The rear screen is fabulous, with some caveats. It has a very different “look” than the 5D MKII screen, being “softer” in colour; I would say lower contrast, but I am not sure if that is the case…it is just more delicate looking. It is significantly different from what I am used to, and was challenging to “read” without a histogram. The Histogram representation is a big improvement over the 5D MKII’s as it now has a hairline of white around it, and overall the screen is great, but it will take some getting used to the different look all the same.

The camera is slow to display the histogram – more like an Eos 10D from 2004 than anything current – it will take time to get used to not just glancing at the screen after making an image to evaluate the exposure, but having to wait for the histogram to appear. That alone is going to slow down photography for me (never a bad thing).

And the final camera comment is the file sizes – they are BIG. I’ve been working with 32gb files, and am used to getting almost 1000 21mp files per card; I got under 400 on the same card with the 5DsR; time to get 64 or more likely 128gb cards, sadly.
Digital original - 100% crop
On the processing side:

The images are incredible – sharp, detailed and everything I hoped for. When everything is lined up, the image quality is just stunning at 100% crop…and there are 50 million pixels at that quality, image-wide.
The default PS/LR RAW development seems to be REALLY off – they process with much more contrast than other Canon RAW files; I am finding I have to put a -25 to -50 contrast on images to get them closer to the “usual” Adobe development look. I will wait until I have a couple of weeks of photography before creating a custom default development for the camera.
The dynamic range is greater than the 5D MKII; I did some images last night with a sunset sky, and the model on the shade side of a sand-dune; in post I was able to pull full detail back in the sky (bright, but with colour), and open up the shadows tons, correcting the WB to remove the blue, and the result was both pleasing, and clean, in terms of image quality. With the 5D MKII I would have hit an issue with that image.

Lightroom Mobile is suddenly an integral workflow tool. The 50mp files are awesome…and slow. On my desktop (3.7 ghz Xeon, 32gb 1600 RAM) it takes several seconds for the 100% preview to load…longer if multiple images are being compared; this is crazy slow. Lightroom Mobile on the other hand is great equalizer; after importing the 5DsR files, I synced them to LR mobile, and minutes later, could breeze through the images on my tablet without delay. Cropping, composition evaluation, flagging and stars can all be done without delay…and when returning to the desktop LR, all the changes are implemented, without the delay.

Unfortunately, in LR Mobile you can’t do everything; because of the files are lower resolution, you can’t check the actual image sharpness, and as it lacks the compare mode, selection between similar/matching images isn’t possible.

I hope to have a blog entry on my site within a week posting some of the new work.

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