Welcoming a 5Ds into the Studio, First Impressions & Review

Hey friends, so I’ve been on the fence about making the jump to medium format or waiting for a high resolution EF mount full frame DSLR. After handling a 645Z at WPPI I was very tempted to sell my glass and make the switch. Well Canon changed the game and made this a much easier decision with the 5Ds. I was really impressed with the 645D and 645Z but with what I have invested into Canon glass, speedlites, brand specific Pocketwizards,  and platform familiarity its far more convenient for me to stay with Canon. I’m coming from the 5D Mark III and the layout and functionality is basically the same, only perfected with a few more options and over double the image size. While we’re talking about image size… the full resolution RAW 50MP files at 8688×5792 weigh in at at around 55-70mb depending on ISO. Let’s just say I’ll be using some of the smaller image sizes when my clients’ don’t need the full 50MP. 

So there are 2 other RAW sizes… 6480×4320 and 4320×2880.  The JPEG options are very similar.  I usually opt to record a medium compression/size jpeg to SD card and full resolution RAW to CF but I plan to adjust depending on the project needs so I don’t need a new external drive every other week. 

A quick warning for anyone considering the purchase… if you are still on Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CS5 or older you will have to upgrade to LR6/PS6 or CC to open the RAW files from the 5Ds. Pretty low in my book for them not adding camera support to the Camera RAW plugin for previous versions. Whatever, so I had to pay the $80 upgrade to the Adobe overlords to really use my new camera.

On the plus side, I appreciate Canon not changing the grip or battery design. No complaints on the BG-E11 that I moved over from my 5D3 and one less thing to buy.

I took a few shots around the house to checkout dynamic range, high ISO performance, resolution and sharpness. I’ve got a headshot session tomorrow and we’ll be doing more beauty and fashion work shortly to share experiences with the new 5Ds.

Below you’ll see 2 unedited shots with 100% view crop in Lightroom. Both were shot with a Contax N Zeiss 24-85mm F3.5-4.5 converted to EF mount by Conurus.

The stereo shot:  1/80th @F3.5 22mm ISO 5000….

The table/window scape:  1/125th @ F4.5 28mm ISO 1600

UPDATE, Week 1

So during the studio headshot shoot I’ve noticed there is a longer delay in reviewing the images on the camera LCD, its a significant delay compared to the 5D3.  Maybe this is because Im shooting at full resolution or recording RAW+Jpeg to separate cards… I’ll experiment to see what affect those variables have. Also, the on camera screen is not very accurate.  The images looked extremely warm and flat on camera, but when viewing in Lightroom afterwords they looked true to color/density. It was off enough that I had to double check a test shot before continuing. Shooting with my usual daylight balanced Elinchrom Monolights and with camera white balance set to daylight I expected pure whites and black, but it appeared much warmer on the camera screen. Hopefully they’ll correct this in future firmware updates.

Lightroom 6 seems to handle the large files very well. It was a bit slow to render and open in Photoshop CS5 because it’s exporting the edited RAW file to tiff.  This is my first studio shoot with this camera and the detail and sharpness is just mind blowing with both lenses used (Canon 85mm F1.2L II and Contax N Zeiss 24-85mm Conurus-converted).

General experiences with the camera… autofocus is fast and accurate (seems a little faster than my 5D3 was). The changes that have been made to the viewfinder displays are awesome. More options to pick for what and how you want it to show. For how I use it, the grid overlay and the way it displays AF points is more visible and intuitive, less intrusive the way it shows the selected point and hiding the rest.  Again, you have the ability to change a lot of the viewfinder displays. Very similar to the 5D3, just more options and perfected.

UPDATE, Week 2

I shot a wedding on Saturday that introduced a wide variety of challenges to push the camera, most involving low light performance. Most images were shot at the 28MP RAW setting to conserve space. I used the 1.3x crop mode in a few instances to get a slightly longer focal length. I used my 600ex RT speedlite on a stroboframe bracket and an Elinchrom 600RX monolights and strip softbox for stronger fill for the formals and during the ceremony.  I always use my speedlites in full manual mode but I did play with ETTL this time to see if there were improvements in flash metering.  It has improved slightly especially when using FEL but I still prefer keeping both camera and flash in full manual and adjusting power manually based on distance and bounce. Autofocus in low light worked about the same as the 5DIII in single shot mode but continuous AF seems to track a lot better in low light.

About the Author:
Ryan holds a Bachelors in Marketing from Grand Canyon University, graduating on the dean's list. He has been providing professional photography services starting in 2003 and internet marketing services starting in 2007. His experience in specific industries including e-commerce gift/retail, aftermarket automotive industry, and Beauty/Cosmetology education and salon, and high-end designer fashion market provides him with unique insight for practical application of photography as it applies to modern advertising mediums and business needs.

Related Posts

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

error: All Images © 2016 Ryan M. Walsh