Canon 5DsR — Still a great camera?
“Ask Charlotte” is my landscape photography advice blog. Have a question about photography? Go ahead. Ask me. I’m delighted to hear from people who share my passion. I’ll do my best to answer your question thoroughly, and who knows, maybe we will both learn something new! So, what’s your burning question?
I just bought a canon 5DSR (I don’t know if that was very smart with everything going mirrorless, but at $1500.00 for a new one I couldn’t resist). I was going to buy a 24-70 F/4 L, but they quit making them and the 24-70 F/2.8 is $1,000.00 more. So, my question is what are your thoughts on lenses for this camera ? Should you use F/2.8 lenses given the high megapixels or F/4 if mainly shooting landscape ?
Thanks for reaching out and congratulations on your new camera purchase! At $1,500 the Canon 5DsR is a steal! I still have my 5DsR and love it, even though I mostly shoot with my Canon R5 mirrorless now. But, there’s something about working with a single lens reflex camera that just can’t compare with mirrorless. I love to see the real scene through the camera’s mirror, not through an LED interpretation of it. So, I still prefer my 5DsR from a creative standpoint.
Regarding which lenses to use with the camera, it really depends on what you are intending to photograph. Since I primarily photograph landscapes, my main go-to lenses are the 24-105 ƒ/4 L and the 70-200 ƒ/2.8 L. The reason I own the ƒ/2.8 version of the 70-200mm lens versus the ƒ/4 version is because I also use the lens to photograph indoors from time to time which requires a wider aperture. It is also a great lens for portraiture, where a shallow depth of field is desirable, and opening it up to ƒ/2.8 will achieve that beautiful bokeh effect. But it is a heavier lens than the ƒ/4 version. For landscape work, my aperture is usually set around ƒ/16, depending on the scene and the situation, so I tend to use slower and lighter weight lens selections whenever possible.
I also own the 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 L lens, and I do use it for landscape from time to time, although it is a heavy lens so I don’t use it much in the field. It is quite a sharp lens and is an excellent addition to the bag. I purchased that one because I needed a lens for travel and photographing indoor scenes.
The only other time I’ve needed a lens with a very wide aperture is for astrophotography. I have a Zeiss 21mm ƒ/2.8 for that purpose. It is very sharp all the way to the corners. However, I don’t recommend using the 5DsR for astro work. The one thing about working with the 5DsR that you should know is that it doesn’t handle low light situations well — it can be quite noisy in the shadows. And, it doesn’t perform well at higher ISOs, so I don’t recommend that you push it too high. You really start to notice noise around 800 ISO.
When Canon released the 5DsR in 2015, it blew away the competition with its whopping 50.6 megapixels on a full frame sensor. Today, this camera is not known for its exceptional dynamic range compared to some competitors, although it still packs an impressive range. The detail is phenomenal. You’ll love that aspect of it.
So, with the 5DsR, make sure you give it lots of light and it will perform beautifully for you!
If you’re interested, you can see my complete gear list here. https://www.charlottegibb.com/gear
Have a great time!
Charlotte Gibb is a contemporary fine art photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area specializing in landscapes of the Western United States. Her images are often taken in familiar places for the well-versed landscape photographer, but she prides herself on her keen eye toward the subtle and sometimes overlooked beauty of the natural world. Growing up among the beautiful mountains of Northern California, she considers herself a student of life, learning about people, nature, music, and photography along the way. But always, her life-long passion for the wilderness shines through it all. Charlotte earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and has exhibited her work in several solo shows throughout California. Her darkroom, long gone now, has been replaced with digital darkroom tools, and her style has evolved from a somewhat journalistic approach, to one that pays tribute to the natural world.
I like Guy Tal’s philosophical approach to photography- proudly unsponsored. I don’t hear you saying this Charlotte, but think one of the big downfalls of photography today is way too much emphasis on big and heavy cameras and having the most expensive and latest and greatest gear. The message from manufacturers is you gotta have a big sensor or your a crappy photographer. Thomas Mangelsen made beautiful images from 35mm film. Why don’t photographers today go medium format for those big files? The iPhone teaches us that smaller sensors are getting better and better. Digital cameras today would be the envy of photographers a generation ago. Enough preaching. Anyway, love your work Charlotte!
Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Jay. I’m not much of a gearhead, but still I get questions about which gear I use and why. Since writing this piece, I’ve switched to a lighter, entirely mirrorless system. My philosophy is use the gear that solves whatever problem you have, then forget about it. In my case, I make very large prints from my work, so having a full-frame sensor is key. Medium format would be overkill for me, and besides, I wouldn’t want to carry it. I do most of my work in places where I have to hike some distance, so a lightweight solution is what I needed, but still a camera that could generate files large enough to make a 40×60 print. Still, I love my iPhone camera and use it to scout. I even photographed spanning Kokanee Salmon with it! It’s waterproof, after all!
After perusing your “Year in Review” (nice photos BTW) I decided to check out your gear list. The first thing I noticed is that you replaced your DSLR bodys with mirrorless and that you most of your lenses have been replaced with RF. Basically you have re-tooled your entire kit. Given Canon’s recent announcement about future DSLR development, those of use shooting with Canon DSLR cameras will have to make decisions about replacement sometime in the future. I’m hoping that you would take a few moments to give us your thought processes in your decision to change to mirrorless. Why did you decide to replace your DSLR now as opposed to later? For your lenses, did you consider using Canon’s EF to RF adapter? Given the scale of your re-tooling, did you consider moving from Canon to a different brand?
Thank you for your thoughts,
Thanks for your questions. I’m happy to offer my thoughts about switching from my DSLR system to mirrorless.
My migration to mirrorless started in 2018 when Canon released its first full-frame mirrorless camera, the Canon R, which I purchased immediately, along with the RF 24-240mm lens plus the EF to RF adapter. In 2020, I added the Canon R5 to my bag. I also purchased the RF 100-500mm lens at that time. So, I had three camera bodies, two of which were mirrorless with RF mounts, a bagful of EF glass, and my trusty 5DsR DSLR.
When it comes to gear, I like to keep my systems as simple as possible. I don’t want to think much about gear when I’m in the field. I just want it to work. The complexity of mixing EF with RF gear was making my field work fussy and complicated. It interfered with my creative workflow, so I decided to make the bold decision to go completely with RF glass. It was not an easy decision, let me tell you. First of all, it was an expensive decision. I had a lot of value in my EF lenses, which helped. I purchased used RF glass when I could through my local camera store, whom I trust. But there wasn’t a lot of used RF glass on the market, so I ended up purchasing mostly new lenses. I kept a couple of EF lenses — my two tilt-shift lenses, which I love. Canon doesn’t yet make a tilt-shift with an RF mount, so I just use the adapter. I also have a couple of Lensbaby lenses with the EF mount. I don’t use them much, so I don’t see any point in replacing them yet.
As to sticking with Canon vs. swtiching to another system, I’ve been with Canon for decades. I like their gear and especially their UI. I owned a Sony for a while, and the UI made me nuts, although the sensor was the best on the market at the time. The Canon R5 sensor was such an improvement over the 5DsR that I didn’t see the need to consider another brand. Plus, I own a bunch of Canon stock. Ha!
I hope I’ve answered your question! Thanks again for your kind comment.