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Canon 1D X vs 5DS

The Canon EOS-1D X and the Canon EOS 5DS are two professional cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2011 and February 2015. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The 1DX has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the 5DS provides 50.3 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Canon 1D X   Canon 5DS
Canon 1D X Canon 5DS
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
17.9 MP, Full Frame Sensor 50.3 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-51200 (50-204800) ISO 100-6400 (50-12800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.2" LCD, 1040k dots 3.2" LCD, 1040k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
14 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
1120 shots per battery charge700 shots per battery charge
158 x 168 x 83 mm, 1551 g 152 x 116 x 76 mm, 930 g

Body comparison: Canon 1D X vs 5DS

The physical size and weight of the Canon 1D X and the Canon 5DS are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Compare Canon 1D X and Canon 5DS
Compare 1DX versus 5DS top
Compare 1DX or 5DS rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 5DS is considerably smaller (34 percent) than the Canon 1D X. Moreover, the 5DS is substantially lighter (40 percent) than the 1DX. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 1DX gets 1120 shots out of its LP-E4N battery, while the 5DS can take 700 images on a single charge of its LP-E6 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the 1DX has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the 5DS, Canon provides the BG-E11 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on eBay).

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 1D X» 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.7 oz 1120 Y Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
Canon 5DS« 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
Canon 1D X Mark II« » 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.0 oz 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« » 5.9 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 31.4 oz 900 Y Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 5DS R« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
Canon 1D C« » 6.2 in 6.5 in 3.3 in 54.5 oz 1120 Y Apr 2012 14,999- i Canon 1D C
Canon 5D Mark III« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 33.5 oz 950 Y Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 6D« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
Canon 5D Mark II« » 6.0 in 4.5 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 850 Y Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » 5.9 in 6.3 in 3.1 in 48.9 oz 1800 Y Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1Ds Mark II« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 42.9 oz 1200 Y Sep 2004 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark II
Nikon D850« » 5.7 in 4.9 in 3.1 in 35.5 oz 1840 Y Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
Nikon D5« » 6.3 in 6.3 in 3.6 in 49.9 oz 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
Nikon D4S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.6 oz 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
Nikon D810« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 34.6 oz 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
Nikon D4« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.3 oz 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The 5DS was launched at a markedly lower price (by 46 percent) than the 1DX, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 1D X vs 5DS

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, the 5DS uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 6 (Dual)) than the 1DX (DIGIC 5+ (Dual)), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon 1D X and Canon 5DS sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the 5DS offers a higher resolution of 50.3 megapixels, compared with 17.9 MP of the 1DX. This megapixels advantage translates into a 68 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the 5DS has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.14μm versus 6.95μm for the 1DX). However, it should be noted that the 5DS is much more recent (by 3 years and 3 months) than the 1DX, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Canon EOS-1D X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS 5DS are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-12800..

1DX versus 5DS MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the 5DS has a markedly higher DXO score than the 1DX (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.9 bits higher color depth, 0.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Canon 1D X» Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682Canon 1D X
Canon 5DS« Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.712.4238187Canon 5DS
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« » Full Frame 30.1 6720 44804K/30p24.813.6299591Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 5DS R« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.612.4230886Canon 5DS R
Canon 1D C« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34564K/24p----Canon 1D C
Canon 5D Mark III« » Full Frame 22.1 5760 38401080/30p24.011.7229381Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 6D« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082Canon 6D
Canon 5D Mark II« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744-24.012.0166380Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1Ds Mark II« » Full Frame 16.6 4992 3328-23.311.3148074Canon 1Ds Mark II
Nikon D850« » Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.414.82660100Nikon D850
Nikon D5« » Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388Nikon D5
Nikon D4S« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489Nikon D4S
Nikon D810« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397Nikon D810
Nikon D4« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589Nikon D4

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the 5DS provides a faster frame rate than the 1DX. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the 1DX is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 1D X vs 5DS

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 1DX and the 5DS are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the 1DX has a higher magnification than the one of the 5DS (0.76x vs 0.71x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 1D X, the Canon 5DS, and comparable cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon 1D X»optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n Canon 1D X
Canon 5DS«optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 7.0 n n Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 5DS R« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS R
Canon 1D C« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n Canon 1D C
Canon 5D Mark III« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 6.0 n n Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 6D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 4.5 n n Canon 6D
Canon 5D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 3.9 n n Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 4.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark II
Nikon D850« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 9.0 n n Nikon D850
Nikon D5« »optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 8000 14.0 n n Nikon D5
Nikon D4S« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D4S
Nikon D810« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Nikon D810
Nikon D4« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D4

The 1DX writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the 5DS uses Compact Flash or SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 1D X vs 5DS

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS-1D X and Canon EOS 5DS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Canon 1D X»Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D X
Canon 5DS«YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS
Canon 1D X Mark II« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0YY-Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 5DS R« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS R
Canon 1D C« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Canon 1D C
Canon 5D Mark III« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 6D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 6D
Canon 5D Mark II« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark II
Nikon D850« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D850
Nikon D5« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D5
Nikon D4S« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D4S
Nikon D810« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--Nikon D810
Nikon D4« »Ymonomono--micro2.0---Nikon D4

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

The 5DS is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the 1DX has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 1DX was succeeded by the Canon 1DX Mark II.


Review summary: Canon 1D X vs 5DS

So how do things add up? Is the Canon 1D X better than the Canon 5DS or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1D X:

  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.76x vs 0.71x).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1120 versus 700) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in October 2011).


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 5DS:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (50.3 vs 17.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 68%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 6 (Dual) vs DIGIC 5+ (Dual)).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.76x vs 0.71x).
  • More compact: Is smaller (152x116mm vs 158x168mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 621g or 40 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (46 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 3 months of technical progress since the 1DX launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 5DS is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

1DX 05:10 5DS

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1DX or the 5DS. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews: Canon 1D X vs 5DS

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 1D X»--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
Canon 5DS«Rec83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« »HiRec87/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 5DS R« »Rec83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
Canon 1D C« »----- Apr 2012 14,999- i Canon 1D C
Canon 5D Mark III« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 6D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
Canon 5D Mark II« »91/10079/1004/55/5- Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »-HiRec4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »-HiRec--- Sep 2004 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark II
Nikon D850« »HiRec89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
Nikon D5« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
Nikon D4S« »--4.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
Nikon D810« »-86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
Nikon D4« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon 1D X:
Check Ebay offers
Canon 5DS:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon 1D X vs Canon 5DS

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 1D X Canon 5DS
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date October 2011 February 2015
    Launch Price USD 6799 USD 3699
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm 36.0 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2 864 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm 43.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 50.3 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 8688 x 5792 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.95 μm 4.14 μm
    Pixel Density 2.07 MP/cm2 5.82 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-51200 ISO 100-6400 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-204800 ISO 50-12800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 5+ (Dual) DIGIC 6 (Dual)
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 82 87
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.8 24.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.8 12.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2786 2381
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.76x 0.71x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.2 inch 3.2 inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 14 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 3.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type LP-E4N power pack LP-E6 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)1120 shots per charge700 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 158 x 168 x 83 mm
    (6.2 x 6.6 x 3.3 in)
    152 x 116 x 76 mm
    (6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 1551 g (54.7 oz) 930 g (32.8 oz)

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