Canon 50D vs 5DS
The Canon EOS 50D and the Canon EOS 5DS are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2008 and February 2015. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (50D) and a full frame (5DS) sensor. The 50D has a resolution of 15.1 megapixels, whereas the 5DS provides 50.3 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 50D and the Canon EOS 5DS? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 50D and the Canon 5DS is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 5DS is notably larger (12 percent) than the Canon 50D. Moreover, the 5DS is markedly heavier (13 percent) than the 50D. 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. A larger imaging sensor (as in the 5DS) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (50D). You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|2.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|3.||Canon 90D||141 mm||105 mm||77 mm||701 g||1300||Y||Aug 2019||1,199|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999|
|5.||Canon 5D Mark IV||151 mm||116 mm||76 mm||890 g||900||Y||Aug 2016||3,499|
|6.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|7.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|8.||Canon 7D II||149 mm||112 mm||78 mm||910 g||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799|
|9.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|10.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|11.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699|
|12.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|13.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|14.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399|
|15.||Canon 20D||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499|
|16.||Nikon D850||146 mm||124 mm||79 mm||1005 g||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299|
|17.||Nikon D810||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||980 g||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The 50D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 65 percent) than the 5DS, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 50D features an APS-C sensor and the Canon 5DS a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the 5DS is 160 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 50.3MP, the 5DS offers a higher resolution than the 50D (15.1MP), but the 5DS has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.14μm versus 4.69μm for the 50D). Yet, the 5DS is a much more recent model (by 6 years and 5 months) than the 50D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 5DS implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 5DS for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 43.4 x 29 inches or 110.3 x 73.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 34.8 x 23.2 inches or 88.3 x 58.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 29 x 19.3 inches or 73.6 x 49 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 50D are 23.8 x 15.8 inches or 60.4 x 40.2 cm for good quality, 19 x 12.7 inches or 48.3 x 32.2 cm for very good quality, and 15.8 x 10.6 inches or 40.2 x 26.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 50D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. 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.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the 5DS offers substantially better image quality than the 50D (overall score 24 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.9 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.8 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|2.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|5.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.8||13.6||2995||91|
|7.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|8.||Canon 7D II||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70|
|16.||Nikon D850||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100|
|17.||Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The 5DS indeed provides for movie recording, while the 50D does not. The highest resolution format that the 5DS can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 50D 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 viewfinder in the 5DS offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the 50D (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the 5DS has a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.59x), 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 50D, the Canon 5DS, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3||Y||n|
|2.||Canon 5DS||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|3.||Canon 90D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||11.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0||n||n|
|5.||Canon 5D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||7.0||n||n|
|6.||Canon 80D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|8.||Canon 7D II||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||Y||n|
|9.||Canon 70D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n|
|11.||Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n|
|12.||Canon T1i||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4||Y||n|
|13.||Canon 40D||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5||Y||n|
|14.||Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|15.||Canon 20D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|16.||Nikon D850||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0||n||n|
|17.||Nikon D810||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 50D has one, while the 5DS does not. While the built-in flash of the 50D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The Canon 5DS has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The 50D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the 5DS uses Compact Flash or SDXC cards. The 5DS features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 50D only has one slot.
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 50D and Canon EOS 5DS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 50D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon 5DS||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 90D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon 80D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 7D II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 70D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Canon 60D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 7D||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon T1i||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon 40D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Canon 20D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|16.||Nikon D850||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y|
|17.||Nikon D810||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
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 50D has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 50D was succeeded by the Canon 60D. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 50D or the Canon 5DS – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 50D:
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.3 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (146x108mm vs 152x116mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 108g or 12 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (800 versus 700) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (65 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2008).
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 5DS:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (50.3 vs 15.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 83%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (24 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.9 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.8 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.59x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 920k dots).
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 5 months of technical progress since the 50D launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 5DS is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 7 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 50D and the Canon 5DS place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 50D or the 5DS perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|2.||Canon 5DS||..||+||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|3.||Canon 90D||4/5||+||4.5/5||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2019||1,199|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||..||..||4.5/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999|
|5.||Canon 5D Mark IV||4.5/5||+ +||4/5||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||3,499|
|6.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||4.5/5||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|7.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|8.||Canon 7D II||4.5/5||+||3.5/5||84/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799|
|9.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|10.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|11.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699|
|12.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|13.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|14.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|15.||Canon 20D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2004||1,499|
|16.||Nikon D850||4.5/5||+ +||5/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299|
|17.||Nikon D810||5/5||..||5/5||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon 50D vs Canon 5DS
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 50D||Canon 5DS|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2008||February 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 1,299||USD 3,699|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 50D||Canon 5DS|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.1 Megapixels||50.3 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4752 x 3168 pixels||8688 x 5792 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.69 μm||4.14 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.53 MP/cm2||5.82 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||50 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||DIGIC 6 (Dual)|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||63||87|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.8||24.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.4||12.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||696||2381|
|Screen Specs||Canon 50D||Canon 5DS|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 50D||Canon 5DS|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||6.3 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||CF or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 50D||Canon 5DS|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 50D||Canon 5DS|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||800 shots per charge||700 shots per charge|
146 x 108 x 74 mm
(5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
152 x 116 x 76 mm
(6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||822 g (29.0 oz)||930 g (32.8 oz)|
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