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Canon 5D Mark III vs 5DS R

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III and the Canon EOS 5DS R are two professional cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2012 and February 2015. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The 5D Mark III has a resolution of 22.1 megapixels, whereas the 5DS R 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 5D Mark III   Canon 5DS R
Canon 5D Mark III Canon 5DS R
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
22.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor 50.3 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-25600 (50-102400) 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)
6 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
950 shots per battery charge700 shots per battery charge
152 x 116 x 76 mm, 950 g 152 x 116 x 76 mm, 930 g

Body comparison: Canon 5D Mark III vs 5DS R

The physical size and weight of the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 5DS R 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Compare Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 5DS R
Compare 5D Mark III versus 5DS R top
Compare 5D Mark III or 5DS R rear

In this particular case, the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 5DS R have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the 5DS R is slightly lighter (2 percent) than the 5D Mark III. 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.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras 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 5D Mark III» 152 mm 116 mm 76 mm 950 g 950 Y Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 5DS R« 152 mm 116 mm 76 mm 930 g 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
Canon 6D Mark II« » 144 mm 111 mm 75 mm 765 g 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
Canon 1D X Mark II« » 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1530 g 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« » 151 mm 116 mm 76 mm 890 g 900 Y Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 5DS« » 152 mm 116 mm 76 mm 930 g 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
Canon 7D II« » 149 mm 112 mm 78 mm 910 g 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon 70D« » 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Canon 6D« » 145 mm 111 mm 71 mm 770 g 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
Canon 5D Mark II« » 152 mm 114 mm 75 mm 850 g 850 Y Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 5D« » 152 mm 113 mm 75 mm 895 g 400 Y Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 5D Mark III was somewhat cheaper (by 5 percent) than the 5DS R at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 5D Mark III vs 5DS R

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras 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.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 5DS R sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the 5DS R offers a higher resolution of 50.3 megapixels, compared with 22.1 MP of the 5D Mark III. This megapixels advantage translates into a 51 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the 5DS R has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.14μm versus 6.25μm for the 5D Mark III). However, it should be noted that the 5DS R is much more recent (by 2 years and 11 months) than the 5D Mark III, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the 5DS R has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS 5DS R are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-12800..

5D Mark III versus 5DS R MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the 5DS R has a markedly higher DXO score than the 5D Mark III (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.6 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and -0 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.

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 5D Mark III» Full Frame 22.1 5760 38401080/30p24.011.7229381Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 5DS R« Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.612.4230886Canon 5DS R
Canon 6D Mark II« » Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.9286285Canon 6D Mark II
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« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.712.4238187Canon 5DS
Canon 7D II« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270Canon 7D II
Canon 70D« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668Canon 70D
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 5D« » Full Frame 12.7 4368 2912-22.911.1136871Canon 5D

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 R provides a faster frame rate than the 5D Mark III. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the 5D Mark III is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 5D Mark III vs 5DS R

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 5D Mark III and the 5DS R 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 5DS R along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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 5D Mark III»optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 6.0 n n Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 5DS R«optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS R
Canon 6D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.5 n n Canon 6D Mark II
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« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS
Canon 7D II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 8000 10.0 Y n Canon 7D II
Canon 70D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 70D
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 5D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n Canon 5D

The 5D Mark III writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the 5DS R 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 5D Mark III vs 5DS R

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 5D Mark III and Canon EOS 5DS R 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 5D Mark III»YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 5DS R«YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS R
Canon 6D Mark II« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon 6D Mark II
Canon 1D X Mark II« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0YY-Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 5DS« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS
Canon 7D II« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 7D II
Canon 70D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 70D
Canon 6D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 6D
Canon 5D Mark II« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 5D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 5D

It is notable that the 5D Mark III has a headphone jack, which is not present on the 5DS R This port makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process.

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

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


Review summary: Canon 5D Mark III vs 5DS R

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 5D Mark III better than the Canon 5DS R or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (950 versus 700) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2012).


Advantages of the Canon EOS 5DS R:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (50.3 vs 22.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 51%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • 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 (0.7 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 11 months of technical progress since the 5D Mark III launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 5DS R emerges as the winner of the match-up (7 : 5 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

5D Mark III 05:07 5DS R

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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 5D Mark III or the 5DS R. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews: Canon 5D Mark III vs 5DS R

This is why expert reviews 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 5D Mark III»HiRec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 5DS R«Rec83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
Canon 6D Mark II« »Rec80/1004.5/54/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
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« »Rec83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
Canon 7D II« »Rec84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon 70D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
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 5D« »88/100HiRecrevrev- Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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.

Canon 5D Mark III:
Check Ebay offers
Canon 5DS R:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. 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 5D Mark III vs Canon 5DS R

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 5D Mark III Canon 5DS R
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2012 February 2015
    Launch Price USD 3499 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 22.1 Megapixels 50.3 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5760 x 3840 pixels 8688 x 5792 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.25 μm 4.14 μm
    Pixel Density 2.56 MP/cm2 5.82 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-25600 ISO 100-6400 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-102400 ISO 50-12800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 5+ DIGIC 6 (Dual)
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 81 86
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.0 24.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.7 12.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2293 2308
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.71x 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 6 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
    Headphone Socket Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type LP-E6 power pack LP-E6 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)950 shots per charge700 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 152 x 116 x 76 mm
    (6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
    152 x 116 x 76 mm
    (6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 950 g (33.5 oz) 930 g (32.8 oz)

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