PW

Canon 5DS vs 5D Mark II

The Canon EOS 5DS and the Canon EOS 5D Mark II are two professional cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2015 and September 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The 5DS has a resolution of 50.3 megapixels, whereas the 5D Mark II provides 21 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 5DS   Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 5DS Canon 5D Mark II
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
50.3 MP, Full Frame Sensor 21 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-6400 (50-12800) ISO 100-6400 (50-25600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.2" LCD, 1040k dots 3.0" LCD, 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 3.9 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
700 shots per battery charge850 shots per battery charge
152 x 116 x 76 mm, 930 g 152 x 114 x 75 mm, 850 g

Body comparison: Canon 5DS vs 5D Mark II

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 5DS and the Canon 5D Mark II is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Compare Canon 5DS and Canon 5D Mark II
Compare 5DS versus 5D Mark II top
Compare 5DS or 5D Mark II rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 5D Mark II is somewhat smaller (2 percent) than the Canon 5DS. Moreover, the 5D Mark II is markedly lighter (9 percent) than the 5DS. 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 5DS» 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
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 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 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« » 6.0 in 4.4 in 3.0 in 31.6 oz 400 Y Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D
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 D810« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 34.6 oz 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
Sony A99 II« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 29.9 oz 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 5D Mark II was somewhat cheaper (by 5 percent) than the 5DS 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 5DS vs 5D Mark II

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.

Canon 5DS and Canon 5D Mark II 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 21 MP of the 5D Mark II. This megapixels advantage translates into a 55 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 6.41μm for the 5D Mark II). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the 5DS is much more recent (by 6 years and 4 months) than the 5D Mark II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

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

5DS versus 5D Mark II 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 review, the 5DS has a notably higher overall DXO score than the 5D Mark II (overall score 8 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 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 5DS» Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.712.4238187Canon 5DS
Canon 5D Mark II« Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579Canon 5D 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 R« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.612.4230886Canon 5DS R
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« » Full Frame 12.7 4368 2912-22.911.1136871Canon 5D
Nikon D850« » Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.414.82660100Nikon D850
Nikon D810« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397Nikon D810
Sony A99 II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p25.413.4231792Sony A99 II

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the 5DS provides a higher frame rate than the 5D Mark II. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the 5D Mark II is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 5DS vs 5D Mark II

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 5DS and the 5D Mark II 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 5DS, the Canon 5D Mark II, 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 5DS»optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS
Canon 5D Mark II«optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 3.9 n n Canon 5D 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 R« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS R
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« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n Canon 5D
Nikon D850« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 9.0 n n Nikon D850
Nikon D810« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Nikon D810
Sony A99 II« »2400 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 8000 12.0 n Y Sony A99 II

The 5DS writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDXC cards, while the 5D Mark II uses Compact Flash cards. The 5DS features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 5D Mark II only has one slot.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 5DS vs 5D Mark II

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 5DS and Canon EOS 5D Mark II 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 5DS»YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS
Canon 5D Mark II«YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 5D 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 R« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS R
Canon 5D Mark III« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 6D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 6D
Canon 5D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 5D
Nikon D850« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D850
Nikon D810« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--Nikon D810
Sony A99 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A99 II

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 5D Mark II has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 5D Mark II was succeeded by the Canon 5D Mark III.


Review summary: Canon 5DS vs 5D Mark II

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 5DS and the Canon 5D Mark II? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 5DS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (50.3 vs 21MP) with a 55% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • 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).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • 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 4 months of technical progress since the 5D Mark II launch.


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

  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (850 versus 700) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2008).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 5DS is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 2 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.

5DS 10:02 5D Mark II

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the 5DS and the 5D Mark II in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews: Canon 5DS vs 5D Mark II

This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews 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 5DS»Rec83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
Canon 5D Mark II«91/10079/1004/55/5- Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D 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 R« »Rec83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
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« »88/100HiRecrevrev- Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D
Nikon D850« »HiRec89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
Nikon D810« »-86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
Sony A99 II« »-85/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon 5DS:
Check Amazon price
Canon 5D Mark II:
Check Ebay offers

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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

~

    Specifications: Canon 5DS vs Canon 5D Mark II

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 5DS Canon 5D Mark II
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2015 September 2008
    Launch Price USD 3699 USD 3499
    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 50.3 Megapixels 21 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 8688 x 5792 pixels 5616 x 3744 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.14 μm 6.41 μm
    Pixel Density 5.82 MP/cm2 2.43 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-6400 ISO 100-6400 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-12800 ISO 50-25600 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 6 (Dual) DIGIC 4
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 87 79
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.7 23.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.4 11.9
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2381 1815
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 98%
    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 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 920k 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 5 shutter flaps/s 3.9 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF or SDXC cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 3.0 USB 2.0
    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-E6 power pack LP-E6 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)700 shots per charge850 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 152 x 116 x 76 mm
    (6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
    152 x 114 x 75 mm
    (6.0 x 4.5 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 930 g (32.8 oz) 850 g (30.0 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

    You are here  »   »