Canon EOS 5Ds(T)
A Wildlife photographers Dream?
Canon was expected to release a Mk2 version of its 50MP EOS 5Ds camera in late 2018. But Canon has surprised us with the imminent release of a new variant of the existing model expected late March 2018.
The new variant is to be known as the EOS 5Ds(T).
The (T) stands for Telephoto but could just as easily have been (W) standing for Wildlife which is the real target for this variant. Market research has shown huge growth in this sub-market segment.
The 5Ds(T) has been designed as a no compromise camera specifically for wildlife photographers primarily using long telephoto lenses & demanding the highest detail sharpness, although certain paparrazi & sports pro-shooters might find it compelling.
Whats New Externally?
Whats New Internally?
Rear LCD Screen
There is no change to the rear screen! No touch screen. No articulated screen. No resolution improvement.
But no change is needed when you have the WiFi App. See below.
Canon has now adopted Intel’s Thunderbolt connection technology which is USB C compatible. Both the HDMI & USB Mini C ports have been replaced by Thunderbolt 3 which is capable of 40 Gb/sec for 4K video streaming. In fact both ports work identically so it doesn’t matter which one you use for video-out or connection to your computer. You can even tether your iPad to it avoiding any perceived security risks of WiFi.
Also you can now charge your camera battery via a Thunderbolt port. This makes situations like camera trap or long duration time-lapse work so much easier when you can just plug in a large external battery pack.
This change has also eliminated the need for that ‘work around’ cable aligner that appeared with the 7D2.
The flash sync port has also gone & is replaced by a 3mm headphone jack port.
Top LCD Screen
The top LCD screen has gone. In its place is a wedge shaped black plastic bulge that houses the GPS unit & the WiFi aerial that bring them clear of the shadowing effect of the titanium alloy main body. This bulge also includes 4 tiny LEDs that face to the rear.
The first LED closest to the hotshoe is green/red & indicates hotshoe condition. The second is blue that indicates WiFi operation, the third & fourth (outboard) can be either orange or white & are menu configurable, including flash functions. The LED’s are either manually or auto ambient brightness controlled & are not visible from the front of the camera.
The top LCD panel (illumination) button remains but it is menu configurable to almost any assigned camera functions.
The 5Ds(T) retains the 50.1 megapixel resolution of its parent but it’s performance has been greatly improved compared to the original with a 2 stop ISO gain. Expect to see an image at ISO 1600 will show similar noise as an image taken with the original sensor at ISO400. Canon insiders say that the majority of the cost increase in this camera is due to the microalloying of trace rare-earths in the sensor silicon that increases the light sensitivity of the photosites by about 70%. This should give this sensor performance superior to any current sensors from Nikon & Sony, pixel for pixel.
An upgrade to DIGIC 8 has been launched with this camera & with it high speed shooting to 8 fps.
Auto focus has been incrementally improved with the expected implemention of Dual Pixel AF. But the big innovation is Focus Bracketing. This is similar to focus stacking & apparently uses the Lens Micro Adjustment function & adds and subtracts 5 focus adjustment points to the 2 other exposures in the bracket. Output can be used to select the image with the exact preferred focus range, or the images combined manually to give extended depth of field for large aperture exposures while preserving bokeh.
Alternatively the images can be processed automatically in the DP Pro 5 environment similar to HDR processing.
At the moment only 3 frames are recorded but it has been hinted that a future firmware update will increase the number of frames.
The centre AF spot is now a high precision spot at apertures up to F4 - was F2.8.
Video options remain the same as the parent camera except that there is now a 120fps 1080p format available for slow motion recording. It requires a UHS-II SD card to be fitted.
To take advantage of the super slow-motion video codec, the (T) SD card slot now supports UHS-II protocols.
There is no built-in 4K/2K video option. However Canon will release a CF profile module that fits the CF memory slot that enables 4K video. This is thought to be a way of protecting the market for Canons professional video cameras as the module alone costs a whacking $2700. You may think that this is expensive. However this is the first camera under $15,000 to be able to take 60 fps 4K/120fps 2K video. Recording time is limited to 1 minute. Canon say this is due to heat build-up, but presumably Canon marketing didn’t want too much competition with their Cinema EOS range. It is expected that this module will be backward compatible with some other EOS camera with a firmware upgrade. So it looks like EOS cameras will retain a CF slot for a while yet.
WiFi is built into this camera & is accompanied by a sophisticated app. Download the Canon WiFi iPhone/iPad/Android App & you have a remote viewfinder & control of ALL camera functions, including video/still selection & video start/stop implemented. WiFi works up to about 80m in outdoor setting. Like the original GoPro WiFi system, operation of the camera is so much more convenient on the larger tablet screen. But unlke the Gopro app, you don’t have to login & your photos cannot be uploaded by Canon.
The 10x ‘Live View’ on the iPad retina screen is something to behold & makes manual focusing absolutely pin sharp. Manual focusing can be driven from the app.
The App even has a night shooting mode with manual screen dimming to minimize unnecessary light to disturb the ambiance.
There is a subtle body bulge below the lens release button. This is a mounting for a Canon articulated arm that holds your device.
The App has every menu control, even lens micro adjustment, & blows built-in articulated touch screens out of the water.
GPS has now been implemented but benefits from lessons learnt from the 7D2. It now has much faster to load up, even in the southern hemisphere, & can be programmed to turn off when the camera turns off to save battery.
The flash control panel now has a graphic screen that shows schematically all flash units in use & their ETTL readiness whether or not ETTL is selected. Previously a poor connection was signified by a message in the Flash Function Settings “This menus cannot be displayed. Incompatible flash or flash unit turned off” & then the hunt began for which connection was dirty, what battery pack was not seated, etc. Now the camera does a check routine & identifies the cause of the problem in the schematic. The small LED adjacent to the hot-shoe glows green to show at a glance that the external flash network is properly connected, all electronic connections are complete & it is ETTL capable. If any connection is not made or a flash unit’s batteries are exhausted, then it glows red. This is particularly useful for field shooting where hotshoe contacts can be dirty or dislodged. In this case the flash may fire but ETTL may not be available & the error not immediately apparent to the photographer.
Anyone who has test fired to ensure the desired flash set-up is working at the start of the session only to find later in the night that some of the network has dropped out or batteries have been exhausted, will appreciate the value of this system.
It is often desirable to have IS turned off while shooting from a tripod especially where the fastest camera response is needed to catch a flitting bat. The function menu now has an option for the camera to always record the lens IS information when the IS drive is turned off. This means the motion sensors in the lens are still active even when the lens element tilting drive is not. Motion detection is recorded during the exposure & attached to the EXIF file. It can also be selected to be displayed as a seismic time-line overlay on the image frame display on the LED screen, & of course, on your iPad. The timeline is only for the actual exposure duration so now you can see the actual impact of mirror slap, wind, etc, from image to image & take corrective action if needed. It even shows the flash duration, if used, within the exposure duration as a blue zone on the overlay.
Who said Canon was innovation averse.
Setting aside the amazing upgraded sensor, the jewel in the crown is the Canon App.
You can mount your device on the camera body using Canon’s articulated little arm but now there is no need to even touch a camera on a tripod with your iPad in your lap. Want to switch to video & stop & start filming remotely? Swipe & tap. No problem! You will never want to scroll through a camera back menu again.
It will be exciting to see the shakeup this gives the rest of the Canon EOS line.
Cost: $US4330 body only
Release Date: late March 2018