Canon goes big with a 50 megapixel full-frame camera

Digital SLRs have some major competition with the mirror-less shooters out there, especially since they’re making high-res cameras smaller and easier to carry around. So how do you beat them? Make the sensor bigger and studio quality.

To that end, Canon has this week unveiled two cameras with a massive 50.6 megapixel full-frame sensor, making it ideal for people who normally shoot in studios or need an immense amount of image quality for their work.

The cameras continue the work Canon has featured in its “5D” series of cameras, with the new models arriving in the 5Ds and 5Ds R.

With these cameras, Canon hopes to have an alternative to the medium format cameras out there that so many photographers rely on, even giving those users a chance to take what would normally be too heavy a camera out in the field with them.

Canon’s 50 megapixel CMOS sensor will help here, and while it doesn’t exactly sport a high-end low-light sensitivity — 100 to 6400 native with 12800 being the maximum — the combination of two DIGIC 6 processors for image processing and a shooting speed of 5 frames per second will definitely make it useful for many, as will the combined RGB and infrared metering sensor for picking up exposure metering consistently.

As with previous 5D series cameras, the 5Ds models will be full-frame and only support EF lenses (no EF-S here, from what we can tell), but the camera will also provide three in-camera crop modes, with the 50 megapixel sensor even able to provide 19 megapixel images at its lowest crop of 1.6x.

You’ve probably noted that there will be two cameras, one called the 5Ds and the other called the 5Ds R. What’s the difference?

Just like when Nikon announced its D800 and D800E, Canon is making up the difference with a low-pass cancellation filter, including it in the R variant and not in the standard one.

Other than that, however, the cameras are practically the same, sporting a 61 point auto-focus system, a new system designed to prevent camera shake reliant on mirror vibration, Full HD 1080p movies, both Compact Flash and SD card slots, and a 3.2 inch screen that has a wide viewing angle but no ability to tilt.

Pricing for both is an unknown, but we’re checking, and will know closer to the release of each in June, which is when Canon is expecting these two cameras to land.