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Canon EOS 5DS

Review Date: Sep 11, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Amazing resolution, great AF, best in class color and handling. ISO is still very good for hand held but you better have a steady hand.
Costly - not worth paying the premium to Canon - wait a few months it will drop. The 5D Mk III and Nikon 810 are almost as good and $1K less.

I have been using this body for a little over a week now. I am a working pro - I mostly shoot real estate and products and I have a passion for remote landscapes. The extra pixel density would be nice to have. I have been shooting with a 1DX and 6D so the 5Ds would be a significant step up in density.

This is by far the best DSLR I have used, paired up with a great lens like the 35mm 1.4L or 85 1.2L II or 17 TS-E you will be astonished at the image quality. I use a PhaseOne medium format camera on occasion and honestly I cannot tell the difference between the images from this body, and the images from a $30,000 50MP Phase One.

I have to say that this camera is not for everyone. For one, its ridiculously priced. The only way I would ever justify paying full retail for this body is if you are a working pro and deriving income from it - you need to ask yourself if you will gain an advantage or angle you don't have now - or if you will lose your edge to a competitor that has it - if that answer is yes, then by all means go for it - $1k is not a lot when it comes to our investment in gear.

If you are not deriving income from it - you are probably wasting your money. For the most part, this is a 5D MkIII with double the pixels and lower ISO. It does come with a price though - most people will be disappointed that they will lose sharpness when hand holding this camera - the sensor is so big and sensor density so tight - that it pretty much requires a tripod or perfect light for all but the most steady of hands to get the most out of it.

Pixel noise in the shadows is worse than the 5D Mk III as well, although that can be overcome in post.

Where this camera shines is shooting products, architecture and landscape in good light with a tripod - specifically for the purpose of printing. For that, there is no better DSLR on the market right now, and the main reason we are considering it. (I have an eval unit for two weeks)

If I was a hobbyist, even a rich one, I'd buy a 5D MkIII or D810 - they are far more versatile and they both still have world class ISO performance.

Also - you can pretty much be assured that if you wait for the hype to die down, you will pick it up for 20% less in 6-8 months - most likely less.

That said, if you are pro - you won't find better resolution at anything close to this price point and it could give you some advantages.

Note : I have tested the Sony A7R II as well - amazing images but the body is too small, the controls fumbly, and an adaptor is needed to work with my collection of Nikon & Canon mount lenses so it wasn't really an option for me - however - if I had no investment that body would be a strong contender - IQ and ISO are best in class.


Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L

Review Date: Nov 5, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Exceptional sharpness even shifted, smooth controls, very well built. Look cool too.
Protruding front element, while pretty tough is easy to bump or scratch if not careful. Price.

Absolutely disagree with Dave-S on shift color and focus issues, we've used every TS lens from Nikon or Canon and this out outshines them all. Don't expect view camera tilt performance from a lens designed for 35mm and you will be fine.

We don't compare to film because digital is not film. Analog lenses don't have to be as perfect as digital lenses - 'nut said.

This lens outperforms any prime at this focal length (including the coveted 17-35 Nikon zoom which is a great lens) and is the sharpest and clearest wide angle lens we've used. Our IQ on product and architecture shots went up an order of magnitude when we purchased this lens.

I was talked out of buying the 16mm in favor of this lens, and so far, I have not been disappointed.

My only complaint is price - I don't see how this thing can be that expensive, but I don't set price points. The lens has paid for itself in the first month we've owned it.

Nikon D3x

Review Date: Feb 8, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,300.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: ISO performance, speed, image quality, color rendition in RAW.
AWB is just like Canon - spotty at best indoors, ergonomics, menus and buttons are somewhat outdated compared to other cameras (Canon, Sony).

Seasoned professional who shoots for a living, our pro cameras are nothing more than tools for the job, not something to get into an argument or emotional over. That said, we have experience with both Nikon and Canon so instead of trying to say how much better this camera is compared to Canon, lets just say that in the right hands, the DX3 is a great camera - just like the Canon 1DsMKIII. We did not notice any real difference in IQ, focus speed or color accuracy. I have produced great images from both cameras. ISO performance was better, but not much - definitely not worth switching platforms over.. I routinely shoot at ISO 1600 with Canon and we get great low light noise. I shot with ISO 3200 on the Nikon and was slightly better than the 1DsMKIII but again, not by much. Topaz de-noise made any ISO noise irrelevant on either platform.

If you are used to Canon ergonomics, the Nikon buttons and menus will be very irritating to you. We found them poorly placed, overly fumbly and much slower to navigate than Canon's - but like anything else - I guess you can get used to it. I still find it much easier to change any settings on the Canon and much faster than on any Nikon, but that's me. I am sure there are plenty of those who would argue otherwise.

Bottom line - we laugh at people who say this body is so much better than than the 1DsMKIII, its not. If you own Nikon glass you will be very happy with this camera. It is state of the art, but so is the Canon. I suppose if you are a tech collector with deep pockets, you might be tempted to ditch your Canon gear for a little higher ISO noise ceiling but when Canon comes out with the 1DsMKIV, you'll be wishing you didn't. And then Nikon will release the D4, etc etc...
Chevy vs. Ford... same old story.

Great body, great performer - amazing images, but on par with the "other" pro bodies out there.

Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III

Review Date: Jul 5, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,900.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Weight, Serious Upgrade from II series, Better IQ, the list goes on...
Should have had a better rear LCD, Still will never get the DPOF button instead of a mirror lockup - Canon simply refused to acknowledge that few people (do any??) print directly from an $8K camera.

Just upgraded my II series cameras to III series - huge upgrade in just about every area. If for no other reason the Li-Ion power custom menu functions, and very user friendly menu system (over the horribly fiddly II series interfaces) was worth it. Best camera I have used to date , ranks right up there with the Leaf / Phase I cameras.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Review Date: Jun 8, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Speed, Sharpness, Color, Bokeh, Outrageous Creative potential!
None, Really.

This lens is a bit pricey, and for all practical purposes at 1.2 - 2.8 this is a manual focus lens - but what you get is nothing short of a work of art in glass if you know how to control it. I prefer manual focus to control DOF anyway - but some will not. I was absolutely blown away the very first time I used this lens. It has been on my 1D Mark III since the day I got it and never been off since. All of my portrait work is now done using this lens and the ability to soft focus in low light is better than anything I have every experienced. The only other lens I have seen that comes close in IQ is the 300L IS Prime (at $4400) - it really is THAT good.