Ever since the arrival of products like the iPhone, manufacturers of mobile devices and cameras have also been lobbing an S, T, and R to update their treasured flagship products. Rather like the car industry that now makes shells that you then choose to construct yourself, so is the same trend in modern camera making today coming through we same body different functions in high-spec cameras. Sadly there is a downside to this in that unless you are a total geek on wheels you might think a lot of cameras are on fantastic deals today until you find you have actually bought last year’s model or the model before that one even.
Anyway confusion aside let’s look at the 5D family the new 5Ds and 5Ds R models that join the 5D Mark III in a very robust line up. The two models share much with the 2013 5D Mark III as they look almost identical and there is no actual physical difference between the Ds and Ds R. With only the extra letters and gold type face to show everyone what you have bought into, it is under the hood one has to go to see all the real differences so here you go let’s jump in here:
|5D MARK III||5DS||5DSR|
|Processor||Digic 5+||Digic 6||Digic 6|
|Optical Low Pass Filters||Yes||Yes||Self Cancelling|
But the trouble if you’re like me these tables mean only something and are little more than specifications overload as per usual in the bloated tech world. What is the real difference to the photographer and the images you’ll be getting between the S and the R letter. Can you see those differences in actual photos and what do you get from these ultra-mega pixel high performance chip cameras? I know it’s from Canon but you can make a good start here
So first that S
The S uses an optical low pass filter to take out false colour and Moiré – the effect of secondary visually distorting patterns often caused by other patterns and lines – this can distort photos and make them seem visually mixed up. Perhaps the best way to understand moiré is to understand the process of aliasing.
See it as a filter that adds a tiny blur but be aware won’t take any moiré distortion out completely e.g. see how it works on fonts in the wiki entry for example).Here is a sample circuit of a low pass filter for those who want to pass deeper into this tech…errr, yeah, right, let’s move on.
And now the s R
So the R actually uses some algorithms to cancel out the effects of the low pass filter so as to provide maximum sharpness and resolution. I mean what would be really cool here is a little tap on the software back panel where you could turn the filter on and off, any real uber geeks will obviously comment on this below and tell me why this is not possible.
Which way to go ?
But in the end which one to go for? For me it’s an easy choice if you really like to tinker in post production heaven and if you love spending hours tweaking then get the 5Ds R, if not stick with the S if it’s the latest and greatest powerhouse you want. Canon states for example the 5Ds R as being excellent for outdoor shooting and controlled studio environments photos, (whatever than means aren’t most high end cameras like that?)
Otherwise if you just need a good camera and the 50MP overkill isn’t your thing, stick with the standard 5D Mark III and save your 1000 or so dollars for a decent piece of glass. You’ll also get a (slightly) faster FPS rate and real bang for the buck with increased ISO sensitivity in this model too.
Finally I hope it is only a matter of time that some cameras will be built in different ways. You pick the body and then build up under the hood your camera specs. I think this would be a major and welcomed step forward rather than have all these little difference in letters only that are sometimes hard to fathom. You can make what you want from a camera and then know what you are getting instead of having an S or T or R sitting in a line before you without the slightest clue to their expensive differences.