New Toy

 

New toys arrive in golden boxes, but what is in it – read on to find out.

Canon EOS cameras have been on a very clear trajectory of recent years, from DSLR to Mirrorless. Firstly we had the EOS R, which was widely panned by internet ‘experts’ who delight in comparing features between manufacturers. Most of the ‘features’ of the EOS R were irrelevant to me as I already shoot an EOS 5D Mark iv and the EOS R was basically the same camera in a different carcass.

Then came the EOS RP, a down-spec ‘consumer’ version of the EOS R, which wasn’t for me either. Like the rest of the world I was eagerly waiting for Canon to release a mirrorless upgrade to the current EOS 5D lineup.

Well this year we have seen the highly vaunted launch of the EOS R5 and R6, mirrorless successors to the EOD 5D and 6D. The fanfare of publicity and internet anticipation surrounding these cameras has been enormous. Finally Canon was going to deliver a high megapixel full frame mirrorless camera to catch up with Sony and Nikon. 

I started reading the specification rumours as they slowly trickled out, probably clever marketing on Canon’s part. Then came the launch announcement with full specification details, followed shortly by reviews from those favoured with pre-release copies. It all sounded like this might be the moment to move to mirrorless.

Then came the more in-depth reviews and more detail. It became clear that Canon had not necessarily designed a camera for stills shooters, but have tried to make a jack of all trades. Nearly all of the significant improvements over the EOS 5D-iv relate to video. I don’t need all this in a stills camera. I already have an excellent (Canon) video camera.

Sure there are improvements to the autofocus and new in body stabilisation, but I don’t need these. The increase in ISO sensitivity is less than a full stop. There are improvements in the sensor’s dynamic range that could be helpful, but I control dynamic range with graduated filters.

The omission of both GPS and wireless connectivity however would have a significant impact on my post capture workflow meaning this is not going to replace my EOS 5D-iv as my primary camera. It could only ever be a secondary body, in which case it is really only the higher pixel resolution that would be any benefit to me.

Year

Mega Pix

Native ISO

FPS

Video

Battery

EOS 5DS / R

2015

50

100-6400

5

HD

700 shots

EOS 5D-iv

2016

30

100-32000

7

4K

900 shots

EOS R5

2020

45

100-51200

12

8K

320 shots

Then came the launch day and the price – £4,200 in the UK, nearly £1,500 more than the EOS 5D-iv currently sells for. 

Furthermore, there is the battery life. The EOS R5 is only able to capture one third the number of images from a fully charged battery. This would put a further dent in my pocket as I would need an additional three new batteries (total £225) to ensure I would have sufficient charge to match a long day shooting with my EOS 5D-iv. A further dent to my finances (£280) would be required by the change from CF cards to CF Express, as I like to keep a large capacity CF card in the camera whilst switching out SD cards frequently to keep as backup.

So, for an outlay of around £4,700 the camera needs to offer me a substantial increase in capability over that which I already have. Sadly (for Canon – see below) the EOS R5 is, in my opinion, terrible value for money. The more reasonably priced EOS R6 doesn’t do it for me either. Instead of offering a stills shooters camera without the bells and whistles, Canon kept feature bloat and reduced the resolution of the EOS R6.

However, the launch of the EOS R5 did prompt me to buy a new camera body. Today I was delighted to receive my new EOS 5DS-R. 

Although this camera predates my EOS 5D-iv by a year, and has substantially fewer ‘features’ it actually suits my style of shooting very well. The biggest attraction is the lack of anti-aliasing on the high resolution sensor, giving me finer details in the RAW files and the option to apply anti-aliasing in post only if necessary. I have had my eye on this camera for ages, but had to wait to see if the EOS R5 range would trump it.

Interestingly, according to Canon Rumours, manufacturing of the EOS 5DS-R was quietly phased out this spring. I have noticed that fewer and fewer retailers have had this camera in stock recently. Now that the EOS R5 has started shipping, retailers are dropping the price of the EOS 5DS-R. I found mine from a European Camera Superstore, which has a UK website, for considerably less than half the price of an EOS R5, and I don’t have to fork out for any new peripherals either.

Today I am a very happy tog. I have a shiny new toy to play with, one that meets all of my aspirations for better performance (in my own context). It just isn’t the new toy that everyone else is raving about.

My new 5DS-R ready for an outing dressed in a sleek new RRS L-Bracket and paired with what will probably be its mate for life: my fabulous TSE 17

Don’t get me wrong, I am excited about mirrorless. I am already invested in the Canon EOS M series of compact mirrorless cameras. There are many features of the mirrorless systems, such as live focus peaking and zebras that I find extremely helpful and would love to have on my full frame cameras.

I will now be investigating alternative means of achieving the capabilities I wished for. With a port of Magic Lantern being close to ready for both the EOS 5DS-R and 5D-iv, I may soon be able to access the features that would really make a difference, and which Canon could so easily choose to add through firmware.

I do feel sad though that Canon seems to have lost its way with the EOS 5 series. The original EOS 5D was groundbreaking and I sold my Nikon kit in order to shoot with it. The EOS 5D Mark ii was clearly an enthusiast camera, but didn’t try to compete with the EOS 1 range nor with Canon’s dedicated video cameras. However with the EOS R5, rather than making a camera that I really want to buy, Canon has instead made a Jack of All Trades, Master of None.

My two camera body set up will now see me through at least the next five years, and probably many more, given my history of shooting until worn out. Unfortunately for Canon this means that I will not only not be buying the EOS R5, I am unlikely to buy the next upgrade of the R5 and probably not the one after that either. By overcharging for features that I don’t want or need, Canon has lost a pipeline of new camera sales.

Ghost Crossing 

I’ve been called mad now call me obsessive: 

This is a photograph that I have wanted to create for some time. I knew that there were piers for ferry services at Aust from the days before the Severn Bridge was built. Some of these relics date back to Roman times.

Severn Bridge at Night (Doug King)

Well last week saw spring high tides peaking at around sunset which were the conditions I needed. However the weather was lousy which nearly spoiled my plans. In the end it took four trips down to Aust Cliffs to get the shot.

When I finally did get this magical combination of conditions, I only had one chance at the shot. It was so dark I was using three minute exposures. The tide in the River Severn has the second highest range in the world and this was a spring tide. The tide was rising so fast that I had to guess when to start my exposure as the water had not even reached the last post in line. By the time the exposure had finished the water was up around my wellies and I had to grab my tripod and retreat. Fortunately I nailed it and caught the water starting to run into the little gullies and runnels in the mudbank where I was standing. 

That’s it. These conditions will not align again for a long time.

Final Tally:

  • 4 Nights (one spent sitting in the car hoping the rain will stop)
  • 7 Hours standing in mud in near darkness
  • 200 Miles driven in total
  • 1 Friend accompanied on 1 night
  • 1 Shot (well I did shoot a couple of others along the way)

I hope it was worth it.

Click on the photo to buy it or to see others in the same gallery.

The Lilstock Serpent

This week marked my return to Bridgwater Bay and the amazing rock formations (at least I think they are) of Lilstock and Kilve beaches, only this time I spent less time on the rocks.

I have been going out in the rain recently in the hope that the weather will break and afford me amazing skies and light. Once again I completely forgot the discomfort of being wet when the light came together for me with the water carved sand and created the Lilstock Serpent illuminating the horizon with her furious gaze.

The Lilstock Serpent - photo for sale

Gear – Arca Swiss style tripod quick release

A long time ago, when I set out to buy my first tripod, I put a bit of effort into researching tripod heads and quick release systems. This resulted in me buying a set of legs by Manfrotto, but without one of their heads. Like many manufacturers, Manfrotto have a proprietary quick release system which is not compatible with other manufacturers’ equipment. I matched my new Manfrotto legs with a ball head by Really Right Stuff of California, who use the Arca Swiss standard for quick release clamps and plates. Every piece of support equipment I have bought since also complies with the Arca Swiss standard and, so, everything I have is completely interchangeable. This enormously simplifies my life when out in the field making photographs.

Gear – Tenba Reload Pouches

Unfortunately I am not the neatest of photographers and I often end up stuffing small bits of kit into random pockets or parts of my camera bag. This sometimes makes it difficult for me to stay organised out in the field. These small and apparently insignificant pouches from Tenba Tools have really helped me out.

The Tenba Tools Reload pouches for batteries and memory cards have vastly simplified my life when out in the field trying to capture the light and not worry about equipment and accessories.
Tenba Reload Battery 2 – around £10-£12
Tenba Reload Universal – around £15-£16