This guide highlights the differences between the Nikon D850 vs. Canon EOS 5DS R. The companies target these Digital-SLR cameras mainly at the prosumer and semi-pro market.
One of these bodies costs a few hundred dollars less than the other, but is it equal value? Keep reading to see what these DSLRs have in common, their differences, and unique features.
The advantages the Nikon D850 has over the Canon EOS 5DS R are many. That doesn’t mean it’s a surefire winner, far from it. After all, these extras may be bells & whistles you have little use for.
The list below shows the format we use to compare these cameras head-to-head:
|Nikon D850 Digital-SLR||Canon EOS 5DS R|
|Best For||Pro & semi-pro level lifestyle & commercial||Professionals who demand the highest image quality possible|
|Price||See Price on Amazon||See Price on Amazon|
|Max Sensor Resolution||46-megapixel||51-megapixel (10% more pixels)|
|Camera Weight||35.5 oz.||32.8 oz. (2.7 oz. lighter)|
|LCD Screen Resolution||2.359k dots (126% higher screen resolution)||1.040k dots|
|Continuous Shooting||7.0fps (2fps faster)||5.0fps|
|Battery Life||1840 shots (1140 more shots per charge)||700 shots|
|Smartphone Remote Control||Yes||None|
|Max ISO||25.6 (300% higher Max ISO)||6.400|
|Number of Focus Points||153 (92 more focus points)||61|
|Number of Cross Type Focus Points||99 (58 more cross type focus points)||41|
Here’s what we cover in the review:
Nikon D850 and Canon EOS 5DS R Shared Features
The Nikon D850 and the Canon EOS 5DS R share some physical characteristics. Not only do they have flash hot shoes (standard on modern DSLRs), but they also have flash sync ports.
Off-camera flash is a common demand for pro and semi-pro photographers. The cameras also have microphone ports. These allow videographers to use external mics for high-quality audio.
Each camera has a large 3.2” rear LCD screen and a top LCD. The latter comes in handy for shooting below waist level or from awkward angles. They also give a quick view and access to various image quality settings.
Another welcome feature is the dual memory card slots. Even better is that they support UHS (ultra-high-speed) memory cards. It’s small touches like this that make the biggest differences.
Outdoor photographers are sure to welcome the environmental sealing provided by these cameras. Even today, weather-sealed bodies are not standard on a lot of DSLRs, so it’s a major positive.
These cameras both have bright optical viewfinders that offer better overall framing and control. OK, that’s the physical similarities covered. Let’s now look at their shared photographic qualities.
RAW support is a standard feature for cameras in this class. Creative photographers prefer to shoot unprocessed raw files. That’s because they allow for much greater photo editing control than JPEGs.
Time-lapse recording is a creative feature found on the D850, and EOS 5DS R. AE Bracketing or AEB is another. AEB takes several photos at different exposures to ensure at least one perfect shot.
Shared Focus Features
Portrait photographers often find Face Detection Focus invaluable and time-saving for “people” shots. Both cameras have this feature too. And finally, there’s the AF Micro-Adjustment (AFMA).
There are often occasions in photography when the AF fails to focus on the exact target. That’s where AFMA comes in. AFMA lets photographers fine-tune the point where they need the sharpest focus.
Camera Body Comparison
The shape, size, weight, and layout of the controls are different for these cameras. The Canon 5DS R is visibly smaller than the Nikon D850, but at 3% it’s not a game changer.
The Canon body is also lighter by almost 7%. And the inbuilt weather sealing adds to the overall weight of the cameras. The similarity in size is because they’re both built around full frame sensors.
Lenses also determine the total carrying weight of any camera. In this case, the glass for each model is similar in heft due to their respective sensor sizes.
The table below shows the exact dimensions and weight of each camera body:
|Nikon D850||Width: 5.7”||Height: 4.9”||Depth: 3.1”||Weight: 35.5 oz.|
|Canon EOS 5DS R||Width: 6.0”||Height: 4.6”||Depth: 3.0”||Weight: 32.8 oz.|
The top view of these cameras has a familiar DSLR layout. There are dials and buttons to the left with more buttons and top-mounted LCD screens to the right.
The rears also have slightly different shapes and contours. There are function buttons on the left, across the tops, and on the near right of their LCD screens.
The two door hinges on the D850’s articulating screen are fixed across the top.
Why Consider the Nikon D850 over the Canon EOS 5DS R?
The Nikon D850 is a few hundred dollars cheaper than the Canon EOS 5DS R. You may wonder why after reading this section. The D850 clearly has a much longer list of features.
It’s true, there are more reasons to ponder the Nikon D850 over Canon’s EOS 5DS R. That doesn’t mean all its advantages are useful or needed, but some are sure to check a few of your boxes.
Nikon’s D850 is a winner when it comes to connectivity and remote control options. Here’s what it has, that the 5DS R doesn’t; WiFi, NFC, and Bluetooth. There’s also smartphone remote control.
Many photographers find built-in WiFi convenient. It’s the same for Near-field Communication or NFC. NFC lets the camera and other compatible devices connect wirelessly at a very close range.
Bluetooth connects the Nikon D850 to other compatible devices like smartphones and tablets. It has a much greater range than NFC. Bluetooth is handy for transferring files between personal devices.
Controlling the Nikon D850 from a modern smartphone and app is a real convenience. There are many situations where triggering the shutter from a smart device is the ideal option.
A favorite Nikon D850 feature is its articulating rear LCD. It’s also a touchscreen that provides faster navigation and smoother control. Canon’s EOS 5DS R doesn’t have a tiltable LCD or a touchscreen.
Another advantage goes to the D850’s LCD screen resolution, higher by 126%. The numbers are D850 2.359k dots vs. EOS 5DS R’s 1.040k dots.
Physical Attributes and Shooting Advantages
Videographers and vloggers are likely to lean toward the D850 for enhanced video control. Both cameras have mic ports, but only the Nikon has a headphone port for external headsets.
Nikon’s D850 also has illuminated buttons. Backlit controls mean there’s no fumbling around in the dark when you need quick access. The extended battery life of the D850 is another big deal.
An extra 1140 frames from a single charge is no minor positive. The Nikon D850 can give up to 1840 shots in ideal conditions. The Canon’s EOS 5DS R is lucky to make 700 shots.
Owners of a new Nikon D850 don’t have to worry about changing the shutter mechanism any time soon. It should last for around 200,000 cycles. That’s 50,000 cycles more than the Canon.
The max ISO for the D850 is 300% higher than the Canon EOS 5DS R at 25.600 to 6.400. For low light ISO, the numbers are Nikon 2660, Canon 2308, so the D850 triumphs again.
Our Canon here loses out to focus and focal superiority as well. Nikon D850 has 153 focus points to the 5DS R’s 61, a difference of 92. The number of cross-type focus points also goes to Nikon’s D850.
Cross-type focus points are 99 to 41. That’s a difference of 58 extra cross type focus points in Nikon’s favor. Focus Bracketing is another valued feature the D850 has that the EOS 5DS R doesn’t.
Other D850 Benefits to Consider
Autofocus at f/8 aperture lets the D850 achieve autofocus with teleconverters. It’s a handy feature and one the Canon’s EOS 5DS R lacks. The D850’s wider AE bracketing range is another of its benefits.
The Canon doesn’t have Nikon’s 8K time-lapse mode for creating 8K resolution time-lapse videos either. Higher resolution video also goes to the D850 at 3840 x 2160 to Canon’s 1920 x 1080.
Both cameras have continuous shooting, but the Nikon is faster with 7.0fps to Canon’s 5.0fps. And finally, the Nikon D850 has a higher dynamic range and color depth than the Canon EOS 5DS R.
Why Consider the Canon EOS 5DS R over the Nikon D850?
You may think you already know which is better after reading all the Nikon D850 advantages above. Well, there’s not much left, and what bit there is, probably only matters to diehard Canon fans.
Max sensor resolution goes to the Canon EOS 5DS R with 51MP vs. 46MP. That’s 10% more pixels to the Canon. Its lighter weight is another advantage, but only by 2.7 oz., so it’s hardly a game changer.
That’s about it for the Canon without going into microanalysis mode. It’s still an incredible and worthy Digital-SLR, but it doesn’t seem to give the D850 much of a run for its money.
Shared weaknesses are features that both cameras lack that photographers would find useful. No camera can have everything, of course. Still, high-end cameras should probably have the following components.
In-body, sensor-based image stabilization is a sought-after feature. Alas, neither the Nikon D850 nor the Canon EOS 5DS have this. That means the user must rely on lenses with optical stabilization (OS).
Optically stabilized lenses do a great job but cost more than non-stabilized glass. Users don’t have to invest in OS lenses with cameras that have built-in stabilization. That’s the point.
Nikon has 88 optically stabilized D850 compatible lenses for its F mount, and there are 65 for the Canon EF mount. There’s not as many lens choices for Canon, but 65 lenses should be enough for most needs.
The other shared weakness is that neither camera has a built-in pop-up flash. Semi-pro photographers avoid the harsh light of built-in flash when possible. Even so, its’ still better to have it than not.
What the Reviewers Say
Users have plenty of admiration for both these digital models, especially die-hard brand enthusiasts.
Nikon first released its D850 to fans in July 2017. Reviewers love the long battery life of the camera. Extended battery life is often a consideration for heavy shooters at this level.
A large tilt-and-touch LCD is another big hit among reviewers. The touchscreen is especially popular. That’s no surprise since most of us use touchscreen displays with so many devices these days.
The D850’s Live View functionality, its tap-to-focus, and tap-to-shoot features also get a thumbs-up. This Nikon is primarily a camera for stills fans, but it also gets some respect for its video potential.
Some users praise the excellent 4K video but complain that there’s no 4K focus peaking. Despite the general approval, the D850’s video is unlikely to be the first choice for serious videographers.
Many would argue that Canon DSLRs have smoother autofocus and better lenses for filming.
Other compliments for the D850 go to its excellent value, ease of use, the range of features, and speed. A few more are versatility, fast processing, and Nikon’s powerful SnapBridge app.
Reviewers Take on the Canon EOS 5DS R
Canon announced its EOS 5DS R to the public in February 2015. There’s been plenty of time for fans to try and test this model and let their thought known to the wider world.
The Canon EOS 5DS R Digital SLR is a well-received camera despite a few shortcomings. The 50MP Resolution is a huge hit and gets a lot of applause from reviewers, with some saying it’s addictive.
Sharp stills with high-definition details and accurate colors please owners of the 5DS R. The image cropping potential is phenomenal say many reviewers.
Users love the sound of the EOS 5DS R’s shutter to the point where they write about it. It doesn’t affect still image quality or video quality, of course. It’s a small thing that seems to please a lot of people, though.
Most of the feedback talks favorably about the build and ergonomics of the camera. There are also a few critics among the praise. Some find the camera a tad pricey—others think it’s excellent value.
No built-in GPS is a criticism shared by some reviewers. A few others find the buttons spongy and unpleasant. That could be the result of its weather sealing—a feature that everyone appreciates.
There’s no doubt that the Canon EOS 5DS R is an exceptional camera, but better than the Nikon D850?
So, which of these capable Digital-SLRs best matches your photographic needs? For me, the Nikon D850 is a clear winner for the reasons outlined above. Maybe you disagree?
The D850 is a newer model than the Canon EOS 5DS R, and it shows. Okay, the Canon has more megapixels at 50.3 vs. the D850’s 45.4MP, but 45MP is still exceptional.
And the D850 has more features, yet it’s easier to handle. That’s because there are fewer buttons to press thanks to its built-in rear LCD touchscreen.
Finally, the Nikon has more lens choices (including optically stabilized lenses) than the Canon.Back to Top
I am going with the 5Ds R because it is a details camera and not exactly a dynamic range camera. I will shoot predominantly at iso-100.
The 5DSR was designed as a ca. 100 ISO camera. With largely superior L lenses (11-24 f4, 16-36 f4 & 2.8, 24-70 f2.8 mk2, 85 1.4, 100-400 mk2, 200-400, etc.) when compared to Nikon, the 5DSR now heavily discounted is in my considered opinion the better camera – based on what is was designed for!
Thanks for comparison. I want the 850 for image quality for landscapes but think nikon lenses may not be as good as canons in the ultra wide to standard focal lengths.
What do you think? Jon