EOS 5DS R Crop Mode: Sometimes You Can Be 100% Wrong and Ignorant and It Doesn’t Mean Squat… Then you learn something new anyway! More 5DS R stuff from Patrick Sparkman. And a great NIK Tonal Contrast Trick! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

EOS 5DS R Crop Mode: Sometimes You Can Be 100% Wrong and Ignorant and It Doesn't Mean Squat... Then you learn new something anyway! More 5DS R stuff from Patrick Sparkman. And a great NIK Tonal Contrast Trick!

What’s Up?

It started work on this blog post on Sunday while laying over–heck, it was only 7 hours, not 8 as I originally figured–at the Delta lounge in LAX. It was 1:02 PM Pacific time as I began to type. My flight to Tokyo was set for 4:50pm. As I said, one breath at a time.

I got a lot done on my MCO to LAX flight and got a lot done on Sunday afternoon. I can’t wait for the Snow Monkeys!

I added lots more to this post on my layover day in Tokyo, that being Tuesday February 9, 2016.


8771 was shot at full frame.
8772 was shot at 1.3 crop.
8773 was shot at 1.6 crop.
8774 was shot at 1:1
8775 was shot at 4:3
8776 was shot at 16:9

EOS 5DS R Crop Mode/Sometimes You Can Be 100% Wrong and Ignorant and It Doesn’t Mean Squat…

I am not sure how this all started but in the blog post here good friend Patrick Sparkman commented:

David. I never said that I would use the in camera crop. I would never use that and only crop in post processing. Obviously, if I could get closer to the subject, and fill the frame on the 5DS R I would. But that is not always possible, so the 5DS R allows for significant cropping in post and still maintain good image quality. I hope that answers your question.

Then I chimed in out of ignorance:

As far as I know, there is no such thing as in-camera cropping as there is with some Nikon bodies…

Next, good friend and multiple IPT participant David Policansky posted this:

Artie: This from the Imaging Resource website: β€œAlso, in what we believe is another EOS camera first, Canon has added crop shooting modes for both 1.3x and 1.6x crop factors.” That is what I was talking about. Check your 5DS R camera body manual! πŸ™‚ David

So I did, and learned that I was wrong. And I learned a lot more. Here goes:

#1: If you convert in Adobe Camera RAW or Lightroom or anything but Canon Digital Photo Professional 4, there is no such thing as Crop or Aspect Ratio after the fact. Why? Only DPP 4 recognizes some (but not all) of the six choices.

#2: If you choose either the 1.3x (crop) or the 1.6x (crop) setting at the bottom of the fourth RED menu, the image will be “cropped” as you look through the viewfinder (the cropped pixels are grayed out). When you view the images on the rear LCD, you will see the crop marks. When you bring the image into DPP 4 (only) for the RAW conversion, you will see the crop marks. If you proceed to convert the image you will be left only with the cropped version. It is possible to get rid of the crop marks and work with the full frame image by going to the Crop tab and hitting Clear.

#3: If you choose 1:1 you will see the crop in the viewfinder as above. You will see the square crop upon playback. But that is the end of it. You will not see the square crop even in DPP 4.

If you choose either 4:3 or 16:9 you will not see the crop through the viewfinder and there will be no crop marks on your image. At this point you should be asking, “What’s up with that?”

Strangely enough when you choose 4:3 or 16:9, you will be viewing only the cropped portion of the images in the selected proportion when you work in Live View. And that is also true when you pick the 1.3x (crop), the 1.6x (crop), or the 1:1 Aspect Ratio.

All of the above makes no sense to me. Does any of it make sense to you? If so, please leave a comment and explain it to us.

If 1.3x and 1.6x are indeed “crops” and the 1:1, 4:3, and 16:9 are all indeed Aspect Ratios, then why not have each of those three do the same thing? Beats me.

Of note: in all cases you always have the complete, un-cropped RAW file to work with.


This image was created through the spotlessly clean window of my room in a luxurious Tokyo hotel with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 100mm) and the monster mega-pixel Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/8.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on the tallest building and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The View from the Top

Using the 1:1 the Aspect Ratio…

Well, obviously I made it to Tokyo in one piece. And continued work on this blog post to maximize your learning opportunities. When I first glanced out the window and framed the image in my mind, a square crop was obvious. So I went to the menu and set 1:1. And I must admit that having the square crop in the viewfinder made it a easier to fine tune the image design “in the field” if you would :). So there are times when the seemingly useless feature can help.

NIK Tonal Contrast Trick

As one might expect, the view from my room was quite hazy/smoggy. So when I went to run my NIK Color EFEX Pro 50/50 recipe I experimented with the High Pass setting for Tonal Contrast; wow! What an improvement. Goodbye haze, goodbye smog.

So What Else Did I Learn?

I learned that the 5DS R does have a Crop/aspect ratio menu item, that it makes very little if any sense, and that it would not seem to be of any practical use.

But then I figgered something out that might be of actual use for comparing the quality of image files from a 5DS R (in terms of sharpness, contrast, and fine feather detail) with the image files from a 7D II. Or those from a 5DS R with those from a 1D Mark IV or a 1D X.

To compare the 5DS R files to 7D II files first fine a static subject be it a detailed sign or a sleeping bird or animal. Both cameras should be Lens Align Focus Tuned to the lens you will be using. First set up tripod with the lens on it and lock everything down. Set the 5DS R to 1.6x (crop), mount the camera, and make a few images. Now simply switch to the 7D II, make a few images and compare the results.

More From Patrick Sparkman

When I mentioned the testing idea above to Patrick Sparkman, who recently did a second round of testing with a refined protocol, he said, and I quote:

Here are the PDFs from two Lens Align tests. Exact same setup, same lens, distance, didn’t even move it during camera changes. Same camera settings, and selected the same area on the target to analyze. The sharpest average for the 5DS R is 2527, and the 7dII is 1718.That is what we are seeing. I am through testing cameras now. The 5DS R always wins. I must admit though, that when I do the basic processing with Lightroom and NIK, that the two are pretty close. They are both great cameras. For 2 1/2 times more money though, the 5DS R gives a lot more versatility and that is why I like it so much. And the images are definitely sharper.

Have fun on your layover, and call me if you get bored!



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Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past few months, we have sold just about everything in sight. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the original 400mm IS DO lens have been dropping steadily. Even the prices on the new 600 II and the 200-400 with Internal Extender have been plummeting. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the right side of the yellow-orange menu bar above.

Stuff has literally been flying off the shelves for the past few weeks.

New Listing

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III Professional dSLR

Multiple IPT veteran Steve Leimberg is offering a used EOS 1Ds Mark III Professional dSLR in excellent condition an the insane, record-low BAA price of $999. The sale includes only camera, the battery, the battery charger, and insured ground shipping via major courier. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Steve by e-mail.

The 1Ds Mark III produces superb 21.1 mp files and Autofocus is superb as well. The 1Ds III suffered none of the AF system problems that some encountered with the EOS-1D Mark III. I owned and use one for about three years. If you have been looking at pro bodies and you let this one go you will have only yourself to blame. artie

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Please contact David via e-mail. Photos of the bag are available upon request.

Price Drop!

Canon EOS 1D-X Professional dSLR

A New Lowest-ever BAA Price: $2999 for like-new!
Price Reduced $200 on FEB 8, 2015.

John Norris is offering a used EOS 1D-X Professional dSLR in like-new condition for $2999 (was $3199). The sale includes an extra battery, the battery charger, the front cap, everything that was in the original box, and insured shipping via UPS Ground. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact John by e-mail or by phone at 214-957-3535 (Central time zone).

Two 1D X bodies served me well as my workhorse dSLRs since their introduction in March 2012. I always appreciated their ruggedness, the great AF system, and the powerful battery that drove AF even with the 2X III TC quickly. artie

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12 comments to EOS 5DS R Crop Mode: Sometimes You Can Be 100% Wrong and Ignorant and It Doesn’t Mean Squat… Then you learn something new anyway! More 5DS R stuff from Patrick Sparkman. And a great NIK Tonal Contrast Trick!

  • avatar William Lloyd

    Well, I think those “crop” modes are just composition aids. It’s not uncommon to see landscapers holding up various mats sizes for a window to a particular aspect or crop size. It helps to visualize the image opportunities. Useful even for stationary wildlife shots. Actual cropping on the fly for live view video use will result in smaller files, and possibly let advantages of that are obvious.

  • As Artie noted, some of the Nikon bodies do actually crop the image. Shooting 14 bit, uncompressed, RAW files, my D4 files are about 74.7 MB full frame and 32.4 MB at 1.5 crop. My D800 files are 34.3 MB and 15.5 MB, respectively. If you don’t have the reach to fill the frame and are concerned about file size, you can turn on the crop factor and get twice as many frames on your card. So, I guess there is some use for crop factor with the Nikon, although I never bother to use it.

    Regardless of the camera make, this doesn’t seem to be a very important tool in the camera. One exception that comes to mind is shooting sports and then uploading directly to your client using wifi and that’s obviously a pretty specialized use.

  • avatar Derek Courtney

    I do not have the 5DSR nor the manual, but as for for the 4:3 and 16:9, especially since they are called aspect ratios, I am wondering if they have more to do with video recording than photography. I could easily the value of having the ability to shoot video in either 4:3 or 16:9 depending on the artistic vision as opposed to have to make that change in post-production. As for the photography, I certainly agree with others in the preference of cropping out of camera.

  • avatar Gary Axten

    That’s interesting, so now I’m wondering how would an image taken on the 5DSR with say a 500 compare to one taken on a 1DX of the same subject with a 500 & a 1.4 or 2x converter with the image from the 5 cropped to match that from the 1D ?

    Would there be more potential for camera shake in the TC images? Would the lack of light from TCs impact the image or the focussing?

    I’m wondering whether the future of photography is in huge megapixels & cropping on the computer.

    Obviously not a completely fair test as the 1D is faster to acquire & can take many shots in succession, is more robust & has a more powerful battery to permit the former.

    • avatar David Policansky

      You can’t crop a 5DS image to match a 1DX image. Both have “full frame” sensors but the 1DX has fewer, larger pixels. You CAN crop a 5DS image to (closely) match a 7D2 image, which I believe Artie has done here.

  • avatar Bill Richardson

    Thanks for the Nik high pass tip. I just returned from photographing big horn sheep in Yellowstone and the extreme cold (down to negative 40) seemed to create a frozen haze. Using the high pass mode really helped put some zip back into the photos. As to the in camera crop, I skimmed the discussion but would never bother doing in camera cropping unless there is some frame rate benefit. BTW, does anyone know if the new red focus square on the new 1DX2 look like the one on the 1D4 that I miss so much?

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: Thanks for this. For me, full implementation would be if 1.6 crop mode turned the 5DS into a 7D2 in terms of frame rate and file size. I asked on the 5D user forum on Digital Photography Review if actual 5DS users found the crop modes useful, and about half said they did and half thought it was useless. I am recovering from cataract surgery and can’t see well enough to judge the photos. Enjoy Japan.

  • Okay, this one has me really confused. Maybe its cause I don’t have the camera and can’t visualize this.

    Using 8771 and 8772 as examples…I don’t see any difference between the two images except the 5DSR shows what a 1.3 crop would look like.

    If I’m just going to crop it anyway in post, why bother making the selection in the camera? I might not even like where the 5DSR places the crop marks anyway and will crop a different part of the image.


  • Did you mean High Pass and not High Key?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Yes thanks. I was gonna open the program and check on the name… I shall fix it with thanks. a