Canon 400-Megapixel Mode


Today’s Question: I’m sure you are aware of Canon’s new firmware for the EOS R5 camera that enables its sensor to capture with 400MP. What implications does that have for photographers both negative and positive?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Canon’s 400-megapixel high resolution mode produces large images with pixel dimensions that represent a print size of almost five by seven FEET without enlargement. However, the files are indeed quite large and you generally need to avoid any movement in the frame or of the camera to get a useful photo.

More Detail: Canon certainly grabbed a lot of headlines when it announced the new high-resolution mode for the EOS R5 ( that enables 400-megapixel captures. The images captured in this mode feature a resolution of 24,576 pixels by 16,384 pixels. Printed at 300 pixels per inch, that would yield a print size of about 82-inches by 55-inches (about 7-feet by 4.5 feet) without any enlargement.

Of course, such high resolution also means large file sizes, with files ranging from about 100 to 300 megabytes depending on the level of detail in the scene being photographed.

This feature operates by capturing a series of images (nine captures in the case of the EOS R5) with tiny movement of the image sensor between each capture. The images are then combined in-camera to produce a single image with extreme resolution.

Because the sensor must be moved to capture multiple photos over a brief period of time, any movement within the frame or of the camera will result in a motion blur effect in the resulting image. That means that to make full use of this feature you need to photograph a scene that is extremely static, and you need to ensure the camera is held very still as well. For example, if you’re photographing a landscape and the leaves of trees are moving with the breeze, those leaves will be blurred in the final photo.

Because of the inherent limitations of the capture requirements in terms of motion, and the very large file sizes, I consider this to be a specialized feature that won’t likely be used very extensively by most photographers. Rather, I expect this feature to be used in very limited circumstances, when a particularly large print will be produced and the subject is such that it can remain perfectly still through the exposure process.