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Canon EOS 5D MkII Digital SLR Review

Canon EOS 5D MkII Digital SLR Review - Matt Grayson gets his hands on the much awaited Canon EOS 5D MkII.

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Category : Digital SLRs
Product : Canon EOS 5D MkII
Price : £2,975
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Canon Eos 5d MarkII (1)

As the replacement to the ailing, but still popular EOS 5D, the MkII has a higher resolution, the newest processor from Canon, higher ISO sensitivities, larger resolution screen, live view and full HD video recording.

Skip to Verdict

Canon EOS 5D MkII: Specification

  • Resolution: 21.1Mp
  • Sensor size: 36x24mm full frame
  • Sensor type: CMOS
  • Image size: 5616x3744
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Focus system: TTL-CT-SIR
  • Focus points: 9 point AF plus 6 assist AF points
  • Crop factor: 1.0x
  • Lens mount: EF (excludes EF-S lenses)
  • File type: JPEG, RAW, sRAW1, sRAW2
  • Sensitivity: ISO100-6400 (expandable toISO50, ISO12,800 and ISO25,600)
  • Storage: Compactflash
  • Focus types: One-shot, AI servo, AI focus
  • Metering system: TTL full aperture
  • Metering types: Evaluative (selective AF point), Partial (approx 8% of centre), spot (approx 3.5% of centre), centre-weighted
  • Exposure compensation: /-2 EV in 1/2 or 1/3 step increments
  • Shutter speed: 30sec-1/8000sec
  • Frames per second: 3.9fps (max 78 images in JPEG or 310 with UDMA card, max 13 images in RAW)
  • Flash: Hotshoe for external EX speedlite
  • Flash metering: E-TTL auto flash
  • Flash sync speed: 1/200sec
  • Image stabilisation: Lens based
  • Integrated cleaning: EOS integrated cleaning system with fluorine coating
  • Live view: Yes, 100% coverage
  • Viewfinder: Optical, pentaprism type with approx 98% coverage
  • Monitor: 3in TFT LCD 920,000dot (307,000px)
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Power: LP-E6 Li-Ion battery
  • Size: 152x113.5x75mm
  • Weight: 810g
Canon EOS 5D MkII
The command dial still has a full auto mode for if you get too baffled by it all.
Canon EOS 5D MkII
Everything on the top is the same with the exception of the rearranged screen illumination button.

Canon EOS 5D MkII: Features
It's fair to say that the Canon EOS 5D has been one of the most successful DSLRs which left Canon with a problem when designing its replacement. Maybe this is why it's taken so long to come along.

As of July 2008, the EOS 5D held 66% of the semi-pro DSLR market meaning that to continue that success, the designers had to pull out a certain fluffy white object out of the proverbial hat. The result is the EOS 5D MkII which has been talked about in length not only here on ePHOTOzine but all over the interweb with everyone speculating on the specifications.

Most were very close but essentially wrong. Namely on the resolution and frames per second. All that's in the past now and the new model has stomped into the foreground and diverted everyone's attention away from the recently released Nikon D700.

The resolution is the same as the top of the line EOS 1Ds MkIII but isn't the same sensor. I spoke to Richard Shepherd, European Product Specialist for Digital DSLRs and EF lenses and he told me that the new CMOS sensor has improved photodiodes which are more efficient meaning a lower power consumption. The photosites on the pixels are larger which they've enabled by reducing the size of the circuitry that surrounds the photosite.

This is all to do with noise and I asked if a larger photosite would create more heat increasing the chance of noise on surrounding pixels. Richard confirmed in normal circumstances this would be an issue, but as it's predictable noise, they can compensate for it. Interestingly, the microlenses aren't gapless on the 5D MkII but are on the EOS 50D.

I then spoke to Mike Burnhill, European CCI Product specialist for Digital SLR and EF lenses and I mentioned in my discussion with him that although the EOS 5D MkII has the same resolution as the EOS 1Ds MkIII, it only has one processor whereas the pro spec camera has two. I asked if this was an issue with speed and Mike said that the new Digic IV processor is faster and leaner than the previous third generation version (the 5D has DiG!C II processor). He confirmed that although it's not twice as fast to keep it in line with the EOS 1Ds MkIII speed, it works out at around 1.3x faster. He added that this meant that when using a UDMA enabled card in continuous shooting, JPEGs would be leaving the buffer as the next one entered.

This suggests that it's limitless but the full specification states that with UDMA, continuous is actually limited to 310 images. It does make me wonder whether it's much of an issue as I can't think of any scenario where you might take over 300 images in quick succession.

Finally I asked Mike if he could point out one defining difference in the EOS 5D MkII that he thinks will give it that extra oomph over the other full frame DSLRs. Unusually he mentioned the battery. I didn't want a typical reply such as resolution or sensor but I didn't expect to hear about the battery. He explained that it's a new battery (oh, surprise) and works in a similar way to Sony's InfoLithium where it gives a more precise countdown to when it needs recharging. He continued that the performance is also increased at zero degrees. Normally at such a cold temperature, the capacity halves from the normal 750 shots but the new battery only loses around 100 shots.

Canon EOS 5D MkII
The ports for everything are located on the side. The left is for incoming, the right for outgoing. HDMI is seen on bottom right.

Other areas of the camera that Canon are proud of are their claim to releasing the worlds first HD DSLR. But didn't Nikon just do that with the D90? Well, yes and no. The D90 runs at 720p which is a lower quality but still recognised as HD. The EOS 5D MkII runs at the full 1080 HD setting. This mode is enabled from live view and runs at proper television running speed of 30fps.

Delay your inward groans while you think of what it may be able to do for you. Landscape photographers might find it a bit of a waste of programming but candid, wedding, street, sports photographers and even papps may find this feature useful. Being able to add a bit of video content will give you that extra edge that disbelievers have been ridiculing.

Noise has been intensively worked on from the sensor to the processor and this gives the same awesome noise performance capabilities as the Nikon full frame models. But Canon have gone one slightly better and increased the minimum true ISO100 with an expandable option of ISO50.

The cleaning system has also been worked on and as well as having the fluorine coating on the low pass filter and high frequency vibrations, the EOS 5D MkII also has an internal Dust Delete Data system which maps the position of visible dust on the sensor. The dust that the camera discovered can then be deleted automatically using Digital Photo Professional software.

Canon EOS 5D
The original 5D from the rear showing the layout. Dimensions for the cameras are identical.
Canon EOS 5D MkII
Slight variances from the 5D MkII with button layout and live-view added and a microphone.

A quick scout around the body shows minor changes from the older model as most are internal or performance related. The command dial has had two new custom functions added and the CA mode found on the Canon EOS 50D. This mode is designed to make taking photographs easier by simplifying the options into examples. For instance, instead of selecting an aperture of f/4 to blur the background, you slide the slider on the rear monitor to the end that says blur background. I'm surprised to see this on a semi-pro camera as the vast majority of users will know exactly what to do while the other percentage will want to find out.

The functions of the buttons over the top plate LCD display have been rearranged slightly while the screen illumination button has been placed on the edge of the shoulder and not tucked into the prism head.

Moving onto the back and the direct print button has been given a double task of enabling live view. It has to be set up in the menu before it works and thanks to the new 921,000dot screen, it's now really bright and there's loads of information.

The buttons on the back, down the side of the screen have been rearranged with the addition of a new button to access picture styles. The jump button has been removed and delete brought in line with the others. Nothing else has changed apart from a small microphone just to the right of the viewfinder which is for the HD video capability.

Canon EOS 5D MkII: Build and handling
They've done a good job at modernising what was becoming a dated concept in the menu systems although to be fair to Canon, the 5D scrolling menu is pretty fast to get through. The MkII has a menu layout more in line with earlier models with its coloured tabs that can be rotated through using the navigation pad, joystick or e-dials. The new menu system retains its core principles of being easy to use but has a bang up to date layout with flashy graphics and pulsating icons in varying colours when you scroll through the lists.

The body is magnesium alloy and is weatherproof - With an asterisk. Looking at the footer of the specification table shows that the weatherproofing is environment protection. At first glance I would say that environmental protection and weatherproofing are one and the same but Canon have separated the two meanings for a reason.

Canon EOS 5D MkII
Colours appear slightly more pale than I'm used to but means the processor is tampering less and gives more scope for editing.

Canon EOS 5D MkII: Performance
JPEG has boosted the usual primary blue and red but yellow looks paler than I'm used to seeing. Orange looks quite pale too but the earth brown and green are OK. I'm unsure of the skin tone tile, it's not bad but doesn't sit quite right. The mono tones look balanced but the pastel colours are too desaturated.

I used live-view for the landscape test and once the camera had focused, turning the thumb wheel zooms in on the image. I found that the focusing was slightly out which then allowed me to fine tune using the manual override. I intend to test this more to see if it's a problem of the camera. Canon have been plagued with focus problems and it would be a shame if they've not addressed the problem. Thanks to the bright screen, 10x magnification of the image and the ability to move around the image in all directions, I quickly found an area I could see the focus clearly on. Annoyingly, the zoom out button doesn't work. It works on a rotation basis and will go back to full view after zooming in to its maximum capability.

Canon EOS 5D MkII
Focus was a little soft until I pulled it in with the manual focus ring. More tests on the focusing below.
Canon EOS 5D MkII
Although the screen is a huge improvement from the 5D, it shows a more contrasting image than is recorded.

Portraits shouldn't be too much of a problem as it gives decent skin tones and good colour rendition, although I was annoyed that the screen showed the image a lot more contrasty on the back of the camera than it shows on the screen. If it was a true depiction, I'd be tempted to enter into the picture styles and add a bit of sharpening there.

There have been many reports on the Canon EOS 5D MkII regarding black dots found on highlight areas such as street lights when recorded on a long exposure image. I tested the camera on this phenomena and didn't find a problem which suggests that this could be pertaining to a few models.

Canon EOS 5D MkII
This shot was taken on a 30sec exposure at f/11 ISO100 with no noise control. This confirms what Richard Shepherd said that they can control noise from overheating pixels.
Canon EOS 5D MkII
The same image blown to 100% magnification shows no trace of the Black dot Phenomenon.

I called Canon regarding black dot and a spokesperson confirmed that they're aware of "Black dot phenomenon" and are taking measures against it: "Black dot phenomenon is where the right point of source light becomes black. Canon are currently investigating ways to improve and/or mitigate the phenomenon. It can be solved with a firmware update which is available as soon as Canon have finished testing it."

The spokesperson confirmed that this information will be released on the Canon website and also apologised to any affected customers and thanked them for their patience.

Canon EOS 5D MkII: HD video
As a relatively new technology to DSLRs, the video recording system in the Canon EOS 5D MkII is the first full HD DSLR on the market. The Nikon D90 also has HD quality video recording but isn't full HD as it runs at the setting of 720p. 

To enable the camera to record video, you have to enable it in the menu system by accessing the live view/video sub menu. You then change the LV function setting to stills movie mode with the display set to movie display. When you then enter live-view, you'll see the video crop as a semi-transparent shaded area around the frame. 

To record video, press the set button on the back and a red recording dot will appear in the top right of the screen. Interestingly, you can't auto focus in video mode but you can manually focus if you need to. If you're not going to have to change it in the middle of the video, prefocus before recording.

The built-in microphone is by no means perfect as it picks up everything including when you move your hands on the camera body. I was concerned about the placement of the microphone at the back as it might pick up breathing if it's that sensitive, but this isn't a problem. An extra socket is available for external mic if necessary.

One thing that was picked up was a continuous clicking and whirring which I think was the workings of the camera most probably from the image stabiliser. It wouldn't be discernible if you're out in a louder area as I used it in a quiet studio testing for such noise.

I've filmed a part of the video review using the camera to see if you think it's any better than a camcorder. Of course it should be with a larger sensor and the benefit of interchangeable lenses. However, the lack of focusing is unfortunate and camcorder lenses have a near point blank close focus range which isn't available on the DSLRs.

Canon EOS 5D MkII
The camera had trouble finding a lock on this statue, even on the edges.

Canon EOS 5D MkII: Focus and metering
Canon have come under a lot of fire because of focusing problems with other models even as high classed as the EOS 1Ds MkIII. I tested the focus system placing the focus spot on an area, focusing and using the magnification in live-view to see if it caught properly. In my tests I found that the camera had a tendency to hunt a lot and failed to find a lock on items such as this statue taken at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. It looks like the focus system has problems with areas of lower contrast. While all cameras suffer from this problem, I felt that the Canon suffered more. 

As for getting images in focus, I didn't have a problem with it. I thought I had a problem when shooting the landscape image but as I wasn't testing focus at that time, it's possible that the camera focused on another area from where I manually focused.

Metering is up to Canon's usual standards and had no problems with any of the settings.

Canon EOS 5D MkII: Noise test
Noise is controlled very well on the Canon EOS 5D MkII with none showing at all at the first four steps. By ISO800, a slight sharpening is forming on the grey area but this is lower than a lot of APS-C sensors will give at ISO200 so shouldn't be worried about. From this intial poking through of noise, it starts to increase through each step but doesn't begin to be a problem for me until ISO6400 when the detail in the petals starts to deteriorate.

I think what impresses me most about this is that noise reduction was turned off on these images and the purple colouring doesn't show until ISO12,800. By the final ISO25,600 rating most detail is lost in the flower while noise and artefacts scatter the main bulk of the image. Still for it to only be a problem at such a high rating is pretty good.

The results are much better than the Nikon D3 which was the first DSLR to be released with such a high sensitivity. Time will tell how it compares against the new D3x as the D3 is over a year old now.

Click the links below for the RAW downloads:
Canon EOS 5D MkII ISO50 RAW

Canon EOS 5D MkII ISO25,600 RAW

Canon EOS 5D MkII
The ISO50 equivalent test.
Canon EOS 5D MkII
The ISO100 test.
Canon EOS 5D MkII
The ISO200 test.
Canon EOS 5D MkII
The ISO400 test.
Canon EOS 5D MkII
The ISO800 test.
Canon EOS 5D MkII
The ISO1600 test.
Canon EOS 5D MkII
The ISO3200 test.
Canon EOS 5D MkII
The ISO6400 test.
Canon EOS 5D MkII
The ISO12,800 equivalent test.
Canon EOS 5D MkII
The ISO25,600 equivalent test.
Canon EOS 5D MkII
The ISO50 JPEG/RAW comparison.
Canon EOS 5D MkII
The ISO25,600 JPEG/RAW comparison.

DxOMark provides objective, independent, RAW-based image quality performance data for lenses and digital cameras to help you select the best equipment to meet your photographic needs.

Visit the DxOMark website for tests performed on the Canon EOS 5D MkII.

Canon EOS 5D MkII: Verdict
Canon have come under a lot of fire recently regarding the focus system, so it's good to see that it can focus sharply enough. It did have trouble with locking on and tended to hunt more than I found comfortable. Noise performance is great and shows that even with a high resolution it doesn't cause a problem. 

I've come round to the idea of video on DSLRs but I feel there should be more control. It doesn't allow any changes to be made other than manual ones of focus and zoom. I'm disappointed about the audible noise that the camera can pick up from the internal workings of the camera.

I don't think you'll have any problems with the camera if you decide to get to EOS 5D MkII, it's just as competent as the original MkI but with flashier graphics, faster processor and larger file sizes. If you use Save to Web, like I do, then you may run into problems as I was constantly running out of memory to save the files and had to resize on a number of occasions.

Canon EOS 5D MkII: Plus points
Full frame
New sensor
New DiG!C IV processor
Excellent noise control
New monitor
Clearer graphics

Canon EOS 5D MkII: Minus points
Focus had trouble locking
Lack of control on videos
CA mode is present
Images are sharper on monitor than computer

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
OVERALL


See the video review of the Canon EOS 5D MkII here:
Canon EOS 5D MkII video review

The EOS 5D Mark II (body only) is available from Warehouse Express priced at £2251.99:
Canon EOS 5D MkII body only

The EOS 5D Mark II, EF 24-105mm f4.0L IS USM kit is available from Warehouse Express, at £2974.99:
Canon EOS 5D MkII kit
 

Explore More

Photographs taken using the Canon EOS 5D MkII

HelenLondon streetThornton ForceMaking my eyes go funnyBad Weather approachingHomeless .Reykjavik AuroraThe Crossing.....Zoe (Colour Version)St Paul's cathedral. London.To the BeachTiger Clough FallsMillennium Bridge, GatesheadCold Ben at Pendle Hill
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Comments


22 Sep 2008 6:48AM
I'm getting really tired of these "reviews" that are no more than shallow previews based on having held a camera for 15 minutes or so.

Based on, well - let's be honest, next to nothing, Matt Grayson comes up with a "verdict" on the camera without seemingly having shot and analyzed even a single picture with it. This confuses me - Matt does not look it from his portrait but this is like the writings of the average technophile teenager on a personal blog - NOT that of a "serious" photo journal.

5DII "tops Nikon" whereas 50D was "awkward". Shallow, without foundation and useless to your readers. It will be dpreview for me from now on. At least they're serious about what they do.

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22 Sep 2008 7:34AM
I'm getting really tired of these "reviews" that are no more than shallow previews based on having held a camera for 15 minutes or so.

Based on, well - let's be honest, next to nothing, Matt Grayson comes up with a "verdict" on the camera without seemingly having shot and analyzed even a single picture with it. This confuses me - Matt does not look it from his portrait but this is like the writings of the average technophile teenager on a personal blog - NOT that of a "serious" photo journal.

5DII "tops Nikon" whereas 50D was "awkward". Shallow, without foundation and useless to your readers. It will be dpreview for me from now on. At least they're serious about what they do.
MattGrayson e2
7 622 3 England
22 Sep 2008 10:11AM
It seems you joined the site just to leave this comment as you've not done anything else that I can see.


Quote:I'm getting really tired of these "reviews" that are no more than shallow previews based on having held a camera for 15 minutes or so.

Hmm, the first prargraph states that this isn't a full review but a preview. I write this to make sure you're not mistaken about it being a review.


Quote:Based on, well - let's be honest, next to nothing, Matt Grayson comes up with a "verdict" on the camera without seemingly having shot and analyzed even a single picture with it. This confuses me - Matt does not look it from his portrait but this is like the writings of the average technophile teenager on a personal blog - NOT that of a "serious" photo journal.


Based on nothing? I went to Canon HQ held and used the cameras and talked to Canon tech guys to get more info for the article. I think there's more than you're really seeing.

Of course I haven't tested it. I only saw it for a few hours, that's why this is a preview. A hands on excerpt as a taster before the proper review when I get hold of it.
The verdict has no opinions about performance, it's just my conclusion on what I surmised when I tried the camera at the press launch.


Quote:5DII "tops Nikon" whereas 50D was "awkward". Shallow, without foundation and useless to your readers. It will be dpreview for me from now on. At least they're serious about what they do.


This makes me laugh. I don't see any point where I said the 5D was better than any Nikon? Apart from the three points which, lo and behold, the Canon is better. Um, why is that so wrong? Increased sensitivity? Higher resolution if you need it? Actual full HD video?

I think maybe you were expecting to see a proper hands on full review and you were disappointed to find a preview. I think you'll find the dpreview article is also a preview on a preproduction model so for a while you're going to be disappointed wherever you go.
I prefer to let you know what happened and what I found out while I was there instead of filling your head with information that could change when the model is released.

The EOS 50D is an awkward release. No ground breaking features just improvements from the 40D using technology that you could already get on other cameras. Which is great but not when you have other companies bringing out new stuff all the time and raising the bar.

Thanks. Smile
22 Sep 2008 2:43PM
Matt,

Yes - that is indeed true - I did register just to leave this message. I've been on your site many times before but this is the fist time I've been annoyed enough to actually want to comment.

The title of the "preview" on your review page and indeed on the top of this page is "Canon EOS 5D MkII Digital SLR Review".

Please take note of that last word again: "review", not "preview".

This is a common trick to attract browsers to a website in order to get clicks and affiliated ad revenue. The title says "review" and the contents is a preview that is superficial at best but it is enough to attract readers through search engines.

"The EOS 50D is an awkward release. No ground breaking features just improvements from the 40D using technology that you could already get on other cameras."

The main feature of any digital camera is image quality. All the other bells and whistles are nice, and sometimes deal-making or breaking features. But if 50D manages to increase the pixel count over both 40D and D300 and increase picture quality, high ISO noise etc. it will prove to be anything but "awkward".

Now - it may turn out that you're completely on the money with all your remarks about both cameras. But that's not the point - the point is that you're making quick judgments that you, at this point, can not honestly tell us you're in a position to make - even if you have been to Canon HQ.

At the end of the day you leave us with a "review" (again this is in the title of the article) that resembles so many forum user posts ranting on about shortcomings and the like of cameras that have not even hit the market yet - and that they do not truly know anything about.

Now, that's all fine for a forum posting - but for a "professional" trade and review site like yours it's below par.

Anyway - that is my opinion but I'm sure you'll hold a slightly different view. Smile
MattGrayson e2
7 622 3 England
22 Sep 2008 3:19PM
The "review" title is something I've discussed with the IT guys a couple of times in the past to get a facility where I can change it from preview to review. Until it's in place I do what I can by letting everyone know straight away that it's a preview.
If anyone wishes to leave at that stage, they are welcome to do so.
I do understand what you're saying, I really do. What I'm trying to do is let you know what I've seen and what I think of what I've seen. I don't cover the picture quality, noise performance or actual speed because I've not tested those areas and I don't want to pull the wool over your eyes by doing so.
In a full review, we have a dedicated area to the performance and this is removed for a preview.
I'm giving my verdict on what I've seen and what the specification says.
I may very well change my mind about the EOS 50D when I see it. It wouldn't be the first time I've changed what I thought as I think keeping an open mind about such things is vital to give a fair and unbiased review.

I agree with you about image quality and that's what I generally tend to concentrate more on these days especially with more ff cameras out. There are some out there who are swayed by gizmos and easy options. I have to cover what they'll be interested in too and at this early stage I can't talk about picture quality because I'd be speculating.
I'd hate to lose a viewer simply because of this issue. I'll mention it to the IT guys again and see if can get sorted. Until then, look for the word preview in the first paragraph. Wink
22 Sep 2008 3:27PM
Well, even if you do keep that title I'll probably keep on visiting your website Smile

Ground breaking or not, I'm sure they're both fine cameras and I'll look forward to your in-depth reviews in the near future.

Cheers
MattGrayson e2
7 622 3 England
22 Sep 2008 4:41PM
That's good to hear. Smile
Canon 5D

I owned one of these superb cameras for six months when they were launched, but sold it because I kept on missing important shots whilst waiting for the buffer to clear. Also I found that the auto-focus was frequently unable to get a "good lock" in low light levels which was irritating and embarrassing since I am a wedding photographer and a freelance feature writer and photographer.

The images were superb and I sold it reluctantly. However, from what I've recently read in previews, the buffer problem and the AF difficulties have been tackled, so I shall try again. The price looks good as well.

Momentous
14 Oct 2008 11:08AM
Canon 5D
I have owned a 5D for the last 2 years, a very good camera for its time. But like all things new technology will always come along to superceed yesterdays old tech. I'm a little weary of the slow frame rate and as mentioned the problems with auto focus in poor light with the old 5D. I hesitate pre-ordering the new camera just in case Canon have similar problems as they did with the 1D mk3 at its launch! So I look forward to Focus on Imaging 2009 at NEC to have a play , make my mind up and possibly buy.
When the full review is undertaken, please, please, please pay special attention to the Autofocus system. I have a 40D and its 9-point AF is shockingly inconsistent with all my lenses. I returned it to the shop and have had 3 different bodies, all with the same poor results. Many shots are just so off the mark it's unreal, and it's not depth-of-field related either, as the focus is very crisp elsewhere in the picture, which is not what was focused on.
If the 5DMkII has no major upgrade in AF other than the 6 'assist' points then this could be a big Achilles heel.

In contrast, the Nikons have a very well reviewed 51-point AF, which is reported to be very accurate.
The extra goodies on the 5D are worthless if the thing can't focus properly and is more expensive than the D700.

I'm going to upgrade to a full frame DSLR at Christmas, and want to stay with Canon for their excellent lens range (which betters Nikon). However, if the AF on the 5DMkII can't live with the D700, then Nikon will have a new disciple.

Let me say again, the 40D AF is terrible. I hope the 5DMkII is an improvement. I doubt it though.

Regards.
Henchard e2
9 2.7k 1 United Kingdom
19 Dec 2008 5:00PM

Quote:If the 5DMkII has no major upgrade in AF other than the 6 'assist' points then this could be a big Achilles heel.


As far as I'm aware (i.e according to other websites) it's basically the focussing system from the old 5D so no vast improvement.
25 Dec 2008 11:49AM
Why is the earlier 5D "ailing"? If you let the Photoshop raw filter upscale it one notch you get 100 meg 16 bit files. How much more do you need?

Manufacturers and reviewers seem to concentrate on features that I would never use. I take considered pictures, so speed and noise in focussing doesn't matter. I only use program and manual and only ever output to raw files. All the other stuff just gets in the way. I do shoot video but use equipment built for the job with XLR sockets and external radio mics.

My gripes with the earlier 5D are:

1) The dials on the camera seem to go round on their own accord so you need to keep checking it. Some kind of locking mechanism on the mode dial would be useful.

2) The Canon engineers could do with listening to some professional photographers on how they use flash. I've given up using the Canon Speedlight as it gets it wrong 90% of the time on PR jobs. It's too easily fooled by people wearing black suits and black backgrounds. I now use old hot shoe flashes on it (eBay). These have the advantage of being able to trigger other flashes on slaves as well as studio flash with umbrellas. Interestingly, with my Olympus E410 (great lightweight carry anywhere camera) you can set the flash from 1/4 to 1/64th power and it will fire other flashguns.

3) The lenses and chip in combination lead to darkened corners. The zooms are unable to keep straight lines straight near the edges. This doesn't matter with people photography, but it does with urban architecture.

Having said that, I love my old 5D. It's a great camera and delivers quality that was only possible by using 2 1/4 square when I started out as a professional in the 1970s. My only problem with the new one is it's price.

Alan Tucker
I have to say that I find all the "in-fighting" and "bickering" a little strange to understand.
For the last 4 weeks I have been browsing the internet to gather as much unformation as possible about the Canon EOS 5D MKII as well as its direct competitor the Nikon D700.
Do I use Canon or Nikon? Well in the past I have used cameras from both manufacturers and Ihave to admit that when I used 35mm, you would not have heard me criticise Canon.
However, having lost my interest in photography, I disposed of the Canon gear and when I did venture back into photography it was with an early model Olympus digital.
Once the interest fully returned, I bought a Nikon D70 and then upgraded this to a D200 and I am now looking to upgrade again but this time to a full frame sensor, hence the interest in the 5DMKII and the D700.
Both cameras appear to be in short supply so a proper hands on full scale "review" could be difficult, however, reviews on the D700 are around.
I enjoyed reading the "preview" on the 5DMKII and it was interesting to read that there are problems with the latest models introduced by Canon.
Problems with metering and focussing are critical in producing good photographs as are the problems of banding and "black spotting" reported by some earlier purchases and confirmed by Canon themselves.
I have read no such detrimental comments about the D700.
OK, I am a current Nikon user and to add a D700 to my equipment would allow me to use my existing lenses albeit in a reduced performance format but I am looking for the best piece of equiment available at this time so a move back to Canon would not be a problem, if it gave me the best available.
I was nearly ready to make my purchase just before Christmas but had delayed the decision until I can get a good fully comprehensive review of the 5DMKII so I can make a proper comparison.
At the moment apart from thebigger pixel count, the 5DMKII is lagging behing the D700.
Are Canon playing catch-up with their competitors and as a consequence releasing equipment that has not been fully or satisfactorily tested? Just a thought!!!!!

Alan Bennett
MattGrayson e2
7 622 3 England
5 Jan 2009 10:03AM

Quote:Why is the earlier 5D "ailing"?


It's still a great camera but simply getting long in the tooth. That's all I meant. Smile
23 Jan 2009 1:35PM
I found it interesting anyway. However I can't seem to get the sample downloads to work. Nothing I have including DPP will open them.

Can you advise please?
MattGrayson e2
7 622 3 England
23 Jan 2009 2:04PM
I use photoshop to open my files.
X5DJM e2
9 26 England
3 Feb 2009 3:37PM
I'm thinking of buying a body far better than my skill and now i'm even more confused.
I'm after a full frame DSLR currently using a 400D, the HD video sounds good, even though I hadn't thought about vid when I started looking.
May not be right for this review, oops preview but having Canon lenses what would anyone suggest.
Thanks for the original artical, for me a novis it was informative and understandable.
MattGrayson e2
7 622 3 England
4 Feb 2009 10:51AM
This is now a full review, not a preview anymore. Smile

You might want to think about the original 5D if HD video isn't an issue. Best thing to do is get into our forums where these questions are asked and answered every day. You'll get a faster response than in the comments section here. Smile
4 May 2009 12:39PM
Had the 5Dmark (with 24-105 l series kit lens) 2 for a few weeks and what a huge disapointment!
Mirror has locked up, red and white pixles appear randomly on the images. The camera will not correctly focus on anything and the camera just dies on me and needs a 5 minute rest to reset its self (even with a full battery).

Was very impressed by by 40D, but I believe the product is such poor quality I hace returned it to Amazon and I am hoping for a full refund.

Just not good enough for a camera costing over 2500, I have had better pictures with a 75 point an shoot. In my opinion its a very poor B*stard son of the lower models in Canons range
4 May 2009 4:28PM
Following on from my previous rant, I really must also mention about the 'kit lens' with the 5D mark 2. While the build quality is excellent and the handling superb I think Canon have got a bit of a stinker on their hands in terms of image quality. I tried it on my 40D to compare with my ef-s 17-55 f2.8 and I found the quality at anything above 70mm very poor (not that it was any good at the lower end either). I suppose a kit lens is just to get you started until you can afford a better one, but why does Canon put a price tag of 943 on this? 250 would be a better asking price.

Sticking with the 17-55 for now

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