Canon's press material for the EOS 5D states that it 'defines (a) new D-SLR category', while we're not typically too concerned with marketing talk this particular statement is clearly pretty accurate. The EOS 5D is unlike any previous digital SLR in that it combines a full-frame (35 mm sized) high resolution sensor (12.8 megapixels) with a relatively compact body (slightly larger than the EOS 20D, although in your hand it feels noticeably 'chunkier'). The EOS 5D is aimed to slot in between the EOS 20D and the EOS-1D professional digital SLR's, an important difference when compared to the latter is that the EOS 5D doesn't have any environmental seals. While Canon don't specifically refer to the EOS 5D as a 'professional' digital SLR it will have obvious appeal to professionals who want a high quality digital SLR in a body lighter than the EOS-1D. It will also no doubt appeal to current EOS 20D owners (although lets hope they've not bought too many EF-S lenses...)

Canon EOS 5D vs. EOS 20D feature and specification differences

 
Canon EOS 5D

Canon EOS 20D
Sensor • 35.8 x 23.9 mm CMOS
• 12.8 million effective pixels
• No FOV crop (1.0x)
• 22.5 x 15.0 mm CMOS
• 8.2 million effective pixels
• 1.6x FOV crop
Image sizes • 4368 x 2912
• 3168 x 2112
• 2496 x 1664
• 3504 x 2336
• 2544 x 1696
• 1728 x 1152
Lens support Canon EF lens mount (not EF-S) Canon EF lens mount (EF and EF-S)
Auto focus • 9-point TTL
• 6 "invisible assist AF points" *
• -0.5 to 18 EV working range
* Within the spot metering circle
• 9-point TTL
• -0.5 to 18 EV working range
AF assist No (only with external flash) Yes
Metering modes • Evaluative 35 zone
• Partial (8% at center)
• Spot (3.5% at center)
• Center-weighted average
• 1.0 to 20 EV metering range
• Evaluative 35 zone
• Partial (9% at center)
• Center-weighted average
• 1.0 to 20 EV metering range
ISO range ISO 50 - 3200 (when extended) ISO 100 - 3200 (when extended)
ISO steps 0.3 EV steps 1.0 EV steps
Flash X-sync 1/200 sec 1/250 sec
Image parameters "Picture Style"
• Standard
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Neutral
• Faithful
• Monochrome
• User 1
• User 2
• User 3
• Parameter 1
• Parameter 2
• User 1
• User 2
• User 3
• B&W
Custom image parameters • Sharpness: 0 to 7
• Contrast: -4 to +4
• Saturation: -4 to +4
• Color tone: -4 to +4
• B&W filter: N, Ye, Or, R, G
• B&W tone: N, S, B, P, G
• Sharpness: -2 to +2
• Contrast: -2 to +2
• Saturation: -2 to +2
• Color tone: -2 to +2
• B&W filter: N, Ye, Or, R, G
• B&W tone: N, S, B, P, G
Viewfinder • 96% frame coverage
• 0.71x magnification
• Focusing screen can be changed
• 95% frame coverage
• 0.9x magnification
LCD monitor • 2.5" TFT LCD (wide viewing angle)
• 230,000 pixels
• 1.8" TFT LCD (wide viewing angle)
• 118,000 pixels
Shutter release Soft touch Soft half-press then click shutter release
Histogram • Luminance
• RGB
Luminance
Built-in flash None Electronic pop-up
Shooting modes

• Auto
• Program AE (P)
• Shutter priority AE (Tv)
• Aperture priority AE (Av)
• Manual (M)
• Bulb
• Custom

• Auto
• Program AE (P)
• Shutter priority AE (Tv)
• Aperture priority AE (Av)
• Manual (M)
• Auto depth-of-field
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Close-up
• Sports
• Night portrait
• Flash off

Continuous speed 3 frames per second 5 frames per second
Continuous buffer Up to 60 JPEG or 17 RAW frames Up to 23 JPEG or 6 RAW frames
Folder selection Yes No
Playback file size display Yes, MB No
Playback jump • 10 images
• 100 images
• By date
• By folder
10 images
Custom functions 21 custom functions with 57 settings 18 custom functions with 50 settings
Portrait grip Optional BG-E4 battery grip Optional BG-E2 battery grip
Dimensions 152 x 113 x 75 mm (6.0 x 4.4 x 2.9 in) 144 x 106 x 72 mm (5.6 x 4.2 x 2.8 in)
Weight • No battery: 810 g (1.8 lb)
• With battery: 895 g (2.0 lb)
• No battery: 685 g (1.5 lb)
• With battery: 770 g (1.7 lb)

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X, Y, and Z and ideally A, B, and C.

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