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Overall Image Quality / Specifics

From all our testing and evaluation so far it's fairly clear that the EOS 5Ds sensor has very similar characteristics to the EOS 20D (pixel for pixel), considering how highly we rate the EOS 20D that alone would be a good enough reason to want this camera. Resolution is excellent, as expected, the EOS 5D is capable of extracting detail down to its absolute limit (some subtle moire). The larger pixel pitch means that the sensor requires less resolution from the lens than a smaller sensor, on the flip side however a full size sensor does mean you get to see the edges of the lens, lens shading, softness and CA at times. That said you really only need worry with wide angle lenses and larger apertures.

I'll be honest and say that when I started using the EOS 5D I wasn't a big fan of Picture Styles, but they have grown on me. The Landscape setting is the best way to get vibrant 'natural looking' foliage green and deep blue skies. I only wish Canon had gone a little easier on the sharpening, I turned it down to level 2 for both Standard and Landscape Picture Styles (if you don't do this you risk strong halo sharpening artifacts around detail).

Nobody comes close to Canon for low noise at high sensitivities (ISO), their breakthrough CMOS sensor continues to rule the roost in this respect. The EOS 5D can deliver amazingly clean images even at ISO 1600, you can switch the camera into this high sensitivity setting comfortable that the images you get are going to be so clean they would be difficult to distinguish from ISO 400 images from other cameras. One small difference we did observe is that the EOS 5D appears to use more noise reduction at high sensitivities compared to the EOS-1D series, which are tuned to maintain detail rather than have it softened by NR.

Lenses in focus: Edge softness / chromatic aberrations

As we explored earlier in this review and have discussed in previous 'full frame' digital SLR reviews such big sensors expose the weakest part of all lenses, the edges and corners. These limits occur most often at extreme wide angle and/or large apertures (even with the most expensive professional 'L' lenses). The samples below were from the same 17-35 mm lens. On the counter side we should also say that the field of view provided by (say) a 17 mm lens on the EOS 5D would be difficult to achieve on a cropped sensor camera.

EF 17-35 mm F2.8L @ 25 mm, F9 EF 17-35 mm F2.8L @ 17 mm, F4
Edge crop (100%) Edge crop (100%)
Center crop (100%) Center crop (100%)

* Note that if you are shooting in RAW it is possible to (mostly) remove edge/corner chromatic aberrations using Adobe Camera RAW

AI Servo interference banding

Credit for the discovery of this particular issue must go to our discussion forums. Quite a few early adopters there noted that when using certain lenses at high sensitivities in AI Servo (continuous auto focus) mode banding interference artifacts can be seen, most clearly in shadow areas. This appears to be some kind of radio frequency or electrical interference from the auto focus motor. Obviously this is a fairly specific issue which would only be an issue if you do a lot of continuous auto focus shooting with certain lenses.

EF 50 mm F1.4, ISO 1600 EF 50 mm F1.4, ISO 3200
50% crop 50% crop
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Total comments: 16

Still worthy 10 years on because you can shoot it at any selectable ISO in RAW and it`ll be excellent, doesn`t ever get noisy (about half a stop or less noisier than the D700 or D3S in Capture one at ISO3200) , even the DR is good - JPG engine is both dated and limited but as a RAW only camera, it stands up .. Pixel level sharpness (therefore resolution of fine details) is better the D700 or D3 due to a weaker AA filter .

Focus is fast enough , though really best seen as a centre focus only system due to the lack of cross sensors anywhere else , excellent on batteries too.


Totally agree, except for the focus part, it can be improved for that value.

Hai Ching Lee


I bought one last month for Usd500 in super good and working condition but without any lens......
I bought an L Lens 24-105mm f4 for another Usd 500...... a 50mm f1.4 for Usd350.......
After much testings around, I noticed 5D is not good at Indoor unless with the help of a Flash......However , at Outdoor I must say it is a Super duper Good Full Frame machine even though it is around 8 years old........!!!

I still feel it is a Good Investment as far as dollars and cents counts......
An FX cameras from Nikon like the D700 body will cost Usd1.3k in Malaysia......

I also own a Nikon D90 with standard kit lens 18-105mm, 70-300mm Tel lens, a Fx 24-50mm f3.5-4 and 20mm f2.8 and others...
Recently I bought an Adapter for Nikon lens to Eos FX body like 5D..........It WORKS very well but have to Manually focus......So now I can have Nikon lens on 5D body which safe me a lot for a start....!!
Used 5D MK-II is selling here at around Usd1.6k which I am looking forward to...!!


I am using a nikkon D 5100. Have the opportunity to purchase a cannon eos 5d in excellent condition for $500 with 50mm f1.8 lens. Any advantages to this camera vs what I currently have besides FF? Good investment? I currently do not own any pro lenses from nikkon.

Pascal Parvex

Well, that is a great deal. I would do it.


The 5D was and is my first digital camera. It has served me with spectacular results. It's main minus for me has been its inability to use the higher ISO's, as anything higher than 200 produces visible grain in images that I print very large on my epson 24" printer. I almost always shoot with a monopod to assure the results.
Technology has changed and improved and I am searching for a replacement. I am invested in excellent Canon lenses and want to stay with Canon. I also want a camera that is not as heavy as my 5D (I am old and am fatigued by the weight of the 5D which I affectionately call "my brick".) Price is an issue too.
Still casting about trying to find a replacement.

frosty 7

hi i jus bot a canon eos 5d from a friend am i able to record video with the camera ?


No, unfortunately you are not able to shot video, neither by installing Magic Lantern (because the camera is not equipped with live view).


Easy answer: Buy a Sony A7 mirrorless and a metabones adapter to use all Canon AF lenses.


Since you have invested in Canon lenses, I think the Canon 6D is what you are looking for, if you are still looking.


I wish you guys would do a new comparison with the 5D, would love to see it vs the newer dslr's


Agreed! In all cameras announced around that time, only EOS 5D still attracts many discussions in DPR forums. How many are still talking Nikon D200 that announced just three months later these days? If you don't print/view in very big size, EOS 5D actually withstands most today's FF cameras very well till ISO 800/1600 in IQ, no mention crop cameras.


I love my 5D.
Using the 5D with quality Canon L lenses produces images that I do not see a difference between them and those taken by a newer camera (5D II, 5D III).

If video is not needed or required, then finding a clean 5D would be prudent.
Some very well kept, used lightly by some hobbyists can be found at around a $1,000 or less.

I have no immediate plans to shell out $3,000 or more for a newer model that is not going to give me much over the 5D, in terms of image quality.

But for commercial photographers, that's a different situation.


Ditto. I could not be happier with my 5D. I'm also disappointed that the set up for image comparison keeps changing. It makes it difficult to compare any older digital camera with anything contemporary.


I just sold my trusty old 5D. I love the camera but I will not miss cleaning the sensor every other week and fixing dust spots in lightroom! That was always a royal pain in the neck. Still a great camera.

Pascal Parvex

I don't know what you mean. I own the 5D since 2006 and have cleaned the sensor only once.

1 upvote
Total comments: 16