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My initial description of the EOS 5D when compared to the EOS 20D was 'chunkier', and I still think that's a fair comment. It's actually not that much larger than the EOS 20D, about 8 mm (⅓ inch) wider and taller but thanks to a remolded and grip (which now has a finger hook) and its extra weight (125 g / 4.4 oz) the EOS 5D does create the impression that it is both more substantial and more robust. Other than this the EOS 5D does look remarkably similar to the EOS 20D, even the control layout on the rear of the camera is virtually identical. The intention of course is to tempt existing EOS 20D owners to upgrade with the least amount of fuss.

Side by side

Below you can see the EOS 5D flanked by the eight megapixel EOS 20D and the sixteen megapixel EOS-1D Mark II. The 5D is just a little larger than the EOS 20D and quite clearly smaller than the EOS-1Ds Mark II (although add the battery grip and overall dimensions are similar). Weight wise (including battery) the EOS 5D is 125 g (4.4 oz) heavier than the EOS 20D and a wrist saving 640 g (22.5 oz) lighter than the EOS-1Ds Mark II.

In your hand

As I mentioned above the hand grip on the EOS 5D is slightly larger than that of the EOS 20D, there's also more space between the tips of your fingers and the lens mount. There's no "nail file" effect on the side of the lens mount on the EOS 5D as Canon has now covered that area with rubber. The support areas of the camera (front and rear) are covered in a rubber material which provides good grip although isn't as soft as that used by Nikon on the D2H/X.

Design changes compared to the EOS 20D (animated)

Place your mouse cursor over the image below to compare the design of the EOS 5D to the EOS 20D. This makes it easier to visualize the difference in size between the two cameras, most noticeable is the increased size of the viewfinder prism and the significant increase in the size of the LCD monitor.

LCD Monitor

The EOS 5D features a large 2.5" LCD monitor which thankfully has good resolution (230,000 pixels), this makes for detailed image review as well as attractive clean and easy to read menus. The LCD also has a very wide viewing angle which means you don't have to be holding the camera straight on to see it. On the downside the screen isn't as bright as I would have liked, you will find yourself turning up the brightness setting, and there's no anti-reflective coating.

LCD Panel

On top of the camera is a large LCD panel which provides a wide range of information about the current camera settings and exposure. The main numeric section of the panel doubles up to provide other types of information such as the 'Busy' warning, ISO setting and processing parameter set when these are being changed. The panel has an orange backlight which is illuminated by pressing the backlight button to the top left of the panel, the backlight stays on for approximately six seconds.

A breakdown of information displayed on the LCD panel can be found on the diagrams below.

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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