Viewfinder

One of the first 'wow' factors for anyone coming from a digital SLR with an APS sized sensor will be just how big the viewfinder view is. Welcome to full-frame land where everything is bigger, the view through the viewfinder really fills your vision, it's bright and clear and easy to pick the focus point. The viewfinder view is essentially identical to the EOS-1Ds series.

The rubber surround can be removed and the supplied eyepiece cover (on the shoulder strap) can be slipped over to stop stray light from entering the chamber during long exposures. The eyepiece will also take E-series dioptre adjustment lenses to further expand the dioptre correction range.

Viewfinder view

Through the viewfinder you'll see the spot metering circle and the nine focus points of the AF system. In automatic AF point selection mode the AF points chosen by the camera are highlighted when you initiate AF (half-press shutter release / AF button), otherwise the selected AF point is highlighted*. Note that the ISO sensitivity is now displayed on the viewfinder status bar when it is changed (I would still have liked to have seen a permanent display of ISO and WB in the viewfinder).

* In automatic AF point selection mode the AF point will only highlight once an AF lock has been achieved. With a single AF point selected it will blink once as you half-press the shutter release and once more upon AF lock (or not if no AF lock was possible). In AI Servo AF mode (with the shutter release half-pressed) the EOS 5D blinks the selected AF point once and then tracks AF.

Six other invisible AF points

In addition to the nine visible AF points there are also another six invisible points within the spot metering circle. According to the EOS 5D user manual these are only used in AI SERVO mode for predictive AF tracking, if the subject moves completely out of the center circle then other points will pick it up.

Battery Compartment

The EOS 5D's battery setup is identical to the EOS 20D; the battery is located in the base of the hand grip, behind a simple clip-locked door. The door itself is removable (to make way for the optional battery grip). The EOS 5D is supplied with the higher capacity BP-511A Lithium-Ion battery pack which provides 1390 mAh at 7.4 V (10.3 Wh). There's a tiny door on the inside edge of the hand grip where the cable from the optional AC adapter's dummy battery exits.

Battery Charger

As with the EOS 10D/20D the 5D is supplied with the CB-5L battery charger, it's relatively small and lightweight and easy to pack for trips. Charge time is around 90 minutes and the LED on the top of the charger indicates charge progress.

Battery Grip (optional)

A new model, a new optional battery grip. In the case of the EOS 5D it's the new BG-E4 which apepars to be made from magnesium alloy (although the battery 'stalk' is plastic). The grip can take two BP-511A (or BP-511/512/514) batteries or six AA batteries via the supplied magazine (not really intended for long term use, just a backup feature).

The grip is attached to the EOS 5D by removing the battery compartment door (which fits neatly into a slot on the edge of the inserted part of the grip), inserting into the battery compartment and screwing tightly to the tripod mount. The BG-E4 and two batteries adds 475 g (1.1 lb) to the weight of the EOS 5D with just one battery.

CompactFlash Compartment

The CompactFlash compartment on the EOS 5D is at the rear corner of the hand grip and is opened by sliding the door towards you and flipping outwards. The door itself has a metal hinge and opens with plenty of room to remove the CF card once ejected. The EOS 5D supports both Type I and Type II CompactFlash cards and cards greater than 2 GB in capacity (FAT32).

I sound like a stuck record

Anyone who has followed my Canon digital SLR reviews will know that I'm no fan of what happens when you open the CF door. As with previous EOS digital SLR's if you open the CF door on the EOS 5D the camera powers down, it continues to write the current image but if any more images are buffered to be written they will be lost. Canon state that it's designed this way so as to avoid corruption of the entire card if the user were to remove it during a write. My answer would be that you could either lock the door until writing has completed or use a beep alarm to warn the user that buffered images are still being written (standard on PowerShot G series digital cameras for years).