Top of camera controls (left) - Exposure Mode Dial
Situated on the top of the camera on the left hand side is the exposure mode dial. The 5D Mark II distinguishes itself from less expensive models by eschewing the 'Basic mode' automated scene modes. The closest the 5D Mark II gets is a fully automatic 'green' mode and the Creative Auto (CA) mode first seen on the 50D. This offers a simplified interface that allows the user to set the exposure in terms of the image results they want, rather than in terms of exposure parameters. Other than this, the 5D Mark II offers the traditional program, semi-automatic and completely manual P, Tv, Av and M modes. It also trebles the Mk I's number of custom set modes, now offering three.
|Icon||Basic zone mode||AF
|Fully Automatic Exposure
Camera has complete control over exposure, point-and-shoot operation.
|AI Focus|| Single
|Creative Auto mode
Camera allows adjustment of aperture and exposure compensation, via a simplified graphic.
|AI Focus|| Single
Full Auto allows only the use of certain settings, but unlike previous Canon cameras, it does now allow RAW images to be recorded if desired.
Fixed or limited settings
|Metering mode (Evaluative)||AF mode||Custom functions|
|Color space (sRGB)||Drive mode||AE lock|
|Flash compensation (0 EV)||Picture Style||Bracketing|
|Exposure compensation (0 EV)|
|ISO sensitivity (Auto)|
|White balance (Auto)|
|Focus point selection (Auto)|
In the automated modes, the camera will indicate that blur may occur because of slow shutter speeds, it does so by blinking the shutter speed on the LCD panel and viewfinder status bar.
Creative zone exposure modes
The five exposure modes that include the ones most familiar to the camera's prosumer / professional audience. All menu functions and camera settings are available in these modes and can be used in any combination. In manual exposure modes (Tv, Av, M) you control the shutter speed with the main dial (top) and aperture with the quick control dial (rear), you can reverse the operational direction of these dials with C.Fn IV-4.
Program Auto Exposure (Flexible)
Shutter Priority Auto Exposure
Aperture Priority Auto Exposure
|Full Manual Exposure
In this mode you select the aperture and the shutter speed from any combination of the above. Top dial selects shutter speed, rear dial selects aperture. Half-press the shutter release and the meter on the viewfinder status bar and top LCD will reflect the exposure level compared to the calculated ideal exposure, if it's outside of +/- 2EV the indicator bar will blink either + or -.
In this mode the shutter stays open for as long as you hold the shutter release button, use either dial to select aperture. (Note that this is different from the EOS 50D, which implements Bulb in manual mode, but identical to the 5D).
Top of camera controls (right)
Top of the camera on the right side is the status panel LCD, directly above this are four buttons; LCD back light and three control buttons (see below). In front of these is the main dial and shutter release button. Along the rear 'under your thumb' you can see the (new) AF-ON, AE-Lock and focus point selection buttons. Press once and turn a dial to change settings, then half-press the shutter release to return to shooting mode (or press another button).
The function of the three buttons immediately above the status LCD changes from the 5D, bringing it into line with the XXD Canons. The ISO/Flash comp button is the most accessible when the camera is to your eye, which makes sense since these settings, unlike those accessed by the other buttons, are shown in the viewfinder. Overall this makes changing ISO with the camera to your eye a bit easier than on the original 5D, on which there was always a risk of spinning the front dial and setting the self-timer by mistake. The LCD back light button has moved from the first button on the left to the last button on the right.
Notice also the slightly redesigned top lip above the LCD where the three main control buttons are now accented with a round bump.
Top panel buttons
The table below shows the relationship between each of the top panel settings buttons and the parameters changed by either turning the main dial (top) or quick control dial (rear).
||Quick control dial
Kelvin temperature (2500 - 10000 K)
Auto focus mode
|ISO sensitivity *
L1 (50) (enabled via C.Fn I-3)
H1 (12800) (enabled via C.Fn I-3)
H2 (25600) (enabled via C.Fn I-3)
1/3 or 1/2 EV steps (C.Fn I-1)
* Shown in 1-stop steps, 1/3-stop ISO steps can be selected via C.Fn I-2.
Under your thumb buttons (Shooting mode)
|Auto focus start
The AF-ON button allows you to trigger auto focus independently of the shutter release 'half-press'. Note that you can re-program the exact function of the AF-ON button via C.Fn IV-1 or you can switch the AF-ON button and AE/AF lock button via C.Fn IV-2 (all custom functions detailed in the menus section of this review).
|AE / FE Lock
Press to trigger automatic exposure and lock the exposure for the next shot; hold the button to lock the exposure for more than one shot. When an external flash is mounted, press to trigger flash exposure lock (via a pre-flash).
|AF point selection button
Press to choose a single AF point, turn the main dial or the quick control dial to scroll around the available AF points. Alternatively you can also use the new multi-controller to select a point directly (press the selector for the center point). The exact function of this button can be programmed via C.Fn III-3.
Under your thumb buttons (Play mode)
|Thumbnail index / reduce
If in single view play mode, pressing this button will switch to a 2x2 thumbnail index, press again for a 3x3 index. If already magnified pressing this button reduces magnification level.
Press to magnify the current image, there are fifteen steps up to a maximum magnification of 10x. Once magnified you can use the multi-controller to move around the image.
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