5D MkII or 1Ds MkII?

Started Jul 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
Jan Madsen Senior Member • Posts: 2,398
Just went from 1DsII to 5DII

My 1DsII has served me fine for 4 years, but the shutter is slowly failing (fast shutter times are off) despite only 40000 activations, so when the 5DIII was announced I thought that was the model to get - repairing the 1DsII shutter costs half the cameras remaining value. But 5DIII is too expensive, and not enough improvements over the 5DII (in my eyes), so I have just purchased a new 5DII two months ago, and relegated the 1DsII to secondary duty. Now eagerly awaiting the upcoming low-price 40MP full frame Canon...!

And had to exchange the 5DII, first body gave 90% images only in pink and with random noise at the top. Second body now passed 1000 activations, no problems. 1DsII had its main board replaced a couple of years ago, very expensive. Canon quality is so-so...


  • 1DsII is very solid, 5DII is more a "plastic" camera, but for my needs (adv. amateur) it is fine.

  • 5DII has live view - huge advantage.

  • 5DII has micro adjustment - sorely missed on the 1DsII, my 50mm f/1 has always been slightly off.

  • Higher resolution of 5DII has minimal impact.

  • 5DII has less high ISO noise - a real advantage. I haven't tried high ISO's that much yet, but at least one stop better. A string of 5DII ISO 1600 images look fine, 1600 ISO is usually more borderline on the 1DsII.

  • A cheap Chinese grip (€70, with additional timer functionality) works very fine on the 5DII.

  • 1DsII better with certain old lenses (I collect lenses) - 5DII more prone to have collisions between rear lens element and mirror. Minolta 58mm f/1.2 (wonderful lens) can't be used at infinity on the 5DII, no problems on the 1DsII.

  • Viewfinder is better on 1DsII, but still good on 5DII (albeit less than 100% coverage).

  • 5DII display far better - it is a joke on the 1DsII.

  • 5DII somewhat lighter - and you can omit the grip, if desired, then much lighter.

  • 5DII has more silent shutter - more muted shutter sound.

  • 5DII has better battery. Much smaller and lighter, better capacity, but charges slooowly.

My conclusion: Much better display and live view alone outweights the slightly poorer viewfinder and the plastic construction. Buy why oh why no SD card option on the 5D? That slight fact had slipped my attention, so initially only an old 8GB CF card was available, and a brand new 32GB card cost me dearly.

Your mileage will probably vary...

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  • Jan

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