Canon EOS 5D Mark II In-depth Review
August 2009 - Updated to reflect the additional manual control over video exposure introduced with firmware 1.10.
Back in August 2005 Canon 'defined a new DSLR category' (their words) with the EOS 5D. Unlike any previous 'full frame' sensor camera, the 5D was the first with a compact body (i.e. not having an integral vertical grip) and has since then proved to be very popular, perhaps because if you wanted a full frame DSLR to use with your Canon lenses and you didn't want the chunky EOS-1D style body then the EOS 5D has been your only choice. Three years on and two competitors have turned up in the shape of the Nikon D700 and Sony DSLR-A900, and Canon clearly believes it's time for a refresh.
So here is the 5D Mark II, which punches high in terms of both resolution and features, headlining: 21 megapixels, 1080p video, 3.0" VGA LCD, Live view, higher capacity battery. In other words, a camera that aims to leapfrog both its direct rivals, either in terms of resolution (in the case of the D700) or features (in the case of the DSLR-A900). Full detail below.
Key features / improvements
- 21 megapixel CMOS sensor (very similar to the sensor in the EOS-1Ds Mark III)
- Sensor dust reduction by vibration of filter
- ISO 100 - 6400 calibrated range, ISO 50 - 25600 expansion (1Ds Mark III & 5D max ISO 3200)
- Auto ISO (100 - 3200) in all modes except manual
- 3.9 frames per second continuous shooting
- DIGIC 4 processor, new menus / interface as per the EOS 50D
- Image processing features:
- Highlight tone priority
- Auto lighting optimizer (4 levels)
- High ISO noise reduction (4 levels)
- Lens peripheral illumination correction (vignetting correction)
- RAW and SRAW1 (10 MP) / SRAW2 (5 MP)
- RAW / JPEG selection made separately
- Permanent display of ISO on both top plate and viewfinder displays
- AF micro adjustment (up to 20 lenses individually)
- Three custom modes on command dial, Creative Auto mode
- Image copyright metadata support
- 98% coverage viewfinder (0.71x magnification)
- 3.0" 920,000 dot LCD monitor with 'Clear View' cover / coatings, 170° viewing angle
- Automatic LCD brightness adjustment (ambient light sensor)
- Live view with three mode auto-focus (including face detection)
- No mirror-flip for exposures in Live View if contrast detect AF selected
- Movie recording in live view (1080p H.264 up to 12 minutes, VGA H.264 up to 24 mins per clip)
- Two mode silent shooting (in live view)
- New jump options in play mode
- HDMI and standard composite (AV) video out
- Full audio support: built-in mic and speaker, mic-in socket, audio-out over AV (although not HDMI)
- IrPort (supports IR remote shutter release using optional RC1 / RC5 controllers)
- UDMA CompactFlash support
- New 1800 mAh battery with improved battery information / logging
- New optional WFT-E4 WiFi / LAN / USB vertical grip
- Water resistance: 10 mm rain in 3 minutes
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Specifications
- 3 What's New
- 4 What's New
- 5 Body & Design
- 6 Body & Design
- 7 Body & Design
- 8 Operation & Controls
- 9 Operation & Controls
- 10 Displays
- 11 Displays
- 12 Menus
- 13 Menus
- 14 Performance
- 15 Features
- 16 Features
- 17 Features
- 18 Features
- 19 Video
- 20 Software & Raw
- 21 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 22 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 23 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 24 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 25 Photographic tests (DR)
- 26 Vignetting/Shading
- 27 Photographic tests
- 28 Compared to
- 29 Compared to (JPEG)
- 30 Compared to (JPEG)
- 31 Compared to (JPEG)
- 32 Compared to (JPEG)
- 33 Compared to (RAW)
- 34 Compared to (RAW)
- 35 Compared to (RAW)
- 36 Compared to (RAW)
- 37 Compared to (sRAW1)
- 38 Compared to (High ISO)
- 39 Compared to (Resolution)
- 40 Conclusion
- 41 Samples
Join DPReview editors Rishi Sanyal and Carey Rose on Facebook Live as they share their experience and answer your questions about the new Sony a9, Wednesday at 9:30 AM Pacific time. Click here for additional details and time zones
German media reports that the founders of the company behind the Panono 360-degree ball camera have filed for bankruptcy at a court in Berlin. Read more
With a claimed 800 new custom parts, Microsoft's updated Surface Pro comes with the latest Kaby Lake processors, better battery life, a new hinge, plus the Surface Pen is updated as well. Read more
DW Photo is attempting to resurrect the Hy6 medium format camera, though the legal tangles of its development may stop it being branded Rolleiflex.
The Kodak EKTRA, the company's 'camera first' smartphone, is now available to purchase in the United States. Read more
Apple and Nokia have settled their years-old patent dispute. Apple will make an undisclosed payment to Nokia and sign a licensing agreement related to digital health products with the Finnish company.
David Gibson, one of Britain's best known street shooters, shares all.
Photographers from the SKYGLOW project travelled 150k miles and took 3 million photos in increasingly rare locations: those without light pollution.
The world's fastest 200mm was produced for 16 years. In that time, only 8000 were made.
Photokina, the biennial photo industry trade show in Cologne, Germany, has announced that it will become an annual event beginning in 2018, and expand its focus to additional areas of imaging technology. Read more
No mic socket? No problem. In this video, Daniel Peters at Photo Gear News shows you how to make a lapel microphone using just a smartphone and a pair of earbuds.
How does the iPhone 7 Plus stack up against the Arri Alexa cinema camera? Watch this short video to find out.
Canon Australia's video series "The Lab" is designed to make photographers experiment and think outside the box. In the latest video a group of photographers create images based on their sense of taste.
The GH5 is expected to get a firmware update this summer to support 400Mbps internal recording. NewsShooter explores what memory cards you'll need to make it work.
Microsoft's new Surface Pro offers Intel's latest processor generation and improved battery life.
Riding a mountain bike downhill is dangerous enough in daylight, but potentially lethal at night. Which is where drones come in.
Rumors abound that Canon (and maybe Nikon) may produce a mirrorless camera based using their existing DSLR mount. Does this guarantee immediate great lens choice or a perpetually second-rate experience? Read more
According to rumors, the next camera from Nest will be able to capture 4K video, though that resolution will be only used for 'virtual' pan and tilt functions.
Boundary's Prima 'fully modular' backpack is expandable to 30L and has a removable camera case and tablet sleeve. Early Kickstarter backers can get one for $189.
Stanley Greene captured 'brutally honest' photographs in the war zones of the Middle East, Chechnya and Georgia. He was also one of the few African-American photographers working internationally.
Owners of Leica M cameras that suffer from peeling CCDs will be able to claim a free repair in the future so long as the camera was purchased within five years of the fault becoming apparent, the company has announced. Read more
The Carl Zeiss Jena BIOTAR 75mm F1.5 Red T lens is very rare and priced accordingly. It can be yours today for the low, low price of $15,000.
The MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed a drone that does not require any human control for recording tracking shots. Read more
In this terrifying video, Iraqi journalist Ammar Alwaely narrowly misses a sniper's bullet, which takes out his chest-mounted GoPro. Warning: strong language. Watch the video
A new report expects action camera growth to increase about 15% by 2021, with Ultra HD cameras driving demand. Read more
Profiles for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom have been released for Irix's ultra-wide 11mm and 15mm primes. Like all profiles, these correct for distortion and vignetting.
An upcoming firmware update from DJI will cripple its drones unless they are 'activated' on the company's website. Live streaming will be turned off and flight radius/altitude will be limited.
Brent from ShareGrid rounds up the 10 most common products filmmakers are renting from one another for productions; chances are good you own one or more of them.
DaVinci Resolve is making strong moves to compete with Premiere and Final Cut Pro, including affordable control panels for colorists. According to Premium Beat, they're really good.
If you are not planning to fly your drone commercially you are not required to register it with the FAA anymore. This decision was handed down by a federal court in Washington, D.C.