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
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