Compared to... Canon EOS 5D

Lenses used

Since all the cameras in these comparisons are full frame, 85 mm lenses were used in all cases. For Canon that means the EF 85mm F1.8 USM, for Nikon the Nikon 85mm F1.8D, and for Sony the Carl Zeiss Planar 85mm F1.4.

We'll start by looking at how the Mark II compares to the camera it replaces, the EOS 5D.

Studio scene comparison (JPEG)

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).

Canon EOS 5D Mark II vs. Canon EOS 5D

Camera settings:

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II: Canon EF 85 mm F1.8 lens, Manual exposure,
    ISO 100, JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard PS), Self-Timer
  • Canon EOS 5D: Canon EF 85 mm F1.8 lens, Aperture Priority,
    ISO 100, JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard PS), Self-Timer
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon EOS 5D
5,607 KB JPEG (5616 x 3744)
4,012 KB JPEG (4368 x 2912)

The EOS 5D Mark II sensor has 64% more pixels than the EOS 5D - giving us files that are 1248 pixels wider and 832 pixels taller. Obviously this produces larger images - and a higher magnification in our 100% crops, but the good news is that it also increases resolution, though (perhaps inevitably) not by as much (the 5D was no slouch in the detail department).

It's also obvious - looking this close - that the Mark II can't match the original 5D's 'per pixel' sharpness, and the output looks a little softer. Part of this is doubtless down to in-camera sharpening (which is fairly high by default on the original 5D), some will be the sensor design. Either way it isn't likely to make a difference in real world use where the extra resolution of the Mark II - and a touch of sharpening - will more than make up for the slightly softer output.