Compared to... Sony Alpha 900

Canon may well have had the highly praised Nikon D700 in its sights when it launched the 5D Mark II, but it is the Sony Alpha 900 that offers the nearst thing to a direct competitor, offering as it does a similarly lofty pixel count (actually besting the 5D Mark II by a handful of megapixels) at almost exactly the same price.

Studio scene comparison (JPEG)

Canon EOS 5D Mark II vs. Sony Alpha A900

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
  • Sony DSLR-A900: Sony 85 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 200 JPEG Large/Fine,
    Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard), Self-Timer (auto MLU)
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Sony A900
5,607 KB JPEG (5616 x 3744)
6,238 KB JPEG (6048 x 4032)

The Alpha 900 is the nearest thing that the EOS 5D Mark II has to a direct competitor in this rather sparse outpost of the digital SLR market, and this is the most interesting of the comparisons. The A900 has slightly higher resolution sensor compared to the 5D Mark II, but in this test it doesn't really show any advantage in the final shot; the 5D Mark II is producing cleaner, crisper pixel level output with no less detail. Obviously some of this could be simply down to Canon applying more sharpening to JPEGs than Sony, but to further investigate this requires comparing the RAW files (later in this review). The 85mm F1.4 Sony lens is also something of an unknown quantity here, and some of the difference will surely lie at the door of optics in front of the cameras. That all said, it's clear that the 5D Mark II's JPEG output is easily as good as any full frame DSLR currently available.