Canon EOS 5D Mark II In-depth Review
Top of camera controls (left) - Exposure Mode Dial
Situated on the top of the camera on the left hand side is the exposure mode dial. The 5D Mark II distinguishes itself from less expensive models by eschewing the 'Basic mode' automated scene modes. The closest the 5D Mark II gets is a fully automatic 'green' mode and the Creative Auto (CA) mode first seen on the 50D. This offers a simplified interface that allows the user to set the exposure in terms of the image results they want, rather than in terms of exposure parameters. Other than this, the 5D Mark II offers the traditional program, semi-automatic and completely manual P, Tv, Av and M modes. It also trebles the Mk I's number of custom set modes, now offering three.
|Icon||Basic zone mode||AF
|Fully Automatic Exposure
Camera has complete control over exposure, point-and-shoot operation.
|AI Focus|| Single
|Creative Auto mode
Camera allows adjustment of aperture and exposure compensation, via a simplified graphic.
|AI Focus|| Single
Full Auto allows only the use of certain settings, but unlike previous Canon cameras, it does now allow RAW images to be recorded if desired.
Fixed or limited settings
|Metering mode (Evaluative)||AF mode||Custom functions|
|Color space (sRGB)||Drive mode||AE lock|
|Flash compensation (0 EV)||Picture Style||Bracketing|
|Exposure compensation (0 EV)|
|ISO sensitivity (Auto)|
|White balance (Auto)|
|Focus point selection (Auto)|
In the automated modes, the camera will indicate that blur may occur because of slow shutter speeds, it does so by blinking the shutter speed on the LCD panel and viewfinder status bar.
Creative zone exposure modes
The five exposure modes that include the ones most familiar to the camera's prosumer / professional audience. All menu functions and camera settings are available in these modes and can be used in any combination. In manual exposure modes (Tv, Av, M) you control the shutter speed with the main dial (top) and aperture with the quick control dial (rear), you can reverse the operational direction of these dials with C.Fn IV-4.
Program Auto Exposure (Flexible)
Shutter Priority Auto Exposure
Aperture Priority Auto Exposure
|Full Manual Exposure
In this mode you select the aperture and the shutter speed from any combination of the above. Top dial selects shutter speed, rear dial selects aperture. Half-press the shutter release and the meter on the viewfinder status bar and top LCD will reflect the exposure level compared to the calculated ideal exposure, if it's outside of +/- 2EV the indicator bar will blink either + or -.
In this mode the shutter stays open for as long as you hold the shutter release button, use either dial to select aperture. (Note that this is different from the EOS 50D, which implements Bulb in manual mode, but identical to the 5D).
Top of camera controls (right)
Top of the camera on the right side is the status panel LCD, directly above this are four buttons; LCD back light and three control buttons (see below). In front of these is the main dial and shutter release button. Along the rear 'under your thumb' you can see the (new) AF-ON, AE-Lock and focus point selection buttons. Press once and turn a dial to change settings, then half-press the shutter release to return to shooting mode (or press another button).
The function of the three buttons immediately above the status LCD changes from the 5D, bringing it into line with the XXD Canons. The ISO/Flash comp button is the most accessible when the camera is to your eye, which makes sense since these settings, unlike those accessed by the other buttons, are shown in the viewfinder. Overall this makes changing ISO with the camera to your eye a bit easier than on the original 5D, on which there was always a risk of spinning the front dial and setting the self-timer by mistake. The LCD back light button has moved from the first button on the left to the last button on the right.
Notice also the slightly redesigned top lip above the LCD where the three main control buttons are now accented with a round bump.
Top panel buttons
The table below shows the relationship between each of the top panel settings buttons and the parameters changed by either turning the main dial (top) or quick control dial (rear).
||Quick control dial
Kelvin temperature (2500 - 10000 K)
Auto focus mode
|ISO sensitivity *
L1 (50) (enabled via C.Fn I-3)
H1 (12800) (enabled via C.Fn I-3)
H2 (25600) (enabled via C.Fn I-3)
1/3 or 1/2 EV steps (C.Fn I-1)
* Shown in 1-stop steps, 1/3-stop ISO steps can be selected via C.Fn I-2.
Under your thumb buttons (Shooting mode)
|Auto focus start
The AF-ON button allows you to trigger auto focus independently of the shutter release 'half-press'. Note that you can re-program the exact function of the AF-ON button via C.Fn IV-1 or you can switch the AF-ON button and AE/AF lock button via C.Fn IV-2 (all custom functions detailed in the menus section of this review).
|AE / FE Lock
Press to trigger automatic exposure and lock the exposure for the next shot; hold the button to lock the exposure for more than one shot. When an external flash is mounted, press to trigger flash exposure lock (via a pre-flash).
|AF point selection button
Press to choose a single AF point, turn the main dial or the quick control dial to scroll around the available AF points. Alternatively you can also use the new multi-controller to select a point directly (press the selector for the center point). The exact function of this button can be programmed via C.Fn III-3.
Under your thumb buttons (Play mode)
|Thumbnail index / reduce
If in single view play mode, pressing this button will switch to a 2x2 thumbnail index, press again for a 3x3 index. If already magnified pressing this button reduces magnification level.
Press to magnify the current image, there are fifteen steps up to a maximum magnification of 10x. Once magnified you can use the multi-controller to move around the image.
- 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
|Patrick Finds Inner Peace by ecastellon|
from Your best photo of the week!
|Forks by Kukla|
from Arranged everyday objects
Starting October 1st, Getty Images will no longer accept images in which the models have been Photoshopped to "look thinner or larger." The change was made due to a French law that requires disclosure of such images.
The 3D printed panoramic film camera known formerly as the "Cycloptic Mustard Monster" is officially available as a DIY kit through Kickstarter.
Snapchat is using its augmented reality tech to replace the sky in your photos. The so-called 'sky filters' can swap out a boring sky for a colorful sunset, rainbows, a starry night, and more.
A court ruling our of Newton, Massachusetts has set an important legal precedent for drone pilots: federal drone laws will now trump local drone regulations in situations where the two are in conflict.
Photographer Mathieu Stern has put together another interesting vintage lens shootout. One model, three lenses, three locations.
From landscapes to motocross and white water kayaking to a wedding, exactly what can't the D850 do?
Calumet UK and Wex Photographic, two of the biggest photography retailers in the United Kingdom, are going to officially merge tomorrow.
macOS High Sierra came out today, but if you use a Wacom tablet you need to wait a few weeks before you upgrade. According to Wacom, they won't have a compatible driver ready for you until "late October."
Do you think a $3,000 Canon 80D video rig can compete with an $80,000+ Arri Alexa setup? Well it can't, but check out this video anyway to see how the rigs compare.
Seven simple rules to make sure you get the most out of your next photography outing.
Vitec, the company that owns popular accessory maker Manfrotto, has just acquired JOBY and Lowepro for a cool $10.3 million in cash. The acquisition adds JOBY and Lowepro to Vitec's already sizable collection of camera gear brands.
A master drone pilot has captured one of the most incredible (and highly illegal) drone videos we've ever seen by flying around, inside, onto, and under a moving train.
Intel just debuted their 8th generation desktop CPUs, and the lineup packs a performance boost for 'content creators' that photo and video editors might be intrigued by.
Canon is developing a 'Free Viewpoint Video System' that will turn real life sports games and events into immersive 3D interactive experiences. It's video game-like camera control IRL.
A veteran photojournalist, Rick Wilking secured a spot in the path of totality for the August solar eclipse. While things didn't quite pan out as predicted, an unexpected subject in the sky and a quick reaction made for a once-in-a-lifetime shot.
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.