Expert Review of Canon EOS 5D DSLR Mark II Body Black
Canon, the world camera leader brings to you the successor of the highly popular and in Canon’s own words, the World’s first “affordable” full flame DSLR in the name Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Of course Canon EOS 5D Mark II enjoys a full frame sensor, but the big news is the huge boost to 21.1 Megapixels from 12.8 Megapixels of Canon EOS 5D. The optical resolution of 21.1 Megapixels in fact matches with the resolution of Canon’s present day flagship, 1Ds Mark III, the only significant difference being of the sensor. Canon EOS 5D Mark II features a new CMOS sensor which employs an improved output amplifier, a more advanced colour filter with superior light transmission, and other enhancements also seen in the recently announced EOS 50D. Canon claims the result is the highest quality seen from any EOS DSLR to date. Another big or gigantic addition is boosting the highest ISO sensitivity from a top speed of 3200 ISO in Canon EOS 5D to 25600 ISO is Canon EOS 5D Mark II. The Megapixel count may have almost doubled and the tonal depth increased to 14-bit, but Canon’s latest DIGIC 4 processor can work sufficiently quickly to offer a small boost in continuous shooting from 3 to 3.9fps. Support for UDMA CF cards ensures the buffer is flushed quickly. This is a review of Canon EOS 5D Mark II Body Only.
Design and Build Quality
Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II is contains almost the same body as the original Canon EOS 5D, and shares the same dimensions, although a newly-styled upper section and surround to the lens mounting gives it a noticeably different appearance. When viewed on the front view Canon EOS 5D Mark II has a more angular head section, compared to the rounded shape of its predecessor, along with a defined line under the Canon logo although this doesn’t hide a popup flash as one may think. Another noticeable difference is a separate self-timer lamp and IR remote control sensor between the grip and lens mount, along with three tiny holes below the 5D logo to accommodate the built-in microphone. The most important difference in the top view is the larger status screen, along with a rearrangement of the upper right buttons and new protruding surrounds which makes it easier to find them with your eye up to the viewfinder. We’ll detail the screen and controls in a moment. So while the 5D Mark II shares essentially the same body as its predecessor, a rather new plastic work gives it a new look. The body weight is identical at 810g, and despite a new battery on the Mark II, there’s only a few grams difference with them fitted. The grip remains the same size and shape, delivering a good fit for larger hands with the textured rubber coating providing a secure hold.
Focus and Face Detection
Canon EOS 5D Mark II works on 9-point AF system with 1 cross-type and 6 invisible assist points, the same as its predecessor Canon EOS 5D, although the AF algorithm is an area of improvement. Much like Canon EOS 5D, the AF points are arranged in a diamond pattern and represented by small rectangular outlines which illuminate red when active; you can switch the red lights off if preferred in a custom menu. Like all Canon DSLRs there are three auto-focusing modes: One Shot AF for still subjects, AI Servo AF for moving subjects, and AI Focus AF which automatically switches from One Shot to Servo when it detects a subject starting to move.
Lens and Image Stabilization
This is a Body Only review, Canon EOS 5D Mark II by default does not mount any lens. However it is compatible with EF lens mount and thanks to its full-frame sensor, there’s no field-reduction factor to take into consideration. Most commonly the camera is paired with a Canon EF 24-105 24-105mm f4.0L IS lens. A negative here though is the Canon EOS 5D is not compatible with any EF-S lenses which is strange considering that its predecessor Canon EOS 5D is compatible with EF-S lenses not to mention other full frame cameras of Canon.
Screen and Menus
Most of the rear of Canon EOS 5D Mark II is endowed with the same 3in 920k VGA screen as Canon EOS 50D. This is a major upgrade over the 2.5in 230k QVGA screen of its predecessor EOS 5D, and brings Canon EOS 5D Mark II in line with its major rivals from Sony and Nikon. Like other VGA screens, the device’s monitor looks amazingly comprehensive, whether you’re playing images, composing in Live View or simply navigating the newly designed menu system.
Canon has designed a whole new battery pack for Canon 5D Mark II, the LP-E6 is the same width, thickness and only a fraction longer, but packs in 1800mAh to its predecessor’s 1390mAh. Canon claims this is good for around 860 still shots under CIPA conditions, compared to 800 for the original 5D, or up to 90 minutes of video recording alone. Clearly the new camera is most battery consuming than the old one, because it consumes a significant amount of battery just generates negligibly more still shots.
Nikon D90 and Canon EOS 5D Mark II are the first two DSLR cameras to offer video recording facilities. Nikon D90 captures 720p video (1280x720 pixels) at 24fps, while Canon EOS 5D Mark II captures 1080p video (1920x1080 pixels) at 30fps; both also offer standard definition modes, the D90 offering 320x216 and 640x424 modes again at 24fps, and the 5D Mark II a 640x480 mode, at 30fps. Both cameras exploit their full sensor width when recording video, although the 5D Mark II has the advantage with its larger full-frame sensor to the D90’s cropped-frame DX format sensor.
The spotlight feature of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II is its 21.1 Megapixel full-frame sensor, measuring 36x24mm. It generates 3:2 aspect ratio images with a maximum resolution of 5616x3744 pixels, which gives it 1248 more pixels horizontally and 832 pixels vertically than its predecessor the EOS 5D; at 300 dpi, this allows Canon 5D Mark II’s images to be printed at 18.7x12.5in to the 5D’s 14.5x9.7in, which is quite a boost. Powering the device is Canon's latest DIGIC 4 image processor - only the second time it's been used in a Canon DSLR.
Excellent HDR mode
Detailed raw and JPG files
High quality images
Complicated AF system
A bit costly