Canon 5D Mark II Overview
Reviewed by Shawn Barnett, Dave Etchells, and Zig Weidelich
Review Date: 01/20/2009
The Canon EOS-5D Mark II raises the standards of the entire EOS line, as it is the first EOS digital SLR camera to offer both still and video capture. The Canon 5D Mark II also includes most of the hardware and software upgrades that the company introduced on the Canon 50D.
Its upgrades are welcome, because though the Canon 5D leads the race for overall image quality for many photographers, it lags behind in a few key areas, most of which improve with the 5D Mark II.
Though no one at Imaging-Resource.com would say that 12.8 megapixels is insufficient, the new 21.1-megapixel sensor will likely be a welcome upgrade, especially to professional photographers who already use a 5D. Sony’s latest digital SLR, the A900, raised expectations for high-end digital SLR performance, at least in terms of resolution, and the Canon EOS 5D Mark II indeed outperforms that camera in terms of its noise-to-detail ratio at high ISO.
Canon also takes on the Nikon D3 and D700 with this new high-resolution sensor, as the 5D Mark II also offers an expanded ISO range from 50 to 25,600. While the former two cameras achieve 100 to 25,600 expanded, they do it at 12.1 megapixels.
Canon has also included the new DIGIC 4 processor, capable of handling the extremely large 14-bit RAW images at the new high speed of 3.9 frames per second.
The new 920,000-dot LCD introduced on the Canon 50D also makes it over to the new Canon 5D Mark II, something the new 5D’s competitors also have in their arsenal. The 5D Mark II also shares the Live View features found on the 50D, complete with contrast-detect autofocus and silent shutter modes.
Many of the other features that debuted on the Canon 50D are included in the 5D Mark II, but one major new feature that probably should have made it into the 50D makes its stand instead in the 5D Mark II: HD video capture. That’s right, this high-end digital SLR can capture movies at 1920 x 1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. We’d have expected them to have this in the 50D simply to go up against Nikon’s D90, which can do 720p video, but that’ll have to wait until the next version, perhaps.
The Canon 5D Mark II is quite a camera, one that seems to trump the other two full-frame digital SLR cameras in this price range. Indeed, the fact that its expected body-only pricing will be $2,699, $300 less than the Sony A900 and Nikon D700, makes the 5D Mark II that much more appealing. The Canon EOS-5D Mark II is slated to ship at the end of November 2008. Canon will also offer a kit that includes a 24-105mm Canon L lens for a price tag of $3,499. See the User Report below for the full story.