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Canon EOS 5D Mark II

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166 212738 Feb 1, 2015
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90% of reviewers $2,637.76
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• 21.1 Megapixel Full-frame CMOS sensor, 14-bit A/D conversion (16,384 colors/each of 3 primary color), wide range ISO setting of 100-6400 (expandable L: 50, H1: 12800 and H2: 25600).
• Automatic peripheral illumination correction.
• Magnesium alloy construction with 'additional' environmental protection
• Full HD Video capture at 1920 x 1080 resolution for up to 4GB per clip with HDMI output for HD viewing of stills and video.
• Next generation DIGIC 4 Image Processor for faster processing of fine detail and color reproduction as well as reduced image noise.
• High performance with 3.9 fps continuous shooting, new shutter with a durability of 150,000 cycles and improved weather-resistant body.
• Live View Function for stills (Quick, Live and Face Detection AF modes) and video.
• 3.0-inch Clear View LCD (920,000 dots/VGA) monitor with anti-reflective and scratch-resistant coatings for improved viewing and smudge protection.
• Updated EOS Integrated Cleaning System specifically designed to work with a full-frame sensor.
• 9 AF points 6 Assist AF points.
• UDMA memory card compatibility: Maximum 310 large JPEG images in a single burst with a UDMA card.


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Registered: Apr 21, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 458
Review Date: Jan 14, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Fantastic image quality, resolution, LCD display, sensor performance at high ISO.
Archaic AF system- only the centre point is usable in all but the best lighting conditions. Flash metering is hit and miss (mostly miss). BG-E6 grip feels chunky, and not very well integrated with the camera.

After owning only 1-Series bodies, I wanted to pick up something smaller and lighter for travel, candids, etc. After reading all of the glowing reviews of the 5DII, I picked one up.

The sensor is certainly capable. The colours and detail hold up very well, with ISO6400 being very usable. Unfortunately, if you shoot anything that is moving, this is not the camera for you. The AF system is horrid, and only the centre point is adequate. The outer points are not dependable at all- especially as light levels dip.

I ended up selling it, and getting a 7D instead, and am much happier with it. While the 5DII has a one-stop advantage in noise, the 7D has a much better AF system, more accurate for tracking moving objects, and more fine tuning ability within the AF system. Combined with the built-in wireless flash transmitter, it's a fantastic backup, lightweight travel body.

Jan 14, 2011
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GC Montgomery
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Registered: Nov 28, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 60
Review Date: Nov 16, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: IQ, full-frame viewfinder, ergonomics
As most will agree, outdated autofocus

My only regret is not getting one sooner. The autofocus, controls and weather seals are not as good as the 7D but, some of that should be expected given the fact the 7D was released more than a year after the 5D Mark II. Still, Canon could easily have put the 1D/1Ds AF in this body as opposed to recycling and already outdated system from the 20D. They should be kicked in the face for that one.

Moving up from a 40D, there is a marked improvement in overall image quality. Tones are much smoother by comparison. The difference is less significant between the 5D Mark II and the 7D. Prior to the 5D Mark II, I might have said 21mp was too much. I had the same initial reaction to my 7D. Having shot a Nikon D300s and D700, I don't see a negative impact on image quality this time around. The extra resolution allows a great deal of latitude with respect to cropping. You can crop almost half the image and still get a decent 8x12 or larger print.

Overall, I like the camera a lot and it is a constant companion. That said, if you aren't going past 16mm, the 7D, 60D and Rebel T2i/550D make it hard to justify moving to full-frame. Images straight from the camera look sharper on screen but, the proof is in you prints. I've got identical images from the 7D and 5D Mark II. Without seeing the electronic file and EXIF data to go with it, you couldn't tell the prints apart.

Nov 16, 2010
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Registered: Aug 8, 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 9
Review Date: Sep 16, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Resolution, ISO abilities, Video, Micro Adjustments, Image quality associated with Full Frame cameras.
Auto Focus is dated.

I bought the camera the first month it was released in Canada, since then I have come to really enjoy working with this camera. I knew going into the purchase that the Auto Focus was dated, and hadn't really been upgraded since the previous version. So that never concerned me.

After all this time, since it first came out, people need to realize (just as they should have then, if they had done some simple research.. ie: use Google for 10 seconds) that the camera has it's limitations in AF. If you shoot something that requires something more from your AF system, then you'd be smart enough to get something else better suited to your needs. Yes it would be really nice to have a camera that has Full Frame, awesome high ISO and great AF, and that does NOT cost a fortune. Maybe 5D3? Wink

Anyways, I use this camera for a lot of portrait work, weddings, and lately a bunch of video stuff as well. It's a true work horse. The quality is absolutely top rate. At the time of writing this, Nikon has the D3s, about the only camera on the market that can beat the 5D2 in pure ISO ability (well the D700 too) and over all image quality. It's remarkable. Simply put, this is one of THE highest quality image files you'll get out of any DSLR to date. The video is fantastic, 1080p/24 is a dream come true!

All in all, by now in it's time line, you should know if this camera is for you or not. The 5D was a classic, and this will be considered one as well. It just produces world class images.

Sep 16, 2010
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Buy and Sell: On

Registered: Aug 19, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 4223
Review Date: Aug 15, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: • Resolution of fine detail • Dynamic range • Color fidelity • High-to-very-high ISO performance
• Less-than-pro body • Mirror slap • Slow and/or inaccurate focus using the outer focus points

Purely from the standpoints of image quality and noise control, the Canon 5D Mark II is one of the top 5 cameras made today ... at any price. Another user review suggests that it's usable only to ISO 3200. I find it to be excellent all the way to ISO 6400. All in all, this is a masterpiece of a camera. The only real improvements I can think of would be the 1-series shutter and the 7D's build.

Aug 15, 2010
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Registered: Apr 10, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1355
Review Date: Aug 11, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,300.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Best Canon camera made for the money most ergonomic small and light weight Excellent for hiking and landscape work Excellent for Video
Focus slow and inaccurate Usable ISO max is 3200 Too small AF-ON button needs to be enlarged and moved further over.

I appreciate the candor and accuracy of these posts prior to mine.

Aug 11, 2010
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Registered: Mar 1, 2010
Location: Serbia & Montenegro
Posts: 119
Review Date: Aug 6, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fantastic IQ, Colors, Acurate Af, Commands, FF, Custom Modes, Battery Life, High ISO Capabilities...
Not so good Cf door(but i never had a problem with them), sensor is pretty sensitive to dust

If you know those few limitations of this camera, and know to how to use it's advantages on a right way, it is perfest for almost anything, even sport...

Aug 6, 2010
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Registered: Mar 26, 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 1177
Review Date: Jul 2, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: LCD, image size, image quality, live-view
No dedicated mirror lockup button (still)

As a landscape photographer this camera is almost made for me. Image quality after using for a short while doesn't seem to be significantly better than my 5D (although maybe it renders subtle sky tones better?) however it is worth the price of admission just to have that huge screen. Using live view with the 1/3s grid overlay and exposure simulation is a revelation I hadn't expected. And the extra pixels for printing large goes without saying. I've heard it said by other reviewers that it is currently the best DSLR for landscape photography available and I have to agree.

Jul 2, 2010
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Registered: Oct 30, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 195
Review Date: Jun 7, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,399.99 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Clean shots and able to shoot wide angle in native 35mm format. Low noise shots and with L glass an unbeatable combination for the price. Full frame performance without the weight, bulk and price.
Focusing in low light. Compared to my 1D3 focus is lethargic. Should upgrade AF system in the next iteration.

The weak point in this camera is the focusing system in low light and when shooting anything fast. Withstanding those issues the superlative color and low noise performance makes this an excellent camera for landscapes and portraits.

The attributes exceed the shortcomings and for the cost of purchasing a 1D series new, you can get a used 1D3 or new 7D for action to go along with the 5D2 for about the same price or less.

Jun 7, 2010
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Registered: May 26, 2010
Location: Japan
Posts: 39
Review Date: Jun 2, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality, noise control (high ISO), lightweight, 21mp, full HD
None for landscape, portrait, product shooting. Not fast enough for sports.

For me, camera is just a tool so I'm always willing to change if there is any better option for my use, however, full frame high image quality, superb noise control at high ISO, 21MP, full HD video..all of these in this lightweight yet solid body is just second to none at this moment for travel/landscape/nature photographers who need lightweight gear.
I provide images to various travel/nature magazines including National Geographic and airlines' in-flight magazines, and it would be impossible to do my projects with 1Ds Mark III, Mamiya ZD, Pentax 645D, etc for its weight and size. I'm thinking about getting Pentax 645D for projects which do not require trekking or kayaking.

Examples taken with 5D Mark II (a few shot with 5D)

Jun 2, 2010
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Registered: Jul 30, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 20
Review Date: May 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,500.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Image quality, video capable, LCD screen, high ISO performance
No weather sealing, only 2.9img/s ?

A lot of stuff to say on this body. I'm using it as my primary body for landscape and I found it complementary with a fast body (7D or 1D III) for wildlife.

+ Outstanding image quality for the money. Diffraction is coming in the place after f/10.3 which is fine and far better than the 7D (f/6.8).
+ Very good video quality.
+ The LCD screen really let you judge the sharpness of your picture.
+ Full Frame, you get your L wide angle lens back !

- Large sensor = very sensitive to dust, much more than the APS-C camera in my experience. The automatic dust removal system is working fine but it doesn't remove everything far from that.
- Somewhat not very reliable, it failed me a couple of time and I had it fix by Canon.
- I'd have liked a more robust CF door.
- AF is not its specialty, but no a big thing for me as I'm not using it for fast moving subject. This camera is really not made for action.

As a nature photographer, I couldn't think about using anything else than a 5D II for landscape. The lack of weather sealing is clearly a problem for my kind of usage so I'm very careful about how I'm using it. However, this body is the only one from the Canon line that can provide me FF+video, the 1DsIV will come ultimately but I'm not planning to invest 8k on a body anytime soon.

If you want to see real world sample taken in the field, check my website and blog:

May 29, 2010
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Registered: Feb 11, 2009
Location: Russia
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 25, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: The physical size of a matrix, the permission, the screen, full hd video shooting etc. all is already told, I have described my opinion in the comment.
The screen embellishes a photo!

The excellent chamber for professionals and not only =). I will not be, as many to argue on character of noise, film it or digital, etc. it, to tell the truth, excites me a little.
Has passed on Canon EOS 5D Mark II from the first EOS 5D. And that not at once, the main arguments of a steel:
1. 21 Mp because the most part of my clients wish to print photos in the size of 1 m on 3 m (and 2 on 6)
From 13 Mp it was difficult =) only if a panorama.
2. Video shooting function, before dragged also hdtv a videocamera, now such possibility gives Canon EOS 5D Mark II, and it already filming therefore as is possibility to use different lenses, to establish depth of degradation of a back background, etc.
With an exit of new insertions of possibility of a video shooting extend.
3. LCD the screen with 920 ς pixels, the excellent sharp picture, internal colours, even seems to me that he embellishes a photo =)).
It, probably, the most important factors. Certainly there are also less powerful, but too pleasant, the modernised menu for example =) in which it is possible to look even % of a charge of the accumulator.
Has pleased and LifeView
Some functions completely not necessary type "the best study in ρβεςΰυ", "increase in the Dynamic Range", "a car brightness correction", etc., it probably more marketing course =)
Pros remove, as a rule, in a format raw, and in it these parametres all are exposed, and on the first five-copeck coin it was possible to do it and from any another raw =). If who removes in Jpeg - that yes, these functions will be useful.
Naturally to use in such device it is necessary lenses L of a series though I have one sigma 12-24, but glasses giving such corner at canona is not present =) and there is it as L.
To look my works made the first five-copeck coin, and also its successor Canon EOS 5D Mark II it is possible at me on a site Canon EOS 5D Mark II + Canon EF 24-105 F4 L IS USM, 1/100 s, f/11, ISO 100, 24 mm Canon EOS 5D Mark II + Canon EF 70-200 f 4L IS USM, 1/80 s, f/18, ISO 640, 200 mm Canon EOS 5D Mark II + Canon EF 70-200 f 4L IS USM, 1/200 s, f/4, ISO 250ISO 250, 200 mm

May 25, 2010
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Registered: Nov 4, 2009
Location: China
Posts: 236
Review Date: May 24, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,400.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: 21Mpixels, FF, LCD screen, High ISO perform.
view finder not pro(prefer D700 kind),CF card door s©uk ,AF

Bought from 2008 DEC for trade my 400D.
FF camera always my dream ,the pictures quality are wonderful ,specially with all L lens.

High ISO perform are supprise me all the time ,image are so good enough for me.

The AF just work as the center dot, the other 8 dots seem like faint they don't know what to do in low light even i put my 85L II or 24L II .

This is a joke about the CF card door .

May 24, 2010
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Registered: May 25, 2004
Location: Spain
Posts: 3763
Review Date: May 20, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Price, 21 Mpixels, microadjusment, ISO 1600 quite good.
CF door is weak.

Hi all,

I finally decided to get a 5D mark II, yesterday I bought it and used it as much as I could.

All my lenes (24, 50. 85, 135 and 16-35) had no problems just +/- 3 or 4 points of microadjusments in th 24 and 16-35 and I found them sharper than ever ( my be I was overexiceted ) which pleased me quite a bit.

The AF seems to be fast enough or more than enough for what this camera is meant to shoot ( I just used the central point).

IQ from RAW is quite, quite good (assuming the photo is taken properly and processed the same way).

Well, after 7 years shooting only 1D series I felt the body tiny but tough & felt myself a little unconfortable which, hopefully, will disappear soon.

ISO is quite good up to 1600.

I am sure I will find negative things if I just focus and compare the 5D II with all the 1D series I have ever used but I beleive this would be a USER ERROR

Thank you all for the comments.


May 20, 2010
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Registered: Aug 18, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 713
Review Date: May 7, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Size for a full frame, feels good in hand, IQ is great, High ISO, Video, weather sealing, micro adjust etc.
Price if it is your first jump to a full frame!

First, someone actually put 'large file size' as a con? Don't buy a 21+ mp camera then!

I've had a couple cheaper rebels in the past and jumped up to the 5D II because I was tired of wanting to upgrade and figured I would just do it all in one big leap.

I love this camera. I see some people complain about the AF and the points. I don't do studio work and 90% of the time (or more) use the center point anyway, so this might be an issue for some but really has no effect on my use. High ISO is just great compared to the crop frames. I can use my 100-400mm L in many more situations now because of the ISO performance on this camera as that lens needs good light because it is not very fast. 4 frames a sec is perfectly fine for what I do. The camera is large and heavy compared to a Rebel but for a full frame I think it is quite compact and feels great in my hand. I do not mind walking half the day with the 24-70mm f/2.8L mounted. I would recommend getting a hand strap for it though, instead of the neck strap. I got one for around $15 and it works great! The camera is a lot of money for an amateur but I am happy that I have and think I got what I paid for!

Some sample pictures that I've taken with the 5D Mark II: click 'all sizes' above the pic for larger sizes.

24-70mm f/2.8L, B&W CP

24-70mm f/2.8L, B&W 10 stop ND filter

24-70mm f/2.8L, B&W 10 stop ND filter

135mm f/2L

24-70mm f/2.8L, B&W 10 stop ND filter

May 7, 2010
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Registered: Jul 17, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 593
Review Date: Apr 27, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,700.00

Pros: Great Image Quality, very good at higher ISOs,
Slow autofocus in low light situations

Best camera I've ever owned. When I compare the image quality to the photos from my Canon EOS 7d there is no comparison. Granted I like my 7d too but my guilty pleasure is being a pixel peeper and I'm always impressed at just how good the 5d mark II files look at 100%. The video from this camera is simply amazing too. I briefly flirted with the idea of selling this camera and just keeping the 7d but I would have regretted it the minute it shipped. If you are not doing a lot of sports or fast action photography and great image quality is important to you . . . this is the camera to get!

Apr 27, 2010
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Daan B
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Registered: Aug 15, 2007
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 7898
Review Date: Apr 26, 2010 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: See below
See below

A few months after my 1st horrific 5D2 experiences (I tried three kits and none of them working as they should - see some pages back), I bought another 5D2, because I still needed a FF back-up cam to my 1Ds3. At the moment of this "update review" I have used my 5D2 intensively/profesionally for about 9 months. This 4th body works as it should and deserves a "proper" review. So, here it goes:

Image Quality
Overall I am pretty happy with the 5D2's IQ. Especially at higher ISO's (1600-6400). I shoot RAW and convert in Lightroom/ACR. There are a couple of things that bother me though. Firstly, Caucasian skin tones are rendered too red and need a seperate color correction in PP. Secondly, when exposing for the highlights in high contrast situations you end up with deep shadows that show banding once you open them up in PP (fill light, curves, etc). Not all the time and in every case, but it is there sometimes. This means that the effective Dynamic Range is limited when the banding pops up. Thirdly, the files are a touch on the contrasty side for me. Most of the time I am toning down contrast in PP.

The 5D2 inhereted the AF hardware of the original 5D. A shame really. Because in the meantime Canon has released the 7D, with a much better AF engine. This 7D AF engine will most probably end up in the 5D3. But atm the 5D2 must do with a "crippled" AF.
On the positive side, the center AF point works very good under all kinds of circumstances: from low to good light, in AI Servo (with or without 6 assist AF points) and in One Shot. Of course this also depends on the lens.
On the negative side, the outer AF points are really only usable in One Shot with good light, good contrast and smaller apertures. Want to use them in AI Servo @ f/1.2...? forget it. Want to use them in One Shot under low light? Forget it. Etc Sad
The 5D2 is basically an one AF point camera...

Built quality
I like that the 5D2 is small and relatively light. Coupled with a 24-105L or a few primes it makes a pleasant travel kit. Its built quality is sufficient for most tasks. Other than that, there are a few annnoyances:
The CF door is built flimsy and creaks when you load the 5D2 with lenses heavier than 500 grams. I don't trust the weathersealing of the 5D2. I can't read the VF info in bright daylight.
The battery grip is a ergonomical disaster. It handles like crap. Besides that, the grip sometimes causes communication problems that shut my cam down or give false battery status info. The grip also loosens after heavy usage and is way too expensive. So, why use a grip then? Because when I mount my 24-70L the bare grip is so small and crappy that it will hurt my hand after longer periods of time... and make the CF door creak like a madman :D

The 5D2 has a relative (compared to 1 series or xxD series) long VF black-out time and shutterlag. This is mostly annoying when tracking/shooting fast erratic moving subjects. But you wouldn't want to do that with the 5D2 anyway, because it's AF has troubles keeping up as well. The 5FPS doesn't help either. For all other shooting the slower responsiveness isn't much of an issue.

Other features...
I like the back LCD. Even though it has a slight green color cast, it is still better than the one I have on the 1Ds3 for checking focus. The LCD playback times are really fast too. HDVideo is nice to fool around with. Battery life for photography is great (about 1000 RAW exposures per battery).

Despite that the 5D2 is a somewhat limited body (features and IQ in some cases), I use it with pleasure. It is simple and straightforward in design and just works... at least once you accept it's boundaries and adapt accordingly. It is still the cheapest high rez FF cam out there Smile

Apr 26, 2010
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Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
166 212738 Feb 1, 2015
Recommended By Average Price
90% of reviewers $2,637.76
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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