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Canon EOS 5D Mark II

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165 191037 Mar 26, 2014
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90% of reviewers $2,655.13
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.80
8.79
9.3
5DII_1_

Specifications:
• 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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leowestby
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Registered: Jan 13, 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 13, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Resolution, Picture quality, high ISO performance, video performance. Great LCD.
Cons:
None for the way I work.

I only have praise for this camera. The negatives others mention don't affect me, and the video mode is fantastic for what I do, which is low light band filming.

Jan 13, 2009
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rolfy
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Registered: Jul 10, 2005
Location: Portugal
Posts: 4
Review Date: Jan 10, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: 21MP, improved ISO, great LCD, Great IQ
Cons:
Dots but i didn't found them!

Great improvement for my old 5D. Everything is better! Why ask for a different camera? Body is not 1 series but I don't want it heavier!

Jan 10, 2009
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denoise
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Registered: Feb 25, 2005
Location: Chile
Posts: 237
Review Date: Jan 8, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,699.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: excellent IQ, amazing resolution, intelligent interface and menus, great high ISO performance
Cons:
none for the price... OK I really hate firmware limiting practices. In this case, video mode.

I don't care about black dots or banding some people are talking about, mine is perfect. You are paying 2.7k for a near digital back resolution, compact, low noise and speedy camera with Full HD recording capabilities. I work as a professional advertising photographer / retoucher and this is an excellent versatile tool for the job. With a light body, 1Ds IQ and great low ISO performance I don't care for something else.

Video can be great, I mean.. incredible for a sub 10k camera but the lack of manual controls and fixed 30p framerate is a total PIA. I'm pretty sure someone with enough knowledge, time and a good heart will spread a firmware hack someday. There are a lot of people waiting for this and would happily send donations for such a project (including me). I dream for 24p, 25p, 30p, 30++p and manual controls for shutter, iris and ISO in video mode.

Image resolution is really amazing using good glass, true sharp 21MP files. I mostly use a 135L and a 35L and this combo is perfect for low light concerts too, they can see more light than my own eyes and with very low noise.


Jan 8, 2009
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swanny338
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Registered: Aug 24, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1139
Review Date: Jan 7, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,699.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Improved ISO, better ergonomics, menus, Great IQ,
Cons:
For my uses the slower AF doesn't bother me

Great value and an awesome camera.

I really enjoy the video function especially since I already had the equipment needed to record audio separately before hand. Should be fun to finally get into some decent film making. I never jumped into it because I didn't want to invest in a prosumer hd setup that I would only use 2 or 3 times a year. With the 5DII, I upgraded my camera and got a great though limited HD video camera. If you intend to use the video function at all, I strongly recommend buying an assortment of ND filters.

They should really just include a 1TB hard drive in the box because this thing is eating through space fast(haha.) The files are worth it though.


Jan 7, 2009
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Andrew Welsh
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Registered: Jan 19, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 4939
Review Date: Jan 7, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,699.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: THE LCD!!, new features over 5D, ISO6400!!, usable SRAW, video is a fun toy
Cons:
No video controls (hopefully firmware updates can activate some controls?), my copy kept getting Error 20's which prompted me to return it.

Taking this gem out of the box I didn't realize how old and tattered my 5D was. The first impression I got was the relatively huge LCD.. its practically like having a plasma TV in your palm, especially coming from the original 5D.

I bought the 40D last year and love all the features on it- live view, my menu, the custom dial presets, EOS utility allowing exposures over 30 seconds (that was a stupid restriction on their older cameras, 5D included), 14 bit raws. The 5D II has all of these features plus more.

My particular copy got Error 20's during use, and it required a 20 minute break before it functioned again. The error occurred enough to make the camera unreliable for professional use (weddings), so I had to return it. Now I must wait.

Other minor nits:
- the AF/ ISO/ WB/ etc. buttons are all different on the 5DII. Different than the 5D and different than the 40D. Really annoying trying to use 2 different bodies at a wedding, constantly have to check which button I'm pressing.
- Live view works differently than the 40D, so I fumbled with that a bit at a wedding.
- Menus were perceptibly slow to transition-- I prefer a seemingly instant transition than the 1/4 sec delay. Even though it looks nice, it's unnecessary "gold plating"-- the software and camera are fast enough to be instant.
- I found the top control dial *easier* to accidentally rotate than any of my previous bodies (Rebel XT, 20D, 40D, 5D).

Hidden gems:
- ISO can be incremented in whole stops. Super annoying that you can't set this option on the 5D. I never use ISO 640 or 1000.
- Microfocus adjustment
- 3 Custom dial settings
- bulb exposures when using EOS utility and tethered to a computer. A big, big help for astrophotography

The LCD is awesome- did I mention that?

The image quality is great, just as good as the 5D. Color rendition seemed to be a little cooler than my 5D, could be a difference in the auto WB feature.

SRAW1 is great for weddings. I use the 40D professionally, so 10MP files are more than acceptable.

ISO6400 in a 4x6 print looks like ISO1600 on the 5D. Hardly any grain at all. It is totally usable for weddings, and that's like a 2-stop bonus. I don't like using 3200 on the 5D since it never "looks right" from an exposure standpoint. The dynamic range in the ISO6400 shots are much improved over 3200 on the 5D. I found ISO's above 6400 to be too noisy for use though, and "emergency only". I have yet to come across conditions dark enough to require 12800 or 25600.

Shot this camera mostly with a 300/2.8 paired to it, amazing stuff.

I highly recommend it if you can get one. $2700 USD introductory price is cheap, especially since the 5D debuted 3 years ago at a much higher price.


Jan 7, 2009
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bobbytan
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Registered: Feb 2, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 7305
Review Date: Jan 7, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,699.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Close to perfect.
Cons:
Not perfect.



Jan 7, 2009
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I Simonius
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Registered: Apr 22, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 51
Review Date: Jan 6, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Improvements that make the biggest difference for me: 21MP, better VF. Body is not 1 series but is excellent for its range.
Cons:
Does not give the creamy IQof the 5D Mk1 Colour seems harder to manage but this might be the fault of Lightroom®

This is not a technical review, it is what it says on the tin, IMPRESSIONS. I'm writing these first impressions of the 5D2 as someone who has just upgraded from the 5D mk1.

Images in this PART 1 of my impressions

[available here: http://digital-finger.smugmug.com/gallery/7026598_Seo6p#449936262_BnGmf]

were shot with the 24-105L and with EV 2/3rds , due to something I had read suggesting this was an adjustment worth making also because DXO rated the ISO settings as actually lower than stated and also because I wanted to push the highlights to test DR and the highlight recoverability in Adobe Lightroom (or ACR). More could obviously be done in Photoshop but Im only looking at what's attainable here by a) a non expert and b) QUICK editing.

I deliberately took these type of shots to push the limits ( not for artistic merit!:lol:) All images shot in RAW in AV mode with Evaluative metering and exported to theweb from Lightroom® (as jpgs obviously). Mouseover the images to access the photo info. Choose your preferred viewing style, top right of the page, unfortunately for 'photo info' to be available you will need to select a viewing style other than 'Journal'. Original size enabled for 100% viewing.

Things that are self-evident I will not make further comments on e.g. the resolution, it is 21MP, nothing more needs to be said about that! Nor will I comment on things that are the same or very close to same as the 5D Mk1, the new view-screen, controls layout etc. Whilst I appreciate these improvments they didnt present me with a problem in the Mk1 so they're not an issue in the Mk2. What I will comment on is those things that make a real difference to me.

NO NOISE REDUCTION applied to ANY of the images. only the most basic adjustments made in LR (or ACR). Unadjusted shots shown first, second version is after some adjustments applied. I will take some more shots today without setting exposure compensation and post them later.

Camera:
- On/Off button: On the Mk1 this was prone to turing itself on or off while it rubbed against your body as you carried it, and this really bugged me; now on the Mk2 its positioning is better in that it is slightly smaller and stands less proud of the body in relation to the view screen and wheel dial, both of which now give it some slight protection against accidental changing. We'll see if it's better in practice.
- Viewfinder: on the Mk1 I found that it was hard to see the edges of the frame in one glance, the Mk2 is better in this regard, the VF is a distinct improvement
- Top info window: the Av and Tv settings appear larger. This is good.
- more customisable settings on the mode dial - excellent! :D
- Rubber seal on baseplate came off accidentally while I was checking over the camera for the first time. I pushed it on firmly but it is still too loose IMO. People are going to lose those, mark my words.
- The resolution is great, probably the lenses are more the limiting factor now rather than the sensor.
- The camera handles better and has improvements overall such that you really feel it is a state of the art high spec upgrade worthy of succeeding the Mk1
- The huge files generated by the Mk2 make me wish I could afford to upgrade my computer as well (Apple G5 2.3 ppc). Lightroom® is much slower and I expect Photoshop® and Bridge® will be too
- The camera has the improvements I hankered after, better VF, screen, mode dial etc. It's a lovely camera, I really like it.


Images:
- The wide DR and ultra resolution is there, but the post processing workflow is going to need to be relearned to get the best from the Mk2
- I hope ACR and LR will get upgrades that work better with the 5D2, because as it stands Canon's own DPP produces better results noise-wise and colour-wise (google for examples)

- CONCLUSION: There are many small differences between the images that the two cameras produce and many small differences between the two cameras themselves but in my book it all boils down to one single difference: if you want the super high resolution of the 21MP sensor then the get the Mk2; if however you value the beautiful creamy quality to your images over sheer resolution, then stick with the Mk1, as the Mk2 just does not have the creamy quality of the Mk1

For me, I'll stick with the Mk2 because I really want the resolution, but I do miss that creaminess that was exclusive to the Mk1


Jan 6, 2009
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Will Patterson
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Registered: Nov 6, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 4626
Review Date: Jan 6, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,699.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: That amazing rear LCD, fantastic movie modes, incredible high ISO performance, AF still works great if not better than the original 5D, nice battery life, awsome 21 megapixel sensor that retains a huge amount of detail, it's nice to choose different RAW file types (sraw1 and 2)
Cons:
Wish it had more focus points to choose from like the 1d's, wish it had dual memory card slots, wish it had an integrated vertical grip. Hmm, sounds too much like a 1dsIII haha.

Over the last 3 years I've gone XT -> 30D -> 5D -> 1DII -> 1DIII -> 5DII. This is the best Canon camera I've owned for a lot of reasons. The Mark 3 has it beat in areas like the vertical grip and super fast AF and FPS, but everywhere else the 5DII trumps it. Higher ISO, double the resolution, lighter weight, full frame sensor, way better LCD, HD movies, AF in live view.. it's a great camera. Cannot wait till it warms up again and I can shoot some landscapes. It makes a fantastic wedding camera for now, the one battery lasts all day going through 16gb of photos, I just need to buy bigger CF cards!

I plan on getting a 5D classic in a few months to act as a backup, it's still a very capable camera.


Jan 6, 2009
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flowtation
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Registered: Jan 4, 2009
Location: N/A
Posts: 3
Review Date: Jan 4, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: big viewfinder, weatherproof, great pics! Video mode is a nice extra.
Cons:
no auto iso in Manual, CF-card door does not have quality feel like the rest of the cam. No aperture selection in video mode.



Jan 4, 2009
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huskymike
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Registered: Oct 25, 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 3, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Resolution is a wow!!
Cons:
Price, old autofocus.

Very happy with the 5D2 coming from the 40D and previous to that the 30D. Image quality is fantastic. Very happy with the images straight out of the camera. Have not been looking for some of the issues mentioned on other forums, I shoot mainly in bright conditons. I think the image quality is excellent.

Jan 3, 2009
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Maggot
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Registered: Jul 19, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 81
Review Date: Jan 3, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,700.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Forgot to rate on my previous review below.
Cons:



Jan 3, 2009
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Maggot
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Registered: Jul 19, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 81
Review Date: Jan 3, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: One word: RESOLUTION! Beautiful LCD. Micro lens adjust for fine tuning. Great for portraits and landscapes.
Cons:
AF: basically carried over from the 5D.

This camera has gobbs and gobbs of resolution. If you print big, your portraits and landscapes will look incredible. You have to use L lenses on this, anything else and this camera will chew it up and spit it out. The LCD is so much better over the previous model. Basically retaining the original 5D's AF is one of the worst decisions Canon has ever made. All in all, a great update with one serious mistake, or shall I say blunder, in the AF dept. Then again, those of us who had the 5D and now this successor do a lot of landscape and or portrait and fast AF is not needed.

Jan 3, 2009
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G. Thomas
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Registered: Feb 5, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 849
Review Date: Jan 1, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,700.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Nice screen, excellent high ISO performance, new layout common to the newer Canon bodies is nice (ie My Menu, etc), nice battery life, good video.
Cons:
Same old AF (while not bad is still a little weak for this camera), shutter lag is kind of annoying for such a new/advanced camera (Nikon's d700 is very satisfying in this area), needs more flash exposure compensation than my old 5D

Anyone using the 5D will find the MarkII pretty familiar despite the recent changes. I love the new LCD screen and LiveView more than I thought I would. The 10x mag in LiveView makes manual focusing very very accurate. Pretty easy to use, I've found. Of course, part of that familiarity comes from the same AF system (acceptable, but not impressive) and the shutter lag. I've noticed that I need to dial in more compensation compared to the original 5D. Almost a whole stop more! While not really a problem, it's just plain weird!

My 5D2 might have to go back since I've been getting some errors from various lenses (Err 01, Err 70, Err 99), although curiously, none of my L's....


Jan 1, 2009
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Jeff Kingston
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Registered: Aug 2, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 75
Review Date: Dec 24, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Wow! Stunning image quality. Industry leader by price. Wonderful high iso performance. Wonderful lcd screen. A great upgrade from 5D
Cons:
Have not yet pushed the AF performance as have shot still subjects. I guess we could always want more here.

I think this camera is nearly as revolutionary as the original 5D, which I have owned and loved for three years.

This is a sensational upgrade. Its images are stunning. At 3200 it peforms as my 5D did at 1600. 6400 is very useable. The amount of detail retained at high iso is amazing.

Love the screen and micro adjust on AF.

This is a ground breaking camera at a sensational price. I cannot understand some of the criticism heaved at it. Oh, and I have not seen any black dots.


Dec 24, 2008
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Rubber Soul
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Registered: Dec 11, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 636
Review Date: Dec 23, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Best of both worlds: comparable high ISO image quality as Nikon D700, and comparable high resolution to Sony's A900. Unique video mode opens up creative possibilities. Excellent ergonomics, and good build quality. Canon's software package is second to none --- and best of all, it comes free with the camera.
Cons:
Workman-like AF system is adequate, but grossly inappropriate for a $2700 camera in 2008. Lack of manual controls in video mode. Lack of any kind of AF Assist Lamp makes it impossible to auto-focus in situations requiring the highest ISO settings.

Build Quality: (9/10)

Excellent build quality. Body feels like a solid brick. The buttons and dials all ooze quality. The LCD and viewfinder are both large and bright, very easy to use. The only issue I have with the camera is the seemingly inadequate seals along the memory and battery compartments. They are partially lined with some kind of foam material. I would've preferred rubber gaskets completely sealing the compartments.



Features: (8/10)

Too much, and yet somehow inadequate. Confusing? Sure, but that's how Canon seems to have outfitted the EOS 5D Mark II. 21 million pixels is too much. But the workman-like autofocus feels inadequate for a $2700 USD camera. The Full HD 1080p video has great cinematic potential that may prove to be too much for most people to handle. And yet the manual controls for video mode is, again, inadequate. The ISO range is again overkill for most people --- an unprecedented range between ISO 50 to 25600 (D700 bottoms out at ISO 100). And yet the camera lacks any form of AF Assist Lamp that would be needed to focus in situations requiring the highest ISO settings. So once again: Too much, and yet somehow inadequate.



Image Quality: (10/10)

The EOS 5D Mark II produces photos that are simply second to none. Image quality is downright perfect up to ISO 800. At ISO 1600, it remains excellent. Dynamic range and color fidelity is still very good, but noise grain is visible at the pixel-peeping level. There's a noticeable drop in quality at ISO 3200, but it's still good --- a little better than ISO 1600 on modern APS-C dSLRs. ISO 6400 on the 5D Mark II is probably my practical limit. It can still produce good prints, but only with lots of post processing after the fact. Color inaccuracy is very evident, as well as the loss of dynamic range. With very heavy-handed NR, ISO 12800 would be good for HD sized display. And ISO 25600 is usable only for web-sized images.



Overall Rating: (9/10)

I love this camera. But I can't give it a perfect rating knowing that it's not a perfect camera. I do wish it had a better AF system, as it would make this into the Ultimate Camera. Afterall, if the 5D Mark II had a great AF system, then I would likely never feel the need to upgrade ever again. But no company wants an Ultimate Camera at this price range. The Nikon D700 lacks resolution, video mode, and image stabilization The Sony A900 lacks high ISO capability, video mode, or pro-grade AF. And the 5D Mark II lacks image stabilization and pro-grade AF. I suppose it's good that the 5D has only 2 things going against it, instead of 3. But no camera is perfect. Every camera has its faults, and the 5D Mark II is no exception.



Minor nitpick: Why aren't FM Review filtered? It's blatantly obvious that the only reviewer here (ComairCRJ700) who gave this camera a VERY POOR review doesn't even own the camera. He's the same guy who wrote a review calling the excellent 24-105L a junk lens as well.


Dec 23, 2008
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Matt Kerby
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Registered: Jun 9, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 511
Review Date: Dec 22, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: High ISO performance, improved AF, 21MP's, new screen (s), weatherproofing, new battery (expensive, but better), easy 1 button access to live view and video
Cons:
none so far

I have nothing but praise for the new 5Dmk2. I only rated the build as 9 because of course the 1 series bodies are built better, that said, the new 5Dmk2 is built very solid. Been shooting in the snow the last couple days with zero problems.
I'd write more but most the others have covered the good points. I'll close with the fact that I've never had a body with this high of a level of IQ....I've owned most of Canon's digital bodies except the 1Dsmk3


Dec 22, 2008
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Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
165 191037 Mar 26, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
90% of reviewers $2,655.13
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.80
8.79
9.3
5DII_1_


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