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Canon EOS 5D

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223 295757 Nov 30, 2013
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93% of reviewers $2,661.82
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The new Canon EOS 5D offers advanced photographers a lightweight, robust digital SLR that uses Canon's superlative EF lenses without a conversion factor. Its full-frame 12.8 Megapixel CMOS sensor combines with Canon's DIGIC II Image Processor, a high-precision 9-point AF system with 6 assist points, and "Picture Style" color control to deliver images of superior quality with enough resolution for any application. With its wide-angle capabilities, 2.5 inch LCD and magnesium-alloy body, the 5D is the perfect addition to the Digital EOS line.

World's smallest and lightest full-frame digital SLR* with a 12.8 Megapixel CMOS Sensor and superb image quality.
DIGIC II Image Processor for outstanding image quality and performance - 3.0 fps for up to 60 consecutive JPEG or 17 RAW frames in a burst.
New larger 2.5 inch LCD screen can be viewed even at extreme angles up to 170.
New "Picture Style" function for superior command of in-camera color, contrast and sharpness.
High-precision 9-point AF with 6 additional Supplemental points surrounding the center point for superior focus tracking.
Strong and light magnesium-alloy body with new shutter durability-tested to 100,000 exposures.
Compatible with over 50 Canon EF lenses and most EOS System accessories.


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Lars Johnsson
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Registered: Jun 29, 2003
Location: Thailand
Posts: 33669
Review Date: Sep 15, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Exellent image quality, ISO performance, 12,8 megapixel
Build quality (compared to the 1 series), Buffer, frames per second

Image quality is exellent. If you upgrade from a 10D, 20D or similar camera it's really fantastic. But if you come from a 1 series camera it also has many disappointments.

Sep 15, 2006
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Registered: May 4, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1221
Review Date: Sep 13, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Awesome ISO capabilities * Full-frame * Great colour rendition * Best DSLR at noise suppression
Price but as a full-frame sensor is over 10x more costly to make then an APS size sensor, you can see where your money is going.

If your into low light or wedding work, buy this camera. You will find no other tool as good as this camera.

Sep 13, 2006
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Registered: Aug 15, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 3
Review Date: Sep 12, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Full frame sensor, large filesize.. on off button on battery grip
Vertical grip nearly same as one on 10d not very comfortable .crappy strap

Just upgraded from 10d(after a few years) and it is great....I can't see my eos 3 camera getting much action(apart from motorsport) now that i have a full frame digital.....Not a lot i can say that hasn't allready been said but, i can't see a need for a direct print button ... a camera of this spec at this price is not going to attract the kind of person that would use it.... frames per second is a little slow but i'm used to that .....It realy shows your lenses out for what they need good glass..

Overall though its a stunning camera especially when you compare it to the 1ds on price and image quality.....

Sep 12, 2006
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[ X ]

Registered: Mar 25, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 657
Review Date: Aug 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Overall a very very good camera.
ISO info is not in VF; focus points are not stretch far enough (seems same as the 20D, but for a much bigger sensor)

If you can find good lens for it, it is really a near perfect camera. Compare with the 20/30D, it has nice and graceful shutter, large VF, etc. I do have two complaints listed in the Negative aspects, hoping Canon will fix them later.

Aug 28, 2006
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Registered: Jan 17, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 239
Review Date: Aug 14, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,900.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Incredible IQ, ergonomics, ff, jpegs are very good, and nice large viewfinder after coming from the D70
Viewfinder is dim and hard to read in bright sunlight (Canon doesn't think this is a problem, but there are quite a few complaints on this one). I think slightly overpriced. Tendancy to overexpose, but that may just be me and my Nikon experience.

I was astounded at the IQ of this camera. Some of my images have a 3D look to them. Color and sharpness are excellent. Great landscape camera.

Aug 14, 2006
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Registered: Aug 9, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 9, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: JPEG quality straight out of the camera - less time required in Photoshop. Full Frame. Joy to use.
FPS could be better, but not a sports photographer, so not that concerned.

I've had this camera for a good 3 months now, and I wanted to wait before I wrote anything about it.

I upgraded from the 20D, which I was pleased with.........that is until I saw the images the 5D captures. From the first outing, I was stunned at just how good the JPEG's are !.......My RAW convertion skills can't get them looking that good !

I could write about the build quality, about how it feels in the hand ect ect......but that would just be waffle........

It's a seriously good camera, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a Camera to end the upgrade trail....don't think I'll be changing cameras for a good number of years to come !

Aug 9, 2006
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Registered: Aug 5, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 7
Review Date: Aug 5, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,899.00 | Rating: 10 


I upgraded from a 10D to this 5D. Wow. A HUGE difference. The 10D is a good camera, don't get me wrong, but the 5D really puts it in its place.

I started out using 35mm and I convinced myself over the years that a 1.6 crop factor isn't really a bad thing. Actually it's not, but it is nowhere near really good. I am very happy to be coming back to full frame as I always hated two things about APC sized sensors:
1. Trying to get even a moderately wide-angled shot inside. (I always found myself squeezing against a wall or in a corner just to get a decent shot.)
2. The fact that to get wide-angles you had to buy either a very expensive piece of regular glass (14mm) or a lens that only works on certain DSLRS. The more a product can be used on more things, the happier I am.

So I am happy with the full frame sensor.

I can't add much more to what others have already said, but I will mention one other HUGE difference I have found between the 5D and the 10D: correct focus.

Way too often I thought that I had acquired a bad 50/1.4 and a bad 100/2.0 because of consistent back focusing on my 10D - seriously noticable at wide-open aperatures. At first I thought it was the camera, then maybe it was me, then I suspected the glass, but after some serious testing involving a very sturdy tripod, a ST-E2, inamimate objects and my Elan 7E as the control, I knew it was my 10D.

I actually became quite good at knowing where on a person's face to focus (tip of nose) so that their eyes were in focus when using wide-open aperatures. But that was before the 5D.

I now know the pure joy of being able to get my glass to focus exactly where I want it to focus. My 50/1.4 focuses dead-on at 1.4. My 100/2.0 is much much better and I can see why now so many people like the 100/2.0. It's a pretty sharp lens.

Anywho, if you have the cash - or the ambition to save up for it - get the camera. You won't be disappointed.

Aug 5, 2006
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Registered: Aug 3, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 3, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Full-frame sensor, image quality, build, weight, LCD
Not an EOS 1ds mk2. Vignetting

I bought this to replace the Canon EOS 20D I'd been using for the last year. The 20D is a great camera but this is miles better. The build, weight, viewfinder, sensor size are all plusses. It feels a lot more solid and better made than the 20D also. The only gripe I have is with the vignetting. I bought this with the 24-105 f4 lens, which is fantastic, but when shot wide open there is considerable vignetting in the corners, thankfully this is correctable in Photoshop. The image quality is much better than the 20D and equal to that of my EOS 1V, if not better. Superb for all but sports photography where the frame rate is too slow, but it wasn't bought for that purpose.

Aug 3, 2006
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Registered: Oct 28, 2005
Location: Poland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: FF,excellent resolution,ideal pxel size(8,2 x 8,2 um this same like 1D mark II),large and bright viewfinder,excellent soft touch shutter release, real wide angle,great dynamic range.
Fatal and very poor plastic ! Needs only good lenses.Mirror lock-up buried in menu options.

Aug 2, 2006
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Emile Gregoire
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Registered: Sep 9, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 2660
Review Date: Jul 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: 12.8 megapixel, image quality, autofocus, fullframe, custom function
not as sturdy as the 1d series, print button just for printing

I've been playing with the 5D for a month now (as of july 2006) and I'm impressed. The image quality is superior: great resolution thus lots of detail coupled with very nice color rendition makes for less time spent photoshopping the results to perfection. Autofocus in low light conditions is very good, especially with f/2.8 lenses (or even greater aperture). Easy to control, especially when working together with a 20/30D. Having the option to save all your settings to the 'C'-part of the mode dial is great. Lastly, the amount of pixels leaves next to nothing to be desired: printing on A3+ can be done without compromising DPI or upscaling.

Negatives as mentioned above. Build quality is very good, comparable to the 30D, but lacks the sturdiness and especially the sealing of the bigger brothers from the 1d series. Whoever decided the camera should have a print button should be put out on the streets of Bagdad. At least they could have provided us with the option to assign other functions to the print button (read: MLU).

All in all: great camera, comes heavily recommended.

Jul 18, 2006
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Registered: Oct 13, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 9836
Review Date: Jul 14, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,450.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build quality, Image quality is the best out there. Full-frame really changes the way you shoot. L lenses not needed but really impact your IQ to something better. 12.8mp is really really nice, faster AF than the 20D and much much more accurate. I have a lot more keepers with this lens. The gip as well is very nice and highly recommended for this camera. NO complaints. Bright large viewfinder, multiple folders, large LCD screen.
Direct print button is useless, only 1/200s max with flash. Wish it had more CFs but they are good. No firewire (not that I would use it) and no GPS support. This is a landscape camera and no GPS. Nothing that I gripe about, just something it doesn't have.

Compared to the 20D, this is the biggest step possibly (unless you can afford the 1DsII).

The reasons I chose this camera over the 1Dm2 are many, and I'm very glad I did.

-Full frame adds another dimension to my pictures and the image quality just blows me away on this camera. I read many many reviews before I purchased it and everyone said that there is just something about it's images that just make it look more pleasing (even a hands down on the 1DsII). That was a big kicker for me.
-AF is much faster and more accurate. I can tell the difference and it focuses really fast in low-light. Playback time is really fast (although you should use fast CF cards as slower ones tend to be a lot slower).
-Build quality is excellent and when paired with the grip, it's just a great combo. Feels like a rock (not a heavy brick though like the 1 series). Buy a hand strap and it's a wonderful camera to hold.
-12.8mp really helps when you crop a lot. When you do full-frame portraits the detail resolved (with 135L and 85L primes) is just amazing. Way better (atleast to me) than the 20D.
-I didnt need the weather sealing and extra build of the 1 series, but I'm still impressed with the 5D's build.
-The UI was very similar if not identical to the 20D which I liked a lot. Custom image parameters are easier to use, the Picture Styles are really neat to use (but a lot to learn about each one). They are much larger files, but the quality is worth it. Custom functions are great.
-Oh yes, the extra large viewfinder is a MAJOR bonus over the 20D. Every time I pick up a 20D/30D it just feels like a toy now. The 2.5" LCD is a big plus as well, and is a high quality screen.
-The direct print button is pretty much pointless, wish they had made it a custom button (like mirror lock-up).
-The shutter is a much more quiet than the 20D and significantly different than the 1 series. Helps out in concert halls and performances, no one can hear it.
-Exposure is always great. Spot metering has really added a lot to my shooting style now that I have it. The 5D's dynamic range is exceptional and retains a lot of data in the shadows.
-ISO performance is unmatched out of ANY camera out there, at the moment. ISO 1600 is hardly visible in some instances, don't really use 3200 that much, but the ISO 50 is also great when you want to open up the aperture all the way outside.

By far a professional camera that delivers. I have had no problems or complaints with this camera. It is everything it has made to be. I won't be switching for a long time. Thank you Canon for a great product.

Jul 14, 2006
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Registered: Mar 26, 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 1177
Review Date: Jul 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality (minimal post processing required), build, full frame etc
None really. Except maybe the MLU should be on the direct print button instead.

I won't repeat a lot of what was said before but give you my reason for purchasing. Despite a lot being said about image quality which is true, I think realistically for smaller print sizes at least the difference between 5D and say a 1D MkII or a 30D is not going to be huge. However I used film camera's for 10 years before venturing into digital and I just couldn't get used to the ridiculous compromise of having to crop the image of standard lenses and get used to different FOV's. So i bought the 5D primarily so that it would be like using a film camera and all my lenses work as they should. Go the full frame!!

Jul 8, 2006
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Registered: Apr 22, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 5
Review Date: Jul 5, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, good contrast. Way better than the abysmal 20D I had before. Image quality at 12MP is twice as good as the 8MP I hade before.
Expensive. Some focussing blurred edge problems currently which mean a trip to canon service. Maybe the lens or maybe misaligned sensor.

Jul 5, 2006
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Registered: Feb 25, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 178
Review Date: Jul 5, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: big step up from 20D/30D. close to 1DsII in quality at less than half the price
sometimes i wish i had a 20-frame buffer

Just get this camera, even if you have to sell a lens.


- BIGGEST SURPRISE: ISO 1600 is like ISO 400 on 20D (or ISO 200 on 10D and most Nikons); i rarely use a flash; i have yet to use Noise Ninja on any images; this is amazing and quite liberating

- 12 Mpix + good lenses + lower pixel density ==> very noticeable improvement in sharpness

- flawless auto focus - i use AI servo and its extra AF points along with CF4.1 for manual focus control and separation from AE; hard to imagine the 1DsII being much better here

- full frame + 35mm/1.4 ==> no need to mess with mediocre wider-angle lenses; 35mm is wide enough for me and a great lens; i have even zoomed into some shots and been amazed at the sharpness up-close, and this is not known to be a super sharp lens

- almost as good resolution as $6500 1DsII

- images are sharp out of the camera and require minimal processing compared to lower models

- fine-grain ISO comes in handy sometimes (can do ISO 1250 instead of ISO 1600 sometimes)

- spot metering

- modest improvement in dynamic/color range

- light-weight

- same menu system as lower models

- same batteries as lower models

- larger buffer than 20D

- $2500 after rebate - this is a great deal, i don't understand why everyone is complaining about the price

- i have no desire to upgrade to the 1DsIII when it comes out this Fall; this camera is so good, i feel i can wait until the 1DsIV

Problems Others Have Mentioned But I Have NOT Noticed:

- edge distortions - i have good prime lenses and haven't seen any, but i also haven't looked closely

- blown highlights - all DSLRs have this issue and i think the 5D is probably a little better than the 20D on this one

- viewfinder dust - don't have any yet

- dirty sensor - i have only prime lenses and still haven't hit this (yet)

- banding - no instances yet

- aliasing - no instances yet

Wish List for Canon High End:

- huge improvement in dynamic/color range

- real-time transfer to CF card(s) so one can shoot continuously like film

- 48 Mpix (2x improvement in each dimension)

- variable ISO with a programmable upper limit

- mode to expose for highlights with an option to use spot meter to point to brightest desired highlights

Jul 5, 2006
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Registered: Jan 17, 2006
Location: South Africa
Posts: 567
Review Date: Jul 3, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: All-round great camera.
Expensive, build quality though excellent overall is lacking in battery door, CF card door and terminal covers.

I can't really add to all the gushing praise written so far, so I just wanted to make an observation.

Everyone seems to complain that your lenses have to be sharper to be adequate for use on the 5D. That is not true.

In fact, a given lens will produce a sharper print of a given size when used on a full-frame sensor than it will on a cropped sensor. The reason is both simple and obvious -- the print made from the full-frame sensor is enlarged less. I'm surprised nobody seems to have realised this before.

This doesn't factor in such full-frame problems as vignetting and edge softness, of course. But in my experience so far, using primes and L zooms, they are only minor difficulties.

I might as well make another observation while I'm about it. A certain kind of iconoclast likes to discount the extra megapixels of a high-resolution sensor by pointing out that twice the megapixels gives you only 40% extra linear resolution. Perfectly true, but so what? That's only one way of looking at it.

The other way of looking at it is that you can produce, say, an A4 print of a certain resolution from a 6MP sensor, but you can produce an A3 print of the same resolution from a 12MP sensor. That's twice the area, just like the megapixel count. And surely that's worth it.

Jul 3, 2006
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Registered: Oct 30, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 162
Review Date: Jun 29, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: incredible high ISO performance, great dynamic range, full-frame, 12.7 million pixels, easier to carry (than the 1-series), being able to acheive thin DoF easier than 1.6x crop cameras
demands high quality glass, 13-16MB RAW files chew up storage quickly, 3fps may be too tame for some, exposes all the ugly flaws in the corners of your lens, steep price of admission, if you come from 1.6x crop, all your lens take on whole new perspective

I bought this camera to replace my aging 10D, even though I could ill-afford it at that time.

Looking through the viewfinder for the first time took my breath away. I instantly knew then that I would most likely sell the 10D instead of keeping it as a backup camera, because there was no way I'd be going back to that little, dim viewfinder.

I never had used a film SLR before, so I didn't have any reference when I first started shooting with the 10D. So the 5D viewfinder certainly was impressive!

The next biggest change I had to get used to was that my entire lens-lineup took on a whole new perspective. The 50mm prime that I bought on sale but rarely used now was being a whole lot more. The 16-35L that was glued on the 10D 90% of the time all of a sudden became "too wide" for many situations.

But the bokeh. Oh yes. My shooting style trends towards candid photography, shooting wide open, and even so, I never could really get the kind of bokeh I wanted with my 10D. Moving to the 5D, it all became so much easier to isolate the subject, especially with the 50mm prime, which no longer was too tight for my liking.

Plenty has been said about the high ISO performance on the 5D, so I wont repeat too much, but suffice to say, it is far better than the 10D ever was in holding down the noise and keeping the detail/colors.

Also comparing the images from the 5D to the 10D, I could clearly see that the 5D images had more dynamic range, richer colors and greater detail. I found myself doing little, or no post-processing on the 5D images, as opposed to the 10D, where I would need to tweak some images rather significantly.

This camera will make your 1GB CF cards seem inadequate. It will require subsantially more storage, and the images are far larger and require more CPU processing power. So if you are already on marginal computer hardware, you will find yourself considering a computer upgrade on top of the $3K you already spent!

Make no illusions about it. This is a expensive camera. But for those who do not like to compromise on image quality but dont quite have the cash to swing a 1Ds Mark II, this will do the job!

Jun 29, 2006
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Canon EOS 5D

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
223 295757 Nov 30, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $2,661.82
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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