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Canon EOS 5D Mark II

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166 212778 Feb 1, 2015
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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: Mar 2, 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 2, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Beautiful, solid and comfortable feel, and I love the function buttons. 21MP Full Frame. Liveview. HD movie mode.
Can' buy a spare battery anywhere in UK, and I've tried everywhere over the past 2 months. Canon please get production/distribution sorted. No built in flash (this may turn out to be a plus point later).

Hello all (first post)

I bought the Canon Eos 5D mark II in late December 2008.
This is my first full frame camera.
I love the weigh and comfortable feel.

I'm a newcomber to digital SLR cameras yet this is my fourth D-SLR in 2 years having previously owned a Pentax istDL, Pentax K10D, Canon Eos 40D.
This is the one I will be using over the next few years, if not longer.
I sat down the other day with the manual in one hand and the camera in the other and as I read the manual I played with the camera.
Press this button, rotate the dial etc.. I learnt a lot about the functions/settings.
I can now alter the shutter speed, the aperture, the iso etc.. in a few seconds, this would of taken me several minutes previously.
I was like a kid with a new toy.

Read the manual and check out and try all the functions/settings etc..

Mar 2, 2009
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Registered: Jan 10, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 81
Review Date: Mar 2, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,690.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Quite an upgrade from my 20D
None at the moment

Mar 2, 2009
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Registered: Jan 30, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1964
Review Date: Mar 1, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: High resolution, less noise than 5D, larger lcd screen, longer battery life, auto sensor vibration
won't take 5D batteries

My shooting is almost exclusively landscape scenes. I loved my 5D because of its clean files, high resolution, agreat colors and low noise. When I got the 5DII I was expecting to have more noise because of all the extra pixels but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there was less noise than the very good 5D. Most of my shooting involves long exposures at low light so I frequently push my camera's noise capabilities to the limit.

The resolution on the 5DII is very good and is noticeable when I make very large prints. If you are interested in a camera that is capable of creating very large and clean files for large prints, it is a great bargain.

For 5DII landscape examples, please look at my "new images" gallery on my website:

Mar 1, 2009
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Registered: May 23, 2008
Location: Finland
Posts: 3
Review Date: Feb 23, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: 21.1MP, full frame, ISO range, very clean images in terms of noise up to ISO 3200, weather proofing, feels sturdy. LCD display is the best I have seen. The ability to shoot Full HD video is a really nice bonus.
Price, weight, flimsy feeling CF card lid.

I got my copy today, and I have been testing the camera for 3 hours now.

It is quite a jump up in every respect from the 400D I used to have.

The best aspect for me is the possibility to use really high ISO settings without terrible noise levels.

I have used a load of photo gear in the past 20+ years I have been dabbling in photography, ranging from the crappy russian Zenit film SLRs of the early 50īs to this monster.

This is the best camera I can imagine for my style and subjects of photography.

I was originally going to buy a 50D, but the salesman hooked me on this one. I have not regretted a moment since I opened the box.

This thing oozes PRO feeling. And the images you can get with this one are just more amazing than words can describe.

Unless a major disaster or armed robbery happens, this baby is going to stay with me for a very long time.

Feb 23, 2009
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Registered: Jul 16, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 970
Review Date: Feb 16, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Nice Color rendition improved iso range and low light capabilities live view is a nice added sweetener that will expand creative possibilities.
Overpriced considering the build,exaggerated iso performance,different battery + grip = another canon money grab.

Overall the files and slightly improved iso capabilities and noise reduction warranted the upgrade however the build quality is reminiscent of a 50D with an inflated price tag.

Feb 16, 2009
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Registered: Apr 19, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 7038
Review Date: Feb 14, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,699.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: extremely sharp photos, great ISO range, all the advantages of a full-frame CMOS sensor, very high LCD display quality, lens microadjustment possibility
minor issues with the built quality: CF card cover and location of on/off switch. Expensive battery.

I bought the camera to upgrade from my APC-S Canon DSLR camera (350D) to full-frame. I missed full-frame since I was used to it from my former film SLR cameras.

I am simply amazed by the superb resolution quality of the sensor in the 5D MkII. It is possible to crop parts of photos to 100% without loss of sharpness! This camera makes an extremely good use of high quality lenses - you get razor-sharp images with all the advantages of full frame considering depth of field. I am shooting in RAW format which gives photo files of 24 MBytes each - I recommend also getting a 16 GB CF card with at least 30 MB/s writing speed which is also fine to record high-quality videos (up to 29 minutes with 16GB).

The LCD screen is great, also the menus are pretty easy to learn and to remember. Definetely you need to make changes in the custom functions menus depending on your preferred shooting style. This camera allows you to create your own menu settings with faster access to some otherwise more hidden submenus (e.g. for mirror lockup, LiveView/movie funct. setup, battery lifetime).

I didn't use a lot the video function yet, but it seems to work fine with a high video quality. There are several workarounds described online of how to manually change aperture and ISO number for videos. Unfortunately such normally necessary menu option was (maybe purposely) left out by Canon. I will mostly use the 5D MkII for taking photos instead of videos, so it is still ok for me now.

I have only minor aspects to criticize regarding the built style of the camera. I personally don't like the tiny on/off switch with its position at the bottom of the camera - if you attach the camera on a tripod plate it is a hurdle to turn the switch.
The CF card cover is pretty cheap for the price of such camera. When holding the 5D MkII with your right hand, the CF cover tends to make sometimes a creaking noise due to the thin plastic used (but it is fortunately not loose). Just the body construction could have been better here.

Additional batteries are still very difficult to get (02/2009). One battery might not be enough for a whole day of taking photos including use of LiveView and video. The battery is overpriced IMO (it hopefully comes down in price over time).

I would have given 10 points of rating, but deducted 1 point for the built style.

Feb 14, 2009
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Registered: Apr 8, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 93
Review Date: Feb 12, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,699.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Incredible image quality, expanded dynamic range function is invaluable, ISO ability to cry for, full frame sensor is how all cameras should be. Truly professional grade.
expensive, proprietary batteries. menu system too spread out across too many tabs. Going to take forever to commit to memory

As a professional portrait photographer I don't have the money to drop on equipment like I did when this was just a hobby and I was working full time in the IT industry, so this was a big investment for me. I knew I'd pushed that 20d so far past it's limits it was getting silly, and I knew it's image quality had been sliding for a year or more, but I was still hesitant. I'd shot with a 5d before, in another photographer's studio, but didn't really see that the upgrade to that camera was as significant as to warrant the cash output. In essence I was all around hesitant to make the step and be at all let down.

I received my 5dMKII 2 days ago and took it, that evening, to my child's science fair. With the 580EX on top, I was baffled, stunned and amazed at the difference in image quality from the single very first shot, before I'd even played with a setting. Straight from the box. Because of the expanded ISO range, I was shooting at 1600 - 3200 and the background of the gym was beautifully visible, not just a lighted subject in a black void. throughout the night I continued to marvel at shots I was getting that I thought for sure wouldn't have come out on my 20d.

the next day I pulled it out as my 14 mo old was sitting in her high chair mashing food into her hair and nose and just snapped off some quick ambient light shots. Having done this particular shot hundreds of times over the last year, I was immediately floored by the increased dynamic range of the images. What was once a hard line of light was now a gradual fading around her face, what was once a black background was now the faded darkened brick of our fireplace.

Beyond that, I'd always thought I had a bad copy of my Tamron 28-70 F2.8. Now I realize I just had a camera that wasn't taking advantage of it at all. It's crisp, clean, clear, beautiful. I'm not a pixel peeper, I do this for a living, so it might not be the same quality as some particular lens, blah blah blah, but for bringing a bit of joy to a mother's face it's always been plenty. Now it's even more!

Today at noon I'm off to photograph a client's infant which will be my first paying gig with the camera. I don't think I've been this excited about a session in years!

I don't think I could write enough good things about this camera, at this point. If it came with the portrait grip built in, it'd be nirvana.

My 1 complaint, as listed above, is that with my 20d, I had a backpack full of cheap imitation batteries, all of which always worked fine, all of which were 1800ma, and lasted even longer than the canon ones, and all of which cost $15 at the most. Now we have "intelligent" batteries, and it doesn't seem like anyone has figured out how to make a real knockoff yet. There are imitations on e-bay, but they don't seem to me to be actually functioning with the new intelligent battery monitoring system and don't infact seem to be registering with the camera at all as far as battery life display goes. Boo!

Feb 12, 2009
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Registered: Oct 31, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 5626
Review Date: Feb 12, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,700.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: +image quality +resolution +full frame +price +high res LCD
-autofocus is weak -shutter lag is disappointing

This is my first 5D, moving up from the 40D, which I love for wildlife and kids sports shooting. I've had the 5D MII for about 3 weeks, so I'm still getting used to it. So my perspective is based on a couple years of 40D experience, none with the original 5D, and just a few week with the MII.

The first thing I noticed going from 40D to 5D Mark II was the relatively sluggish shutter response on the 5D. I still find it bothersome. The autofocus, especially in low light, is also disappointing. Yes, the resolution and image quality are really great, but those flaws are tough to accept at this point in the product life cycle. Come on Canon!

The LCD is great, and having full frame for the first time has opened up all kinds of shooting for me. My experience with high ISO shooting so far on the 5D mII don't warrant the accolades that most have given the camera, but I don't shoot in those conditions too often.

So all in all, I wanted to be wowed, and I'm impressed in many ways, but my expectations were perhaps too high.

Feb 12, 2009
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Registered: Oct 6, 2008
Location: Germany
Posts: 90
Review Date: Feb 11, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: 21mpix, high ISO, AF is much better, display, built quality, menu
wish it had ~6fps instead of video

I am working with the camera for 2 weeks now and covered basketball and did two documentaries plus some PJ work.

The camera performed flawless in all situations and is a huge upgrade comming from a 1DII.

I dont even miss the 8.5fps but they were handy in some situations.

But fullframe and the image quality was worth it.
All in all, this is by far the greatest camera I could think of.

Feb 11, 2009
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Registered: Feb 10, 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1
Review Date: Feb 10, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: The feedback
Listening to feedback from people who think everything should be perfect but realising we are not in an ideal world especially when trailblazing new DSLR products come out hence major slagging off.

I'm waiting for my 5D mk2 which hopefully will be within the next 10 days. I can't wait.
Good and bad reviews aside let's be honest here, You would be unlucky to choose a DSLR these days which will give anything other than superb images. I take my hat off to Canon and Nikon but let's not forget the most important ingredient....Us!!!

Feb 10, 2009
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Daan B
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Registered: Aug 15, 2007
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 7898
Review Date: Feb 6, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: See below
See below

This a follow-up on the review I wrote earlier on...

The reviewed 5D2 appeared not in a healthy shape. It had a vertical purple line running through the back LCD continuously. Besides that, the kit lens (24-105L) was very soft beyond 70mm.

I returned the 5D2 kit and got a full refund Sad

Picked up another 5D2 kit from another seller. The cam was OK (apart from a creaking CF door), but the kit lens had a stuck diaphragm blade. So I returned the second kit for a third one... Sad

The third 5D2 came with a missing light shield plate... :O

I couldn't believe it... they sold me a 2500,00 cam MISSING A VITAL PART. WTF are they doing at their factories?

Again, I got a full refund. But three times trying is enough. No more 5D2 for me Sad

I contacted Canon NL about it, and they said there were more problems with the 5D2 related to built quality (creaking CF doors, etc), total shut down issues and missing parts than with every other cam right after its release. A bigger percentage than the usual margin of error for newly released cameras. All they can do is report back to Japan, hoping something will change in the production process.

I have tried all three cameras though (I didn't notice the missing light shield plate of the 3rd 5D2 at first, so the mirror got pretty banged up). All came with FW 1.0.6 installed. The first two were upgraded to FW 1.0.7. The third one was not.

The 5D2's with FW 1.0.7 installed gave worse IQ than the one with FW 1.0.6 installed. More shadow noise at lower ISO's and magenta casts/spots over the entire frame, especially in dark and low-contrast areas of the frame. I shot RAW and converted with LR 2.2 and DPP 3.5.2 (no difference there).

Maybe the difference in IQ was FW/RAW converter related or maybe there was something wrong with any of these cams. Well, there was something wrong with two of them... but I mean some sort of software/hardware errors that affect IQ.

Too bad I already rated this product a 8... Because after what I have been through, I wouldn't want to rate it higher than a 1. Canon is in big trouble and needs to get its act together sooner than later IMHO.

If you want to buy a 5D2... shoot a lot and keep your eye out for missing parts or other weird things. For me, I have lost faith in Canon and its 5D2.

Feb 6, 2009
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Registered: Apr 24, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 5361
Review Date: Feb 3, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,700.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Please read the review
Please read the review

Very good all-around camera to have
I have test the camera with all my lens and images they look grate, from the 16-35mm always up to 500mm
I do like the image quality over all , but I was very disappointed again with Canon, for the Custom functions they give you in this camera
If you never use the 1D cameras you will never know the deference,Big jump backwards from the 1D, and not to big jump from the 40D,50D even the original 5D.Except the 21 Megapixels, video , high ISO , and LCD and some small marketing updates they have done
Where I will like to see more Camera customization then a video or the better LCD, example:
Exposure Compensation I will like to see -/+3 and not -/+2
Bracketing 3-5 shots not only 3 ,maybe 19 focusing points and not only 9
I don't thing I'm asking to much for the money I have spent for this camera
If you shooting lots of pictures at sunset and sunrise be prepare if you magnified your images at 100% to see lot's noise in the shadows
And this is very disappointing, because 80% of my pictures is between those golden hours , looks to me no-one bother to test the camera at low ISO. Every one is happy because the camera shoots 100,000.00 ISO, If this was up to me how to make the camera, I will make the ISO better from 100 alway up to 6400
And not worried for the 24,000.00 ISO.
And the side grip it can be a little longer this way I can fit my pinkie properly on the grip, and hold the camera firmly ,without having to spent $260.00 more
For the extra grip and the battery
Battery life its not that grate also, it's a must to have 2-3 batteries with you for a long day of shooting
I use the camera for landscapes and the review I have give you its only for the stile photography I'm doing , and not for weddings, sports .....
Overall camera gets 810 from me, and my biggest disappointment was the bad low ISO in the shadows
I hope some day Canon shorten the big jump between the 5D II and the 1D cameras,with another cameras or better 5D III
And stop giving us updates for marketing, we need quality and better customizations for the jobs we do
Thanks to all and don't forget this is only my opinion

Feb 3, 2009
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Registered: Feb 3, 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 3, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated


Anyone fine the 5D2 misses on exposure and focus sometimes? I am getting this much much more than on my old 5D.

If a shoot a burst, the odd shot within the burst is simply underexposed.

I read somewhere that Canon are bringing their latest DSLRs in line with "industry standard" exposure references. The result being a more conservative exposure.

Also, focus just seems less accurate than the 5D1.

Should I calibrate all my lenses (micro adjust them)?


PS I'm only a keen amateur - but I guess I am a prime marketing target for the 5D2.

Feb 3, 2009
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Registered: May 6, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 3488
Review Date: Feb 3, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: resolution, video, menu system, custom functions, microfocus adjustment
shutter lag, autofocus

No camera is without flaws. For my style of shooting, 5D2 has no significant flaws, and is a great value.
I do wish the other 8 autofocus points were cross type sensitive. I dont need more of them, just maybe more accurate peripheral ones.
The shutter lag remains to be worse than in house 40D and 50D as well as d700. I wish this was different, and it should be given the target market.

Feb 3, 2009
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Registered: Jul 11, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 366
Review Date: Feb 3, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Super fantastic IQ, 14 bit, amazing video output (I like this but not everyone will), compact, good centre point AF (never out of focus), writes the images to fast CF cards plenty fast enough, nice output and look of images. Lens micro adjustment is great! The live view is great and the image preview is great, at last I can see my image is sharp or not! Battery life is pretty good.
OK, I'm comparing with my 1DmkIII so all may be a tad unfair: Cheap build (for a Ģ2,000 camera I'd like more solid please), slow response of shutter, lacks enough widely spaced AF cross points. The metering is so so. Your computer may feel a little slow now!

I give this camera a 9.9. It's got serious IQ. It's able to kick out very, very good images with heaps of detail and nice tonal range. The quality is devastatingly good and there is serious cropping flexibility.

As much as I love my 1DmkIII, this has far better sharpness out of the box though the 1D still has a nicer overall image quality. This is an excellent compact(ish) DSLR that makes photography fun. Shooting with wide angle lenses is fantastic and the ability to use all of my lenses to shoot video is just amazing - and what amazing video IQ this camera produces!

Just to digress about video: It's not everyone's thing but even for Joe Average, being able to record occasional footage is handy. I used a big 3 chip HD cam and have sold it as this is producing stunning results. My 85L is just mind blowing as is the 16-35L. Top marks to Canon for innovation.

The downsides are few, the shutter response lags the 1D bodies by a margin and the build is less than I have been used to with the pro bodies but my last original 5D lasted 3 years of heavy use and was still going strong so I expect that this will too!

From a practical point of view, being able to tweak each lens using the AF micro adjust is brilliant and a great 35L can become even better. Being able to review the images that have been taken in close detail is very, very useful and the new larger preview image and better screen give a clear idea of what has been taken.

The camera is a well thought out and worthy successor to the 5D. It's not only the 'sensible' choice it's also one of the most creative machines available. Now, can they graft all of this in to a 1D body and a super fast responsive shutter? :-)

Feb 3, 2009
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Registered: Feb 3, 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 3, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,200.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Improvements over 5D1: Speed and ISO.
Not convinced that it's focussing as well as the 5D mark 1. And AWB seems much redder under incandescent lighting that the mark 1.

I have just upgraded to the 5D2 from the original 5D (which I'll call the mark 1 here on in).

It's weird. It does everything on the tin but somehow I'm just not "wowed" by the shots. I seem to be missing focus more often than with the mark 1 and AWB seems way off when shooting interior (and I don't mean flourescent).

I always shoot RAW by the way, with neutral settings. I view the results in Apple's Aperture.

The first body I got I sent back to Jessops and got replaced. I was convinced it was under exposing by almost a full stop, more even at times. But it seemed to depend on the lighting conditions: more prone to error under lower light esp. indoors. Also, I had developed with the mark 1, a style of shooting whereby I'll run off a burst at my subject and expect a 50% hit rate viz focus. And usually got more than that. But with the mark 2 my keepers are much thinner on the ground. But add to this that some shots WITHIN THAT BURST are simply under exposed - even in comparison to the other shots in that burst. Odd. It's like the Digic IV just skipped a beat or something.

I use AF and matrix usually, but leaning more and more towards spot metering in camera, with my thumb married to the Exposure lock button.

Maybe I am doing something wrong? Do I need to calibrate my lenses? I have tested the Mark 2 with a 70-200 ISM 2.8 L and a 24-105L. Both a bit off all the time somehow.

Anyway - the second copy seems identical to the first in all respects. Meaning, still prone to underexposing. Still checking on focus side of this body.

I have rumaged in forums and sensed that Canon my have changed it's exposure reference point, to be more in line with industry standard. Can anyone here verify this? As far as I understand, this would imply a "lower" exposure to be "correct".

Or is it that the 14 bit detail increase means that one should be exposing in a slightly diferent way to take advantage? To grab those bits at the bottom in effect.

I am (clearly) only a keen amateur (heck, I am who this camera is aimed at lets face it) and I would welcome constructive criticism (or total destruction of it's argued well). Please tell me where I'm going wrong.

Thinking of replacing this with a 1ds3, but wondering if this is sheer madness just to get snappier (much) focus.

So - anyone else puzzled by the exposure and foxus side of things?


Feb 3, 2009
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Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
166 212778 Feb 1, 2015
Recommended By Average Price
90% of reviewers $2,637.76
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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