Canon EOS 5D Mark II Review
The EOS 5D Mark II is the successor to the popular 5D, which was the first somewhat affordable full-frame DSLR. It is one of the high-end DSLRs that Canon has to offer that has the capability to record in HD. It is a great combination of features, performance, and photo quality. After three years the 5D held its position as Canon’s favorite high-end camera, the 5D Mark II took its place as the improved, yet still lovable replacement of the 5D. It still holds its title as one of the most popular DSLRs in the photo community and a must for anyone who is serious about photography and needs an upgrade.
The 5D Mark II pretty much has the same dimensions and weight as the 5D, at 6.0 x 4.5 x 3.0 inches and weighing 28.6 ounces. The control layout is the same, so dedicated 5D users will be familiar with upgrade. The 5D Mark II has a 3.0” LCD screen and a new viewfinder (with 98% coverage). There is a top status LCD that displays settings on the camera. Canon has added a weather sealing around the card cover and the material of the 5D Mark II ensures confidence in the user.
On its dial, in addition to the basic PASM, auto, bulb, there are now three custom setting slots and the Creative Auto mode. The CA mode is seen in less professional DSLRs and aimed at less experienced photographers to easily change settings. However, 5D Mark II users can either use this as a shortcut to settings or simply use other options. Again, the button layout is the same, but most of them have the same texture. The 5D Mark II has a great battery grip and is not overly heavy and provides a good grip if you’re planning on taking pictures while holding the camera. If you want to use large lens, a good tripod will be able to hold the weight up.
The camera doesn’t come with its own built-in flash (you should have your own if you’re getting a 5D Mark II at this point anyway), but a Speedlite will work well. We suggest you get a high speed and capacity CompactFlash card for the best experience, especially if you plan on recording videos because several minutes of HD video will require a few GBs.
Before you begin taking pictures, you can change the sensitivity from ISO 50 to 25600. As expected, like the 5D, the picture quality is superb, even on default settings. Even at ISO 256000, details are still maintained and the picture is somewhat clean. Resolution goes up to 21.1 megapixels. The 5D Mark II uses a 9-point autofocus system, but takes time to focus under low light. Colors are accurate and there is little noise. When using Auto White Balance, keep in mind that it will produce a warm picture under incandescent light, so don’t depend on this when using it indoors.
However, the speed at which the 5D Mark II takes pictures isn’t as fast as some other models. It powers up and shoots in 0.3 second, shoots in 0.3-0.6 second under different settings, and continuously shoots with 0.4 second between each picture. This means it’ll take pictures at 3.9 fps, which is a great improvement from the 5D’s 3.0 fps. It’s the slowest of new models when it comes to burst shooting, but sacrifices speed for a super high resolution.
The most notable feature is the capability to record HD videos. It can record up to 1080p (1920 x 1080) with clips up to 12 minutes (about 4 GB). It uses a built-in mono microphone, but doesn’t have a wind filter. Like with many DSLRs, the ability to record videos is not the reason to choose the camera itself. The camera is meant for taking pictures and the video feature is just a great addition. It records at 30fps, which is good for video taking on a DSLR. You can’t autofocus, but you can make changes like exposure. If you want to experiment or plan to use it regularly, you can invest in more high quality lens. Videos recorded are clear and are high-quality, but again, is just a great addition.
- Full-frame DSLR with 3.0” LCD screen
- Resolution up to 21.1 megapixels
- Sensitivity ranges from ISO 50 to 256000
- Three custom setting menus
- Viewfinder with 98% coverage
- Able to record videos in HD up to 1080p
- Dimensions of 6.0 x 4.5 x 3.0 inches, weight 28.6 ounces
- Continuous shooting rate 3.9 fps
- 9-point autofocus system
- Integrated Cleaning System designed to work with full-frame cameras
- 3.0” LCD screen with 98% coverage
- Can record videos in HD up to 1080p
- Excellent performance and image quality
- 21.1 megapixels
- Great ISO performance
- Easy to use custom setting menus
- Weak microphone
- No built-in flash
- AF slow in low light
- Not the fastest burst mode in its class
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is a must-have for anyone who wants a high-end full-frame DSLR but want to stay within a comfortable price range. Amazing photo quality, large resolutions, great ISO range, HD video recording, and the features and familiarity of the beloved 5D create the package called the 5D Mark II. It may be a bit slower compared to other models, but its image quality is hard to compete against. It is a great investment and will be taken down the road for many years. If you’re looking to make photography more than a hobby, or just an amazing full-frame DSLR well worth its price, this is it.
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
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Prices last updated on: Fri, 24 May 2013 18:44:05 PDT