My Canon EOS 5D Mark II: 2.5 Years and Counting

Canon5dmk2First of all, let me say that I love my 5D Mark II and have since the first day I got it. I was fortunate to be able to pre-order one here in Japan and get my hands on the first batch out of the factory (which I have been to on one occasion.) It is the successor to my 5D which is still working nicely, and at this point has seen less action than its successor. Being a 21.1 MP full-frame digital CMOS camera using the Digic 4 system the images are as accurate in more light conditions than most other cameras, and when paired with a good lens produce amazing detail. For the types of photography I enjoy the most (casual snaps, portraits, natural/low light, and scenery) it is hard to beat the 5D Mark II with its full frame 35mm equivalent sensor and durable design. Other than some dust on the focus overlay that I am pretty sure snuck in a few months after purchasing it while using a non-L lens and has yet to be cleaned out it is still in perfect working order and condition.

In an unusual move for a camera maker Canon has been consistently updating the firmware for the 5D Mark II, even going so far as to add features (more options for HD video recording) and keep it pretty much in line with more recent additions like the 7D. Although I do not shoot as much video as I would like too, I have used the upgraded features and found them to make the shooting experience even nicer. Having pretty much manual control over the video settings including aperture and speed is a pretty nice feature for creative shooting. It is not surprising that it has been long regarded as one of the best choices for photo and video students alike.

Not everything if perfect and rosy, though. There are two things that hold the 5D Mark II back from being the ultimate non-full size prosumer available, and they are fairly big things for some people. The focus system is rather antiquated and has not really improved since the original 5D. To be honest, I preferred the focus system on my EOS 3 film camera to my current 5D Mark II. I also find that the metering system in combination with the exposure compensation custom settings can cause some bad results in quite a few situations. Luckily, the latter can be worked through by dialing down the custom functions and actually paying attention to what I shoot.

Overall, two-and-half years in and many miles later, I still believe that the Canon EOS 5D Mark II is the best prosumer camera out there, and would recommend it to anyone with the desire to shoot in full-frame and the means to buy it!

NOTE:
I have posted the full specs below just for those who like to check out such things:

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

5dmk2(2)
Specifications (taken from the Canon website)
Type
Digital, single-lens reflex, AF/AE camera

Recording Media
CF Card Type I and II, UDMA-compliant CF cards, via external media (USBv.2.0 hard drive, via optional Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E4A)

Image Format
36.0mm x 24.0mm (35mm Full-frame)

Compatible Lenses
Canon EF lenses

Lens Mount
Canon EF mount

Image Sensor

Type
High-sensitivity, high-resolution, large single-plate CMOS sensor

Pixels
Effective pixels: Approx. 21.1 megapixels

Total Pixels
Total pixels: Approx. 22.0 megapixels

Aspect Ratio
3:2 (Horizontal: Vertical)

Color Filter System
RGB primary color filters

Low Pass Filter
Fixed position in front of the CMOS sensor

Dust Deletion Feature
(1) Automatic sensor cleaning
(2) Manual cleaning of sensor
(3) Dust Delete Data appended to the captured image

Recording System

Recording Format
Design rule for Camera File System 2.0

Image Format
Still: JPEG, RAW (14-bit, Canon original), sRAW1, sRAW2, RAW+JPEG
Video: MOV

File Size
(1) Large/Fine: Approx. 6.1MB (5616 x 3744 pixels)
(2) Large/Nomal: Approx. 3.0MB (5616 x 3744 pixels)
(3) Medium/Fine: Approx. 3.6MB (4080 x 2720 pixels)
(4) Medium/Normal: Approx. 1.9MB (4080 x 2720 pixels)
(5) Small/Fine: Approx. 2.1MB (2784 x 1856 pixels)
(6) Small/Normal: Approx. 1.0MB (2784 x 1856 pixels)
(7) RAW: Approx. 25.8MB (5616 x 3744 pixels)
(8) sRAW 1: Approx. 14.8MB (3861 x 2574 pixels)
(9) sRAW 2: Approx. 10.8MB (2784 x 1856 pixels)
Exact file sizes depend on the subject, ISO speed, Picture Style, etc.

Recording Functions
With the WFT-E4A attached, image recording to the CF card and to the USB external media connected to the WFT-E4A will be possible as follows:
(1) Standard
(2) Automatic switching of recording media
(3) Separate recordings according to image-recording quality
(4) Recording images having the same size

Backup Recording
Enabled with WFT-E4A attached

File Numbering
Consecutive numbering, auto reset, manual reset.
Possible to create new folders and select folders in the CF card

RAW + JPEG Simultaneous Recording
Provided (RAW/sRAW+JPEG also possible)

Color Space
sRGB, Adobe RGB

Picture Style
Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User Def. 1-3

White Balance

Settings
Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten Light, White Fluorescent Light, Flash, Custom, Color Temperature setting

Auto White Balance
Auto white balance with the image sensor

Color Temperature Compensation
White balance correction: ±9 stops in full-stop increments
White balance bracketing: ±3 stops in full-stop increments
Blue/amber direction or magenta/green direction possible

Color Temperature Information Transmission
Provided

Viewfinder

Type
Eye-level pentaprism

Coverage
Vertical/Horizontal approx. 98%

Magnification
Approx. 0.71x (-1m-1 with 50mm lens at infinity)

Eye Point
Approx. 21mm (from eyepiece lens center)

Dioptric Adjustment Correction
-3.0 to +1.0m-1 (diopter)

Focusing Screen
Interchangeable (Eg-D: Grid lines, Eg-S [point of Focus], Eg-A standard focusing screen provided

Mirror
Quick-return half mirror (transmission: reflection ratio of 40:60, no mirror cutoffwith EF600mm f/4L IS USM or shorter lenses)

Viewfinder Information
AF information (AF points, focus confirmation light), Exposure information(shutter speed, aperture, ISO speed, AE lock, exposure level, spot meteringcircle), Flash information (flash ready, flash exposure compensation, High-speedsync, FE lock), Image information (Highlight tone priority, monochromeshooting, maximum burst, white balance correction, CF card information),battery information

Depth Of Field Preview
Enabled with depth-of-field preview button

Autofocus

Type
TTL-CT-SIR AF-dedicated CMOS sensor

AF Points
9 AF Points (1 Cross Type) + 6 AF Assist Points

AF Working Range
EV -0.5-18 (at 73°F/23°C, ISO 100)

Focusing Modes
Auto, One-Shot AF, Predictive AI Servo AF, AI Focus AF, Manual focusing (MF)

AF Point Selection
Automatic selection, manual selection

Selected AF Point Display
Superimposed in viewfinder and indicated on LCD panel

AF Assist Beam
When an external EOS-dedicated Speedlite is attached to the camera, the AF-assist beam from the Speedlite will be emitted when necessary.

Exposure Control

Metering Modes
35-zone TTL full-aperture metering

Evaluative metering (linkable to any AF point)
Partial metering (approx. 8% of viewfinder at center)
Spot metering (approx. 3.5% of viewfinder at center)
Center-weighted average metering
Metering Range
EV 1-20 (at 73°F/23°C with EF50mm f/1.4 USM lens, ISO 100)

ISO Speed Range
ISO 100-6400 (in 1/3-stop or 1-stop increments)
ISO 100-3200 set automatically
Extension settable (with C.Fn.I-3-1): ISO 50 (L), 12800 (H1), 25600 (H2)
High Tone Priority settable: ISO 200-6400

Exposure Compensation
Manual: ±2 stops in 1/3- or 1/2-stop increments (can be combined with AEB)

AE Lock
Auto: Applied in One-Shot AF mode with evaluative metering when focus isachieved
Manual: By AE lock button

Shutter

Vertical-travel, mechanical, Electronically-controlled, focal-plane shutter 1/8000 to 1/60 sec., X-sync at 1/200 sec.
1/8000 to 30 sec., bulb (Total shutter speed range. Available range varies by shooting mode) Soft-touch electromagnetic release 10-sec. or 2-sec. delay Remote control with N3-type terminal. (Wireless remote controller RC-1/RC-5 can also be used.)

Type
Vertical-travel, mechanical, Electronically-controlled, focal-plane shutter

Shutter Speeds
1/8000 to 1/60 sec., X-sync at 1/200 sec.
1/8000 to 30 sec., bulb (Total shutter speed range. Available range varies by shooting mode)

Shutter Release
Soft-touch electromagnetic release

Self Timer
10-sec. or 2-sec. delay

Remote Control
Remote control with N3-type terminal. (Wireless remote controller RC-1/RC-5 can also be used.)

External Speedlite

Zooming to Match Focal Length
Provided

Flash Metering
E-TTL II autoflash

Flash Exposure Compensation
±2 stops in 1/3- or 1/2-stop increments

FE Lock
Provided

External Flash Settings
Flash function settings, Flash C.Fn settings

Drive System

Drive Modes
Single, Continuous, and Self-timer (10-sec. or 2-sec. delay)

Continuous Shooting Speed
Max. 3.9 shots/sec.

Maximum Burst
JPEG (Large/Fine): approx. 78 (CF)/approx. 310 (UDMA CF)
RAW: approx. 13/approx. 14 (UDMA CF)
RAW+JPEG (Large/Fine): approx. 8 (CF/UDMA CF)
Based on Canon’s testing standards with a 2GB CF card, continuous shooting, ISO 100 and Standard Picture Style
Varies depending on the subject, CF card brand, image-recording quality,ISO speed, drive mode, Picture Style, etc.

Live View Functions

Shooting Modes
Still photo shooting and video shooting

Focusing
Quick mode (Phase-difference detection)
Live mode/Face Detection Live mode (Contrast detection)
Manual focusing (5x/10x magnification possible)

Metering Modes
Evaluative metering with the image sensor (still photos)
Center-weighted average metering (video)

Metering Range
EV 0-20 (at 73°F/23°C with EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens, ISO 100)

Grid Display
Provided (Two-type grid displays)

Exposure Simulation
Provided

Silent Shooting
Provided (Mode 1 and 2)

LCD Monitor

Type
TFT color, liquid-crystal monitor

Monitor Size
3.0 in.

Pixels
Approx. 920,000 (VGA)

Coverage
Approx. 100% (viewing angle: approx. 170°)

Brightness Control
Auto, 7 levels provided

Interface Languages
25 (English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Portuguese, Finnish, Italian,Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Greek, Russian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, Ukraine, Turkish, Arabic, Thai, Simplified/Traditional Chinese,Korean, Japanese)

Playback

Display Format
Single image, Single image + Image-recording quality/shooting information,histogram, 4- or 9-image index, magnified view (approx. 1.5x-10x), rotatedimage (auto/manual), image jump (by 10/100 images, index screen, byshooting date, by folder), slide show (all images/selected by date/folder)

Highlight Alert
Provided (Overexposed highlights blink)

Image Protection and Erase

Protection
Single images can be erase-protected or not

Erase
Single image, check-marked images or all images in the CF card can be erased (except protected images)

Direct Printing

Compatible Printers
PictBridge-compatible printers

Printable Images
JPEG images compliant to Design rule for Camera File System (DPOF printing possible) and RAW/sRAW images captured with the EOS 5D Mark II

Easy Print feature
Provided

DPOF: Digital Print Order Format

DPOF
Version 1.1 compatible

Direct Image Transfer

Compatible Images
JPEG and RAW images
Only JPEG images can be transferred as wallpaper on the personal computer screen

Customization

Custom Functions
Total 25

Camera User Settings
Register under Mode Dial’s C1, C2 and C3 positions

My Menu Registration
Provided

Power Source

Battery
One Battery Pack LP-E6
AC power can be supplied via AC Adapter Kit ACK-E6 with Battery Grip BG-E6 attached.

Battery Check
Auto

Power Saving
Provided. Power turns off after 1, 2, 4, 8, 15 or 30 min.

Date/Time Battery
One CR1616 lithium-ion battery

Start-up Time
Approx. 0.1 sec.

Dimensions and Weight

Dimensions (W x H x D)
Approx. 6.0 x 4.5 x 3.0 in./152.0 x 113.5 x 75.0mm

Weight
Approx. 28.6 oz./810g (body only)

Operating Environment

Working Temperature Range
32-104°F/0-40°C

Working Humidity Range
85% or less

Published by

jeremy

Photographer, road cyclist, wanderer, wonderer, music listener, sometimes sheepish but never a follower.

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