back to article Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Back in 2005, the EOS 5D digital SLR marked the best way into full frame (24x36mm) shooting for Canon owners. Optically, this model was on a par with 35mm cameras of old. With a sensor this size, finally, here was a way of getting the original focal length of your old 28mm lens back from the scaling beyond 40mm that occurs when …


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  1. Scary


    "Back in 2005, the EOS 5D digital SLR marked the only way into full frame (24x36mm) shooting for Canon owners"

    Canon had the full frame 1Ds as early as 2002...

  2. Volker Hett

    Only way?

    No, it was the second and somewhat low cost way into "full frame" digital SLR photography and only for Canon users. No other digital SLR maker had a 24x36 mm sensor camera then,

  3. Malcolm Weir

    Not exactly an accurate start...

    An interesting review... thank you.

    BUT in 2005 you could happily buy a 1Ds or (I think) a 1Ds Mk 2, which gave you full-frame goodness. The only real distinction for between the 1Ds and 5D was the cost (important, but I think most customers for the 5D would be happy with a 1Ds!)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Video - Pah!

    As a 5D owner I would say that the automated sensor cleaning, greater ISO range and higher resolution are all welcome additions. The rest is all crap.

    If I wanted to shoot HD video I'd buy a video camera. Live View seems to be for camera phone numpties with a little too much cash.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who wants video on a high end still camera...?

    The interesting question with the 5d MKII is how many semi-pro photographers want video option on their still camera?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Volker Hett

    The 1Ds was *not* the first 24x36mm "full frame" sensor DSLR - that was the Contax N, which was released about 6 months earlier than the Canon.

  7. Mark y Silver badge

    A little FYI

    "The only real distinction for between the 1Ds and 5D was the cost"

    Not to be too pedantic but the other difference is that the 1-series cameras are built for pros and their accepted rugged usage. Better seals from the elements and more forgiving when they get the shite knocked out of them. Dual cards as well (jpg to SDHC and raw to compact flash etc).

    Canon normally advise 5D for top of the range for most people, 1-series for journos etc.

    I've found the video to be far superior to that of my HV30 camcorder. Primarily I'd say it's because the lens in front (24-105) costs more than the camcorder did. Amazing clarity and sharpness. Got to remember to turn the image stabiliser off though as the mic picks it up.

  8. Dave

    Imaging isn't about the megapixels

    In your conclusion: "and produces better images, thanks to a hefty megapixel count"

    Sorry but that's the sort of question asked by the masses buying a camera from PC World to take their holiday snaps would ask. MPs are irrelevant with DSLRs ... suppose I should have gone to a photography website for a decent camera review, after all, how good would the photographers of the net be at reviewing PCs?

  9. Stu

    Now where is it I read...

    ...that theres little point really going above around 12 megapixels without also upgrading your optics, ie paying Canon ridiculous sums of money for their L class optics at about F/2.8 or even f/2.

    I think it might have been that DPReview website.

    Moral of the story - dont shell out for this and expect great results without also shelling out thousands for really decent lenses - but then you knew that when you shelled out the two grand for this didn't you!?

    Puts this right up into the a rich kids toy category, or a professional portrait/journo photographer company shellout.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    It's worth pointing out that the EOS-mount Kodak DCS Pro SLR/c also predated the Canon 5D. Apart from Canon's 1Ds, the other early 35mm-format digital SLRs were the Contax N Digital, which is now a mythic antique, and the other Kodak DCS models, which were generally unimpressive. And the Pentax MZ-D, which was never released to the public and may or may not have been built in functioning prototype form.

  11. Gareth

    Live view is not necassarily a gimmick

    >>Live View seems to be for camera phone numpties with a little too much cash.

    Not so, it very useful using the zoom feature for micro-focusing

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I don't care what the pedants above say...

    I want one. And a pair of rubber underpants in case I get too excited.


    (A friend has already shown me hers. Drooool!)

  13. Lindsay Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Oh god not again

    "With a sensor this size, finally, here was a way of getting the original focal length of your old 28mm lens back from the scaling beyond 40mm that occurs when used with smaller sensor cameras."

    Repeat after me: The focal length doesn't change! It never changes! It is a physical property of the lens!


  14. Lindsay Silver badge


    I didn't use enough exclamation marks the first time!!!!!

  15. Mike

    Pedants, the lot of you

    Yea, it was not the first (and only arguably the best), poor comment from the author either badly researched or a typo, but unlike the view of many posters this is not a history of digital article (which would be interesting, anyone remember Studiokit from the mid 90s? or the leica S series, again larger than full frame in the mid 90s?).

    Stu hits the nail on the head when he brings it back to lenses, although it's not quite as simple as saying over 12 needs better lenses;

    . Lots of pixels (to give the definition)

    . Physically large sensor (to ensure enough photons hit the pixels)

    . Big glass (to allow lots of light in)

    This is why the 10Mp £49 ASDA compact is a world away from the 10Mp EOS 400D, there's lots of detailed reasons why (bokeh, circles of confusion) but it all comes down to the three factors above, get lots of light and chop it up into small bits (but not too small or reciprocity and wavelength becomes a factor).

    I remain unconvinced by the article, there's a lot of space that says loads of things (some of the example images used were useless) but makes no relevant comparisons or real reasons why the 5DMk2 is so good, I have some great pictures that directly compare images on my 400D and 5DMk2 using both the 70-200 F2.8L IS and 400 F2.8L IS (the 100-400 pictured is a good lens but poor compared to these two) - A Mk1/Mk2 comparison woudl have made far more sense.

    It has really undersold the 5DMk2

  16. Richard Scratcher

    I'll get my coat - check my wallet - Bah!

    I'm saving up for one of these.

    There is a great demo video you can have a look at called "Reverie", which you should be able to find by Googling the words below.

    EOS 5D Mark II Video Reverie

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Live view & lenses

    >>Live View seems to be for camera phone numpties with a little too much cash.

    It's difficult to frame a shot when holding the camera at arms length above the head - being able compose the shot using the display is very useful when photographing in a large crowd.

    I'd second what several people have pointed out - quality optics (ie an L series lens) are essential to get the most out of a camera like this. Factor in upto £5k for a set of "fast" lenses. My ideal bag would include wide (16-35mm f2.8L), portrait (24-70mm f2.8L or 50mm f1.2L) and telephoto (70-200mm f2.8L IS USM).

    Then you will need filters (UV, polarising), lots of memory cards, batteries, a sound tripod, remote shutter switch, flash unit and bag. You will probably also want a spare body too just in case....

    Being a photo enthusiast can be very costly!

    The pickpocket because carrying a bag containing several thousand pounds worth of kit around makes you a target for those who would part you from it...

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