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Reviewing this camera in 2012 it is no longer the king camera in canon's consumer full frame line up, it has been replaced with the 5d3, and the 6d, and it can now be found at a bargain price. The used price of this camera is only fractionally less than it is to buy a brand new one- I think you'd be silly to buy used when the new price is so good.
I'm confident to buy 1 series cameras used as they're indestructible machines, the 5 series on the other hand isn't so well protected. Still a very well made camera, but the 5d is not a camera you want to pin your hopes and dreams on, it is not to be relied upon.
The AF system is primitive (it's unchanged from the original 5d), the af points are clustered around the centre, and the outer points don't work too well in low light (in good light they work great), so most of the time you're either using the centre and recompose method using the centre point, or you're using the big beautiful viewfinder to manual focus (although unlike the 5d3 it's not 100% coverage, so you might not get the framing you expected)
Not to worry though, because when you have 21mp to play with you can afford to crop in post and still make very big prints (think 45x30" plus)
The sheer resolution makes it great for landscape work, the detail is incredible, the new 5d3 doesn't really improve on this at all. But i'd only take it outside if the weather was fine, if there even a hint of bad weather i'd take my 1 series, i'd rather have lower image quality and a camera that still worked rather than risk the minimally weather sealed 5d. The low end AF system makes me leave the camera at home when I'm on assignment too, those times where if the camera doesn't get the shot I don't get a paycheck. So when do I use the 5d? For portraits, fashion, anything where I need a high quality output and i'm not time limited, I can check my shots on the absolutely fantastic LCD screen, I can focus using live view, situations where if the camera screws up it doesn't matter.
My keeper rate is definitely lower than with a 1 series camera, but I shoot my 5d2 like it was a medium format back, I shoot slow and then in post I only keep the best images (21mp RAW's fill up a computer pretty quickly)
It is a good camera still, and the video is fantastic although I haven't really used it much, and you can save a lot of money by getting this one instead of the 5d3- but if you need reliable AF, or a more sturdy weather sealed camera you need to spend extra for the 5d3 (if you need video), or a 1ds3 (if you don't). The 5d2 still has it's place in the world.
~ Intro ~
Although being a satisfied owner of its predecessor, the 5D Mk II is a quantum leap in terms of camera. Both are full frame sensor cameras, but I was attracted to the Mk II due to the almost doubling of megapixels to 21.1. In my view, the difference in picture quality between the original 5D and the Mk II is huge.
When I bought my Mk II, the Mk III had just been released, so the price of the Mk II fell to something I could think about buying!
~ Canon's Description ~
Canon describes the Mk II as follows: "The full frame EOS 5D Mark II combines outstanding resolution with up to 3.9 fps shooting and superlative high ISO performance. The addition of Full HD movie recording expands the boundaries of photography." Canon's website records the main technical features as follows:
- 21.1MP full frame CMOS sensor
- DIGIC 4 processor
- ISO range expandable to 25600
- Full HD (1080, 30 frames per second) movie recording
- High-res 3.0" VGA LCD with Live View
- Up to 3.9 frame per second JPEG shooting up to card capacity
- 9-point AF + 6 Assist AF points
- Magnesium alloy body
~ Cost ~
Not cheap, but if you are looking for a full frame camera I guess you are not expecting to find it for sale for a few quid. New, this camera will set you back in the region of £1000, body only. But shop around, as there are some good deals on kits (i.e. body plus lens).
~ My Review ~
Nature and sports photographers will delight at the increased auto focus options and increased frames per second shooting rates, but for me the beauty is in its use. The camera itself is beautifully balanced to carry, and its function screens are logical and quick to use. Options such as mirror locking can be undertaken in a couple of clicks from the rear camera buttons. Changes to ISO speed, exposure, and white balance can all be undertaken from the top of the camera while still looking through the camera's viewfinder. And if the looking through the viewfinder becomes a chore, the Live View shooting screen that takes up the entire back of the camera is an option. The Live View does take a few seconds to load up, but having this function makes landscape photography easy as it is possible to see front-of-image to back-of-image sharpness quickly and without the need to guess at hyperfocal distances and other optical wizardry.
The battery life is fantastic and goes for days without needing to be recharged, even with heavy use, although using Live View shooting does deplete battery life more quickly.
Another great feature is the automatic sensor cleaning function that works every time the camera is switched off. In 6 months, I have not had to clone-out a single dust spot in the digital darkroom and this is a real joy.
Oh and you can shoot videos too. I guess that features like live viewer and video functions are available on some very basic point-and-shoot cameras, but I think they are good additions from the design team at Canon, nevertheless.
On the negatives, I cannot think of many. The remote cable release hotshoe is not very tight and it would be good if it had a minimum ISO below 100. These are very minor criticisms of what is overal an excellent camera.
~ Summary ~
An excellent camera, that does clever stuff without being overcomplicated to use. Highly recommended!
I've been using my 5D II for about a year now, as a replacement to my 5D, now relegated to spare wedding camera. I debated the 7D at the time, as it was a fair bit cheaper, and with a few extra features.
However, I've got used to full frames, both in terms of images quality and lack of crop-ratio.
It certainly hasn't disappointed. I've wracked up over 100,000 photos on it, shot several weddings, loads of stock and a few commercial shoots.
My first wedding with the 5DII was mid winter, and really dark. I never went below 5000 ISO - not something I'd do on a lesser camera - and was seriously impressed with the results. I'm an advocate of whacking ISO up when needed - better a noisy shot than a blurred one. Noise control is pretty good, though that's improving with each new model.
Focusing still isn't it's strength, but it good enough at weddings.
Annoyingly I dropped it doing a beach shoot, and cracked the top display screen. I was quite surprised at this, it's a pretty tough bit of kit generally, and has taken a few knocks over the last year.
All in all another top quality camera - perfect for weddings and landscapes.
I would like to start off by saying that I wanted an amazing camera to capture my "life adventures" with when I started touring. This camera has always been the best I have ever used and has always surpassed any other camera I have seen on the market. Yes, this camera is a bit pricey, however, it is well worth it if you want a camera that can do it all.
This camera is the most versatile I have ever seen. Whether you are the simple, point and shoot person, or the complex person who wants to completely reprogram the software how you want it with alternating iso's between pictures. This camera does it all.
As I said, I originally bought this camera for just simple capturing, but then I got more in depth with it. One thing I found out is that Canon and Magic offer different software which lets you change how you take pictures. Having a 21 Megapixel camera is nice, but when you know more about it, it makes it amazing. This camera has served me very well and has been used to do everything from simple pictures, to blogging for my girlfriend, to recording music videos for my band.
I would recommend this camera to anyone and everyone who is looking for a camera that is beyond expectations.
Different Iso Settings
It is a little expensive, however, if you have the money, it is worth it.
We decided after booking our 3rd safari that we had to buy a new slr, something that would be light enough to hold and use all day and fast enough and capable enough to capture animals and birds.
This camera certainly does not disappoint. The camera is nicely weighted and very well made, we added a lcd glass screen protector as we knew it would get dusty but the whole feel of the camera is that of quality. The setting are pretty standard for the most part as you would expect to find on a camera of this price and level.
It is very easy to use and comes with a good quick ref guide book to show you what to do.
The camera does allow you to film in full HD though, something they we have found very useful and user friendly. The image quality is second to none. With a new baby coming along this function is sure to be out to good use.
The very high 21+ megapixels this has mean you can take for example a photo of a bird from a distance and later crop and zoom right in to the very smallest details and make amazing photos.
For professionals and amatures alike this is an amazing camera.
I've owned and used (a lot) Canon's EOS 5D MkII since shortly after it was launched in late 2008. I normally pair it with the optional EF 24-105mm f4 IS lens, however have used it with a Sigma 150mm f2.8 Macro lens, a Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 lens and Canon's 50mm f1.8 lens. My one consistent result is that pairing this camera with good quality optics results in outstanding pictures.
In my mind, if you want a review detailing technical information then you should go to the manufacturer's website and spend plenty of time trawling through the specifications and sample images. My review's prpose is to offer an opinion on the ease of use of the camera and the results.
The 21 Megapixel full-frame sensor fitted in the 5D MkII provides incredible resolution and the facility to record HD video at 24 fps (i.e. effectively simulating motion picture cameras) results in video of at least broadcast quality. Having reviewed some short test videos today, their appearance can result in the feeling that you are watching something cinematic (it's no secret that an episode of 'House' has been filmed using one of these cameras).
This camera does not make you a better photographer; but its menu system (navigated by a simple arrangement of button and joystick, or button and wheel) is straightforward and allows you to reach the most common adjustments and settings by either just rolling one of the two wheels, or by doing the same after a single button click. More specialised functions (such as mirror lock-up, long exposure noise reduction etc) is hidden quite deep in the menu system, but it does have a memory (at least when I tried to make several changes at short intervals) so it is possible to jump back to these specialised functions quite quickly.
If you're used to Canon SLR digital cameras then the buttons and navigation will be intuitive. If you come from using Nikons, then (as is the same for Canon users using Nikons) all the buttons are in the wrong place. It will probably take several weeks to get used to accessing the more specialised functions quickly and using the two rotary controls (i.e. the finger/thumb wheels).
Shooting in JPEG you have some control over in-camera processing to improve images, but I must admit to only really using the camera in RAW mode. The results straight from the camera aren't always 'as you saw it', but if you're buying this camera, you will know that you need to post-process RAW files in a computer for best results. The accompanying software is quite comprehensive, but for the most control I use Lightroom and Photoshop.
I've shot a mixture of types of photographs; weddings, portraits, still life, motor racing, nature, landscape. Consistently, this camera has been excellent.
In summary to offer some sort of rating:
Price: 8/10 - It is not cheap, but what you get is worth it
Ease of use: 8/10 - for Canon users, 7/10 if you come from Nikon (just because you have to get used to it)
Images: 9.5/10 - paired with good optics, results are excellent
Features: 9/10 - with the exception of a small on-camera flash, you have all you should ever need.
Battery life: 9/10 - mine does seem to go on and on and on
- Build quality, features, HD video, image quality.
- Price, lack of small on-camera flash, misconception that it will make you a better photographer.
This incredible camera I have owned now for about half a year.
Its a reasonable weight to begin with. Well under 3kg with mounted lens. There are a great selection of Canon lenses to choose from too.
The 35mm full frame sensor allows for zero cropping when using Canon lenses and along with 21MP creates very good quality photographs. With this camera you can program your own manual user settings and colour/saturation schemes while also altering the camera's top ISO speed as well for low light situations.
The functions button are quite easy to navigate around and easier if you have previously owned a Canon DSLR. The rotation button on the top right still allows you to browse the menu while acting as shutter control in full manual mode. All buttons most agreeable in regards to thumb and index finger. There is a swivel/ rotation dial which can be controlled by the right thumb which can make life easier. Again you can customise the buttons, so you ultimately have control over what button does what.
The video capture function is only 1st/2nd generation (created for the photo-journalist) but the image quality is fantastic, and its amazing low light capabilities make it the best full frame (35mm) video for its asking price.
There are a few problems with overheating after a period of 12 minutes of continuous filming however and you will want to stay up to date with all Canon's latest firmware (downloadable free from Canon website).
This is defiantly Canon's greatest achievement where DSLRs are concerned.
*Also Published on ciao.co.uk under name Pippylong.
This was a much anticipated body from Canon, with a price to match the hype.
This is a massively capable camera boasting 21 megapixels and HD video recording. At the time of the camera's release these were very impressive qualities that have since been matched (almost) by much cheaper bodies within the Canon range.
Whilst the 5DII is a superb body, the 7D snaps at it's heels with some just as impressive stats, but without the hefty price tag. Being a stock photographer image quality is hugely important to me and the 5DII definitely delivers what I need, along with ENORMOUS image sizes. Low light capabilities are phenomenal!
Menu function and main body controls are intuitive as is often the case with Canon products. There seems to be little that has changed within the menu system with the exception of those concerned with video and even that fits nicely into the familiar interface.
This is a sturdy camera that puts up with regular to rough handling, at no point does it feel plasticy and cheap - you'd expect that though considering it's price. It's complimented greatly by the grip/battery pack which not only holds an extra battery, but allows vertical grip shooting thanks to the shutter button on the added grip.
Whilst I do enjoy this camera and have nothing but praise for it, anyone looking at an SLR with HD video capabilites should perhaps check out the 7D or it's more closely related siblings. If you need a full frame monster to create images larger than the desk your computer sits on and have money to spare, you'll want the 5DII!
The Canon 5D Mk II marks a giant leap forward from it's predecessor, the 5D, retaining the same compact body size & weight, while adding a host of new features. I'm a professional photographer & this is currently my 1st shooting camera (using my old 5D as my backup), it has made my life easier while allowing me to capture superior images to previously.
While the equipment alone won't improve your photographs, the added features & power can certainly give you a helping hand in translating what you see in your head into the final photograph.
One of the main selling points of this camera is the huge megapixel count - coming in at 21.1 million megapixels (with a full frame CMOS sensor), the image quality is pretty much incomparable on a hand held SLR. Medium Format could allow higher quality capture, but with significantly higher prices.
Another feature of this camera that has hugely impressed me is the Auto ISO feature, meaning if you set the shutter speed & aperture as usual, the camera will automatically set the lowest ISO setting possible, therefore giving you the best possible image quality. I've found this hugely useful as I have been prone to leaving the ISO setting too low or high when moving between indoor & outdoor environments. In addition you can override this setting & set the ISO to a huge 25600, enabling you to shoot in pretty much any conditions, no matter how poor the lighting conditions.
Another huge advancement available in the Mk II is the Full HD Video capture, the quality is so good I've seen a number of videographers shooting with this camera rather than a traditional video camera. With the flick of a switch you can easily switch between video & photo modes, beware that the HD video takes up large amounts of your CF Cards, so you'll probably want at least a 16GB card if you want to utilise the video feature. It also bears mentioning that a typical photograph on this camera comes in at about 25-30MB in size, so bear this in mind when choosing memory cards (translates to 225 photographs on an 8GB card).
There is a large 3" LCD Display on rear which offers superior image viewing & playback to any other SLR I have used. There is also 9 Point auto focusing (6 assist AF Points) & 3.9 frames per second shooting, making it a pretty impressive package.
As with most other high-end SLR's you can shoot in either JPEG, RAW or both simultaneously if you wish. The staple shooting modes are present, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Automatic Modes, fully Manual modes amongst others.
With a retail price of £2229 it's not a cheap bit of kit, & would suit an advanced hobbyist or a professional. This is a fabulous camera & justifies the hype.
This camera may certainly not be the cheapest out there- but you can feel where your money went as soon as you pick it up. The quality and build quality is what you would expect for this very high end camera- feels like its going to last years. Only compatible with EF lenses and not the newer EF-S lenses (due to the sensor size) still means that there are over 60 lenses to choose from in Canon's great range. If that isn't enough then there are manufacturers such as Sigma & Tameron also offering lenses that will work with this camera. This is the ideal camera for the landscape photographer as it offers the full size frame sensor- so a 50mm lens will actually be 50mm. Be aware that lots of flash memory will be required to keep it going, with just 140 or so images fitting onto a 4gb CF card at maximum resolution.
The CanonEOS 5D Mk II is THE Best camera I have ever owned. My hobby is taking photos of the artists down at my local folk club. The die hard members of the club love to get the candles out on the tables and turn the dimmer switch down low. Not the best conditions for taking unobtrusive photos of the artists performing. The previous answer would have been to use a camera with a Flash! guaranteed to disturb most of an audience. But then I got my Canon and all my problems were solved. Granted I have to turn the ISO up to 6400 and above but the results are astounding. The resultant photos do have a margin of graininess but with the 21.1 megapixels this camera offers these pictures are perfectly acceptable for publication on the Folk Club Website.
I have yet to fully get to grips with this camera outdoors for landscape and nature, but my first foray to the outdoors enabled me to explore the depth of field and longer exposures which gave more amazing results....