Product Type: Canon digital cameras
Newest Review: ... 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 ce... more
a great camera still, but with some reservations
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Member Name: clarkjames
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Advantages: great iq and a great price, wonderful portrit camera and very lightweight
Disadvantages: primitive AF can let you down, more fragile than pro cameras on the market today
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.
Summary: The 5d2 still has it's place in the world, as a camera for controlled shooting environments
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