Canon EOS 5D Mark II Review

With the release of the EOS 5D in August of 2005, Canon is widely credited with having “created a new DSLR category.” It was the first ‘full frame’ sensor camera with a compact body (meaning it did not have an integral vertical grip), and it has since proven to be very popular. One possible reason for this is that if you wanted a full frame DSLR to use with your Canon lenses but didn’t want the chunky EOS-1D style body, then the EOS 5D was your only option until recently.

After three years, two new rivals in the form of the Nikon D700 and the Sony DSLR-A900 have emerged, and Canon has made it very apparent that the company feels it is time for a refresh.

So, this is the 5D Mark II, which packs a powerful punch in terms of both resolution and capabilities, including the following highlights: 21 megapixels, 1080p video, 3.0 fps, and a dual-layer CMOS sensor “VGA LCD, Live view, and a battery with a greater capacity. That is to say, a camera that attempts to outpace both of its immediate competitors, either in terms of resolution (as is the case with the D700) or features (in the case of the D800) (in the case of the DSLR-A900). See down for further information.

Key Specs

  • 21 megapixel CMOS sensor (very similar to the sensor in the EOS-1Ds Mark III)
  • Dust suppression is achieved by the vibration of the filter sensor
  • Calibrated range from 100 to 6400 ISO, with an extension from 50 to 25600 ISO (1Ds Mark III & 5D max ISO 3200)
  • Auto ISO (100 – 3200) while using any setting other than manual.
  • continuous shooting at a rate of 3.9 frames per second
  • DIGIC 4 processor, updated menus, and a user interface similar to those of the EOS 50D
  • Image processing capabilities include:
  • Bring to emphasize the importance of tone
  • Optimizer of the auto lighting (4 levels)
  • Noise reduction at high ISO settings (4 levels)
  • Correction of the lens’s peripherical lighting (vignetting correction)
  • RAW, as well as SRAW1 (10 MP) and SRAW2 formats (5 MP)
  • The RAW and JPEG choices are made independently.
  • Display of the ISO value in a constant format on both the top plate and viewfinder displays
  • AF micro-adjustment (up to 20 lenses individually)
  • There are three user-defined modes on the command dial, in addition to the Creative Auto mode.
  • Image copyright metadata support
  • a viewfinder with a coverage of 98 percent (0.71x magnification)
  • 3.0 “LCD display with 920,000 dots and “Clear View” cover and coatings, with 170 degrees of viewing angle
  • LCD backlight brightness may be adjusted automatically (ambient light sensor)
  • Live view with three different modes for the autofocus system (including face detection)
  • If contrast-detect AF is set, there will be no mirror flip for exposures taken in Live View.
  • Filming a movie in real-time with a live audience (1080p H.264 up to 12 minutes, VGA H.264 up to 24 mins per clip)
  • Two different modes for shooting in silence (in live view)
  • In-game improvements to the jumping choices
  • HDMI as well as the more traditional composite AV video out
  • Full support for audio, including an internal microphone and speaker, a connection for plugging in an external mic, and audio output via AV (although not HDMI)
  • IrPort (supports infrared remote shutter release with the use of optional RC1 and RC5 controllers)
  • UDMA support for CompactFlash cards
  • New battery with 1800 mAh capacity and enhanced recording and information on the battery
  • The new WFT-E4 WiFi / LAN / USB vertical grip is an available add-on.
  • Resistance to water: 10 millimeters of rain in three minutes

What’s New?

21.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor

When compared to the original 5D, the pixel count of the EOS 5D Mark II has been increased by 8.3 megapixels. This new sensor is believed to be based on the sensor found in the EOS-1Ds Mark III (in fact, it has the exact same pixel count), but it has numerous minor tweaks, and the implication is that it is really somewhat superior.

DIGIC IV image processor and 14-bit analog to digital converter

After the EOS 50D, the Canon 5D Mark II is the company’s second single-lens reflex camera to have the brand-new DIGIC 4 processor. This enables a variety of novel image processing functions, such as the adjustment of lens peripheral illumination, as well as the processing of up to 3.9 frames of data per second with 21 megapixels of resolution (or 82 megapixels a second). Additionally, it permits video capture, but we’ve been told that the actual encoding is handled by a separate processor.

Decreased micro lens spacing

In comparison to the first generation of the EOS 5D, Canon claims that the distance between the microlenses has been narrowed, while there is still some space between them (the EOS 50D has a design that is “gapless”). We have a hunch that the gap has been kept intentionally in order to facilitate a pattern shift around the frame’s four corners (which helps reduce fall-off on such large sensors).

Enhanced sensitivity throughout a wider ISO range

The ‘calibrated range’ of the EOS 5D and the EOS-1Ds Mark III is 100 to 1600, and they both have an extension that goes all the way up to ISO 3200. In spite of having a lower pixel pitch, the Canon 5D Mark II extends the sensitivity envelope far further, delivering a calibrated range of 100 to 6400 with the extension of ISO 50 to ISO 25600. It will be fascinating to see how it operates at the highest sensitivities because of this. [Case in point:]

Auto ISO in all modes except manual

The Mark II now has an automated ISO setting, which allows the camera to choose the level of sensitivity on its own (in the range ISO 100 – 3200). In Auto, Program, and Aperture Priority modes, the camera makes an effort to keep the shutter speed at a minimum of 1/focal length; for example, with a 24 mm lens, it will make an effort to keep the shutter speed at 1/25 second or faster. When using manual mode, the Auto ISO setting remains at 400.

There is no mirror flip while using contrast autofocus in Live View.

If you use contrast-detect AF, which Canon refers to as “live mode,” in Live View, the Mark II won’t need to drop the mirror between exposures. Since Mark II doesn’t need to drop the mirror between exposures, the time lag between pressing the shutter release button and the exposure will be significantly reduced (it also means that in this mode camera is metering using the main sensor). This results in a significantly lower level of background noise during the exposure.

EOS Integrated Cleaning System

It wasn’t that surprising to find Canon’s EOS Integrated Cleaning System on the EOS Mark II, featuring the new fluorine coating that can be seen on the EOS 50D. This feature is now standard across the entirety of the EOS product line. Owners of the original 5D, which has gained a certain amount of notoriety due to the fact that it has a tendency to build dust on the sensor, will find this to be a very welcome adjustment.

Continuous filming at a maximum of 3.9 frames per second

The continuous shooting rate of the Mark II is specified to be 3.9 frames per second. Perhaps the Mark II’s designers were overly cautious, or perhaps they were intimidated by earlier claims. It is possible to record a burst of up to 78 JPEG frames onto a standard CF card, and it can record up to 310 JPEG frames using a high-speed UDMA card.

The ability to shoot in live view with contrast-detect autofocus

Live view is included in the EOS 5D Mark II, as is standard these days, and of course the camera is compatible with both passive and contrast-detect autofocus systems. The most essential thing, however, is that it includes face detect AF, which we are certain will be the function that is utilized the most of the time by users of this camera.

Movie recording in live view

The capability of the Mark II to record movies while shooting in live view is perhaps one of the most noteworthy “news” items associated with the camera. You have the ability to define the size (1920 x 1080 or VGA), but other options (such as the frame rate, which is always 30 fps, and the compression level) cannot be changed.

The Mark II can record a video clip for up to 12 minutes at a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels, although it can record for up to 24 minutes at VGA. Recordings are made in Quicktime MOV format, utilizing H.264 codec for the video and PCM codec for the audio. The bitrate for 1920 x 1080 is 38.6 Mbits/sec, which is equivalent to around 4.8 MBytes/sec. The bitrate for 640 x 480 is 17.3 Mbits/sec, which is equivalent to about 2.2 MBytes/sec.

LCD display with a Clear View of 3.0 inches

We were blown away by the VGA resolution screen on the Nikon D3 / D300 and Sony DSLR-A700 when we first saw them. However, it didn’t come as much of a surprise to learn that the same screen made its way onto the EOS 50D and, more recently, the EOS 5D Mark II. It appears that Canon has made it even better by enhancing the viewing angles and adding no fewer than three layers of material that reduce reflections.

Control of the brightness of the LCD automatically

A feature that is exclusive to the EOS 5D Mark II among Canon DSLRs is a passive light detector. This detector, when activated, may automatically alter the brightness of the LCD panel to make it easier to read the screen when using the camera outside in strong light. On the other hand, it does not always function correctly while it is being used, which might cause images to appear darker on screen than they actually are. If you intend to make advantage of this functionality, then it is strongly recommended that you maintain the visibility of the histogram at all times.

Integrated Microphone and Speaker System

The Canon EOS 5D Mark II has added a microphone (located on the front of the camera immediately below the 5D logo) as well as a speaker so that it can support its video capabilities (rear of the camera to the right of the viewfinder). In addition to it, there is also a connector for a microphone and an AV output (see below). Only while recording videos is the microphone used for recording sound effects. It is not possible to annotate photos with audio using this method (a feature in 1 series cameras).

Microphone jack for external input

The Canon 5D Mark II includes a microphone input socket, and it also provides audio output via its A/V connector. Both of these features were added to accommodate the new movie capabilities of the camera. The sound quality isn’t that great all over, and the built-in microphone isn’t particularly excellent at picking up speech in busy surroundings. If sound quality is of concern, you will need to use an external microphone.

The output of HDMI

Another feature that is quite similar to others is the HDMI output, which can be used to play back both still images and movies but does not have audio for movie playing.

Positions on the Command Dial

The 5D Mark II now has three extra positions, including two unique ones (C2 and C3) and a mode called “Creative Automatic,” which was carried over from the 50D. However, we do not anticipate that these new positions will have a significant influence on the typical 5D Mark II owner.

A viewfinder with a coverage of 98 percent

Viewfinder frame coverage has increased by two percentage points, bringing it up to 98 percent (compared to the EOS 5D). While this is a very good improvement, it has already been overshadowed by the frankly enormous and bright view provided by the viewfinder on the Sony DSLR-A900, which has 100 percent coverage and higher magnification.

IrPort’s control unit

The brand-new IrPort remote sensor enables infrared remote control through Canon’s RC1 or RC5 remotes, both of which are sold separately.

Brand new battery with 1800 mAh.

The LP-E6 battery is the same size as the older BP batteries, but it has a capacity of 1800 mAh and provides more detailed information regarding charge and life. Additionally, the power terminals on the LP-E6 battery are recessed, possibly to prevent accidental shorting and to appease the various travel authorities. It’s likely that you’ll need that additional power for filmmaking as well.

RAW accessible in Auto mode

According to the Canon EOS 50D, the ability to shoot in RAW format has been added to the Auto (green square) mode.

Options for expanded bracketing are available.

The exposure bracketing feature now offers an adjustment range of up to +/-4 EV (when combined with exposure compensation).

Enhanced information and storage according to the current battery state

Better information, such as the remaining capacity as a percentage, the shutter count (which indicates how many exposures have been shot with this battery), and the recharge performance of the battery is included with the new battery (aging). You also have the option of asking the camera to memorize the state of the battery based on the serial number, which will allow you to easily check the status of any spare batteries you might be carrying with you.

Display for Quick Controls

You are now able to control everything that is displayed on the screen with the joystick controller, just as the EOS 50D (taking a page out of Olympus and Sony’s book).

Mode d’auto-creation créative

A new variation of the program mode automatically handles the camera’s focus and exposure settings, and it employs straightforward sliders to let users adjust the background sharpness (depth of field), as well as the AE compensation.

Extra tiny sRAW / distinct selection

You now have two JPEG compression levels to choose from in addition to three JPEG picture size options and three RAW image size options. To pick the quality, just turn the front dial to select the RAW format, and spin the main dial (located on the rear of the camera) to select the JPEG format.

Modifications made to the user interface

Not only has the user interface of the Mark II been given a sleek overhaul thanks to DIGIC 4, but it also now features some really nice ‘fades’ between menu options. These ‘fades’ are identical to those seen on the EOS 50D.

Feature sets for image processing

Highlight tone priority, auto lighting optimizer with four levels, high ISO noise reduction with four levels, and lens peripheral illumination correction are all features that are available in the Mark II thanks to its DIGIC 4 processor (vignetting correction).

New variations on the jump mode

On top of the 10/100/date/folder choices that were available to us on the EOS 5D, we now have access to screen, date, movies, stills, and “1 image” (?).

Two-mode Live View silent shooting

Silent shooting is a feature that has been carried over from the 40D and the 50D. This is accomplished by utilizing a mechanical shutter to bring the exposure to a close after beginning it with an electronic shutter (referred to as the electronic first curtain). In Mode 1, the shutter will automatically re-cock, however in Mode 2, the shutter won’t re-cock until you release the shutter button.

Copyright metadata

You are able to set your own unique photographer name and copyright statement by using the EOS Utility software that is provided with the camera. This information is then automatically inserted in the metadata of both JPEG and RAW images.

Grips with the WFT-E4 and BG-E6 models

The WFT-E4 is essentially a “re-bodied” version of the WFT-E3. It features a vertical grip with controls, wireless picture transmission to FTP or HTTP servers, and remote wireless control with the use of the EOS Utility program. Additionally, the WFT-E4 offers remote wireless control.

In addition to that, it affords connectivity for GPS and USB external hard disks (mass storage device). The BG-E6 not only features a vertical grip, but it also has an increased capacity for the battery (one more battery slot in effect).

Body & Design

At first glance, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II appears to be very similar to the first generation of the EOS 5D. This is most likely done on purpose for several reasons: first, there wasn’t a significant amount wrong with the original design; second, it’s very “EOS family line;” and third, it offers 5D owners a straightforward path to upgrade.

Canon has repositioned the menu and playback buttons on more current XXD models to make room for the LCD on the back of the camera. Despite the increased size of the LCD, Canon was able to preserve the control configuration on the back of the new 5D camera practically exactly the same.

The shoulders of the camera as well as the viewfinder chamber have been squared off in terms of the design of the new model. The controls have been updated in the same way that they were in the EOS 30D and 40D, with separate buttons for Picture Style and AF-ON located on the rear of the camera, as well as a reorganization of the functions of the buttons located on the top of the camera (mostly to facilitate easier change of ISO sensitivity).

Aside from the clearly bigger LCD panel, the other alterations are additions of a more subtle nature. These additions include the infrared sensor and microphone on the front, as well as the ambient light sensor and speaker on the back.

Sealants for construction projects and the environment

The sides and the bottom are the only parts of the body that are made of plastic, however as you can see from the first image below, the body is constructed out of three pieces of magnesium alloy. Canon is now talking about the dust and water resistance of the body with the introduction of the Mark II. The second image below displays these seals, and Canon’s description states, “The battery compartment, memory card door, LCD, and the camera buttons are all equipped with sealing materials” (indicated in red).

In addition, the camera’s resistance to dust and water has been strengthened thanks to the implementation of high precision split-level alignment of the magnesium-alloy exterior covers, high precision dial construction, and external rubber grip covers (all of which are denoted by the color green).

Side by side

As was indicated before, the modifications between the EOS 5D and the Mark II are rather minor; yet, they are sufficient to bring it up to speed with the most recent iteration of the EOS design DNA.

For example, the lines that run from the viewfinder chamber down the sides of the lens mount seem cleaner and serve to counteract the slightly top-heavy aspect that the previous camera has.

Within your grasp

When compared to the EOS 50D, the EOS 5D Mark II has a more solid feel thanks to its “denser” design and slightly chunkier handle. As soon as you pick it up, you realize there is something unique about it.

In addition to this, it is noticeably lighter than a camera from the EOS-1D series, making it more portable than the EOS-1D series.

LCD monitor

This is a four times improvement in resolution (or a doubling of horizontal and vertical resolution) compared to the original EOS 5D, and it definitely shows. The 3.0-inch, 920,000 dot LCD panel on the Mark II is identical to the one found on the EOS 50D. We first saw it on the Nikon D3 and D300.

It would appear that Canon’s “Clear View” multi-layer anti-reflective coating, which is included on the screen of the Mark II, performs rather admirably. The other modification is an optional automated brightness control that is made possible by a sensor that detects the surrounding light.

LCD control panel

A large LCD control screen can be found on the top of the camera, and it displays a great deal of information on the various exposure settings and camera settings. The primary numeric area of the panel also serves a dual purpose in providing other kinds of information, such as the “Busy” alert and the ability to pick an AF point, among other things.

When you press the lamp button that is located on the top of the camera, an orange light will illuminate the panel for the duration of the metering timeout period. The ISO sensitivity may now be seen at all times, making it consistent with the rest of the EOS product line.


The viewfinder coverage of the Mark II is somewhat greater than that of the original EOS 5D by a whole two percentage points, which we really weren’t able to see, but everything seems to be in order. The viewfinder of the 5D Mark II is much whiter, whereas the viewfinder of the original 5D has a very tiny yellow color cast; this gives the viewfinder of the 5D Mark II the appearance that it is brighter.

The eyepiece rubber may be removed so that the eyepiece cover, alternative eyepieces, or angle finders can be installed. Unfortunately, the eyecup is very close to being flush with the LCD, in contrast to the eyecup that is utilized on the body of the 1 series, which protrudes more and is easier to use (and reduces smudge marks made by your nose on the rear screen).

Focusing on displays that can be switched out

Interchangeable focusing screens are supported by the 5D Mark II; however, these screens are not the same as the ones that were compatible with the EOS 5D. Rather than the ‘Ee’ prefix, these screens have the ‘Eg’ prefix. Having said that, we did check out the EE displays, and they did work with the Mark II, which is potentially excellent news for those who already have one (Canon did warn that metering may be affected).

Viewfinder view

A permanent display of the ISO sensitivity has been added to the viewfinder, along with a small ‘D+’ sign that shows if Highlight Tone Priority is engaged and a more precise indicator of the battery’s current state. Unfortunately, the AF points cover the same rather constrained region as they did on the first-generation 5D.

In automated AF point selection mode, the AF points picked by the camera are momentarily highlighted when you commence AF (half-press the shutter release / AF button), and in all other modes, the selected AF point is highlighted. The behavior of the AF point has not changed.

In the setting that allows for automated AF point selection, the AF point won’t get highlighted until after an AF lock has been obtained. When there is just one AF point set, it will flash twice: once after you are halfway through the shutter release, and again when it has locked (or not at all if no AF lock was possible). When using AI Servo AF mode (with the shutter release button held down halfway), the selected AF point only blinks once before beginning to track AF.

Storage Space for Compact Flash Cards

The door to the Compact Flash compartment of the Mark II may be opened by sliding it towards you and then flipping it outwards. This compartment is located in the back corner of the hand grip. After the CF card has been ejected, the door itself swings open on a metal hinge and provides ample space for removing the card.

On the quick control dial, the CF activity light may be seen at the bottom right corner. The original Canon 5D was able to read and write to Type I and Type II Compact Flash cards. The Mark II, on the other hand, is able to read and write to the quicker and more modern UDMA standard as well as the Compact Flash+ standard.

Storage Space for Batteries

The door to the battery compartment of the EOS 5D Mark II is just a simple clip that locks it, and it’s located at the bottom of the hand grip. The door panel itself may be removed (to make way for the optional battery grip). The Canon EOS-1D Mark II is equipped with a completely new Lithium-Ion battery known as the LP-E6.

This battery has a capacity of 1800 mAh, which is 400 mAh higher than the Canon EOS 50D’s BP-511A battery. Additionally, the LP-E6 conveys more specific battery status information back to the camera. The cable that connects the optional AC adapter’s fake battery to the camera emerges via a little rubber flap that is located on the inner edge of the hand grip (the one that is closest to the lens mount).

Charger for the Battery

When you buy a new battery, you also have to buy a new charger, either the LC-E6E (for Europe and Asia) or the LP-E6 (North America). A full charge on a battery using this charger takes around an hour and a half to complete, and it also displays the charge state.

Wireless Battery Grip for WFT-E4 and WFT-E4A (optional)

You will be able to shoot wirelessly (802.11b/g) directly to FTP servers if you have the new WFT-E4/E4A, and you will also be able to have two-way communication via PTP and HTTP. In HTTP mode, you will have full remote control of the camera, including the ability to watch a live view, make adjustments to the settings, and snap pictures.

Although only tiny flash drives can be powered by the grip, the USB port may be used to save directly to external USB hard disks and supply GPS data from USB GPS devices. The USB port is located on the bottom of the gadget. The one thing that the WFT-E4/E4A does not do is supply any additional power to the camera. As you can see, it does not have a false battery stalk; instead, the camera battery remains within the camera, and the grip simply connects to the bottom of the camera (and communicates through a new connector).


The connections for the Mark II are all located along the left side of the camera, below a rubber cover with a split in it. In all intents and purposes, there are now two columns of connections, each of which has its own cover. PC sync, the remote terminal (N3), and the microphone input are located on the left, while Audio/Video output, USB 2.0 (High-Speed), and HDMI are located on the right (mini). Note that the camera is not equipped with an HDMI cable.

The coverings that sit on top of the connections have been rethought and improved. The covers of the first generation 5D were hinged at the top, which meant that they had a propensity to fall back down into place after being removed. The MKII features coverings that can move out of the way and swing away, making for a far more functional design.

Operation & Controls

Top of camera controls (left) – Exposure Mode Dial

The dial that controls the camera’s exposure settings may be found on the top of the device, to the left. The Canon 5D Mark II is distinguished from other, less costly models in that it does not have the automatic scene options known as “Basic mode.” The Canon EOS 5D Mark II does not have a completely automated mode, but it does include a Creative Auto (CA) mode, which was initially introduced on the Canon EOS 50D.

This provides a more user-friendly interface that gives the user the ability to configure the exposure in terms of the image output they want, rather than in terms of the exposure parameters themselves. P, Tv, Av, and M are the typical program, semi-automatic, and fully manual shooting modes that are available on the Canon 5D Mark II. Other than that, the camera has a lot to offer. Additionally, it has three custom set modes, which is three more than the Mk I had previously.

The use of automated modes

Basic zone modeAF
Picture Style
Fully Automatic Exposure

The camera has complete control over exposure and point-and-shoot operation.
AI Focus• Single
• Self-Timer
• Auto
• Red-eye
Creative Auto mode

The camera allows adjustment of aperture and exposure compensation, via a simplified graphic.
AI Focus• Single
• Self-Timer
• Auto
• Red-eye

Only a select number of settings may be used while using Full Auto, however, in contrast to earlier Canon cameras, it is now possible to capture RAW photographs if that is what the user desires.

Fixed settingsFixed or limited settingsUnavailable settings
Metering mode (Evaluative)AF modeCustom functions
Color space (sRGB)Drive modeAE lock
Flash compensation (0 EV)Picture StyleBracketing
Exposure compensation (0 EV)  
ISO sensitivity (Auto)  
White balance (Auto)  
Focus point selection (Auto)  

In the automated modes, the camera will warn that blur may occur due to slow shutter speeds by blinking the shutter speed on the LCD panel and viewfinder status bar. This occurs when the camera detects that blur may occur due to slow shutter speeds.

Creative zone exposure modes

The five different exposure modes, among which are some of the more common ones used by prosumers and professionals who purchase the camera. These modes make all of the menu functions and camera settings available to the user, and they may be combined in any way they see fit.

In the manual exposure modes (Tv, Av, and M), you control the shutter speed with the main dial (top) and the aperture with the quick control dial (rear). Using the C.Fn IV-4 button, you may switch the operating orientation of these dials.

Program Auto Exposure (Flexible)

Very similar to AUTO exposure but you have access to all the normal manual controls, can set the ISO, exposure compensation, use AE lock, bracketing etc. Program AE is flexible which means that you can select one of a variety of equal exposures (in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps depending on C.Fn I-1) by turning the main dial. Example:
 • 1/30 F2.8 (metered)
 • 1/20 F3.2 (turn left one click)
 • 1/15 F4.0 (turn left another click) etc.
Shutter Priority Auto Exposure

In this mode, you select the shutter speed and the camera will calculate the correct aperture for the exposure (depending on metered value; metering mode, ISO). Shutter speed is displayed on the viewfinder status bar and on the top LCD, turn the main dial to select different shutter speeds. A half-press of the shutter release causes the camera’s exposure system to calculate the aperture, if it’s outside of the camera’s exposure range the aperture will blink. You can select shutter speeds from 30 to 1/8000 sec in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps depending on C.Fn I-1.
Aperture Priority Auto Exposure

In this mode, you select the aperture and the camera will calculate the correct shutter speed for the exposure (depending on metered value; metering mode, ISO). Aperture is displayed on the viewfinder status bar and on the top LCD, turn the main dial to select different apertures. A half-press of the shutter release causes the camera’s exposure system to calculate the shutter speed, if it’s outside of the camera’s exposure range the shutter speed will blink. The range of apertures available will depend on the lens used but 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps can be selected via C.Fn I-1.
Full Manual Exposure

In this mode, you select the aperture and the shutter speed from any combination of the above. The top dial selects shutter speed, rear dial selects the aperture. Half-press the shutter release and the meter on the viewfinder status bar and top LCD will reflect the exposure level compared to the calculated ideal exposure, if it’s outside of +/- 2EV the indicator bar will blink either + or -.
Bulb exposure

In this mode, the shutter stays open for as long as you hold the shutter release button, use either dial to select the aperture. (Note that this is different from the EOS 50D, which implements Bulb in manual mode, but identical to the 5D).

Controls at the very top of the camera (right)

The LCD status panel is located on the top of the camera on the right side. Directly above this are four buttons, including one for the LCD backlight and three control buttons (see below). The primary dial and the button that releases the shutter are located in front of these. You’ll find the (new) AF-ON, AE-Lock, and focus point selection buttons around the back, right where your thumb naturally rests. To change the settings, you must first push the button once, then spin the dial, and last, you must half-press the shutter release button to go back to shooting mode (or press another button).

When compared to the 5D, the three buttons located directly above the status LCD now have functions that are more comparable to those found on Canon’s XXD cameras. When the camera is held up to the eye, the button that controls ISO and flash compensation is the one that is easiest to access. This makes sense given that the settings accessed by this button, unlike those accessed by the other buttons, are shown in the viewfinder.

Overall, this makes it a bit easier to change the ISO while holding the camera up to your eye than it was on the original 5D, on which there was always a risk of rotating the front dial and activating the self-timer by accident. The button that controls the backlight of the LCD display has been repositioned such that it is now the final button on the right.

Take note of the slightly altered top lip that sits above the LCD. There, the three primary control buttons have been given a circular bump to draw attention to them.

Top panel buttons

The following table provides an explanation of the connection between the various buttons on the top panel settings and the parameters that may be modified by rotating either the main dial (top) or the fast control dial (rear).

Main dialQuick control dial
Metering mode

 • Evaluative (35 zone)
 • Partial (8% of frame)
 • Spot (3.5% of frame)
 • Center Weighted Average
White balance

 • Auto
 • Daylight
 • Shade
 • Cloudy
 • Tungsten
 • Fluorescent
 • Flash
 • Custom
 • Kelvin temperature (2500 – 10000 K)
Autofocus mode

 • One-Shot (focus lock on half-press)
 • AI Focus (locks but monitors movement)
 • AI Servo (continuous predictive focus)

AI Focus mode initially locks just like One-Shot mode but monitors the focused subject, if the subject moves it will automatically switch to an AI Servo operation.
Drive mode

 • Single shot
 • Continuous
 • Self-Timer 10 sec (IR mode)
 • Self-Timer 2 sec (IR mode)

You can optionally combine self-timer with mirror lockup (to reduce mirror-induced vibration) via C.Fn III-6.
ISO sensitivity *

 • Auto
 • L1 (50) (enabled via C.Fn I-3)
 • 100
 • 200
 • 400
 • 800
 • 1600
 • 3200
 • 6400
 • H1 (12800) (enabled via C.Fn I-3)
 • H2 (25600) (enabled via C.Fn I-3)
Flash compensation

 • +/-2 EV
 • 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps (C.Fn I-1)

Where your thumb buttons are located (Shooting mode)

Autofocus start

The AF-ON button allows you to trigger autofocus
independently of the shutter release ‘half-press’. Note that you can re-program the exact function of the AF-ON button via C.Fn IV-1 or you can switch the AF-ON button and AE/AF lock button via C.Fn IV-2 (all custom functions detailed in the menus section of this review).
AE / FE Lock

Press to trigger automatic exposure and lock the exposure for the next shot; hold the button to lock the exposure for more than one shot. When an external flash is mounted, press to trigger the flash exposure lock (via a pre-flash).
AF point selection button

Press to choose a single AF point, turn the main dial or the quick control dial to scroll around the available AF points. Alternatively, you can also use the new multi-controller to select a point directly (press the selector for the center point). The exact function of this button can be programmed via C.Fn III-3.

Where your thumb buttons are located (Play mode)

Thumbnail index / reduce

If in single view play mode, pressing this button will switch to a 2×2 thumbnail index, press again for a 3×3 index. If already magnified pressing this button reduces magnification level.

Press to magnify the current image, there are fifteen steps up to a maximum magnification of 10x. Once magnified you can use the multi-controller to move around the image.

Controls on the back of the camera

The controls on the back of the EOS 5D Mark II are laid up in a manner that is analogous to that of its forerunner, with the exception of the delete button, which has been relocated to the row of buttons that run along the left flank of the camera’s rear. The JUMP button has been removed, the INFO button has been moved, and a new button for selecting the picture style has been added in its place (MENU remains top of the bunch).

Alongside the viewfinder is still where you’ll find the “Direct Print” button, which does not yet have the ability to be programmed. Next to it is now a little “live view” indicator to indicate the expanded use of the button. The newly added AF-ON button may be found at the very top of the thumb grip located on the right side of the camera.

a mode of shooting

Enter / Leave the Menu

The camera menu is described on the following pages of this review. [clip]
Picture Style

Displays the Picture Style selection / adjustment screen. [clip]

Displays current camera settings / information (two styles are available). [clip]

By default a press of the multi-selector takes you straight into the Quick control screen. However, you can customize it to provide direct selection of AF point via C.Fn III-3 instead.
Quick Control Dial

With the power switch in the third position (one step past ON) the Quick Control Dial can be used to change exposure compensation (steps depend on C.Fn I-1).
SET button

This button by default has no function in shooting mode, however it can be configured to one of six different functions via C.Fn IV-3.

The playing mode

Enter / Leave the Menu

The camera menu is described on the following pages of this review. [clip]

Press to change the type and level of information shown along with the image:

 • Large image + status line + image size & quality + image number
 • Large image + status line (shutter speed, aperture, comp, filename, card)
 • Small image + status line + detailed shooting info + lum (or RGB histogram) [clip]
 • Small image + status line + lum histogram + RGB histogram + detailed shooting info

Displays the last image taken (or the last image on the card). The EOS 5D Mark II is a shooting priority camera, which means that no matter what is displayed on the rear LCD this will be canceled if any of the camera’s photographic functions (example half-pressing the shutter release or AF-ON) are accessed.

Press to erase the current image, displays an OK / Cancel dialog.
Quick Control Dial

Turn the Quick Control Dial to browse through images (the main dial can be used to jump images).

Lens mount controls

The last set of controls for the camera are located on the side of the lens mount. The smaller button is the depth of field preview button, while the bigger button is the lens release button. The depth of field preview button allows you to examine the depth of focus in the viewfinder or live view by stopping the lens down to the aperture that has been specified or selected.


Timings & File Sizes

The Canon EOS 5D Mark II has undergone various performance upgrades, one of which is the adoption of the most recent Digic IV processor. This has allowed for an increase in the continuous shooting speed to 3.9 frames per second (from 3). Although it is far more precise than the other cameras in its category, this one is still slower than the others.

Because of its relatively moderate continuous shooting speed and its large buffer, the original Canon 5D did not give the impression of being slow when it was being used. This meant that card write delays were uncommon, but the camera was by no means a speed demon. The 5D Mark II is an improvement over the 5D in that it has a larger buffer.

When combined with the faster transfer speed, this means that the 5D Mark II is capable of shooting up to 17 RAW images in a row (the specifications say 13, but we managed to achieve the higher figure with a UDMA card), or an unlimited amount of JPEGs. This ensures that the user will almost never reach the buffer limit and that the photographer, rather than the camera, will be the limiting element in terms of shooting speed.

Notes Regarding Timing: Each time was measured as the average of three separate procedures. Unless otherwise specified, all durations were done on a JPEG Fine picture that was 5616 by 3744 pixels (approx. 3,526 KB per image).

These experiments were conducted with the following media

  • CF card with 8 GB storage space from SanDisk Extreme III
  • 8 GB Lexar Pro 300x UDMA CF card
ActionDetailsTime, secs
(8 GB SanDisk)
Time, secs
(8 GB Lexar)
Power Off to On 0.00.0
Power Off to Shot *1 <0.2 / 0.30.2 / 0.3
Sleep to On 0.00.0
Power On to Off 0.00.0
Activate Live View 1.91.6
Exit Live View 0.30.3
Record Review *2RAW1.41.4
Record Review *2JPEG1.21.3
Play *3RAW0.70.7
Play *3JPEG0.70.7
Play Image to Image *4RAW<0.2/0.5<0.2/0.6
Play Image to Image *4JPEG<0.2/0.5<0.2/0.6
  • The first number represents the situation where the automatic sensor cleaning feature is disabled, while the second number represents the situation where the feature is enabled.
  • The amount of time that has passed from the release button for the shutter was pressed until the review image has been displayed on the LCD panel.
  • The Canon 5D Mark II does not require a buffer for its photos, in contrast to the original Canon 5D. Whether the photographs are RAW, JPEG, or RAW+JPEG, they are presented in the same time period regardless of whether they are new or old.
  • The time delay that occurs when scrolling from one image to the next is nearly nonexistent; nevertheless, if you scroll through several photos extremely rapidly, the image is somewhat zoomed out and then presented in its entirety on the screen. This occurs when you are fast scrolling through multiple photographs. The first number indicates how long it takes to scroll through a series of successive photos, while the second indicates how long it takes to display a whole image when scrolling quickly.

Drive mode with Continuous Continuity

In order to test the camera’s continuous mode, the following settings were utilized: Manual Focus, Manual Exposure, and ISO 100. The audio recordings of the tests were listened to, and then measurements were collected from those. The same types of media were employed as described above.

In order to process photos and send files to the CF card, the 5D Mark II makes use of the brand new Digic IV engine. It is fortunate that there is a newly developed processing engine because the file sizes have virtually doubled, with RAW files now exceeding 20 MB in size alone. Although Canon claimed that their cameras were capable of a maximum continuous shooting speed of 3.9 frames per second, we were never able to achieve that pace.

We were able to get a maximum speed of 3.8 when we used a Sandisk Extreme III CF card (the current version has a speed rating of 30 Mb/s). The Mark II can definitely benefit from having a UDMA card installed in it.

The following findings were measured for JPEG and RAW formats by the tests that were conducted below:

  • The initial frame rate was between 3.7 and 3.8 frames per second (fps).
  • The total number of frames as well as the number of frames contained in a burst
  • Frame rate if the shutter release button is kept down after the burst (buffer full) is the buffer full rate.
  • Write complete – How much time must pass after the final shot before the CF compartment light is turned off?

Burst of JPEG Large/Fine images

Timing8 GB SanDisk
Extreme III CF
8 GB Lexar
Pro 300x CF
Frame rate3.8 fps3.7 fps
Number of framesunlimitedunlimited
Buffer full rateNANA
Write complete2.1 sec2.0 sec

Burst of RAW images

Timing8 GB SanDisk
Extreme III CF
8 GB Lexar
Pro 300x CF
Frame rate3.8 fps3.7 fps
Number of frames1417
Buffer full rate0.7 fps1.5 fps
Write complete17.7 sec7.5 sec

Burst of sRAW1 images

Timing8 GB SanDisk
Extreme III CF
8 GB Lexar
Pro 300x CF
Frame rate3.8 fps3.7 fps
Number of frames1718
Buffer full rate2.7 fps for 16 frames then 1.4 fps2.9 fps
Write complete15.7 sec6.3 sec

Burst of sRAW2 images

Timing8 GB SanDisk
Extreme III CF
8 GB Lexar
Pro 300x CF
Frame rate3.8 fps3.7 fps
Number of frames2524
Buffer full rate2.9 fps for 32 frames then 1.7 fps3.2 fps
Write complete15.2 sec2.3 sec

Burst of RAW+JPEG images

Timing8 GB SanDisk
Extreme III CF
8 GB Lexar
Pro 300x CF
Frame rate3.8 fps3.7 fps
Number of frames77
Buffer full rate1.7 fps for 6 frames then 0.6 fps1.7 fps
Write complete19.1 sec8.9 sec

Even though the 5D Mark II has a greater frame rate than the original 5D, it is in no way comparable to a sports camera that is specifically designed for action (the pedestrian AF tracking puts that idea to bed anyway). Having said that, you may still use it in high-pressure scenarios as long as you don’t shoot like you’re using a machine gun.

This is the only way to ensure success. Take note of the increased speed that may be achieved with the UDMA-capable Lexar CF card. When shooting in continuous mode with this camera, using a CF card that supports UDMA, shooting in JPEG, or doing both will allow you to get the greatest possible frame rate. It is important to keep in mind that shooting in RAW and fine JPEG results in a significant reduction in shooting speed; if you require RAW files, shooting simply in RAW is a far more time-efficient option.

The 5D Mark II introduces two additional settings known as sRAW1 and sRAW2. The sRAW1 setting provides substantial benefits when utilized in scenarios requiring continuous shooting, and it would be an excellent choice in cases when it is not necessary to have the best possible resolution.

We have included a clip of the Canon 5D Mark II shooting in RAW mode while using a Lexar 8gig Pro 300x card so that you can see how the 5D Mark II performs when shooting in continuous mode. Take note of how the frame rate drops from 3.7 fps to a slower rate once the buffer has been used. The file is saved in MP3 format (Click on the graphic to download).

File Flush Timing

The times shown below represent the amount of time it takes for the camera to process the image and “flush” it to the storage card. The timing began when the shutter release button was hit and continued until the storage card activity indicator that was located next to the storage compartment stopped blinking. If the activity indicator light appears practically as soon as you hit the shutter release, it can only imply one of two things: either the EOS 5D Mark II starts writing as soon as you press the shutter release, or Canon is covering up the wait until it begins writing.

The writing continues “in the background,” and this has no impact on the functioning of the camera. The same types of media were employed as described above. In the event that the card door is opened while writing is taking place, an indicator will display the number of photos that are yet to be written to the card and will continue to do so until the process is finished. A shift that is very much appreciated.

USB transfer speed

We chose twelve normal photographs, totaling 144 MB, and uploaded them from a SanDisk Extreme III 8 GB CF card using three different techniques in order to evaluate the speed of the EOS 5D Mark II’s USB transfer capability. Six of the images were RAW, while the remaining six were JPEG. When compared to the speed of the camera transmission of the original 5D, the 5D Mark II exhibits a significant improvement (more than 600 percent improvement in fact).

This will result in a significant improvement for users who shoot while tethered to a computer, and it will also make it possible for users to consider employing the camera in the role of a card reader (though not a very practical one).

Battery capacity

The LP-E6 battery pack is what the Canon EOS 5D Mark II needs to power the camera. The capacity of the battery has increased by 33 percent, coming in at 1800 mAh but maintaining almost the same size. During our testing, we did not see that the battery drained very quickly. In fact, it is far more probable that you will run out of space on a CF card than you will run out of battery power.

The functionality of the video recording feature requires more power than before, however, the higher battery capacity helps meet this increased demand. At 20 degrees Celsius, Canon estimates that its batteries will last for around 850 shots.


Forget the more megapixels, and don’t even think about the feature updates; when the EOS 5D Mark II was revealed in the autumn of last year, the ability to record high definition 1080p videos was possibly the most talked-about component of the camera.

It was just a year ago that the entire thought of a movie mode on a DSLR seemed inconceivable. Now, the Canon 5D Mark II joins the Nikon D90 as the spearhead of this bold new era of convergence between the worlds of the SLR and camcorder.

It’s possible that the Canon 5D Mark II is one of the first DSLRs to include this function, but it’s quite unlikely that it will be the last. It’s quite possible that video recording capabilities may one day become as standard on DSLRs as the live view is now.

Although it is questionable how well a DLSR works as a camcorder replacement for professional users, the opportunity to capture movies with a huge sensor, lenses of excellent quality, and controls that are already familiar is undeniably enticing.

Canon has made it possible for users of the 5D Mark II to have some degree of manual control over the video shooting process by releasing firmware version 1.1.0. The language that follows has been modified so that it reflects this change.

Video specification

The 5D Mark II is capable of recording video in full high definition at a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels (1080p) at a frame rate of 30 frames per second. If you want stereo audio, you will need to put an additional microphone into the socket on the side of the camera. The built-in internal microphone only records in mono, and the quality isn’t particularly impressive. When you play back videos on the camera, there is a little speaker already built-in.

Sizes• 1920 x 1080 (1080p)
• 640 x 480 (VGA)
• 30 fps
Audio44.1kHz Mono (Internal Mic), 3.5mm external microphone jack
FormatQuicktime MOV using H.264 codec, PCM codec for audio
File size4.8 MBytes/sec (1080p), 2.2 MBytes/sec (VGA)
Max file size per clip4.0 GB
Running time12 min for 1080p, 24 min for VGA
Controls in manual mode• ISO speed: Auto, 100-6400, H1
• Shutter speed: 1/30 – 1/4000 sec
• Full aperture selection

Using Movie Mode

Movie recording is only possible with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II when the camera is set to live view mode. The camera does not include a mode that is specifically designed for recording movies. Activating movie recording in the Live View/Movie Func. the set menu is the first step in getting started with movie recording. From this menu, you can also pick the resolution that will be used for movie recording. After it has been activated, all that is required to begin or end video recording in live view mode is to push the set button located on the rear of the camera.

The auto focus feature operates in the same manner during movie recording as it does during regular live view mode. This means that if the feature is turned on during live view mode, it is also accessible during movie recording (press the AF-ON button to focus).

Because all noises are captured when a video is being shot, and any in-camera sound is amplified (including the sound of the aperture changing), it is not suggested to use autofocus with the internal mic, nor is it recommended to use in-lens image stabilization. There is no continuous focus option, and to tell you the truth, the focus is so sluggish that you would never use it while you were shooting. In contrast, a regular camcorder has this choice.

By pushing the primary shutter release, you are able to pause the recording of a movie so that you can take a still image. Once the still has been taken, the recording of the movie will resume where it left off.

When shooting movies, it is best to have at least the most fundamental information shown, since this provides the user with feedback on the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings that are currently being used by the camera.

The exposure is fully automatic in all shooting modes other than the manual one; as you adjust the exposure level using exposure compensation – or as the brightness of the scene changes – the camera will adjust the aperture and ISO (regardless of what ISO value you choose, the camera will switch into auto ISO mode once movie recording begins); you can check what is happening by tapping the shutter button.

Manual control in movie mode

After receiving some pretty vociferous complaints from consumers, Canon allowed complete manual control with the release of Firmware 1.10 for the 5D Mark II. When it was first released, the 5D Mark II did not provide the user any actual control over the exposure settings when the camera was in movie mode.

You gain the ability to set the ISO sensitivity anywhere from 100 to 12800 (or simply use Auto), select shutter speeds ranging from 1/30 of a second to 1/4000 of a second, and use any aperture that is available on the lens. The implementation is a little quirky, but in essence, you are given this ability.

These settings provide you with a great deal of versatility, enabling you to film in conditions with very little light on the one hand and to take pictures with a narrow depth of field even when the light is quite bright on the other.

If you are shooting video in a semi-automatic mode, such as Av or Tv, the exposure will be adjusted to completely automatic by default. To obtain full control over the video manually, turn the mode dial to the M position. It is also necessary to activate particular live view settings in the menu; specifically, in the ‘Live View/Movie Func. set.’ submenu, the ‘LV func. setting’ option must be changed to ‘Stills+movie,’ and the ‘Screen settings’ option must be changed to ‘Movie Display.’

Once you have switched to Live View, you will be able to manipulate all of the exposure factors in a manner that is familiar to you, just as if you were taking still photographs. The aperture will close down in order to provide a preview of the depth of focus, and the brightness of the display will vary in order to mimic exposure.

It is important to note that this combination of settings is not necessarily ideal for anyone who also enjoys using live view when shooting still images. For instance, you lose the ability to superimpose live histograms, and the screen is covered with a semi-transparent mask that indicates the area where video recording will take place. Because of this, you might find it helpful to assign one of the custom settings on the mode dial to the sole purpose of filming movies.

This is the most fundamental level of information that is accessible while recording a video in the auto exposure mode. It displays the exposure compensation as well as the clip time. When recording is taking place, the red dot that appears in the upper right-hand corner of the LCD screen will illuminate.

During recording, the exposure is dynamically adjusted in response to variations in the brightness of the scene (unless you hold down the AE lock button). The command dial located on the rear of the camera is used to adjust the exposure compensation setting, which is the sole control available.

In manual mode, you are able to select the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO of the camera; the scale shows how near you are to achieving the ideal exposure for the meter.

When you take a picture and only half-press the shutter button, the camera will show you all of the options (minus the histogram). Even though they are not applicable to video recording, several of the options, such as RAW and JPEG compression, are still displayed in the menu.

Video quality remarks

Although we don’t consider ourselves to be video quality experts, even we can tell that the film produced by the EOS 5D Mark II is of excellent HD quality, despite the fact that it may become a touch grainy in conditions with low light. This sensor is a 35mm full-frame, which comes with it all of the advantages and disadvantages of the depth of field that come with bigger sensors.

The majority of digital video cameras designed for consumers and prosumers have significantly smaller sensors than the 5D Mark II, which means that isolating subjects will be much simpler to do with this camera. There is nothing else available in this price range, or even four times this price range for that matter, that even comes close to competing with the creative possibilities provided by the 5D Mark II.

The rolling shutter of the EOS 5D Mark II can sometimes create distortion, which is also a problem with the Nikon D90. Due to the reading of the sensor, movies are made using a rolling shutter (horizontal lines of the image are scanned, one after another, rather than the whole scene being grabbed in one go).

The top of the picture was captured sooner than the bottom of the image, therefore moving vertical lines can be represented as diagonals if the camera (or the subject) moves too quickly. This is because the top of the image has been recorded earlier than the bottom of the image.

This problem with the 5D Mark II is not particularly noticeable; you have to pan rather rapidly in order to see it at all. Additionally, it is not as severe as the problem with the D90, but it is still present. Included in this package is a video demonstration of panning.

Image Quality

RAW conversion

When we do assessments of digital SLR cameras, one of our standard practices is to evaluate the raw conversion software that comes with the camera, any optional raw conversion software offered by the manufacturer, and a third-party RAW converter. When working with the EOS 5D Mark II, we made use of the Digital Photo Professional software that came with the camera in addition to Adobe Camera

  • RAW 5.2 and Capture One 4.6.
  • JPEG – Large/Fine, Default settings
  • Digital Photo Professional is abbreviated as DPP.
  • ACR – Adobe Camera RAW 5.2
  • CAP 1 – Capture One 4.6.1

The replication of colors

Hover your mouse pointer over the label located below the image to view the color that was created by each RAW converter. GretagMacbeth ColorChecker charts were used to get the color values. There is no discernible difference between the JPEGs produced by the camera and those produced by Digital Photo Professional, as was to be expected. The default settings of Adobe Camera RAW use a tone curve that is less contrasty and takes a bit more cautious approach to the way colors are responded to.

Precision and attention to detail

Even while each of the three raw converters provided output that was crisp, clear, and detailed, there are some subtle changes in the degree of sharpening that was done by default (with Capture One and DPP the sharpest). The quality of the JPEG that is captured in-camera is already rather outstanding; however, shooting in RAW mode results in a discernible improvement in both resolution and detail.


These crops demonstrate that conversions of RAW files using Digital Photo Professional and Capture One (and, to a lesser extent, Adobe Camera RAW) offer noticeably more resolution than can be obtained from JPEG files and that the 5D Mark II is capable of capturing an astonishing amount of detail provided that the processing is performed properly. The raw files do display some misleading detail at the higher frequencies; this may be seen most clearly in the moiré patterns that are created when the RAW conversions are performed.


Body materialMagnesium alloy
Sensor *• 36 x 24 mm CMOS sensor
• Full 35 mm size frame
• RGB Color Filter Array
• Built-in fixed low-pass filter (with self-cleaning unit)
• 22.0 million total pixels
• 21.1 million effective pixels
• 3:2 aspect ratio
Lenses• Canon EF lens mount (does not support EF-S lenses)
• No field of view crop (1.0x)
Dust reduction• “EOS Integrated Cleaning System”
• Self-cleaning sensor unit (filter in front of sensor vibrates at high frequency at start-up and shutdown – can be disabled)
• Dust Delete Data – Data from a test shot is used to ‘map’ dust spots and can be later removed using Canon DPP Software
Image processor *DIGIC 4
A/D conversion14 bit
Image sizes (JPEG) *• 5616 x 3744 (21.0 MP)
• 4080 x 2720 (11.1 MP)
• 2784 x 1856 (5.2 MP)
Image sizes (RAW) *• 5616 x 3744 (21.0 MP)
• 3861 x 2574 (10.0 MP)
• 2784 x 1856 (5.2 MP)
File formats *• RAW (.CR2; 14-bit)
• JPEG (EXIF 2.21) – Fine / Normal
• RAW + JPEG (separate files)
• sRAW1, sRAW2 (see above) *
Auto focus• 9-point TTL CMOS sensor
• 6 “Invisible Assist AF points”
• Centre point cross type F5.6 or faster
• Center point additionally sensitive with lenses of F2.8 or faster
• AF working range: -0.5 – 18 EV (at 23°C, ISO 100)
Focus modes• One shot AF
• AI Servo AF
• AI Focus AF
• Manual focus
AF micro adjustment *• Adjust all lenses by same amount (effectively body adjustment)
• Adjust up to 20 lenses individually
AF point selection• Auto
• Manual
Predictive AF• As close as 8 m (with 300 mm F2.8L lens at 50 kph)
AF assistNo (only with external flash)
Metering• TTL full aperture metering 35 zone SPC
• Metering range: 1.0 – 20 EV
Metering modes• Evaluative 35 zone (linked to any AF point)
• Partial (8% at center)
• Spot metering (approx. 3.5% at center)
• Center-weighted average
AE lock• Auto: One Shot AF with evaluative metering
• Manual: AE lock button
Exposure compensation• +/-2.0 EV
• 0.3 or 0.5 EV increments
Exposure bracketing• +/- 2.0 EV
• 0.3 or 0.5 EV increments
Sensitivity *• ISO 100 – 6400
• 0.3 or 1.0 EV increments
• Auto ISO (100-3200)
• Expansion options:
review menu 1ISO 50 (L1)
review menu 1ISO 12800 (H1)
review menu 2ISO 25600 (H2)
Shutter• Focal-plane shutter
• 150,000 exposure durability
• 30 – 1/8000 sec
• 0.3 or 0.5 EV increments
• Flash X-Sync: 1/200 sec
• Bulb
Aperture values• F1.0 – F91
• 0.3 or 0.5 EV increments
• Actual aperture range depends on lens used
White balance• Auto
• Daylight
• Shade
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Flash
• Custom
• Kelvin (2500 – 10000 K in 100 K steps)
WB bracketing• +/-3 levels
• 3 images
• Blue / Amber or Magenta / Green bias
WB shift• Blue (-9) To Amber (+9)
• Magenta (-9) to Green (+9)
Picture style• Standard
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Neutral
• Faithful
• Monochrome
• User def. 1
• User def. 2
• User def. 3
Custom image parameters• Sharpness: 0 to 7
• Contrast: -4 to +4
• Saturation: -4 to +4
• Color tone: -4 to +4
• B&W filter: N, Ye, Or, R, G
• B&W tone: N, S, B, P, G
Image processing options *• Highlight tone priority
• Auto lighting optimizer (4 settings)
• Long exposure noise reduction
• High ISO noise reduction (4 settings)
• Auto correction of lens peripheral illumination (vignetting)
Color space• sRGB
• Adobe RGB
Viewfinder *• Eye-level pentaprism
• 98% frame coverage
• Magnification: 0.71x (-1 diopter with 50 mm lens at infinity)
• Eyepoint: Approx. 21 mm
• Interchangeable focusing screen (3 other types optional)
• Dioptric adjustment: -3.0 to +1.0 diopter
Mirror• Quick-return half mirror (transmission:reflection ratio 40:60)
• Mirror lock-up (once or multiple exposures)
Viewfinder info *• AF information:
review menu 1AF points
review menu 2Focus confirmation light
• Exposure information:
review menu 1Shutter speed
review menu 1Aperture value
review menu 1ISO speed (always displayed)
review menu 1AE lock
review menu 1Exposure level/compensation
review menu 1Spot metering circle
review menu 1Exposure warning
review menu 2AEB
• Flash information:
review menu 1Flash ready
review menu 1High-speed sync
review menu 1FE lock
review menu 2Flash exposure compensation
• Image information:
review menu 1White balance correction
review menu 1CF card information
review menu 1Monochrome shooting
review menu 1Maximum burst (2 digit display)
review menu 2Highlight tone priority (D+)
LCD monitor *• 3.0 ” TFT LCD
• 920,000 pixels
• Automatic 3 level brightness adjustment plus 7 manual levels
• 170 ° viewing angle
• Dual anti-reflection (‘Clear View’)
LCD Live view *• Live TTL display of scene from CMOS image sensor
• 100% frame coverage
• 30 fps
• Real-time evaluative metering using CMOS image sensor
• Best view or exposure simulation
• Silent mode
• Grid optional (x2)
• Magnify optional (5x or 10x at AF point)
• Three AF modes – Live mode / Quick mode / Face Detection
• Live histogram (Luminance or RGB)
• Remote live view using EOS Utility 2.0 (via USB or WiFi/Ethernet using WFT)
Movie recording *• Available optionally during Live view mode
• 1920 x 1080 (16:9) up to 12 mins (Quicktime 1080p H.264; 38.6 Mbits/sec)
• 640 x 480 (4:3) up to 24 mins (Quicktime 480p H.264; 17.3 Mbits/sec)
• Max file size 4 GB
• Quicktime MOV format (H.264 video, PCM sound)
• 30 fps
Record review• Off
• On (histogram via INFO button)
• Display mode same as last used Play mode
• 2 / 4 / 8 sec / Hold
Playback modes1. Single image with exposure, file number, storage slot
2. As 1 but also image count and quality
3. Detailed exposure information, thumbnail and luminance histogram
4. Less detailed exposure info., thumbnail, luminance and RGB histograms
Playback features• Optional blinking highlight alert
• Optional AF point display
• Magnified view (up to 10x)
• 2×2 or 3×3 thumbnail index
• Jump (by 1, 10, 100 images, screen, date, folder, movies, stills)*
• Delete / Protect
Flash• No built-in flash unit
• E-TTL II auto flash / metered manual
• Flash compensation +/-2.0 EV in 0.3 or 0.5 EV increments
• X-Sync: 1/200 sec
• Hot-shoe & PC Terminal
External flash• E-TTL II auto flash with EX-series Speedlites
• In-camera flash configuration (currently only 580 EX II)
• Wireless multi-flash support
• PC Sync
Shooting modes• Auto
• Creative Auto *
• Program AE (P)
• Shutter priority AE (Tv)
• Aperture priority AE (Av)
• Manual (M)
• Custom 1
• Custom 2 *
• Custom 3 *
Drive modes• Single
• Continuous: 3.9 fps *
• Self-timer: 2 or 10 sec (2 sec with mirror lock-up)
Burst buffer• Large/Fine JPEG: 78 frames (310 with UDMA card) *
• RAW: 13 frames *
Orientation sensorYes
Auto rotation• On (recorded and LCD display)
• On (recorded only)
• Off
Custom functions *25 custom functions with 71 settings in 4 groups
Menu languages *• 25 Languages
• English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Portuguese, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Greek, Russian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, Ukrainian, Turkish, Arabic, Thai, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese
FirmwareUser upgradable
Portrait grip• Optional WFT-E4 (WiFi / LAN / USB mass storage)
• Optional BG-E6 battery grip
Connectivity *• USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
• AV out (video & audio *)
• HDMI connector *
• Microphone input *
• PC Sync flash terminal
• Communication terminal on base for WFT-E4
• InfraRed *
Storage *• Compact Flash Type I or II (inc. FAT32)
• Supports UDMA cards *
• Copyright metatag support
• Canon Original Data Security Kit supported (“Original Image Data”)
Power *• Lithium-Ion LP-E6 rechargeable battery (supplied & charger)
• CR1616 for date & settings
• Approx. 850 shots at 20°C
• Battery indication 6 levels & percentage (memorized)
Dimensions *152 x 114 x 75 mm (6.0 x 4.5 x 2.9 in)
Weight *• No battery: 810 g (1.8 lb)
Accessories• Viewfinder: Eyecup Eb, E-series Dioptric Adjustment Lens with Rubber Frame Eb, Eyepiece Extender EP-EX15, Focusing Screens Eg, Angle Finder C
• Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E4
• Battery Grip BG-E6
• All EF lenses (excludes EF-S lenses)
• Canon Speedlites (220EX, 380EX, 420EX, 430EX, 430EX II, 550EX, 580EX, 580EX II, Macro-Ring-Lite, MR-14EX, Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX, Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2)
• Remote control with N3 type contact, Wireless Controller LC-5, Remote Controller RC-1, Remote Controller RC-5
• Original Data Security Kit OSK-E3

Pros & Cons

Good For
  • The outstanding resolution, quite comparable to that of the Sony Alpha 900 (and essentially the same as EOS-1Ds Mark III)
  • The ISO setting is now observable in the viewfinder (at long last!)
  • Finally provides a high ISO noise reduction mode with adjustable settings
  • Wide variety of available ISO settings, from 50 to 25600 (with the ‘ISO Expansion’ feature activated), as well as a convenient auto ISO setting
Need Improvment
  • AI Servo, often known as continuous autofocus, is not as good as that of the EOS-1 series or the Nikon D700.
  • Nothing of the like can be found. USB mode
  • Standard noise reduction settings are extremely aggressive for anything that is higher than ISO 400. (can be turned down though)
  • The automated white balance in artificial light is still around the same as average.
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
Although certain areas of the spec (AF, metering) are looking a little old in the tooth, the exceptional picture quality and class-leading movie production should guarantee the Mark II is as popular as its predecessor. The various little upgrades are great, and if you want full-frame (without switching to an even more costly pro body) the 5D Mark II is about as good as it gets right now.

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Canon EOS 5D Mark II ReviewAlthough certain areas of the spec (AF, metering) are looking a little old in the tooth, the exceptional picture quality and class-leading movie production should guarantee the Mark II is as popular as its predecessor. The various little upgrades are great, and if you want full-frame (without switching to an even more costly pro body) the 5D Mark II is about as good as it gets right now.