Canon EOS 5D Mark II Announcement


Yesterday Canon announced a replacement for their “cheap” full-frame digital SLR, the 5D, with the 5D Mark II. The 5D has been around for about three years, so it’s easy to guess that a replacement was coming. And what a replacement it is! It offers a lot of exciting changes!

First, what does “full-frame” mean? Up until a few years ago, all DSLRs used a roughly APS-format sized image sensor, measuring about 15 x 22 mm. This is smaller than 35 mm film and “full-frame” digital SLRs, which measure roughly 24 x 36 mm. Sparing the details, bigger is better, and more expensive. Most DSLRs still use the smaller sensor (such as Nikon’s D90 and D300, and Canon’s 20D and 50D).

The 5D Mark II has a number of new and improved features of course. Perhaps the most notable is the 21 megapixel sensor, which is just complete overkill for me and most people. On the other hand, if you’re a working pro and/or want to crop heavily, it’s perfect. The high ISO performance is noteworthy, topping out at 25,600. That’s a full three stops beyond the original 5D, and is practically like being able to see in the dark! Based on the Canon 50D announcement I was expecting to see the 5D Mark II work at 12,800, but they took it even further!

The other noteworthy feature is video recording. I wrote that I was a little surprised to see this appear on the Nikon D90, and I’m even more surprised to see it on the 5D Mark II, a camera aimed at a significantly more serious crowd. That said, it’s interesting that Canon took the recording capability further than Nikon did: full HD (1920 x 1080 resolution, as opposed to 1280 x720 from Nikon), longer recording time (12 minutes vs only 5), and a microphone input socket (not present on the D90). All of this adds up to a significant jump towards an amateur film-maker being able to use a digital camera to create the kind of video that was previously reserved for those with a much larger budget.

There are plenty of other “me too” features that had to be added to bring the camera up-to-date: Auto ISO, 3-inch high-quality LCD screen, integrated sensor cleaning, and live view modes. The last noteworthy thing I see is the menus. They appear to offer more features and better control over the camera than many of Canon’s previous attempts.

…And yet, I have no desire to switch back to Canon!

Share Your Thoughts ( Comments Already)

Older Comments (1)

Dan & Sherree & Patrick currently uses Facebook for comments. Older comments are still here for readers, though. Read old comments »

OMG I SOOOOOOOO want this camera body!!! You better stick to your Nikon's - I don't need more competition in obtaining what is sure to be a backordered product for a while.

« Close old comments