And so to the digital stills camera that the 5D MkII truly is, now touting 21Mp, up from 12.8Mp. The continuous shooting at 3.9 f/s is not so groundbreaking, with higher speeds still reserved for the flagship 1D models. However, the menus are better laid out and there are more of them and you can now use the joystick top right to move between them. Memorise the colour coding and you can jump quickly to the submenu for that feature.
A great improvement is the quick jump function to access frequently used features without having to go through the menus – simply press the SET button. While experienced EOS users are habitually view function settings from the top screen, now, parameters can be gleaned from the back LCD.
Old hands use the top panel for settings, but the LCD back shows them too
The Program selection knob has gained a couple of custom function settings, one being the new Creative Automatic (CA) mode. It’s a halfway house from full auto to something akin to testing the water. It will appeal to casual users to take control over things like aperture, shutter and white balance to see what effect they have.
Anyone having used not just Canon SLRs since the Nineties will feel right at home with the program, aperture and shutter priority options, plus bulb and manual. In fact, little has changed. If you’ve used the 5D Mk I, you can pick this up and shoot immediately.
On the left are connectors for PC sync for studio flash, mini HDMI, mic input, USB, and another AV connector. The batteries have been upgraded, so no using your old 5D or, come to think of it, any Canon SLR batteries of the last seven years. Canon did very well being so consistent with those! Battery life is very good when shooting stills, less so with heavy amounts of filming and playback.
The larger 3in, 920,000-pixel screen is four times the count of the original 5D's 2.5in display. Suffice to say, if it looks good on the back it is good. Although, sometimes the auto view mode, that shows what’s been captured, can dip in intensity in sunlight, which can seem as if it's losing power. However, all things are customisable, but changing the brightness of the screen can give false hope to incorrect exposures, so there are histograms for both overall brightness and separate RGB levels for reference.
The white balance can be changed within bracketing as well as from the menu, giving three different looks in a sequence. There is also the ability to make one custom white balance, if you know you are going to be in a very complicated mixed lighting situation.
Live view & lenses
>>Live View seems to be for camera phone numpties with a little too much cash.
It's difficult to frame a shot when holding the camera at arms length above the head - being able compose the shot using the display is very useful when photographing in a large crowd.
I'd second what several people have pointed out - quality optics (ie an L series lens) are essential to get the most out of a camera like this. Factor in upto £5k for a set of "fast" lenses. My ideal bag would include wide (16-35mm f2.8L), portrait (24-70mm f2.8L or 50mm f1.2L) and telephoto (70-200mm f2.8L IS USM).
Then you will need filters (UV, polarising), lots of memory cards, batteries, a sound tripod, remote shutter switch, flash unit and bag. You will probably also want a spare body too just in case....
Being a photo enthusiast can be very costly!
The pickpocket because carrying a bag containing several thousand pounds worth of kit around makes you a target for those who would part you from it...
I'll get my coat - check my wallet - Bah!
I'm saving up for one of these.
There is a great demo video you can have a look at called "Reverie", which you should be able to find by Googling the words below.
EOS 5D Mark II Video Reverie
Pedants, the lot of you
Yea, it was not the first (and only arguably the best), poor comment from the author either badly researched or a typo, but unlike the view of many posters this is not a history of digital article (which would be interesting, anyone remember Studiokit from the mid 90s? or the leica S series, again larger than full frame in the mid 90s?).
Stu hits the nail on the head when he brings it back to lenses, although it's not quite as simple as saying over 12 needs better lenses;
. Lots of pixels (to give the definition)
. Physically large sensor (to ensure enough photons hit the pixels)
. Big glass (to allow lots of light in)
This is why the 10Mp £49 ASDA compact is a world away from the 10Mp EOS 400D, there's lots of detailed reasons why (bokeh, circles of confusion) but it all comes down to the three factors above, get lots of light and chop it up into small bits (but not too small or reciprocity and wavelength becomes a factor).
I remain unconvinced by the article, there's a lot of space that says loads of things (some of the example images used were useless) but makes no relevant comparisons or real reasons why the 5DMk2 is so good, I have some great pictures that directly compare images on my 400D and 5DMk2 using both the 70-200 F2.8L IS and 400 F2.8L IS (the 100-400 pictured is a good lens but poor compared to these two) - A Mk1/Mk2 comparison woudl have made far more sense.
It has really undersold the 5DMk2
I didn't use enough exclamation marks the first time!!!!!
Oh god not again
"With a sensor this size, finally, here was a way of getting the original focal length of your old 28mm lens back from the scaling beyond 40mm that occurs when used with smaller sensor cameras."
Repeat after me: The focal length doesn't change! It never changes! It is a physical property of the lens!