Canon EOS 5D Mark II Review

The Canon EOS 5D represented a paradigm shift in photography. But a lot of things have transpired in the time since then. Full-frame sensors are now available from Nikon and Sony.

Therefore, despite the fact that the Canon EOS 5D Mk II is a significant improvement over the model that came before it, it is not likely to have the same near-monopoly as its predecessor. So, what exactly is different?

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Canon EOS 5D Mark II Full Frame DSLR Camera (Body Only) (OLD...

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Last update was on: February 5, 2023 12:39 pm
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The new components

The resolution of the sensor has been increased from 12.8 to 21 megapixels. The 2.5-inch LCD with 230,000 pixels has been upgraded to a newer one that is one-half an inch bigger and has four times the resolution. And the new 5D contains technology that was unimaginable when the first 5D was introduced, such as a Live View mode and a 1920 x 1080 HD movie mode… We thought the D90 was impressive, but this is on an entirely different level.

Due to the nature of the definition, more than a few manufacturers of mid to high-end camcorders are probably starting to question if they’ve bet on the wrong horse. The new camera, which utilizes Canon’s newest Digic IV processor, is able to shoot at 3.9 frames per second, which is an improvement over the old camera’s 3 frames per second, and it does a great job of managing these large files.

In our tests, the camera was able to shoot 13 consecutive RAW files at maximum speed, which is the same as what Canon claims it is capable of. However, after that, the camera’s performance decreased, and it took around 20 seconds to empty the buffer when it was filled up.

High ISO

A wider and brighter viewfinder, two silent Live View modes for unobtrusive photography, an increase in ISO to 6400 in standard shooting mode, and an astonishing 25600 in ‘extended’ mode are some of the other improvements that are less visible.

Both the Auto Lighting Optimiser, which opens up shadows without compromising highlights, and the peripheral lighting option, which claims to decrease or eliminate any corner shading produced by your Canon lenses, enhance the dynamic range of the camera.

Design and Features

The 5D Mark II’s handling, rather than its technology, is responsible for a significant portion of the camera’s popularity. Anyone who has ever used a high-end EOS will immediately recognize the design and layout, but the user interface has been improved and refined by Canon to make it better than it has ever been.

This one, like most other professional cameras, comes with two control dials. The first one is installed in the traditional manner, on the surface of the top of the grip. The second dial is significantly bigger than the first and is positioned horizontally on the camera’s rear panel.

The size of it combined with the knurled edge makes it quite simple to turn with your thumb. The presence of twin control dials makes it much simpler to make independent adjustments to the shutter speed and aperture, but this back dial has a lot more capabilities.

A small joystick located slightly above it may be used to move between the menu tabs, but you go down the selections by “turning” the back dial. Additionally, it is utilized for navigating the menus. It is quick while also being quite accurate. However, there is one more turn to take.

Quick controls

The Olympus E-series and the Nikon D60 are two examples of consumer cameras with successful implementations of interactive LCDs. They have the benefit of displaying the existing settings while also enabling you to make immediate adjustments to those settings. You are free to continue using the conventional control approach if that is what you are most comfortable with, or you may switch to using the brand new interactive “Quick Control Screen” instead.

The key question here is whether or not the addition of 21 million pixels has created a discernible improvement in image quality. There is a possibility that the increased pixel density will have a negative impact on the camera’s performance at high ISO settings; nevertheless, the image quality at an ISO setting of 6400 is very high. To the same standard as the Nikon D700 and D3? Maybe, maybe not. However, it is quite remarkable.

The improved resolution, on the other hand, makes it very evident that the quality of the lens is now the primary focus. When we tested the Canon 5D Mark II with the 24-105mm f/4 IS lens that is typically included with it as part of a kit, we discovered that the performance was good but not exceptional. This includes some chromatic aberration at the edges of the frame at shorter focal lengths, which is something that you might not be expecting to see.

Having said that, the RAW converter and editor known as Digital Photo Professional that comes included with each and every EOS SLR camera contain a setting that can correct this. Using the lens data and settings that are stored in the image’s EXIF data, it is able to automatically correct lens aberrations such as chromatic aberration, distortion, and corner shading.

Although Digital Photo Pro has a lot of capabilities, it’s not often given the credit it deserves. Specifically, it displays a great deal more fine-grained and textural detail than you often get in the JPEGs produced by the 5D Mk II.


This camera, like to other EOS SLRs, generates JPEGs that are clean and devoid of noise, however doing so comes at the expense of information at finer and higher frequencies. It does not affect every image by any stretch of the imagination, but there are some topics and lighting conditions in which the surfaces and the details appear to sink below the camera’s detail ‘threshold,’ causing them to be portrayed with a typically ‘glassy’ quality.

This should not be a concern for prospective buyers of the 5D Mark II, in part because the files are so enormous that the amount of detail involved is very insignificant, and in part, because the majority of buyers would most likely shoot in RAW format anyway. And this is where the Digital Photo Pro software links up flawlessly with the camera, reproducing the Picture Styles, white balance presets, and other on-camera settings.

In the end, the 5D Mark II does not have a single, undeniable advantage; rather, it will have to rely on a combination of things, such as its Live View, its HD movie mode, and, perhaps most of all, its excellent build, design, and handling, in addition to the support of Canon’s extensive and well-established professional lens and accessory range.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Specs

Year Introduced2008
Total Pixels22.0
Sensor Size36.0 x 24.0mm
Pixel Dimensions5616 x 3744
Pixel Size6.41µm
Diffraction-Limited Aperturef/10.3
Sensor StabilizationN
Lens MountEF (excludes EF-S lenses), TS-E, MP-E
Image ProcessorDIGIC 4
TypeTTL-CT-SIR with a CMOS sensor
Points9-point AF (plus 6 Assist AF points)
Working RangeEV -0.5 – 18 (at 20°C & ISO 100)
ModesOne Shot
AI Focus
AI Servo
Point SelectionAutomatic selection, Manual selection
MicroadjustmentC.Fn III-8 
+/- 20 steps
Adjust all lenses by the same amount
Adjust up to 20 lenses individually
Exposure Control  
Metering ModesTTL full aperture metering with 35 zone SPC
(1) Evaluative metering (linked to any AF point)
(2) Partial metering (approx. 8% of viewfinder at center)
(3) Spot metering: (approx. 3.5% viewfinder at center)
(4) Center-weighted average metering
Metering RangeEV 1 – 20 (at 20°C with 50mm f1.4 lens ISO 100)
Exposure Comp+/-2 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments (can be combined with AEB).
AEB+/- 2 EV, 1/2 or 1/3-stop increments
ISO SensitivityAuto (100-3200), 100-6400 (in 1/3-stop or whole stop increments) 
ISO can be expanded to H1: 12800 and H2:25600
Shutter Speed30 – 1/8000 sec. (1/3 stop increments), Bulb (Total shutter speed range. Available range varies by shooting mode)
WB SettingsAuto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, White Fluorescent light, Flash, Custom, Color Temperature setting.
White balance compensation: 
1. Blue/Amber +/-9
2. Magenta/ Green +/-9.
Custom WBYes, 1 setting can be registered
CoverageApprox. 98%
MagnificationApprox. 0.71x
EyepointApprox. 21mm
InformationAF information: AF points, focus confirmation light.
Exposure information: Shutter speed, aperture value, ISO speed (always displayed), AE lock, exposure level/compensation, spot metering circle, exposure warning, AEB.
Flash information: Flash ready, high-speed sync, FE lock, flash exposure compensation.
Image information: White balance correction, CF card information, monochrome shooting, maximum burst (2 digit display), Highlight tone priority (D+).
DOF PreviewYes, with the Depth of Field preview button.
Eyepiece ShutterOn strap
Type3.0″ Clear View TFT, approx. 920K dots
CoatingDual Anti-reflection
Brightness AdjAuto 3 levels + Manual adjustable to one of seven levels
Display Options(1) Quick Control Screen
(2) Camera settings
Built-in GNN/A (ISO 100, meters)
Built-in CoverageN/A
Built-in Recycle TimeN/A
ModesE-TTL Auto Flash
Exposure Compensation+/-2 EV in 1/3-stop increments
Hot Shoe/PC TerminalYes / Yes
External Flash CompE-TTL II with EX series Speedlites, wireless multi-flash support
External Flash ControlVia camera menu
Shooting ModesAuto (Stills and Movie), Creative Auto, Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual (Stills and Movie), Custom (x3)
Picture StylesStandard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User Defined (x3)
Image ProcessingHighlight Tone Priority
Auto Lighting Optimizer (4 settings)
Long exposure noise reduction
High ISO speed noise reduction (4 settings)
Auto Correction of Lens Peripheral illumination
Drive ModesSingle, Continuous, Self-timer/remote control (10s), Self timer /remote control (2s)
Continuous ShootingMax. Approx. 3.9fps. (speed maintained for up to 78 images (JPEG) (310 with UDMA card), 13 images (RAW))
Shutter Lag73ms
Viewfinder Blackout145ms
Live View  
FrameRate30 fps
FocusingManual Focus (Magnify the image 5x or 10x at any point on screen)
Autofocus: Quick mode, Live mode, Live Face detection mode
MeteringReal-time evaluative metering with image sensor
Active metering time can be changed
Display OptionsGrid overlay (x2), Histogram, data, no data
File information  
Still ImageTypeJPEG: Fine, Normal (Exif 2.21 [Exif Print] compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system (2.0), 
RAW: RAW, sRAW1, sRAW2 (14bit, Canon original RAW 2nd edition), 
Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
Image SizeJPEG: (L) 5616×3744, (M) 4080×2720, (S) 2784×1856
RAW: (RAW) 5616×3744, (sRAW 1) 3861×2574, (sRAW 2) 2784×1856
Movie TypeMOV (Video: H.264, Sound: Linear PCM)
Movie Size1920 x 1080 (16:9), 640 x 480 (4:3) -30fps
Movie LengthMax duration 29m 59sec, Max file size 4GB
Other Information  
Wireless Features
Custom Functions25 Custom Functions with 71 settings
LCD Panel / IlluminationYes / Yes
Water & Dust ResistanceYes
Sound MemoNo
Computer InterfaceUSB 2.0 Hi-Speed (Mini-B)
Other InterfaceHDMI mini output, Video output (PAL/ NTSC), Microphone input, Extension system terminal (for WFT-E4)
Memory TypeCompactFlash Type I/ II (Microdrive compatible, UDMA compatible), external storage with WFT-E4
Batteries & Power  
BatteryRechargeable Li-ion Battery LP-E6 (supplied), 1x CR1616 for date & settings
Battery LifeApprox. 850 (at 20°C)
750 (at 0°C)
Power Supply Battery ChargersAC Adapter Kit ACK-E6, Battery charger LC-E6E/LC-E6, Car Battery charger CBC-E6, Car Battery Cable CB-570
Physical Specs  
Body MaterialsMagnesium Alloy body covers
Shutter Durability Rating150,000
Operating Environment0 – 40 °C, 85% or less humidity
Dimensions Inches6.0 x 4.5 x 3.0″ (152 x 113.5 x 75mm)
CIPA Weight31.9 oz (904g)
ViewfinderEyecup Eb, E-series Dioptric Adjustment Lens with Rubber Frame Eb, Eyepiece Extender EP-EX15, Focusing Screens Eg, Angle Finder C
Wireless File TransmitterWireless File Transmitter WFT-E4
Compatible LensesAll EF lenses (excludes EF-S lenses), TS-E, and MP-E lenses
Battery GripBG-E6  
RemoteRemote control with N3 type contact, Wireless Controller LC-5, Remote Controller RC-1, Remote Controller RC-5
OtherHand Strap E2

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Price

$1,499.95 $2,199.00 59 used from $298.00 2 new from $1,499.95
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Canon EOS 5D Mark II Full Frame DSLR Camera (Body...

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