At last Canon has upgraded the camera that first made full-frame digital photography possible for many enthusiasts. Will it enable the company to regain the top spot in the DSLR market? We review the Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Viewfinder, LCD, live view and video
Although the button layout is very similar to that of the EOS 5D, there are a few differences. This button, for instance, activates the Live View
The 3in, 920,000-dot LCD screen is a big improvement on the smaller, lower resolution unit in the original EOS 5D
My Menu tab
Up to six of the most frequently used features can be assigned to My Menu, the last tab on the menu display
This button can be set to start video recording. The Picture Styles that are applied to still images are also applied to movies, so their appearance can be tailored to personal preference or to match the results from another video camera
Thanks to a larger prism, a silver- (instead of aluminium-) backed mirror and a change to the optics, the viewfinder of the EOS 5D Mark II is brighter than that of the original 5D. This is helpful in the low-light conditions that the EOS 5D Mark II is suited to working in because of the very high sensitivity settings. The viewfinder eye point has also changed from 0.8 to a more comfortable 0.87, and the coverage has been boosted from 96% to 98%.
One of the biggest problems with the original EOS 5D was that enlarged recorded images were only shown at relatively low resolution on the LCD screen and it was impossible to be certain if they were sharp or not. Thankfully, this has been addressed in the new EOS 5D Mark II. The LCD screen is now also larger at 3in, and has the same 920,000-dot (307,000-pixel) resolution as other semi-professional level cameras. The impact of this size and pixel count increase is immediately obvious, and images have much more definition than on the original EOS 5D.
The screen also performs well when used to compose images, and the 5x and 10x magnification views enable extremely precise manual focusing. Although the LCD screen is fixed, it has a 170° viewing angle, which means that when the need arises it is possible to compose images on the screen when it is not directly front-on. As usual, though, it is preferable to have a direct view of the screen.
Video recording is straightforward, but it is advisable to use the camera’s jack to connect a remote microphone to avoid the machinations of the AF and the wheezing of any zooming being recorded via the in-camera mic. There’s plenty of detail visible in the movies and movement flows smoothly, but the back-and-forth focusing can make the results look less than professional.