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

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

LCD viewfinder:
Dynamic Range:
AWB Colour:


Canon EOS 5D Mark II review


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Build and handling

Though the Canon EOS 5D Mark II looks very similar to its predecessor, and the two models have almost identical proportions and weight, the newer model does feel a little more robust.

The matt, textured surface of the Mark II version has a more durable air and provides a better grip. It is also reassuring to know that the weather-sealing has been upgraded so the EOS 5D Mark II is fully weatherproofed.

Control functions
The LCD screen has also grown by 0.5in on its diagonal to 3in. Existing EOS 5D users who are thinking of upgrading will be pleased to know that the button and dial arrangement is almost identical on 
the new camera. However, a fifth button has been introduced down 
the left side of the screen to provide quick access to the Picture Style controls.

The print/share button 
above the LCD screen, to the left 
of the viewfinder, also usefully doubles as the Live View activation control on 
the newer model. And, when images are being composed using Live 
View, or a video is being recorded, a new AF button just above the thumb rest is conveniently positioned to instigate autofocusing.

New tabbed menu
I much prefer the new tabbed 
menu system of the EOS 5D Mark II as it is easier to find the features you don’t use regularly. Also, shortcuts to the six most frequently used controls can be grouped together on the My Menu screen. However, given the number of Live View and Movie options under the Set-up menu, it would be more sensible to give these settings their own tab.

Mode dial
While the EOS 5D has a single custom, or user shooting, mode option on the mode dial, the Mark II version has three. These are really useful for setting up the camera for shooting under specific conditions.

Joystick and key settings
In its default set-up the EOS 5D Mark II has a status display that is activated by pressing the small joystick on the camera back. This screen affords quick access to a collection of key settings and is navigated using the joystick, while selections are made using the Set button at the centre of the large Quick Control Dial.

Many will find this a convenient way of working, but I prefer to use Custom Function III 3 to set the joystick (referred to by Canon as the Multi-controller) to select the active AF point. I find this method much quicker than pressing the AF Selection point button (on the right above the thumb rest) before using the joystick or Quick Control 
Dial to locate the correct AF point.

  1. 1. Canon EOS 5D Mark II at a glance:
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Build and handling
  4. 4. White balance and colour
  5. 5. Metering
  6. 6. Autofocus
  7. 7. Resolution, noise and sensitivity
  8. 8. Dynamic range
  9. 9. Viewfinder, LCD, live view and video
  10. 10. The competition
  11. 11. Our verdict
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