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

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Canon EOS 5D Mark II

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Canon EOS 5D Mark II review


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We had no complaints about the EOS 5D’s lightmetering, and Canon has decided to stick with the same 35-zone evaluative system for its latest camera. This is backed, as before, by centreweighted, partial and spot metering options.

Unlike Olympus, Canon has no highlight spot metering option, so EOS 5D Mark II users must develop an understanding of their camera’s dynamic range to ensure the maximum amount of detail is captured. Furthermore, unlike Nikon, Canon has not made it possible to vary the size of the area that is given the emphasis in the centreweighted metering mode, and a 3.5% spot is large in comparison with other manufacturers’ more precise 2% offerings.

In the past, Canon’s riposte to this kind of grumble is that its evaluative metering system is good enough to make these additional features unnecessary. It is a fair comment, 
as in most circumstances the evaluative metering, which can be linked to any AF point, does an excellent job, with the main subject usually being correctly exposed. Even 
the foreground of a landscape under a bright, blank sky comes out looking good. However, if the highlight details need to be preserved then users must use the live histogram to guide the level of exposure compensation.

Interestingly, when shooting the same subject across the full sensitivity span, I needed to reduce the exposure slightly at the highest expanded ISO values. As well as a slight reduction in dynamic range, this suggests that Canon isn’t undercutting the headline-making sensitivity values as some film manufacturers have been accused of doing in the past.

  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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