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:
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Canon EOS 5D Mark II review


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Dynamic range

Though the EOS 5D Mark II has a much greater pixel count and smaller pixel pitch (6.4×6.4 microns vs 8.2×8.2 microns) than its predecessor, the photodiodes on the new camera are larger. In addition, the microlenses that cover these light-sensitive cells have been made larger and more transmissive.

Our tests indicate that this has helped Canon overcome one of the most common concerns of an increased pixel count – a reduction in the dynamic range. In fact, the EOS 5D Mark II has the same dynamic range as its predecessor (11EV) and the graphs are identical. However, when 
the Highlight Tone Priority mode is activated this effectively extends the Mark II model’s range to 11.5EV. In practice, the impact of both Highlight Tone Priority and Auto Lighting Optimiser is very subtle.

This graph shows the brightness values recorded by the test camera when it is used to photograph a stepped graduation wedge. The wedge has transmission values in 1⁄2EV steps ranging from 0 to 12EV. The camera’s exposure is set so the 12EV section in the wedge has a brightness value of 255. Software analysis of the image then determines the recorded brightness values of all the other steps and calculates the camera’s dynamic range.


When set to the Adobe RGB colourspace, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II produces JPEG images that exceed the sRGB gamut, and provide more subtle red, blue and purple gradations. However, like most cameras, it cannot replicate the full range of green tones of the Adobe 
RGB colourspace.

  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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