Canon EOS 5D Mark II

2008 Photokina Canon Events Featured News Uncategorized


The Canon EOS 5D Mark II Escalates Full-Frame Digital SLR Photography to the Next Level with
HD Movie Recording Capabilities, DIGIC 4 Imaging Processor, and 21.1 Megapixel Resolution

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., September 17, 2008 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging, today introduced the EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR camera, the long-awaited successor to Canon’s highly popular EOS 5D, introduced in 2005. Building upon the qualities that made the EOS 5D camera so successful, Canon has coupled the creative power of a full-frame CMOS sensor in a relatively compact and affordable camera body, together with groundbreaking HD video capture that opens the door to a much wider range of imaging possibilities for photographers. Along with the ability to capture full HD video clips at 1920 x 1080 resolution, Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR camera features a 21.1-megapixel full frame 24 x 36mm CMOS sensor, DIGIC 4 imaging processor and significantly lower noise, with an expanded sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 25,600.

“The anticipation surrounding the launch of this camera model has exceeded our greatest expectations, and we believe our loyal customers will be awed by the level of innovation and features built into the new EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR. Once they have the chance to experience the camera, we believe they will agree that it was worth the wait,” stated Yuichi Ishizuka, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group, Canon U.S.A.

Among the many advancements in Canon’s new EOS 5D Mark II camera is the Company’s proprietary DIGIC 4 Imaging Processor that powers the camera’s fast 14-bit analog-to-digital conversion for smooth color tones and exceptional gradation. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR offers a full-frame 24 x 36mm, 21.1 megapixel CMOS sensor and continuous shooting at 3.9 frames per second (fps) for an unlimited number of full-resolution JPEGs to the capacity of the memory card or up to 14 RAW images in a single burst when using a UDMA CF card. The camera includes a 15-point Autofocus (AF) sensor with nine selectable AF points plus six additional Assist AF points (three center AF points sensitive to f/2.8 lenses) with enhanced light source detection and AF microadjustment for greater autofocus performance. The EOS 5D Mark II camera also features a large, clear 3.0-inch Clear View LCD screen with 920,000 dot/VGA resolution, four times the pixel count of the EOS 5D camera’s 2.5-inch screen, for enhanced clarity and color when viewing images. The new camera is equipped with a high-performance, high-magnification optical viewfinder providing 98 percent coverage, giving a new dimension to the saying, “what you see is what you get.” Professional photographers will also appreciate the enhanced 150,000-cycle shutter durability of the EOS 5D Mark II camera.

Canon, the first company to introduce a full-frame digital camera, has improved the EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR camera’s newly developed full-frame CMOS image sensor. Utilizing proprietary Canon technology, the Company has reduced noise and expanded the sensitivity of the CMOS sensor up to ISO 25600, which is three full stops higher than the ISO 3200 limit of the original EOS 5D camera. Although the individual pixel dimensions of the EOS 5D Mark II camera are the same as the 21.1-megapixel CMOS sensor used in the EOS-1Ds Mark III digital SLR, the new sensor incorporates an improved output amplifier and a more advanced color filter that improves light transmission while retaining excellent color reproduction. By applying the same kind of advancements in sensor design and image processing technology as the recently introduced EOS 50D camera, but at higher resolution and with larger pixels, the EOS 5D Mark II achieves the highest level of image quality of any EOS Digital SLR released to date.

With the combination of its improved CMOS image sensor and the powerful new DIGIC 4 image processor, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera provides ISO speeds from ISO 100 up to ISO 6400 in 1/3-stop increments, along with two high-speed settings – H1 and H2 – of ISO 12800 and ISO 25600, respectively, as well as a low-speed setting of ISO 50. The full-frame sensor maximizes the performance of Canon EF lenses, the world’s largest selection of autofocus lenses.

HD and SD Video Capture
Canon has taken its expertise in imaging, photography and video capture technology to a new level with the EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR. Answering the question of where SLR technology is going next, the EOS 5D Mark II features 16:9 Full HD video capture at 1920 x 1080 pixels and 30 fps as well as 4:3 standard TV quality (SD) video capture at 640 x 480 pixels and 30 fps, both capabilities appearing for the first time in a Canon SLR camera. Video capture is part of the camera’s Live View function, using the Picture Style that has been set for Live View still image shooting. This allows skilled photographers and cinematographers to adjust image sharpness, contrast, color saturation and white balance, and have those settings apply to the movie image. When recording video, the camera’s rear LCD screen can be letter-boxed by a semi-transparent border to match the aspect ratio of the movie recording size. Moreover, the EOS 5D Mark II camera’s HD video capability enables new levels of creative expression through its unfettered access to the complete line of more than 60 Canon EF lenses, which provide an incredible variety of visual effects including everything from ultra-wide-angle and fish-eye to macro and super-telephoto, including many large-aperture L-series professional lenses that can keep the main subject in razor-sharp focus while blurring the background beyond recognition.

The EOS 5D Mark II will record video up to 4GB per clip or a maximum continuous movie capture time of 29 minutes and 59 seconds, whichever comes first. Depending on the level of detail in the scene, a 4GB memory card can record approximately 12 minutes of video at full HD resolution or approximately 24 minutes in standard definition.[i]camera includes an HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) output to display crisp, clear images on a High-Definition TV. Video clips are recorded in .MOV format using an MPEG-4 video compression and sound is recorded using linear PCM[ii] without compression. The new camera features an input terminal for external stereo microphones as well as a built-in monaural microphone for convenience. To help show off those fantastic movies as well as still photos, the EOS 5D Mark II

Live View Shooting
For both still images and video, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera features Live View, one of the most sought after features in digital SLRs today. The 5D Mark II features three Live View AF modes – Quick, Live and Face Detection Live mode – for capturing either still photos or video, each with its own attributes. Quick mode automatically sets One-Shot AF using the camera’s phase detection AF system. It also allows users to select the AF point, even while the Live View image is displayed. Although the camera’s reflex mirror must be lowered briefly to take an AF measurement in Quick mode, it is the fastest way to set focus automatically when the 5D Mark II camera is set for Live View.

Live mode uses contrast-detection AF with the image sensor and here, as with Quick mode, users can change the AF point using the Multi-controller. Face Detection Live mode uses contrast AF to recognize human faces. When multiple faces are detected, the largest face closest to the center of the frame is targeted as the AF point. While Live View is engaged users can still change settings including the AF mode (Quick, Live, Face Detection Live mode), drive mode, ISO speed, Picture style, White Balance, and more.

Peripheral Illumination Correction
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR camera automatically conducts peripheral illumination correction when shooting JPEG images, a function that previously could only be accomplished through post-image processing using software such as Canon’s Digital Photo Professional, which Canon supplies at no extra charge. Peripheral illumination correction evens brightness across the image field, making an image of a blue sky even toned throughout and reducing light fall-off at image edges. This new feature essentially eliminates one of the limitations of previous full-frame digital SLRs.

Auto Lighting Optimizer
Canon’s enhanced Auto Lighting Optimizer technology helps ensure each picture’s subject is clearly visible by analyzing image brightness and automatically adjusting dark areas in images so that they appear brighter. This function is ideal in high-contrast situations such as urban landscapes captured on sunny days, where the tops of buildings are brightly lit while street level details are obscured by heavy shadows. In this type of scene, the 5D Mark II camera’s Auto Lighting Optimizer technology preserves accurate exposure of the highlights while opening up the shadow areas for a more pleasing tonal rendition.

Canon’s New Creative Auto Mode
Recently introduced with the new EOS 50D, Canon’s “CA” Creative Full Auto setting can also be found on the EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR camera’s mode dial. This setting allows users to make image adjustments such as aperture or shutter speed through an easy-to-understand navigation screen on the camera’s LCD menu, allowing them to “blur the background” or “lighten or darken the image.” These easy-to-understand image options allow photographers to experiment with image options while still shooting in an automatic mode.

Two Small RAW Formats
For photographers seeking the flexibility and creative possibilities of shooting RAW format images, without the large file size, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR camera offers two more manageable file size options with sRAW1 and sRAW2 recording formats. At the sRAW1 setting, resolution is 10.0-megapixels with a file size that is approximately 25 percent smaller than a standard 21.1-megapixel RAW image. With the sRAW2 setting, resolution is 5.2 megapixels at less than half the file size of a standard RAW image, retaining all of the flexibility and creative possibilities associated with full-size, conventional RAW images. Wedding and portrait photographers, in particular, will appreciate the options of variable resolution and file size which allow them to fine-tune the 5D Mark II’s operation for their specific needs.

Silent Shooting in Live View
Canon has equipped the EOS 5D Mark II with two Silent Shooting modes in Live View which will prove particularly helpful to law enforcement officials, and for behind-the-scenes shooting on movie sets. In Mode 1, the camera will shoot with the mechanical shutter open at the beginning of the exposure, using the electronic 1st-curtain function of the CMOS sensor and a reduced shutter-cocking noise, allowing multiple shots to be taken with minimal noise. In Mode 2, to minimize shutter noise during single frame photography, shutter cocking does not occur until the shutter button returns to the half-way position after shooting.

EOS Integrated Cleaning System
With the introduction of the EOS 5D Mark II camera, the entire Canon EOS system is now equipped with the highly acclaimed EOS Integrated Cleaning System. The Self-Cleaning Sensor Unit for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II has been upgraded with a fluorine coating on the low-pass filter for better dust resistance.

Pricing and Availability
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR camera is compatible with Canon EF lenses and is scheduled for delivery by the end of November. The EOS 5D Mark II will be sold in a body-only configuration at an estimated retail price of $2,699[iii]. It will additionally be offered in a kit version with Canon’s EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens at an estimated retail price of $3,499[iv].

New EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Lens
The new EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM lens is the successor to Canon’s EF 24mm f/1.4L USM professional wide-angle lens released in 1997. Targeting professional photographers, the new EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM lens has been introduced to address the advancements high-resolution digital SLR cameras with re-designed optics and use of a new anti-reflection lens coating called SWC (Sub-Wavelength Structure Coating) to minimize ghosting and flare. Features such as dustproof and waterproof construction that have been adopted make this a high-performance lens with specifications that respond to the demands of professional users. A welcome complement to the EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR camera, the EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM lens is scheduled to be in stores this December at an estimated retail price of $1,699[v].

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Canon U.S.A., Inc. delivers consumer, business-to-business, and industrial imaging solutions. Its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), a top patent holder of technology, ranked third overall in the U.S. in 2007†, with global revenues of $39.3 billion, is listed as one of Fortune’s Most Admired Companies in America and is on the 2007 BusinessWeek list of “Top 100 Brands.” To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company’s RSS news feed by visiting

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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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  • Jason says:

    Maybe I missed it somewhere, but I’m a bit surprised about a lack of information regarding increased weather sealing..

    The new functionality of the SLRs is cool and all, but some of us still just want a camera that can take (really) good pictures and take a beating.

  • Colin Chapman says:

    I was looking for a rival to the Nikon D700. I want full frame & speed & the option to reduce the body size, like the removable grip. I feel that Canon are playing a pixel count game. Maybe its time to switch.
    Thanks for not much Canon. “If anyone can, Nikon seem to”

  • Joe Adair says:

    This camera is a 21.1 Megapixel Nikon-Killer.

    I’ve seen images from this camera and while not the same as the D3, it produces beautiful, even, film-like grain at ISO 3200 & 6400, and noiseless images at lower ISO settings….AND it’s 21.1 MP.

    Even the H1 (ISO 12880) and H2 (ISO 25600) have low enough noise to produce high-quality 10-12 MP images. I am really curious about the results at L1 (ISO 50) setting.

    I could be wrong, but with higher noise reduction settings (on all the images I saw, the setting was “Standard”) I believe the Mark II would produce a 12.1 MP high-ISO image equal or better to the D3.

    I was considering the 5D before, but the Mark II is a revolutionary (not evolutionary) design when you consider the awesome power you’re getting for HALF THE PRICE OF A D3.

    It’s my next camera, no doubt.

  • brandon says:


    although i am exited that they FINALLY upgraded the 5 line.

    i am wondering where are they going with the HD video capability.

    the 5 line was supposed to be a place for semi serious photographers who wanted full frame and a chip that caters to crunching out great images.

    i knew that canon had to come out with something to compete with the HD video that Nikon had rolled out, but why did Canon have to put it into the 5 line?

    Quite disappointed. What was an “immediate” purchase at launch for me, now turns into a wait and see with GREAT reluctance. At this point, with such limited information, i will definitely be holding off until i get more information about performance.

  • Gina says:

    I was holding my breath for the announcement of the much-awaited 5D replacement, but I was sorely disappointed. The main issue I have with my current Canon equipment is reliable auto-focus, and from what I’ve read so far, it doesn’t look like much of their effort went to improving that aspect of the 5D. I couldn’t care less about HD video. I care about sharp, crisp images and it looks like I’ll be making the move to Nikon.

  • I love to see sample images get posted to see how the high ISO shots perform.

  • Tech News says:

    canon is the best.

  • Richard says:

    Strange comments from people?

    What is there not to like?

    Canon has now produced a 21.1 MP full frame sensor digital camera with a larger much higher resolution display, equal or slightly better auto focus, a much faster processor, lower noise at higher ISO, fantastic video as a bonus and all for the same or less than the original 5D. One only has to watch the Vincent Laforet’s full 1080P HD video REVERIE (made with the 5d Mark II) to see that the image sensor and processing is simply amazing.
    So what if you don’t need the video, then don’t use it. If you can’t focus with the camera, I’m guessing user error is an issue? I have two 5D’s that I use to shoot many wedding a year in less than optimal conditions and they work extremely well. The focus works just fine. Just use the center spot. Then there’s the person that’s switching to Nikon? I guess they want half the resolution and want to buy all new lenses, I’d call that nuts? I have a friend that does amazing wedding photography, over 50 a year with 5D’s (the old one), she switched from Nikon and would never go back. I also have an assitant that’s bought two of the latest Nikon’s and had to send them both back for repairs. My Canon’s all get banged around and they have been extremely reliable

    Thanks Canon for making a 21.1MP awesome camera for only $2699.

    Canon will sell these things like crazy, there are already thousands on waiting lists.

    For those of you writing negative stuff, get a clue!

  • Photo-John says:

    Thanks for commenting. I think I am pretty much in agreement with you. While video isn’t something I feel I need, if it’s something that gets thrown in as an added bonus, why not? I don’t know why anyone would be having trouble with the auto focus on the original 5D. Sure it would have been nice to see the AF system upgraded. But I know guys who shoot outdoor action sports with the 5D and do a damn good job with it. If you are a Canon shooter and want a full-frame camera, I think the EOS 5D is looking like an excellent camera. For me, the real question is who really needs full frame. I think full-frame is a bit overhyped. It makes sense for some photographers – portrait and wedding photographers, in particular. But for most photographers, I don’t see it as a given improvement. I think a lot of people believe it will help them make better pictures. And that just isn’t the case. It’s different and does offer better image quality. But that doesn’t mean it will help most people take better pictures.

  • Richard says:


    One big benifit of the full size sensor is the lenses are 1 to1 versus 1 to1.6
    When I mount a 16mm wide angle on lens of a 5D it’s a 16mm lens. When I mount a 16mm lens on my 40D or 30D it’s about 25mm. So, it’s hard to shoot wide creative shots without the full frame sensor. When shooting and I need more telephoto, I place my EF 70-200 F2.8 IS on my 40D. This gives me at 200mm an equiv. of 320mm. So, there are benifits to both. It’s my understanding that the image quality from a larger sensor should also be better. I’m not sure if that will change as nano technology is evolving so quickly. It would also be reasonable to think a larger surface area would gather more light.


  • Photo-John says:

    That’s true if you want to stick with 35mm lenses. But there are lots of super-wide optiona available for APS-C sensor cameras, now. That being the case, I made the decision to commit to the smaller sensor, a couple of years ago. For me, smaller and lighter are much more important than full frame. I see the main benefits of full-frame being ultimate better image quality and shallower depth-of-field. But not everyone needs those things. Like I said, for me, smaller and lighter are more important. But if I were a portrait photographer, I would probably be getting in line for a 5D Mark II.

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