Canon EOS 5D Mark II

2008 Photokina Canon Events Featured News Uncategorized

The Canon EOS 5D Mark II – 21.1 Megapixels and HD Video

Canon EOS 5D Mark IIFinally, Canon has announced the replacement for their revered EOS 5D digital SLR. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II has a 21.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, DIGIC 4 processor, a 3-inch Clear View LCD with 920k dot resolution, and sensitivity from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, expandable to ISO 50, ISO 12800, and ISO 25600. The camera can capture full 21-megapixel files at 3.9 frames-per-second. With a UDMA CF memory card, it can capture unlimited JPEGs at 3.9 FPS, and 14 RAW files.

The biggest surprise is not so much of a surprise after the Nikon D90 announcement – namely, high-def video capture. The 5D Mark II can capture HD video clips at 1920 x 1080 resolution and 30 FPS, or 640 x 640 at 30 FPS. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II’s video will also benefit from the creative possibilities offered by the whole Canon EF lens lineup.

Some other features from the new Canon EOS 5D Mark II:

  • Live View mode with contrast-detection AF
  • Peripheral Illumination Correction
  • Auto Lighting Optimizer
  • Creative Auto Mode
  • Two Silent Shooting modes in Live View

The patient and faithful have been rewarded. The EOS 5D Mark II is definitely a worthy upgrade for original 5D owners. The most valuable features in my opinion are the increased ISO sensitivity, improved LCD display, and because this has always been a wedding photographers camera, the Silent Shooting Live View modes – this is a camera that wedding photographers covet, after all. Video will be a bonus for some people. Personally, I don’t care about video in a digital SLR. But I said the same thing about Live View and now I love it for studio work.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is supposed to be available by the end of November. The price is $2,699 for the body alone or $3,499 with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Press Release

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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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