Canon EOS 5D Mark II Review

December 4, 2008 | Mark Goldstein | PhotographyBLOG | 23 Comments | |

Canon EOS 5D Mark IIToday we bring you our in-depth review of the brand new Canon 5D Mark II DSLR. This full-frame, 21 megapixel update of the popular 5D Mark I is the world’s first DSLR to feature full HD 1080p video recording. The 5D Mark II also offers an extensive ISO range of 50-25600, 3 inch LCD screen with 920k dots, 3.9 fps continuous mode, Live View and built-in dust removal. Retailing for £2299 / $2699 / €3299, we find out if the Canon EOS 5D Mark II is the ultimate prosumer DSLR.

Website: Canon EOS 5D Mark II Review

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#1 spuk

I agree to general conclusions of this review. But giving higher ratings for design and ease-of-use than Nikon D700 got... is it a joke? :)

p.s. I use D700 and 5DMkI

2:57 pm - Thursday, December 4, 2008

#2 Mitch

Thank you for the very full review! We've posted it to the 5d wiki at tho help others find this review :)

4:19 pm - Thursday, December 4, 2008

#3 Justin

I'd say that the 5DMk2 high ISO images are remarkably noise free and coupling that with the high resolution it beats the D700 and even the D3x. And I'm a lifelong Nikon user. No Canon fanboy here. I hate their hardware in general.

5:34 pm - Thursday, December 4, 2008

#4 Basset

Thank you for in-depth review!

9:21 pm - Thursday, December 4, 2008

#5 Sandy

Looks like a great camera, Kudos Canon. One small nit pick on the review. You knocked back the D700 for no interal VR and swivel screen, but it gets no mention here. Anyway, the Canon is a fine long awaited camera.

6:10 am - Friday, December 5, 2008

#6 Mike

Did you find any of the dreaded "black pixel" phenomenon being reported on some forums?

7:48 pm - Friday, December 5, 2008

#7 Huw Morgan

I was very disappointed that the review didn't look at raw images. The lack of noise in jpg images could be due to software noise reduction in the camera that can add unwanted artifacts. How much noise is in the raw images?

8:38 pm - Friday, December 5, 2008

#8 Mark Goldstein

Huw, there are some high ISO photos in the RAW section of the Sample Images page:

11:32 am - Monday, December 8, 2008

#9 Digital

Have you guys had any of those so-called 'black spots' problems ?

4:27 pm - Thursday, December 11, 2008

#10 Mark Goldstein

Hi Digital, we had to send the 5D Mark II back to Canon UK last week, but no, we didn't see the widely-reported black spots issue in any of our sample images.

3:23 pm - Friday, December 12, 2008

#11 Mark Baldwyn

Thank you for this article, its the first full review of the mk2 I've read and it addressed a number of issues for me. I have a 5D mk1, a 40D (for the frames per second) and a number of L series lenses. The Nikon D700 would give me the picture quality and fps in one camera, but I would have to do a lot of ebay selling to afford to go Nikon. From your review, the new 5D does appear to be a major advance over the old model, and if I did a lot of low light shots or wanted the HD vid I would have ordered one already. As most of my shots are in the ISO 100-800 range, and I stick to mainly A4 and some A3 prints, your well balanced review suggests to me that I would not really gain anything in picture quality on the old 5D. So I am going to hang on to my £2000 for the time being.

6:16 pm - Thursday, December 18, 2008

#12 Rod Meier - Model-Space

Interesting Article. I own the Canon 5D and ordered the 5D Mark II but I did not received it yet.
I am very curious about the new features, especially with Video.
Reading Articles is one thing - but working with it for real customers is another thing...
But till now i was always very excited about all the canon cameras i used in my photostudio.

11:40 pm - Saturday, January 3, 2009

#13 Jan Karlsson

This test...or okay TEST .
Dont say anything about "black dots",WHY ?
I shall tomorrow cancel my order on this Canon 5D Mk II ,not after i read this BUY Canon,Buy dont care,nothing is wrong whith this unfinish camera test.
I shall cancel my order because,Canon dont seems too care if them fix this blackdots issue before them have a new product.

And this HD video!!.... YES! But for me,NO!
Only 30fps !!
What can you do with that?
It's like a toy,try your compact camera and move in front of that.
If anything shall move,it must be in slowmotion.
Save your money,and buy one when it have 60fps or more.
Maybe 2010.
Read tests that not Canon or Nikon have pay for:

"Black dots";posts

CANON "Black dots" Year 2007 !!!!
Canon dont care!?!

11:06 pm - Monday, January 5, 2009

#14 Busby SEO Test

From your review, the new 5D does appear to be a major advance over the old model, and if I did a lot of low light shots or wanted the HD vid

2:07 pm - Tuesday, January 6, 2009

#15 Rod Meier

@Jan Karlsson: Why so angry about canon/5D Mark II?
There always have been some things i was "not amused" with canon.
Every time canon launches a new camera you can not buy it because the dealers get none..
And sometimes there a some technical problems. OK, but that´s normal with such realy High-Tech-Cameras. I believe in Canon - they will solve it!
And now i continue waiting for my camera I ordered before Xmas...
By the way:
As a professional Photographer I can take my old (5D) camera if there is really a big problem with the new one - but i don´t think that there will be really a big problem...

I am very curious to try out the Video functions. I hope i´ll get some good Making-Of Videos of my work. I plan to blog them on my photography-blog at .

2:31 pm - Tuesday, January 6, 2009

#16 Mark Baldwyn

Well I succumbed and bought the 5d MKII after being offered a good trade-in price. However, I can't get the ISO expansion to work. I'm stuck to 200 - 6400! C.Fn 1-3 offers on or off, but nothing changes. The manual implies that I should be able to select "L", "H1" an "H2". Any suggestions?, do I need a firmware upgrade?

10:32 pm - Wednesday, January 7, 2009

#17 Rod Meier - Photography

Canon solved the "black pixel" phenomenon!
New Firmware Update Version 1.0.7 for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

Firmware Update Version 1.0.7 improves and mitigates the following two types of image quality phenomena that occur under certain shooting conditions.

- "Black dot" phenomenon (the right side of point light sources become black)
- Vertical banding noise

Download here:

3:22 am - Thursday, January 8, 2009

#18 Mark Baldwyn

I solved my own problem. The ISO extension is turned off when High level noise suppression is on.

Thanks for the info regarding the firmware update, and I've successfully updated my camera.

The picture results I am getting are superb, but the real surprise is the quality of the rear display screen. Its got better definition than my computer VDU which I thought was pretty good. I can actually seen fine detail on the camera screen I struggle to see on my 20 inch VDU.

Great camera?

8:27 pm - Saturday, January 10, 2009

#19 Tony Conception

I recoded the movie samples to an .avi file using h264 at 10MB/s (which I believe has the same quality of a 3MB/s divx for standard movie) and the final file had 64MB, 1/4 of the original .mov container.

I guess default encoding rates are excessive. I zoomed both input and output frames and perceived no difference regarding quality. Is it possible to change the encoding rate?

3:17 pm - Wednesday, March 4, 2009

#20 Uygar Ozel

Had mark II last week and a bit disappointment because this was my first Canon. At lowest iso sometimes there are lots of noise at dark areas at daytime, even my d300 was better. Not easy to use this not true...

But generally a nice camera but I can not say a great equipment after I bought it... Canon's "Digital photo professional" editing program ( one time ) made a black line on one of my image while converting a Raw image to Jpeg... Now I don't know camera or program has a failure but didn't repeat it. Maybe there is no any error with my cam but I never seen that kind of thing with any Nikon at last many years... I am not sure but generally good cam...

2:35 am - Saturday, May 2, 2009

#21 Uygar

A premature birth... I made a mistake and I accepted to be his father... Very hard to use like every Canon, buttons design still wrong. Body is like paper. Images are great, color rendering is great, ok but if you can 0 focus because it's missing most of time even with my 85mm 1.1/8... Some dead pixel appearing very often... Very less focus points makes me crazy and I have to push one more button to change them (look Nikons)...

I am feeling that I'm trying to convince it to take pictures for me. Honestly I had I chance to choose a new camera between Nikon D3 & 5D Mark II. I did wrong... Do something and try your cameras at real life first and don't care river of populism...

Latest news!
I have one good news and one bad:) Good one is: I uploaded that latest firmware for black dots. And the bad news is; I still have black dots beside shining pixels :)...

11:59 pm - Saturday, June 27, 2009

#22 Landscape Photography

Thinking of uprgrading to a 5d mkII
I find canons to be very intuitive, with all the controls in nice positions.

Not so keen on the sounds of the black dots though...

11:00 am - Sunday, July 12, 2009

#23 photographe

some result with 5 d mark 2

9:56 am - Friday, February 26, 2010