Canon EOS 5D Mark II

The long awaited Canon EOS 5D Mark II has finally been announced officially yesterday. If you have not read about it yet, here is a list of sites you can visit to find out more:-

1. Official Canon EOS web-site

2. Offical press release at Canon USA

3. EOS 5D Mark ii page at Canon USA

4. EOS 5D Special Site (in Japanese)

5. Movies samples

6. Rob Galbraith report

7. hands-on preview

8. Imaging Resource report

As a follow up to the 3 years old EOS 5D, Canon has made quite a few improvements and added new features. The sensor resolution has increased from 12MP to 21MP. It is also claimed to be a new generation CMOS sensor with much improved high ISO image noise, which allows a native ISO range from 100-6400 abd expanded range to ISO 50, 12800 and 25600. There is a new DIGIC IV processor, a new 3″ VGA resolution LCD display, new battery. Canon has also added a full HD video capture mode, a first for any DSLR. Other new features compared to the old 5D include standard features on most new DSLR like Live view, anti-dust etc.

However, the responses to the 5D Mark II has not been overwhelmingly positive so far. There are many people who seemed to be happy with the EOS 5D Mark II specs, but there are also many voices of discontent. The main complaint seemed to be levied against the autofocus system, which was basically just carried over from the old 5D. Many people have expected a new autofocus system. There is also worrying sign about the high ISO image quality. Although Canon has claimed that the 5D Mark II should have very good high ISO performance, but the few high ISO samples floating around the web has not been too impressive so far. However, it should be remembered that these samples were all taken with pre-production cameras and the image quality from full production cameras may or may not be better.

On another note, it has always amazed me how Canon chose photos for samples on their web-sites. They are often of dubious or sometimes rather frighteningly terrible image qualities that might simple scare away potential buyers. However, it seems that the actual image qualities of most Canon DSLR are actually way better than those “official samples”. I was talking to a Canon insider earlier today and he reminded me that the early official samples of the old EOS 5D were all quite shockingly horrible as well and it turned out that the production camera has arguably the best image quality amongst DSLR when it was released. He seemed quite confident that the image quality of the production 5D Mark II would be much better and will be something to look forward to. Well, I certainly hope he is right.

I will certainly consider getting a 5D Mark II if the final image quality lives up to all the hype that Canon has built up. If I do get one, I will defintiely write a review and post it here. The exact date of delievry is unknown, but my sources at Canon Hong Kong told me that the estimated delivery date should be around end of November to early December.


6 thoughts on “Canon EOS 5D Mark II

  1. Hi Roland,

    I’m seriously thinking of getting one, and getting it from HK. I’ve had good experience with Echo Photo (my 40D) and with low-cost carriers flying from Malaysia to HK… I can fly in, have some great dim sum, get my 5D mark II, go for roast goose and fly home 🙂

    Do update on HK availability and price!


  2. Roland,

    On paper, the 5DII seems incredible. I would love to have the 5DII’s ISO3200/6400 advantage shooting in low light events such as my recent APEA 2008. The evening would have certainly put the camera to a real test of usability and promise:

    The megapixel alone wasn’t something I look forward to, even the current 12.8MP is plenty for the work I do but the Micro AF Adjust feature alone would have worth the cost of the camera. Living far away from the nearest Canon support, this is certainly a feature that I would personally consider “worthy”. Under normal circumstances, this means I would no longer have to send my lenses to CSC for calibration.

  3. Hi Jan,

    I agree with you that the increase megapixel alone isn’t really too important to me too. 12, 10 or even 8MP is more than enough for most of my work too. However, I do hope that Canon would live up to its’ promise of improvement in high ISO, unlike with the 50D, which left me a bit disappointed after all the rather extravagant claim of 1 to 1.5 stops improvement in high ISO by Chuck Westfall.

    Although I would like to see the 5D Mark II do even better than Nikon D3 with high ISO, but I would be more than content if it can just match it from ISO 1600 onwards.

  4. I’ve never bothered to look at sample images especially those that are shot at ISO 100-200-400-800. There used to be a time when Canon held the high ISO leadership for a number of years but the competition has caught up and practically leading DSLRs can compete up to ISO 800 fairly easily.

    One of my associates shoots a D3 and more than once I got to play with it and shot this when we met over coffee (granted this doesn’t show its capability in low light situations) but did leave me WOW’d for a while.

    As I’ve said, the real test comes when we’re faced with seriously challenging low light situation and having a seriously capable camera to handle it. The fortunate few with a 1DsIII have found high ISO 1600/3200 to be really good but with Canon claiming (on some site) that the 5DII’s improved sensor can outperform the 1DsIII – it makes you wonder if that statement is strategic or suicidal. Either way, I’m very keen to see the results.

  5. Any news on HongKong prices for this camera? I will be there on 1 Dec and this currently sells at 2150 Euros. With the high HK$ I am wondering whether it is worth to buy it here before travelling or there.
    Thanks for any replies …

  6. Hi A visitor,

    Unfortunately, Canon Hong Kong has still not launched the 5D mark II yet and there is no official or street price information yet. I will post price info on my site once I get them.

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