Canon 5D Mark 2 is the successor of the full frame popular 5D. It is ranked among the relatively affordable full DSLR frame cameras in the market. The camera was expected to follow its predecessor shortly but it took three years before getting into the market.
If you want to learn more about this camera, you should carry on reading this Canon 5D Mark 2 review. Mark 2 brings EOS line to date and uses the base set by 5D but with enhanced new features. Because of its great features, high performance and technology, it has made an impressive mark in the photography community.
Before proceeding to have an in-depth look at the Mark 2, it is ideal to look at some of the pros and cons it presents in order to get a general view of what to expect from the camera.
Overview of Features
Canon 5D Mark 2 comes with a 21 megapixel CMOS sensor and it’s equipped with a 3 inch LCD that has a high resolution. Other features include a DIGIC 4 processor, a new viewfinder, increased ISO and HD video capabilities that make it possible to record close to 12 minutes HD clips. The camera comes with an updated Canon cleaning system that features Fluorine coating which helps in repelling dust.
It is also easy to activate the cleaning system through the camera’s menu. Other features that cannot go unnoticed include an interchangeable focus lens, highlight tone priority and an illumination peripheral correction. These improvements are rather impressive but for the purpose of ensuring that you get a complete overview of what the camera can do, you should read on.
Design and Build
The Mark 2 is a perfect reflection of its predecessor physically. This is especially true in terms of size, design and weight. In essence, it has the same control layout and the only major difference is noted in the high resolution 3.0 inch LCD monitor. The resolution is 4 times higher than that of its predecessor and what is more, it also has a wide viewing angle. As mentioned earlier, the viewfinder is also new and has 98% coverage. Consequently, it is seen as a great addition. Other changes which are distinct from its predecessor include the 2 custom setting options which are on the cameras mode dial thus bringing the number to 3 custom modes.
It also comes with an added Creative Auto (CA) feature mode. The CA is purposely designed for novice users of DSLR as well as some of the experienced users who want an easy and quick technique of adjusting specific settings. However, they come in handy for individuals who don’t understand the relationship between aperture & depth of field. The CA also comes with a couple of options that make it easy for photographers to settle one that meets their needs.
If you inspect the camera closely, you will also notice an additional IrPort remote sensor. This makes it possible for users to use either of the optional remotes and since it records HD video, it does not have any connections for external microphone and HDMI output. Though the camera does not have in-built flash, it is possible to place any of Canon’s Speedlites in the Mark 2’s hotshoe. In order to get the best out of Canon 5D Mark 2, it is advisable to have a CompactFlash card. This is because it only supports UDMA CF cards.
Thanks to the new battery, you can capture 750 to 850 shots if it is fully charged. It is possible to keep track of the battery data points as well as the remaining shots. The camera is also designed with a battery grip and it is compatible with WFT-E4A File Wireless Transmitter. This means that you can transfer your images through different ways such as USB drives and through wireless connections.
The build quality has to be the best nonetheless. The Mark 2 makes it possible for people to enjoy the benefits of full frame DSLR. Whether one has small or hulk Hogan hands they can use this camera and it is also suitable for people from different financial backgrounds. The bottom line is that the Canon 5D Mark 2 is built solidly and it has enough counterbalance thanks to the long lenses. What is more, it is perfectly designed for those in need of stable handhold.
Ergonomics and Controls
Users will not find it difficult to upgrade to the Mark 2 and this is because the controls are the same as those of its predecessor. Though this is the case, there are a couple of things they need to learn such as how to shoot video and use the Live View. As mentioned earlier, the physical design of this camera makes it easy for those with small hands to enjoy its use and though this is the case, there is one slight setback. The on and off button is located at the camera’s bottom right and as such, reaching it is not easy. One must shift the right hand off the camera’s grip in order to do this. This should not be a cause of alarm though since with time it is easy to learn how to navigate with ease.
Modes and Menu
The Canon 5D Mark 2 menu is uncluttered and this is another aspect that users find appealing. It also has the options menu on a visible tab on the screen and this further compliments the camera’s controls. While it is a given fact that it has more tabs, it is also true that users are free to scroll through more than 1 virtual page and what is more, it is also possible to get the desired setting.
It comes with 9 tabs and while this is the case, it is designed in a manner that ensures those not familiar with the menu system for canon can still figure out what each icon tab means. For instance, the red background icons are capture settings while the blue icons that have white arrows are playback settings. This appeal is further enhanced by the fact that it is possible to find shooting information on the camera easily including on the viewfinder, top LCD panel and the rear monitor panel. It is also easy for users to change the important ‘options’ with ease.
The camera’s exposure mode dial is located at the top left of the camera and it offers users different options. Some of these include the following.
v Different custom settings such as C1, C2 and C3. These allow users to register 3 custom modes thus making it easy to access special settings and the most used settings as well.
v It comes with B(ulb) which ensures that the shutter remains open as long as the cameras shutter button is left depressed.
v A manual that makes it possible to set the aperture and shutter speed.
v TV that makes it possible to choose the shutter speed while the camera automatically selects the aperture.
v Program which makes it possible for the camera to automatically set shutter speed. Nevertheless, it is ideal to note that this also offers manual settings for the aperture.
v Creative auto which provides a graphic simple interface that makes it possible to adjust the aperture as well as provide exposure compensation
v Auto which makes it possible for the camera to automatically choose suitable shooting features.
Thanks to the DIGIC IV processor implementation by canon on the camera because the performance of Mark 2 is better than that of its predecessor. For instance the burst mode of Mark 2 is now 3.8 frames per second compared to that of the 5D which is 3 frames per second. While this might not win the Mark 2 any awards, the fact that it offers twice the number of pixels offered by its predecessor, is seen as a major improvement. In addition to this, it also comes with a buffer which is larger and capable of shooting up to thirteen consecutive raw files. This number can also be increased in accordance to the card used.
Still on performance, the auto focus and the shutter lug also offer users a great experience. The only setback noted in this case is that in low light, shooting is difficult and users have to work extra hard in order to get great shots. It is precisely because of these reasons that the camera cannot be used in sporting events and car races. This is because the burst rate and auto focus are not designed to stand up to such challenges. However, photojournalists and wedding photographers will be extremely pleased with its performance.
Unlike other DSLRs that come equipped with the Live View feature, the Mark 2 has 3 autofocus modes. These include Live, Quick and Phase Detection Live. Thanks to the Quick mode, it is easy to use the auto focus and this is because the mirror drops down. The other two work by ensuring that the mirror does not interfere with the coverage as well. It is advisable to test Live AF mode before commencing on capturing any photos. This should be done in accordance to the subject matter and the type of lens used. For the purpose of ensuring that your test is accurate, it is advisable to use manual focus. Apart from guaranteeing accuracy, it is also quieter.
When it comes to image quality, Mark 2 delivers great images even when used on Auto settings. Incase you are not impressed with the image; it is possible to make some simple adjustments using the camera ‘options’ in order to get what you need. When the white balance is used under incandescent light, it produces warm images. However, you should not rely on white balance when using the camera indoors. Colors are also rendered naturally and accurately for the better part and as such, the exposure is spot on as well.
The dynamic range is also good and while this is the case, when shooting in situations that have high contrast, it is advisable to turn Auto Light Optimizer because it maintains highlighted details. While this does not provide any magic, it is worth using for the purpose of getting quality pictures. The Canon 5D Mark 2 also offers a light sensitivity range of 50-25,600 and as such, it does an amazing job. In a nutshell, the Mark 2 delivers high quality images than any other camera at its level found on the market.
The introduction of the first 5D in the market, made it possible for photographers with modest budgets to buy DLSR full frame cameras. The Canon 5D Mark 2 now makes it possible for photographers to enjoy full frame and a high resolution camera that has HD video and all this, at an affordable price.
Though the HD video is an appealing feature in the camera especially for photojournalists, wedding photographers and underwater shooters, it is a still digital camera. The selling points that make it an outstanding choice however are the full feature set and the image quality. The HD video tops the list and is seen as a major plus. Whether you want to step up from another DSLR camera or simply looking for a backup and higher camera model, then the Mark 2 is an appealing choice. For the discerning photographer, it still ranks among the best cameras in the market.
The Canon 5D Mark 2 is in a nutshell, an all round camera that offers photographers the best experience. Though it has some minor setbacks such as the lack of in-built flash, slow auto focus in low light and a burst mode that is slow, it still has a lot to offer it’s users. The positives and new innovative features far outweigh the cons. Also, considering the price, it is a worthwhile investment.
v HD Video capability.
v Works well and at great ISO
v Comes with a complete feature set.
v It has a weak on board microphone and as such needs an extra mic as an accessory.
v Does not have an in-built flash. This is not a major issue though having on-board is useful.
v The burst mode is slow.