Shutter Speed and ISO: Tough To Beat
The EOS 5D Mark II has a shutter range of 1/8000th of a second to 30 seconds, and while the camera does not have an ultra-fast frame rate (only 3.9 frames per second), it can capture a fast-moving subject for you. With an ISO range of 100 to 6400, this camera will also give you an exposure latitude that is usually found only on the highest-end professional cameras.
Our testing indicated that with the camera set to ISO 100 through 400, we found no disturbing indications of excessive noise in the images. With the camera set to ISO 800 or 1600, we did start to pick up noticeable noise in our images. Set it to ISO 3200 or 6400, and you can expect marked increase in noise levels. However, it should be noted that in a similar situation if you were using film at those speeds, you would be dealing with considerable levels of grain and you’d expect it.
We tried using the EOS 5D Mark II in a low-light situation. We set the camera up, using the 24 mm-105 mm lens, in the northeast bastion of San Francisco's Fort Point. If you are familiar with that city, it is the large brick fort located under the Golden Gate Bridge. The lighting in many of the gun galleries is very poor and this particular location in the fort is one of the most dimly lit. With the camera set to ISO 100, our indicated exposure was 30 seconds at ƒ22. Here is the resulting picture that has been converted to grayscale. Next to it is a picture of that same location taken 30 years ago with a Mamiya RB67 camera, shooting black-and-white film rated at ISO 100. The spot meter indicated an exposure value (EV) of 1, which translated into an exposure of 30 seconds at ƒ32. Because of the slow exposure, we had to allow for the phenomena of reciprocity failure (which means that the longer an exposure, the less capable the film is to register light). The reciprocity failure table indicated that the exposure was now six minutes and 30 seconds. As you can see from the two figures, the EOS 5D Mark II more than holds its own.