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Canon EOS 5D Mark II: Amateurs Need Not Apply

Learning Curves

During the many weeks we tested this camera, we often felt frustrated with the difficulties we encountered with the video features. If the camera was unable to generate professional video imagery, we would have had serious doubts about the EOS 5D Mark II's video features. It can, in fact, do what Canon claims it can do. However, video comes with a major caveat: You have to know what you are doing. Discussions we had with a number of professional photographers indicated they were disappointed with the level of sophistication necessary to command successful use of the video feature. Many photographers indicated that they would not have purchased the camera knowing what they know now.

To be clear: this is a superb camera for still images, with some additional video features. If you want to take advantage of the wide range of lenses available from Canon for its camera bodies, this could be the camera for you. Tilt/shift and ultra-zoom lenses are either not available or extremely expensive for dedicated video cameras. This camera can solve that problem for you.

The EOS 5D Mark II provides the professional and advanced amateur photographer with the widest range of capabilities for the price. You will generate images with a beautiful and consistent range of color. Your images will be sharp and shadow detail will let your customer or family members see what you saw through the viewfinder.

  • GeoMan
    Must say I’m a little disappointed with this so called review. First and foremost this is a still camera aimed at the advanced armature/professional photographer with the added feature of being able to take HD video. That target market already knows a fair deal about photography and using cameras so why spend half the review bashing the camera on a feature that isn’t its primary function (video)? No quantification of noise at increasing ISO, in camera noise reduction, RAW versus JPG performance, dynamic range, bundled software and no comparison to its competition (Nikon D700, Sony Alpha A900)? If you want high resolution and excellent low light performance for static subjects go for the Cannon, if you want something that’s better at action/sports photography go for the Nikon.
    Reply
  • one-shot
    For computers, I go to Tomshardware/Anandtech/Tech Report. For cameras, I go to DPReview.com. This "review" was lacking in so many ways compared to a more in depth review, which this camera does deserve. No ISO comparisons, no CA comparison, no falloff comparisons for different apertures etc. Tomshardware, please spend more time on camera reviews because not spending enough time is an injustice to the manufacturer's respective products and the reader.
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  • theuerkorn
    I agree with previous comments. A bit basic and and comparisons are a bit out of place. I think an actual user report (rather than repeat specs) would have been better.
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  • theuerkorn
    I agree with previous comments. I think a better format (than just repeating specs) would have been to put out some actual user experience. This is not the site for in-depth reviews anyway a la dpreview.com, but plain repeats of info that can be had from a spec sheet isn't useful either.
    Reply
  • Shadow703793
    +1 for dpreviews. Agree with above that this was a cr@ppy review. This is a high end pro CAMERA, not a HD VIDEO RECORDER.
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  • zodiacfml
    we already know and read dpreview and clearly this review is for amateurs done by an amateur. the review still had its purpose to amateurs like me and shows that it can't do video like a normal video camera and i agree those above that user experience format is a good idea.
    though i want to add that the problem with the video focusing can be minimized if we planned the shot by limiting the length of a shot to the focused subject, around 5 seconds per shot/clip.
    Reply
  • michaelahess
    I'll stick with my D300. It cost less, probably has very equal quality, and video is just a gimmick on these things anyway. And 21mp? At that res, focus will limit the actual quality when you get to the pixel level anyway.

    Now as soon as they make a viable full frame focus lens, this will be awesome. Ya know, where the focal point is optimized for every pixel, not just your "subject".
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  • I agree, I have a 5D and I upgraded to the Mk II and am quite happy with it. I like the tonal compression and the fact that it can fix the vignetting effect of some lenses. It store the vignette information of each lens and applies it to the image.
    I also like the way the ISO can auto adjust to keep the shutter speed to 1/30s in low level light.
    However I don't have a video camera and I didn't buy it to use the video mode. However it's there if I want to use it.
    Also the focus can be done manually and I read that focus is very important in video and pros use a focus puller to focus for them.
    That is, another person who focuses for the photographer. Therefore, an auto focus wouldn't be very useful.
    Also the ISO can't be changed in video mode. But you can't change it in a film camera either.
    In my view, if you take movies, then you use a specialist movie camera, like a RED One which does the job more effectively. The RED is probably not a good still camera either.
    Daryl
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  • marokero
    A lot of my co-workers are adding this Mk II to their repertoire. Unfortunately one thing this camera carries from the original 5D is the same autofocus system, which isn't great for tracking action. Canon should've improved the autofocus in this new iteration, especially for low light scenes - pity, since the image quality is really good at the high ISOs these low light scenes require (as in weddings and other event photography).
    Reply
  • ohim
    http://www.usa.canon.com/dlc/controller?act=GetArticleAct&articleID=2326

    HD movie shot with Canon EOS 5D Mark III
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