Just in time for the holidays? Canon announces 5D Mark II

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Just in time for the holidays? Canon announces 5D Mark II

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Sounds like the new Canon Full Frame Camera – 5D Mark II will be ready end of November at a price of $2,699.  The part I am most excited about based on specs is the ISO capability. I decided I wanted a 5D 1.5 years ago and assumed an upgrade would happen within a few months.  Well 3 years later, I can possibly stop waiting…

Here is the press announcement from Canon about the 5D Mark II.

Amstelveen, The Netherlands, 17 September 2008: Canon announces the full frame, 21.1 Megapixel EOS 5D Mark II: the first EOS with full High Definition video capability.

Compact, lightweight with environmental protection, EOS 5D successor boasts a newly designed Canon CMOS sensor, with ISO sensitivity up to 25,600 for shooting in near dark conditions. The new DIGIC 4 processor combines with the improved CMOS sensor to deliver medium format territory image quality at 3.9 frames per second, for up to 310 frames.

Triggered from Live View Mode, HD video capture allows users to shoot uninterrupted at full 1080 resolution at 30fps – for amazing quality footage with outstanding levels of detail and realism.

The integration of HD movie capability into a high-end 21.1 Megapixel camera opens a multitude of new possibilities for photojournalists and news photographers. With its full frame CMOS sensor and outstanding ISO performance, the EOS 5D Mark II will appeal to any photographer in search of the finest camera equipment available – from studio and wedding to nature and travel photographers.
Other improvements to the EOS 5D include

  • Addition of Canon’s EOS Integrated Cleaning System, with a new Fluorine coating on the low-pass filter
  • Larger 3.0” Clear View LCD with VGA resolution, a 170° angle of view and anti-reflective coatings
  • Improved menu system including Quick Control Screen for more direct access to common settings
  • Automatic peripheral illumination correction, utilising detailed EF lens information to optimise JPEG images straight out of the camera
  • Magnesium alloy construction with additional environmental protection
  • UDMA memory card compatibility.

“Professional photojournalists and wedding photographers already choose the EOS 5D for its discrete size and outstanding image quality,” said Mogens Jensen, head of Canon Consumer Imaging. “The addition of HD movie recording opens a new chapter for EOS. It creates new possibilities for EOS photographers to capture and share their stories and to stay relevant in a rapidly changing digital landscape.”

Key Specifications:

  • New 21.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor with improved EOS Integrated Cleaning System (E.I.C.S.)
  • New Full HD 1080 resolution movie recording
  • 3.9 frames per second continuous shooting
  • High performance DIGIC 4 providing superb image quality
  • Maximum 310 large JPEG images in a single burst with a UDMA card
  • 3.0” VGA (920k dots) Clear View LCD
  • ISO 100-6400 (expansion from 50 up to 25,600)
  • 9 AF points + 6 Assist AF points

Additional information

New CMOS sensor
The EOS 5D Mark II’s newly designed full frame 21.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor features ISO sensitivity from 100-6400, expandable to 50, 12,800 and 25,600. Large 6.4µm2 pixels have been redesigned to capture more light and yield a better signal to noise ratio to ensure lower noise images throughout the ISO range. The full frame sensor has the same dimensions as a frame of 35mm film. This means that wide-angle lenses stay wide, without the change in angle of view associated with smaller sensor cameras. As well as benefiting from finer control over depth of field, photographers moving up to the EOS 5D Mark II’s full frame format will find the newly designed wide, bright 98% coverage viewfinder on a joy to work with.

New DIGIC 4 processor
A new DIGIC 4 processor combined with 14-bit analogue to digital conversion provides smooth gradations in mono-tonal areas such as skies, and highly accurate colour rendition. As well as HD movie shooting, DIGIC 4’s high speed provides for long uninterrupted continuous bursts of large JPEGs, near-instant start-up times and immediate and fast review after shooting. DIGIC 4 also provides for improved noise reduction algorithms, complementing the already low noise images from the EOS 5D Mark II’s CMOS sensor.

HD video capture
The EOS 5D Mark II is Canon’s first D-SLR to incorporate full HD 1920×1080 video capture. Once filming is started from Live View mode, photographers can fire off either single of continuous stills, with video capture continuing after the final frame is captured.

See everything
A new 3.0” VGA resolution LCD provides a wide 170º angle-of-view, providing plenty of clarity for accurate focus checks in playback. The screen brightness can automatically adjust to suit viewing conditions, extending battery life in low light and improving viewing in bright conditions. A new dedicated Live View button switches modes to display a real-time image on the LCD. This allows EOS 5D Mark II photographers to enjoy simplified shooting from awkward angles. Simple connection to a PC provides easy remote shooting.

Precision focus and metering

A 9-point auto focus system is supported by 6 additional invisible Assist AF points, located inside the spot-metering circle to optimise subject tracking performance in AI SERVO AF mode. For accurate exposure readings in tricky lighting conditions, the spot metering circle covers just 3.5% of the frame.


The EOS 5D Mark II’s redesigned menu system includes a new Quick Control screen, for instant access to the most commonly changed settings. A new Creative Auto mode allows photographers to cede control of key settings to the camera, while retaining control over creative variables such background blur, drive mode and image brightness. Custom user settings allow photographers to switch between two completely different camera setups. This is ideal for changing quickly between two different environments, such as switching from working inside a church without flash to outdoors with fill-flash at a wedding.


Shooting flexibility is enhanced with a range of new accessories. Shooting capacity can be extended with either the high capacity 1800mAh lithium-ion Battery Pack LP-E6, or Battery Grip BG-E6.

A new optional Wireless File Transmitter –

the WFT-E4 – offers external HDD and GPS compatibility along with ability to transmit images direct to computer or FTP server, or operate the camera wirelessly. Both the BG-E6 and WFT-E4  feature a vertical orientation shutter release and other key controls for comfortable portraiture work, with a substantial grip to help balance the camera when used with long lenses.

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  1. January 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm —

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  2. Whitney
    September 18, 2008 at 12:12 am —

    I currently own the xti and do mostly portrait work (babies, children, and families). I’m looking to upgrade (either lenses or body) eventually (or both) and am wondering WHAT to begin saving for??? Any suggestions? My initial thought was to get one of the L series lenses (all i have is a image stab small zoom and a 50mm 1.8 lenses). I am fairly a newbie at this all, just drooling over other photog’s beautiful works of art!

  3. September 17, 2008 at 7:02 pm —

    The EF-S lenses will not work with the 5D. I do not have any but if you do, they will not. Most lenses will work though.

    I would guess the 5d will be better at high ISOs and it will give me more room in small spaces since it is full frame.


  4. September 17, 2008 at 5:26 pm —

    Will all our lenses for the 40D work on the new 5D? Like you, I have too much invested in Canon lenses that I won’t switch to a different brand. I did notice that it takes a different battery grip. 🙁 I currently have the 30D and 40D and previously had the 10D and 20D. I have been fortunate to have people ask me if they can buy my old cameras when I am ready to upgrade so I always have the incentive to upgrade. Do you think the 5D will be that much better than your 40D? Any input you have, I would appreciate.

  5. September 17, 2008 at 11:05 am —

    I actually do not have the 5D. I have an OLD 20d and a 40D. I will likely give my twins (almost 7) the 20d to learn on. And I will use the 40d for sports and the 5d mark II for portrait work.

    I almost wanted to switch to Nikon with that D700. BUT I love my Canon L Glass. I have invested in it and LOVE the 35L and 85L especially. I have a few other zoom L lenses which are nice – but these primes are the reason I stay!

  6. September 17, 2008 at 10:47 am —

    Sounds like its going to be a pretty good cam if you already have a 5D. I was waiting to see what it might hold, but going to stay with my ole trusty D3 and D700. The frames per second is just not high enough and doesn’t sound like they have improved the AF system when it comes to shooting sports. For weddings I can say the ISO of 6400 is fantastic. However, overall performance at this price range the D700 has more of an edge with better feature set.
    All in all an improvement over the past 5D, but thought there might be more WOW!

  7. September 17, 2008 at 9:13 am —


  8. September 17, 2008 at 7:49 am —

    WOW! Sounds pretty nice. Now to decide to be a first adopter and help Canon test it, or wait for the firmware upgrade when they fix everything! I love Canon gear, but it seems they do release new bodies before they are bulletproof. They are still having some issues with the 1D MIII.

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Just in time for the holidays? Canon announces 5D Mark II