Canon EOS 5D Mark II Finally Released

Long, long overdue, Canon has announced it’s follow up successor to the aging Canon EOS 5D with the new Canon EOS 5D Mark II. It’s certainly exciting considering that Nikon has been one (two, three) upping Canon consistently the past year or so. What are the specs?

  • Full frame with 21.1 MP, certainly quite a bit of megapixels
  • EOS Integrated Cleaning System
  • Digic 4 with 14 bit A/D conversion
  • Max JPEG sizes of 5616 x 3744
  • 9-point TTL CMOS AF sensor with 6 “Invisible Assist points” (a bit disappointing that they didn’t roll the 45 point AF sensor into the new 5D Mark II)
  • ISO 100-6400 with 50, 12800, and 25,600 with expansion (YES!)
  • 3.0″ TFT LCD with 920,000 pixels
  • Live View with 30 fps
  • Movie recording capabilities of 1920 x 1080 at 30 fps
  • No built in flash (I’m sure a lot of people are disappointed given that Nikon did it in the D700)
  • 3.9 frames-per-second continuous burst for 78 frames (310 with UDMA card)

So Canon has certainly heard Nikon’s challenge (but not apparently heard it loud enough), but is this enough to win back some of the pro who switched? I’m not sure. Some of the biggest draw back for photographers who shoot in low light (wedding photography) and/or sports (and the likes) is the weak auto focus (seems like the same exact AF as the 5D) and weak frame rate (3.9). Certainly for landscape photography, 9 auto focus points is usually fine. Also being able to shoot at ISO 25,600 is certainly very, very appealing. I’m not as impressed as I thought I would be and at this point, I don’t think I would purchase the new 5D Mark II. But once we start seeing some actual production model images, who knows. A lot of us are still waiting for a 1D series that actually works right, perhaps this is one of the reasons why it has the older generation auto focus? Read more about the 5D Mark II with sample videos and specs at You can also read Canon’s press release here.

Also a new Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM lens was released.

Comparison Chart

SLR Cameras Canon EOS 5D Mark II Nikon D700 Winner
Year Introduced September 17, 2008 July 2008  
Cost ~$2,700 $3,000 5D Mark II
Sensor Size 36 x 24 mm 36 x 23.9 mm  
Viewfinder 98%, 0.71x magnification 95%, 0.72x magnification 5D Mark II
Max Resolution 5616 x 3744 4256 x 2832 5D Mark II
Megapixels 21.1 12.1 5D Mark II
ISO rating 100-6400 in 1/3 stops, with 50, 12,800 and 25,600 as options 200-6400 in 1/3 stops, with 100, 12,800 and 25,600 as options 5D Mark II
Auto Focus type 9 focus point TTL CMOS sensor with 6 “Invisible Point Focus Assist” with 1 cross-type 51 focus point CMOS sensor with 5 cross-type D700 (by a big margin)
Metering Evaluative, partial, spot, center weighted average 3D Color Matrix Metering II, partial, spot (center), center weighted  
Crop Factor 1.0 1.0  
Continuous Drive 3.9 fps for 78 JPEG (310 with UDMA card) or 13 RAW (What?! Only?!) 5 fps (8 fps with battery pack) or 20 RAW D700
Storage Types Compact Flash (Type I or II) with UDMA support Compact Flash (Type I or II) with UDMA support tie
LCD 3.0 inches 3.0 inches tie
LCD Pixels 922,000 922,000 tie
Battery Canon Lithium-Ion LP-E6 battery Nikon Lithium-Ion EN-EL3e (7.4V, 1500mAh) battery  
Weight 810 g (1.8 lb) with no battery 995 g (2.19 lb) with no battery  
Dimensions 152 x 114 x 75 mm (6.0 x 4.5 x 2.9 in) 147 x 123 x 77 mm (5.8 x 4.8 x 3.0 in)  
Live View Yes Yes  
Video HD1080p with 30fps none 5D Mark II
Built-in Flash No Yes D700
Mirror Blackout Time 145 ms
Shutter Lag 73 ms 40 ms D700

Looking at the side-by-side comparison, the 5D Mark II certainly looks promising, but can it compete or even beat the Nikon D700? It’s got more megapixels, which isn’t always a good thing. The viewfinder is bigger, which is always nice, but it’s still not quite like the 1Ds Mark III and D3. It can do video, which I’m not sure is a good thing. Only time will tell.

3 thoughts on “Canon EOS 5D Mark II Finally Released”

  1. You have to compare the shutter lag, mirror black out and built-in flash, etc. So many things are missed in the comparison!

  2. Originally Posted By FrancoYou have to compare the shutter lag, mirror black out and built-in flash, etc. So many things are missed in the comparison!

    You’re absolutely right! Somehow I originally had the built-in flash listed but it didn’t translate over to the final published copy. Odd. Additions made. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *