Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Words Thomas Philips | March 16, 2010
Featuring a 21.1 megapixel CMOS sensor and the abillity to shoot 1080p video, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II is one of the best DSLR’s available
Words Thomas Philips March 16, 2010

One of the great things about our new lifestyle section here at eMercedesBenz is we get to talk about products outside the realm of just Mercedes that we either use or wish we were using.  Today’s subject  – the Canon EOS 5D Mark II – is an item I use pretty much daily, thanks in large part to the fact I have a new baby and a beautiful wife at home, both of whom I can’t seem to photograph enough.  Of course, if you’ve never picked up a camera aside from a simple point and shoot, the 5D Mark II is a bit of overkill and this article probably won’t make a whole lot of sense.  But, if you already know your way around an SLR and are looking for one of the best semi-professional digital cameras on the planet, hopefully I can help point you in the right direction.

So first things first:  let’s talk brand.  If you’re at all familiar with 35mm digital cameras, you’ll know there are two key players in the segment – Canon and Nikon.  I’m a huge Nikon fan, so my opinion of both Nikon and Canon will remain unbiased  (I owned the D700, Nikon’s competitor to the 5d Mark II, for over a year).  Ultimately, I sold the Nikon and went with the Canon 5d Mark II for a couple reasons.

First and foremost, the 5D Mark II uses a 21.1 megapixel sensor virtually identical to the one found in their top-of-the-line $6,000 EOS 1DS Mark III.  Will you ever need 21.1 megapixels?  Only if you’re blowing up your photos to ridiculously large proportions; however, in the event you need to heavily crop your image, you’ve got plenty of room to work with.  The Nikon D700 on the other hand boasts just over 12 megapixels, but with the added advantage of better noise handling at higher ISO’s.  In terms of overall image quality at normal print sizes, I would give both cameras an even score, meaning they can both produce astounding images, but the added resolution from the Canon is the icing on the cake.

But the real reason I went withe 5d Mark II over the D700 is its ability to shoot 1080p video that rivals the quality of professional video cameras costing ten times as much.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means a professional videographer, but having the ability to document my son’s first steps in high def really is priceless.  On top of that, Canon today has released new firmware for the 5D Mark II dropping the frame rates from 30fps and 24fps to 29.97fps and 23.976fps, respectively, finally bringing the 5d Mark II’s video functionality to industry standards (for those of you more adept at shooting video) and making video editing a whole lot easier.  By the way, if you already own the 5D II, you can download the latest firmware from this link at Canon Japan.

A few final points on the two cameras:  construction wise, the Nikon D700 is far superior to the 5D Mark II, and I continually find myself longing for the ergonomics of the Nikon.  The AF system of the Nikon is substantially more advanced than that of the Canon; however I find this is becoming less of an issue the more I’ve gotten accustomed to the Canon.  And lastly, there’s the price:  both cameras will set you back about $2,500; but for me, 1080p video recording makes the 5D Mark II a fantastic bargain.

If you’re interested in the Canon 5d Mark II, I purchased mine from Adorama, and I highly recommend them.  With digital cameras it’s common to see substantially reduced prices from a variety of sellers – almost all of which are scams – so make sure wherever you purchase from that the company is an authorized dealer and that you’re getting the U.S. model (not the import version). Canon’s also running a rebate promotion if you pair the 5D Mark II with a lens, meaning if you have been considering a new camera, now’s the time to buy. You can use promotional codes and coupons for savings on all cameras.