After some days of teaser appearing on its website announcing a great new camera, finally Canon has announced the new full frame camera: 5D Mark II, a new version of the mid/high range 5D model launched in August 2005.

The list of additions and enhancements is quite impressive. Let's see.

Sensor

A new full-frame 21 Megapixel CMOS sensor (quite similar to the one employed in EOS IDs Mark III). This is quite impressive and is aimed to beat the latest Nikon full-frame D70 that exhibits 12 Mp).

The new sensor had to make a jump also on sensitivity, since Nikon full-frame offers enhanced sensitivity up to impressive an 25'600 ISO, though with less pixels (high sensitivity and high ISO mean high noise....). Canon has matched the Nikon performance with enhanced sensitivity up to 25'600 ISO. Very good job with so many pixels squeezed in the sensor!

Movie

Yes! After the very first DSLR with movie mode some days ago (Nikon D90), also Canon launches its first DSLR with HD move, a full-HD that means 1920x1080 pixels with 30 frames per second. Movie lenght is limited to 12 minutes (or 24 minutes if using a VGA resolution), take into account that a 12 minutes HD video takes... 4 GB. I think the movie feature is really a great addition to DSLR, very useful (and with a different usage from a typical movie cam).

A microphone, a speaker and a connector for external micro appear in this model to fully support the movie (of course...).

Movie mode is activated in live view mode (using LCD instead of viewfinder).

Body

Water and dust sealing, finally, on this point Nikon up to now has been generally more geneorus on offering sealing.

A bit heavier than 5D but lighter than pro-model (1Dx series). No flash (only external) like in 5D model.

Processor

DIGIC IV processor, that enables a 3.9 frames per second. It may appear not so much, but consider the size of the image file with 21 Mp....

The new (with respect to 5D) processor brings also a new (fancy) menu, with a clean but colorful layout.

The highlight tone priority (well known on Canon pro-models and lately on mid-range ones to reduce highlight clippings reducing sensitivity on highlights) is offered, together with a so-called "auto lighting optimizer" that helps to tune contrast and shadows in JPG files (for RAW, it's the user to play with light curves....).

Metering

35 zones. 1-20 EV (metering range in recent Nikon DSLR is declared slightly wider, going from 0 to 20 EV).

Full auto-ISO mode, finally: the camera will select ISO to try to have a shutter time not less than 1/focal, that is the golden rule to avoid shaken shoots.

Battery

A new 1800 mAh battery (shooting movie drains more power). About battery charge there are a couple of very welcome additions: additional information on the current used battery (number of shoots taken so far, ageing of the battery, plus, of course, the remaining capacity) and the possibility of storing the capacity value of several other batteries so that from the camera you can get an overview of your full battery set status. Good, isn't it?

Other characteristics

  • vignetting correction in JPEG (called "peripheral illumination correction"). For RAW images, you can have the same correction only using the Canon software - DPP.
  • 9 AF points plus 6 invisible points (you don't see them in the viewfinder) that help to track moving object;
  • AF microadjustments, as in high-end models, to compensate for lens or camera focus miscalibration, quite useful for self-tuning also after expiration of warranty period;
  • great 3 inch, 920'000 pixels LCD, like in the latest pro and semi-pro models from most of vendors (like Nikon D90 and Sony A900). Canon here says also to have employed a special anti-reflective coating and an auto-brightness control that will help reading in sunlight. Interesting.
  • live view mode, also with face detection.
  • 2% more coverage in the viewfinder, I think not so noticeable... Nikon here is a bit better;
  • copyright data (written into the image file) supported;
  • customizable menu (called "My menu"), very useful to create menu with personal choice of more useful function (like "mirror lockup" that otherwise is buried in the menus);
  • storage: compact flash type I and II, UDMA cards;
  • dust removal system with sensor shake (nothing really new here, though the 5D didn't have that).
  • infrared port for remote control.
  • as in all mid/high end models, a top LCD is present to show summarized information on the camera settings.

With the new and optional grip, you can also control the camera with a PC via http (like it was a website...), including real-time receiving the live view. Cool.

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