The Canon 5D offers advanced photographers a lightweight, robust digital SLR that uses Canon’s superlative EF lenses without a conversion factor. Its full-frame 12.8 Megapixel CMOS sensor combines with Canon’s DIGIC II Image Processor, a high-precision 9-point AF system with 6 assist points, and “Picture Style” color control to deliver images of superior quality with enough resolution for any application.
Canon 5D Reviews
Canon’s press material for the EOS 5D states that it ‘defines (a) new D-SLR category’, while we’re not typically too concerned with marketing talk this particular statement is clearly pretty accurate. The EOS 5D is unlike any previous digital SLR in that it combines a full-frame (35 mm sized) high resolution sensor (12.8 megapixels) with a relatively compact body (slightly larger than the EOS 20D, although in your hand it feels noticeably ‘chunkier’). The EOS 5D is aimed to slot in between the EOS 20D and the EOS-1D professional digital SLR’s, an important difference when compared to the latter is that the EOS 5D doesn’t have any environmental seals. While Canon don’t specifically refer to the EOS 5D as a ‘professional’ digital SLR it will have obvious appeal to professionals who want a high quality digital SLR in a body lighter than the EOS-1D.
The bottom line then is this – the Canon 5D is an immensely satisfying camera. In a physical size, weight and form factor it is little different than the mainstream of 5 – 8 Megapixel APS sized cameras. But Canon has, with the 5D, provided photographers with a full-frame 35mm of sufficient resolution – 12.8 Megapixel – to meet the print and reproduction size needs of the vast majority of serious photographers. Image quality, whether at normal or at high ISO, is as good as it currently gets.
The Canon EOS 5D is the essential camera for everything that photographers used to do with 35mm film. It is more than good enough for most professional photojournalism applications, but still simple enough that a yuppie can get one to throw in the glovebox of his BMW SUV and take pictures at the school soccer game.
Pictures from ISO 100-400 are very low noise, ISO 800 is still very good. The shots at ISO 1600 and 3200 are just amazing at this level.
The 5D noise behaviour is likely the best we ever have seen. Canon raised the bar quite a bit here.
Overall the EOS-5D’s photo quality was excellent. The camera took well-exposed photos with accurate color and low purple fringing levels. As for noise? Well, there isn’t much, as you’ve hopefully seen in these tests. I took many photos at the big SF Auto Show back in November at ISO 1000 and above, and all of the pictures could be printed at 8 x 10 or larger. As is the case with all D-SLRs, Canon has the in-camera sharpening turned way down, and if you want things to be sharper you can either increase that, or just post-process in Photoshop.
A decent midrange digital SLR camera built around a superb sensor, the Canon EOS 5D delivers great images and the familiar 35mm-film-format shooting experience for a comparatively low (though still hefty) price.
The bottom line is always image quality, and the 5D does not disappoint with its combination of 12.8-megapixel resolution, full-frame image sensor and low image noise. The 5D is capable of producing images rivalling the quality of the professional 1DS Mark II. Most pro’s will opt to shoot in RAW mode, using software tools to adjust for the desired degree of sharpness, saturation and contrast. But the 5D also produces high-quality finished JPEG images courtesy of its Picture Styles. While image noise is noticeable in midtone and shadow areas at sensitivities over ISO 800, ISO 1600 and 3200 produce very usable images.
Following in the impressive footsteps laid down by earlier members of the highly-acclaimed Canon EOS line of digital SLRs, the new 5D definitely upholds its EOS lineage. While a truly excellent photographic tool though, it doesn’t automatically represent a slam-dunk choice between it and a sub-frame camera — or even between it and the much more expensive EOS-1Ds Mark II. The 5D struck us as an odd mixture of consumer and professional aesthetics, a slightly uncomfortable fit in the current world of d-SLRs. For people addicted to ultrawide angle photography with a substantial investment in full-frame wide angle lenses, it will probably be a no-brainer. But for someone not already invested in wide-angle glass, you could buy an EOS 30D and Canon’s excellent little 10-22mm EF-S wide-angle lens and have more than just change to spare relative to the cost of the 5D body alone.
Impressive is the Canon EOS 5D certainly where image quality is concerned in combination with the new EF 24-105 f/4 L IS USM lens. The sharpness is outstandingly high and the colour reproduction especially accurate. Picture Style lets you adjust it to your own taste. What’s more is the fact that the new Canon EOS 5D excels on noise and dynamic range. Moreover, ISO 3200 can be used perfectly for high quality prints and in light as well as dark areas the detail remains clearly visible. This is really impressive; you have to see it to believe it.
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