Canon EOS 5D SLR Review
Features & Controls
The EOS 5D's Canon-designed and manufactured 12.8 megapixel CMOS image sensor has enough resolution for a double-page spread in a magazine, a large print of the bride and groom, facial detail in group shots or a landscape of impressive dimensions. The sensor's 35.8 x 23.9mm size means that each pixel can be a generous 8.2µm, resulting in exceptionally low shadow noise. The sensor's low power consumption extends battery life and lowers noise. A finer CMOS production process and optimized photodiode construction increase the light-sensitive area of each pixel and improve dynamic range as well.
Second-generation on-chip noise reduction is enhanced for easier use with a choice of two modes: "Auto", to engage auto noise reduction when noise is detected; "ON", to engage noise reduction for all exposures of 1 sec. or longer. From smooth gradations and wide ISO speed range to effective suppression of false colors and ultra-precise white balance, this sensor matches the image quality found in the flagship model of Canon's EOS digital SLR lineup, EOS-1Ds Mark II. These refinements are the result of sophisticated DIGIC II imaging engine technology.
DIGIC II is Canon's advanced imaging technology that processes massive data from the large CMOS sensor at extremely high speed for photos of exceptional quality and definition. This accelerated performance contributes to highly responsive, user- friendly operation, including a fast continuous shooting speed and fast transfer of data via its USB 2.0 High-Speed port. Color reproduction is extremely natural and details are incredibly precise, especially with gradations in the highlight areas. Such processing efficiency also keeps power consumption minimal.
The EOS 5D achieves a remarkable 3fps consecutive shooting speed during maximum bursts
of 60 shots (17 in RAW) even for Large/Fine JPEG shots. The quick startup (approx. 0.2
sec.) and short shutter release time lag (75 milliseconds) will also help you capture
the moment without delay.
The EOS 5D digital SLR has a newly developed, high-speed and highly durable shutter
unit that was designed to meet the demanding requirements of a full frame sensor in a
relatively compact body. The high-torque shutter-cocking mechanism is rated to 100,000
shots, attaining speeds from 1/8000 sec. to 30 sec. and bulb. The unit's flash
synchronization (X-sync) function uses an optically detected, contactless switch
instead of a mechanical one, which contributes to high durability and reliability when
a Speedlite is used and yields an X-sync shutter speed of 1/200 sec. It also employs a
quick-return half mirror (Transmission: reflection ratio of 40:60, no mirror cut-off
with EF 600mm f/4 or shorter lens).
The EOS 5D is compatible with over 50 Canon lenses thanks to its Canon-EF lens mount.
The full-size sensor maximizes the performance of Canon EF lenses - even wide-angle
lenses have the same look and feel they have with conventional SLR cameras, preserving
their optical signatures. Imaging quality in the EOS 5D is enhanced with the addition
of the DIGIC II image processor, which provides detailed and natural color
reproduction and fast image processing
The EOS 5D's E-TTL II flash metering system is compatible with all EX-series Speedlites, the smarter E-TTL II captures the subject as a "plane" and ensures that images containing various colors and levels of reflection are captured accurately and optimally. The system compares the ambient light with the reflected pre-flash off the subject reported in all 17 metering zones and selects the areas with a small difference to be weighted for flash exposure calculation. This system also eliminates or under weights areas with large difference recognizing them as an extremely reflective object in the background or as a highly reflective subject, smartly ensuring it by considering the distance information data provided from compatible EF lenses.
E-TTL II features high-speed sync (FP Flash) with all shutter speeds from 30 sec. to
1/8000 sec. FE (Flash Exposure) Lock on the desired part of the subject - this is the
flash equivalent of AE lock. Flash exposure compensation up to +/-3 stops in 1/3-stop
increments. FEB (Flash Exposure Bracketing) is the flash version of AEB, flash bracketing
can be up to +/-3 stops in 1/3-stop increments. E-TTL II wireless autoflash with
multiple Speedlites provides all the above features. (Only with wireless-compatible
The eyelevel viewfinder on the EOS 5D offers approx. 96% coverage vertically and
horizontally (0.71x magnification with 50mm at infinity), this is very good. It has a
20mm eyepoint and -3.0 -- +1.0 diopter correction. It is equipped with the standard
Ee-A focusing screen and is interchangeable with two others (sold separately) for
highly customized viewing. The Ee-S Super Precision Matte for easier manual focus and
the Ee-D Precision Matte with grid have different metering characteristics for
variable shooting conditions.
The newly developed 9-point AF sensor with 6 Assist AF points provides speedy and precise focus detection plus enlarged subject coverage. With an extra 6 AF assist points added to the spot metering circle, the EOS 5D enables highly detailed focusing around the center of an image in AI Servo AF mode. Of the 9 primary AF points, the high-precision cross-type center AF point is compatible with f/2.8 and f/5.6 lenses, while 8 sensors are sensitive to f/5.6. Upper and lower central points, 2 of the 6 Assist AF points, are also f/2.8 and f/5.6 compatible. All focusing points are configured for quick focus in any shooting situation.
The information presented in the viewfinder includes:
AF (AF points, focus confirmation light), Exposure (shutter speed, aperture, spot
metering circle, exposure level, AE lock, exposure compensation, AEB level), Flash
(flash ready, red-eye reduction lamp on, high-speed sync, FE lock, FEB shooting, flash
exposure compensation, insufficient flash warning during FE lock), White balance
correction, Maximum burst, CF card full warning, CF card error warning, No CF card
The back of the EOS 5D is the heart of its digital half. The 2.5-inch, polysilicon
TFT LCD color monitor with 230,000 pixels maintains the same picture quality and
brightness (5 levels) from almost any viewing angle (170-degree), whether front and
center or upward angle.
A closeup view of the color LCD and associated buttons. On the left from top to bottom; MENU calls up the onscreen menu system. The INFO button displays camera settings on the LCD in shooting mode, and toggles the information displayed in playback mode between basic, shooting information with histogram, and no shooting information at all. The JUMP button is effective in playback mode, allowing scrolling of 10 or 100 images at a time, or scrolling by date or folder. The playback button puts the camera into playback mode. Over to the right is the Multi-controller having 8 direction keys and a center button; it's used to select AF point, white balance correction, scrolling a magnified image in playback and moving the trimming frame for direct printing. Below is the Quick Control dial, below that is the main power switch.
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