Canon EOS 5D SLR Review

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Canon EOS 5D SLR


Review posted 11/13/2005


Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Canon EOS 5D SLR.
Click to take a QTVR tour of the EOS 5D


The Canon EOS 5D digital SLR offers a full-frame CMOS sensor with 12.8 megapixels of resolution at an affordable price of $3,299 USD. It is the world's smallest and lightest full-frame digital SLR and features Canon's proprietary DIGIC II Image Processor allows users to shoot up to 3 frames per second; record up to 60 full-resolution JPEGs and 17 RAW images in a single burst. The camera includes a new 9-point AF system with six supplemental AF points for fast and precise focusing and a new 2.5-inch LCD/TFT screen with 230,000 pixels that's viewable even at extreme angles.

Combining the high-end specifications of the EOS-1 Line and the operational ease of the EOS 20D, the EOS 5D is a premium digital SLR designed for a wide range of photographers. While a 35mm full-size image sensor is already available on the EOS-1Ds Mark II, many photographers wanted a DSLR with a full-frame sensor that was smaller, lighter and more affordable. The EOS 5D with its magnesium alloy body weighs in at just 28.6 ounces (810 grams).

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, including an incredible burst performance of 60 Large/Fine JPEGs or 17 RAW images at 3 fps. DIGIC II also enhances start-up time on the EOS 5D DSLR, bringing it down to a lightning fast 0.2 seconds.

A new feature called Picture Styles combines processing parameters and color matrix settings into easy settings designed to obtain the desired effect, almost like choosing a type of film to obtain a specific result. For users who do not want to bother with post processing, there is the Picture Style called Standard which produces images that look crisp and vivid with the sharpness set to mid-scale and the color tone and saturation set to obtain vivid colors. The Faithful setting is the same as Digital Photo Professional's Faithful, so when the subject is photographed under a color temperature of 5200K, the color is adjusted colorimetrically to match the subject's color with no sharpness applied. Monochrome is the same as the EOS 20D camera's monochrome setting and with User Defined, the user can create and save their own preferred settings.

The EOS 5D has a new nine point AF system with six Supplemental AF points, a new AF algorithm and a new AF circuitry. The new AF system improves subject detection and focusing precision at the center, the most frequently used area, and significantly enhances subject tracking performance. The nine AF points are concentrated at the center, but the extreme left and right points are located in the same positions as the corresponding AF points on the EOS-1Ds Mark II. The six invisible Supplemental AF points, grouped around the center of the image provide highly accurate focusing and do a great job of tracking the subject in the AI SERVO AF mode. In addition, three AF points on the EOS 5D work with f/2.8 or faster lenses for enhanced precision.

The EOS 5D has a solid, substantial and organic feel that complements its compact dimensions and relatively light weight. With the top, front and rear covers and battery grip made from light and highly durable magnesium alloy, this new model is truly a premium camera. The EOS 5D also has an improved grip and mode dial, a modified terminal cover and clearer rear controls. The pentaprism has an all-new shape necessitated by the full-frame sensor and all associated components such as the mirror, mirror box and shutter. Thanks to Canon design and manufacturing know-how along with having the low-pass filter integrated with the CMOS cover glass, the EOS 5D is unusually streamlined for a camera with a full-frame sensor.

The EOS 5D has a 2.5-inch polysilicon TFT LCD monitor with approximately 230,000 pixels. At 170 degrees, it has an exceptionally wide viewing angle and maintains the same brightness from almost any viewing angle. Brightness is also adjustable in five levels and the screen's backlight feature uses six LED modules, as opposed to three on previous models, to helps illuminate the 2.5-inch LCD evenly. Along with the larger monitor, the menu text is also larger and easier to red. The full-featured INFO screen includes files sizes, RGB histogram and AF frame displays. In addition, Quick Review images are enlargeable.



Canon EOS 5D SLR.

The camera body consists of a stainless steel chassis and a mirror box made of high- strength engineering plastic. Since the grip and front cover are one piece, body rigidity on the EOS 5D DSLR is excellent. The exterior surface is a high-density black satin finish with a leathery touch that feels smooth in the hands. The three grip surfaces are covered with rubber and the electroplated "EOS 5D" badge and recessed and painted Canon logo give a quality appearance to the camera.

The EOS 5D has a solid and substantial feel that complements its compact dimensions. The camera body is constructed of a magnesium-alloy known for its lightweight and ultra-rigid strength. The EOS 5D also boasts a newly developed, high-speed and durable shutter unit that was designed to meet the demanding requirements of a full frame sensor in a relatively compact body. With a top shutter speed of 1/8000 sec. and with a remarkable 100,000-cycle shutter life, it truly is a camera built to professional standards.

The EOS 5D has a bevy of other high-end features including the same ISO range as the 1Ds Mark II - ISO 100-1600 in 1/3-step increments and ISO speed extended at L:50, H:3200. Also included on the camera is ultra-precise white balance with nine types of white balance settings, white balance bracketing (blue-amber and magenta-green, even on RAW and RAW+JPEG shots) and white balance correction. Other features include enhanced 35-zone exposure metering; spot metering in approximately 3.5 percent of the viewfinder area; six selectable JPEG recording modes including RAW and simultaneous RAW+JPEG; a large bright viewfinder with three interchangeable focusing screens; new flexible and convenient folder creation and selection; and more advanced PictBridge functions.



Physical Views



Canon EOS-1D Mark II N

Canon EOS 5D SLR. Photos are (c) 2001 Steve's Digicams

Canon EOS-1D Mark II N Canon EOS-1D Mark II N

Canon EOS-1D Mark II N

Canon EOS-1D Mark II N





Canon EOS-1D Mark II N

Canon EOS-1D Mark II N

The EOS-1D Mark II N and the EOS 5D for size comparison.




Continue on to
Features & Controls





EOS 5D Specifications

Type
Digital AF/AE SLR
Recording Medium
CompactFlash (CF) Card Type I and II
Image Format
1.41 x 0.94 in./35.8 x 23.9mm
Compatible Lenses
Canon EF lenses (except EF-S lenses)
Lens Mount
Canon EF mount
Lens Focal Length Conversion Factor*
1.0x
Image Sensor
Type
High-sensitivity, High-resolution, Single-plate CMOS Sensor
Pixels
Approx. 12.8 megapixels
Total Pixels
Approx. 13.3 megapixels
Aspect Ratio
3:2 (Horizontal : Vertical)
Color Filter System
RGB primary color filter
Low-pass Filter
Fixed position in front of the image sensor
Recording System
Recording Format
JPEG, RAW and RAW+JPEG simultaneous recording provided.
Image Format
JPEG, RAW
File Size
(1) Large/Fine: Approx. 4.6MB (4,368 x 2,912) (2) Large/Normal 2.3MB (4,368 x 2,912) (3) Medium/Fine: Approx. 2.7MB (3,168 x 2,112) (4) Medium/Normal: Approx. 1.4MB (3,168 x 2,112) (5) Small/Fine: Approx. 2.0MB (2,496 x 1,664) (6) Small/Normal: Approx. 1.0MB (2,496 x 1,664) (7) RAW: Approx. 12.9MB (4,368 x 2,912)
Folders
Folder creation/selection enabled
File Numbering
(1) Continuous numbering (2) Auto reset (3) Manual reset
Color Space
Selectable between sRGB and Adobe RGB
Image-processing Parameters
Six preset Picture Style settings plus three user-defined custom Picture Style function with individual adjustments for sharpness, contrast, saturation and color tone
Interface
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, NTSC/PAL for video output
White Balance
Settings
Auto, Preset (Daylight, Shade, Cloudy/Twilight/Sunset, Tungsten Light, White Fluorescent Light, Flash), Manual (Custom, Color Temperature)
Auto White Balance
Auto white balance with the image sensor
Color Temperature Compensation
White balance bracketing: +/-3 stops in full-stop increments
White Balance Correction: Blue/Amber bias +/- 9 levels
Magenta/Green bias +/- 9 levels

Blue/Amber bias and Magenta/Green bias cannot be set together during White Balance Bracketing
Viewfinder
Type
Eye-level SLR with fixed pentamirror
Coverage
Approx. 96% horizontally and vertically (coverage against JPEG Large)
Magnification
0.71x (-1 dpt with 50mm lens at infinity)
Eyepoint
20mm
Dioptric Adjustment Correction
-3.0 to +1.0 diopter
Focusing Screen
Interchangeable (two types optional), Standard focusing screen: Ee-A Precision Matte
Mirror
Quick-return half mirror (Transmission: reflection ratio of 40:60, no mirror cut-off with EF 600mm f/4 or shorter lens)
Viewfinder Information
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 warning
Depth-of-Field Preview
Enabled with depth-of-field preview button (with Speedlite 580EX, 550EX, 430EX, MR-14EX, or MT-24EX, pressing the depth-of-field preview button fires a modeling flash)
Eyepiece Shutter
None (eyepiece cover provided on strap)
Autofocus
Type
TTL-CT-SIR AF-dedicated CMOS Sensor
AF Points
9 AF points (plus 6 invisible Supplemental AF points)
AF Working Range
EV -0.5-18 (at ISO 100 at 20°C/68°F)
Focusing Modes
Autofocus, (One-Shot AF, Predictive AI Servo AF, AI Focus AF (automatic switching between One-Shot/Predictive AI Servo AF)), Manual Focus (MF)
AF Point Selection
Manual selection, Automatic selection
Selected AF Point Display
Superimposed in viewfinder and indicated on LCD screen
AF-assist Beam
Emitted by the dedicated Speedlite
Exposure Control
Metering Modes
Max. aperture TTL metering with 35-zone SPC
(1) Evaluative metering (link to all AF points)
(2) Partial metering (approx. 8% of viewfinder)
(3) Spot metering (approx. 3.5% of viewfinder)
(4) Center-weighted average metering
Metering Range
EV 1-20 (at 68°F/20°C with 50mm f/1.4 lens, ISO 100)
Exposure Control Systems
Program AE (Shiftable), Shutter speed-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE, Full Auto, E-TTL II autoflash program AE, Manual exposure
ISO Speed Range
Equivalent to ISO 100-1600 (in 1/3-stop increments), ISO speed can be expanded to ISO 50 and 3200, Full Auto ISO 100-400 set automatically
Exposure Compensation
(1) Manual, (2) AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing) Bracketing range: ±2 stops in 1/2- or 1/3-stop increments
AE Lock
Auto: Applied in One-Shot AF mode with evaluative metering when focus is achieved
Manual: By AE lock button
Shutter
Type
Vertical-travel, mechanical, focal-plane shutter with all speeds electronically-controlled
Shutter Speeds
1/8000 to 30 sec. (1/3 and 1/2-stop increments), X-sync at 1/200 sec.
Shutter Release
Soft-touch electromagnetic release
Self-timer
10 sec. delay
Remote Control
Remote control with N3 type terminal
External Speedlite
EOS External Flash or Dedicated Speedlites
E-TTL II autoflash with EX-series Speedlite
PC Terminal
Provided
Drive System
Drive Modes
Single, Continuous (approx. 3 fps), Self-timer
Continuous Shooting Speed
Approx. 3 fps (at 1/250 sec. or faster for all recording quality settings)
Max. Burst During Continuous Shooting
JPEG: Approx. 60 frames (JPEG/Large)
RAW: Approx. 17 frames
RAW+JPEG: Approx. 12 frames
LCD Monitor
Type
TFT color liquid-crystal monitor
Screen Monitor size
2.5 in.
Pixels
Approx. 230,000
Coverage
100% for JPEG images
Brightness Control
5 levels provided
Playback
Image Display Format
Single image, shooting information, 9-image index, Magnified zoom (approx. 1.5x to 10x), Auto play, Auto play right after shooting, Rotated, Jump
Highlight Alert
In the single image (INFO) mode, the highlight portions containing no image information will blink
Image Protection and Erase
Protection
A single image can be protected or unprotected
Erase
A single image or all images stored in a CF card can be erased if they are unprotected
Direct Printing from the Camera
Enabled
Compatible Printers
CP Direct, Inkjet direct, and PictBridge-compatible printers
Settings
Printable images: JPEG images (Print ordering enabled with DPOF version 1.1)
Sound Recording
Recording Methods
None
File Format
N/A
Recording Time
N/A
Power Source
Battery
One Battery Pack BP-511A/BP-514/BP-511/BP-512
Number of Shots
Approx. 800 (68°F/20°C), approx. 400 (32°F/0°C)
* The above figures comply with CIPA standard and apply when a fully-charged Battery Pack BP-511A is used.
Battery Check
Automatic
Power Saving
Provided. Power turns off after 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30 min.
Back-up Battery
One CR2016 Lithium Battery
Dimensions and Weight
Dimensions (W x H x D)
6.0 x 4.4 x 3.0 in./152 x 113 x 75mm
Weight
28.6 oz./810g (Body only. Battery: 2.9 oz./82g)
Operating Environment
Operating Temperature Range
32-104°F/0-40°C
Operating Humidity Range
85% or less
(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)



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Features & Controls





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