How can you top success? Well Canon seems to know how to do it with its upgraded EOS 5D Mark II 21.1 MP full-frame dSLR. Having shot for some years with the older body, you have to wonder if all of the hype that comes with a new camera is true, however, in this case it is. Granted, this is only about the body, as the body and lenses are sold separately, but when we worked through some very familiar controls on the back (the menu toggle button), we found that there was a mode that allowed us more access to the controls that we used to have to step through several menu levels to reach. It’s a much more straightforward camera that offers features that makes our old camera look like a 1950 Chevy and the new one look like the latest Lamborghini.
For starters, the older body was state-of-the-art for the time, shooting at about 12.1MP. That was actually high-quality in late 2007 when we picked up our EOS body and two lenses. At the time, it was offered with the standard 18-55mm autostablized zoom. However, we also picked up an 18-300 mm Tamron that interfaced with the autostablization system and we found that most of the time the Canon lens, which was a good lens, mind you, did sit in the gadget bag.
The new Mark II, though, blows the old model away. For starters, it delivers an unheard of 21.1MP resolution. That, in itself would be news, but, there’s another feature that also blows that away and that’s the upgraded DIGIC processor that Canon uses. Where we used to think ISO 100-6400 (more with handheld mode on a tripod) was fine, the new processor allows shooting from ISO 100-25,600. To us that’s the equivalent of shooting a gnat by moonlight, handheld.
The upgrades in this magnesium-alloy body go on. For example, not only has the menu function been streamlined, but the CMOS cleaning system has been improved and there is now low-pass filtering with fluorine coating that should effectively raise the noise floor through which you can actually hand hold this body.
Granted, the biggest lens we ever hand held on this body was the Tamron at full extension – that was and is a long lens – but we suspect that if you are using a dedicated 28mm wide-angle to shoot a low-light closeup – say of an entertainment event where they don’t like strobes going off (who can blame them either, they are distracting) – you will find that even at a super-high ISO setting 12,300 or better, for example, that you will be amazed with the Canon’s handheld results.
The improvements to the EOS continue to be significant. At the time, we thought 3fps continuous shooting was good, well, they’ve improved that to 3.9 fps and let you blast away for up to 319 images on a standard memory card. Transcend memory has been upped to 32 GB so you can literally shoot an entire video with just the EOS and right lens set (Canon offers an autostablized lens set that starts at about 28mm and which goes up to the Big Bertha-sized lenses you see at sporting events the 3,000 and 4,000 mm long lenses that also offer zoom. You really do need a tripod when you try to use one of those or you might just throw your back out.)
As noted, the improvements come hot and heavy to the EOS, including feeding JPEGs straight to your PC through an HDMI cable that use just the illumination provided by the peripherals. That’s quite an improvement as is the ultimate resolution of the EOS. The new EOS shoots at high-definition levels – 1920 by 1080 resolution – which means that with the right cable and device, you can actually upload images not only to your PC, but also directly to any high-definition device such as a high definition monitor. There’s also a new 14-bit analog/digital converter for better performance and the direct view or clear view window in back is now minimally VGA and has a full 170-degree viewing angle and special anti-reflective coatings
The list of options available for the EOS body is just huge (we’d opt for the external strobe this time around, it does make wider-lighting available and will run at speeds that match the EOS). We’d also buy the bigger memory card this time around (when we purchased ours a while back 4 GB was tops).
More info: Articles
Roberto Sedycias works as an IT consultant for ecommBR