Canon will tell you that the EOS 5D is "discreet enough to avoid attention, with resolution to keep even the toughest picture editors happy." They continue, "Travel light, without compromise." That's all well and good, but cynical readers will dismiss that for promotional blurb. To tempt you into learning more about this camera, Andy Rouse, Expert Reviewer at Wex Photographic sums up the EOS 5D with the words, "it's a great camera, period." So take a look below and see why…
• 12.8 Megapixel full frame CMOS sensor for extra clarity when shooting and the ability to print that little bit bigger.
• 3fps shooting at 60 JPEG continuous image burst.
• 9-point AF with 6 extra ‘hidden’ autofocus assist points.
• Bright and clear 2.5” LCD screen.
• Picture Style Image Processing – choose from 6 styles or create your own.
• DIGIC II processing for super fast, accurate auto-focus and improved picture quality.
• Neat and uncomplicated magnesium alloy body.
The CMOS advantage
Canon have had five years of in-house CMOS development since the birth of the original EOS D30 and the EOS 5D features a CMOS sensor with 12.8 Megapixels and the same second-generation on-chip noise reduction circuitry used on the EOS-1Ds Mark II. The circuitry does a good job of suppressing random noise and eliminating fixed-pattern noise for extremely clean, hi-fidelity images.
The EOS 5D’s 3fps shooting may be considered too slow for demanding action/sports photographers, but the camera is designed for studio and landscape photographers and consequently, the continuous speed is more than up to scratch.
The EOS 5D’s 12.8 Megapixel full frame CMOS sensor offers users freedom of expression, without the need for cropping or magnification effect. The full frame ’35mm’ sensor means wide lenses remain wide, the viewfinder is bright and open, allowing the reproduction of subtle tonal gradations in shadow, midtone and highlights. The EOS 5D offers a low-pass filter and on-chip circuitry which suppresses false colours and noise. “I would recommend the 5D to DSLR users that are looking to upgrade, plus any first timers who are making the switch from film,” says Andy, “the image quality in particular is simply amazing for a sub £2000 camera.”
Improved in-camera control
Picture Style pre-sets add simplicity to the in-camera control over image quality. The EOS 5D delivers instantly useable JPEG images, immediately from the camera, eliminating the need for post-production and each Picture Style pre-set can be likened to a different film type, with each one offering a different colour response. Each pre-set is easily selectable and gives photographers the opportunity to control sharpness, contrast, colour tone and saturation to a greater degree than before.
The pre-sets are as follows:
• Standard – sharp, vibrant images making post-processing optional.
• Portrait – optimal colour tone and saturation and weakened sharpening to achieve beautiful skin tone.
• Landscape – deep greens and blues with stronger sharpening to give crisp outlines on buildings, trees and mountains.
• Neutral – spot on for post-processing.
• Faithful – matches the colour of the subject when shot under a colour temperature of 5200°K.
• Monochrome – gives a range of filter effects (yellow, orange, red and green) and toning effects (sepia, blue, purple and green) for black and white shooting.
“One thing is for sure, the EOS 5D produces great looking files,” continues Andy, “For those JPEG photographers who want a better looking image straight from the 5D, several picture styles are included with options for sharpening, saturation and contrast.”
Three user-defined entries can also be created, which allow additional variations on the in-camera styles or provide the option to install additional custom Picture Style files which are downloadable from Canon’s website. Picture Style replaces internal image processing which was previously controlled by setting processing parameters and colour matrix and is supported by the supplied Digital Photo Professional (DPP) and RAW Image Task software.
New LCD monitor
The EOS 5D features a larger 2.5” high-resolution 230K pixel poly-silicon TFT LCD monitor, giving the user improved image review and menu readability as well as retaining brightness and visibility throughout 170°, both vertically and horizontally.
The EOS 5D also features a newly developed 9-point autofocus system, including 6 additional invisible Assist AF points located inside the spot-metering circle, which come into effect when the camera is switched to AI SERVO AF with the centre focus point selected, and are automatically used to improve the camera’s subject tracking performance.
In the 5D review, Andy was particularly impressed with the small dial on the back of the camera from which you can alter the autofocus. “A single ‘click’ of this button selected the centre focusing point, whilst a double ‘click’ selected all the points. I liked this a lot, it shows that the camera has been well thought out.”
Ergonomics and control
Canon’s EOS 5D provides ‘Premium EOS’ design and therefore features a magnesium alloy exterior with rubberised grip surfaces. The body of the camera weighs only 800g, making it just two thirds of the volume and weight of the EOS-1Ds Mark II. “The new look body is pretty tough and feels good in the hand,” continued Andy.
One of the newer and more beneficial features of the EOS 5D, is that current camera settings can be stored and assigned to the C (camera settings) position on the Mode Dial, allowing photographers to switch quickly between different camera set-ups without having to switch bodies. This feature is particularly useful for photographers who need to be able to switch quickly between indoor and outdoor shooting conditions. The Exposure mode, ISO speed, AF mode, drive mode, Picture Style, white balance and custom functions are all stored in the custom setting. There are 21 custom functions with 57 user-definable settings to enable photographers to set up the camera to their preference.
The EOS 5D includes optional Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E1, so photographers can work free of cables as full-frame image files can be automatically transferred through a wireless LAN to a computer in a matter of seconds.
A Hi-Speed USB 2.0 interface allows rapid transfer of images from camera to computer, the ideal solution for shooting straight to hard-drive with the camera tethered to a computer in a studio environment, consequently providing full-screen previews of images as they are shot.
The EOS 5D also has a Video out interface which allows playback and review on a TV monitor and is compatible with PictBridge, thus supporting direct printing to any compatible photo printer without the need for a computer.
The EOS 5D accepts both Compact Flash Type I and Type II cards, including cards of 2GB and larger.
Compatibility and accessories
The EOS 5D is compatible with all Canon EF lenses, providing photographers with access to a wide range of lenses with focal lengths from 14 to 600mm. The camera is also compatible with EX series Speedlights and other EOS accessories, providing photographers with an adaptable camera system.
The EOS 5D comes with the EOS Digital Solution Disk v11, which includes a new version of Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) RAW processing software. The DPP software is now at version 2.0 and supports RAW images shot on all EOS digital cameras from the EOS D30 onwards, including support for Picture Styles.
The improvements and additions are aimed at improving functionality and workflow efficiency for professionals, including easy image selection with three levels of check marks, real time adjustment of sharpness, improved image correction (Copy Stamp), enhanced image transfer function (single image transfer to Photoshop is possible), extended colour space support, now including Apple RGB and ColorMatch RGB, and improved usability of the CMYK simulation function.
The EOS Digital Solution Disk v11 also provides ZoomBrowser EX (PC) and ImageBrowser (MAC) v5.5 for managing images, EOS Capture v1.5 for remote shooting, PhotoStitch v3.1, PhotoRecord v2.2 (PC) and RAW ImageTask v2.2. The EOS 5D is also compatible with CANON iMAGE GATEWAY, which provides a 100 MB online photo album.
The BG-E4 is a new battery grip designed especially for the EOS 5D. Constructed with the same magnesium alloy as the camera’s exterior, it has a solid and comfortable hold. The grip can accommodate two BP-511A battery packs or six AA batteries. The Battery Grip BG-E4 features a vertical shutter release button, AE/FE lock button, AF point selector and main dial to enable comfortable use of the camera when held vertically.
The camera’s focussing screens are interchangeable: in addition to the “Standard Precision Matte” (Ee-A) focussing screen supplied with the camera, “Precision Matte with Grid” (Ee-D) and “Super Precision Matte” (Ee-S) screens are available.
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