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Comments on Canon 5D Mark II

I finished reading the Canon EOS 5D Mark II PDF manual (no camera is available yet), and I have a few comments, some not necessarily specific to the 5DM2.

First an amusing entry (on page 13, no less): “When you shoot continuously ...holding the hot camera can cause slight skin burns”. Skin burns?! That’s a new first for digital cameras. Might be useful in Alaska in the middle of winter though, and maybe Nikon can really leverage their “skin-burn free” offerings! Just don’t shoot intensively on Fridays and Triskaidekaphobiacs should definitely consider this worrisome characteristic.

Second, does anyone know if Compact Flash cards are actually sensitive to strong magnetic fields? The manual states “do not store use the card near anything having a strong magnetic field, such as a TV, speakers, or magnet”.

The focus point coverage of the 5DM2 is very limited relative to the frame area. This is a failing of all full-frame cameras today, one area where reduced size sensors are definitely superior. When focus sensors do not cover the subject (I frequently shoot off-center), then one must focus and recompose (“focus lock and recompose”), which throws the plane of focus off the subject. This can be a source of quite significant focus error, especially at wide apertures, such as f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8.

Some minor pluses and minuses:

  • Appears to have the same non-locking mode dial as the 5D. I don’t like dials that can move by mistake.
  • Same uncomfortable camera strap. Get an Optech strap.
  • Same lousy eyepiece cover. It should be built-in.
  • The peripheral illumination correction is a welcome feature, but it appears that using it with non-EF lenses is not advised.
  • Why is color space still limited to sRGB and AdobeRGB? This matters with some extreme subjects.
  • The Remote Control RC-1 or RC-5 look useful for some situations. Remote release cables begone!
  • It’s unfortunate the sun should not be included in Live View movie mode (“the sun’s heat can damage the camera’s internal components”).
  • The addition of autofocus to zoomed Live View mode is a big plus (assuming it works with precision).
  • Face detection mode in Live View is dubious, since one will have to hold the camera at arm’s length to compose...good luck on making a crisp image.
  • Does anyone actually print images directly from the camera?
  • I’ll likely install the Eg-S Super Precision Matte screen, though I wish it had the grid lines of the Eg-D. (Standard screen is Eg-A).
  • One still cannot choose ISO 50 or 100 if Highlight Tone Priority is set. This is silly. Just let me change the ISO, and remember my HTP setting appropriately.

The 5D Mark II is going to win a lot of fans. But next year, there will be something better, so think about your lenses carefully.

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