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Canon 5D Mark II comments

See also Jan 17 entry. I like the 21MP Canon 5D Mark II. Considering the $2699 price, the 5DM2 is currently an unbeatable value, only the Sony A900 comes close, and for me Live View is a strict requirement: it’s pointless to have a 20+ MP camera without some means of guaranteeing precise focus, even if one is using AF lenses, which can be prone to error.

The 5D Mark II has numerous shortcomings, which I’ll detail at a future time, but it’s image quality is second only to the Nikon D3x, and at high ISO even that’s not clear, as I’ll soon show in my coming-soon DAP 4-way noise comparison. Add in relatively small size and light weight, and it’s awfully nice to carry as compared with a Big Black Box (Canon 1Ds Mark III or Nikon D3/x). In short, it’s a winning combination and terrific value.

My main complaint about the 5DM2 won’t matter for most people: I find it extremely difficult to manually focus with any accuracy; I’m way off with the Leica 90/2 APO. That’s using the stock focusing screen. Combined with the black AF rectangles in the viewfinder which never go away (one of them is dead-center), it’s a really annoying camera for manual focus use. Next step is to try another focusing screen like the Eg-S Super Precision Matte, which should help matters quite a bit (I hope).

The viewfinder of the 5DM2 is also crappy compared to the D3x or 1Ds Mark III, but hey—it’s 1/3 the price of those cameras. And its aperture-priority exposure mode blows highlight all the time, but I can live with both shortcomings.

Anyway, what do you do with a new camera while chaperoning girl scouts door-to-door selling cookies? Shoot anything visually interesting to learn how a camera performs—which is to say that the first lesson is that the most lenses are going to disappoint on the 5DM2, but not the Leica 90/2 APO-Summicron-R, provided it is focused accurately, a perfect use for Live View (focus in LV mode, exit LV, frame, shoot).

Canon 5D Mark II + Leica 90mm f/2 APO-Summicron-R
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