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Canon EOS-5D

By: Dave Etchells

Slightly smaller and lighter upgrade brings greater speed and ease of use along with higher res and lower image noise.

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Page 1:Intro and Highlights

Review First Posted: 04/02/2006

Canon EOS-5D Manufacturer Overview

Read a pro photographer's viewpoint on the Canon EOS-5D in the guest review by Sean Reid.

Built around a 12.8-megapixel (effective) CMOS sensor, covering the same area as a 35mm film frame, the Canon EOS 5D provides "full frame" digital SLR technology at a much more affordable price point than ever before. "Affordable" is definitely a relative term though, as the Canon 5D's $3500 retail price (at announcement) still puts it beyond the reach of all but the most well-heeled photo enthusiasts and professionals. At the same time, our lens-testing work over on the site has shown that full-frame cameras like the Canon EOS 5D place much greater demands on lens quality than sub-frame designs like the Canon 20D and Digital Rebel series. -- If you're seriously considering a Canon 5D for your photo kit, you'd better budget several times its cost for the highest-quality "L"-series lenses that you'll need to take full advantage of its potential. The Canon 5D will deliver incredible image quality when paired with excellent lenses, but will quickly expose every flaw in lower-grade glass.

As you'd expect of a high-end digital SLR from Canon, the EOS 5D boasts a full range of photographic controls and custom functions: Read on for all the details, and for a thorough dissection of its imaging characteristics.


Canon EOS-5D Highlights

  • 12.8-megapixel (effective), 35.8 x 23.9mm, 12-bit RGB CMOS sensor delivering 4,368 x 2,912-pixel images.
  • Single-lens reflex digital camera with interchangeable lenses (supports all Canon EOS lenses, except EF-S series).
  • Focal length multiplier of 1.0x, equivalent to a 35mm camera.
  • Variable ISO (100 to 1,600 settings in 1/3-step increments, plus ISO 50 and 3200 using ISO expansion option).
  • TTL optical viewfinder with detailed information display, diopter adjustment, and depth-of-field preview.
  • 2.5-inch, low-temperature TFT LCD with 230,000 pixels.
  • Automatic, Program AE (shiftable), Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, and Manual exposure modes.
  • Picture Styles menu offering Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, and three user presets.
  • Operates in "shooting priority mode," meaning the camera does not need to be set in "play" mode to view pictures. Pictures can be viewed in between shots, and even if camera is displaying a picture or in a menu, half-pressing the Shutter button prepares it to take a photo immediately.
  • Continuous Shooting mode captures as many as 60 images as fast as three frames per second.
  • Variable white balance with Auto, six fixed presets, Custom (reads from a shot of a neutral gray or white card), a color temperature setting, and White Balance Correction and Auto Bracketing modes.
  • TTL autofocus with nine main focusing points plus six "invisible" points, manually or automatically selectable. One shot AF, AI Servo AF with focus prediction, AI Focus AF, and manual focus with AF assist beam.
  • Topside hot shoe for external flash connection of EX Speedlight flashes, E-TTL II, as well as a PC flash sync socket.
  • Flash exposure compensation of +/- 2 stops in one-half or one-third stop increments. Flash exposure lock function. First and second curtain sync function. External shoe supports E-TTL, E-TTL II, FEL, and FP (high speed sync) flash metering.
  • Adjustable exposure compensation from -2 to +2 EV in 1/2 EV or 1/3 EV increments in all exposure modes.
  • Auto exposure bracketing (AEB) from -2 to +2 EV in 1/2 EV or 1/3 EV increments in all autoexposure modes.
  • Shutter speeds from 1/8,000 to 30 seconds, and a Bulb setting for longer exposures (many-minute exposures are quite feasible).
  • Electronic self-timer with a fixed duration of 10 seconds.
  • Optional external hand grip/battery pack adds secondary shutter release and control wheel, as well as AE lock and focus point buttons for vertical-format shooting.
  • Image storage on CompactFlash Type I or II, compatible with Hitachi MicroDrives.
  • USB 2.0 connectivity. NTSC/PAL selectable video out connectivity. N3 remote control socket.
  • JPEG and 12-bit RAW data file formats. Available resolution settings are: 4,368 x 2,912; 3,168 x 2,112; and 2,496 x 1,664.
  • Backlit LCD data readout, for easier operation in the dark.
  • Magnesium-alloy body panels, stainless steel chassis.
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) and DCF (Design Rule for Camera File System) and PictBridge compliant.


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