Canon 5D Mark II Optical Viewfinder

The Canon 5D Mark II offers a fairly accurate optical viewfinder, which Canon says provides about 98% frame accuracy (we measured 97%), a slight improvement over the 5D's 96% coverage. Most other specifications remain the same as the 5D: a pentaprism design with 0.71x magnification (-1m-1 with 50mm lens at infinity) and a diopter adjustment range of -3.0 to +1.0m-1. The 5D Mark II's eyepoint of approximately 21mm (measured from eyepiece lens center) has also improved slightly over the 5D's 20mm.

Within the viewfinder display is an array of available AF points, as well as a lower information readout reporting basics such as exposure compensation, exposure settings, focus status, etc. See below illustration (courtesy of Canon USA) for details.

Compared to the Canon 5D, the 5D Mark II's viewfinder display adds Battery check, ISO speed, Highlight tone priority, and Monochrome shooting mode indicators. The other optical viewfinder information is identical.

Focusing Screens. As with the 5D, the 5D Mark II has two optional screens available. The first screen shown below is the standard screen that comes with every 5D Mark II. The second offers a grid for aligning your subjects, and the third is what Canon calls Super Precision Matte, which is meant for lenses with maximum apertures under f/2.8. This latter screen will allow for more precise manual focusing when used with these faster lenses, but it will darken if used with slower lenses. The two optional screens are priced at $45 each.

Eg-A: the standard screen Eg-D: the grid Eg-S: Super Precision Matte
(Note, these images are of the 40D screens, but the 5D Mark II screens are very similar.)


Viewfinder Test Results

Good accuracy from the optical viewfinder, excellent accuracy from the LCD in Live View mode.

70mm, Optical 70mm, LCD Live View

The Canon 5D Mark II's optical viewfinder proved fairly accurate, showing about 97% coverage. This is good coverage for a non-professional digital SLR, almost matching Canon's specification of 98%. (Probably within the margin of error for this measurement.) Live View mode using the LCD was very accurate, providing 100% coverage.


Editor's Picks