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The EOS 5D Mark II offers a large and comfortable right-handed grip, your thumb rests comfortably on the back of the camera in a space perfectly mapped out for it. Virtually all important camera settings can be adjusted using your right hand - your index finger able to select metering & white balance, auto focus and motor drive, and ISO and exposure settings, and the adjustments being made to each either using the jog (quick control) dial or the main dial on top. All settings are visible in the viewfinder as well as on the LCD display (when activated).
The back of the camera features a familiar Canon layout with a row of vertical buttons to the left of the 3.0" LCD and a jog dial to the right of the screen. The switch-style power button rests below the jog dial, while a joystick is located above it. The joystick can be used to navigate settings of the camera while viewing them on the large rear mounted LCD or can be used to more quickly select focus points. I found that the position of the joystick a bit awkward to use when looking through the viewfinder, though it is only used in camera mode to change the focus point location or to turn on the LCD display to display settings.
The left side of the camera sports all the necessary terminal jacks protected by two firm rubber covers. There is a PC terminal, remote control terminal, external microphone input, audio/video out, USB 2.0 port, and HDMI out. The right side of the camera features a sliding door that protects the Compactflash card slot.
The top LCD display provides a top-down view of all your current settings and has an optional backlight that can be activated when shooting in darker environments. The 3.0" LCD display on the back of the camera can also be used to view and change important camera settings - great for tripod use.
New 3.0" Live View LCD with 920,000 pixels
The EOS 5D Mark II now incorporates an LCD display with VGA resolution, 4x sharper than on previous models that
used a 230k pixel display. The larger 3.0" display makes it easier to see the menu options, while the increased resolution makes
the menu fonts more readable and the overall image sharper, especially when zooming in on details during playback or when using the live view
zoom feature to pre-focus your shot. Canon has also added a new auto adjust feature that will make sure the LCD is never too bright or too
dark for your viewing conditions. This mode can be shut off, though I found that it works very well. There's nothing worse than being
blinded by an overly bright screen when shooting long exposures in the dark.
Viewfinder with 98% coverageThe Canon EOS 5D Mark II also an improved viewfinder which provides 98% viewfinder coverage, a 33.3° field of view, and a 21mm eyepoint (or eye relief). The 21mm eyepoint is a rating to let you know how far (in millimeters) away your eye can be from the viewfinder while still being able to see the entire viewfinder frame. If you were glasses you'll find that the improved eyepoint on the 5D Mark II should make it easier to see the viewfinder.
Auto focus Performance
If the Canon EOS 5D Mark II is weak in any area it would most likely be in the auto focus department, at least compared to current models
from Nikon, Sony, and even Canon itself. The EOS 5D Mark II retains the same 9-point AF system that the original 5D used, along with 6 invisible
focus-assist points. The middle AF point is a cross-type sensor which provides the most reliable focus point, whereas the outer focus points
are not. In comparison, the new Canon EOS 50D, offers a 9-point AF system but all 9 points are cross-type, which provides more reliable focusing
in tougher situations on those outer AF points.
Lens Peripheral Illumination CorrectionLens Peripheral Illumination Correction is a fancy name for vignetting. Vignetting happens will virtually all lenses, but can be more dramatic with camera's that have a full-frame sensor since the sensor makes use of the entire lens and not a cropped area of it. Vignetting is seen in the corners of an image, where the brightness levels are lower than in the center of the frame. The amount of vignetting will depend on the lens, focal length, and aperture settings. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II features integrated software to compensate for this effect on JPEG images. RAW images can be corrected by using Canon's Digital Photo Professional software included with the camera. The 5D Mark II comes pre-loaded with correction date for 26 Canon lenses and up to 40 lenses can be registered using the Canon's EOS utility software, also included. In total, Canon has available correction data for 82 of their lenses. As a side note, many photographers, especially those that shoot portraits and weddings, often like to add a soft vignette to their photo's to help draw the eye in to the subject.
What! No Integrated Flash?
Like other Canon professionally priced models, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II does not have an integrated flash. When I asked Canon as to
why, I was told that it was mainly an issue of weatherproofing and that a pop-up flash could become an area where moisture could get
into the body of the camera. Whatever the reasons are I imagine that it would have been possible to add one while still retaining
integrity of the weather proofing. I know that most professional photographers could care less about a built-in flash, but I personally
find it useful for fill flash when shooting outdoors. The reality is, I don't always walk around with the 550EX Speedlite attached nor
do I want too. Despite the lack of an integrated flash, the camera does offer exceptional low-light ability which will make it a breeze
to get great natural light photo's even in very dim lighting.
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