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Canon EOS 5D Review

by Philip Greenspun, September 2006 (updated February 2011)

The 13-megapixel Canon EOS 5D single-lens reflex digital camera is the first consumer-priced ($2700) full-frame sensor body. It does just about everything that an $7000 EOS 1Ds body from 2004 did at about half the weight (2 lbs).

The primary advantages of having a digital sensor the same size (24x36mm) as a frame of 35mm film are (1) higher image quality, especially in terms of noise and especially in lower light situations, and (2) the ability to use very wide angle lenses. The only disadvantage to having a full-frame sensor compared to a small-sensor digital SLR body (Canon Digital Rebel or any Nikon) is that the small-sensor effectively increases the magnification of telephoto lenses, which can be useful when you are doing sports or bird photography. Of course, the resolution of the 5D is so high that you could pull out the central 8 MP of a Canon EOS 5D image and it would be almost as though you had taken the photo with a Canon 30D or Digital Rebel.

If you are a wide-angle junkie and have a bunch of older Canon EOS lenses designed for film cameras, you'll love having the EOS 5D. The small sensor Canon bodies turn an exciting 20mm wide angle lens into a boring 30mm perspective. With the 5D, what you got with your 20mm lens on the film camera is what you get with the 5D.

The Canon EOS 5D is compact and plasticky, but solidly built. Though noisier than a point-and-shoot digital camera, the Canon EOS 5D is extremely quiet in operation, quieter than any modern film body and with a slightly more muted and lower frequency shutter "thunk" than the small sensor Canon bodies.

Where to Buy

You may still be able to find the Canon EOS 5D, (buy from Amazon), available from one of our partners. The Canon EOS 5D has been replaced by the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, (buy from Amazon) (review), and it might be more worth your money to purchase the current version.

Operating Speed

The Canon EOS 5D turns on almost instantly and has unmeasureable delays for taking pictures, displaying previews, and waking up once asleep. The camera is always ready when you are. The only exception to this rule is if you try to take pictures continuously at a rate that exceeds three photos per second. I.e., sports photographers might want to consider one of the EOS 1D bodies specifically designed for their rapid-fire needs.


Canon's EOS 5D has the standard four exposure modes: Metered Manual, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority, and Program autoexposure. There are two control wheels so that you can adjust aperture and shutter speed simultaneously.

The 5D has the standard focus modes of any Canon SLR: Manual, Single-shot auto, Continuous auto, and "AI focus" where the camera tries to figure out whether or not your subject is moving. As with all of the great Canon EOS bodies over the decades, if you drill down into the custom function menus, you can figure out how to make the autoexposure lock button on the back of the camera into a "burst of AF" thumb switch while in Manual Focus mode. Thus you're able to manually adjust focus but have automatic assistance available when desired. Autofocus performance is superb, even in dim light, with 15 AF sensors distributed around the frame.

Sensitivity is adjustable from ISO 50-3200 but there is no good reminder of what you've got set and the setting is persistent if you turn the camera off and back on overnight.

Operation is modeless. If you've pressed the playback button and are reviewing images, a quick touch of the shutter release readies the camera to take pictures again.


Viewfinder coverage on the Canon EOS 5D is standard for an advanced amateur single-lens reflex camera, about 96 percent of what is recorded on the sensor is displayed in the viewfinder. This sounds great and indeed would be great on a film camera where slide mounts and cropping during enlargement often result in the sacrifice of some of the image at the edges. In the digital world, however, what you capture in the camera is what you'll be delivering in a JPEG file, unless you go into a photo editing program and take the trouble to crop. This is one area where the Canon EOS 1Ds justifies its $7000 price with a standard professional 100 percent viewfinder. Note that, as with most digital single lens reflex cameras, the 5D cannot provide you with a preview in the rear LCD because the sensor is occluded by the viewing mirror until you press the shutter release. So the only way to frame an image precisely is to take a test picture, look at the edges on the bright 2.5" rear LCD, and then recompose and click again.

The viewfinder image is substantially larger than on the small-sensor Canon bodies. Eye relief is just barely adequate for people wearing eyeglasses. There is a diopter adjustment and you can change the focusing screen as well.


The 5D takes a single Compact Flash card, either Type I and II. Microdrives work in the camera, but operate very slowly if you are taking 14 MB RAW images. Microdrives are also more prone to failure than the solid-state CF cards and I do not recommend them.

The camera has an internal buffer memory for rapid sequence photography (17 RAWs or 60 JPEGs). The camera can capture 3 frames per second continuously.


The Canon EOS 5D does not have a built-in flash. Dedicated Canon accessory flash units mount in the hot shoe above the viewfinder and the camera is able to control flash exposure via a through-the-lens sensor. Maximum flash sync speed is 1/200th. Balancing flash and natural light is straightforward.

The Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash, (buy from Amazon) (review) is Canon's current top of the line and it usefully covers an angle as wide as a 14mm lens.

Available Light

Photography in available, i.e., low, light is a pleasure with the Canon EOS 5D because the typical lenses that you'd use with this camera include the standard 50/1.4 from the film world. The following images were taken at ISO 800:


The included Lith-ion battery is adequate for a day of active photography, somewhere between 300 and 500 photos plus review. The Canon EOS 5D cannot run on disposable AA batteries. To recharge the battery you must carry a chunky travel charger that plugs directly into a wall socket.

If you take 100 pictures in quick succession, don't be alarmed when the "low battery" symbols flashes. Let the camera rest for a few minutes and the battery voltage will come back.

If you are a serious photographer, you will want to purchase and carry a backup BP-511A battery (the same battery that Canon has used in the 20D and the Gn point-and-shoot models).


Canon includes some image library management software with the EOS 5D, including the Zoom Browser Ex. I don't recommend using it. The best professional solution is Adobe Photoshop CS2, which comes with an image editing tool called "Adobe Bridge". When working with RAW images, this is rather sluggish on all but the very newest and most powerful PCs. (See my photoshop directory for some useful scripts, including those that were used to generate the JPEGs you see on this page.) If you download Microsoft RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer for Windows XP, you can sort photos to some extent just using the standard Windows file browser. The Picasa program from Google also can understand the EOS 5D's .CR2 RAW files.

If you decide to go the Photoshop/Bridge route, you might find The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers (Peter Krogh; O'Reilly 2005) helpful.

Whatever software you choose to use, you won't have to spend too much time post-processing due to the EOS 5D's inclusion of a mercury switch to orient photos. In other words an image captured with the camera held vertically will appear on a computer screen in a vertical orientation.

Reliability and Durability

I've had this EOS 5D for nearly a year and it has survived a trip through Mexico and being vibrated for two cross-country helicopter trips.

The EOS 5D is not designed for use in a continuous downpour or very dusty environment like the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II, though it is a basically rugged and well-sealed design.

I have not experienced any camera software problems or freezes.

Wishlist for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Here are some things that would be nice for the next version of the 5D:

  • reminder of what ISO speed is set
  • automatic ISO mode smart enough to look at the shutter speed and whether or not the camera is sufficiently stable (i.e., tripod or not) and set the ISO accordingly to avoid camera shake

Compared to the Cheaper Canon Bodies

Can you get a dramatically better photo with the EOS 5D and a Canon 50/1.4 compared to what you'd get with Canon Digital Rebel XTi (Black) and Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC for Canon? Not really. Not unless you want to blow up the image to poster size and then the 13 megapixels of the 5D will be dramatically sharper than the 8 megapixels of the Rebel.

The EOS 30D and Digital Rebel are better values. It is much cheaper for Canon to make a small sensor than a big sensor. The 5D, on the other hand, is better in the following situations:

  • you have a lot of older Canon EOS lenses that cast a full-frame image
  • you love wide angle photography and want to have a good choice of wide angle lenses
  • you want to take pictures in low light without a flash
  • you think it is ridiculous to haul around a huge heavy lens designed to cover the 24x36mm frame of film and then only capture the central 15x22mm portion with a small sensor SLR.

The Canon EOS 5D has an almost identical and equally simple user interface to the cheaper Canon 20D and 30D bodies.

Compared to the More Expensive Canon Bodies

If you have $7000 to spend, a strong back to carry the weight, and a quick mind to take in the many displays and complex user interface, the EOS 1Ds Mark II might be better than the 5D.

The Canon EOS 5D, however, will do most professional jobs. There is a PC connector on the side for studio strobes. Without reading the manual, you can go into the custom function menu and the camera to lock up the mirror before taking a picture (then set self-timer mode on the Drive button and the camera automatically configures itself for a 2-second self-timer delay; press the button and the mirror locks up, then the shutter opens two seconds later). This is very useful for tripod and macro work.

Compared to Nikon

The full-frame Canon EOS 5D is cheaper than Nikon's top-of-the-line small-sensor body. That's pretty sad, considering what a tour de force of technology the 5D's sensor is. Nikon is a small company with clever optical engineers. Canon is a massive company with the $billions to invest in building semiconductor fabrication lines. That difference really shows now that the making of cameras has come down to "How much can you invest in silicon chips?"


The Canon EOS 5D is the essential camera for everything that photographers used to do with 35mm film. It is more than good enough for most professional photojournalism applications, but still simple enough that a yuppie can get one to throw in the glovebox of his BMW SUV and take pictures at the school soccer game.

Where to Buy

You may still be able to find the Canon EOS 5D, (buy from Amazon), available from one of our partners. The Canon EOS 5D has been replaced by the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, (buy from Amazon) (review), and it might be more worth your money to purchase the current version.

What Lens to Get?

Beyond the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, (buy from Amazon) (review), which is essential for day-to-day and low light photography, you will probably want the following standard professional zoom lenses:

Mercifully, Canon does not include a cheap zoom lens as part of a "kit" with the EOS 5D. If you insist on having a wide-to-tele zoom, the standard choice is the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM, (buy from Amazon) (review), which is useful for event photography such as wedding receptions. An alternative is the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM, (buy from Amazon) (review), which has the advantages of light weight and image-stabilization at the cost of one f-stop in maximum aperture, which means that the viewfinder will be only half as bright.

For taking pictures of sporting events without breaking your arm, you'll want a Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM, (buy from Amazon) (review). (The guys you see on television might have the 600/4, but that comes in its own suitcase and costs more than a small Kia sedan.)

If you're going to take a lot of portraits, e.g., of a baby, and don't want to endure the weight of the 70-200/2.8, consider a prime Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM, (buy from Amazon) (review). Because this is not a zoom lens, it has many fewer individual pieces of glass inside and therefore you'll get the highest possible contrast and image quality. You lose image stabilization, but gain one f-stop in aperture so you can use higher shutter speeds and the viewfinder will be brighter.


With the 50/1.4 lens:

The 16-35/2.8L lens:

The 24-70/2.8L lens (mostly from the Robinson R44):

The 70-200/2.8L lens:


Footnote: What Happens When You Hand the Camera to Someone Else?

One perceived problem with professional-grade cameras is that they can't be used by novices. The 5D has a green "idiot mode" on the left control dial. The best test really is to hand the camera to a novice and see what happens.

(I flew the Jet Ranger helicopter on the left for three hours while Commander Chuck Street reported the traffic and talked me through the occasional confined or pinnacle approach; I did not fly the helicopter on the right, which is a static display at the Titan Missile Museum near Tucson, Arizona.)

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Text and pictures copyright 2005-6 Philip Greenspun.

Article revised February 2011.

Readers' Comments

Add a comment

Ed Sweeney , May 18, 2006; 07:18 A.M.

I am six months with this camera and it continues to amaze me. Incredible photos, I have no more need for film. Crop and zoom are clear and sharp. This is a big step up from the 10D and 20D which I use for back up, but I agree that the industry is geting too pricy for consumer or semi pro photographers. Too Bad even my photos are great with this camera.

Jean-Baptiste Avril , May 23, 2006; 03:55 P.M.


look at verticals at the right building

Bought an EOS 5D two months ago. Just great for reportage, especially in low light situations. Work with a 17/40. Both excellent. NEVERTHELESS... My purpose buying it was to do architecture (50% of my assignements) with the 24 TSE I already had on a EOS 1N RS, amazing lens. I find myself now with amazing distortions (ellypses) and the Canon Pro Services recently told me it was the "inconvenience" of full frame captors. But Canon doesn't communicate at all on problems with this particular lens and generally says it efficient in all situations. I'll have to bring (perhaps even legally) that case to their marketting dpt as 3000 euros is quiet an investement, even for a professional. Camera is just great, but for the TSE system... http://www.jb-avril.com

TONY (ANTHONY) ROWELL , July 08, 2006; 05:07 A.M.

I have had my canon 5d for about 10 weeks now and i love it a superb camera,you can crop a small part of a file and the result is still very good,i also like the idea of changing the ISO for each shot when i want to and i can do it just over a second with no bother at all,the only setting i use is the ISO 50 setting for when i want to use it,some times i use the mirror setting so when you press the shutter release the mirror shoots up and went you press the shuter release again it will take the photo which is a good idea when taking macro shots as the mirror will not vibrate then ! there are many settings if you would need them but to many for what i need,i will not need another camera now i have this one what ever canon brings out,mind you if i was a lottery winner,well, say no more !

Image Attachment: rasberry ripple !.jpg

vincent martin , July 30, 2006; 05:01 A.M.

I have read the above and there are a great variety of inputs and some poinient and timely infomrations. I have used 1d mkII, 14n, slr/n, S3pro. etc. S3pro is what i liked best as far as digital. If it is not going to be printed bigger than 8x10 or if it is for web use then virtually every digital becomes the same whether it is $150 or $3000. It makes an image that goes into the computer nice n easy.

If you are a workhorse photographer, that is you are commercial, then you have things like time and money to worry about, and you need to find the best and most efficient and inexpensive tool for the job. Who cares if it is 3000 or even 10,000.

I perfectly understand all these older guys that shot film for years and years all of a sudden going, "wow I can do this with this new thing and it is like a million times easier." that change makes sense. The have been there and done that (film that is). If they have not explored film far enough, and do not require some huge size out of the ordinary output, they probably will not know what they are missing switching to digital.

Do you want to be a photographic machine? Do you want to have all your work essentially be defined by 1's and zero's? If you do not create your art and have a bonafide craft in digital art (like making fantastic looking things painstakingly in photoshop or other based primarily on visions in your head), then you are basically putting your faith in those who decided how a certain color etc. should be rendered on a screen ie color spaces, color balance and the like. Shooting with film makes you think about so much more and makes you get a grip on things that digital will never teach you. Any idiot can use a 7000 dollar digital camera. If you are rich and dumb, I would definitly suggest going digital. But if you are smart and creative and artistic (and do not prefer to show this through computer illustration) but rather photography, shoot film. I am sure you will. Film kills digital, I know this. Someone commented on how digital is almost catching film resolution or something. OK sure and when I whip out the 11x14 empire state and make selinium oxide silver contact prints (or whatever they are called) you will see who has cooler pictures. You will also see who has thier work hanging in art galleries and museums, and all the true art publications.

There is a difference between art and digital is all that I am saying. As far as I am concerned, If you are trying to make what you do take less time and be more efficient, then perhaps you should rethink what it is you are doing. So you did a million weddings and a zillion portraits? Are you ever actually going to look at any of those pictures again? I don't think so. But hey, you got to pay the bills right? wrong!

Want to really do something? Find a extremely rare and sought after collectors film camera and outfit it with the outstanding rare and obscure sought after glass. Add some fantastic filters (which digital users throw away now) and accessories and you will be taking phenominal pictures no matter what. And you will have spent a lot less than 3000 I guarantee. People throw away old computers just like they will throw away digital cameras. What about film cameras? they hold thier value beautifully. Do the research. Do not complain about high digicam prices. Digicams will all turn to dust but the film cameras of yesterday will be solid as a rock. You will have more fun. Be smart, do the research. there is a nice hefty dose of text. the bigger the film the better! 1mp=22mp! get the film feelin! collect cans and shoot weddings with a popcan pinhole array! I will go digital when they make the first 1,000,000 dollar digital camera which will be 108mp mamiya ofcourse, and it will accept all my RB67 lenses and ektars. Now that we are at this point, give me a linhof super technika only it is an 8x10 and a mountain of 8x10 polaroid film and a processor. then i could have some real fun!! Can digital do that? no and you don't even need electricity for that one!! you could be in the middle ages handing out 8x10 prints to spectators moments after the joust ended in a fatal impalement. wow that would have been sweet. imagine all the gold coins and shillings you would collect!

ken osborn , September 04, 2006; 02:14 P.M.

Well, vincent, I agree with what you say and I disent. Having taught photography back in the days when dinosaurs were just crawling out from the sea, i think 'wet' photography will be with us for a long time just as oil on canvas is still here. I've seen some great stuff from my students using pin-hole cameras. Difficult to recreat with 35 mm, large format, or even digital cameras. I went digital in 2001 on a trip to Egypt to teach laboratory sciences and did not want to cart around several pounds of film together with all the other stuff I brought. OK, I had no plans to shelv my Pentax K1000, and even still had a desire to eventually convert an unused bathroom into a darkroom. But then I got so many projects going using the "dry" darkroom in my computer. And then there were the old family photos, one dating to 1899. After 'restoring' them for presentation at my father's 90th birthday, I found I rather liked the feel of these vintage images and now find myself trying to make new images look old. Go figure! It may not make a lot of sense to anyone else, but I've found utility in blue-channel noise that most everyone else wants to disown. As it should be. I still have my old Pentax and it is loaded, but I don't know when I'll find the time to take it off the shelf and finish the roll.

Mister Ken (given to me by my students in Egypt)

Felix Müller , September 08, 2006; 03:24 P.M.

How can you call $2900.00 consumer-priced? And what can you do with 13MP? Nothing but giant prints or croping. But if you would like to present your pictures to your friends an family or any other larger group of people you do a slideshow. But in order to do that you first have to downsize the pictures to match the beamer's resoloution, which is somewhat less than 1.75MP if it is bang up to date and HD-ready with 1080i. But much more important than resouloution is the amount of contrast that you can record. And traditional slides still have more of both, resoloution and contrast.

claudia veja , September 16, 2006; 08:15 A.M.

perspective in buildings it's natural and normal

ABOUT ellypses

@ Jean-Baptiste AVRIL

The "problem" with that image that you have [posted here is NOT the lens or the camera's problem... From where you stay it's NORMAL to have PERSPECTIVE because the viewpoint where you are when taking that photo is lower NOT perfectly "PERPENDICULAR" and also in the middle of the buildyng (sorry my English, I'm not a native...) so THAT"S THE REASON WHY you don't have perfect PARALEL lings there. Perspective is a natural resolt of that...

THE 5D it's "almost" like the CANON 1Ds MARK II at a much lower price so FOR ME IT"S GRATE REALLY it's the firlst camera with full frame from this category of cameras.


Michael Kelly , September 21, 2006; 10:48 A.M.

I've gone through two EOS 5D bodies in one week, both purchased from Amazon.com. Each camera had dust in the viewfinder and on the imaging sensor, the second body also had a problem (I thought) with the image numbering system, showing them as _MG_0001 rather than IMG_0001. (It turns out this is not a problem. The underscore means the white space was changed from SRGB to Adobe RGB. Odd that the Canon tech didn't know this.)

All CanonUSA could do for me was apologize and take down my information. It is hard to tell whether the dust problems began with Amazon.com or are the result of poor quality control from Canon. I've read many posts regarding dust issues right out of the box.

I've only used the camera for a brief moment. While I was impressed with the images, I'm disappointed that I'm returned the camera again. My only recourse is to purchase from a local dealer where I can inspect the camera before I buy it to make sure there is no dust in the viewfinder. I've got two extra batteries so I may bring them along, although I'm all but certain no one will let me take a photo to test the sensor.

Dust is an issue with digital SLRs, but not right out of the box! If you're considering purchasing this camera from an online retailer, buyer beware. You may want to do what I'm going to do, buy it from a local retailer where you can inspect it first.

I shoot mostly landscapes, some architectural and event photography, so the full frame is desired. I have been using a 1D for the last 4 years. It is still a great camera but showing its age with only a 4.1 MP imaging sensor. I had considered getting a 30D with the ES-F 10-22mm zoom, which has been reported to be a great combination for landscape and architecture photography, but I'm not sure I like spending the money for a lens that will only work on the 30D and not the 1D or my Canon film bodies. I also want to use my 50mm 1.4, especially for low-light photography, so the 5D is the only choice.

Canon's quality control has diminished in my mind and I'm disappointed that all they would do was document my two cases of dust right out of the box. Unfortunately, I'm in the middle of a job and now will have to rely on my 1D to finish it. Four years old and still no dust in the viewfinder.

Guido Ersettigh (Milan) , October 08, 2006; 05:45 P.M.

Claudia our friend knows well perspective theory in fact he used a lens that lets you basculate its axis in order to correct perspective distortion along one direction - optical bank lets you move, thanks to the bellow system, in any direction so you can correct distortion along any axis or put an whole item in focus even if it's not parallel to the lens -. Unfortunately that particular lens with 5d seems to produce an elliptical unexpected distortion. He has all the reasons to complain.

David Manzi , October 09, 2006; 02:33 P.M.

Well, I love the 5D camera, but to dismiss Nikon as a small company with clever optical engineers is, well, way, way off. No, Nikon cannot match Canon's sensor technology;they are not the electronics giant that Canon is. But if Canon is so capable, why is their flash metering system so inferior compared to Nikon? Why can't Canon create a metering system like Nikon's color 3D matrix metering? Why can't Canon make a wide angle zoom as good as Nikon's 17-35 2.8? Canon's wide zooms are good, but very far from the level of the Nikon. Canon still has a bit to learn from Nikon in some areas.

Antonio (Italy) , October 13, 2006; 03:46 P.M.

Hi to all! I've found the review quite irritating for more or less the same reasons that Vincent Martin wrote about -despite i don't agree totally with your post Vincent-. The common error that Philip Greenspun's review push forward is thinking that digital camera is the best solution for all or, in another formulation, that digital camera are simply better than film ones. Ok...for a photojournalist, a sport phtographer, a reporter like for a "common user" a digital vs. film question simply makes no sense. But if you use the camera like a creative tool maybe the question makes a little more sense. Digital camera like Canon 5D takes terrific images and are extremely useful tool for the most common circumstances. And they are the present and the future of photography, i know that and i'm very happy about that. But try that little experiment: you took some photos with your brand new 2,799USD Canon5D, some are truly artistic masterpieces and you want to print them. Ok, fine. They're 13mpx, that's to say near the state of the art for a digital 35mm size-like camera. You know that a good print (say Lambda) must be 300dpi to be called a good photo-print...and so? So, your max print size will be a great...9,4x14. Hmmmm... not SO big! A little consideration more: the Hasselblad H3D-22 (that's a heavy medium format bazooka) has a 4080x5440 square format sensor that produce a 22mpx file or, in print-size terms, a 13x18 print. A 35mm slide scanned with a 4000dpi scan (like a Coolscan 5000) gives to you a 3946x5782=22,8mpx file that you can print 13x18. Canon 5D or 1D are beautiful cameras but i think film camera are still useful today.

evita m , October 17, 2006; 03:42 A.M.

"Digital camera like Canon 5D takes terrific images "

I still think it's the one behind the lens who makes an image terrific or not, the camera itself, whatever camera, just makes a picture.

Tom H , October 18, 2006; 09:59 A.M.

Evita it might be true that if you don't have an eye for shooting photographs a better camera will not change that. But having a crappy camera and a great eye prevents you from getting the right output especially if you think of commercially gaining from it.

I started with the 300d, switched to the 20d and now have the 5d. And in this time I have started selling images through stock agencies. I do notice that sales are going up and higher resolution, better colours, less distortion etc. is not the last reason for that :) and don't forget glass. A good camera without the right glass is useless too


Antonio (Italy) , October 18, 2006; 05:49 P.M.

I apologize for bad english grammar in my previous post...

Pedro P. Polakoff III , October 22, 2006; 03:24 P.M.

Straight from the Camera, No Photoshop except to sign & size it.

I have to agree totally with this review of the 5D. As one who has shot Leica equipment for over 30 years, this was the system of choice for me when I decided to make the transition from my trusty Leica R8's & Leica lenses to the digital world of the 5D with EF-L lenses. I have shot over 8000 images with my 5D now and evey single one has rivaled the quality of scanned negatives shot with my Leica.

I am aware that there appears to have been a batch of 5D's that had dust problems, but mine (luckly) was not one of them and when I did finally get somedust on the sensor (bad handling on my part), it was easy enough to clean w/o the need for a sensor cleaning kit or Canon' service facility.

In all it's been a hell of a workhorse camera for me, producing consistently high quality images even under adverse conditions.

Arunas Salkauskas , December 10, 2006; 02:09 A.M.

"A 35mm slide scanned with a 4000dpi scan (like a Coolscan 5000) gives to you a 3946x5782=22,8mpx file that you can print 13x18."

It's important to remember that even if you can scan something at a million dots per inch - you may just be fooling yourself. A good photograph on a slide is still better resolution than most digital cameras (perhaps all), but if you scan it - you're re-sampling data, and that will cost you, and you might be better off with having taken the original with a digital camera.

As soon as you scan a negative to digital in order to make an enlargement, you are losing quality, no matter how good the scanner is. I gave a huge sigh of relief when finally getting a digital SLR - I could skip a generation in the process of getting digital prints. There was one less mis-interpretation of the colour of the original.

George Carter , December 16, 2006; 03:19 P.M.

I bought my first DSLR a Canon 30D about 6 months ago and have been well pleased. I have been looking at the 5D as my primary and my 30D as my backup so I won't be losing time changing lenses. If the 5D is a tough as my 30D I will be well pleased. The 30D got jerked off a folding table and hit a concrete floor and bounced first on one corner, next on the lens shade, and finally on it's back. No dings, scratches, and best of all no internal damage to camera or lens. I was blessed. I do like the fact that it does have the 35mm size sensors and that it is built so similar to the 30D. I have been price checking and find several hundred dollars variation in prices. Just looking for some recommendations from who to buy from for the best price.

Steve Wright , December 21, 2006; 10:15 P.M.

Well.. what to say? It always fascinates me, just how much passion can be stirred up by the discussion of an artistic tool, in this case, the 5D. I guess painters must debate paintbrush issues as hotly on their forums?? As a keen amateur for 25 years, I've owned a 5D for almost a year now and continue to be wowed by the results it yields, with, like any camera, a discerning eye, a sensitivity for the subject matter and a sense of imagination... and I think there lies a fundamental principal. As Evita M put it so concisely, the real magic lies with the person taking the photograph.. and frequently, the luck of catching a passing moment as it happens.. whether a facial expression or the momentous interplay of light and landscape.

For some people, the film v digital argument is relevant and will legitimately continue for a long time. But not for all. The current relative merits and weaknesses of both media have been well-detailed and seem almost rhetorical now. However, digital still-image capture is still very much in its infancy, when compared to the length of time that film has been with us. Who knows where digital will take us in the future? Whilst recent advances have been made in the film domain, they are small and in the future, further advances are likely to remain small, when compared to the strides that have been taken in the digital domain in recent years. Such are the relative natures of well-established and on the other hand, emerging technologies. For me, the argument in favour of digital is all about time, practicality and accessibility. I wonder how many photographers have never gone to the trouble and expense of having their own darkroom, but in recent years have successfully used their computer to shape and knock out great images from their digital camera? Images that would have been difficult to attain (or costly, using a pro lab) straight from camera to high street developer.

Vincent Martin's compelling contribution to this discussion highlights the superiority of both the quality and professionalism associated with state-of-the-art film-based work. However, whilst there are many happy-snappers out there, who go from low resolution JPEG straight to printer, without so much as a mention of Photoshop or the like, there are also photographers, amateur and professional, who are increasingly learning to understand and use the digital medium to great effect. Like me, they have taken the time and effort to understand, for example, what a colour space is and whether a device uses an RGB or CYMK model. The learning curve is real and no less valid than that of understanding film and darkroom techniques. They are simply different. Different ways to achieve what in principle, should be the same end, surely?

Whilst film reigns supreme in many people's opinions, others would argue differently. A recent review of a top photo printer (and by that I mean one costing over 500 pounds sterling, rather than in the 200 pounds sterling price range) by someone experienced in both digital and darkroom techniques, said that it produced the best prints he had ever seen, including those from a traditional darkroom. That is a bold statement, but having bought the very same printer myself and seeing the results from images taken with my 5D, I can understand his claim. Similarly, if we assert that digital photographers are somehow disadvantaged by having to contend with the colour space interpretations of a third-party, while not mentioning the colour bias traditionally imparted by different makes of film, it seems nonsensical. Both media have their weaknesses.

If someone is prepared to arm themselves with generic photographic techniques in order to digitally capture the best possible image in front of the camera, then manipulate that image's properties to produce a work of art, then surely their efforts and dedication to the photographic art should be encouraged and commended?

Danny Yee , December 30, 2006; 06:35 P.M.

The one thing that really impressed me when I had a play with a friend's 5D was the viewfinder. Compared to any of the smaller sensor DSLRs I've used - and certainly the 350D and various Olympus cameras - it's huge.

For my purposes, though, resolution and low light performance aren't huge issues, so my Olympus E1 is actually better in other regards: much smaller and lighter, weatherproofed, and better lenses (in my price range).

I still can't get over that 5D viewfinder, though, and that's the one absolutely unavoidable drawback of Four Thirds - technology improvements and price/size economies mean the smaller sensors will just lag 35mm sensors by two or three years (in resolution and sensitivity), but there's no way with that imaging circle to get a bigger viewfinder image than the E1's.

Siya Singh , January 14, 2007; 09:40 A.M.

hi how do you leave the 5d on a tripod and use a self timer that lasts for atleast an hour and shoot continously. per minute atleast 10 images or less?? where n is there is option?

George Pentzikis , January 15, 2007; 03:22 P.M.

TC-80N3. http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/tc-80n3.shtml, http://www.usa.canon.com/html/cameras_slr/eos3acc.html

Michael Brown , January 23, 2007; 12:55 A.M.

Vincent, That is the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard. It doesn't matter whether you use film or digital. The creative process is not dependant on the tools. Arguing that shooting film is a more creative process than shooting digital is like saying writing a novel with a pen and ink is more creative than using a typewriter or computer. A good image is a good image whether it was shot on film, with digital, or hand drawn on the back of a stained bar coaster. As for printing, guess what, I can print to slides from digital just as easy as printing on paper if I want to go wet. So what's the big deal? The difference between film and digital isn't that any rich moron can take great pictures with a $7000 camera (they can't). The difference is that you can shoot 5000 images in one day with out spending $7000 dollars on film and carrying around a 100 pound duffle bag full of film. Digital unlocks creative possibilities because you never have to worry about how many shots you have left (or how many you need to get the image you want). Digital allows photographers to experiment and create images with the camera in a way that is much too expensive for most people to do with film. I'm not saying one is better than the other. I'm saying your argument sounds like someone that hates anything other than film and it just doesn't make any sense. Sure, I could build a great vintage camera for much less money than a 5D, but I'd spend more on film, paper, chemicals and processing in 1 month than I would on a good digital camera.

Tom Moore , January 25, 2007; 08:35 P.M.

I am able to shoot significantly cheaper per shot then then I ever did with film.



Dick Arnold , January 28, 2007; 09:38 P.M.

I am not an expert. I had own my own photo business which I closed about the time I converted to digital in 2003. I used Bronicas and a number of Canon bodies and lenses. I loved the slide films in the studio. I enjoyed making prints in my dark room I did PR, weddings, events, sports, newspaper work, portraits and even printed some in a couple of other peoples books. I miss film. However I know that doing a wedding or journalism is so much simpler with digital. I have won awards in art shows with digital pictures taken with a Canon D60 at 6.3 megapixels, printed on an i9900 printer at 13x19. I do, however, use L lenses which I think more important than a couple of megapixels. I use photoshop and shoot raw. Digital pictures are different but damn, some of them are of wonderful color and quality. I can do in 15 minutes what used to take me all day in the dark room In my humble opinion, it is not the equipment or the media it is the art, the composition, inspiration and good light that makes a good picture. It needs to be supported with acceptable, not super, equipment. The best is the enemy of the good and is hard on the PandL. Some artists work with a knife and others with a fine brush. There is a woman who does blurry monotypes from my digital wildlife photos and sells them for more than I can sell the originals. I am thinking about a 5D, but frankly I shoot wildlife on the wing that shows well and once in a while sells with the 6.3 I have. The 1.6 sensor makes my 400mm 640. I have not been able to resolve this megapixel issue in my head i.e what is an acceptable minimum? How much better is eleven megapixels? Is full frame visibly sharper to the viewer than 1.6 at usual viewing distances? I don't really know. Perhaps I don't keep up as well as when I had the business. A little over sampling and sharpening seems to make a very nice print at 13x19. Again, I am no expert but I have taken a lot of pictures.

Brian Cincotta , February 02, 2007; 04:58 P.M.

Tom, you made a comment and you said:

"I am able to shoot significantly cheaper per shot then then I ever did with film."

Could you explain? I'm sort of at a loss.

Janice M , February 19, 2007; 01:29 A.M.

Brian's question: "I am able to shoot significantly cheaper per shot then then I ever did with film."

Could you explain? I'm sort of at a loss. ********************************************

Hi Brian-I don't think I am really qualified to answer any questions in this forum but will take a guess at the answer to this one simply because no one else has replied.

I would guess that the photographer (myself included) can take way more pictures and cheaper than using film because digital pictures are all free until processed. Plus, you can take more...many more of them and print or save only the good photos.

I bought the DigiRebel (body only) 18 mos ago and this camera paid for itself immediately because I used to spend-at a minimum-at least $100 per month in film and developing.

Before digital, I had to pay to have the negatives developed and the photos printed--the good ones AND the bad ones!

Now, I just delete the bad ones and print ONLY the good ones! :)

I LOVE my Canon Digital Rebel! :) I am having so much fun with it! Again, my answer is only a guess.

Nedine O'Brien , February 27, 2007; 06:21 A.M.

Greetings all,

I've only been studying photography for three years and started doing B&W film in a wet darkroom. I really enjoyed being in the darkroom. I found it very relaxing. My Canon EOS 10 is still my favourite camera but it is now in need of repair :-( So I got myself a 300d. I ended up using it like a (very expensive!)point and shoot. I really don't enjoy the digital darkroom. Also, compared to film the quality wasn't even close! I don't believe you can take a grainy image with digital. The noise just looks like a bad quality image to me it doesn't give the atmosphere or mood that film grain does.

I received my 5d for xmass this year. I love this camera! It has meant a huge learning curve for me. I put aside all thought of film and decided to learn how to use digital properly. I enrolled in a digital class and things changed. I believe that you have to approach digital completely differently to film. They are different mediums same as the way you would use either oils or water colours. You cannot use those mediums in the same way yet you have what is called a 'painting' in the end. It is the same as film and digital to me, you end up with a photograph at the end but they are not the same. (am I making any sense?)

When I got my 5d things changed, there are no 'cheat' modes on this camera, you actually have to know what you are doing. I've suddenly rediscovered my love of photography. I still don't enjoy the digital darkroom that much but I am learning and starting to get results. Compared to th 300d the 5d gives me quality prints close enough to film. It also allows me a greater amount of control over the in camera exposure settings and my results are getting better all the time. They are now approaching what I use to produce with my film camera. When using digital you need to 'think' digital.

floyd H , February 28, 2007; 01:14 A.M.

LCD Screen Troubles

Greetings camera fans, I've had my Canon 5D for at least six months and everything is great EXCEPT the LCD screen. Sure, I know it's a lot bigger than than the 20D and I've read all the who-ha of people praising it but I noticed right away when shooting some models with strobes, they looked like crap and I though my light meter was off. On the LCD skintones look washed out, the finally result on my laptop looked fine but I need my LCD to show me exactly what I'm getting. My 20D does this. The LCD is saturated and colors pop. What you see is what you get. It's great. I thought I was going to get that and more when I bought my 5D. Boy was I in for a surprise. There is a greenish hue to everything, which is unnerving when you are under the gun on a paid shoot. You can't keep adjusting your lights and changing your settings. Clients get nervous and models get bored and lose interest, you have to capture the moment or you'll lose the momentum. I shoot glamour and getting those warm glowing skintones is paramount. I just can't seem to get a saturated look on the LCD and it causes frustration during the shoot. It's just seems ironic to me that a $3000-2500 camera doesn't have a LCD screen as good as my $500 point and shoot. I took it to Canon Factory Service and they said there was nothing they could do. "That's the way it is". So far there is no firmware update to correct this. I know I don't need glasses. Maybe I just bought the only 5D lemon. I'm wondering if anyone else is having this problem. I know some of you are probably saying "use the histogram"! I do. When I work I constantly use the histogram and I need to make snap judgments based on the LCD image and my exposure readings. I love the fact that the 5D has 12.8 megs of image boosting power but for difficult shoots I find myself using the 20D. I really think Canon dropped the ball on this one. There is no color settings to adjust the LCD, you can only adjust the brightness levels. I must say that the 5D's image quality is great. It's just a hard camera to use for glamour. I think I may be selling this one soon.

David Palermo , March 01, 2007; 03:45 P.M.

Hello all,

I am in the market for a new pro camera - I currently do "pro" work with a Nikon D70 but it's time to get something more durable and higher resolution. I don't own many lenses - 10.5mm and the 18-70 that came with the D70. I want to be able to deliver to my client larger prints with LITTLE or NO noise in shadow areas. I work mostly with available light so I have to have to make sure I buy a camera that is best for low lighting conditions - I shoot hotel interiors and exteriors as well as very high resolution virtual tours of cockpits.

My camera choices are: Nikon D2x, Nikon D200, Canon 5D, Canon 1Ds Mark II (or wait for the new Canon 1D Mark III (8mps)).

Do you recommend a 5D for what I do? I could buy the 1DS Mark II as a backup (kidding!).

If I shoot at ISO 100 or 200 with a longer shutter speed will I notice as much noise? I have used a Canon 1DS Mark i and II and I found the quality to be excellent. I am hoping to use a D2x and get the same quality but maybe the 5D will do well.

Any advice you have for me would be greatly appreciated. If I decide to switch to Canon now is the time since I don't have too much Nikon equipment. Although the D70 would make a great backup camera.




Beren Patterson , March 12, 2007; 02:32 A.M.

I'm hanging out for the 5D Mark II! I don't really mind if their isn't a significant increase in resolution, but I would love to see the dust reduction system and the 3" LCD off the 1D Mark III. I don't know if the 3" LCD will fit onto the back though. I would also, obviously, love their to be a price reduction, but that might be wishful thinking.

Beren : zhero.net

Jonathan Farmer , March 22, 2007; 01:31 P.M.

Can anyone give a honest opinion on how the 5D, D2Xs and the FinePix S5 compare with respect to image quality. I am at the cross roads of staying with Nikon optics or going over to Canon full frame system (a major expence)

vermac santos , March 31, 2007; 07:52 P.M.

Jonathan, I'm in the same dilemma, thinking about 5D, FinePix S5 or simply buy a Nikon fisheye for my D200 for my landscape images. I already own a Sigma 10-20mm and a Nikon 18-200mm for this job.

The D2Xs is a superb camera, but don't have the large Canon's sensor nor the tremendous S5 dynamic range. I see the 5D more adequated for great prints with their big sensor allied with excelent characteristics. I don't see the interpolated Finepix megapixels exceed the Canon. The only problem for deciding for 5D is the price.

Vertino Machado

David Alpert , March 31, 2007; 11:31 P.M.

The 5D is excellent in low light. Check out Thomas Hawk's photos www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk which are never shot with a flash and he often shoots in very lowlight at ISO 1600. The richness and detail of his photos at 1600 are amazing. I can't get close to that with my D200.

Bernie Ess , April 01, 2007; 06:35 P.M.

Hi, I have the 5d since 1 year now, before the FUJI S2 and S3. TO make a very long story short: Both Fuji and Canon have their strengths, the Canon with the right converter for RAW (I prefer Canons own one) can produce quite nice looking results, sharp, low noise etc. However have been used to 12MP files from the Fuji, although it was an interpolated 12MP, and the Fujis - both S2 and S3 - made nicer colors. Both richer and more pleasing, and more "film like". The Canon always looks to me like reduced, I guess it is the color palette, or the cmos sensors. Dynamic range while ok in the 5d is not as good as the S3 pro (and now the S5). Highlights can burn out much easier and in the shadows the transition from very dark to real black can be quite sudden.

However I like to use lenses as with film cameras: no crop factor. 85mm for portrait, 28 as wide angle, and selective DOF/ unsharpness when I wish. Also I use the 24mm TS-E shift lens a lot for architecture, which would be impossible with any Nikon or Fuji camera. Only Canon builds DSLR with full frame sensor right now.

Concerning film versus digital: Both have advantages, but it is mainly a very personal question. WIth digital one has to be very precise and disciplined in order to not "overshoot" and make thousands of worthless crap pictures without any appeal and interest. It is possible, just a question of self- control.

All in all, the 5d has made me shoot things I would never have shot without it. It is maybe not a spectacular, but a very solid and high quality camera that can give very good files.

Regards, bernie

Jonathan Farmer , April 06, 2007; 10:51 A.M.

Thanks guys for your advice. It is still a hard decision; I think I will be shooting with the D200 for a bit longer and wait to see if Nikon do go FF or if they stay with DX.

I have read that Nikon produce better color and resolution and that many people are sold more on the amount of megapixles than anything else, please see the link below.This link is not bios in my opinion and it is not writen by Nikon.


Regards Jonathan

David Falk , April 06, 2007; 03:45 P.M.

Anyone know when Canon will be updating the 5D?

Asher . , April 14, 2007; 02:01 P.M.

B&H, not Amazon

Phil- not sure if PN has some backroom deal going with Amazon, but by far the best mail order photography supplier is B&H Photo: huge selection, iron-clad reputation, great prices, super fast shipping, and the best customer service I've ever experienced.

Amazon... not so much- trying to be everything to everyone has negatively impacted their customer service.

mark powell , April 14, 2007; 03:58 P.M.

The film vs. digital is such a worn out debate. In all things artistic it is the message not the media which is important. Wow, we are in the early stages of digital photography, think how people will see early digital as oldskool and cool, a footprint of our current age.

Karl Westphal , April 28, 2007; 10:22 P.M.

Southern Ladies

I was thinking about buying a 5D but have decided to wait a month and buy a 1D Mark III.

I currently own a 20D and prior to purchasing it had actually never used a "real" film camera (don't laugh but the only camera I had used was a single use disposable film camera).

I only shoot in digital and believe my photography is beauty which I have created and cherish the percentage of the shots which are excellent. I would not sell any of my images.

I use Photoshop but only to do the most basic image adjustments such as cropping, resizing, adjusting levels and curves, etc. I won't perform any manipulations such as replacing colors or pasting other "non-original" images into the photoa. For the most part I keep the original RAW files and print the best of them. I keep a small pocket-sized book with me with prints of my favorite photos.

I understand vincent's viewpoint but we all have different levels of purism. It is my opinion that it is "cheating" to use some of the more advanced Photoshop functions to manipulate your image because they allow you to create a "better" image than you originally captured. I think the true test of a photographer is attempting to take the same quality images with a film camera, as you can create using a digital camera with hours of Photoshop work afterwards.

I have much more respect for a photographer who creates a wonderful sunset image with both the sky and foreground having a good balance of exposure than someone who merged two images together and created a high dynamic range image.

Digital cameras and the digital workflow have made creating or capturing a great image much easier and much more likely for novice and amateur photographers (I admit I am one of these people however I have a "moral code" regarding the level of digital adjustments I will make). With a 8 gig. memory card I can shoot away all day long and statistically speaking I will have a few great images; with film unless I had tons of cash I would have to plan my shots and make decisions on which to take.

Is film or digital better? A photographer has to be more skilled to use film than digital. Film is more organic and like many examples of older technology it will always have its place and use and class (I have a fine omega mechanical wristwatch; sure it isn't as accurate as a quartz watch but it has class). If you dislike digital for some of the reasons vincent or I have brought up you can still use a digital camera like a film camera and make a decision to not use advanced digital editing or decide to not simply hold the trigger down and take thousands of photos at a location to get a few good ones.

Personally I dislike taking hundreds of shots to get a few good ones and take my time to capture a great photo.

Best Regards

Andrew Klerck , May 03, 2007; 03:44 A.M.

I work at a Photo lab. After seeing countless people come in with photos from a hell of a lot of different proffessional cameras, I would have to say that almost everything from the Canon 5D has been the closest i have seen to film quality. It certainly depends on the person using the camera and i believe that you need to have the flare and artistic ability to be able to use any camera (including digital) to produce beautiful images.

Digital has made it too easy for anyone to get into photography (i'm not saying this is a bad thing!). A real photographer is the one who composes the shot perfectly and with their knowledge and technical ability will be able to capture a beautiful photo in 1 single shot rather than taking hundreds and finding the best one. Its hard to find real photographers now as anyone with a fairly good digital is now branding themselves as pro photographers......It really is hard to find a true proffessional photographer.

Aside from all my rambling though, the 5D is definately the best digital camera out there!

Philippe Poussier , May 09, 2007; 11:27 A.M.

Thanks for the review first.

Owning a 30D with satisfies me quite well, I must say that I miss the perspectives of the full frame, 5D is definitely the choice for me.

Now, though not being a maniac of the very latest gadget, the possibility of a new 5D version makes me slow down my upgrade...

Does the 5D has it all or is there any solid rumour of upcoming good upgrades on it in the coming 6 month ?

Robert Ingram , May 11, 2007; 12:39 P.M.

I just bought a Canon 5D. Apparently, the salesperson did not know what they were talking about, because he encouraged me to buy the Canon 5D with the Sigma DC 17-70 f/2.8 lens. Being very uneducated on the 5D sensor, I went along with his request.

I just got everything in the mail today and I am experiencing MAJOR vignetting from this lens. Can someone please explain this? I am assuming this lens is not designed for the 5D. Could someone with more knowledge on this issue please expound?

And, with that said, what would be my best alternative for event photography?

Andrew Klerck , May 12, 2007; 04:19 A.M.

hey Robert, well the 5D is a full frame sensor (like a film SLR). Whatever lens you get, you will be able to shoot at the correct focal length as opposed to the previous models (20D, 30D etc) which were x1.6 or thereabouts. Saying this though, your sigma lens should produce 17mm pictures without a problem. I would say that if you have the money to spend on a Canon 5D then definately try to get proffesional canon lenses. The canon 17mm-40mm F4 lens works beautifuly with the 5D and if you want the F2.8 then try the Canon 24mm-70mm Pro lens. These may be more expensive than the sigma but the point of having a 5D is so you can produce QUALITY pictures, so go with the quality lens aswell!! a cheaper alternative but still good is the Tamron range of lenses and they go down to F2.8 aswell for a fairly wide angled lens.

Robert Nurse , May 15, 2007; 11:41 A.M.

Hi Beren,

Have you read anything about the 5D Mark II or any type of replacement? All I'm finding are rumors. I'm in the market for a 5D and wouldn't mind waiting if I knew what the feature set would be.

Jeremey Barrett , May 18, 2007; 12:22 A.M.

Robert (Ingram), the Sigma DC 17-70 is designed for APS-C sized sensors, not full frame sensors like the 5D. The salesperson should absolutely have known that and they should take it back, it simply won't produce usable images on the 5D (light is only going to fall on portion of the sensor).

Jose Escobar , May 18, 2007; 02:26 A.M.

My 5ds had a defective light meter.

I had two samples of this camera sent to me by B&H and Canon broke my heart twice (actually 3 times!). The light meter of both 5ds consistently underexposed when faced with backlit situations. My 20d exposes backlighting perfectly and this camera costs over half as much of a 5d.

I then went to a local camera store and had the sales person recreate a backlit situation in store with the same results. So a total of 3 5ds and all of them underexposed with backlighting. The only thing that worked was when the salesman used spot metering on the subject's face by going up in his face to lock in the exposure. This is not a great idea when trying to shoot a wedding. You can't be going into the bride and groom's face to lock in an exposure reading.

Needless to say I am still using my 20d for demanding shoots, but I am considering a 1d mark III or a 1ds mark II. If the rumors are true and Canon is going to come out with a replacement to the 5d I might be interested in that as well. I felt compelled to speak up when I read that Philip said this is ?the best digital camera available.? Not in my experience.

Colin Mark Chapman , May 21, 2007; 03:10 P.M.

I was just at my local Jessops store & the guy there told me that production on the 5D has now ceased! And, that there are no plans for an upgrade or the inevertable 3D. Has anyone else heared of this? I'm torn on buying the 5D. This dust thing seems to be an issue, vignetting due to light not falling evenly on full frame sensors(apparently a big problem for Canon right now). Weather proofing, D O F button on the left(i hate it here, total pain to use with your thumb) I just wish that one camera would do all i want, the closest is the 1D mk3. I think this is going to be my next birthday present, its just the weight & cost thats going to hurt - ouch.

Robert Nurse , May 23, 2007; 02:45 P.M.

DOF Button? And Colin, if you hear anything more about the end of 5D production, please let us know.

Cody Jorgensen , June 03, 2007; 06:28 P.M.

I know that the first comment on this review, that discusses the debate between Film Vs. Digital is just someone's opinion, but I find it highly inflammatory for no reason at all.

Artistic Film, and Artistic Digital Photography are two different beasts. In film, someone pains in a dark room for hours, using tangible tools that move and change light as its placed onto a print. In Digital, you have to master the craft of working with tools that are intangible, and exist in the realm of mathematics (1's, and 0's).

To be perfectly honest, if you were a person that was extremely well versed in the Digital Tools, your ability to manipulate a photograph for artistic purposes is, and to "tweak" a photograph is so much greater than that if film. Its almost a non-comparison.

The remark is also extremely snobbish.

Digital has mainstreamed the amount of people that can produce an amazing shot (by themselves, Digital Photography largely cuts out the middleman in mainstream film, ie. photo processing stores). Not enough people have the resources to set up a full B&W/Color Photo lab to be able to manipulate photo's on the required level of "fine art". So what do we have? We have millions of Average Joe's with an $800 DSLR that can produce great quality artistic photos.....and that will obviously blow the ego of anyone who's labored in a darkroom for any amount of time.

I've done both, and personally, Digital allows me sooo much more access to my photos. I have SO much control over my images, it scares me. I loved shooting in film for sooo long, but even the negs of the pictures I took are just sitting up in a box somewhere. Why would I spend extra money on development and enlargement on a photo that cannot even be manipulated on basic levels that is such commonplace in Digital Photography today?

Film Vs. Digital, is insulting. There are no "winners" just have fun with what YOU like, and stop putting others down just to satisfy your own egomania.

radek hensler , June 14, 2007; 02:01 P.M.

Well, everyone says it's a perfect camera, but... I've got one issue to clear up. What about autofocus in 5D. I've heard lot complaints from those who used Nikon D200 and switched to canon 5D. After this they appreciate AF they used to have in Nikon. Obviously there is nothing better to them than full-frame sensor in 5D but how really bad is with Autofocus in 5D? Can anyone tell me? I know the problem from my old film EOS and I've never been happy about this AF. Even AF from basic Minolta worked better than mine. So, please tell me that canon did some progress in this case in 5D Best Regards Radek

Buck Lovell , July 13, 2007; 05:44 P.M.

Philip Greenspuns very ignorant statement in his review "the small-sensor effectively increases the magnification of telephoto lenses" bring into question his entire review. There is NO magnification with the smaller sensor cameras. It is a crop factor only. The sensor plane is closer to the front of the camera with the smaller sensor cameras, nothing else. I suggest Mr. Greenspun do a little more research before making completely invalid statements which mislead camera buyers and uniformed photographers.

Buck Lovell

Landrum Kelly , July 16, 2007; 10:41 A.M.

Buck, the key word here is "effectively." When you are deciding on which lens designed for 24 x 36 should be used with a camera having a sensor 2/3 the length and width of that, you can use the multiplicative inverse of 2/3, which is 1.5, and thereby compute what the EFFECTIVE focal length will be as it affects magnification, i.e., image size. In very practical terms, that is, a 600mm lens will give results in terms of image size comparable to 900mm lens when used on a sensor approximately 2/3 the length and width of a full frame sensor. Without some kind of linguistic shorthand here, we are going to have to teach basic physics every time we try to discuss lens selection--leaving the typical photographer with either glazed eyes or a dumbfounded expression.

Put another away, using a 100mm lens is going to give you an EFFECTIVE focal length of [approximately] 150mm when used with the 10D, 20D, 30D, and Digital Rebel Series. That is a rough rounded-off number and a rough way of getting the point across, but it works as very good shorthand in practice when deciding on a lens--and when writing reviews for a general audience. (The actual conversion factor is going to be about 1.6 for the Canon small sensors, and about 1.5 for the Nikon sensors, but 1.5 is close enough to be useful in practice for all of them.)

I rather, uh, suspect that Phil G. is aware of the crop factor if an idiot such as myself is, and that is why he was very careful to insert the word "effectively." If he had not seen the problem, he would not have chosen his words so carefully. Sometimes readers, in their emotion, do not read quite so carefully.

As for the 5D, I bought mine over a year ago and love it every second of the time I am using it, as well as looking at the finished work. I will never miss the Kodak 14n that it replaced, although I occasionally miss the aperture rings on my Nikon lenses that I had to sell to be able to get both (1) full frame and (2) low noise at high ISO.

Looking back over this entire thread, it is astonishing how emotional people can get over film v. digital and Canon v. Nikon, etc. These are all valid tools. Shall we not use them? Shall we not suspend judgment until we have actually tried them?


Shane Phil , July 19, 2007; 12:46 A.M.

I have tried both Canon and Nikon systems, and here is my 2 cents worth: Canon is an excellent system if you have the time and patience to play around with its settings, especially the ISO which is not automatic. The 5D especially is excellent with wide angle and fish eye lenses. It lacks a proper LCD display. Flash system is average. It is a patient studio photographer's camera. Nikon is a versatile system if you are on the street and every moment counts. The auto ISO is one of the best features that can be put into a digital SLR. Nikon's metering and flash systems are state of the art. Nikon's build quality and ergronomics are way ahead of canon's. Even a camera like the D40 has a much superior LCD than the 5D.Tests say the Nikon's Vibration Reduction system is better than Canon's IS system. If you are on the street and would like a dependable camera that understands you...go NIKON.

Landrum Kelly , July 19, 2007; 09:10 A.M.

GO NIKON! GO CANON! Nothing like objectivity. . .

Shane, here is a group of guys who just might disagree with you. This is a photo of pro photographers using predominantly EOS systems at the Olympics in 2004, a very demanding situation where "every moment counts" (your phrase). After you have felt the full impact of the above photo, go read Bob Atkins' preview of the Canon 1D Mark III.

I have to admit, however, that both the Nikon D200 and the Nikon D2x shoot more frames per second than the 5d. The 5D does not shoot at the blazing speeds of the newest Canon DSLR, but at present neither Nikon nor anyone else has a digital camera with the kind of speed the 1D Mark III does.

It is also interesting to look here if you want to get one indicator of relative market shares for the various companies, not just Canon and Nikon--and not just at the high end. I do not choose a camera based solely on market share, of course, but such data are not irrelevant to me.

There are certainly a lot of good Nikon cameras, as shown by the reviews at this link for Nikon products. Although I have never shot either, the specs on the Nikon D200 and the Nikon D2x are very, very impressive. They are very fast for DSLRs. In addition, the build quality of Nikon cameras is legendary.

There are a lot of good cameras out there from quite a number of manufacturers. As for the 5D, yes, I believe that it has been worth the hype, in spite of its limitations in terms of speed. Although not the fastest camera for action shots, it is hardly "a patient studio photographer's camera," and no one who has used it would characterize it thus. It is also a good bit less expensive than the Nikon D2Xs. In a year or two, of course, it will be just one more good camera. Things keep changing.


Shane Phil , July 21, 2007; 01:13 A.M.


Thanks for your comments. My comments have no impact whatsoever on the market image of either canon or nikon. Its just my personal opinion just like anyone else's on this site. I'm no big fan of Nikon, I just like the cameras they make.

Ofcourse the brand has no impact on the photos you make, and neither does it make you a better photographer than you are.

Yes, i chose my camera based on my requirements, and i recommended them on this site. Dont know why anyone should get upset over it.



Michael Brown , July 29, 2007; 06:40 P.M.

education bldg albany NY

Combining the 5D's High ISO cleanliness + IS provides hand held capabilities previously unheard of

Erwin Baeyens , August 13, 2007; 10:54 A.M.

Frankly for being such a fantastic camera and for Philip being an experienced photographer there are some seriously over exposed pictures on this review. At least 3 of the first five pictures are having some exposure issues, and the first one is obviously the worst.

Andrew Robertson , August 24, 2007; 02:32 A.M.

Come on, I see at least 2 or 3 Nikons out of the 60 or so cameras in that Olympics shot. That's pretty good market share for Grandpa's camera brand!

In all seriousness, Nikon has been lagging behind Canon for years now, especially when it comes to long lenses and of course full frame digital. As a Canon user with too much money sunk into the system to switch on a whim like the beginners without a good set of lenses or the moneyed elite who seem to switch weekly, I hope that Nikon absolutely trounces Canon with its new full frame D3 and its D300 cameras. Heck, the Pentax K10D trounces the 40D due solely to its in body anti shake.

All this competition is really going to benefit everybody here. So hurray Nikon and hurray Pentax.

I think all we have seen thus far in the DSLR game is not even the entire opening, to use a chess term. The mid game is still years away.

Antonio Correia , October 21, 2007; 06:14 P.M.

At the moment - October 2007 - with the 40D in the market would you still buy the 5D, instead ?

I make all kind of pictures, from sport to landscape and I am planning to buy the 40 D. However I am very tempted by the 5D.

I have 3 lenses all L ones.

alan cukurs , October 28, 2007; 03:13 A.M.

I started out with pen and ink, moved to pastels, charcoal, watercolor airbrushing. I have done clay, batique as well as crayons. Even tried my hand at oil. I never considered film photographers artistic because all one was doing was pushing a button. When I purchased my first 35mm camera 26 years ago, I realized a new brush. I have come to really enjoy photogarphy as an artform. I also enjoy digital photography and have been able to support my hobby by creating portraits for people through digital art. In some respects, art is the way one interprets what one perceives and presents that interpretation so others can experience that expression. After much review, I am purchasing the 5D. I think it will be a wonderful brush to paint with. I have not thrown away my watercolors or my 35 mm cameras etc., I have just added to what I enjoy.

Xiaoyuan Gu , November 28, 2007; 10:12 A.M.

It is time for Canon to throw the goodies of 1D MKIII and 40D to a 5D MKII, to seriously compete with the Nikon D3. Had I not invested a good number of Canon L glasses, I would definitely go for Mamiya or Nikon D3. At the 10K range, the benefit of MF is obvious, the single pixel size (pitch) is much larger (8.4um) than the 1Ds MKIII's 6.4um. Yes, Canon can do 14bit AD conversion, but if the pixel picks up only nosier data at first hand, more resolution in the AD stage simply won't help much - (amplifying the noise)? Single pixel size MATTERS! That's why 5D is such an amazing gear, will so is the Nikon D3.

I do not care about the difference between 12Mp and 22Mp. As a matter of fact, I print photos not posters most of the time. And I am fine with 3-5 FPS, as I am, like most people out there, not a sport event shooter (5fps will do the job well, though). I am waiting for the 5D MKII, and keeping my finger crossed that Canon with stay with 12Mp to keep the single pixel size of 8.2um of the 5D, and come up with a quality LCD such as that found on the new Nikons, dust removal (5D is a dust magnet) and liveview functions.

Canon, forget about the Megapixel and FPS fight! Get the LCD and autofocusing right!

Quico Álvarez , December 05, 2007; 06:03 A.M.

Hi, Folks:

I am professional, and like that it is not the same to spend $2,000 than $7,000, so I think that my choice should be The Eos-5D. The only thing that stops me is not be able to know if this camera's A/D conversion is 12 or 14 bits. I am afraid that the answer is the first one, because Canon don't say anything about it in the "specs", anouncing it proudly when they explain the advantages of the new brand EOS-1Ds Mark III. So I am in the same: will continue scanning till they get a product that won't be obsolete in less than five years.

Quico Álvarez , December 06, 2007; 02:44 P.M.

I found it: EOS-5D is 12 bit per channel in color depth. So it is not so professional as pretended.

Joao Pedro Jorge , January 13, 2008; 02:36 P.M.

I've been reading reviews on the 5D and the 40D because I'm thinking of buying a new camera. I got two cheap lenses: the ordinary EF 28-90 and a Voigtlander 19-35mm. I'm very fond of wide lens photography and I wouldn't like to lose my cheap 19-35mm :). I found two shops that sell the 5D for $849 and the 400D for $339 which is incredibly cheap. So, given the fact that the 5D is so cheap, should I buy that one instead given the facts that I presented to you?

alan cukurs , January 16, 2008; 01:01 A.M.

get the 5D. If you like wide, the full frame will be a big benefit. On the price, are you getting one used? Be aware of online scams. Do a store review before purchasing.

Joao Pedro Jorge , January 19, 2008; 10:08 P.M.

Thanks Alan! Actually I've done exactly that, and you were right :(. It's in fact a scam! After that I've found so many scams like that one that I recommend everyone doing the same before they buy their camera online. So, my procedure was the following: 1. Search for prices for the camera I wanted. 2. Get a sort of average price. 3. Any price that would fall more than, lets say, 20% or more out of that was proven to be a scam (in all cases). Just Google the name of the shop and reviews, like, in my case was: "BestPriceCameras reviews"

So, it seems that the cheapest 40D (not scam) price was around $1000 and the 5D around $2200. Well, I guess it's not a big news for you guys :).

Thanks again

Jonathan Farmer , January 25, 2008; 05:47 P.M.

Surly the 5D is due for a make over; will it be the 5D Mk2?? Anyone know anymore about when this will happen?

John Carter , January 31, 2008; 08:06 P.M.

I just talked to Canon on the phone today, and they have NO PLANS for a makeover of the 5D, it will possibly be the 7D in Q3/Q4 of 08.

Nicholas Eskey , April 03, 2008; 02:10 A.M.

I was in Ritz Camera store today, looking to see if they still had Canon 5D's in stock, since most of the camera stores in San Diego seem to not, and I spoke with the counter guy about it. He said I should hold off buying it, because that the next upgrade to the 5D was going to be announced pretty soon, ranging from $2500-3500. So, I hope he really did have the inside info, and that a Canon "5D II" is on the way.

Brandon Boghosian , April 05, 2008; 11:09 P.M.

I'd like to thank everyone out there buying Canon 5D's and other dslr's. You've successfully driven the price of a EOS 3 down to a paltry $248.50 on eBay. For that, you're in my debt. Now, if digital only had the same effect on good Canon glass......

alan cukurs , April 17, 2008; 01:42 A.M.

How so? What specifically is the effect you are talking about? It's always good to hear people getting good cameras for a good price. I am sure you will enjoy your EOS3. I enjoy shooting with my Elan7, as well as my CANON 5D. I have noticed a big difference in image quality going from my Xti to the 5D. Either way, I have found the driving factor for great image quality is the glass, namely L-glass. Happy shooting.

Brandon Boghosian , May 26, 2008; 10:55 P.M.

Alan, The same way hybrid's are killing the SUV market. More and more people are going digital, thus driving down demand and prices for film gear. I'll be a die hard film fanatic as long as the good men and women at Kodak keep cranking out the precious 35mms.

alan cukurs , May 30, 2008; 02:11 A.M.

Gotcha. I agree it would be nice to have the price of Canon L series drop. I was not sure what you meant by "effect". I enjoy film and still purchase film equipment. I have found some really good deals on medium format cameras. It is disappointing to see the lack of film photography being taught. My oldest son it taking a photography class, and I found out to my dismay, it is a digital photography class. I will have to get him into a darkroom. Cheers

Robert Cudlipp , June 04, 2008; 05:12 A.M.

I have a Canon 20 D and am very happy with it.

However, the issue of the cropping factor continues to be a source of frustration. This is particularly the case as I like to take a fair number of wide angle - generally 25mm ( in 35 mm SLR speak) to 35mm.

So far as this is concerned, given the very diffucult engineering required to produce a high quality wide angle zoom, I would prefer to purchase wide angle prime lens : L series only.

At the moment I have the following Canon lens: 24- 70 2.8L; 70 -200 /4L; 135/2L; 80/1.8 ,non L; 50/1.4.

I would like to return to the days of full frame picutures and hence the 5D appeals, even if the "motor drive" is limited to 3 fps.

I can readily purchase a quality 40D, but to me that is not going forward.

By the same token, I cannot afford any of the more upmarket Canon full frame digitals.

Is there a view that the 5D is just the first full frame pro-sumer digital that will soon be replaced by Canon? If so, I would prefer to get by with the quality small sensor 40D.

I have a quality range of L series glass and if I went down the full frame path, would purchase couple of wide angle primes. You are not asking the design engineers to overcome significant and difficult design compromises by desiging "one wide angle zoom that suits all" etc. Would be quite happy using L series primes, only need to purchase 25mm L and that would complete my lens complement.

Any views?

alan cukurs , June 07, 2008; 02:56 A.M.

I have a friend that purchased a 40D. He likes the fps but wishes he had purchased the 5D. If you have not used a 5D, perhaps you might borrow or rent one and see if it suits you. I typically am not shooting high speed photography so the 3 fps works well. One thing to note which I think is common to wide angle lenses, especially cheap lenses, is the light fall off or vignetting around the edges. I shot with a rebel xti and when I went to the full frame 5D I noticed the vingetting. There are remedies for this, similar to shooting 35mm film with a wide angle lens. It really is a great camera for what I do, mainly portraiture and some landscape. If you need high frames per second, I would not recommend this camera. I do not know about the engineering but I seem to get much better pictures in low light situations with the fullframe. One last thing, I found my 28-80 was not wide enough in some situations for weddings. Instead of buying a wider lens I opted to go with a bigger frame 5D. Best regards.

George Slusher , August 23, 2008; 06:59 P.M.

Nice review. One nit: the 100mm f/2 is not the only alternative to the 70-200mm f/2.8L. The 70-200mm f/4L is a LOT cheaper (the f/4L IS is cheaper than the non-IS f/2.8L) and a lot lighter (the f/4L IS is about half the weight of the f/2.8L IS). Some reviewers think that the 70-200mm f/4L IS is a "better" lens (sharpness, etc) than the f/2.8L at the same apertures. The IS will help with camera shake more than the extra stop will for the same money. About the only reason I can see to ante up the extra money and haul around the added weight of the 70-200mm f/2.8L would be if one routinely takes action pictures in low light or if one is obsessively enamored of blurry backgrounds. I have the 100mm f/2 just for that first instance, where 2 stops can make a big difference in stopping the motion of a galloping horse.

Colin Carron , October 03, 2008; 05:16 A.M.

Now that the Canon 5D Mk II has appeared (september 2008) the original 5D is looking rather outdated. And the 50D with its big pixel count in a small crop sensor and the full frame 5D Mk II are both more capable in their noise reduction and in other ways.

But nonetheless the 5D is still probably the most affordable full frame around. It's status as 'last season's fashion' will help drive second hand prices lower. So for many looking for a full frame caera a used 5D may well still be a good buy.

I enjoy using my 5D as much as ever and will continue to do so. I think I will prbably not upgrade to the Canon 5D Mk II as it is too expensive but will wait for the next eolution to appear. By that time I hope Nikon will also be truly in te (full) frame and be producing a lower price competitor so that I can think aout returning to Nikon.

Meanwhile it is instructive to look at the posts above if only to note that the predictions and rumours in them are all entirely wrong.

Zoe Hellar , January 01, 2009; 03:51 A.M.

The Canon 5D Mark 2 has generally been given rave reiviews and has be tagged as the wedding photographers camera of choice. I have covered a summarised review on my website: http://digital_camera_reviews.protechltd.com

Folarin S , February 05, 2009; 09:00 P.M.

A New Perspective

As a new member on photo.net,I have to say that many of the above views relating to the respective merits of film vs. digital and full frame vs 1.6 crop factor have been tremendously helpful. The daunting nature of the processes involved in film would explain (along with relative cost) the explosion of new digital users. I for one regret immensely never being schooled in film, however there is so much to learn in digital as well.

Kudos to the many moderate voices above and those that focus on the individual's artistic process above considerations of equipment and technology. And we all know that good home cooking is best, but sometimes a quick takeaway hits the spot as well.

Having recently found a great deal on a 16-35L,it seems clear that I should do the right thing and move from a Rebel to a 5D(MkII still a little pricey) to get the full-impact of the glass. I just wonder whether the 'dust magnet' issue will come back to haunt me further down the line.

JDM von Weinberg , June 16, 2009; 02:52 P.M.

As a very late visitor to this page, long after the Mk II is out, and after I have bought myself a nice used 5D, I have to say that the original review was nice, but many of the comments above seem to me to be by people who either haven't ever actually used the camera, or, at the least, have never read the manual.

Not that it matters, but I think one would do better to search for 5D on the EOS forum than to pay much attention to the comments here.

Anuar Patjane , October 03, 2009; 02:36 A.M.

It survived a trip to Mexico? How about that! lol A bit of dust and air pollution is not enough to name Mexico a measure parameter for camera resistance. I took my D200 to the USA and it survived too!! I almost lost it in a pawnshop in Las Vegas after I ran out of money! But somehow, after a few drinks that tasted wierd but have a tequila like effect, I figured that they have some kind of machines were I could use a plastic card to get money out of it. Amazing! Im just kidding. Thanks for the helpfull post. regards!

Shellie Latham , November 03, 2009; 12:12 P.M.

I need help picking a camera! I do weddings, seniors, kids, families etc... I'm a Canon user but I've read all the review but I'm still a little lost! Do I need a XSi or a 5D? Can anybody give me some suggestions? Thanks~Shellie

Ringo Taylhardat , February 07, 2010; 09:06 P.M.

I am planning on buying a used 5d for $1500.00, as I am on a strict budget. Do you recommend?



Henry H , June 22, 2010; 01:56 P.M.

Definitely go for it!  The 5d is a spectacular body.  I got mine used for $1000!

Patty LaRue , October 28, 2010; 10:20 A.M.

I have the Canon 5D and have been using with the 70-200

HEAVY lens for portrait work and weddings can someone please tell me what other lens to buy to replace this heavy lens for every day before I have to have surgery my neck can not take it.

Evan Bedford , January 07, 2012; 09:48 P.M.

I have a 5D and a Mamiya 645.  I use the 645 lenses on the 5D with a Mirex adapter (shift comes in handy, since I do a lot of architecture).  I love the medium format slides in the glassed Gepe frames.  But I also love the grainless look of the digital.  I've also lost a lot of digital files over the years, but I still have our old slides from the 1960's.  So I'm hoping that I've found the best of both worlds.  I'll bring both along with me and use 3 or 4 lenses interchangeably (along with a little LX3 for videos and stereo shots). 

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