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  • 12.8-megapixel (effective), 35.8 x 23.9mm, 12-bit RGB CMOS sensor delivering 4,368 x 2,912-pixel images
  • Focal length multiplier of 1.0x, equivalent to a 35mm camera
  • Variable ISO (100 to 1,600 settings in 1/3-step increments, plus ISO 50 and 3200 using ISO expansion option)
  • Continuous Shooting mode captures as many as 60 images as fast as three frames per second
  • 2.5-inch, low-temperature TFT LCD with 230,000 pixels
  • TTL autofocus with nine main focusing points plus six "invisible" points, manually or automatically selectable. One shot AF, AI Servo AF with focus prediction, AI Focus AF, and manual focus with AF assist beam
  • Topside hot shoe for external flash connection of EX Speedlight flashes, E-TTL II, as well as a PC flash sync socket
  • Magnesium-alloy body panels, stainless steel chassis
  • Supports all Canon EOS lenses, except EF-S series

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

Following in the impressive footsteps laid down by earlier members of the highly-acclaimed Canon EOS line of digital SLRs, the new 5D definitely upholds its EOS lineage. While a truly excellent photographic tool though, it doesn't automatically represent a slam-dunk choice between it and a sub-frame camera -- or even between it and the much more expensive EOS-1Ds Mark II. The 5D struck us as an odd mixture of consumer and professional aesthetics, a slightly uncomfortable fit in the current world of d-SLRs. For people addicted to ultrawide angle photography with a substantial investment in full-frame wide angle lenses, it will probably be a no-brainer. But for someone not already invested in wide-angle glass, you could buy an EOS-30D and Canon's excellent little 10-22mm EF-S wide-angle lens and have more than just change to spare relative to the cost of the 5D body alone. Not only that, but the 10-22mm's performance on a 30D will be superior to that of most ultrawide full-frame lenses on the 5D. After only a little shooting with it, it became manifestly clear that this was a camera that absolutely shows up every minute flaw in a lens' performance, particularly in the corners of the frame. The sub-frame cameras also have the advantage of being markedly faster than the 5D in continuous mode, in part a consequence of the larger mirror that the 5D needs to flap back and forth between shots.

On the upper end of the scale, the massive EOS-1Ds Mark II does have some advantages relative to the 5D, namely a more rugged construction, a more long-lived shutter, perceptibly better resolution, and noticeably better noise characteristics. (The 1Ds Mark II shows higher noise amplitude, but finer "grain" structure, making it less objectionable overall.) It might be hard to argue that these advantages justify the $4,000+ price increment between the 5D and 1Ds Mark II, but if you're looking for the ultimate full-frame experience (with price no object), the 1Ds Mark II is still the way to go.

On the other hand, full-frame purists with more modest budgets or unwilling to lug around the daunting weight of a 1Ds Mark II will find an awful lot to like in the 5D. It's also a more approachable camera for the casual shooter, thanks to its Picture Styles (think of them as film types, one more suited to portraits, one more suited to landscape shots, etc) and slightly more aggressive in-camera sharpening. The bottom line is that the 5D is a better camera if you really want to use JPEGs from the camera as the final file format (without processing after the fact on a computer). Also, while we've been speaking glibly of "full-frame purists," shooters only just now making the move from traditional film-based SLRs may find that the 5D offers a much more comfortable transition than would a sub-frame model. We encountered the opposite side of this in shooting with the 5D, as we found ourselves having to really re-think framing and focal lengths after our long immersion in the sub-frame world. Moving from a film SLR to the 5D would be a relatively painless change, as all your lenses would behave exactly the same as they did on your film body. (Except you'd now see all their flaws magnified and splashed across your computer screen.)

If you're not a die-hard full-frame fan though, a Canon EOS-5D may not be the best choice for you. A 30D with the Canon EF-S 10-22mm wide-angle zoom and a good-quality intermediate zoom would actually be a more powerful picture-taking machine, and likely one costing a lot less than the 5D body alone.

We expect to see Canon continue their evolution of full-frame d-SLRs, and also work more on their L-glass lenses to bring lens performance into line with the demands of full-frame digital sensors. Our guess is that this will ultimately be the way a lot of the SLR market will go, at least in the fullness of time. For now though, it's our opinion that sub-frame digital SLRs offer a better cost/performance ratio.

For the record, we highly recommend the Canon EOS-5D as a full-frame d-SLR option, but do counsel readers to consider their sub-frame options carefully before taking the plunge with a 5D.

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Keywords: Canon SLR CF 35mm 13MP


Registered: March 2013
Posts: 14
Canon EOS 5D review by hdhani
Review Date: 12/14/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $650.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality (it's FULLL FRME), substantial hand grip
Cons: Poor LCD, body paint (getting shiny over time), heavy, manual ISO setting

This is an old FF SLR (2005) but still takes wonderful images with great details and fine grain at higher ISOs even 3200 (compared to current APS-C SLR). I love the images this camera produced...

Things you should've noticed before buying this camera: the back LCD is low res (compared to current LCD display), and the user interface is dated. There is no AF microadjustment feature and the battery life is short.

Registered: September 2007
Posts: 16
Canon EOS 5D review by f43tgv
Review Date: 7/17/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

Pros: Still nothing better for image quality
Cons: Gren cast to monitor

This , put quite simply is an awesome camera. Now available secondhand for about the price of an entry level APS-C Canon or Nikon with bundled kit lens in the UK , given the massive price hikes, this is fantastic value.

If you are not interested in gimmicks like face recognition, flip out screens, live view, video and so on, just wanting a quality still camera, look no further.

The resolution this camera offers is up there with current kit costing four times as much, see Ken Rockwells 5D v D3 resolution tests if you dont believe this.

For Landcape and portrait Photography this camera still cuts it.

If you have been using a crop body the first thing you will notice is the mirror action, it sounds large, quite a chunk after the mini mirrors in the crop bodies.

The depth of field takes a bit of re-adjusting to as well, back to the days of 35mm, you will have to get used to stopping down a deal more than with APS C.

The upside of this of course is that isolating subjects with the right lens is easy.

Dont believe all the "new" old wives tales about full frame being hard on lenses either, if you were happy with your lenses with film, they will do exactly the same job on this camera.

The truth is, APS C allowed indifferent lenses to perform above their quality standard , a fact now seemingly forgotten.

Faults? A dim ( by2009 standards anyway) monitor with a grotty green cast, a frame rate not best suited to action, a flash has to be carried as well.

In conclusion?

If you want a top quality camera , not yet eclipsed for output quality for landscape, travel and portrait work, you wont find anything better for much less than 2K.

Registered: July 2007
Posts: 36
Canon EOS 5D review by touristguy87
Review Date: 8/5/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $2,300.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: moderately-good overall, good value in a fullframe
Cons: lacks newer features like auto-ISO

This is an excellent example of the prosumer Canon DSLR except that it has one problem in common with just about all of the CMOS-sensored DSLR from Canon, in that it produces a lot of streak-noise in continuous-drive at ISo1600 and 3200 that shows up at about -3eV, which really ruins the shots taken in low light. It's also somewhat lacking in shadow resolution compared to the d300.

Otherwise it's a great camera, very clean, decent color, not feature-laden like the d300/d700/d3, but still very good. Focuses reliably in low light, frame handles well, nice viewfinder, fits well. Would be just about perfect except for the streak-noise. Only way around it is to shoot in single-shot mode and wait for the shot buffer to flush between each shot.

Registered: June 2008
Posts: 5
Canon EOS 5D review by pepstein
Review Date: 7/22/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 

Pros: Excellent image quality
Cons: Large and heavy, no sensor cleaning features

The 5D has been on the market for a long time, but it still compares well to the competition. Full frame means lenses don't need quite the resolving power in the center, but they have to perform well at the edges and corners.

It also means lenses work as they do with film bodies. If you like to use primes, this is a good thing. If you prefer to use a single general-purpose zoom, it can also be a bad thing.

Depth of field is reduced compared to crop bodies. You'll need to stop down the lens more to get adequate depth of field, and this can mean in some situations that you lose the high ISO advantage over typical crop bodies. However, it also means you have more flexibility in isolating your subject, and you can often avoid shooting wide open, where lenses often don't perform so well.

Some lenses really shine with the 5D, such as the 85/1.8 and the 100/2.8 macro. Others, such as the 28/2.8 and 35/2 don't do very well at all. The 24-105 kit lens makes an excellent general purpose zoom for the 5D.

The viewfinder image appears much larger than with crop bodies, making it easier to see focus and subject detail, but I wear glasses, and I find I have to shift my position to see the digital display at the bottom. Overall, I think I prefer the best crop body viewfinders such as the 40D, but it's a world better than the 350D viewfinder. For those who don't wear glasses, I think the 5D viewfinder would be nearly ideal.

The user interface of the 5D is simple, and that is for the most part a good thing. I do find some settings change accidentally, such as the viewfinder focus dial and the main control dial.

Recently the 5D has finally had some real competition, but the 5D has also become less expensive. It's still a good buy.

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 9
Canon EOS 5D review by freetoken
Review Date: 1/14/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 

Pros: Image Quality, size
Cons: cost

No doubt the EOS 5D became a lightening rod of criticism and praise when it first debuted. As the first "affordable" FF, few DSLRs have had as vicious of attacks.

Put simply, compared to my previous Canon 35mm film cameras, the image quality output exceeds that of 35mm film for many applications. There are instances where film may still offer special qualities, but I am quite pleased with the 5D's Image Quality.

There is a noted difference compared to the crop cameras wrt DOF. The DR is good (if not quite that of color print film.) Colors are good (whether or not one uses the in camera processor or Canon's DPP.)

Weaknesses: This is a High Amateur Body, which means it is not as fully specified as Canon's professional cameras. For my purposes the limitations are mainly in metering and exposure control. Others may find the 3 fps to be limiting but I rarely do.

Also, overall I prefer Canon's human interface, but switching between AI Servo and One Shot focusing is still awkward without VF confirmation.

Conclusion: this is not a camera to buy on a whim, given the price. However, it is with good reason that it is desired by many photographers.
John H Maw

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 15
Canon EOS 5D review by John H Maw
Review Date: 1/14/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

Pros: Great working tool. Fine images, compact size.
Cons: Hidden mirror lockup.

This is the camera that stopped me lusting after the 1 series. I hired a 1Ds Mk II for a job, and it is a beast. Also very slow to navigate if you are used to the 10 and 20D (and D60 before that). I'm sure you get used to having to use two hands for navigation, but it didn't come naturally to me.

The 5D on the other hand is just like using a big 20D or 30D. A bit bigger, and it feels it, but only to the extent of feeling a bit more mass in the hand. There is little I would change. A faster frame rate would be the first thing. That did seem slow after the 20D. The other thing is the common Canon problem of hiding mirror lock-up in the menus. Shame.

Registered: May 2006
Posts: 62
Canon EOS 5D review by gadgetguy
Review Date: 1/3/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

Pros: full frame, solid build, bright viewfinder
Cons: relatively slow FPS, no weather sealing

Former film users will find using the 5D refreshing beacuse it is full frame - so your lenses "behave" like they're supposed to.

If they made this more like Canon's film EOS 3 it would be a lot better - "pro" (1-series) controls it might appeal more to me.

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 4
Canon EOS 5D review by samo
Review Date: 1/1/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $2,800.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Full frame, light, pro performance.
Cons: Not-so-pro fps capabilities.

I own a Rebel XT, and had been using it for a year and a half when I got the 5D. What can I say. Awesome image quality, very good auto WB, very good high ISO noise performance. Light and compact. Low shutter noise. The file size is really big, but you can have 12 x 18 prints with little or no upsampling. My lenses (70-200 and 24-70) are really shining with this camera.

If you need top-notch image quality and/or have top-of-the-line Canon glass, this is the camera for you.

I wish it was capable of shooting two more fps, tho.

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 12
Canon EOS 5D review by garys
Review Date: 1/1/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

Pros: full frame, bright viewfinder, relatively rugged but compact and light compared to 1 series, good noise control at higher iso
Cons: no mirror lock-up button, no weather sealing, 3 frames per second rate, focusing accuracy seems less accurate than 1 series

I purchased this model the day after it arrived at the local camera shop just before a trip to Cambodia and Viet Nam. Having made the decision to go digital over film, I had ordered a 20D, but sent it back unopened when I heard of the 5D. Conventional wisdom says don't take a new camera on a big trip and I missed some opportunities for lack of familiarity with the camera, but still was delighted I had it. It is not in the same class with the 1VHS I owned, but the instant feedback of digital has definately inproved my techniques. I have had absolutely no problems with the camera and enjoy the full frame for wide angle lenses and bokeh impossible on a reduced size sensor.

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 21
Canon EOS 5D review by mebailey
Review Date: 12/14/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $2,999.00| Rating: 10 


I have used this camera for about a year and Iam very pleased with it. I upgraded from an XT and found this camera to be outstanding. The high iso performance is amazing. With fast primes and iso 800 I can shoot almost any inside scene without a flash. These images need very little post processing and can be blown up significantly without bothersome noise. The focusing speed and accuracy is a significant improvement over the XT.
It is great to finally have my wide angles back!! I never really adjusted to the crop thing after the film days. With this camera you dont have to!! The viewfinder is big and bright just like a film SLR.
Its not a camera for fast action like motorsports but works great for portraits. The construction is much more robust than the XT but not up to 1 series standards.

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 8
Canon EOS 5D review by pz
Review Date: 11/17/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

Pros: full frame, image quality, noise regulation
Cons: no weather sealing, no ISO indication, must use good objectives

I really love this body! I had 300D, 10D, 20D. They were very similar. The resolution doesn't make real difference, the full frame sensor really makes difference!!! Yes it is sensible to the defects of the objective, but its picture quality, the less DOF, the wide-angle photography are unbeatable. If you would like a real upgrade, don't upgrade to 30D, 400D, upgrade to 5D, it is the noticeable difference.


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