The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is a 21.1-megapixel, full frame, professional-level digital SLR with 1080p HD video capture. It has pretty much all the bells and whistles you’d expect of a professional camera that sells for over $2,500, including a high-resolution 3-inch LCD display, Live View, and full manual exposure controls. For this review, Canon loaned us the EOS 5D Mark II kit, which includes the EF 24-105mm f/4L zoom lens as well as the camera body, cables, etc.
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The Canon EOS 5D Mark II may have been one of the most anxiously awaited digital SLRs in Canon’s history. The original 5D was getting long in the tooth and there was much restlessness in the ranks of 5D users. Many Canon pro shooters were eyeing the new batch of Nikon bodies and their excellent low-light performance with obvious envy. So the 5D Mark II’s 21-megapixel sensor and ISO 6400 sensitivity were a relief to Canon owners on the verge of trading thousands of dollars of Canon gear for a new Nikon system.
The new 5D Mark II body delivered the goods in terms of image quality but the professional level 1080p HD video caught most photographers by surprise. Following shortly after the Nikon D90, the 5D Mark II’s video mode wasn’t a complete surprise. But the quality and commitment to serious video-making was a surprise. While the Nikon D90 made it possible to capture video with a digital SLR, the EOS 5D Mark II’s 1080p HD video and stereo mic input meant it could be used for professional-level video and even moviemaking. The new 5D Mark II won’t replace dedicated video or motion picture film cameras. But the extent to which the 5D Mark II was able to catch the attention of the movie and video industry and make photographers think seriously about video caught everyone by surprise.
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