Canon 5D Mk II; First Impressions

I pre-ordered my new travelmate, my 5D Mk II, in early October and on the 23rd of December Photografica called me; my copy was now in store! I just had time to pick it up before flying to see family for Xmas. I had very few opportunities to go out and shoot with my new tool due to Xmas celebrations and a never ending supply of boring grey overcast days. Fortunately one afternoon offered some great surreal light!

As the sun was setting a very heavy and thick mist shrouded the landscape and provided brilliant light for some otherworldly landscape images. I chose to warm the light a bit to enhance the misty magic and mood of the setting sun. These are two of my very first 5D Mk II exposures:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Winter Mist landscape 
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Tree in the Winter Mist 
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

These are single image shots at iso100; and apart from the 14-bit 21 mega pixel raw files the 5D Mk I would have produced similar results I reckon. This is not a review; nor a test of noise or black spots etc. It is simply my first impressions as a photographer (not a gear head / pixel peeper) using the 5D Mk II. Cameras don’t take pictures, photographers do.

First Impressions

  • It is a strange feeling to use a brand new camera! My old 5D is battle worn with scratches and dust; the Mk II is impeccable (for now; hehe). 
  • As a 5D Mk I user, the Mk II is super easy to get going and use. It’s an upgrade; not a new camera; so it’s still my good old mate the 5D !
  • The house feels stronger and better built. Surface seems less prone to scratches and a lot more dust proof. Time will tell if this holds true 🙂
  • The 14-bit 21 mega pixel RAW files are about 25-26 MB in size and a whopping 5616 x 3744 of drop dead gorgeous pixels! I sell most of my prints at sizes from 70cm wide up to 2 meters (8 meters being the current record) so I need all the pixels I can get! Yes, stitching is amazing but not always possible, and the 21 megapixels is going to make a huge difference for my work.
  • ISO display in the viewfinder! Finally. Might prevent me from shooting those sunrises at iso 800 having used iso 800 the previous night and forgetting to reset. My head is in the clouds and my feet aren’t touching the ground much either when I shoot so I need all the help I can get!
  • Brilliant 3” lcd screen is a huge upgrade from the old 5D Mk I and is beautiful to behold.
  • Not really anything to do with the 5D Mk II but bloody f#”£€#&!!! Image Stabilizer on the 24-105mm lens. I forgot to turn it off and when shooting from a tripod the IS ruins half the shots. Only remembered to turn it off half way through the shoot (my brain was frozen).
  • Menu is a lot easier to navigate and the customizable My Menu is a neat idea. Makes it easier to access options like Mirror Lock Up especially as we still do not have a dedicated Mirror Lock Up button.
  • I still miss having a histogram display mode with just a huge RGB histogram on the 3” lcd screen. In strong outback sunlight it’s next to impossible to see the small RGB histogram although I suspect the brilliant 3” lcd screen on the 5D Mk II will help slightly. Still; can I please have a histogram mode with an RGB histogram and nothing else.
  • Live view mode is surprisingly good and useful! HD Video is looking very nice indeed (although I am useless at shooting and editing video)!
  • Automatic sensor dust cleaning is a brilliant feature – if it works. Time will tell. The old 5D sensor was a dust magnet so it couldn’t get any worse!

As I get a lot more exposures with my new mate I will post much more in depth experiences here. Especially Live view and Video are totally new to me. For now; these are just my very first impressions. Can’t wait to bring the 5D Mk II to Africa and Australia and really road test it!

– and happy new year everyone!

20 Comments on “Canon 5D Mk II; First Impressions”

  1. 2 great images there, Flemming! Glad you're enjoying your new toy… It's nice to read a 'review' of sorts that isn't all about the technical side of things, but rather about how it works out in the field.

  2. they are some moody shots to break the camera in. looks like a brilliant camera for serious enthusiasts and those intending to make marketable prints. enjoy!

  3. Muneeb2good, thanks very much!

    Beau, thanks mate! I always want to test things in the field, not in a lab. Tech stuff isn't as interesting as photos!

    Cain, cheers mate! I'll say it's good enough for pro shooters as well, for landscapes this camera is perfect. No need for the 3 times as expensive 1ds Mk III

  4. I like the first image best Flemming.
    It certainly is a pretty cool camera ! It is taking some time to learn digital photography startingn with this camera…but I think I am getting there….Though for the life of me I can't work out why they would not make the option of auto focus in video mode ! !


  5. Love the first image Flemming. Interesting to read that the results would have been similar if you had shot with your old 5D. Just before Christmas I gave serious thought to buying one, but seeing I already have the 1ds Mark II I opted for a another film camera. The Fotoman 624. Should be fun, pick it up at the end of the month.

  6. Tony, cheers mate. Yeah digital photography is a somewhat different beast with a bit of a steep learning curve as to get the best from digital photograhy you also need to learn digital post production.

    Matt, thanks very much. What I meant by similar was having a very similar look, of course the 5D Mk II files are much bigger and there's the difference as well of 12-bit colour versus 14-bit colour. None of that shows on a small web jpg though 🙂
    Look forward to seeing results from your 624 -now that's what I call wide 😀

  7. stunning shots Flem!!
    you couldn't have wished for a better start to the camera.

    love the foreground of the first shot, and then the trees disappearing into the fog is magic.

    look forward to more 🙂

  8. Hey Flemming, those shots are very tranquill, look like the the dust storms that you get in Alice Springs, hope all is well and you had a great MC + NY. Thanks for the review on your 5D Mk11, I`m just waiting to get paid, and then I`ll get my hands on 1.
    Take care

  9. Michael, thanks very much for your comment, glad you like the shot. Yeah a misty day at sunset and heat the white balance a bit and you got a sand storm look 🙂

    Dylan, thank matey, it is a stunner of a camera!

  10. Just decided to buy myself a used 5D mk I, since I really wanted a full frame sensor and since the 5D mk I and the 5D mk II are almost identical (well almost). I tried it out a couple of times and I am looking forward to getting some concert images on Saturday at Rust.

    I managed to stich one of my US panoramas, and I will send you a link one of these days.

  11. Hey there!

    I'm back in blogland and just wanted to pop in, say hi and happy new year to you too.

    I see I have a lot of catching up to do – Awesome photos!

  12. I love the "moodyness" you got in your shots here Flemming. The mist creates such a surreal feeling.

    Thanks for the review, interesting reading. But as a Nikon guy, well, you know 🙂

  13. Such an amazing shots with the Canon 5D Mk II. I’m already saving some money and plan to buy it at the end of this year. Hope i can make it.
    I also been having a tour on your Gallery. You really did an amazing work. Great to know you Flem. Hope i can learn many things from your work.
    Have a great day and hope everything would be more greater for you in the days to come 🙂

I'd love to hear your comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.