5D Mk 2 query

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by david_mcewan, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. I have been an amateur photographer for many years and tend to use the 5D Mk2 in much the same way as I used film cameras - taking photos of subjects that interest me in a methodical fashion and taking as much time as needed for composition. I am very happy with the camera and the results I get from it. Taking movies is of no interest to me.

    I have prime and zoom lenses covering 17mm through to 400mm but find the vast majority of my photos are taken with a 40mm f2.8 pancake and a 85mm f1.8.

    After an absence of about two years, I recently began visiting photo forums again - and what depressing reading. The clear message is that I am using an obsolete piece of technology clearly bested by any full frame camera now on the market, DSLR or mirrorless, especially those made in the last two years.

    I know some of this may be marketing hype, but equally I don't want to be happy in my ignorance if technology has made advances that should make me consider selling my 5D.

    Any advice from members who have made the move from the 5DMk 2 would be appreciated.
  2. Sorry, I am not really your survey target. According to Lensrentals' Roger my own short / medium end body is on par with yours and in some fields worse; an old Monochrom. I could probably trade it and my matching glass in to get something wide for my 5D IV but don't feel any urge to do so. To me those outdated 18MP bodies seem good enough, if not even a bit overkill, for a whole lot of subjects.

    I bought the Mk IV to machine gun a sports event and do portraiture of less compliant subjects. Sonys were out of my reach at that time.
    You use primes and wonder
    My advice: "No! No way!" Keep it and add something. IMHO a 2nd body, behind a different lens, is very(!) nice to have.
    With primes I'd miss more shots juggling lenses on a single latest and greatest body than if I'd bring 2 or 3 old beaters instead. Adding a newer body to your kit would be the best of both worlds. (Zooms might be an alternative but Canon don't make a 35-135, that I'd love to have, so I'd be stuck with 2 cameras anyhow.)
  3. Unfortunately this is the way with photo forums. I would frankly ignore what they say. I have had the 5DII, 6D, and 5DIV. If you are happy with the 5DII, I would not bother to upgrade. The image quality between these cameras is in practical terms small to normal photographers. There is a slight increase in quality at higher ISOs (>3200) with the 6D and 5DIV but nothing that regular noise reduction cannot equalize. The 5Diii has better servo AF. The 5DIV has slightly more resolution and the same (+ or -) AF as the 5Diii. People talk a lot about dynamic range betterment, but if it is not worrying you now, the slight improvements going to the 5DIV will not matter to you. The 5DIV has better AF, but again for your kind of shooting this is probably irrelevant. Of the 3 bodies I have owned, I liked the 6D the best as it was the smallest, but the 5DIV is of course "the best" according to the specs (still have it).

    If you are looking to buy a new to you body, then you could indeed get a 6D/6Dii, 5Diii, or 5DIV. You might like the ergonomic and software improvements, but I would not do so because you feel you are missing out on something big, given that the 5Dii is currently fulfilling your needs.
  4. May I ask what is it that you do not like about your 5D II, if it is still working and taking great pictures?

    I bought my 5D II in 2009 and am still using it today. Before that I was using the film camera, 1v, that I bought in 2001. Nothing's wrong and it takes great pictures as always. I am still using the 550 EX Speedlite which I bought together with the 1v on my 5D II. And I took more than 35K pictures with this camera. I am not ashamed taking pictures next to someone with a elite brand or the most advanced equipment.

    I would suggest not to think of any upgrade unless you find something that this camera cannot perform or some features that are lacking but you do want to have. In my case, I added a 80D last year mainly for taking pictures of birds. So when I go out on a trip, I will have my 5D II with the 24-105mm lens and my 80D with the 100-400mm lens. Not that the 5D II cannot take bird pictures, I just do not want to change lenses in the field so I can cover landscape, portrait and wildlife all with two cameras.

    In the first day I leaned photography, my instructor asked whether I am pursuing the final image or pursuing technology. I know my answer.
  5. I have used a 5D2 since 2009 primarily for shooting 4K image sequences for time lapse projects - used in TV commercials and documentaries.
    This is still a good camera - the original shutter count must be well over 700,000 actuations and still going!

    As you mention video is not a concern but to 'future-proof' my real time/live action shooting I have purchased an EOS R for its 4K video recording when required.
    There are effective work arounds to overcome the 1.7x crop limitation.

    The fact that you take time for composition (a bit like setting up for time lapse work) means you don't have to worry about rapid AF, fast frame rates and the like.
    The 5D2 has a particular 'look' - perhaps because the RGB filters in its Bayer sensor were a little more denser than later models that had 'thinner' RGB application to achieve higher ISO's.
    Instead of upgrading your camera, treat yourself to new lens?
  6. Thanks everyone for the replies.

    Jochen, it's interesting that you mention the 35-135 range. As the years creep up on me I find the 5D 2 plus L glass losing their appeal because of the combined weight. In the early 1990s I bought an EOS 10 which was fitted with the 35-135mm f4-5.6 USM lens as standard. I've used it a couple of times recently and have been surprised with how good it is for my purposes.

    Robin, I appreciate your detailed information on the newer Canon full frame models.

    Andy, I'm very happy with the 5D 2, but to illustrate my thinking: suppose I bought a new car in 2009 and I am still quite happy with it in 2019. However, it is only when I drive a new car that I realise all the advancements that have been made in the ten years that would make driving easier for me. I know there is no direct comparison between a car and a camera, but I hope that example helps you get my drift.
  7. I am still driving a 2003 Accord. My previous car was a 1991 Accord :(
    matt_t_butler and MarcelRomviel like this.
  8. Pretty much all the "improvements" which have been made to cars over the last 10 years seem to have been designed to annoy the hell out of me.
  9. Your 5D II is still a very good camera. I have made excellent 24 x 32 inch prints made by shifting my 17 TS-E and stitching three images together. It has even been fast enough to shoot sharp images by panning with race cars. I have been waiting for the price of used 5DS R bodies to come down, and just last month finally replaced my 5D II with one. In my opinion in the Canon lineup this is the only body that is truly an upgrade to the 5D II. I have not spent a lot of time with the camera but in early testing I can say that it does make my 70-200/4 L original look soft on the 5D II at 20 ft shooting distance by comparison.

    To re-iterate what others have said if you are happy with the 5D II then keep it for a few more years and consider alternate bodies which may fit with your choice of subjects. In my case my preference has been to shoot landscapes with full frame and sports and macro with crop bodies. I have been using a Sony A6000 for sports for a year now and the 10 fps it offers has been awesome. I only chose it over the 80D for price and while there is nothing like an optical viewfinder I am getting used to the Sony.

    For telephoto images the crop bodies, most in the 24 MP range, provide superior resolution to the 5D II at very affordable prices in Canon's DSLR line-up as well in mirrorless bodies by many manufacturers. You will get superior AF with Canon bodies for sure.
  10. I'm another for whom the Mark II is plenty good enough. The siren call of having the biggest megapixels is not absent, but frankly the 5D mk ii is as good as or better than Kodachrome II, my old standard before digital.

    I can get decent enlargements so long as you don't get nose oil on the print.
  11. I'm really glad I started this thread. After reading the replies to my query I realise I've been suffering from GAS. The more I think about it , the reality is that the 5D2 will do all that I need for the foreseeable future, and I also have an 18mp Canon 100D body to help out.

    My enjoyment from photography comes mainly from finding a subject, composing and taking the shot and I get little or no joy from sitting in front of my computer post processing. Also, Andy's comment about his film camera set off a light bulb in my mind. I have an EOS 7 body I bought in 2002, a mint A1 and a good range of FD lenses stored away so in future I will start using film as well. Fortunately two film labs are close by to make life easier for me.
  12. If you want to have fun bringing your FD lenses back to life I highly recommend one of the affordable mirrorless models. Even though I find the colour rendition of the Sony's to be extremely challenging I do enjoy using my A6000 with all my lenses including a few FD. There is the crop factor to keep in mind. I intend to rebuild my FD collection over the next few years specifically to use on mirrorless.
  13. The Canon R (2018) is perhaps not in the 'affordable' range but the versatility of being able to use Canon FD, EF and RF lenses as well as (heresy!) Nikon and other brands with adapters is definitely fun and functional.

    Rumours of an affordable entry mirrorless RP circulate .....
    LINK: Canon EOS RP Specifications [CR1]

    Novoflex_ FD to EOS R.jpg
  14. I'm not much of a motorist., but I'd happily try rattling my 10 mls of speed limits and congestion to work with just anything street legal and road worthy. - Maybe some gen gas converted pre-WW2 wheelset? - Reliability, maintenance intervals and marginally reduced fuel consumption aside, I would not know what later and greater stuff than a 2CV or classic VW might be supposed to give me. (Yes, I do appreciate the convenience of riding a semi automatic Honda with fuel injection but jumping back on my old 2 strokes, without even an idle setting on the throttle grip, would be OK. I can eat my drive through cheeseburgers while operating a stick shift almost as conveniently as when driving an automatic transmission. - So why should I operate that (in my production time window) guzzling tech?
    Everybody has different needs. I don't mind focusing on driving (or preferably riding) during the short time I am doing that task. If I sat all shift long on a tractor, I'd prolly appreciate a fully automated John Deere (with GPS & auto pilot), that lets me knit or play video games on an Android device, while it is doing all the work on its own. But I suppose modernized cars in ordinary urban traffic are no way near that convenience level?

    Back to cameras: To my understanding the Mk IV added some goodies, like a gazillion of AF spots, but those only open up a few additional subject categories but don't reduce the photographer's work load. - You have one button to toggle through your 9 AF spots and maybe use the center one to focus & re-compose. - I have to select a single spot or cluster in advance and can hope for my camera to track an approaching subject with it. A convenience boost would be given by an AI picking the right spot, like Sony's eye detection AF might be doing (I haven't tried it).
    Considering that eye detection AF and similar are still in a somewhat experimental, not entirely matured development stage, I don't mind living without them very much. - Yes they are superior, especially if we shoot wide open and didn't manage to fine tune the AF of a competing SLR perfectly.

    I'd expect more convenience for the photographer to come from the in camera image processing.
    Unfortunately I can't offer many helpful thoughts about that. Yes, I here tend to shoot RAW whenever possible for a simple reason: The in camera JPEG processing in my ist DSLR, an old *istD, was basically horrible, on a "Don't even think about using it!" level. Later Pentax bodies improved. My Leicas suffer from an easy to fool primitive exposure metering and especially the B&W files from the Monochrom need tweaking in post. "Color science" as attributed to Fuji & Canon isn't found in the Samsung (rebadged Pentax) DSLRs that I scooped up for cheap.
    I ended deleting vacation RAWs from my old Fujis untouched, sufficiently pleased by the JEPGs I shot along with them. I am too inexperienced and badly equipped to tell if Canon JPEGs reach that level.

    To me the 5D Mk II looks like the versatile "workhorse + x"camera to upgrade to some day, to replace my Samsungs. (An old 5D would do my recent studio job too but might be a bit disappointing for personal dabbling).

    Dunno what the right shopping advice for you might be.
    Sounds a bit like "Look for something significantly lighter!" to me. For a hand holding landscapes guy MFT might be the way to go. - Not their insane pro sports bodies but maybe compact stuff with moderately fast high quality glass? - Or Fujis? They have nice lenses tiny batteries and unfortunately only one IBIS body out yet. But(!) Whatever floats your boat is fine! Go out, take pictures, look at them and as long as you are happy play Ostrich about camera development.
    Try to judge what might be a reason to wake up & get excited or just something nice enough to maybe(!) buy it used some day.
    There are many ways to not spend time at a computer. Shooting consistently and walking away while it batch processes everything seems the cheapest.
  15. Hi David,

    I still own and use a 5D mk II too. I have other cameras, but none much newer than my 5D II. Although I understand why people might buy new bodies, if you have good lenses (like the pancake and the 85 mm) there is nothing holding you back from making great photos. I think photographers tend to forget sometimes that megapixel count and even low light performance aren't often critical factors in photography.There will be newer and more technically advanced cameras all the time, but it's you as a photographer who determines the quality of your photos.
  16. You are a victim of marketing and GAS.
    Your gear is old, so you HAVE TO buy the latest gear.
    Never mind that your gear does everything you want it to do. It is "old."
    If my 15 year old 6MP D70 had not died, I would still be using it. It did almost everything that I wanted it to do.

    Let me put a different spin on this.
    You said:
    As the years creep up on me I find the 5D 2 plus L glass losing their appeal because of the combined weight.
    As an injured senior citizen, I am in a similar position. Kit weight has become a significant issue for me.
    My decision was to switch my primary system from a Nikon DX D7200 to the smaller/lighter Micro 4/3 Olympus EM1. I got a 45% weight reduction of my primary carry kit, and it was smaller. This really paid on when going on vacation. I now only use my Nikon D7200 for those things where the m4/3 EM1 does not work as well, which is fast sports.
    I also made a guideline to NOT get any DX/FX refractor lens longer than 300mm, as that was the weight limit that I decided on. Anything longer will be shot with my m4/3 camera, where the 2x crop makes my 300mm lens a 12x lens, rather than the 6x lens it would be on a FF camera.
    So maybe you should look at a smaller/lighter camera system like the Micro 4/3.
  17. I've been using my 5D2 several years now - no complaints, no problems. I think a lot of it has to do with the kind of shooting you do. I shoot mostly landscape and stationary subjects, and the 5D2 serves very well for that. Why upgrade to a camera with features I'd probably never use? That said, if my 5D2 dies, well, I'm seriously considering the new R series mirrorless Canon...
  18. I had a fire in my office and was able to upgrade via insurance to a 5d Mark III... gave my daughter the 5D... she loves it, and I find the Mark III just fine for everything and I would not go any further in buying new, Sony etc., I also have Leica M9 and M10. with the software available now I don't see how anyone needs anything else. lightroom etc. it's so easy now compared to when I was making my living shooting. And egads, the phones!!!!
  19. I have had my 5D Mk ii since it was new on the market. Literally I actually preordered mine before they were released to general retail by Canon. I love this body and it doesnt fail me in any area of my photography. I also use the most recent nightly build of Magic Lantern, and although one might argue that ML is geared toward film / video. I use the LRGB histogram features as well as the focus peeking for my photos. Having focus peeking on the 5D MK ii was a huge reason I was able to stay with this body. Ml is a great and easy add on! That's my 2 cents.
  20. I am a also fan of Magic Lantern for stills photography. I used to have it it on my 7D and 5D Mk II (both sold) and now have it on my 5D Mk III and SL1.

    Here are some of the things I use ML for:

    1) 1/3 stop ISO with my SL1

    2) Auto DOT Tune

    3) Focus information display on the rear LCD: Focus Distance, DOF Near, DOF Far, and Hyperfocal Distance. The values change with any changes to aperture, focus distance or focal length. Here is a video I made that shows how the values change as you change focus distance or focal length.

    4) One feature I REALLY like is "Auto adjust Kelvin". It is only available in Liveview but it makes for perfect WB in difficult Tungsten or Fluorescent lighting. I do a quick "Auto adjust Kelvin" in Liveview and then switch back to normal viewfinder shooting and it nails the WB for the rest of the shots. This is very useful when shooting JPEGs where you have to get it right the first time.

    5) There is a built-in shutter count but Canon chooses not to let the user see it. If you install Magic Lantern you can see it in the "Debug" Menu


    6) There is also an option to always default to the CF card. (avoids accidentally switching to the SD card when you pull the CF card on the 5D Mk III)


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