Canon EOS 5D vs 5DII

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by laurentlacoste, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. After a few months using the 5DII since it came out, what could be said about the differences between 5D and 5DII mainly as far as image quality is concerned? way of handling exposure, noise, light, color, dynamic range, etc... Has anyone seen improvement in any of those fields?
  2. The big differences are in the resolution and the noise. I shoot both the 1ds MKIII and the 5dII. The latter is almost noiseless at 1600 iso and great at 3200. Shooting bright (light) subjects at iso5000 produces very good results as well. My 1ds at 1600 is not as good as the 5dII at 3200.
    The other thing that the 5dII has over the 5D is the pixels. The II gets you to that level of pixels where you can do almost anything. Although I made a few 40x50's with the 1st 5D, which were incredible, the new one is just a lot better.
    Downside is more an issue of whether you want the file size, I like big files while some don't have any use for them. But the 5DII would be preferred for those shooting stock, commercial or fine art.
  3. I shot with the 5D (which I still own) for a couple years and have now shot extensively with the 5D2 since late last year. Some differences include:
    • The higher resolutions sensor can produce a bit more detail if you shoot with very careful technique and excellent lenses - the difference is one of degree rather than "night and day," but it can make a difference in larger prints.
    • Related to the previous, if you are pushing the limits of print size from the full frame DSLR format (and, again, using very careful shooting technique, good lenses, and skillful post-processing) you can go a bit larger with equivalent image quality.
    • Somewhat smoother tonal gradations are possible.
    • The ability to shoot at higher ISO with equivalent IQ permits more flexibility in low light situations, etc. I would almost always shoot ISO 100 on the 5D and only occasionally go to ISO 200 for, say, landscape work. I'll use ISO 100 and 200 as needed with no concern about IQ on the 5D2 and I even shoot some landscape and similar work at ISO 400. For non-landscape work I find that ISO 800 is very good and that I can make great prints from subjects shot at ISO 1600 in a number of cases.
    • For some shooters - and I'm one of them - the live view feature has tremendous impact in the quality of the final photograph in many cases. Critical manual focus with landscape and other relatively static subjects is much, much easier and effective. The ability to preview focus at 10x magnification with the DOF preview button pressed is tremendously useful. Manually focusing in very low light - virtual darkness, actually - or with 10 stop ND filter attached opens up options that were previously unavailable.
    • Dynamic range is at least as great as that of the 5D, and when shooting RAW it is possible to recover significant useful detail from shadows.
    • Related to the ISO point above, noise levels are very low. When I have shot at ISO 800 and 1600 it has been my impression that the nature of the noise is less objectionable than that on earlier cameras. I know it sounds very subjective, but at high ISOs is strikes me as being more "film-like."
    • I do not notice any particular difference in color. Both cameras are fine in this regard. (I also believe that many make too much of this issue when comparing current DSLRs.)
    A few general observations.
    • There are differences between the images produced by the 5D and the 5D2, however...
    • the differences not shocking and huge but generally more modest, so...
    • they mostly won't be visible to those who don't shoot with careful technique, use good lenses, and apply sophisticated post-processing, and...
    • print at fairly large sizes, so...
    • the differences will be largely unnoticeable (except perhaps the ISO improvement) to those who mostly share jpgs or print small, but...
    • significant to those who print large.
  4. I recently moved from a 5D to 5DII and IQ--save huge prints--is about the same. In other words, you won't see a significant difference in 8 x 12 or even 12 x 18 prints. The old 5D IQ really holds up well. I find the 5DII a little more prone to showing noise patterns in shadows. Similar noise in the 5D is more random and organic looking (more like film grain). 5DII images with plenty of bokeh--50 1.2L wide open--do show lightly better color gradations in bokeh heavy areas.
    Of course 5DII NR is better if you shoot JPEG or use DPP NR defaults. With DPP NR the 5DII is good for one more stop of quality ISO over the 5D, 3200 for my taste. You may not be so happy at high ISO converting RAW in ACR or Aperture as NR is terrible. You need a dedicated plug-in like NoiseNinja. Without a good NR plug-in you won't want to convert 5DII files at high ISO settings. ISO 1600 is max for ACR without a NR plug-in.
    To me the main improvement is of the 5DII over the 5D is the beautiful LCD. The 5D LCD is basically invisible during daylight hours. The modern menu system, quick control interface on LCD, more responsive handling, ISO in VF, etc., are nice but minor considerations. I haven't found much use for video or LV but lots of guys seem to like it.
  5. I would have to strongly disagree (matter of opinion to be sure) with Puppy Face regarding noise at 3200. I don't use DPP--their sharpening algorithms are atrocious, will destroy an image at large magnification( creates almost like jpeg artifacts, but worse than if jpeg!). I primarily use ACR for conversion and noise is very acceptable--darker images are not as good as brighter images, but still very good. Best for noise is DxO, that is sweet--but their sharpening algorithms are also something to be careful with.
  6. I don't use DPP--their sharpening algorithms are atrocious.​
    You do realize you can disable sharpening in DPP or any other editor? I leave sharpening off in all my editors or set very low and sharpen as the final step before printing: RAW tweaks > conversion to 16-bit TIFF > PS tweaks > save as > sharpening according to target size. My edited master has no sharpening. Thus I can optimize sharpening for print size. If you sharpen prior to RAW conversion you end up with too many sharpening stages, leading to artifacts.
    Actually I mainly use Aperture most of the time. I only use ACR on rare occasions (terribly awkward interface) and DPP gets the nod for high ISO, lens correction and, oddly, sunsets. It's really hard to make both Aperture and ACR render a sunset as well as the DPP default.
    As for noise in ACR at USO 3200, it's pretty terrible compared to default NR in DPP. Stock Aperture (no NR plugin installed) is no better.
  7. Puppy, true re the sharpening, however, I find that a certain amount is just needed with large digital files like the 5dII and 1dsIII--to pull them together. Never do it with even larger film scans, but low pass filters etc create issues A moderate amount of sharpening at raw state is different than what you can do later, which is generally nothing for me.
    Not saying that noise isn't better with DPP, just saying it isn't bad without it. Again, an opinion but also may have to do with type of images shot. But if you want best noise reduction I have yet to see, without the image softening of most plug-ins and filters, DxO is probably the best out there.
  8. The big differences are in the resolution and the noise. I shoot both the 1ds MKIII and the 5dII. The latter is almost noiseless at 1600 iso and great at 3200. Shooting bright (light) subjects at iso5000 produces very good results as well. My 1ds at 1600 is not as good as the 5dII at 3200.​
    Thanks for the info. It gives me hope that the 7D will be better than the 50D in high ISO.
    Happy shooting,
  9. Sorry guys but I just moved up to the 5D about a year ago, after using a 30D for about 4 years. One thing I noticed about the 5D vs the 30D other than the much better resolution and dynamic range, under all ISO settings, is that the 5D images are much bigger and much slower to download than on my 30D. Also, they take a huge amount of real estate on my hard-drive. It's hard to imagine the 5D II images consisting of 21 Mega pixels ! The 30D is less quircky and more reliable than my 5D beleive it or not. That is why I use my 5D only for professional purposes, otherwise I'm very happy with my 30D. Until maybe I see an image from a 5D II...
  10. Harry, you sort of sum up the biggest differences in what camera you choose. Several years ago, while doing 13 weeks of shooting on the road for a client using large and medium format film cameras, I shot a lot of "along the way" shots using a Rebel XT just for myself. Now, although some of the images are incredible, I am suffering from the small file size and not being able to blow them up as I need for my purposes. I will be spending another month on the road in September back in these places redoing some things and adding to the work for a series I am working on, using both large format and the 1DSmkIII. Although I would be doing this trip even if everything had been shot, originally, with a large format camera, I just realize that there is a need to revisit some things with a camera that can give me more resolution at larger sizes. Of course, I realize there is really never an opportunity to "redo" a shot, several things of that sort will be on my agenda anyway.
    For many, the smaller file size is great for the intended uses, but doesn't offer the flexibility down the road that you might get with your 5D or the 5DII. In my case, it has been a problem but for most it is irrelevant.
  11. Thanks everybody. So, according to you, the 5DII is superior to the 5D in every respect. Do you get exactly the same kind of response in terms of tonal curve etc.. and IQ with the Mark II?

    Beside its outstanding IQ, it seems the 5D had that kind of little extra touch that makes a difference between an excellent and a truly great camera. For instance, I've met photographers who would rather use the 5D than their 1Ds mark II. Would you say the same thing about the 5DII ?
  12. There are times I would prefer using the 5dII over my 1dsmkIII, but then, overall, due to some of the things I use on the DS, I prefer it. It is all in what you shoot and how you intend to use it. Honestly, the one feature on the 1ds that has become almost indispensable for some of what I do, is the ability to record voice memos that attach to an images. This saves me so much time, hours and hours, on location as well as back in the studio, that I never want to have to live without it again!
    Essentially, the 5DII has a later processor and the same sensor as the 1dsmkIII. So the differences are the body style and some of the features. Overall, I like my 1ds, but I wish it had the newer processors, the high iso performance and the video capability of the 5dII.
  13. Thanks, John. I think you perfectly summed up what I wanted to know about the 5DII. I've always been a Nikon guy so far, but have been wondering about Canon for a while now. Actually, I could've gone Canon at the time when the 5D came out but bought a Nikon DSLR then as I had already had Nikkor lenses. Now that the 5DII is available about 3 or 4 years after, I'm asking myself the same question again.
  14. So, according to you, the 5DII is superior to the 5D in every respect.
    A more complete summary of my experience reported above might be: "So, according to you, the 5DII is superior to the 5D in every respect, though the improvements are incremental enough in some areas that not all photographers will see any difference."
  15. Dan, thanks a lot for completing my phrase, and for your very detaiked pieces of information and ob servations about the 5DII. Very helpful. Thanks everyone again.

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