Is the 5D Mark II still the best camera out there for the money?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by landrum_kelly, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. I should have asked,
    Is the 5D Mark II still the best FULL-FRAME camera out there for the money?
    I was noticing that B&H still has the 5D II for a remarkably good price ($1749). I also know from my years of using it that it was a fine camera--even at the original price. At the present price, it has to be an even better value.
    Given the above, is the 5D II still the BEST buy out there? (I think it once was.) Or, have the newer Canon full-frame DSLRs outpaced the 5D II in terms of value for the price?
    The reason that I ask is that I have heard that the production of the 5D II has ceased, implying that the ones that are selling at such a great price are suddenly going to be gone--and soon. The 5D II impressed me by its combination of very good resolution and very good low light capabilities--quite an achievement in one camera. I am sure that the 5D III can do even better, but that is out of my price range right now. What about the newer EOS DSLRs? How are they in terms of both resolution and low light capabilities--for the price?
    I would appreciate your opinions, especially if you have used the cameras in question.
  2. I am sure that the 5D III can do even better,​
    Yes it will. I own one.
    What about the newer EOS DSLRs? How are they in terms of both resolution and low light capabilities--for the price?​
    The best Canon EOS full frame bang for your buck is the 6D. The prices were at it's lowest during the Boxing Week sales of 2012. I took advantage of the discount and bought one.
  3. Let me add that the 6D will out focus the 5D3 in low light. The IQ is better to my eyes with the new sensor of the 6D when compared to the 5D3.
  4. Probably, and probably a better value than the 6d currently, especially since you can find 5D2s used (you'd be hard pressed to find a 6D used right now ;) ), In my experience w/ the 5D2 I found that at it's new retail it was an excellent value, and if bought used, the value was up to twice as good!
    I am surprised to hear (from Peter J) that the 6D will out focus a 5D3. But I must assume he has both and came to that conclusion through comparing the two's performance side by side. Very surprising!
  5. Marcus, the key there is in LOW LIGHT. Canon has gone to great efforts to make the center focus sensor of the 6D effective at very low light levels.
  6. I am surprised to hear (from Peter J) that the 6D will out focus a 5D3. But I must assume he has both and came to that conclusion through comparing the two's performance side by side. Very surprising! [Marcus Ian]​
    The 6D and the 5D3 using the same Canon EF 85/1.2L II USM lens was tested in a moonlit bedroom using the centre focus points of both cameras. The 6D with it's LV of -3 hunted and locked focus on several chosen points. The 5D3 with an LV of -2 hunted and failed to lock focus.
    Thanks Don Baccus for your help.
  7. Well, not having shot with either camera extensively, I personally wouldn't know (obviously), and, of course, it has nothing to do with the OP's original post, nor is it even really relevant, but the comment certainly is surprising, especially given the hoopla over the 5D3's supposedly vastly superior AF system.
  8. Well, I bought one just when the mark III came out because I don't need the particular features added. My impression is that the 6D is not really an UPgrade.
  9. it has nothing to do with the OP's original post, nor is it even really relevant [Marcus Ian]​
    Two strikes on your reading skills. The other questions from the OP and I will repeat just for you:
    "What about the newer EOS DSLRs? How are they in terms of both resolution and low light capabilities--for the price?"
  10. My experience of using a 5D2 for 7 months is fairly positive. IQ and resolution is good; especially in low light.You do need to be careful not to underexpose too much; as shadow noise esp at high ISOs can be a problem if you are not accurate with your exposure.
    AF is fine for normal shooting; unfortunately focus is in low light is not; so I use manual focus far more than any other camera I have owned.
    If you are not shooting sport or wildlife (as I dont with this cam) its a lot of camera for the money. I cant comment on the 6D as Ive not seen one yet.
  11. If your question isn't specifically limited to purchases of new equipment, I would think the 5D might best full-frame camera out there for
    the money. I have seen 2 sell for under $600 in the past few weeks on the local craigslist. Heck of a camera for that price.
  12. Double post.
  13. For me, the 5DIII and 6D offer only marginal improvements over the 5DII, and certainly nothing that justifies "upgrading." In fact, the newer bodies are decidedly inferior in at least one sense: they don't have interchangeable focusing screens. I use the Eg-S screen in my 5DII because I like to use manual focus lenses. Standard screens in DSLR's are inaccurate for manual focusing.
  14. ...they don't have interchangeable focusing screens. [Mark Pierlot]​
    Wrong. The 6D has interchangeable focusing screens.
  15. The 6D has interchangeable focusing screens.​
    Thanks, Peter. I stand corrected. It remains mysterious to me why the 5DIII doesn't have interchangeable screens...
  16. No worries Mark Pierlot. This is Camera Labs review (or view) on the lack of interchangeable focusing screens on the 5D III:

    Canon EOS 5D Mark III viewfinder

    The 5D Mark III also becomes Canon's third DSLR, after the 7D and 1D X, to feature on-demand LCD graphics in the viewfinder. These replace the interchangeable focusing screens of earlier models and I much prefer this approach as the options are much richer and more dynamic, not to mention eliminating the need for an optional and fiddly accessory; you can also simply turn them off for a completely clean view. To be fair, Nikon has implemented on-demand LCD viewfinder graphics for many years now, but it's still nice to see Canon gradually deploying them across more models.
  17. The comments below are personal opinions based on years of shooting with the 5D Mark II.
    The 5D Mark II is still a highly capable camera. This was the first digital camera that lived up to my expectations of image quality, and I'm still impressed with the files that I have captured with it. I would consider the 5D2 to be a bargain at the current prices.
    I have made 45-inch prints (long side) from a single 5D2 file (using careful post processing techniques, no stitching). I could not be more delighted with the quality and detail in those prints. For critical purposes, I would not enlarge much beyond that size, but that's still a fairly large print.
    The 5D2 revolutionized video capture, but given that I'm not a 'video guy' I can't speak to the camera's pros and cons in that area. Just note that it can be effective with the proper accessories. The newer 6D reportedly has some difficulties with video. Keep this in mind if video capture is important to you.
    The one issue that I have always had with the 5D2 is noise in shadow areas. The noise can be especially noticeable in high-contrast portraits. Other than that, I have no reservations about the camera's image quality. But if portraiture is your main business, be aware of this limitation. I find that the internal High ISO noise reduction works very well, so portrait shooters might want to enable that option and shoot RAW+JPEG in order to take advantage of the NR in JPEG files when extensive post processing is not required.
    I now own a 5D3 and a D800. bit I am still keeping my 5D2 as a backup to the 5D3. There are shooting situations where I prefer the Canon combination to the D800.
    The control layouts of the 5D2 and 3 are similar enough that you can use the two bodies together fairly easily. The zoom option is an unfortunate exception, however. The 6D has a very different layout. Pairing a 6D with a 5DIII could be problematic in my opinion.
    The 5D2's center focus point is fast and accurate. but the rest of the focus points don't work very well.
    The 5D2's live view implementation is superior to that of the D800, especially for manual focusing. The D800 does not display enough detail in the Live View image to make critical manual focusing decisions. That said, the D800's AUTO focus in Live View works very well.
    The 5D2 is not a particularly good choice for shooting in bad weather, but I have never had one 'freeze' on me.
  18. The 6D has a very different layout. Pairing a 6D with a 5DIII could be problematic in my opinion. [Dan South]​
    I owned a Canon EOS 5D and Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II combination for years and didn't have a problem. With the newer Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Canon EOS 6D, I have not had any issues with the pairing.
  19. For me, the 5DIII and 6D offer only marginal improvements over the 5DII, and certainly nothing that justifies "upgrading."​
    Everyone's needs are different. The focus options of the 5DIII alone (which are effectively the same as the 1DX) put the III in a different class than the 5DII. The III is a far better camera for capturing moving subjects.
    The 5DIII has a much more rugged body with much better weather sealing. The 5D2 always feels like an egg shell in my hand. The III feels like a professional body.
    High ISO performance is better. I'm comfortable shooting at up to 3200 on the II and 8000 on the III with the expectations of making large prints. (Even higher if print size is not important.) Is this a big enough improvement for any particular photographer to consider upgrading? That depends on their needs. I shoot at High ISO frequently, so the improvement was worth it to me.

    The LCD screen of the 5DIII is without peer. If you manually focus TS lenses or macros, this could be a selling point. This is also the area where Nikon lags Canon significantly.
    Resolution and DR have improved, although not substantially over the 5D2. I would not upgrade from the II to the III for resolution alone.
    If you need video capabilities, the 5DIII is clearly superior in this regard.
  20. Peter J, noted, but personally I would be lost without the column of buttons to the left of the LCD. All of my cameras have had that layout for years.
  21. Value. What a funny, ethereal and ephemeral concept! Any camera's "value" is solely defined by it's ability to get the shot you want. If a camera costs $8 and it gets you all the photos you want, it's value is much higher than the $1800 camera that you can't get to deliver what you want. If there are two cameras which both deliver for you, the lower cost one may seem to be the best value in the short term, but what about durability? So it's not as easy as price.
    Ultimately, only the individual can determine value. Ask yourself what you want to shoot. If the camera seems capable of doing that, then it may have good value. If your current camera delivers then there's probably no reason to buy a new one.
  22. Then there's "labor value", "use value", and many more - see Das Kapital
  23. Any camera's "value" is solely defined by it's ability to get the shot you want.​
    Granted, Patrick. What I am wrestling with is whether to grab a new one at the current price before new ones are no longer available. I shot the 5D II extensively for three years, and so I know what it can do by way of getting the shot. I also know what Dan is talking about with regard to shadow noise at high ISO. Even so, at moderately high ISO it came through for me as a camera for night photography, not to mention for shooting at twilight.
    I currently have the Nikon D800E as my only full-frame DSLR, and it is a great camera in terms of resolution--but not great in terms of low-light shooting. I doubt that my Canon lens collection will ever be what it was before I had to liquidate almost everything last winter and spring due to a financial crisis (from which I have not completely recovered), but the 5D II with a very small handful of good lenses could still be useful to me, particularly in low-light situations. What the future holds for me during semi-retirement is very problematic, but the 5D II is a known and reliable quantity. The 6D and newer EOS full-frame DSLRs are not.
    Thanks to everyone for the very helpful discussion. The issue of low light focus on the 6D is very interesting indeed. Sometimes the side issues and peripheral discussions uncover new issues and new facts which we might never find out about on our own.
  24. Then there's "labor value", "use value", and many more - see Das Kapital
    JDM, you crack me up. I read all three thousand pages back in the early 70s, but I would read it again if it would make me a better photographer.

  25. I hear you, and understand completely the desire to get good value in a camera purchase. Four months ago my only modern DSLR was a Canon 7D and no full frame. Then the deals parade (and a few zero-interest credit deals) brought me 5 new beauties. I got the 5DII because it came with a free 13x19"capable Canon 9500 MkII printer via rebate.
    Frankly, I think my OM-D is my best low light camera in terms of image quality.
  26. Its interesting that the mirror less camera like the Olympus OMD are getting so good now that the some of the larger cams are looking very outdated. I bought a Canon G1X in Sept to complement my 5D2 for travel as I was waiting for Canon to replace the 7D . The G1X has impressed me with its image quality, esp in low light. It is far better than my old Nikon D300S ever was. its about a stop lower compared to the 5D2 and the DR is pretty well equal if not marginally better due to its Digic 4 processor. I'm often using this in preference to the heavyweight 5D2 where I don't need speed or use ultra wide lenses.
    The future must be mirror less; and will be for Canon once they get a decent interchangeable lens cam with a proper EVF viewfinder. Otherwise I'll go the Sony NEX of Olympus route.
  27. The future must be mirror less;​
    Keep an eye on the Canon EOS-1D C. Soon you can rip a high resolution still image from the video.
  28. I hardly think the Monster EOS1DC is going to be a substitute for a compact mirror less camera but the concept of hi def video which you can take high quality stills from looka like the future but in a small compact interchangeable lens body
    Going back to the original question I would probably buy a Nikon D600 if I was choosing now.
  29. I hardly think the Monster EOS1DC is going to be a substitute for a compact mirror less camera... [Dave Perkes]​
    Easy there big guy. I never said it was going to be a substitute.
  30. Going back to the original question I would probably buy a Nikon D600 if I was choosing now.​
    I ordered the D600 and shot it on one outing before returning it. I was underwhelmed, to be quite honest. I did get the D800E, and I have no complaints with it, except that it is not the best in low light, in my opinion.
  31. It will be interesting in a few years when compact mirrorless pocket cams are taking 4k video, as the 1D C does today.
    The ability to pull quality frames from video clips could spell the end of still photography for the casual shooter. The
    perfect moment with the best smile and they eyes open will always be in there somewhere. Just scrub through, pick your
    frame, upload it to FB and delete the rest. That's the holy grail for many people, even pros in event and journalistic
  32. clips could spell the end of still photography... [Dan South]​
    In two years, video will kill the wedding still photographer's career. The wedding videographer will be in control of wedding assignments and pricing. Expect the videographer to make a tidy profit per assignment.
  33. I used the Mark III that i borrowed from my friend, wow i love it. I will invest and pay extra cash to get this new camera. here there is a link and you can see a video shot by 5D Mark III. The picturs is amazing!
  34. I have just been working this week with a photographer who has a new Canon 6D so have been able make comparisons with the 5D Mk 2.
    Build quality of the 6D is solid, low light performance is a bit higher and but overall image quality appears little different to 5D2 or 5D3.
    The spread of focus points in the viewfinder are similar to 5D2 but there is a big improvement in low light focusing.
    I don’t like the new arrangement of buttons which bear some resemblance to the 60D which I have used; so 60d users will feel at home I’m sure.
    The lack of on board flash controller and tilting LCD is an unforgivable omission which is not compensated by wi/fi or GPS.
    There is is no auto focus on video too which mean that a 5D3 would be better for this.
    I’ll wait for a 7d mk 2 before I make any decision; as the advantage of FF over APS are not as great as many people may think. I prefer the faster frame rate; lens reach on board flash and focusing of the 7D over the 6D in any case.
    The 60D ticks more boxes than the 6D as it has the tilting screen, on board flash and faster frame rate and its half the price.
  35. The 5D2 is still the excellent camera it has always been, and for many purposes and for many shooters it will be as good as the 6D or even the 5D3. However, the question of value for price - which is sort of what I think underlies the original question - cannot be clear cut. (In other words, we could debate it for weeks and still not come to any agreement.)
    Clearly the newer cameras introduce features and, to some extent, capabilities that go beyond what the 5D2 can do. For example, the AF system seems to be improved and the 6D adds wireless capability and so forth. So progress and improvement in camera design continues. No surprise there! In terms of image quality, while careful measurements can show that the newer cameras also continue the process of incremental improvement here, too, the effect of these improvements is, to be blunt, very small and in many cases insignificant.
    I have a 5D2 and before the newer cameras were introduced I had speculated about and prepared for the possibility that i would upgrade to the newer model (specifically the camera that became the 5D3) if it offered significant improvements that would affect the quality of my photography in significant ways. When it was announced it was clear that the 5D3 was a very fine camera - I have no complaints about it at all - but also that incremental or insignificant differences that it would make in my photographs would not be worth the cost of the upgrade. So I continue to happily shoot with a 5D2.
    But that it an upgrade decision, which is very different from a new camera purchase decision on the part of a person who may not have a full frame camera already. Here things get a bit more complicated and nuanced, I think. A few thoughts:
    • Plenty of people who think they need a full frame camera actually probably do not. If your main output is, for example, shared online jogs, either placed on the web or mailed to friends and family, the current cropped sensor cameras will produce image quality this is essentially indistinguishable from that you'll get from the full frame bodies. Yes, I know there are potential differences in things like DOF, but for the majority of folks getting a DSLR, these things turn out to be pretty minor issues.
    • All three of the full frame bodies are capable of producing absolutely first rate image quality. There is no question that people have been producing and continue to produce absolutely beautiful photographic prints using the 5D2 and the newer cameras equal its capability - though the real world effect of the small improvements is unlikely to be seen in a print.
    • If cost is no object at all and you are getting a new full frame body, you can certainly get the 5D3 and know that you are getting a fine camera with somewhat improved AF capabilities.
    • If you are convinced that you need a new full frame body, then the 6D comes at a more attractive price point and is clearly a very functional camera with some interesting features.
    • If you need full frame and are price sensitive, and especially if you tend to shoot from the tripod, the 5D2 is going to work essentially as well as the other two.
    I guess that if you are weighing the feature and cost differences, the actual price difference will matter. I suppose that if a 6D costs, say, 25% more than the 5D2 that your decision might be different that if the price turned out to be only 10% higher.
    In the end, for the vast majority of photographers, any of these three bodies will produce great photographic quality.
  36. In terms of image quality, while careful measurements can show that the newer cameras also continue the process of incremental improvement here, too, the effect of these improvements is, to be blunt, very small and in many cases insignificant.​
    Dan, in general I would agree with this comment, but in the case of the 6D over its peers and predecessors, I would MAYBE have to disagree. I had posted a link to a very thorough review of the 6D in this thread that seemed to draw a yawn from everyone:
    The camera was compared objectively, in a controlled manner, against the 5DII, the 5DIII, and Nikon's offerings. (Sometimes it was necessary to compare across reviews from the same reviewer, but they could all be compared objectively, using numeric data and standardized sample photos.
    What stood out for me was that the 6D seemed vastly improved in high-ISO RAW dynamic range, shadow noise, and color, with respect to the 5DIII. I could not decide whether resolution was also just a bit better at high ISOs. My subjective examination of the sample photos would suggest that resolution was perhaps a bit poorer in the 6D; however, their numbers suggest the opposite, with about a 1-stop advantage of the 6D over the 5DIII as resolution customarily erodes with increasing ISO.
    Many of my conclusions were derived from my own controlled manipulation of full-resolution sample "RAW" images that had been made available in jpg form. (That is, the cameras did not create the jpgs themselves, but rather the RAWs were converted to jpgs in the computer, one would hope/presume using the same conversion settings.) I greatly enhanced the contrast of the shadows of these photos, mapping 0 -> 0 and 63 -> 255. The colors of the 6D were remarkably true, in contrast with the 5DIII, whose colors were quite noticeably hue shifted, probably due to linearity differences between channels. Shadow noise in the 6D was remarkably low -- much better than the 5DIII.
    None of this performance comes for free, though. Very fine-detail textures appeared somewhat plasticky compared to the 5DIII, although overall detail of a normal-sized image (not extremely pixel-peeped) appeared comparable. I look forward to having a set of real RAW images to compare, but for now I have to say I am impressed with the 6D. My impression is that the 6D is a dumbed-down, high-ISO, low-noise mean-machine.
    To address the query of the OP, which was exactly the same as my own question, I saw sufficient improvement in the 6D over the 5DII in image quality properties that really matter to me (shadow noise being a perpetual problem in some of my shooting locations) that I decided I did not need to bite at a 5DII at this time. Instead, I will be watching as further impressions of the 6D become available, and I'll be waiting for the 6D prices to drop. If I ultimately decide the 6D isn't the right camera for me, then I'll probably pick up a refurb 5DII.
  37. I really think the Canon 5D Mark II is the best full frame camera for the value. I bought mine in September after the announcement of the 6D. At the time the the body was $1900 and the newly announced 6D was $2200, after I had bought it for about 3 weeks B&H lowered the price down to $1700 and thanks to their excellent customer service they gave me a $200 refund. If you don't shoot fast action its AF is fine and its IQ is a world ahead of those APS-C bodies. Canon 5D Mark II is $1800, Canon 6D is $2000 and Canon 5D Mark III is $2975, the difference between the 5D II and 6D can buy you a battery grip and if you have invested in a lot expensive CF cards choosing the 5D II over the 6D is a no brainer. The difference between the 5D II and 5D III can buy you a 7D.
  38. I have shot with the 5DII and at the time I loved it. But I had already bought the 7D as it was more within my budget at the time and since I had only cropped sensor lenses from my 20D(which my 7 year old daughter likes to use), it made more sense at the time.
    When I was looking for a second body, I did look at the 6D but the focusing wasn't as good as my 7D, and it used SD cards and I'm heavily invested in CF. Also since I shoot in all kinds of weather conditions the 6D didn't have the weather sealed body like my 7D. Sure it's a great little full frame camera, but that was it.
    Now when I held and tried out the 5DIII it felt right, like this was the camera for me. I tested it, and I loved it and now I have it.

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