The Camera
The Mk II is the recently revised version of Canon’s professional level EOS 5D. It combines a full frame sensor with HD video capability.
The 5D is a substantial beast, particularly with the 24-105mm f.4 IS lens attached. Having said that it feels comfortable and well balanced. The control layout is more akin to the 20Ds and 30Ds I’ve used previously, than to my older 300D. I’ve always thought that system (also shared with the 350 and 400 models) is a little more responsive/intuitive than that used on the more expensive models. Perhaps I just need some more time to get used to it.
The camera starts up instantaneously and saves to CF cards. RAW file sizes are large – 26-27MB each, so high capacity CF cards are a must.

The Lens : 24-104mm IS f4 L
Without doing an involved comparison, I can tell you that the lens is very sharp. It has a useful focal range from true wide angle at the 24mm end to medium telephoto at 105mm. Sharpness seems good, right into the corners, particularly when stopped down. F4 might seem a little slow for such a lens, but its constant across the zoom range, and the IS (image stabilisation) effectively adds about 2 stops of light, meaning you can take handheld shots in lower light conditions. There is some evidence of chromatic aberration, but it’s minimal and easily corrected in Photoshop.
The lens is probably not quite fast enough for sports/wildlife photography. Photographers working in these areas should probably look elsewhere. For all other purposes, however, I think its an excellent versatile lens.

Canon EOS 5d Mk II - sample image with detail

Caveats
The only real problem I’ve run into so far is CS3’s lack of support for the 5D’s RAW file format. You can install Adobe’s free DNG app, which will convert the RAW files to Adobe’s Digital Negative format, which can then be read by Photoshop.
This adds another process to the workflow, however, it’s not an ideal solution.
The other alternative is to upgrade to CS4 and install the Adobe RAW update. This is the route I took, but obviously its not an option for everyone.

I also noticed slight vignetting at 24mm with a polarising filter attached. Those shooting with filters should probably shoot no wider than 26-28mm.

Something else worth considering is lens compatibility, particularly if, like me, you are upgrading from one of the Canon’s with a smaller image sensor. Many lenses were designed specifically for these cameras – they won’t work on the 5D as it’s mirror will make contact with the back of the lens during shooting.

Conclusion
So far, I’m impressed with the camera and lens combination. It’s tough, versatile and well built. The lens is sharp and bright enough for most situations. The sticking point for many will be the lack of support in CS3, but to be honest, that is more a critisism of Adobe than of Canon.

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