A well-featured digital SLR drops the price for a full-frame sensor
By Rob Sheppard
The new Canon EOS 5D has a lot of photographers talking. What do you get with this $3,300 camera? Is the full frame worth it? How about the 12.8 megapixels? After shooting with this camera in the field, I have a few answers. First, I appreciate the way the camera handles. While the EOS 1D and 1Ds Mark II cameras offer superb image quality, they're also big and heavy. They're sturdy and durable, to be sure, but their size isn't for everyone. The EOS 5D is a more manageable field camera. It's just a bit larger than the EOS 20D, measuring 6x4.4x3 inches and weighing 28.6 ounces
In addition, the EOS 5D has a beautiful 2.5-inch LCD. Most new digital cameras feature larger LCDs because they make working with the camera more user-friendly. Menus are more easily seen, and reviewing shots is definitely more comfortable. This LCD is also easier to view in bright light and at an angle to the screen.
I haven't said anything about the image quality, which, given Canon's reputation and the size of the sensor at nearly 13 megapixels, you'd expect to be very high. And it is, offering the capability of making large prints at 16x24 and larger. The resolution comes in second to an extremely clean image, however—noise is practically nonexistent at ISO 100 when exposed correctly. Combine resolution with almost no noise, and images from this camera will beat anything 35mm film can do. I was impressed with prints made from EOS 5D files.
The 5D includes additional technological advancements that will help photographers, such as high-precision, nine-point autofocus with six additional points to help with focus tracking, and DIGIC II processing to allow 3 fps for up to 60 JPEG or 17 RAW photos at once.
One feature that I find interesting, but have only just begun to understand is the new Picture Style function. This tool gives you quite a bit of in-camera control over the image regarding things like contrast and color related to specific types of subjects, which lets you set up your camera's response to the world in a personal way, though it only works for JPEG files (you have to use Canon DPP software to access it with RAW files). The camera lets you set your JPEG compression to a very low amount, however, offering essentially lossless compression.
Specifications Camera Type: 35mm-style digital SLR Sensor Size: 12.8 megapixels, full-frame size (35mm) Lens Mount: Canon EF Exposure Modes: Program AE (Shiftable), Shutter-Priority, Aperture-Priority, Full Auto, E-TTL II Autoflash, Manual Metering Modes: Evaluative linked to all AF points, Partial (approx. 8% of viewfinder), Spot (approx. 3.5% of viewfinder), Center-weighted average Exposure Compensation: ±2 EV stops in 1/3 or 1/2 increments Shutter Speeds: 30 to 1/8000 sec., and Bulb Flash Sync: Up to 1/200 ISO Equivalency: 50-3200 Shooting Speed: 3 fps Power Source: Li-Ion Storage Type: CompactFlash Size: 6x4.4x3 inches Weight: 28.6 ounces Estimated Street Price: $3,299 (body only)
1 Full-frame, 12.8-megapixel CMOS image sensor
2 Large, 2.5-inch LCD screen viewable in bright light and at any angle
3 DIGIC II processor for faster shooting and increased in-camera processing capabilities