The Mark II uses a new battery pack, the , which seems to last a reasonably long time: it's CIPA rated at between 750 and 850 shots, depending upon temperature. It also supports some fairly advanced reporting features. For instance, you can register the packs and then the camera will track the date last used, number of shots you've taken on it since the last recharge, and its ability to hold a charge, in addition to the remaining capacity on a charge status.
However, the camera's still missing some features offered by the competition. Although, as a rule, the on-camera flash is rarely used in this class, it really is good to have in an emergency. Canon also continues its tradition of not including an in-camera wireless flash controller. Some traditions deserve to die. And, if you want on-board image stabilisation, the A900's your only option.
The 5D always felt slightly sluggish to us, despite actual performance numbers indicating the contrary. This camera delivers the same measured performance, but feels much zippier. And, overall, it fares quite well compared to the D700. It wakes up and shoots in 0.3 seconds and takes between 0.3 and 0.6 seconds to shoot, depending upon lighting conditions. It typically runs at about 0.4 seconds from shot to shot.
For burst shooting, however, it's the slowest of all the new models, partly because of Nikon's significantly lower resolution and Sony's doubling up on the processors to maintain burst rates. Neither its 3.8fps burst-shooting speed (unlimited JPEG/14 raw) nor its centre-intensive nine-point AF system really lends itself to seriously fast, continuous shooting of moving subjects. If your shooting style requires numerous AF points beyond the middle quarter of the frame, this probably isn't the camera for you. But, for centre focusers, it works quite well.
We were extremely pleased with the quality of the photos delivered by the Mark II. As you'd expect from a model in its price class, it renders accurate and consistent exposures and colours. Given its resolution, its noise profile is surprisingly good: no noise or noise suppression artefacts until about ISO 1,600, at which point all you see is slight softening. Depending upon subject matter, photos can remain usable as high as ISO 12,800. Our only quibble is with the overly warm tungsten white balance. Even the video looks and sounds good, though the mic could use a wind filter.
(Smaller bars indicate better performance)
|Time to first shot||Raw shot-to-shot time||Shutter lag (dim light)||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
After shooting with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II for about a month, we have to admit that we're sold. We want this camera. We love the Nikon D700 as well, but, for us, the 5D Mark II's higher resolution and surprisingly good video capture give it the upper hand.
Additional editing by Charles Kloet