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Canon EOS 5D Mark II Gordon Laing, December 2008 / updated June 2009
 

Canon EOS 5D Mark II results : Real-life resolution / Studio resolution / 5D Mk II vs A900 vs 5D Noise / Noise Reduction

 
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Real-life resolution - Canon EOS 5D Mark II vs EOS 5D

 

To compare real-life performance we shot the same scene with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 5D within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings, base sensitivities and default processing options.

We tested both Canon bodies with the same EF 24-105mm f4.0L IS lens, set to same 24mm focal length and f8 aperture for optimum sharpness. We will add direct comparisons against the Nikon D700 and Sony A900 in the future, but in the meantime, visit this page for an earlier comparison which which includes samples taken at the same location. We also have direct comparisons of the 5D Mark II against the A900 in our High Sensitivity Noise results page.

 


The 5D Mark II's Peripheral Illumination Correction, Highlight Tone Priority and Auto Lighting Optimiser were set to their default Enabled, Off and Standard settings respectively. As such this test compares how each body's in-camera JPEGs compare with their default settings; there are RAW comparisons at the bottom of the page. Note, in our High ISO Noise results we'll disable the Auto Lighting Optimiser.

The image above was taken with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II at a sensitivity of 100 ISO, using the EF 24-105mm IS lens at 24mm f8; the original Large Fine JPEG file measured 9.41MB. The crops are taken from the upper left, centre, lower right and left of centre, and are presented here at 100%. The 5D crops show a larger area due to its lower resolution. The exposures were identical, and no compensation was applied.

One glance at the crops from both cameras below reveals Canon adopting a similar approach to image processing using the default settings. There may be significantly different sensors and processors behind the scenes, not to mention three years between them, but in terms of colour and tone, the 5D Mark II’s in-camera JPEGs look remarkably similar to its predecessor.

As such Canon has once again gone for a more consumer-friendly approach with the 5D Mark II than its flagship 1D series, although you are of course able to style the output as desired using the Picture Style controls, or shoot in RAW and tweak later.

The processing may be similar in style, but the new model clearly has significantly more pixels to play with. The 5D Mark II is resolving finer detail that’s most noticeable in the buildings across the second and third row of crops, along with the tennis court markings on the third row.

Of course a finer pixel pitch also means any optical aberrations will appear bigger when viewed at 100%, and this is apparent in the fringing seen in the first row of crops. If the images were printed the same size, the fringing wouldn’t look any worse on the 5D Mark II, but anyone viewing 1:1 will see any issues with their lenses magnified with the new model.

It’s a shame Canon didn’t include reduction of coloured fringing on JPEGs in its latest DIGIC 4 processor. Nikon has offered it on several DSLRs now, and even Panasonic’s superzooms sport the facility (the latter showing-up Canon’s own SX10 IS superzoom). It should be noted Canon’s supplied DPP software can greatly reduce coloured fringing on RAW files, with the composition here cleaning-up very nicely – but again it’d be great to find it applied to in-camera JPEGs too.

Ultimately though, the crops here show the 5D Mark II delivering a similar style to its predecessor, but packed with greater detail – given a good lens of course. This may be all existing owners of the 5D need to hear, but there’s still our studio resolution, high ISO and noise reduction pages to go yet; and to see how the same image here compares in RAW, scroll to the bottom of this page.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II
with Canon EF 24-105mm IS
 
Canon EOS 5D
with Canon EF 24-105mm IS
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
     
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
     
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
     
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
     



Canon EOS 5D Mark II: JPEG versus RAW


We photographed the scene here in the EOS 5D Mark II's RAW plus Large Fine JPEG mode, allowing us to directly compare images created from exactly the same data. Below are crops taken from the original JPEG file alongside the RAW version, processed in Canon's supplied Digital Photo Professional (DPP) 3.5 software using the default Sharpness of 3, Peripheral Illumination of 70 and the Chromatic Aberration correction set to 100.

Like other recent Canon DSLRs, the processed RAW file looks more refined with greater detail across the image, most notably in the trees. There may be sharpening artefacts around some buildings, but it proves there's visible gains to be enjoyed even without tweaking the RAW processing settings. To see a technical difference comparing the 5D Mark II's JPEG and RAW files with a prime lens, see our EOS 5D Mark II Studio resolution page.

In the meantime, what this particular cropped area below doesn't show is DPP's effective elimination of coloured fringing on the RAW file. This greatly improved the appearance of areas which visibly suffered from fringing as seen in the samples above; the mountain ridge in particular cleaned-up very effectively.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II JPEG
with Canon EF 24-105mm IS
 
Canon EOS 5D Mark II RAW
with Canon EF 24-105mm IS
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO


Canon EOS 5D Mark II results continued...

Real-life resolution / Studio resolution / 5D Mk II vs A900 vs 5D Noise
/ Noise Reduction


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