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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  Canon EOS 5D Mark II Studio Resolution comparison
  To measure and compare the Canon EOS 5D Mark II's resolving power we photographed the Enhanced Digital Camera Resolution Chart with it and a number of rival cameras, each using their best quality JPEG and default image tone and sharpening settings. Each lens was tested at every aperture setting and the best result selected for this page.

The crops are taken from the original images, saved as High Quality JPEGs in Photoshop CS2 and presented here at 100%. Each number represents 100 lines per picture height (lpph), so a figure of 20 means a resolution of 2000 lpph.

In terms of in-camera JPEG resolving power, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II delivered 3000 and 2950 lpph of horizontal and vertical resolution respectively when equipped with the EF 85mm f1.8 lens. We found the sharpest, cleanest result was with the aperture opened to f3.5, and that's what you'll see in the 5D Mark II crops below. The versions at smaller apertures down to f8 resolved the same detail, but weren't as crisp. Certainly diffraction will be a bigger issue for the 5D Mark II's high pixel density compared to its predecessor, so anyone upgrading should retest their lenses to discover new optimum apertures.

The measurements for the 5D Mark II represent a significant increase over JPEGs from its predecessor which scored 2400 and 2300 lpph using the same lens (at f8). They're also comfortably higher than the scores measured for in-camera JPEGs from the 1Ds Mark III (2775 and 2650 lpph), again using the same lens (at f8). Switching to RAW files from the 1Ds Mark III delivered much better results than its own in-camera JPEGs, essentially matching the 5D Mark II's JPEGs in terms of horizontal resolution, but still falling behind on vertical resolution. Clearly the in-camera JPEG processing of the 5D Mark II is superior to that of the 1Ds Mark III, at least in terms of measured resolution in tests like these.

The 5D Mark II scores are roughly the same as the Sony Alpha DSLR A900, although the crops below show the Canon's output to be cleaner and crisper. Punchier image processing is certainly playing a part here, but it's important to note Sony's higher resolution sensor isn't delivering any greater detail here with the lenses tested. It'll be interesting to see how Nikon's D3x compares.

So an impressive result here for the 5D Mark II, which roughly matches the A900's resolving power, despite falling a few Megapixels short. To see whether shooting in RAW can yield better results still, scroll to the bottom of this page. Alternatively, if you can't wait to see how the camera performs in terms of noise at higher sensitivities, head straight over to our Canon 5D Mark II High ISO page.


Canon EOS-5D Mark II
with Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM
Sony Alpha DSLR-A900
with Sony 50mm f1.4
3000 lpph, EF 85mm, f3.5, 100 ISO
2950 lpph, 50mm, f3.5, 100 ISO

Nikon D700
with Nikkor AF 50mm f1.8
 
Canon EOS-5D
with Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM
2400 lpph, 50mm at f8, 200 ISO
2400 lpph, EF 85mm, f8, 100 ISO


Canon EOS-5D Mark II
with Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM
Sony Alpha DSLR-A900
with Sony 50mm f1.4
2950 lpph, EF 85mm, f3.5, 100 ISO
2950 lpph, 50mm, f3.5, 100 ISO

Nikon D700
with Nikkor AF 50mm f1.8
 
Canon EOS-5D
with Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM
2400 lpph, 50mm at f8, 200 ISO
2300 lpph, EF 85mm, f8, 100 ISO


Canon EOS 5D Mark II Studio resolution: JPEG versus RAW

We photographed our test chart 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 3.5 software using the default settings (Sharpness of 3).

Like most Canon DSLRs tested recently, RAW files processed using DPP's default settings reveal cleaner and better defined details with a slight boost in resolution: we measured 3050 and 3000 lpph for horizontal and vertical resolution below. The converging lines are also crisper and better defined in the RAW sample, although moiré in the JPEG has been resolved here as dots which may produce undesirable artefacts on some subjects. Now let's check out the camera's performance at different sensitivities in our Canon EOS 5D Mark II noise results page.


Canon EOS 5D Mark II JPEG
with EF 85mm f1.8
Canon EOS 5D Mark II RAW
with EF 85mm f1.8
3000 lpph, EF 85mm, f3.5, 100 ISO
3050 lpph, EF 85mm, f3.5, 100 ISO

Canon EOS 5D Mark II JPEG
with EF 85mm f1.8
Canon EOS 5D Mark II RAW
with EF 85mm f1.8
2950 lpph, EF 85mm, f3.5, 100 ISO
3000 lpph, EF 85mm, f3.5, 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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