Canon EOS 5D review

Design And Build Quality

The EOS 5D may be described as an EOS 1DS-lite, or a ramped-up 20D, sitting perfectly between the two cameras in terms of specification and size. It’s certainly a chunky monkey, heavier than the 20D, but weighs in at less than a kilo (without lens) which is less than the 1DS series, as well as being physically smaller. What impresses is that Canon has managed to fit the large sensor into such a small space, especially when you consider the size of the 1DS and 1DS MkII, which are seriously big cameras. The EOS 5D, by comparison, is a midget.


Of course, the 1D series of cameras comes close, but doesn’t have a full-frame sensor, an 8MP sensor, and has a higher price tag to match the increased build quality and weatherproofing. That camera also offers more speed than the 5D, at 8fps. The 5D still offers a respectable 3fps over 60 frames in JPEG mode, which is all the more remarkable when you think about the size of file that needs to processed and pushed through the pipeline. The initial RAW file is between 10 and 14MB, while a compressed JPEG is around 5MB. The processing power and memory buffer size needed to process three of those a second 60 times, without a break is quite impressive, especially given the price.


In regards to the build quality of the camera, the magnesium alloy body may not be up to the rigours of the Iraqi desert, but is tough enough to take the knocks that everyday life can throw at it. It has a comforting weight and balance that makes you feel you have a tough, precision tool in your hand. The grip feels secure, and the buttons and controls on the camera are far from flimsy to the touch.


The camera controls are closer to that of the 20D too, better serving the needs of the advanced enthusiast, or semi-pro, than the complicated EOS 1D cameras do. This makes the camera an attractive choice to those who wish to upgrade from a 20D or 10D. The camera will feel natural and intuitive. New Canon users, of course, should still find the control of the camera relatively easy because most of the photographic controls follow the traditional layout.


Of course, new and experienced users both will need to experiment with some of the newer features such as the Picture Style modes and the broader range of digital control cameras such as this can offer.

Next page: Canon EOS 5D handling review

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Price as reviewed

£1,860.00

Scores

WDC-goldaward
Scores
Design 17/20
Image Quality 19/20
Performance 18/20
Value 18/20
Features 19/20
Overall Score 91%