Readers' Questions


You might remember I bought the original 5d almost two years ago and have really enjoyed it.  Now I see the new 5dII in my local camera store and I’m wondering what you think?  Will I see big improvements in my photography if I upgrade?  I am trying to talk the wife into the 5dII as a Christmas gift but she says my current 5d is good enough and doesn’t believe a new camera will make better pictures of the kids and dog.  Can you help convince the wife I need the new model?

I’ve learned much from your column and really enjoyed the Loy Kratong pictures!


Richard –

I’d love to tell you the 5d Mark II will result in better pictures for you, heck I want one myself.  The truth is I really doubt for your purposes you’ll see much if any improvement in image quality over your current 5d.  Let me explain:

In past emails you’ve told me you rarely print over 11x14 and for the most part just share web images with family and friends.  This is very common.  With digital photography it becomes common to shoot 1000 exposures while only making a print of 1 exposure.  We’ve substituted our computer monitors for slide projectors and the standard 4x6 prints and we only make real prints when we have something really special we want to send to others or put in a frame in our own homes.

The new 5d Mark II increases the megapixels from 11mp to 21mp.  This is a significant difference, but not a difference you’re likely to see without a loupe at 11x14 inches unless you crop dramatically.  The new 5d Mark II DOES increase dynamic range a bit and it even handles noise nearly as well despite the major bump in megapixels.

What the 5d Mark II offers over the 5d is mainly a bigger, brighter, and more detailed LCD which can be useful depending on your style of photography, a HDTV 1080p movie mode, more megapixels, auto-ISO, and a bit of refinement in the camera matrix metering and autofocus.  Are any of these features worth $3000 USD’s to you?  The movie mode I’d imagine will be fun to play with and its not a full features video camera.. more it’s a limited featured special purpose video capture device which allows you to use your lenses.  To me the auto-ISO and better LCD are welcome features, but not features worth $3000 USD’s.

So, the answer is, if I had the original Canon 5d I would not upgrade to the new Canon 5d Mark II unless one of the new features was something I must have.  This is the very same reason I didn’t upgrade my Canon 1dsMarkII to the new Canon 1dsMarkIII.  There wasn’t enough difference between the models to justify the $8000 USD purchase price.  Perhaps there will be when the new 1dsMarkIV comes out next year.

Hopefully this will help..


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