Photos: Canon EOS 5D Mark II hands on

The pro Canon EOS 5D Mark II aims to be a superior sequel, introducing a 21-megapixel CMOS sensor and full high definition video

Sequels were extensively discussed in now-dated clever-dick teen horror spin-off Scream 2, in which the oft-offed cast decided that Aliens, The Godfather Part II and Terminator 2 were just about the only sequels that bettered the original. We always felt that this was a disservice to The Road Warrior, and now we'd like to offer up The Dark Knight and the high definition, 21-megapixel Canon EOS 5D Mark II dSLR camera.

This monster of a pro camera packs a full frame CMOS sensor. That means the sensor is the same size as a frame of 35mm film, so it can capture more detail and is less prone to noise than typical CCDs found in compact cameras. It also features a new DIGIC 4 processor, capable of ISO speeds from 100-6400 with expansion from 50 up to 25,600. In the context of this article we'll gloss over Die Hard 4.0, and Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull and go straight to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (y'know, the funny one, with the whales).

Speaking of movies, the 5D MkII is just pipped to the post by the Nikon D90 as the first dSLR to shoot video, but still trumps the D90 on specs. It shoots full high definition 1920x1080 resolution movies at 30 frames per second. This is only available in live view mode.

Canon claims the pro-performing 5D MkII will deliver image quality in "medium format territory", with a 3.9 frames per second burst mode sustainable for up to 310 JPEGs with the right memory card.

The EOS 5D Mark II will be available from the end of November 2008. If you're planning on getting it for Christmas you'd better start saving now as it will cost you a whopping £2,300 body only. An EF 24-105mm f4.0L IS USM kilt -- lens and body -- will cost an eye-watering £3,050. Click the links to see how this sequel is superior to the original. -Rich Trenholm

New additions to the 5D MkII include a bump in focus points to 9 autofocus points plus 6 assist points. A new quick control screen gives instant access to commonly-used settings. Settings include a new Creative Auto and custom user settings to switch between two different camera setups when moving between different lighting conditions. This is ideal for changing quickly between two different environments, such as switching from working inside a church without flash to outdoors with fill-flash at a wedding.

The 5D MkII boasts a 76mm (3.0-inch) live view LCD with 920,000-dot VGA resolution.

The body is made of sturdy magnesium alloy, with additional environmental protection -- which means it's sealed up at the joints and sockets. The sensor is kept clean by Canon’s EOS Integrated Cleaning System with a new Fluorine coating on the low-pass filter.

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About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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