Canon's latest and possibly greatest (even though it's not the cheapest) new full frame DSLR has revealed its specs: Let's herald the arrival of the Canon 5D Mark II. (What they didn't call it the 6D, I'll never know.)
I hate to pick on a specific journalist (see my post on the Canon 50D) but once again, Marty Katz of the NY Times amazes me by calling the announcement of the most-predicted camera ever a "September surprise." I can't think of an analyst or journalist, including me and Michael, who didn't foresee this camera arriving before the big trade show Photokina this year.
In any case, Katz breathlessly summarizes the camera's stats, although, once again, it's not clear if he's actually tested the camera, or if he's just restating Canon's press releases:
MPEG4 video can be shot for up to 29 minutes, depending on the content, at the high-definition resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. A stereo external microphone can be connected, but the built-in mike is mono.
Here's some other pertinent features of the 5D Mark II:
- Live view shooting has face detection AF, which is very cool, although I don't think there's much point to shooting in live view with a DSLR.
- A continuous shoot time of up to 3.9fps. This is low compared to its competitors, but some analysts conjecture that this is a more honest estimate than the inflated claims that have been made in the past. Nevertheless, Canon rates the more-than-$1,000 less expensive 50D at much higher 6.3fps.
- It has the same high-resolution LCD of other new DSLRs, but DP Review finds that "Canon do seem (sic) to have made it even better with improved viewing angles and no less that three layers for anti-reflective material."
- The viewfinder has an improved 98% frame coverage, a personal best for Canon (and just about everyone else (but short of the Sony A900's outstanding 100% coverage).
Quoting DPReview again, the 5D Mark II is "a camera that aims to leapfrog both its direct rivals, either in terms of resolution (in the case of the D700) or features (in the case of the DSLR-A900)."
Over on Imaging-Resource.com, Michael R. Tomkins reveals that Canon has lofty goals for the 5D Mark II "Along with a Digic 4 processor, this results in Canon making some very impressive claims about the EOS-5D Mark II. It was described to us as offering the highest image quality of any EOS DSLR to date."
Is Canon really saying that the 5D Mark II has higher image quality than their top-of-the-line EOS 1D Mark III and it's big brother, the 1Ds? Maybe. Technology does keep improving, and I can believe that the photos from a next generation camera are superior to its more expensive siblings.
However, the 5D Mark III lacks some of the pro-level features of those cameras, including faster frame rates, tougher weather sealing and built-in vertical grips. (BTW, are there any conspiracy theorists out there who think that Canon purposefully retarded the FPS rate on the 5D Mark III to maintain a market for the 1D's?)
The 5D Mark III's price of $2,699 is pretty good, maybe even great, for a camera with these specs. In fact, it's even cheaper than its closest competitors, the Sony A900 and the Nikon D700, which list for $2,999. And it's a friggin' Canon, people.
I still would have loved to see Canon kick everyone's asses by bringing it in for $2,499, though. I keep waiting for a camera company to give us AMAZING deals on it's bodies, knowing it will make up the difference by selling more lenses, flashes and other accessories.
All in all, my faith in Canon is renewed with the release of the Canon 5D Mark III. Even if I can't afford it, I can still love it from afar.